Fairy House Cake

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I mentioned in my previous post that we had a Fairy and Elves party at the preschool end of May, but haven’t had the chance to share my Fairy Log Cake on the blog earlier. You know, with the house moving, and all the refurbishing and decorating work going on ever since….it’s taking longer than anticipated unfortunately, but we’re getting there slowly but surely.

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This is a 6 layer chocolate ganche cake covered on the sides with chocolate flakes. I did order chocolate flavour fondant originally, but eventually changed my mind and used the flakes and I’m so pleased I did!
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The rest of the decoration I made from fondant, like fairy door, mushrooms, stones in front of the door, the flowers on the top of the log.
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The children loved it, it fitted perfectly at the Fairies and Elves party, as well as the giant paper flowers, which were also made by me.
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Girly Dinosaur 4th Birthday Party

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Dinosaur party for my little girl? Hell, yeah!

Kind of a last minute idea, kind of easy, and a lot of fun! Didn’t need much preparation, which was essential this time, since we just bought our new house (literally got the keys 2 days prior the party), and we are in the middle of moving.

 

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Before my daughter’s birthday, I organized another event at her preschool. We made a Fairies and Elves party as a fundraising event, that needed much more prep work, but then it was a party to host a larger number of kids. With so much going on lately, I haven’t really baked anything for us, hence the lack of posts. And another reason for not baking is that my husband is gluten intolerant, and we just found out several weeks ago, so ever since then I haven’t really baked anything. I definitely need to try out gluten free baking soon, but first things first, we are moving! Yaaaay!

 

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So,  as I said, we just got the keys of our house on Friday, and we hold ourselves back for another week or so before we get all of our stuff over to the new house, which luckily is only two streets away from the old house. In the meantime we have had one more last birthday party in the old house, and once everyone went home, I grabbed the fist cardboard box and started packing 🙂
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I am so glad we went for the dinosaur theme! Nothing was decided for quite a long time, because my daughter kept changing her mind like five times a day! Kid you not! Even regarding to have a party or not to have a party. She was messing with me, I’m telling you that 🙂 Mum, I dont’ want a party! … Yes, I want a party! … Mum, I don’t want any of my friends to come here! … Ok, I want only two of my friends, and plus her, plus him, and this and that to come….but actually I won’t have a party at all! ….She was very picky about who to invite, or who not to invite, and eventually we settled with 9 of her friends to make a round 10 with her included. In the end there were a lot more children, because some of them came accompanied with older siblings instead of parents, and my older kids were there too, and also my older daughter’s friend spent the day with us spontaneously.
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I must say I am not a fan of large parties. My kind of birthday parties are 6-8-10 children top, including the birthday girl or boy, and I already call this a big party. This is how I like it,  small, private, to know everybody by name, to interact with everyone, to be able to offer a cup of coffee or tea, and chat with our guests etc. I like to make a birthday party special and memorable, something different, and for me a smaller group of kids and parents are more manageable opposed to a classroom size crowd where is physically impossible to talk to everyone and to be a good host and be present everywhere. And my kids like it this way, too.

