Tag Archives: Cookery

Taming Wild Strawberries – Happy Friday


“Are wild strawberries really wild? Will they scratch an adult, will they snap at a child? Should you pet them, or let them run free where they roam? Could they ever relax in a steam-heated home? Can they be trained to not growl at the guests? Will a litterbox work or would they make a mess? Can we make them a Cowberry, herding the cows, or maybe a Muleberry pulling the plows, or maybe a Huntberry chasing the grouse, or maybe a Watchberry guarding the house, and though they may curl up at your feet oh so sweetly can you ever feel that you trust them completely? Or should we make a pet out of something less scary, like the Domestic Prune or the Imported Cherry, Anyhow, you’ve been warned and I will not be blamed if your Wild Strawberries cannot be tamed.” – Shel Silverstein – “Where the Sidewalk ends”

In an attempt to hold on to the summer months in OZ, I thought I would share my attempt to tame the strawberries..introducing the white chocolate and strawberry tart….


1.5 cups plain flour
Half cup icing sugar
125g chilled butter
6 egg yolks- chilled
200 g white chocolate
Two punnets of strawberries hulled and cut in half
375ml thickened cream
Teaspoon vanilla extract

  • First step is to make the pastry case, pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • In a food processor blitz the flour, sugar and cubed butter until it resembles bread crumbs.
  • Add 3 of the egg yolks and about a tablespoon of iced water. Blitz until forms a dough.  As there is so much butter it will be soft so turn out and put into a ball and place in the fridge to cool for 10mins.
  • Roll to a disc to fit a 23cm round loose base tin. It is best to roll out between two sheets of baking paper. It will probably be soft again so you may want to place in fridge for 10 mins. Then place into the greased dish. Prick base all over with a fork
  • Cover base with some baking paper and pastry weights (or rice) and place in oven for 15 mins. Then remove paper and weights and cook for another ten mins….
  • While this is baking, heat the cream and white chocolate until the chocolate melts, this should be in a pan on a low heat.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and whisk in the remaining three egg yolks.
  • Pour mixture into case, I normally place the case on a lined baking tray incase it leaks a little!
  • Reduce the oven to 140 degrees and then bake for around 35 mins( or until just set when you touch the top).
  • When almost cool, place the strawberries as per the picture! Voila enjoy!

Have a fantastic weekend, meanwhile on with the colourful adventure………


Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Cookery


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Aston Martin – 007 eat your heart out….or cake out!


It is fair to say that my husband has to be one of the hardest people to buy presents for..although I think that has to be men in general… the months preceding the event I try to drop hints, get just a smidgeon of inspiration and well the only thing I can get out of his is that he would love an Aston Martin… to which I cannot print how I responded!!!

One to face a challenge ,I thought I would have a go at giving him the next best thing…and Aston Martin car cake…… apologies if this is slowly becoming a blog on my latest collection of cake making ventures, but I thought I would share my adventure with you…. because I have a feeling this may be my last for a while!

From the Red Velvet Interior!……At this moment I was thinking we may have a car accident cake…..


The icing.. the moment I wished I was born with multiple arms…. so no close up shots….


…and the reason why i should never become a spray painter…. on goes the edible silver spray…and a little bit of detailing starts ( yes I have all the lingo!)







…..let me know what you think!! Meanwhile on with the colourful adventure!…………


Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Art, Cookery


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Happy Easter from The Birdcage!



Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Cookery


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Summertime Treats – Happy Friday

white choc strawberry tart

Making the most of the last month of summer with a white chocolate and strawberry tart, and a choc hazelnut Pavlova with raspberries….. recipes are top secret I am afraid – well I have to keep something to myself….. but just thought I would tease…. have a great weekend!!

Choc hazel pav

Meanwhile on with the colourful adventure!


Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Colour, Cookery, Recipes, Things I love


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Happy Birthday


Well today “Out of the Birdcage” turns one, it was exactly a year ago that I started to embark on the blogosphere and, thinking I would probably be talking to myself, I am really honoured to have picked up a few followers on the way, and have been given the opportunity to meet and chat with some truly talented people.

