Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

All right ladies and gentlemen, hold onto your witches hats as I present to you my super spooky spiced pumpkin flavoured Spiders Nests! Baked donuts seem to be all the rage at the moment and my mum is producing some pretty delicious ones out of her kitchen… so I have decided to jump on board, get creative, experiment and create my very own Halloween themed baked donuts.These are the perfect show stopping treat for any spooky celebration!
Spiced Pumpkin is not a very common flavour in Australia, but seems to be dominating my Instagram and Pinterest news feeds thanks to all of my American friends! I have developed this recipe with a subtle spiced pumpkin flavour that gives the donuts a brilliantly vibrant, perfectly halloween orange colour! Then to top things off a caramel glaze onto to really compliment and sweeten the spiced pumpkin donut.

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests
For this recipe I knew I wanted to develop a pumpkiney delight…. but if you are like me and live in Australia, getting your hands on tinned pumpkin is unfortunately not such an easy task. For this recipe I followed the queen of all thing butter, baking and blogging: Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman” Pumpkin Puree.. if you are lucky enough to grab some canned stuff, then by all means go ahead and use it!

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders NestsAlso I completely understand that I am always up for a challenge, however if all of this pumpkin and spices are too much for you… a simple packet cake will also do the trick! Chocolate mud cake or a basic vanilla with caramel glaze would be just as good! Baked donuts are all the rage at the moment, so there are plenty of donut pans around… I piked mine up from good old Big W!

For my cute little chocolate spiders I melted some good quality dark chocolate and popped it into a piping bag with just the very tip cut off. To make things easier I took the time to draw some spider patterns on the underside of my baking paper, that way all I had to do was follow the lines! Give them a good amount of time to set and firm up before trying to remove them from the baking paper.

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

How cute are they!!….. don’t look too close, I haven’t followed the lines very well!

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

It is always fun to jump into the kitchen and push my boundaries… I must admit I had a few goes at this recipe before I was happy with it! Working with the spice pumpkin was very different as well as being new at baked donuts. It is an honour and my greatest happiness to develop and share with you all my recipes and I hope you enjoy. Let me know below in the comments your thoughts on my latest creation.

Have a beautifully “spooky” weekend everyone.

Much love,

xxx Holly

Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

  • Servings: 12 Donuts
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Donut Spiders Nests

Ingredients:

Spice Pumpkin Donuts:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree *see notes*
  • 2 Tbs butter melted
  • 1/4 cup butter milk

Caramel Icing:

  • 1 CupBrown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 Tbs Milk

Spiders Nest Decoration:

  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 1 packet of Persian Fairy Floss

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 2 donut pans by well greasing all donut holes with butter or canola spray
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spices into the bowl of an electric mixer
  3. Add sugar, egg, pumpkin, melted butter and buttermilk
  4. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are combined
  5. Spoon into prepared donut baking pans and bake for 9-10 minutes
  6. Remove from pan  and place on a wire wrack to cool
  7. For the Caramel Icing: In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, and water to a boil over medium
  8. Remove from heat and add chopped  butter, stirring to incorporate.
  9. Whisk in milk and icing sugar until smooth- mixture should be a thick yummy icing.
  10. Top each donut with Persian fairy floss and chocolate spiders (See notes above for instructions on chocolate spiders)

* For this recipe I knew I wanted to develop a pumpkiney delight…. but if you are like me and live in Australia, getting your hands on tinned pumpkin is unfortunately not such an easy task. For this recipe I followed the queen of all thing butter, baking and blogging: Ree Drummond’s “The Pioneer Woman” Pumpkin Puree.. if you are lucky enough to grab some canned stuff, then by all means go ahead and use it!

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Hand Painted Birthday Wrapping

Birthday Wrapping Hand Painted

I know I have said it before.. but let me tell you again… I LOVE BIRTHDAYS!

Tomorrow is my big brothers birthday and I love to make things special for him. I have a passion and real talent for gift giving , it is something that I take great pride in!… from the thought out personalised present right down to the detail in the wrapping, ribbon and hand made card (it is something I get from my Mumma). My brother is also a pretty good gift giver and even better at creatively wrapping gifts so the pressure is always on to impress him.

To be perfectly honest this project came about out of pure laziness. It is drizzling with rain out side and I was procrastinating walking up to the shops to purchase some wrapping paper. I also hate how expensive and often boring wrapping paper can be. So I was inspired to grab out my watercolours and art paper and have a muck around with making some personalised, hand painted wrapping paper. I must say I am extremely happy with the results! I don’t know why I have not thought of this earlier.

