xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' Karen Wagner garden & design: December 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

chrismtas inspiration ......and the famous orange cake recipe

Its been such a busy time....which is great, but I have just not found enough hours in the day to be a very consistent blogger....I suppose at the time of the year, its to be expected.
I also have neglected to really think about how I am going to do Christmas this year.  Usually I have a few ideas rumbling around in my head as to how I will decorate a few things and what food we might have & a few special things, but I must admit I haven't really had time to give it enough thought.  Well maybe up until now.
I realised I need to get cracking when my youngest daughter starting nagging about getting the Christmas tree up.  Luckily, both the girls (our two daughters as they have collectively become known...!) volunteered to do the tree and some of the household decorations, and I must admit I have more or less left them to it for this week.
But I did then think, I probably needed a little input and went looking for inspiration. And basically this is what I came up with.  I think this will give me a few ideas of a couple of quick and great looking things to do for decorating, others are just beautiful and give absolute inspiration for colour and design and texture.

First though, I am going to list the orange cake......we had the most wonderful gluten free orange cake at the afternoon tea at the peony farm and lots of people have requested the recipe and thank you for being patient.  My mum made the cakes and biscuits on the day...she is a wonderful cook and whips things up out of nowhere especially for afternoon tea!!!  So I will attribute the recipe to her and hope I get it right.


2 medium oranges, washed
3 tsp gluten free baking powder 
(I have left this out without any apparent consequences when I haven't had it)
6 organic/free range eggs
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
vanilla (either vanilla bean halved and seeded or good essence)
350 g almond meal
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
(another option is to add 3/4 cup coconut for another version)

put oranges into a saucepan and cover with cold water and bring to boil.  Simmer for about 1 hour.  Drain and cool
Preheat over to 180oC.  Prepare 24 hole large muffin tin using paper paddy pans.  Usually at the moment I use the Robert Gordon ones as they are upright.  You can make it as a full cake into an approx 20cm diameter, tall cake tin.  (Grease and line well)

In a food processor:
Put cut oranges and process until pulpy.
Mix all other ingredience into food processor until well mixed.

Put mixture into each muffin tin pan and pop into oven.  As muffins they take a lot less time...approx 25 - 30 mins.  Let cool in tin.  If making a full cake, then bake for at least 1 hour - also cool in tin.  If the top is starting to burn, turn oven down and continue to bake until cooked.  Don't overbake as this will stop that lovely moist cake that is characteristic of this type of cake.

For the topping:  either make an orange syrup which is lovely with cardoman seeds infused through it (water, sugar, orange rind and a little orange juice) or the icing that we had on the day.
The icing is very buttery but very lush.
125g soft butter + 1 - 1.5 cups icing sugar + fresh orange juice from 1 orange and a little very finely cut rind.
mix all together and beat well until it almost starts to 'change colour' and consistency (it goes just a little paler) - icing should have a bit of a good beating.  Use enough icing sugar and orange juice to get the consistency you require.  Not a runny icing, more like soft toothpaste.

To ice:  tear the paper from around the outside of the little cakes, leaving the bottom paper on and ice the top generously.


Love love love olive branches for christmas when i can get them....great big bunches.

We aren't having this many to christmas lunch but its a lovely setting.....

We have these lovely barn stars made by the Amish in America in Store!

Water melon is always a staple treat of Australian warm christmas.....this is a great idea.

Have a great Christmas hopefully with family and friends and with lots of laughs.....and a very joyful and fun NewYear.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

In-Store - new, classic, useful

We have lots of lovely new things in store.  

When we thought about our selections for gifts for christmas and presents this year, we were determined that the overall theme had to be great quality, beautiful, practical,  and a little luxurious if possible.  Hopefully, we have delivered.....  with lots of things to choose from.

We will also wrap for free for you........ 

Classic Haws watering cans....long handle professional, traditional green, small and large, in silver, green, black.   Wonderful

You Are My Sunshine.......  wonderful metal signs.     The blue teal one reads, You Make Me Happy When skies are Grey  and the red ones is, You'll never know dear how much I love You.

String, string, twine and string.

Outdoor Mirrors, willow planters, Obelisks, Candles......

When I found these classic French boxes that had been used for Marrons Glaces, I was tempted to make a whole pile myself and give them as a present in the box.  But then i read the recipe and realised I had to coat and cook up to 10 times in sugar syrup mixes.....I just don't have time.  So I think these would be better utilised to store lovely piles of things....in my study, in the kitchen, in the office....lots of options and look great stacked.

Stockings and Christmas Decorations...

Glass Domes to make beautiful still life botanicals.

Letters, Numbers, and votives

Outdoor thermometers........these are great presents for men that have everything.

Terrariums, lights, glassware and a wonderful pumpkin candle holder made of mercury glass.

Great Santa Sacks, Metal Fire Pits.....

New in yesterday.....metal round planters with leather handles.  Look great with plants in them, for storage or for parties  with lots of champagne....

See you instore soon....!!!!

Karen & Co.