Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday Song: Un Año Más - Mecano

Soooo, last day of the year... getting ready for work this evening, 3 to 10 pm, so I'll be getting home just in time for dinner with the family and to have the grapes with the strokes of midnight.

I just want to wish everyone a very good farewell to 2011, and for the next year all the good things that 2011 had and none of the bad!

Happy 2012 everyone!!

This song is once again a song from my fave Spanish group, Mecano, and it's a song very appropiate for today, since it's about celebrating New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Feature: Rocky The Zombie's Pirates for a b-day theme!

Hello everyone! Happy Friday, and happy 2011-is-almost-over-can-you-believe-that? day! ;)

I'm not feeling particularly reflective today, I've been rather more productive! I got up early for a day off, at 8 am to go to the spa for a Chocotherapy treatment at 9 (goodness, it was absolutely amazing! I could have eaten myself!), so when I got home, I had a lot of time ahead of myself, and thought that I felt like baking! So I made a batch of carrot cake cupcakes with the recipe for the Carrot Cake from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook and also, a batch of savoury cupcakes from Alma's Cupcakes blog: Brie & Dried Figs Cupcakes, for tomorrow's dinner. They're in a tupperware now, so they'll be fresh and ready to be eaten as starters for NYE's dinner! I work 3 to 10 pm tomorrow, and I wouldn't have had the time to make them otherwise.

My, am I a bit verbose today? Ok, time I get on with what this blog entry should be about! Friday Feature to show off how to incorporate handmade into birthday themes!

When I went to India this latest time, in October it was RD's b-day, and the theme for his b-day party was Pirates! His fave cartoons are "Jake And the Neverland Pirates" so it wasn't too surprising that RD would choose pirates as theme. As I told my G's sister, if I would have know that with a bit of advance, I could have got invites and decorations from On Cupcake Moon, cause Deb has a great pirate theme! And she can make the invites, the banners, the thank you cards, cupcake wrappers, cupcake toppers and even centerpieces, confetti and napkin rings! Since we didn't, we had to make do with what we could find in two party shops in Gurgaon.

We found quite a loot, including some gold doubloons, pirate balloons, cups, plates and some tiny things as favours/return gifts... aaand some pirate patches for the adults! Aaaaarrr! Also, since both G & me had some very pirate-y t-shirts from Rocky The Zombie, that'd be our uniform for the party!

We also had to plan some activities for all the kiddos that would be attending RD's b-day, and since the kids would be from 2-3 year-old toddlers to 10 year old older kids, we decided a treasure hunt would be great, and also some colouring. I thought that the Rocky The Zombie pirate designs would be great for the kids to colour, so I asked Rhi if she wouldn't mind sending them over, so we made a few copies, along with some images of the pirates from Jake & the Neverland Pirates.

Since on the day of the b-day G & me arrived late, when the party was under way, I didn't get any shots of the kids doing the colouring, but I'm thinking that I'd love to get any of the kids in G's family a colouring book all made out of Rocky The Zombie designs!

All in all, the party was a success, though I seriously think I won't invite as many kiddos if we ever have kids and make b-day parties for them... 30 kiddos was crazy to manage!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Munchies: Jamón serrano and parmesan savoury cupcakes!

Happy Monday & Boxing Day everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful time with the family for the holidays this weekend. I had to work, but I had some good family meals, and some nice baking time too!

I made these savoury cupcakes, my first not sweet cupcakes, on the 24th morning, to take something for work on Christmas' Eve shift. These photos are also a bit special, cause after taking them my dear camera took a dive towards the floor, BUT thankfully, the only casualty was the filter I had on my lens, but the camera and lens themselves are without a scratch! *insert massive sigh of relief here* So, good advice of the day for anyone with a DSLR, do buy a protective filter for all and any of your lenses, you might be as grateful as I was one day!

I got this recipe from one of my most recent cookbooks, Hamlyn 200 Cupcakes, but I did modify it a little bit, instead of using pancetta I decided to use some jamón serrano, an awesome cured ham from Spain!

Jamón Serrano and Parmesan Savoury Cupcakes
Makes 12


- 100 gr/3 1/2 oz jamón serrano thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 300 gr/10 oz self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 50 gr/2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 200 ml/7 fl oz milk (I used skimmed milk)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard


- Line the cupcakes with paper cases, preheat the oven at 200ºC (400ºF). Cut 9 x5 cm (2 inch) strips from the jamón serrano. Finely chop the remainder. Microwave between paper towels on full heat for about 2 minutes until crispy. Reserve the longer strips for decorating.

- Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan and chopped jamón serrano until evenly mixed.

- Whisk together the oil, milk, egg and mustard with a fork in a jug and add to the bowl. Stir gently until only just combined.

- Divide the mixture between the paper cases and place one of the reserved strips of jamón serrano on top of each cupcake.

- Bake for about 15-20 mins or until risen and pale golden. Test with a toothpick that comes clean to confirm. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday Song: Merry Christmas by Apocalyptica!!

Hello everyone! Today just a short entry to wish everyone, friends, family and sporadic and regular readers a very Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Since it's Saturday and Christmas' Eve, I wanted to leave you with some Christmas music for Saturday Song, but not the usual kind, since I'm not very much into the usual kind... You also owe the two songs here to my dear twin Deb, from On Cupcake Moon, since she shared the discovery of the Christmas music played by Apocalyptica (metal music played with cellos!).

So while I bake some savoury jamón serrano and parmesan cupcakes for work, I leave you with Apocalyptica playing Little Drummerboy and Oh Holy Night.

I will be listening to these two, Dream Theater's version of Oh Holy Night, Wham's Last Christmas and All I Want For Christmas (Love, Actually movie version, of course!) on repeat today! ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wearing Handmade Wednesday: The Biting Gnome's Burn Busters!

Hey there everyone! Today's my last day off till after Xmas, so I'm gonna relax and enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee (I still haven't decided). So for today's Wearing Handmade Wednesday, I want to show you something coffee related.

 My new Biting Gnome Burn Burster! I love this fabric!

Ain't it super cute? And it dresses up nicely my On Cupcake Moon mug!

I've featured Karyl's shop before in the blog, with her hand stamped cards, and with various other goodies. She makes Burn Busters, Beasties, Baubles, Bags, Bed Bugs... all sort of crafty handmade awesomeness! I have to say, I'm totally in love with her Burn Busters, and I have like 3, counting this last one (wait, 4 then, cause I just got a Skelanimals one, and one to give to my nephew's girlfriend). And I got one also made for my dear twin Deb from On Cupcake Moon. These Burn Busters are good for the mugs you have home, but they're ideal for your coffee-on-the-go cups, so if you're a Starbucks (or any other coffee shop) addict, you need one of these, so check out Karyl's Artfire shop!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Munchies: Carrot And Cardamom Cupcakes!!s!

Hello everyone!! *yawns* How's Monday going? I hope it's going nicely and starting the week with a bang, but in case you need a little pick me up, I have something to share for this week's Monday Munchies that is sure to help you all perk up a bit: cupcakes!

Carrot and cardamom cupcakes to be precise! This recipe can be found in and I was linked by the very awesome Lisa from Birmingham Cupcakes Co. (thanks, Lis!). This recipe has become my mum's fave, and it's a little more healthy than your regular cupcakes recipe since it has oil instead of butter, and it even has some veggies in it! ;)

Also, this was my first recipe made using my Matrioska measuring cups! I just was tired of having to converting cups to grams everytime I wanted to do a recipe!

Carrot & Cardamom Cupcakes
Makes 12

For the batter:

- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sunflower oil
- 2 eggs
- Grated peel of 1 unwaxed orange.
- Seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, shelled, roughly chopped. I used walnuts.

For the icing:

- 2/3 cup mascarpone
- Finely grated peel of 1 unwaxed orange
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted.


- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and line a cupake pan with paper liners (I used this new red foil ones I got recently).
- Break up the sugar in a bowl using the back of a fork (or if you used just regular brown sugar like me, you can skip that bit), then beat in the oil and eggs. Stir in the grated orange peel, the crushed cardamom seeds and the ginger, then sift the flour into the mixture and fold in, adding last the grated carrots and walnuts.
- Distribute the batter between the liners, do not fill more than 2/3 since they raise quite a bit in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

- For the icing, beat the mascarpone, sugar, orange peel and lemon juice together in a bowl and spread over the cupcakes. The amount is enough to decorate with a spatula, but if you want to pipe it nicely (like I did with the Wilton 1M tip) you'll need twice as much!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Song: Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming: Deep Purple!

Things are a bit hard as of late, and I'm feeling like jumping on a plane. So here's simply a song to reflect how I feel.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Traveling Thursday: Goa, India!!

Hello everyone! For today's Traveling Thursday I'm gonna share some photos of the various trips to Goa that G & me have taken, both on our own or with friends and/or family!

I think we've been to Goa, India's beach paradise, a total of... I dunno, 6 times? Maybe more? Probably more. We love it there, we love walking around the beaches and trying all the different kinda restaurants there are there, the food in Goa is amazing! We're not the kind to go party and rave all night, but you can have that too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mark This Book Monday: Harper Connelly series!

