Dreams can change without you realising

Good grief, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. This website has closely followed my adventures as I chased my dreams to Toronto to help myself become the best cake decorator I could be, but recently things have changed a little.

During my 4 month course whenever a teacher would ask us what our dream job was, I replied with cake decorator without hesitation every time. There was nothing else on my radar, I had found my passion.

And then I came home.

I’d imagined that I would jump straight back into cakes, throw myself into building a business plan and organising my life so that I could sustain my dream & get along financially. However, I found myself being hesitant and unsure. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t make cakes for people… My insurance had expired, I wasn’t sure if I’d missed the annual council inspection of my kitchen, I hadn’t worked out a pricing structure yet. The list went on.

I made one cake and while I still definitely enjoyed it, I didn’t feel the same passion I had before. Talk about a shock to my system!

A week later I woke up craving toffee. I found myself back in the kitchen with my candy thermometer, attempting to temper chocolate without a marble slab (fail!), cooking toffee on the stove and… I felt what I’d been missing in my last cake.

“Buttercrunch” Toffee, chocolate & macadamia nuts

Suddenly I was no longer reading cake blogs learning about new decorating techniques, I was reading up on the science of sugar, I wasn’t browsing my large library of cake decorating books but pulling out my Adriano Zumbo book I’d never even read before. Instead of looking in kitchen stores for new decorating tools, I was searching everywhere for a marble pastry slab.

Instead of baking cakes, I’ve been whipping up toffees & marshmallows, and practising my macaron skills.

Not perfect yet, but getting closer!

Of course, having a new dream does not mean you have to forget the old ones. I will never give up cakes entirely as I still love them dearly. I guess it’s just time to branch out a bit more and look at new opportunities that I hadn’t considered before I graduated from Bonnie Gordon College.

A friend recently said to me “same river, different stream” and I feel like that’s pretty accurate.

I am very excited about the future, finding my next adventure, and being able to share it with you!

PS. We also recently passed the 2000 ‘likes’ milestone on Facebook and I am just so grateful for everyone who has stuck by me and supported me during my journey so far! Thank you!

Bonnie Gordon College Week 9

What a short week!

I enjoyed a wonderful 4 day weekend for Canada Day with a visit from my best friend, and spending a lot of time relaxing. Definitely a needed break with all this crazy studying and school stress!

The 3 day week let us complete our sugar work, and introduced us to a topic I had been very much looking forward to: Macarons!

Sugar Work was a bit less painful this week as I discovered, due to my skins heat sensitivity, I needed to prepare my hands with band-aids on each finger and 2 – 3 layers of gloves on top of that. It also made the medium a bit more enjoyable to work with, although still difficult as I didn’t have quite the same control as you would with less bandaged hands!

To warm up I created a creepy looking duck, and then got busy with this cute little snowman. His hat had to be made twice, as the first time the table I was working on buckled which both gave me a heart attack and also shattered the sugar that was sitting on it. The scary dramas that come with heat lamps!

“Do you wanna build a snowman?”

After that we decided to work on a display piece as a group. An underwater theme inspired by this ‘sleazy’ pineapple that one of the girls had made – because pineapples and underwater themes go together, naturally!

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

So too, do snowmen and birds apparently.

After my initial dislike of sugar work, I must admit I was a little sad to be finished with the topic. Perhaps this may be a new hobby I can play with in the future.

No time to be sad though, because Thursday was Macaron day! We got to make Coconut Macarooons first, and then some Rocher which were incredible. Nothing could stop me from snacking on them all day long.

“Rocher” from the French ‘boulder or rock’ 

Then onto Swiss Meringue, French Meringue and Italian Meringue Macarons! Fillings for mine included salted chocolate caramel ganache, chocolate hazelnut ganache, and swiss meringue buttercream. Mmm-mmmmmmmmm!

They definitely weren’t as scary as everyone makes them sound, although I think I have Mardi to thank for introducing me to Macarons when I first arrived in Toronto and taking away that scare-factor.

Salted Chocolate Caramel & Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons

Which is my favourite recipe of the 3? Hmm, let me taste test…

Mmm… yummm… mmm-mmm… om nom nom…

The Verdict: I think I would have liked the Italian Meringue the best – but for something a little different we made Hazelnut Chocolate Italian Meringues which aren’t really my thing. I do love chocolate, just not so much when it comes to a Macaron. I think I’ll need to try them again with the normal recipe.

Oh, and just as a by the way: here’s another look at what is a Macaron and what is a Macaroon…

Macaron vs Macaroon – get it right!

A Macaron has a smooth top and ‘foot’ at the base, sandwiched with a filling. Macaroons are more rustic with no filling (although sometimes dipped in chocolate).

Capiche?

Australia’s Sweetest Morning Tea 2014

Did you miss it?

Australia’s Sweetest Morning Tea was this past Thursday 22nd May from 8am to 9pm AEST!

It was such an incredible day, although sadly due to the time difference I was asleep for most of the excitement.

