On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

ANZAC Day–we remember

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ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance. You’ll see people selling and wearing poppies a week or so ahead of ANZAC Day. The reporters on TV are wearing them, though I’ve not actually seen any being sold, but then I’ve been offsite working with a client all week so I’m not close to the mall.

Making fondant poppies

I’ve borrowed my Mother In Law’s poppy for this photo.

I wanted to bake especially for ANZAC Day. While I don’t go to a Dawn Parade I do think about what the day means, and I think about our old soldiers and how few there are living. It makes me think of my Grandad too, not that he served in New Zealand. My Grandad came to New Zealand as an adult, from Liverpool, England.

Some weeks ago now, I found a poppy silicone mould on eBay and immediately ordered it. Last Saturday it arrived.

On Monday I had a go at colouring white fondant, red. While it eventually turned the right colour, as did my hands, it was far too soft and wouldn’t release from the mould.

I promptly ordered red fondant from one of my favourite cake decorating online shops, Cake Stuff, but it didn’t arrive by Friday which is really unusual. Mr Fussy and I quickly nipped out to Spotlight because I knew they stocked Satin Ice fondant (which I’ve never used) hoping to find red. We were in luck.

And of course as Murphy would have it, the courier turned up with all my Cake Stuff goodies. As you can imagine, I now have a pile of red fondant. I suggested making Father Christmas which brought a huge smile and glint to Mr Fussy’s eyes as he suggested Santa cookies. He can be such a child. I love it.

Royal Icing poppies

Meanwhile I decided to pipe poppy-like flowers with Royal Icing.

I was making some cookies for Mum to take to work for a morning tea on Wednesday but also wanted to take some cookies to work as well, along with the ANZAC biscuits I made. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to make 30 fondant poppies and I need lots of practice using different tips and techniques for piping so this was a really good excuse. Actually, other than the shade of “red”, these turned out ok and if you didn’t see the fondant poppies, I think you’d be really happy with these.

I used a petal tip 104 for the petals. I used an Ateco flower nail with lots of square waxed pieces of paper to pipe the poppies onto. After they had dried overnight (and the colour changed – it actually started out the very same shade as the fondant poppies) I piped some black RI and sprinkled black sanding sugar over. It really is quite a nice look and makes the poppies come alive a little. Adding the green stem really finished them off nicely.

Kiwi Fern

The black was also intended for the fern I was going to add using the wet-on-wet technique to Mr Fussy’s biscuits, but I wanted to try the image I had seen when I searched for Poppies, then looked for a Fern. The design was actually for an iPhone cover. It turned out OK, perhaps better than I expected given how thin some of the lines needed to be, but it could be better. I was in two minds whether to go back and pipe white between the black but I got lazy.

Anyway, the ferns and wet-on-wet technique worked well, eventually. I was having a bit of a struggle with getting the flow of the fern stem right. And the proportions of how long the fern leaves (what are they called?) should be.

I’d like to show you my favourite one but this happened:

smudged

So I bet you can guess what the cookies looked like. The cookies I so carefully piped and struggled with and finally got something that looked how I wanted (not all of them in the next photo, in actual fact they started out damn ugly).

Smudged ferns

So what is the moral of the story? When it rains all day (and impossibly dark for any half decent photos) then don’t expect the RI to set as quickly as it does on a dry day. Plus the black was probably just a little too runny for “flood consistency”. And it bled into the white just a little.

So boys and girls, be extra patient with black and store the cookies in a single layer to avoid this unsightly mess.

Anyway, I had good intentions for ANZAC Day themed baking. And it once upon a time looked half decent. And I’ve learnt a few important lessons through all this.

Which I will remember.

I’ll have another post with the fondant poppies when I’ve finished making them. Right now they’ve been flooded and I don’t want to get so eager as to start making them up, knowing the RI probably will take longer to set, since again, it’s been raining today.

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