You should all know by now that I don’t need much of an excuse for a good old-fashioned tea party, so when Twinings sent me a box of their limited edition Australian Afternoon Tea it didn’t take long before I had (a) cracked open a packet of Iced Vo-Vos; (b) whipped up a batch of wattleseed cupcakes; and (c) dug out some of my choicest vintage Australiana china and linen. Add half a dozen lamingtons, a knitted cockie teapot handle cosy and a pot of Twinings full-bodied Australian Afternoon Tea and I was set: a very Aussie arvo tea. Heaven!
I used this recipe for the Wattleseed cupcakes, and I decorated them with handmade sprigs of marzipan wattle.
They’re dead-easy to make: just grab a packet of marzipan, dye three-quarters of it yellow with food colouring, and roll tiny balls with your hands (about 7mm wide). Then add some yellow food colouring to a bowl of caster sugar, and roll the balls in the sugar for a fluffy wattle-like coating.
For the leaves, add a drop or two of green food colouring to the rest of your marzipan, and roll it out to 2mm thickness. Use a sharp knife to cut out leaves and use a bread and butter knife to imprint veins. Arrange your little wattles on top of your cupcakes and you have a rather sweet tribute to Australia’s indigenous national flower.
As for the tea itself – well, let’s just say it was the little Aussie hero of the party. I like it. I like it a lot – it’s a brisk pick-me-up blend created by Kevin Rudd, of all people, and funnily enough it’s a feisty little character. Kevin won Twinings’ challenge last year to come up with an original brew that best reflected the taste of Australia. The top five blends were put to a public vote and Kevin come up trumps with a blend that stands up against the most languid of Aussie arvos.
Twinings has raised over $120,000 to date for the former Prime Minister’s chosen charity, the RSPCA, through on-pack donations. It’s a timely cause as the RSPCA needs extra support at this time of the year with poor wee injured animals from bushfires.
Limited edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea is available in Coles stores now, while stocks last. So best be quick! You can purchase it in a splendid keepsake tin (as pictured above), or in a twin pack with either English Breakfast or Early Grey. The lovely Twinings people are also increasing donations to the RSPCA, with 50c from every tin and $1 from every twin-pack going to the charity. Tea-riffic! (sorry, couldn’t resist.)
WIN! Twinings Australian Tea
I have five tins of this lovely limited-edition Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea tins to give away. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me in 25 words or less what you would serve with a pot of Australian Afternoon Tea. The giveaway is open to all Australian residents 14 years and older, and it ends at 5pm AEDST on Feburary 1, 2013.
Entries will be judged by Nuffnang and the winners will be the ones deemed most creative. There will be five winners, all of whom will receive a limited-edition tin of Twinings Australian Afternoon Tea. Click here for the full competition terms and conditions. Please don’t forget to leave your email address in the space provided in the comments section – it will only be visible to me.
This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.
Happy New Year, dear birdies! I really do hope 2013 is a brilliantly good one. Thanks so much for popping in and joining me in the Wee Birdy nest in 2012. Can’t wait to bring you more lovely goodness – and a brand new look – in 2013. xxx
How wonderful is this New Year’s creative concept, art direction and photography by Argentinian art studio, Plenty? via Typography Served.
Wishing all my super-lovely readers every happiness at Christmas. Thank you so much for stopping and making Wee Birdy what it is today. I’ve really loved expanding the Wee Birdy community on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and meeting so many of you over the year.
I’m having a wee festive break with my family but I’ll see you all in the New Year. In the meantime, you’ll find me on Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram, posting all my holiday pics. I’d love to see and hear about all of your Christmas festivities as well.
Please join me in Instagram and #ShowMeYourTree! It’s easy – here’s how to do it:
1. Head over to Instagram.
2. Take a photo of your Christmas Tree.
3. Upload your tree on Instagram and use the hashtag #showmeyourtree and tag @weebirdy.
Can’t wait to see your tree! Here’s mine (see top)!
Merriest of merries, everyone! X
Photography by Lucas Boyd.
This, my dearest birdies, is my favourite Christmas dessert. It’s the perfect way to end a too-stuffed-to-eat-another-mouthful-Christmas-dinner, as it’s relatively light (well, depending on how much you eat) and the raspberries offer an edge to the sweetness of the macaroons and cream.
I don’t really use a “recipe” as such (apart from the coconut macaroon bit) because it’s dead simple – and the amounts used depend on how big your trifle bowl is.
If you want the cheat’s version, use shop-bought coconut macaroons. You’ll be laughing at how dead-simple it is to put together, not to mention the ‘big effort’, maximum-impact results.
Now I’m not talking about French macarons of the Laduree variety, I mean rough coconut macaroons that are crispy and toasty on the outside with a deliciously gooey meringue-y centre. I like to make my own, but be careful not to overcook them as you won’t get the gooey/sticky/toasty/crunchy texture that makes this recipe so lovely.
- Freshly whipped cream (I use two cartons of whipping cream, but you may need more or less, depending on how big your bowl is).
- Raspberries (I use a mixture of fresh and frozen. I use one whole box of frozen raspberries, together with four punnets of fresh raspberries. It’s really nice to decorate the top of the dessert with a layer of fresh raspberries.)
- Crushed coconut macaroons – either shop-bought or make them yourself, recipe below. Just pop them in a plastic bag and whack them with a rolling pin/mallet/other handy whackable object. Don’t smash them to smithereens – you don’t want a crumb-like texture. More of a mixture of crumbs and little chunks.