Birthday Wrapping Hand Painted

Birthday Wrapping Hand Painted

Well what do you think? What a simple and cheap project that looks brilliant right? I am so excited to give this pretty little present to my brother tomorrow for him to open!! Yay to birthdays..

I am going to get busy  working on some christmas designed wrapping paper and share with you all soon!

Hope you are all having a beautiful Wednesday!

Lots of love

xxx Holly

Pink Donut Birthday Cake

What’s the best thing about birthdays?….. BIRTHDAY CAKE!!

Being a cake decorator for so long, it often becomes a little hard to constantly come up with new and exciting cakes to impress my loved ones..

This cake was my weekend creation for that pink donut loving best friend of mine! It’s a very different style for me and quite liberating to get all messy and free!! It honestly has put a little “spring” into my cake making step!

Just couldn’t wait to share with you all!  

 

Carottes Râpées – Parisian Carrot Salad

Paris Carrot SaladIf you have not already noticed, my love for Food and France is probably what dominates  90% of “A Pretty Little Life’s” content. Well this post I hate to break it to you is no different!

Whilst in Paris we became very familiar with a carrot salad that we would see adorning the front windows of all the famous french rotisseries. Beautiful and vibrant looking this salad immediately caught our eyes and was enjoyed on numerous occasions during our stay in Paris.

The most memorable of these occasions would have to have been when I ate this this zesty salad with a falafel pita whilst exploring the Jewish quarter of Paris. We spotted people from streets away all carrying and indulging in these overflowing Pitas. We followed our noses and the trail of happy customers carrying pitas until we stumbles across L’As du Fallafel. It was there I had a broken conversation with the most delightful jewish man. We both could not speak each others languages, but some how managed to have a conversation expressing our love of food! This incredible pita was served to me chock a block full of zesty carrot salad, falafel and a combination of hummus, tahini and a sauce I can’t quite put my finger on…. yum!! It was the perfect blend of cultural cuisine.

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Since returning from our European holiday we constantly try and find foods similar to those we ate on our travels. Although we are yet to find a falafel pita anywhere near as good as our Parisian experience, I have been able to recreate our favourite zesty carrot salad from inside it.

We have this simple and tasty salad in my house a couple of times a week. It is quick, yummy and I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand ready to go!

Here is my recipe for Parisian Carrot Salad or

Carottes Râpées

(Parisian Carrot Salad)

Ingredients:

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • a splash of verjuice (optional)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • Big pinch of salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • a good handful of flat leaf parsley chopped finely

Method:

Wash, peel and grate your carrots. You may do this the old fashioned way with a grater or use an attachment on your food processor. I have recently bought a veggetti (I love it!!) purely for this salad.

Prepare the salad dressing by combining all other ingredients in a glass. Whisk to combine.

Dress the salad just before serving so that the carrots remain crunchy and beautiful.

Enjoy!

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Addictive Antique Auctions

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Don’t you just love a spontaneous antique action!! Abso-freaking-lutelty!!

I traveled to the beautiful and very cold Bowral last weekend to celebrate my Mumma Bears birthday. Our plan for the day was to eat some good food, have  a little look through the shops and just enjoy the positive crisp (borderline freezing) Bowral air.

After a stunning breakfast at Biota (highly recommend any foodie to check this place out!) our first stop on our retail therapy trail was my favourite antique store of all time… Dirty Janes Antique Emporium. It is like a massive treasure chest of unique, interesting and beautifully eclectic antiques pieces, all neatly organised and presented in such a way that just makes me incredibly happy! Many hours of my life have been lost to this wonderful emporium. Upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised to discover that Dirty Janes was having one of their bi-monthly Antique actions (our lucky day or what!). Instantly my eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store at the sight of an entire car park scattered with miss matched, preloved bits and pieces. My other half’s eyes instantly lit up with fear and worry for what this was going to mean for our bank account or how on earth we would fit it all into the car!

Dirty Janes had a huge variety of items for auction from massive sets of antique doors, small antique tools, kitchen wears, furniture and the largest selection of antique bird cages you have ever seen! The auctioneer had to sell every single item in the carpark…(now this is where the dangerous part comes in)… so when I realised how cheap items were going for and I had my registered bidding card in my hand.. the fun really begun!

I managed to pick up two beautiful old ladders (I have a plan for these that  I will share with you shortly) and two more chairs to add to my mismatched dinning room chair collection. All up I spent about $60 which is an absolute bargain when you consider how beautifully made these items are and the rich history and memories they come with.

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Dirty Janes next Antique action is on the 13th September I will absolutely be there ready to find some more beautifully addictive antiques!

Happy Days!

Lots of Love,

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For the Love of France….

