Bearwood Handmade December…Meet Honeycat Cookies

So pleased and excited to have lovely Lucy Samuels of Honeycat Cookies back with us at Bearwood Handmade December. These biscuits are what biscuit dreams are made of. I don’t know how she does it – well actually I do because she has a fab blog where she goes into detail, with videos and everything! 

13495435_1288296767864446_8232359670917046331_o

In her own words…

Honeycat Cookies handcrafts decorated cookies using original, richly-flavoured biscuit and royal icing recipes. Imagery inspired by nature combines with luxurious elements such as edible gold and lustre dusts to create unique and memorable gifts for all occasions. From bespoke ‘thank you; presents, to unusual wedding favours, from the bizarre to the beautiful, this edible art is both unusual, and delicious!

She’s not wrong.

honeycat

Lucy will be selling her decorated cookies, meringues and sugared nuts sold in prettily packaged gift boxes, tins and jars, perfect for gift giving.

Bearwood Handmade December takes place between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 3rd December at Bearwood Baptist Church Hall, Cnr Rawlings Rd and Bearwood Road, B66 4HA.

Crafty Muthas and Craftivistas at Bearwood Handmade

Our final ‘Meet the Maker’ post and I’m pleased to introduce you to some very special stall holders and a fantastic local action group.

Ceri

Our Ceri makes anything. Well, she’ll have a go at everything! Over the years since the Crafty Muthas got together, she has knitted, crocheted, made jewellery out of buttons, beads and gemstones, made cards and other paper crafts, lino carving and printing, fabric printing and hand painting, shrink plastic, wood burning, sewing, pinecone crafts, a bit of pottery, mini scenes in glass domes, plaster of paris gnomes and skulls, resin and even made jewellery out of parachute cord.

ceri

I’ve reined myself in a bit this year, and I’m going to be showcasing my toasty hand knitted and crocheted accessories alongside some rustic wooden Christmas decorations. There’s bound to be some kitsch jewellery in there somewhere though. Bound to be!

Come and have a look for yourself, and suggest a new craft for her to try!

Rachel

rachel

I’m the cake baking Crafty Mutha, it’s not my job, just something I enjoy doing when I have the time and Christmas baking is what I enjoy most of all.  I’m normally in the tea room at the back of the hall and I’ll be there again on Saturday 19th November bringing you a range of cakes and sweet treats such as brownies, mince pies (Mary Berrys’ recipe so there’s lots of brandy in them!), Christmas cake, spiced nuts, gingerbread, fudge, Guinness cake and whatever else I can rustle up in the two manic baking days before the fair! Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Smethwick Craftivistas

craftivistas

We asked Craftivista Madeline to tell us what’s happening on Saturday: “Smethwick Craftivistas will be at the Bearwood Handmade Winter Fairs adding new pieces to the ‘Welcome’ quilt that was started at this year’s Bearwood Action For Refugees Refuteaparty. Feel free to join us for some thoughtful activism between 10am – 1pm

 

Bearwood Handmade November takes place between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 19th November at Bearwood Baptist Church Hall, Cnr Rawlings Rd and Bearwood Road, B66 4HA.

If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake…

Well, I have baked a cake or two so all you have to do is come and get them!
The third in line of hugely successful Bearwood Craft Fayres, brought to you by the Crafty Muthas, is being held this Saturday in St Mary’s Church Hall just off the High Street.
There will be a host of beautiful handcrafted items on offer, plus me, bringing you cupcakes, Christmas cakes, gingerbread, fudge, rocky road, shortbread, muffins, stollen and I’ve also been beavering away making jars of Yummy Plummy Jam, Brandy Butter, Cranberry and Orange Preserve and various chutneys and pickles! So hopefully something out of that lot should tickle your fancy. You will also be able to order Hampers and Christmas cakes which can be delivered locally up until Christmas Eve. Just pop along and ask me for details (I’ll be the first table to greet you as you walk in the front door).
I love cooking and baking all through the year, I’ve made a good few wedding cakes and many a celebration cake for friends and colleagues, but I especially love this time of year when the days get shorter and colder; it makes me think of comfort food, chutneys, jams and of course, Christmas food. There is something so homely and comforting about stirring a huge pan of chutney or jam on a dark evening and the smells that fill the house are delicious. And nothing beats the sweet, heart-warming smell of Christmas cakes baking in the oven on cold Sunday afternoons. I guess the feeling I get reminds me of my parents cooking and baking and the encouragement that they gave me to experiment and enjoy cooking and eating when I was growing up.
Anyway, enough now, you know where to come to satisfy your sweet cravings, or to buy something to satisfy some-one else’s sweet cravings and to purchase beautiful hand crafted Christmas presents. If you can’t make it on the 19th, we are also holding a second fair on Saturday 3rd December, or you can always come to both!
Rachel

