Good Bye 2013…..Hello 2014

It would be difficult not to look back at all the events of 2013 and wonder…..WOW how did all that happen?

Though the filming of “The Great Australian bake Off” was over a year ago now, 2013 truly was an amazing year, but it all started in 2012. No sooner did the new year begin when I received notification to be part of a taste test team for the “Australian Good Taste Magazine” in January, March and April. Not having ever entered any type of competition before June and July “Cook The Issue” was advertised, now I was cooking with gusto, writing up my take on recipes and taking photos of the food I had cooked. Posting photos on line and reading the amazing comments and meeting extraordinary home cooks along the way. I loved every minute of it. I was home cooking in my own kitchen over two months and 90 recipes later also equated to many cold dinners because unfortunately as I attempted to take the all important picture just before serving diner every time. I began a new facebook page and then my blog “Food from Home Blog” social media was all around me twitter was next.

The day of the cooking competition finals held in Sydney, I received a phone call. An invitation to my application to audition for “The Great Australian Bake Off”. I have to tell you all that I applied to be on the show as a favour to my dear cousin in law Patricia and now Im so glad I took her advice. After two auditions and a nervous wait filming began in November 2012. I feel like Ive entered the twilight zone Im going backwards just to go forwards….Hmmmm! After waiting almost seven months the show finally went to air in 2013, my phone went into meltdown as I didn’t tell any family or friends what I had been up to and the first commercial, which went to air on my birthday, caught everyone by surprise (and me) which I admit was fun listening and reading text of their reactions. With my nearest and dearest we all gathered at a local pub/restaurant to watch the first episode. The owners of the premisses had no idea why a large group of people were cheering and clapping while all gathered around watching a Baking Show! Now football they could understand, but this was cupcakes. Oh the confusion it must have caused. I even received messages that my home town in country South Australia was watching the show with fingers crossed.

As the weeks went by, I watched the person on TV, the other me! I felt the heartbreak and the joy all over again along with a few little anomalies which as time goes by you understand as “Some things make for good TV” little moments that Im sure never happened or did they? I was and always will be proud of every moment end every recipe I baked on the show. My three goals were met firstly 1: Don’t burn down he kitchen 2: Beat the clock and always have something lovely to present to the judges and 3: Get to the final three.  Getting into the final three was the pinnacle moment I could have walked away at that moment because I was happy. To everyone that wished I had won all I can say is thank you from the depth of my heart. I have always vowed not to over use this word but it has been a “JOURNEY” and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.

During 2013 I have judged at competitions, given talks, and answered your wonderful questions. I have demonstrated some of my slightly unorthodox baking methods and drawn amazing crowds at the Royal Melbourne Show and Cake Expos. Meeting Julie Goodwin, Marion Grasby and Anna- Maria from Planet Cakes and filming with Paul Mercurio and listened to their very valuable advice, were a few of the highlights, but the best is still yet to come. I was asked to make cakes for special charity events like “Red Cake Day” and support kids with cancer “Camp Quality”. I have even managed to enter a cake decorating competition and my prize is a meet and greet with one of Melbourne’s best pastry chefs Pierrick Bower at “Le Petit Gateau”.  I am teaching my very own baking classes, and baking at the local Cafe and loving every minute of it. Im on a quest with the “Band of Bakers Australia” to rediscover recipes and uncover flavour sensations from amazing home bakers, bringing together the baking community in the city and the country. Promoting the benefits of home economics taught as a subject at schools not just an elective a valuable life lesson not to be underestimated. Im looking forward to 2014 and looking forward to catching up with you all again. Cheers and Happy New Year to all the Home Bakers, Cooks and household restaurants Chefs everywhere. 🙂

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Red Cake Day – Haemophilia Awareness Week

There are moments when you are presented with an opportunity to be involved in an event that has a wonderful purpose. The Haemophilia Foundation Australia has honoured me with the opportunity to design and make a cake to launch

“Haemophilia  Awareness Week”

Red Cake Day

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After drawing countless designs I finally settled on the one I thought would best represent the theme of the event. This has been the largest cake I have ever attempted but I was looking forward to the challenge with great anticipation.