“La fête nationale”

Bastille DayHappy Bastille Day to all of those fellow French loving followers out there.. a day where France remembers one of the country’s bloodiest, yet most iconic, revolutions. Today “Bastille Day” is a colourful celebration of French culture and pride.

I can not help but feel my mind has been wondering off lately… wondering to those beautiful days spent with my love exploring in the warmth of summer, all that France has to offer.  My time in France was without a doubt the happiest time of my life. I love the french way life, the beauty in the culture and the passion they have for just about everything they do.

So in honour of a country I hold so dearly to my heart, here are a few  memories from my trip to la France magnificent.

dijon markets

Picking some fresh raspberries at the Dijon Markets
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The most perfect  “Religious” pastry.
French Baguette

ohh baguettes

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I left my heart in France with an Orangina bottle!! The best drink on earth!

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Me in my absolute element at my favourite Parisian restaurant Jez Janou.. with a giant bowl of chocolate mousse!

Bastille Day

Bastille Day, July 14. What a perfect excuse to reminisce of my time in France and tonight to indulge in some French wine, and some beautiful elegant food with my love.

Avec amou
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Love in a Cup… My Individual Banoffee Parfaits

Love in a Cup

 “My Individual Banoffee Parfaits”

Banoffee Pie Parfait-1Buttery biscuit crumble, fresh banana custard, whipped vanilla cream and thick homemade caramel sauce… (take a moment to wipe the drool from your mouth please people!) oh the joy of that classic Banoffee flavour combination, it really is almost too good to be true!

This is a dessert that I came up with when having a dinner party for some very special friends of mine. They mean the absolute world to me and they do allot for me. I wanted to cook them dinner to say thank you and let them know just how much I appreciate their friendship. The thing is when I cook it is generally because I want to show the person eating my food just how much I love them. To me it is a way of expressing myself as I cook with my emotions (deep I know!.. but true). I wanted this special dinner party to end with a lasting memory and I knew dessert was going to be where I was going to pack the most sweet love in!!  I have had this dessert sitting in the back of my mind for years… probably ever since I bought these sweet little desert cups on sale from Ikea. I had an idea that this banoffee concoction was going to be yummy, however I didn’t quite expect it to be so good that my best friends (who have eaten more of my desserts than anyone else) would claim it to be my best dessert ever!! To be completely honest it almost feels a bit wrong how much attention and praise they gained considering how simple it was to make!…. maybe it was the secret ingredient LOVE.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can whip it up ahead of time. This is the secret to making your dinner party skills seem flawless.. when you return from the kitchen with a tray full of these bad boys your guests will be most impressed.

This desert really could not be any easier.

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Recipe

Ingredients:

Buttery biscuit crumble

1 packet digestive biscuits

100 g butter, melted

Fresh banana custard

2 large ripe bananas thinly sliced

I x packet of instant vanilla pudding

Whipped vanilla cream

250 ml thickened cream

1 tsp vanilla seed paste

Thick homemade caramel sauce

1 can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup Brown sugar

100 g butter

Method:

I like to take my time and make each component separate and then it is just a matter of layering all of the sweet goodness into your serving glasses and then retrieving from the fridge when the time is right.

For the buttery biscuit crumbs, process the digestive biscuits in a food processor until a rough crumb forms. You don’t want your crumbs too fine otherwise it will not give a great texture suited to soaking up the butter.  This is also the crunch element in the dessert. Mix the processed biscuits with the melted butter and then set aside. Don’t worry if you do not have a food processor.. just pop the biscuits in a ziplock bag and give them a good bash with a rolling pin!

For the fresh banana custard start by slicing your bananas as thin as possible. Mix up the instant vanilla pudding according to the packet instruction and then fold the fresh banana through. Chill in the fridge for about 5 minutes (just before it firms up) you still want to be able to spoon the custard into the parfait glasses.

For the whipped vanilla cream use a whisk attachment on your electric mixer to whip the thickened cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the vanilla seed paste. Set aside in the fridge.

Now for the best part!... the thick homemade caramel sauce!

In a saucepan combine the brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush (this prevents sugar crystals forming and gives a nice smooth caramel). Boil the mixture until a rich caramel colour is reached ( 5-6 minutes). Stir in the condensed milk and butter. Continue stirring for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Allow the caramel to cool in the fridge before using.

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Once all of your elements are prepared it is just a matter of layering. I like to at least get two thin layers of each element in so that with each big spoonful you are getting a bit of everything! I finish my parfaits with a little piped whipped cream and a dusting of buttery biscuit crumbs.. delicious!

See I told you they are super easy!! But shhhhh do not let your dinner guest know!

Lots of sweet love always,

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