holy calamity

it’s been a bit quiet on the crafting posts round here lately – sorry for that. and since our resident photographer extraordinaire is away visiting the muthaland, there’ll be no iphone downloads from tonight’s bearwood tapestry even, so i thought i’d get a sneaky one in. last tapestry it was my turn to make the cake…

i’m a pretty good cook. and i bake a lot. i love, love, love the taste of good food and i refuse to buy cakes and treats when i can make better at home. with twenty years of baking behind me and two kids who almost live for cake you’d think knocking up a ginger cake to take to our monthly craft get together would be easy. oh no.

it all started innocently enough. found a fab looking recipe on the old interwebs. i had all of the ingredients apart from the stem ginger so took the four year old (off school with a bad cold) to the shops where we could only find ginger preserve (like marmalade but good enough). at home the little one decided not to help (she must have had an inkling of what was to come). i copied out the recipe in my usual blunt pencil on the back of an envelope shorthand sort of way. i made the most amazingly sticky batter, made a complete faff of lining the loose bottomed cake tin but finally got the bugger in the oven – and relax – funny how that batter was so thick and sticky, and didn’t the recipe say something about it being like pancake batter? hmm. shit. i forgot to write milk down. i forgot to put milk in!

so i ran to the kitchen and pulled the cake from the oven. it had only been in five minutes but the magic was already starting to happen. i had to think quick. i got a pan, emptied some milk into it and started to heat it as i scooped out the sticky and now frothy mix. a moment of panic as it seemed to curdle but with some stiff whisking i rescued it. but i couldn’t use the loose bottomed tin. the baking parchment was a sticky mess destined for the bin and this new mixture was too runny – it would surely leak through and make a stinking mess on the oven floor. believe me i’ve been there before. so, i got out 2 small loaf pans (thinking even if they didn’t turn out well they’d be fine for the kids). it was at this point that my beautiful daughter had a nose bleed.

five minutes later i put the cakes in the oven and looked at the almighty mess i’d created. i hate washing up. i always make a terrible mess in the kitchen and i leave the washing up for as long as i possibly can or until my husband comes home. but i needed to make another cake for the craft night and i hate to be beaten by a ginger dessert so i decided to re-do the recipe using the same ingredients but using a completely different method. i put the food processor, bowls, spoons, jugs and all into the sink and got out a big saucepan. i only had to wash two measuring spoons! just as i was breaking the egg a little voice called out “i feel sick”.

ten minutes later (it was a false alarm) i poured my new runny mixture into a large loaf tin and popped it into the oven. i read my poorly girl some stories. made a bechemal sauce for some ham croquettes (using a different pan and a whole new set of spoons!). 50 minutes later i pulled out a slightly overdone but magnificent cake.

then i washed up.

Dsc00311Dsc00320

later i covered the cake in a drizzly lemon topping and it was all gobbled up at the tapestry and no-one was any the wiser. the two mini loaves turned out a bit stickier but quite delicious and were gobbled up by the kids. result. needless to say though, i’m not baking for tonight. over to you ceri….

a month in cake

i can’t claim to be the best cake maker i know, we have cm rachel for that, and to be honest, round here there are a lot of talented bakers. but i am keen. i do believe that treats should be home-baked and so i make sure there are always bananas in the freezer for banana loaf and oats in the cupboard for flapjacks and the fixings for friday pancakes are always to be found on my shelves. but from the middle of july to the middle of august i was mostly making birthday cakes. far too many for one family.

