Monday, September 30, 2013

Miss Kitty Goes: Honkers

Another day and another apology. Since we got back from Hong Kong we have been overwhelmed by STUFF. Things to do. It's party season here for the little bug so we are busy trotting off to those on weekends and there is an awful lot of work to be done for the Jewel Collective over the next few months. Plus we are attempting to buy a house... It's never just one thing is it?

We met lots of lovely potential suppliers at the trade show in Hong Kong. Alas, there wasn't an awful lot of time left for other, more fun things. We had a few dinners out (one reasonably posh one) but the rest of our meals were very utilitarian, unfortunately. Ahhh - the joys of travelling with a child. For work. The best of both worlds!

We did manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun - a small amount of shopping for the bug. Some yummy food. Suffice to say we are looking forward to another trip next year.

Yummy Katsu from Ginza Bairin and pork buns from Tim Ho Wan:


And leopard print macaron boxes from Laduree. I mean, did you EVER??

I did manage to buy a few small things for myself - a couple of scarves at Zara, a bangle from Shanghai Tang and this little amethyst and pink sapphire beauty from the Trade Show from a Thai jeweller who had the most spectacular things...
 Despite the heat, I even managed a few good hair days:

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucinos: I miss you so much, but my thighs do not miss you at all.

Georgie scored well - two pairs of Melissa shoes and this awesome fur gillet from Zara. They do have fantastic kids clothes!


And we toasted the end of our trip with a few cocktails at Aqua, whilst watching the gorgeous lights of the harbour below us.

Honkers, you never cease to amaze us with your beauty and fast pace. Hopefully we will see you again next year!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Miss Kitty Does: My new project

First up, apologies for the silence slash sporadic posting over the past few months. Georgie is going through a bit of a delightful phase at the moment and it's really hard to tear yourself away from them when they are just this cute. Really cute. And occasionally snotty (which is even more high maintenance)...

Also, I do have news to share with you all. My new baby. For the last four months or so I have been working on my new business idea, The Jewel Collective. We are heading off to Hong Kong next week to meet with manufacturers and potential suppliers. It's very very exciting but also nerve wracking. Occasionally I feel like I want to vomit with so much going on (and more than occasionally just having a very quiet freak out over here) but I am loving the whole process, even the mundane stuff. Jewellery is something I have been passionate about, ever since I was a little girl, so it just feels right for me to move into this space.

I am currently on track to launch in March 2014 (fingers crossed). I would gladly appreciate any advice you have about running a small business, online or otherwise. It's a big call for someone who has never done it to start working for herself. But I am excited and thrilled to be launching something of my very own.

Stay tuned for more news and sneak peeks of the first collection!

Kitty xx

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Miss Kitty Bakes: spiced apple cider fruit bread

Mr K is a fairly undemanding spouse. When I asked him what he wanted me to bake him for Father's Day, he said immediately: "a loaf of bread."

"A loaf of bread? Just a loaf of bread? Not a cake, or something, I don't know... Challenging?"

"Yes. A loaf of bread," he replied.

So a loaf of bread it was. However, knowing him and his likes, I decided to make it a little more special than just your average white loaf. He has a soft spot for my hot cross buns, so I thought I might make something like that but in a loaf form.

I adapted a recipe from one of my newest cookbook acquisitions, the Great Australian Bake Off Cookbook. It's actually a really great book, full of good tips and hints and excellent recipes for everyone from the basic baker through to the most polished of patissiers.I really enjoyed the TV show and have already earmarked a number of the recipes to try at home.

This is a fairly easy bread to make. the dough is quite stiff in the beginning but it does rise well. The main changes I made to the recipe include substitution of fruit (we had no currants and we don't like mixed peel) and upping the spice levels. We have been nibbling away at it for most of the morning - the heady cinnamon and spice smell in the house keep drawing us back to the loaf. It would be fabulous toasted, but frankly, I don't think it's going to last that long here.

And Mr K's all important verdict? Delicious. That says it all, really.

Miss Kitty's spiced apple cider fruit bread
(adapted from this recipe)

¾ cup raisin
¾ cup sultanas
335ml bottle of dry apple cider, warmed (I used Monteith’s Apple Cider)
3½ cups white bread flour
Zest of one orange
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 x 7g sachet dried yeast

Soak the raisins and sultanas in the warm cider while you measure out the other ingredients. Add the flour, spices, zest and yeast to a warm bowl and make a well in the centre. Strain the cider from the fruit, reserving the fruit. Add the liquid to the dry mixture. Knead well (15—20 minutes by hand or about 7-8 minutes in a kitchenaid) until the dough is stretchy. Add a little more water (2-3 tablespoons) if the dough doesn’t come together. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size — about 45—60 minutes. I popped my dough back into the Kitchenaid bowl and into a sink half filled with warm water – our kitchen was cold this morning.

Knock back the dough and add the fruit. Knead until the fruit is evenly distributed. Shape into an oval loaf and place on the baking tray. Cover with baking paper and a clean tea towel and prove a second time for 30 minutes.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220°C. Dust the loaf with flour and score it with a sharp knife. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaf is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack and eat slathered in good butter.