Saturday, 12 October 2013

Upcyle: Magazine Jar

Hello there!

I hope you are having an amazing week. On my side, I ordered some lovely plastic hairbands from Ebay and the good news is that they arrived two weeks early! As you know from experience, hairbands and bobby pins love running away. To keep them safe, I am reusing a glass jar that used to have yummy onion relish. I am quite excited to show you how I redesigned their new house!

I first washed the jar then let it soak in soap water overnight to get rid of any food smell.

Let's begin! You will need:

The jar
Lovely magazine cutouts (large enough to cover the lid, obviously :D)
Mod Podge (I have the 'gloss' version)
A sponge or a paintbrush
A pencil or an embossing pen (I created one using an old pen and a sewing pin with a 'ball' head. Simply remove the ink tube, push the pin inside the writing side of the pen and voilà!)

Firstly, place the lid on top of the image to draw its shape with a pencil/embossing pen. I preferred the embossing pen because it is simply invisible. If you use a pencil, make sure you are only slightly marking the paper.

When you're done marking the shape of the lid, proceed to the cutting of the image LEAVING A GAP OF 2CM around the lid, the gap will later be folder inside the lid.

Stick the paper to the lid using Mod Podge and make sure that the edge of the paper is even on every side of the lid. Cut 1cm sized petals around the lid with the scissors.

Apply Mod Podge evenly on the petals and on the inside edge of the lid. Fold each petal inside.

When the lid is dry, apply a layer of Mod Podge all over the paper to protect it.

 And you're done!

 If you enjoyed this tutorial, please share!
How will you use your jar? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tatiana Tuesday: Pear Tart

Hey Guys!

I asked my lovely friend Tatiana to guest post on my blog from time to time.(Hopefully we can make this a monthly thing!) For her first post, she wanted to share her valuable kitchen skills with us. I hope you enjoy the recipe as well as her beautiful yummy photos!

Hi all,

Summer is on its way and I am really excited to finally spend some quality time with my family. We plan to laze in our garden sipping some margaritas and eating delicious home made dishes.

After spending the last two years studying and working full time, I needed a break. What a better way than to spend it in the kitchen baking? This summer I want to offer the best to my family - home made meals and desserts!

I am baking my first ever pear tart, which I've been longing to try.
One afternoon when I was ten, my mum came home from work with a small share of pear tart (I reckon she ate half of it on her way home.)Ever since, my taste buds fell in love with it (funny enough, I haven't had another pear tart since that day.)

This recipe will become your date for the summer. It will shake you and bring out your creativity.

Enough of me talking... Let’s hit our aprons and start baking this delish tart!

First of all and most importantly, the shopping list for this dessert. I tend to have a budget for everything (thanks to mum who taught me how.)

Coles, Safeway and Aldi are my favourite stores for bakery shopping.

PART 1 - Poaching our pears!

You will need:

1 quart (1L) Water
1 1/3 cups (265g) sugar
4 Pears (I used Josephine pears, which are Australian grown. They can be bought at Coles for as low as $1.49 for 1kg.) They need to be peeled, cored and quartered.

Addition: One cinnamon stick , 2 tsps whole cloves, black peppercorns, one split vanilla bean
2-3 anise, 6-8 fresh ginger slices. 

Preparation for your poached pears:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the water until warm and wait for the sugar to dissolve.

2. Add the pears and cover them with a round parchment paper (I used the egg poach paper. Cut 2-3 in half and use it to make the parchment paper.)

3. Keep the water at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through for 15-25 minutes depending on the pears. 10 minutes into the boiling process, add dried cherries, cranberries, or raisin.

4. Remove from the heat and let the pears cool in the liquid.

While waiting for the pears to cool, you can start the preparation for the pastry.

PART 2 - Preparing our pastry and filling!

You will need the following:

Pastry Crust from Coles (homebrand will do the job) or if you prefer buy the already made pastry case. I personally find the ready-made ones too thick and not crunchy enough when cooked. 

1. Place two sheets of the pastry crust in your 23–30 cm tart shell and let the pastry sheet soften for 10–15 minutes (room temperature). At this stage you should preheat the oven at 180ºC.

While everything else is settling nicely, we can make the almond paste. Believe it or not, I could not find one supermarket that sells almond paste – madness!! So I decided to make my own.

2.For this you will need

1 ½ almond flour (almond meal)
1-½ cups powdered sugar or icing sugar
1 – 2 tsps almond extract
1 egg white slightly beaten

3.Using a food processor, pulse the almond flour (almond meal) and powdered sugar a few times to break up any clumps.

4. Add 1 tsp of almond extract and pulse to combine. Add egg white and pulse well for 2 minutes by then your almond paste should be smooth and form a ball. If the dough is still sticky add 1 tsp more of almond flour. Wrap tighly and store in refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes.

5. Moving right along to the tart shell. Once the pastry crust sheets have soften, cut any excess edges and put your tart shell in the oven for 10 minutes to precook.

For the final step you will need the following:

6 ounces (170g) almond paste
2 tsps sugar
2 tsps flour
3 ounces (85g) butter, salted or unsalted, cubed at room temperature
1 large egg, plus one egg white, at room temperature
A few drops almond extract (optional)
1 1/2 tsps rum, calvados or kirsch (if you like a little kick)


1.Pears - 4 poached pears, cored, drained and blotted dry the cut into 1/2 inch (2 cm) slices.

2. In a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the almond paste with the sugar and flour until smooth. (The almond paste may get a little dry.) 

3. Gradually beat the butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, the almond extract, and the liquor.

4. Spread half of the almond filling evenly over the tart shell and add half of the finely cut pears on top.

5. Cover the pear with the other half with the remaining of the filling evenly and add the rest of the pears with the raisin and cranberries and any other dried fruits you added to the poached pears.

Taaddaaa! You pear tart is almost ready..

Bake the tart for 45 – 60 minutes depending on your oven. Cool slightly before serving and serve with vanilla ice cream or cream.

Bon Apétit!