a month in cake

 

my dad’s 60th. i was actually sick after this one, but think it was the seafood that preceded it.

a month in cake

sonny’s sandcastle cake for his birthday by the sea. throwing sugar at buttercream is just way too much fun.

a month in cake

sonny’s birthday cake no.2 for family tea. with added scooby doo characters because he seems to think every cake needs a whole theme.

a month in cake

my sis and bro share a birthday meal with a malteser cake finale. sparkler-tastic.

a month in cake

 

it’s not a birthday cake but the august bearwood tapestry cake sneaked in there too. i cheated because i was caked out and used bought sponge flan bases sandwiched together with chestnut puree. i did however make the ganache to cover it all with and toast the almonds! hey and it’s the tapestry tonight so if you’re in the area, pop along (hit the bearwood tapestry link for more info).

Flutterby-tastic

Well, I have to agree with the other Crafty Muthas, last Sunday was a huge success! It’s taken me up until now to calm down enough to put a little something on the blog. Being the Cake-crafter, I was going to sell cakes at our stall but low and behold, I wasn’t allowed, as the organisers didn’t want competition for their charity cake stall (which is understandable). So Jen and Ceri, crafties with their thinking caps on, thought I could sell sweets treats which weren’t cakes and do a raffle to win a box of cupcakes! Which is exactly what I did….
I sold Rocky Road, Scottish Butter Tablet (fudge), Butter Cookies and Viennese Whirls. They were very popular a flew off the stall at record speed. (Crafty Jen did buy a lot of the fudge though…) The man who won the raffle for the cupcakes seemed very happy too! Below are a few pictures of the goodies… So I think its definately spurred us all on to do more fairs and craftiness.
Flutterby-cakes website is still slowly being put together, where locals will be able to purchase cakes, goodies and gifts, possibly even subscribe to a Cupcake Club! How exciting! More news will follow shortly.
Yours in cakeyness
Rachel

The Cake-Crafter

Ok, it’s only taken me about 7 months to start blogging. Well, I guess I am the cake-making Crafty Mutha. Is cake making a craft? I reckon so….
I love cake. I love eating cake and making cake and decorating cake and giving cake to other people to make them fatter than me. I have always enjoyed cooking and this was encouraged by my parents when we were kids. My Mum always had some cake or sweet goody in the house at all times and she had a phenominal skill for victoria sponge! So that must be where I get it from. I started getting a bit more creative with my cakes a few years ago and since then I have made many birthday, anniversary, wedding cakes and cupcakes galore! I have a strong attraction to butterflies and so often bully people into having butterflies on their cakes, or sneak a cheeky butterfly in somewhere!
Well, as this is my first blog, I’ll keep it short and just pop in a few pictures of some of my favourite cakes. I am starting up a cakey website soon, but more on that next time…..
Rachel.

rainbow cake!

last week, my daughter eleanor turned 3 years old. we don’t really get her loads of gifts for her birthday… but one thing that is for certain is this: i bake her a cake. every kid should have a cake on their birthday.

this year i was inspired by the internet to try out a rainbow cake. that photo looks so amazing, but i knew straight off the bat i could never make it look that good. look at the icing… there’s some serious skills and tools to make it look that smooth. i’ve embraced the fact that everything i make will have a rustic feel to it.

after borrowing a couple of cake tins from jennie and making sure i had 6 different colours of food dye, i set to work. it took me a whole day. by the end of it, i was feeling pretty tired and not sure how it was going to turn out. i won’t lie… i was wishing i’d just bought a box of betty crocker cake mix. the food dye was natural, so the colours didn’t seem as strong, and i wished the icing i’d made was thicker… but…

the next day, after singing happy birthday, blowing out the candles, and cutting into the cake… this was the result:

totally and completely worth it. it tasted good too, if i do say so myself!

alright, i didn’t use the recipe on the blog post i linked to above. i used the recipe here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/WhiteCake.html (without the jam filling.)
i made two batches, divided each batch into 3, added food colouring, and the rest you can figure out, i’m sure.

happy birthday, ellie!

My very first post

Well i am going to try and post the picture of my very own, very first Christmas Cake i made…and very proud of it i was.  Here’s to happy blogging all you crafy muthas..xxx