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When we first talked about her having a birthday party, she was still doing ballet, so I started planning a ballet party, but one day she decided she won’t go to ballet classes anymore, which also meant ballet party was off the list.
However….did you notice that some of the dinosaurs are wearing tutu skirts? 🙂 This is how I combined a bit of ballet into the roaring Jurassic world! Perfect fit I’d say, isn’t it?
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To make the food labels I used the Picasa software.
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I made different coloured tutu skirts for a few dinosaurs (which we borrowed from our preschool, as we only have 6-7 dinosaurs at home) and I used some other little Barbie accessories to dress them up, like sunglasses, headset, guitar, little photo camera, etc.
For the desert table I carved a watermelon to look like a dinosaur head. Never done this before so I am pleased with the result, looked good on the table.
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I made simple vanilla cupcakes with raspberry cream frosting and decorated them with dinosaur cupcake toppers bought online.
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Recently I discovered these savoury crisps, which we served as Unicorn horns at my older daughter’s Unicorn Party few weeks ago, and now they did the job brilliantly as dinosaur teeth.
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We also served little dinosaur shaped ham&cheese sandwiches. I love this cutter, as very little bread and filling is wasted. You can cut two dinosaurs with one cut, and the two of them uses up almost all of a large sandwich, so no waste there.
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These are dark chocolate pudding with two layers of brownies in between. I had the little plastic cups left from store bought deserts. I put some hard sugar candy stones on top, which my son thought were real stones.
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I also bought Kinder Surprise eggs, unwrapped them, but shortly after putting them on the table they started to melt, so I quickly shoved them in the fridge before the party guests arrived.
Do you think I forgot about them and never gave any to the children? Make your guess……Right! 🙂
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I wrapped and labeled chocolate eggs as dinosaur eggs. Good thing that they’re not selling these only for Easter 🙂
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My favourite from the table were the sugar cookies, which we made together with my little daughter few days prior to the party. We used one of the big dinosaurs to imprint his footsteps into the cookie dough. We had fun doing them and the cookies were delicious.
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The cake was very simple, White Chocolate Cream cake. This is our “to go” cake for the kids birthdays lately, they love it and ask for it again, and again, and again!
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We served green Kubu (pears, kiwi and banana drink), although they were not too keen on drinking it 🙂
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For the party bags I ordered plain white paper bags online, then decorated them with cute little dinosaurs which I found and printed myself, and cushioned the bags with  rainbow colored tissue paper.
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We set up a dinosaur dig area for them to search for fossils. I bought a set of 12 little dinosaur skeletons and hid them in the sand pit. They had to dig them up and clean them with brushes. They loved this!

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The older girls applied dinosaur tattoos on the little ones.

 

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Another fun activity was to eat little donuts off a string without touching them with hands.

 

 

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We also had frozen dinosaur eggs which I made by inserting little dinosaurs in water balloons, filled with water, then put them in the freezer. We then poured warm water over the eggs to discover the dinosaurs when the ice was gradually melting off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After everyone went home late afternoon, my little 4 year old (who’s birthday was actually on the day of her party) stayed out and played on her own at the sand pit for a good 20-30 minutes. After all the excitement she needed some time alone to cool off, process everything and take it all in….Happy Birthday my sweet Darling!

 

 

 

 

Magical Unicorn Party

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10 years old!

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I feel like I need an intro here, like I need to explain the whole Unicorn Party thing for my 10 year old daughter. I feel this because last year she had a “Taylor Swift” Birthday Party , which sounds more grown up, and it looks like we have had a step back this year. Looking back to the last year, I see lot of growing up in every aspect of life. She is definitely not a little girl anymore, and the fact that she is so tall, doesn’t help either 🙂 But, I wanted for her to have one more, (probably the last) childish birthday party, with all that comes with it. Oh, and she wanted the same thing, too!

 

 

