Filed under Party

Girls’ Night In 2013

This year’s Girls’ Night In. Ingredients included: Plenty of pink.

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Goody bags. A must. Filled with pink Hello Kitty Jelly Bellys. (Available at IGA in Sydney)

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And a handmade polymer clay necklace for each guest.

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And of course, mustn’t forget copious amounts of pink-coloured baked goods. This year the entire menu was gluten-free.

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Just a dash of girl talk, gossip and giggles and a good time was had by all.
Thank you ladies for 8 years of pink-coloured fun times!

Girls’ Night In 2012

Yesterday I hosted my seventh annual Girls’ Night In, at my grandmother’s house, in the afternoon. So it wasn’t quite a night in, but the idea was the same. Get the family together and stay in rather than go out; wear some pink, eat some treats and raise money for a cause close to my heart. Each year we donate the money we would have spent on a night out to the Cancer Council. It’s become a bit of a tradition in my family and I’m blessed to have such generous women in my life. We raised over $300 this year for the Cancer Council, which means we’ve raised close to $2000 in total over the past seven years.

We had vanilla cupcakes and gluten-free vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. This tiered cake stand was a bargain from Peter’s of Kensington recently.


We used my grandmother’s best china – Royal Albert Moss Rose which is no longer being produced. When did you last use your “best” china or cutlery? Too often the good stuff gets left in the cupboard collecting dust. Fortunately she has a set of eight tea cups, saucers and plates – perfect for our party of eight. My grandmother made her famous curried egg sandwiches, no one can make them quite like she does.

I made regular scones and gluten-free scones to make sure all guests were catered for. My great-aunt told me her mother made fabulous scones, I wonder if she or my grandmother still have the recipe. The favours were noodle boxes filled with chocolates and assorted exotic tea bags – like Cranberry, Raspberry and Strawberry herbal tea.

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This year we had a special guest star, this lovely KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in Pink. It’s such a pretty colour, and so girly! I used it to make the cupcakes, the frosting and to whip up some cream for the scones just before the ladies arrived. I get so much use out of my own Stand Mixer, I really don’t know how I used to bake without it. If you are thinking about treating yourself to a mixer here’s yet another another reason; $25 from the sale of each Pink KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer in Australia and New Zealand goes directly to the Breast Cancer Network Australia.

I hope my relatives in Queensland, England and the US are able to join us one year for our annual Girls’ Night In! Check out my Pinterest board Pink Party for inspiration for your own event.

* The Pink KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer was loaned to me as part of a promotion for Pink October.

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Girls’ Night In 2011

My sixth annual Girls Night In was actually an afternoon in this year. The idea is to stay in and donate the money you would have spent on a night out towards the fight against women’s cancers. It’s a cause close to my heart and I’m lucky to have family and friends so willing to contribute. And, of course, it’s a good excuse to get together and have fun! In the past, we’ve had dinner and played a game like Taboo or poker. This year, it was an afternoon of pink treats baked by me and shared between the eight of us.

Two of my guests are gluten-intolerant so I provided a selection of gluten-free treats as part of the spread. My aim with any gluten-free baking is to make something that everyone can enjoy, rather than a poor alternative to desserts with gluten. Sometimes I modify a recipe I have and other times I bake a treat that does not require flour of any kind. It’s easy to modify many recipes by using gluten-free flour mix instead of wheat flour. I’ve had good results with most recipes, especially the Hawaiian carrot cake I made back in July. This pink cake is from the same recipe I used for the rainbow cake in June; however, this time I used gluten-free flour mix and made three layers instead of six. Each layer baked for about 30 minutes. I had no real issues with the gluten-free flour; the taste and texture of the cake were comparable to one with gluten. To assemble the cake, I made a big batch of pink-tinted buttercream frosting. The cake held together well when sliced; popping it in the fridge for just a short while can help the frosting “set” and make it easier to cut.

The other gluten-free treat I baked was pink macarons. Most macaron recipes are gluten-free, as they call for almond meal, icing/confectioner’s sugar and egg whites, so I didn’t have to modify the recipe at all to make it gluten-free friendly. (Check your icing sugar is gluten-free, as the manufacturer may have blended it with something other than corn or tapioca starch.) I tried unsuccessfully to make macarons once before but I’m pleased to say this time went smoothly. Some leftover swiss meringue buttercream between the biscuits was the finishing touch. These were the most popular sweets on the table, I should have made twice as many to keep up with the demand!

The recipe for the chocolate cupcakes was the German chocolate cake recipe from the Baked Explorations cookbook. I used milk chocolate instead of dark and baked 36 cupcakes for about 25 minutes. This is definitely my favourite chocolate cake recipe to date, so expect to see it some more in Katie’s Kitchen. The frosting is swiss meringue buttercream piped on with an open-star tip. Remember to serve the buttercream at room temperature. Sweetapolita has some great tips to help you make this light and fluffy frosting.

My mission every October is to find the special edition pink-and-white M&Ms in stores. Last year I missed out, so this time I started looking early in the month. They are now sold exclusively in IGA stores in Australia, so that makes them a little hard to come across. I called five IGA stores before I found some in stock. Of course, I then raced over and bought a fairly restrained amount of four bags. Thirty cents from each packet goes to the McGrath Foundation. I just love colour-themed M&Ms in general! (I’ve already stocked up on the red and green Christmas packs.)

At the supermarket, I also picked up some tasty berry yoghurt coated rice cakes, as they are gluten-free and most importantly pink. Fresh strawberries, musk sticks, cheese, dip and crackers rounded out the afternoon’s snacks. Each guest went home with a goody bag of chocolates and a mini bottle of body lotion or body wash in sugary-sweet scents. As a result of the afternoon, the Cancer Council will receive a nice-sized donation from my family and me. Thank you to my grandmother, aunties and cousins for their generosity again this year.

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Girls’ Night In

I’m looking for a recipe for coconut ice for my annual Girls’ Night In pink party on Saturday night. Who would have thought there’d be so many variations in recipes? Any one got a tried-and-true recipe?

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Father’s Day

A sneak peek at what I’ve been working on this week.

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Girls’ Night In

On Saturday night I held my second annual Girls’ Night In. It involved lots of pink, tacos and a game of trivia. We raised $310 to donate to The Cancer Council. I made white chocolate mud cupcakes, with pink icing of course, and a couple of blue iced ones for my husband.

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