There is something special about working with RTR or ready to roll fondant its the moulding clay of the cake world. With my design in hand it was time to start the construction. A 5 tiered double barrel tower.

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After approximately 35 hours countless flower petals, pipping and stencilling the “Red Cake Day” cake was finished.

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I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank this wonderful team.

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Haemophilia is a lifelong challenge which can be disabling and life-threatening without treatment. Your support during Haemophilia Awarness Week and Red Cake Day will help young Australians affected by haemophilia. To lend a hand please visit: http://www.haemophilia.org.au/redcakeday

Australia’s BIGGEST and BEST TV guide – TV WEEK (March issue 23 – 29th)

 Rolling Pins, Whisks, Bowls and Wooden Spoons!

Time to meet the team of 10 bakers ready to take on the challenge!

I must admit that having the opportunity to be part of “The Great Australian Bake Off” has exceeded all my expectations! The cast and crew were sensational to work with. An enlightening experience to which I owe a debt of gratitude as it was their enthusiasm and great spirit that gave us the contestants the energy to keep going.  Thank you ALL; Lara, Cortney, Melinda, Ewan, Lee, Dana, Caroline, Rashid, Carmel, Carla, Sam, Merf, Chris and everyone else.

I remember the day we had these pictures taken …..big adrenalin rush day, same day as the commercial was being taped as well. An experience I will never forget.

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Wow what a morning. Publicity Day in Melbourne for the launch of The Great Australian Bake Off

There is nothing more delightful knowing that your first point of call this morning is at the Channel Nine – Makeup and hair! These girls are fabulous and nothing seems too difficult especially first thing in the morning. Armed with a myriad brushes, blushes hairdryers and sprays they got to work!

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The event was held at the Garden House, Royal Botanical Gardens. The bunting from the show was used to decorate sections of the house and the La Terre Sucree High Tea by Peter Rowland Catering was sensational. Morning tea was presented with a garden theme, just gorgeous you couldn’t wait try the little garden of delights.

It was lovely to catchup with Shane Jacobson again, and the only way I can describe his presence is that he put the Joy into our baking! He was there during our highs and lows and our greatest supporter. Shane and Anna showed us the joyful side of baking. Thank you.

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So today was all about meeting the press and especially for them to meet us! I think I promised to bake Adam form Fox FM Breakfast Radio some Flapjacks covered in chocolate for that little added sugar hit to help him get a great start to the day…..4.00am starts on radio Adam I don’t know how you do it. This is the Victorian team and Brendan from NSW. Don’t forget to buy a copy of the Age tomorrow and read all about it!

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I’ll be flying to Sydney tomorrow so stay tuned for more launch photos!

Wish me luck xx

Pictures by me! Lesvos Greece.

I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite photos. I was fortunate to travel to Greece a few years back and reconnect with family, I am of greek heritage and like most there are a few cousins around the world.

I spent the majority of my time on the Island of Lesvos and my cousins took great pride in showing me around. Its a beautiful Island, the landscape is partly volcanic but very typical of the Mediterranean. Olive trees are abound everywhere and the locals take great pride in growing and selling their own fresh fruit and vegetables. The island is clean and the beaches are wonderful. One main attraction though is its proximity to Turkey and a 45 minute ferry ride will take you across for 15 euros. A day trip to the amazing bazaar was an opportunity I thankfully didn’t miss out on and one which I highly recommend!

I could have added all 1600 photos that I took on that trip but it would be pictures of blue sky, crystal clear beaches, olive trees and churches not to mention the food! But nothing beats the sights and sounds of what is Greece no matter which island you choose to visit.

I hope you enjoy this little taste of Lesvos.

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