Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Elli from Elle's Kitchen (elliluca.com) at a super secret product "ideation day".

I can't reveal much about it, save to say that it involved a certain food product that's made of pastry, savoury and often conjures up images of grown men screaming at other grown men chucking an oval ball around a large field.

But enough about my weird dreams. ;) The "ideation day" was truly fun! The 20-something people there were made up of people who worked for different arms of the company, plus people they called "bright sparks" -
foodies, bloggers, web designers, function managers, even an architect. All to bring a different perspective from outside the industry. And I reckon the day was quite fulfilling, it really challenged me to think outside the box, and to re-evaluate flavours and methods and recipes I've come across. Even think about new packaging ideas etc.

And it was interesting to see and hear what it took to take a new product range from idea to fruition. Months of research into understanding current consumer tastes and impressions, ideation, product development, getting the final product onto the shelves, and you STILL don't know if it'll take off or not, it the public will embrace it. Quite the long journey from paddock to plate eh?

Anyhoo, I'm pretty excited to see if anything we came up with actually reaches the supermarket shelves. I'll probably be reacting pretty much the same way my son does when he gets a new toy - jumping up and down, pointing and screaming in excitement, while curious onlookers wonder what this nutjob's doing at their local supermarket and if it's safe to look away and ah, THERE are the eggs I'm looking for...

Aside from all this behind-the-scenes look into the food industry, the last couple of weeks since returning involved heaps of baking!

 I had some left over Red Velvet cake after making the Wine Bottle cake (see below), 
so I made a mini stacked version for a mum at my son's kinder.

First up, a ruffle fondant cake for a child's Christening.
(The final version had bunting on it, waiting for the client to send the pic it to me!)

The layers of ruffles took longer than I thought!
I reckon it took me about 2 hours to get them ruffled and stuck on.

Last minute heart attack: the ruffles, having dried overnight, broke off as 
I was putting the cake into the box! Had to quickly roll out more ruffles to replace!

My Wine Bottle cake for a friend's 30th.
Since I couldn't afford a Grange, may as well make him one. Out of cake!

It was a terrifically HOT day to use cream cheese frosting as an underlay for the fondant instead of ganache.
The "bottom" of the bottle kept bulging out...
I was pretty glad the cake board I made to look like an oak barrel turned out well.
(Marbled the fondant, then scored it to look like wood.)

 And made the "label" with edible ink (sigh, my hand just couldn't mimic the Grange font properly...)
Hand-stamped words below though!
I reckon I should have coloured the "label" so it truly looked vintage, with the cracks in it.

 And finally, a beautiful rustic buttercream cake for a friend's wedding!

Chocolate fudge cake with raspberries and Vanilla Bean buttercream
It was a GORGEOUS grazing lunch reception at the groom's family farm.

Fresh flowers provided by the bride's mum! Beautifully simple...

See you THIS SUNDAY, March 11 at the North Melbourne Market!!