Hi there! How's this new Monday going? I had to work morning shift, but even if I don't like the getting up early, it means I have the whole evening off!

For this Mark This Book Monday I wanna share another book series by Charlaine Harris, the Harper Connelly Mysteries! It's a 4 book series:

- Grave Sight
- Grave Surprise
- An Ice Cold Grave
- Grave Secret

The main character of this series is Harper Connelly, a young woman of 24 that was hit by lightning at 15, and since that day can feel where a dead body is, and once found can see from the dead's perspective what happened to them in the hours leading to their death and how they died. But since it's seen from the perspective of the dead person, you won't see who killed them in the case of a murder, unless the victim knew their murdered or saw them. Harper travels with her step-brother Tolliver, who is not a blood relative, since Harper's mom married Tolliver's dad when they were in their early teens. Their family life was very complicated since their parents were addicts so the kids had to take care of each other and of the two girls born from that marriage.

The books follow the adventures and travels of Harper & Tolliver around the US, since they are hired as consultants to find dead people and what happened to them, Harper being the one that finds them via some sort of buzzing she feels, and Tolliver as his "manager", helper, bodyguard and general helper. We follow their relationship, and also how Harper hopes to eventually find out what happened to Cameron, her sister that disappeared at 18, when she was coming back from HS.

The full story unfolds along the 4 books, and comes full circle and closes down on the last book, Grave Secret. Very quick reads, with bits of supernatural and more bits of mystery. Very recommended!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Song: All I Want For Christmas!

Hello everyone!

As you might all have guessed, I'm not a huge Christmas person, with being an atheist and all, but I do enjoy an excuse to make nice special food and share with the family, and an excuse to get nice stuff for the ones I love and to get some nice presents myself too, and if I wasn't a nurse (which means I work ANY day of the year) I'd love the days off! Yes, I still get days off, but this year I work the 24th 3 to 10 pm, the 25th night shift, and the 31st and 1st 3 to 10 pm, sooo, yeah. ;)

Well, I just wanted to share with you all the only Xmas song that I really love, "All I Want For Christmas", and in its version sang in my only Xmas movie, Love Actually!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Traveling Thursday: Madrid, Spain!!

Hello everyone! Happy Travelling Thursday!

Today my long weekend starts, and I wanted to share some photos of Madrid. You wouldn't consider Madrid a real trip for me, since it's only like 25 kms from my house, but since Sumit, my bro-in-law to be (being the husband of one of G's sister) was in Spain (Barcelona) and dropped by for a visit on Monday so I could show him around and we could catch up.

Me & Sumit with the Puerta de Madrid

At Madrid's main square, Puerta del Sol with Sumit

Madrid's Town Hall in Puerta del Sol

Walking down Gran Vía

The Metropolis building

The building of the Instituto Cervantes

And a partial view of the Puerta de Alcalá

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: The Grim Reaper can be cute!

Yesterday was a fail... even if I have so many entries for recipes to share with you! But I spent the day roaming around with my brother-in-law in Madrid, and when I got back home I was pooped! So much, that I was in bed by 9 pm!

So today, I just wanted to share with you a treasury I've just made on Etsy inspired by the super cute Grim Reaper Xmas cards that my twin Deb from On Cupcake Moon made and my love for Death, the character from the Discworld series!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Feature: Warning Label Camera Bag!!

A bit of a late entry today, but I have been quite tired, sleepy, fuzzy-brained and unmotivated today... that's what working night shift two days on a row can do to you! But after dinner, I got a bit of a brainwave for a Friday Feature!

As you all already know, I love bags of all sorts and kinds, and have quite a collection, and since I started with my love for photography, I've been looking for THE camera bag to tot around all my gear in style. I have three camera bags already, one of them the Rocky Van Gory camera bag that Brooke & Rhiannon collaborated on, and this one, custom made from scratch by Jamie from Warning Label Creations for me!

I discovered the Ghastlies fabric through either Jamie herself or my taste twin, Deb; and completely fell in love with it, and I knew I needed the pink fabric for this bag! The bag has zipper closure, padded dividers and an adjustable strap, so the bag can be worn as a messenger bag or as a shoulder bag.

It fits my camera, my kit lens, my lensbaby, extra memory cards, extra battery, charger, lenspens, mobile, wallet and any other little every day extras I carry! I used it all the time in my trip to Zurich, and it's an awesome bag to take around, doesn't look like a camera bag, and it's super cute, so it's an amazing bag to be added to my collection!