Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Festive i ♥ Market Time

Well folks its that time of year again. If you are hunting for special treasures for Christmas and would like to support local handmade fare... you will be spoiled for choice at i heart market. The market is on this sat, the 10th and the 17th. Triple whammy ~ yay! Tin Bird will be there this sat and the 17th only. Look forward to seeing you there 9 am - 2 pm.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Inspiration

I attended the Christmas demo held by Centre Piece last week. Champagne on arrival then a brief intro from Seán. Stuart from Centre Piece gave us some tricks of the trade for table settings. Not only did he speak about the basics of settings but also using what we have in our homes for making a special display.

Craig from Petals & Twigs showed us how a table comes to life with flowers; ivy from our garden and fruit! I didn't get a good shot but look at the photo with the urn of apples. On the table next to it is one apple which is speared with a large white rose. Then a rose leaf is pinned to the apple. Write your guests name on the leaf with a gold pen and you have an unusual place card for your guests.

Paula from Centre Piece showed us how to make a lovely trifle with cranberry coulis, vanilla sponge cake and créme brulee. What a love about this recipe, is you can make it the day before. You can change the ingredients to choc sponge, use blueberries or add vodka/rum to the cranberry coulis... there are so many options.

Then it was time for tea! What a gorgeous layout ~ vintage china, rose petals and pearls. The food made by Paula was dainty, from mint cucumber finger sandwiches to melt-in-your-mouth chocolate brownies. I left feeling very inspired for Christmas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tick tock Tick tock

Competition for Christmas biscotti closes soon...

Have you liked the Tin bird page (not the photo)?
Have you come up with a fab name and posted it to Tin Bird's wall?
Have you crossed fingers and toes?

Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas Demo by Centre Piece

Centre Piece in Durban is run by event managers Stuart Mitchell and Seán Madden. They provide irresistible food, drink, style and service. Vintage afternoon teas are their specialty. However they can transform any personal or corporate occasion to one that is memorable, professional and unique. Their service ranges from fairy-tale weddings to party platters delivered to your door.

What sets them apart is their combination of presentation, vintage china, exquisite glass and beautiful lace linen. I also love the story behind their vintage collection which was sourced by Seán's mom. All from British charity shops and shipped to South Africa when they launched Centre Piece.

Centre Piece is doing a Christmas Demo next week. I have included a pic of the invitation. The Demo starts off with a glass of Champagne. Then Stuart will do a Christmas Table setup. Followed by Craig from Petals & Twigs who will do Christmas table flowers. Next is the high tea buffet with a light meal served with tea or coffee. Finally Centre Piece's chef Paula will do a Christmas food demo. Should be a lovely two hours of inspiration for Christmas or any special occasion. 

If you don't want to miss out rsvp to: info@centrepiecehire.co.za

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pretty Pinwheels

Or pinspinners as Jenny calls them from Allsorts. I thought these will be a cool activity to do in the upcoming holidays with my children. We can make them modern, funky or vintage - should be fun! Visit Allsorts here on how to make these sweet wheels.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tomato Basil Pesto Soup

I'm sharing my humble tomato soup recipe with you, fit for all domestic goddesses. It probably won't suit Gordon Ramsey but hey C'est la vie. I love this soup for a few reasons. First and foremost my children eat it - this is a huge bonus. Its very simple to make and makes you feel domestic goddessy without going to too much effort for a healthy meal.

You will need:
olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
1 onion
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 tins tomato puree
1 litre chicken/vegetable stock
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & freshly ground pepper
basil pesto or large handful of basil leaves
1 heaped tsp of bicarb

First you chop up the onion and garlic and braze it in some olive oil. Add some sweet potato and sweat this for about 5 mins. I've got a gas top so it can catch at the bottom slightly, I just add a Tbsp or so of water to prevent this. Then you add the tomato puree. Next is chicken stock as I like the flavour, but you can add vegetable stock if you prefer. Then add sugar and seasoning.

I do season sparingly with salt and freshly ground pepper as there can be a high salt content in stock already. I check the seasoning again at the end. First secret ingredient is two large dollops of Basil pesto or fresh basil leaves. Actually sometimes I add more I'm so addicted to the stuff. Bring this to the boil and then simmer for 40 minutes.

Carefully using a hand blender, as its very hot, blend everything to get a smooth consistency. You can add more sweet potato to get a thicker consistency. Sometimes I leave out the sweet potato for a thinner soup. It just depends on the day, if I'm in a rush or I open my cupboard and there's no potato! It still tastes delicious.

The second secret ingredient is the bicarb! I found this out by accident. I had the most divine tomato soup at a restaurant and complimented the chef. She told me it was a simple tsp of bicarb that made all the difference. It gives the soup a lovely consistency. I tried it and it works! Its so cool to use as well. When you add the bicarb it reacts to the liquid and starts frothing. Its almost like you are doing a small science experiment. Mix it all up and the soup expands a little with all the 'frothing'. Simmer for a further 10 mins.

I got some Tiger bread from Woolworths and cut it into diagonal slices. Rub both sides with a cut garlic clove. I got my kiddies to 'paint' the bread with olive oil - they love helping out. Sprinkle the slices with pink Himalayan Crystal salt or normal coarse salt; bake in the oven until golden brown/crispy. Serve with the tomato soup and check seasoning. This will serve 4-6 people. If you have any leftover - freeze and enjoy another day!   

Tomato soup with sweet potato & basil before blending stage

Adding the bicarb

Frothing tomato experiment

Tiger bread slices being lovingly 'painted'

Bon appetito!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tin Bird Nov Market Day

What an awesome day at I ♥ Market last Saturday. Weather always a factor and after rain all week the sun came out and what a gorgeous day. Thanks again for the Tin Bird supporters - so appreciated! Next market is the 3rd Dec. There are 2 more markets after that one - which means 3 markets in a row. Great opportunity to acquire some creative gifts for Christmas! 

Tin Bird @ I heart Market Nov 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holly Jolly Tags

In case you haven't noticed - Christmas decor has exploded in the shops. I found these novel tags at Mr Price, 6 for R13.99. Also picked up some gift wrap for my stash.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

~ Give me a name ~ Christmas Biscotti Competition

Tin Bird is making biscotti especially for Christmas with cranberries, pistachios and a hint of cinnamon. I am giving away 3 packets of these delicious biscotti. All you have to do to win is:

~ Come up with a Christmassy name for the biscotti e.g. Reindeer Bites
~ Like my facebook page
~ Post your 'name' suggestion on my blog or facebook page


Some spiel:
Sorry this is a local giveaway only (South African residents only). If you have liked my facebook page already, it still counts... just post your name suggestion. Tin Bird reserves the right to not publish inappropriate comments. I will choose my favourite name from the nominations that suits Tin Bird best. If there is no winning name, a random winner will be chosen. The comp closes 21 November 2011. Good luck!