24 November 2010

The gallery: Black+white=Jamosie!

I just saw Mirka's post on her Kahanka blog... how adorable is little Isabelle! As most of you know I am not a good weekly poster but I am a fan of #thegallery, and like Mirka, I have mixed race children as well.
We call ourselves 'Jamosie' which is a blend of Jamaica and Aussie... Jam-osie...as we are Jamaican and Australian!

So when I read her post I immediately thought of this poem I found a couple of years ago when teaching English. Unfortunately, the words half caste are still widely used in Australia to describe the people who have an Aboriginal Australian parent and a Anglo Australian parent. Racism angers and saddens me. I won't babble on and will close with... I LOVE LOVE LOVE this poem, I love the way it's written, the tone, the message, it's just beautiful.

As for a photo, the first one that popped in my head  was this one of me and my Dear Husband at the Black Heath fireworks for bon fire night (2010).
One day, when Xavier was 4 years old, he asked us why we were different colours. So we explained that we were like chocolate, some chocolate is white, some is brown and some is dark brown, but it's still all chocolate. People are the same. Some are white, some are light brown, some are dark brown, but we are all people.  4 year old Xavier was listening intently and then says 'Janelle is not white, she is peach!' We cracked up.

Half Caste by John Agard
Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?

explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass

ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow

but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.
an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.


Love it.

11 November 2010

Easy christmas mince pies!

The kids helped me make these easy Christmas mince pies... I made the short crust pastry and they helped cut it out and put it in the tins. The filling is sooo yummy and fills the house with the real Christmas baking smell. Makes 24 mince pies and is better than ANY shop bought pie you will buy!

Find our short crust recipe on our blog! (working out how to put the link in).




Jamosie Mince Mixture
Put all of the following in a saucepan on the cooker, bring to boil then simmer for 20-30 mins.
1/2 tin of apples (or fresh if you have time)
1 tin of apricots and the juice
rind and juice of fresh orange
250 grams of sultanas/raisins
100 grams of currents
150 grams of dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs butter (leave out for dairy free filling)
1tbs mixed spice
2 tbs rum or whiskey (optional)

To make the pies
Roll out the pastry between two sheets of pastry then use a big circle cookie cutter to cut circles.
Put each circle in a muffin tin.
Put 1-2 teaspoons of mince mixture into the pastry cups.
Use a star cutter to cut little stars out of the left over pastry
Bake in oven for 10 15 mins @ 180 degrees Celsius

Enjoy!

10 November 2010

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

This is a simple recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry... you can use it for anything, pumpkin pie, jam tarts, mince pies, apple pies, cookies, whatever you like!... it's easy and so much better than the bought shortcrust pastry. I have a few extra hints and tips that will make it even easier!

Basic recipe
1 egg
100 grams sugar
200 grams of butter
300 grams of flour
1 tsp of vanilla essence
or for something different, add almond essence

Directions
1. beat the sugar and butter together
2. beat in the egg, don't worry if it looks like scrambled egg
3. mix in the flour by HAND! this is important so you get nice crunchy pastry, not chewy. It starts off a bit messy but if everything is measured accurately, not guesstimated, then it will all come together in a nice shiny soft ball.
4. Bake in the oven with the topping for about 10-15 mins. Just watch the edge of the pastry and take them out when they start to go golden brown.

Tips:
  • Roll out between two sheets of grease proof paper so you don't have to add more flour, upsetting the ingredient balance... and also keeps flour from getting all over your kitchen!!
  • Flour goes bitter when burnt so put the oven timer on!

Baking Ideas
  • Use cookie cutters to make little biscuits. This is a great one for the kids. You can mix up the dough, the leave them at the table for ages rolling out and cutting cookies.
  • Cut circles out and place in muffin tin to use as a base for jam tarts, lemon tarts, mince tarts, any topping can go in this to make something 'mini'.... NO NEED TO BLIND BAKE... just pop it in the oven! raspberry jam or lemon curd is a Jamosie Favourite!
  • roll out between the grease proof paper, line a baking tray or pie dish, blind bake for 10 mins and use as a base for pies and tarts.... pecan pie, apple pie, bakewell tarts... whatever you like!
Happy baking!!

6 November 2010

Cupcake toppers... now in our Etsy Shop!

We now have a new shop on Etsy, www.etsy.com/shop/jamosiesweet where you can now purchase our cute handmade cupcake toppers in kits! Each kit comes with enough toppers to generously decorate 12 cupcakes. Our kits  are themed with retro red, vintage pink, Hawaiian, and enchanted garden. Coming soon... the pink enchanted garden, as seen on this blog. We ship from the UK so if you are in the UK you will receive it 2-3 working days. If you are in the U.S or Australia it will take 4-6 working days.  We can customise orders with particular pieces or colours to match an event. Just drop us an email jamosiesweet@yahoo.com
  

Perfect vanilla cupcakes! UK

I have baked ALOT of cupcakes.. and I'm not talking crazy flavours, just simple vanilla cupcakes. I have also tried a lot of commercially produced cupcakes and I am ALWAYS disappointed. Too dry, no vanilla taste, that fatty feeling in the icing, and worst of all... that eggy smell!!
But, eggy taste NO MORE!! Perfect cupcakes have arrived. After much testing and trying and arranging other recipes we have the perfect recipe that gets you perfect vanilla cupcakes EVERY TIME!!

You need:
110 grams of good quality butter at room temp (Lurpak is good, lovely taste)
110 grams of castor sugar (white sugar is fine if you don't have castor)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of premium quality vanilla essence or paste
120 grams McDougalls premium sponge self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of baking powder
1 table spoon of corn flour

Directions: there are some old-fashioned tricks
1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, vanilla and salt.
2. measure the flours and baking powder in another bowl
3. SIFT it into the butter/sugar mix and beat in for a couple of seconds until combined.
4. Divide evenly between 12 cupcake cases to get the cupcakes that rise to just under the side of the case, or divide between 10 if you want the cupcake to really pop up over top of case
5. Bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 12 mins exactly and NO MORE. They will go dry.
6. A tip for people in Australia dealing with humidity: Leave them to cool for exactly 5 mins in the tins and the papers won't peel off. Ice them when cool with a think layer of icing that closes the cake and keeps them from drying out over night.

Easy... so easy.. perfect light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes every time.

Buttercream
Beat 250gms good tasting butter with 500grams of pure icing sugar (not the icing mix)  and 1-2 teaspoons of good tasting vanilla essence or paste until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is at room temp!
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