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You would think they are too old for stuff like this. Like Unicorns and magic, and all the glitter and shine, but the truth is they’re not. Really NOT! Let me tell you, that these 10 year old girls LOVED all the glitter and shine and Unicorns and magic 🙂 They loved their little soft unicorns they got to build themselves and named, because, in case you didn’t know everybody has a Unicorn name, even you, my friend 🙂 They named their little Unicorns as follows: Sassy Happy-Feet, Happy Floating-Bubbles, Dashing Sugar-Socks, Sassy Tickled-Pink and Sunshine Happy-Feet.
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They started with watching an old movie called Legend, which features a couple of “real” Unicorns and Tom Cruise is the main star  (hello! I said Tom Cruise!!), but eventually they got bored with it, which I don’t blame them for, because the film was not the typical Hollywood Best of…(although it may have been back in 1985, I wouldn’t know…), and Tom Cruise was just a kid basically. Anyway, let’s just say that the movie was not the hit of the party, but the Unicorns looked real and beautiful, nonetheless.
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The girls sat down afterwards and stuffed their own Unicorns and chose their names and their Unicorn Magic Powder. They loved this and they had lots of fun doing it.
They applied jeans tattoos on their denim shorts, back and front pockets, they loved these, too. Well, of course, they were Unicorn tattoos in rainbow colors after all, what’s not to like there, right?
I spray painted white plastic unicorns in gold and glued them on jar lids, then filled the jars with candy. The mini bottles are made of glass, we put the labels on and filled with glitter, ehm…I mean Unicorn Magic, of course.
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They had a little fun outside running and jumping with the gold and pink confetti balloons before they got back to the dessert table for cake. During the whole party, they also got a laptop near them and they played their favourite music on You Tube, so there was some dancing, too.
We served rainbow pizza, Unicorn horn pastry filled with vegetable salad, sandwiches, Unicorn chocolate bark, white chocolate cake, donuts coated in chocolate melts and sprinkles, sugar cookies in shape of unicorns and magic wands (ah, those skinny unicorn legs were a pain to make…), cupcakes, etc…
The wooden sign which I placed outside to greet the party guests I made myself few weeks ago. I found this treasure lying in a ditch not far from the house about a year ago, and now I had the chance to do a makeover. I painted in rainbow colors and wrote the message ” Dance with Fairies, Ride a Unicorn, Swim with Mermaids, Chase Rainbows”.
Also, I bought the brown paper mache Unicorn head from Hobby Craft weeks ago, and I worked on it in secret, while my daughter was at school and hid it in the loft until her birthday.
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Ombre Violet Cake with Wild Blueberry Buttercream for Mothers Day

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Violet or purple? Purple or violet???  I had to look up to see the difference in definition, but couldn’t say that I know better. I think the colour of my cake is violet though, as seems that purple is more red-ish, so I go for violet, but correct me if I’m wrong.

 

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I made this tiny cake using violet food colour. I baked the three layers separately, and tinted the batter in different proportions to get the ombre effect. First, I thought that the darker shade would be too dark, it looked more black at some point, and only when I cut into it I started to relax seeing the nice, deep violet colour, and it was not black.

 

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The cake is not a sponge cake, is my yummy vanilla cake recipe with French butter and vanilla extract, only this time I used white sugar instead of brown, because I wanted to have a light coloured batter which can be tinted to the desired colour.

 

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I made buttercream this time, which is also not my usual cake filling, but I wanted different. I mixed Wild Blueberry jam in my buttercream to add flavour, but I applied a layer of jam on top of each cake layer, too -which, Hello! -it really isn’t my style of making cake, but as I said, I wanted different 🙂

 

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Persian Love Cake for Valentine’s Day

 

 