I’ve talked about ASMT in previous posts, but if you are new to the blog and have no idea what I’m rambling on about, basically it is an E-vent that showcases the talents of Australia. The entire E-vent was published online via Australia’s Sweetest Morning Tea Blog and Facebook page, as well as on each contributors page.

Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, dessert tables – all sorts of beautiful events photographed and published online and in a magazine, raising awareness and funds for cancer research.

Just like last years e-vent, 2014 was incredible! The talent was very impressive and the amount of effort obviously put into each shoot was enormous.

If you did miss it, make sure you check out all the photos, and even better – the magazine is now available to view online here!

Here’s a look at the photoshoot put together by myself, the talented Kate from Vanilla Rose Cakery, and the creative Natalia from Natalia Chippillo Photographer

Sugar Push, Vanilla Rose Cakery & Natalia Chippillo Photographer teamed up for ASMT 2014

You can view our full photo shoot on the Sugar Push Facebook page here.

ASMT is brought to us by four big forces being The Cupcake Lady, Blissfully Sweet, Darling Details and Pretty & Print. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to these wonderful ladies who put so much time and effort into making this E-vent a reality. They really do not get enough credit for the work they put in.

While I’m on the topic of thank you’s, two big ones have to go out to my team. Kate – you are so wonderful and talented and thank you for joining me on this adventure! Natalia – we could not have done this without you! You took our crazy ideas and made them something beautiful.

Sugar Push, Vanilla Rose Cakery & Natalia Chippillo Photographer teamed up for ASMT 2014

The magazine will soon be available to purchase in hard copy where you can keep it forever and indulge whenever you choose. We are pleased to say that $5 from the sale of every magazine goes directly to The Cancer Council. Please note that the sale is a not-for-profit sale and all monies collected are for the publishing of the book as well as the donation.

Of course, the whole point of this event is to raise funds for cancer research, so if you have enjoyed viewing Australia’s Sweetest Morning Tea, please click here to visit the Biggest Morning Tea charity fund if you would like to donate to this wonderful cause.

Thank you!

Macarons with Mardi Michels

Last Friday night – after my orientation at Bonnie Gordon College – I did not rest! I jumped on the subway and headed a few stops down to Nella Cucina on Bathurst Street. Being the impatient person that I am, I didn’t want to wait until July to learn how to make macarons in my Diploma Programme – I wanted to learn how to make them now – with Mardi Michels of the wonderful blog, eat. live. travel write.

This was probably the only time I’ve gone somewhere new in Toronto where I haven’t gotten lost along the way – high five for me!

Of course, due to the fact that I allowed time for getting lost I ended up arriving wayyy too early. Being far too cold to wander around, I ventured into the store anyway and began browsing. I ended up chatting to a guy (perhaps the owner? A manager?) about KitchenAid prices and how they vary so much. Eg. normal prices are around $300 in the US, $350 in Canada and $750 in Australia. Sigh.

The staff at Nella Cucina were all very friendly and happy to help with any questions. After I’d looked at every item in the store, and looked at them again, and a third time for luck (I was really, really early), I decided to venture upstairs to where the kitchen was.

A bar was set up with soft drinks and later, Nella Cucina’s Sommelier (at least, I think that’s who it was – I was talking too much to hear the introduction. Oops!) turned up to share some Prosecco with us. Again, I missed this as I was too busy talking. Gosh darn it!

Mardi started us off with a demo and my constant talking ceased (… mostly) as I took in what was happening. Ingredients, techniques, piping, yumminess, etc!

Mardi Michels getting her ‘pipe’ on at Nella Cucina

Sadly I was too busy watching, chatting, doing a tiny bit of piping (apparently piping macarons is quite easy after piping on cakes!) and just generally enjoying myself too much to take any more photos.

After our macarons were out of the oven we all got to work matching up the ‘shells’ and
filling them with deliciousness! White chocolate, cream cheese, marshmallow and a dark chocolate & raspberry ganache. Mmm-mmm!

There were a few dramas throughout the night with oven problems and some macarons not looking quite as perfect as we’d liked – but hey, that’s all part of the learning process!

By the time we were all done, we each went home with a container of 6 macarons. We also got some time to browse in Nella Cucina with a bit of a discount! Having spent so much time browsing earlier, I already had my eye on a maple leaf cookie cutter. Not being one for tacky souvenirs, I’ve decided to start collecting cookie cutters to represent places I’ve travelled. This is my first!

Maple Leaf Cookie Cutter from Nella Cucina – collecting cookie cutters from my travels

What a great night! I met some wonderful people, had a whole lot of fun, and went home with some super yummy macarons!

I was even nice and shared them with my housemates! Well… half of them (the macarons I mean, not the housemates). I just had to try a marshmallow one, and the two white chocolate ones were mine – no sharing of those! Nooo way!

Yummy white chocolate macaron!

Thank you to Mardi for a wonderful class, and to Nella Cucina for hosting!