To celebrate I thought I would share the cake (courtesy of Donna Hays ideas book) I made for my nephew who turned one at the end of last year and my wonderful dad who is one year off of 70 (although don’t tell him I told you that). Not a calorie in sight! Obviously there is a huge link here to a colour consultant, although that said this is what a couple of the places look like when I turn up to advise them on the best colour for the bathroom!!


Thank you…. and here’s to seeing what the next 12 months brings….. meanwhile on with the colourful adventure…..


Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Cookery, Craft, Recipes


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“Six Geese a’ Laying” – Biscotti Magic


Now you are probably beginning to get the idea that food is a bit of a feature of my christmas. Every year at work, rather than spend a fortune on little prezzies that no one really wants I decided to bake cookies and cakes….well obviously this has gone down well as I have had orders for my gingerbread men and cranberry biscotti starting in mid september….. there is also a little gingerbread thief who will remain nameless that is sure to pinch them if they are left on any desks unattended!

Cranberry Biscotti

Well today has been baking day and here is the recipe for my Cranberry Biscotti should you wish to partake.  You can add in Pistachio’s currants or white chocolate chips….. what ever takes your fancy…. well it is Christmas.


Half a cup of light olive oil
Three quarters of a cup of caster sugar
Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 eggs
One and three quarters of a cup of plain flour
One teaspoon of baking powder
Quarter a teaspoon of salt
Half a cup of cranberries
Half a cup of White chocolate Chips / Pistachio nuts / Currants


Pre heat oven to 150 degrees

Mix together the oil and sugar till well combined. Add in the vanilla extract  and then beat in the eggs.  Combine the flour, salt and baking powder before mixing in the fruit and nuts etc by hand.

Divide the dough into two, the dough will  be very sticky so I wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for an hour in a sausage shape. Place on a baking paper covered banking tray

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the logs are a light brown.  Remove from the oven and then allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Cut into slices on the diagonal about a centimetre apart, then lie on side on the baking sheet and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until dry and then leave to cool…. yum!  I then wrap in little bags with a bit of ribbon….. and hey presto the perfect little something gift!

Now let me see if I can find those swans a swimming!!!


Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Christmas, Cookery, Craft, Recipes


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Little Chocolate Cherry Brownies and a Charity Bake Off

Every year we run a charity bake-off “bake master” which is a little spin on the TV series Masterchef.  The idea is for each team to come up with  a theme, bake away and raise as much cash for the chosen charity of the year!  This year it was The Fred Hollows Foundation which is a charity which helps to restore sight to disadvantaged communities in Australasia and Africa.  This year we raised just short of $5,000 which is pretty amazing.

Fred Hollows

Fair to say though, this is no ordinary bake off, it is highly competitive with prizes for the best table and theme, and the best cakes, slices, savoury and biscuits….. Australian Country Women’s Association eat your heart out!!  But a little friendly competitiveness never does anyone any harm.  Especially when our team bought home three prizes… ( who said I was competitive!) including best table for “circus theme”…

There was however one complaint, one lady was very upset that I did not submit my chocolate cherry brownies, so I have finally got around to making them this weekend – bit late I know but I will know better next year!  And I thought I would share some photo’s of the winning stand (done on a budget of $20, begging from small children’s toy boxes and left over props from previous years) and my version on a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Little Chocolate Cherry Brownies

(this makes a lot so I usually half the quantities)

175g unsalted butter
200g good quality dark chocolate
100g dried sour cherries (available from delis and fruit and veg stores)
75g cocoa powder – sifted
100g plain flour – sifted
1tsp baking powder
300g caster sugar or golden caster sugar
4 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c and line a 20cm by30cm baking pan with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water ( be careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), stir gently until smooth and then add in the cherries and carefully remove from the heat.

Mix together the cocoa, flour, sugar and baking powder and mix this into the chocolate meted mixture.

Once combined, beat the eggs and add this to the mixture.

Pour the mix into the tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, you want the outside to be springy and the inside a little gooey so it should not come clean away from a skewer when you stick one in.

Allow to cool in the tray for thirty minutes ( while you enjoy the aroma of chocolate) and then move on to a board and cut into bite size pieces……

Grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy

Thanks for stopping by the circus….. on with the colourful journey


Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Cookery


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