Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Guest Post: Belinda from The Forage

Our guest poster from this week is Belinda. Belinda joined us at the Boathouse for our June cakeup and without revealing too much - we might just be organising something a little different for July.....Stay tuned.. 

So, back to Belinda... She is the blonde babe behind the amazing cupcakery Cheery Seed and most recently 'The Forage', Canberra's newest foodie event - bringing together some of the best ACT's food and drinks! Today, she shares with us one of her favourite cupcake recipes and tells us a bit more about how The Forage came about and when the next event is. Thanks B!

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I was born in Perth but my family moved east for my father’s work when I was only 3 and Canberra has been my home ever since.  I consider myself as one of Canberra’s biggest fans!  I just adore this city! A natural love of creating, baking and styling is a genetic trait and one that stems back to my Grandmother on my Mother’s side. Her name was Marjorie and I wish she was still here so she could teach me more.

My dreams were always clear as I was growing up - a cosy little shop full of fresh, baked goodness! I only ever thought it would be a dream.  But I kept dreaming (and baking) and after finishing up work to be with my two young children at home, I embarked on a new career path of CUPCAKES!

I started this journey at the Capital Regional Farmer’s Market at Epic every Saturday for 18 months.  The demand grew and so did my urge to have a space to call my own. In 2007, I thought if I don’t do this, I will regret it! So, I opened a little shop called Cherry Seed in the beautiful historical Ginninderra Village and for the next 7 years I had a massive roller coaster ride! Good times, hard times and a huge lesson about the food industry, Canberra and small business.

Anyone that has been in the food industry will know the commitment level you need to sustain to ensure your business is a successful one. I stuck to my commitment and worked hard, but after 7 years, I became tired and so did my little family. There were so many sacrifices and the life/work/balance thing became a bit too hectic. I had ticked all the boxes of my business plan and felt that I had achieved all I wanted to achieve at Cherry Seed. In some sense, I had outgrown my little shop. A big decision was made to shut up shop when our commercial lease came up for renewal at the end of 2013. It was time to move on, dream and achieve again.

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At the back of my mind for quite some time sat an idea of a food event for Canberra and its food industry. It was an event that hadn’t been explored in Canberra yet and I was itching to get it started. With the commitment of a shop front, meant I just didn’t have the resources or the energy to get going.
With the shop closed, I had a little rest and BAM! The Forage was finally born with the support of some very special people and the Canberra community! The Forage is an event to showcase Canberra’s (and its surrounds) food scene.  Bringing together our cafes, mobile food vendors, wineries, breweries, coffee roasters etc all in one location to offer street style food and drinks. Our first event was held on April 12 in the beautiful NewActon precinct and it was a huge success! We had live music, great quality vendors offering amazing street style food and an atmosphere that will make you want to hang around on a hay bale and fill your belly! Maybe even wash it all down with a mulled wine. It gets bumper to bumper and you may find your toes get trodden on, but it is well worth it!

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You can get amongst it at our winter event on July 5 in NewActon from 3pm-7pm. There will be warmth in the Nishi Gallery, amongst the John Avery Gardens and down Kendall Lane. Live music, a brilliant line up of food vendors and the Hustle&Scout Fashion Market across the road in the Nishi Building. You won’t want to miss it! You can visit our website or join us on our Facebook page to stay up to date with what’s happening!

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My heart will always naturally lean to baking, it makes me feel good.  Time in the kitchen is therapeutic for me and I love the end result of baking! I often lean toward full bodied, fruit based cakes smothered in cream cheese icing!  My favourites would have to be Carrot Cake, Lumberjack or the sweetness of a beautiful Hummingbird. 

One of the top selling cupcakes at Cherry Seed was our Hummingbird cupcakes.  The recipe is simple but the flavours are unforgettable.  Have a go, you’ll want to put the kettle on and enjoy these with a hot cup of tea in your favourite tea cup!

Hummingbird Cupcakes – makes 24

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of self-raising flour
1 ¾ cup of brown sugar
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger 
1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda
2 cans of crushed pineapple – 1 can drained of its juice
2 cups of very, very ripe mashed banana
4 eggs
1 ½ cups of light olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 180. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add all the wet ingredients and mix through, avoiding over mixing. Divide the mixture amongst 24 cupcake cases, filling to about ¾ full.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until firm and golden in colour.  I always turn my cupcake trays halfway through baking to ensure the cupcakes bake evenly. Remove from the oven and take the cupcakes straight out of the pans and place on a cooling rack.  If you don’t do this straight away moisture will build up and the cupcake cases will pull away from the cake.  Cool and then ice with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of toasted shredded coconut.

Cream Cheese Icing
250g cream cheese icing
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
125 grams softened unsalted butter
3 cups of icing mixture

Put all the ingredients in an electric mixer, beat until a smooth and creamy.  Ice away and enjoy!

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