1. Place a layer of crushed coconut macaroons (around an inch high) in the bottom of your glass trifle dish.
2. Usually a spatula, place a layer of freshly whipped cream (around an inch high) on top of the macaroons.
3. Now place a layer of raspberries on top of the cream.
4. Repeat the layers until you get to the top of the trifle bowl.
5. Finish with a layer of whipped cream and decorate with fresh raspberries. Either throw your raspberries on free-form or go for a retro design of concentric circles.
6. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve, then dust it with icing sugar (don’t do what I did last year in a fit of Christmas-induced madness and toss a heap of castor sugar on top. I misread the label. Not nice. Gritty. Oh dear.)
7. Wow your guests – they’ll love it!
Coconut Macaroon Recipe (the non-cheat’s version)
- 3 cups of shredded coconut
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup of caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Line three baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spread the shredded coconut over two of the trays and cook in the oven, tossing occasionally for three to four minutes until lightly toasted. For the love of god keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn! Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate. Your kitchen will now smell divine!
2. Whisk the egg whites and salt together with electric beaters in a scrupulously clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Make sure you don’t have a speck of grease on your bowl or mixers or your meringue won’t work.
3. Once you have soft peaks, add sugar a spoonful at a time. Go slow and steady here! Look at the mixture carefully and make sure all the sugar has dissolved before adding the next spoonful of sugar.
Once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a further two minutes or until your mixture is thick and glossy.
4. Add the vanilla essence and whisk to combine.
5. Add the toasted coconut and use a large metal spoon to carefully fold it in until just combined. (Use a bit of TLC here. If you overdo this bit or stir too vigorously, your macaroons will be flat.)
6. Spoon tablespoonful of mixture onto lined trays. Leave around 2cm between each macaroon. Bake in the oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 12-15 minutes or until your macaroons are light golden and firm.
7. Leave them to cool for five minutes on the trays before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
8. Store in an airtight container for up to two days before you need them.
Photography by Lucas Boyd.
Do you think you’ll have a go at making my dessert this year? What’s your all-time favourite Christmas dessert?
You might also like Likkle Girl’s Rummy Balls.
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Stuck for original and charming present ideas for the little ones? I’ve scoured the globe for the most amazing gifts for kids, starting at $10.
1. The Magic Tree House, AU$179 from Lark.
2. Tsumiki house, EUR91 from The Space Penguin.
3. Antique rose ballet bounce skirt by Collette Dinnigan For The Australian Ballet, AU$39 Target.
4. Kiko machi wood+magnet town, EUR32 from The Space Penguin.
5. Little Roar Head by Flatout Frankie, AU$35 from Hello Polly.
6. Rain Littlephant art print by Camilla Lundsten, AU$36 from Hello Polly.
7. Nathalie Lete Friends magnet set, £22 from Niddle Noddle.
8. Coq en Pate giraffe shoulder bag, AU$33.95 from My Messy Room.
9. Rock Your Baby ‘Masked Crusader’ blue t-shirt with detachable cape, AU$35 from My Messy Room.
10. Flensted Elephant Party mobile, AU$30 from Great Dane Furniture.
11. Maze the ark ducky hook, AU$31 from Funkis.
12. Nathalie Lete Sailor Tin bucket by Nathalie Lete, £8 from Niddle Noddle.
13. Kids Company Dodgy Panda knitted hooded scarf, £45 from Liberty.
14. Plastic Clonette Doll with Rabbit in dark blue, AU$10 from Lark.
15. Theatre “ESPAÑOL” (to assemble), EUR22 from Teatritos.
16. Rock Your Baby ‘Eat My Dust’ board shorts, AU$39.95 from My Messy Room.
17. OMM Design Tiger Plate, AU$12.95 from My Messy Room.
18. Bear jacquard knit green jumper by Tootsa MacGinty, £31 from Burp Boutique.
19. Djeco magician pencil trick book, £13 from Liberty.
20. Blink Design colours wall art , AU$60 from My Messy Room.
21. The Game of Sculpture, £7.95 from Culture Label.
22. Kiko ashiato cat print toy beach sandals, EUR17.60 from The Space Penguin.
23. Harry Potter Marauder’s Map, £36.95 from Harrods.
24. A Menotti and Y Labat’s How Many Jellybeans?, AU$24.95 from My Messy Room.
25. Lion face cushion, AU$29.95 from Lark.
26. Kiko gatcha gatcha dispenser, EUR39 from The Space Penguin.
27. Best Bead Kit In The World, £11.60 from Cox and Cox.
28. Animal crayons, £5.20 from Cox and Cox.
29. Vintage caravan, AU$29.95 from Lark.
30. Milk n Soda Sailboat Bow Tie in Sky, AU$19.95 from My Messy Room.
31. Harry Potter Hermione’s Time Turner, £51.95 from Harrods.
32. Chalkboard Cowboy, £29.50 from Daisy Mooo.
33. Blafre Giraffe Steel Drink Bottle, AU$24.95 from My Messy Room.
Want more lovely present inspiration? Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.
Prefer to buy all handmade? Click here for my Etsy 2012 Christmas Gift Guides.
And don’t miss my Top 20 Christmas Crackers and my Top 20 Christmas Stockings!