I have been looking for inspiration for something special for Valentine’s day, although this particular day doesn’t mean too much for us. It is a custom which we were not familiar with where we grew up, and only appeared later in our life, therefor there is nothing too special about it for us. But! It is a very good opportunity for baking something a little more special, more glamorous. I have been searching for something new, something different, and came across several time with the Persian Love Cake, but the more cakes, the more varieties on the same subject, and different interpretations each time. Which one to chose, which one is the authentic recipe, I’ll never know. I chose to follow (more or less…) a recipe from Twigg Studios blog, and the looks (the layout of the cake and decoration idea) from The Hungry Australian, and that’s how my version of the Persian Love Cake came to life.
Apparently, there is also a love story behind this cake, although searching a bit deeper I found out, that none of it is true, and that Persian people don’t know anything about it.
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Ingredients:
250 ml plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
2 and 1/4 cup ground almond
6 cardamom pods
2 Tbsp rose water
6 Tbsp chopped pistachios
pinch of saffron strands
100 ml almond milk
zest from 1 lemon
Icing:
150 ml double cream
50 g white chocolate
Syrup:
zest and juice of one lemon
100 g caster sugar
2 cardamom pods
1/2 cup water
Decoration:
food grade dry rosebuds
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Method:
Preheat the oven.
Peel the cardamon pods open and remove the seeds, crush with a pestle and mortar. Add the saffron strands to the milk and warm in the microwave. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, then stir in the yogurt. Add the ground almonds and baking powder, then add the ground cardamom, lemon zest and chopped pistachios. Add the rosewater to the milk and saffron mixture and stir into the cake batter.
I didn’t have rose water at home, so I put a few dry rosebuds in a cup and poured half cup of boiling hot water on them and left covered for about 10 minutes. It smelled wonderful, but with a much lighter rose taste, which I personally prefer better than the strong rose water.
Pour the cake mixture in the previously greased bundt cake form. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.
While still in the oven, make the syrup.Put the lemon juice,the zest, sugar, water and cardamom pods in a pan and simmer until thickens a little.
When your cake is baked, make holes all over and pour the syrup on to the warm cake spoon by spoon.
Warm the double cream in a pan and melt in the chocolate. Let it cool for several hours in the fridge before you beat up lightly, so the consistency is still flowing but thick. If you want, you can leave the ganache out completely, or you can make butter cream instead if you prefer.
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Fairy Gingerbread House

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This is my gingerbread house.

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It’s the second time that I venture myself in doing a gingerbread house ……and there might be a good few years until I get myself into doing one again. Why? Because it’s not as simple and straightforward as it seems, at least not for me, I will admit.

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I was searching for a good recipe with good reviews and feedbacks and I thought I found the right one, but in the end it prove me wrong. It didn’t work for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong it is delicious, tasted very good, but it’s way too soft to hold a house. And, let me tell you my friend, you need a hard base to build a house, whilst my gingerbread recipe was soft and I did struggle a lot. A whole lot, and I even had to ask my husband to help. Eventually, we put the house together, but I happily said yes to the kids when they asked permission to get inside with their hands to demolish it for eating.

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Well, at least it was delicious 🙂 And, let’s not forget, that I loved, LOVED decorating it with fondant, all the pretty little details, to make an enchanted Fairy House opposed to a regular candy gingerbread house.

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Matcha Green Tea and Coconut Cream Cheese Cake

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This was my second cake to take to our “cake tasting meeting” I mentioned in my previous post (White Truffle Chocolate Cake). Although we were only supposed to bring one cake each, I made two, and this Matcha cake was my  +1 simply because I wanted the girls to taste it.

I think of this cake as unusual, unconventional, nontraditional, and weird even, but lovely at the same time. I like it, and I was very curious how other would comment on it and wanted to see the overall reviews. There were a few “hm…, and oh, that’s interesting…, and hm….hmmm very smooth…, and even disgust from someone else. Fair enough. I think you either love it, or hate it. Me?  I love it, and will make it again for sure!

 

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First time I made this Matcha cheesecake back in January  (Matcha Green Tea Mini Cheesecakes with Double Chocolate Oreos and Coconut Cream Cheese). This time instead of individual mini cheesecakes, I made one large for the girls. I used the same recipe, but now I used normal size chocolate Oreos with chocolate cream filling.

 

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Ingredients: 

-200 gr double chocolate oreos
-50 gr melted butter
-500 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-thick coconut cream (I used the Natco coconut milk, and I only used the thick cream from the upper half of the can, so I didn’t mixed it)
-200 ml double cream
-powder sugar (maybe 2 Tbsp, but depends on your personal taste- my cake was not very sweet)
-1 Tbsp Matcha powder
crushed Oreos (optional, but I wanted to have a “dirty” effect, and also the Oreo crumbs tasted good in the cream)
Method:
1. Crush the Oreos, with the filling left in them, then mix it with the melted butter.
2. Divide evenly in the cheesecake pan, then press down firmly. Put in the fridge for about 1 hour.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the Mascarpone with powder sugar, matcha powder, coconut cream and double cream. Finally stir in the Oreo crumbs.
4. Divide evenly on top of the firm biscuit base, smooth the top, then put back in the fridge for overnight.
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White Truffle Chocolate Cake

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Made this beauty for a girls night out the other week, where we gathered to taste lots of delicious cakes and especially to enjoy each other’s company. We had about 10 different cakes to taste on that evening, and Boy, was I full the next day?! Anyway, I say it worth every crumb!
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This is actually my favourite chocolate cake recipe that I reproduce every Christmas for the past few years, so basically I can say is our traditional Christmas desert. My Mom never makes a cake like this for Christmas. She usually makes a few different tray bakes, and bite size cookies, and of course the very traditional Beigli (in two flavours: walnuts and poppy seeds) which is the most popular Hungarian pastry for Christmas.
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This cake though, became my very own tradition, and I hope that one day my kids will talk about it to their friends and children with a smile on their faces and referring to it as The Traditional Christmas Cake of Mom.
Ah, well, Christmas is not even here, yet, look at me talking all about it! We will be travelling to Europe again, to see family and friends over the winter holidays, so I might not even be able to bake this cake this year, although in previous years I managed to do it even though I don’t feel very comfortable baking in another kitchen other then my own. Will see, will see….
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Here’s the recipe for you.
Ingredients:
1 cup water
5 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2,5 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 little natural yogurt (without any flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
200 gr butter (unsalted)
1 tsp almond extract (this time I actually put 2 tsp and I loved the more intense almond taste)
juice squeezed from 1/4 orange
100 gr good quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
salt
Ganache cream:
600 ml heavy cream
150 gr white chocolate
You need to prepare the cream on the previous day of baking. In order to do this you need to pour the cream into a pan, put it on the stove. Chop the chocolate in small pieces and stir in the cream until its melted. Make sure it’s not boiling, it only needs to get warm enough until the chocolate melts in. When it’s done, put it aside to cool completely, then put it in the fridge for the night or at least 6 hours.
Method:
Preheat your oven. Put the water, cocoa powder and butter in a pan and stirring it, bring it to boil on the stove, then put it aside to cool down.
Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the water with the butter and chocolate, add the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, orange juice, yogurt, and finally the chopped chocolate. Stir everything just only until all is combined.
Grease and line (the bottoms only) the tins with baking paper. I used 3 separate tins, each of 9″ (23 cm) large, so at the end there was no need to cut any layers.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Take it out from the oven then leave to cool in the tins completely before filling your cake.
With an electric mixer beat the white chocolate cream and fill the cake. I put generous amount of cream on each layer, and I covered the cake whit the remaining filling, but I wanted to have a rustic half naked cake, so I scraped off any excess to achieve this vintage look. Finally I decorated it with roses from my garden.
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Nostalgia – Time travelling to the past

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I got a few vintage crochet lace mats and doilies from my mother which she got from my grandmother, which she got from my great grandmother, who made them…..yeah, we’re talking about old stuff here, very old! And beautiful 🙂

 

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When I saw them, I knew I have to use them as a background for a batch of shabby chick cupcakes. I’m not all into this vintage design, but sometimes it feels good and relaxing to go through old black & white family photos, remembering our dear relatives who were around when we were kids, and those who we never met but we were told countless stories about.

 

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Here is my great grandmother, standing in a white dress on the right of the framed photo. She died before I was born at the age of 82. She was 16 when she posed for this photograph….I never knew her, but I know she was the mother of my dear grandfather, and I LOVED her, and I treasure her photograph, which is in fact my absolute favourite of all the old family photos we have. The photo was taken in 1906, and every time I look at it, makes me wonder about that particular day….what was she thinking, how did she spent the rest of her day, how was she feeling, did she ever imagined that one day her photo will end up in her great granddaughter’s wall who she will never meet, but will think the world of her nonetheless….

 

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No recipe here today guys. I only baked these for the sake of remembering and reflecting on the old times.

Very therapeutic 🙂

 

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