Phoebella Magazine

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Issue 1 December 2012- Summer Edition

Issue 1 December 2012


contents On the Cover

Planning your holiday season the stress-free way 26 Brisbane’s best thrift shops 05 Life as an exchange student 06 Make your own Christmas baubles 12 Christmas brownies 5 ways 28

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Letter from the Editor 04 Vintage haunts of Brisbane 05 Life as an exchange student 06 A Sweet Christmas 09 Do it yourself Christmas Baubles 12 Good Food: Good God Let’s Eat 14 Australian Fashion Designer: Little Gracie Spring 2012 Lookbook 16 Planning your holiday season the stress-free way 26 Christmas brownies 5 ways 28 A traditional family Christmas 32 Christmas gift ideas: Personalised Portraits 34 Handmade on Etsy 35

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Editors letter

Contributors Mikaela Aitken Quinten Dol Claudia Jambor Cait McNamee Jemmah Lowry Lauren Payne Rebecca Gillies Beth MacKenzie

Letter from the editor

Thanks so much to you all I couldn’t have done this without you! Flick Creative Commons images: A Traditional Family Christmas: http://www. Planning your holiday season the stress-free way: N00/ DIY: Christmas Baubles:

Hi everyone and welcome to the first ever issue of Phoebella Mag. Now this little magazine has been around in my head forever and I am so, so glad that it has finally come to fruition so that others may enjoy it too. I firstly want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed for this issue. Just doing the layout has taken such a long time I cannot imagine how long writing all of these wonderful articles would have taken me. Your talent is simply outstanding and I hope to work with you all again on the next issue. I am hoping Phoebella will be a quarterly magazine, which will be themed on the seasons. This issue is of course based around summer and Christmastime. It has been such a fun and exciting ride creating this and I do hope you enjoy reading our first issue. If you would like to submit something for the next issue (Autumn themed) or simply write to us email me at


Thank you again everyone for making my dream possible!

Xoxo Ilana EDITOR Ilana Morgan

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s t n u a H e g a t n i V e n a b s i r of B By Mikaela Aitken


owntown Wynnum. Would you believe me if I said it has nine op shops within a 400m radius?

Yes, nine! As in a cat has nine lives, or Santa has nine reindeer. Nine! And don’t even think for a second that such density is saturating the market with crumby items. Far from it. Wynnum has long been a sleepy coastal town, just on the outskirts of Brisbane. And semi-sleepy it remains. Some friends’ are still confused about the suburb I live in. Not being able to place it on a map. Well, it’s a little further south of the Port of Brisbane and its neighbouring suburb is Manly. Once you hit Bay Tce, you will sneak a peek at the glorious bay stretching out to St Helena, Moreton, and North Stradbroke Islands. But let’s get back to the op shops. Due to its ageing population, Wynnum produces some rad finds. You will have to prepare for some serious rummaging, but if you’re willing to put in the extra effort you will surely find a gem at a bargain price. If it’s clothes you’re after hit up the four shops lying along Bay Tce. Need an outlandish costume? Well head straight for Aid for the Blind on Florence St. After some gorgeous old crockery, furniture, or ice buckets from the seventies? Visit The Salvos at 128 Tingal Rd. What about a lovely chat and some denim overalls? Pop into 92 Florence St. But be warned: being a sleepy little place, shops don’t tend to stay open past midday on Saturdays. And Sundays are reminiscent of a ghost town. My recommendation is to plan a morning of serious shopping, pack a picnic, then head down to the waterfront for a well-earned lunchtime rest. Why not make a full day of it. It was once a top holiday destination for city slickers. Back when it took a horse and cart a full day to reach the place. Op Shops in Brisbane suburb of Wynnnum Magazine - 5

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Life as an exchange stude By Quinten Dol


e’ve just noticed them building Colombia’s biggest Christmas tree in Plaza Simon Bolivar when my housemate grabs my shoulder – “Firewood!” he shrieks. We’re walking home through the obnoxious, polluted rush that is central Bogota in the early evening. Our apartment’s fireplace up in La Candelaria, the riotously colourful old centre of this five-hundred-year-old city, has remained unused for the three months we’ve lived there. But city workers are now lopping branches off the few trees that line the Septima, central Bogota’s main drag, and we leap on a pile of fresh wood that’s been left behind. Within thirty seconds a homeless man has appeared, shirtless in the evening chill, and starts helping us pick out the useable branches. Three months earlier I was fresh out of clean, sterile Brisbane, a city where confrontations with homelessness are 6 - Magazine

largely limited to a few people sleeping on Fortitude Valley’s Brunswick Street Mall. Back then I would have blushed and politely asked the man to move on. But Colombia has changed me. We welcome his help – Javier is his name – and promise some food if he helps us carry a load of wood up to our apartment. Javier hoists a gargantuan load of branches onto his back and takes off up Calle 11, bragging in coarse Spanish about his exploits as a champion boxer back in the day. When the job is done he accepts our shopping bag of bread and fruit and then he’s off again, disappearing into the street.

“The life of an exchange student is good anywhere, but those of us in Colombia have it made.” Unlike the usual destinations for exchange students (Great Britain, Canada,

the United States and continental Europe), Colombians aren’t at all accustomed to meeting Australians. Should you find yourself in a bar looking for a salsa partner, you’ll be overwhelmed with volunteers. You’ll get used to being stared at, parents will point you out to their children as a “gringo”, and you’ll often have to explain the very basics of Australian culture in Spanish. Most essentials in Colombia – travel, food, wine, beer, utilities and rent – are cheap, allowing your savings or Youth Allowance to go a little further towards luxuries that student life in Australia might not permit. Indigenous handcrafts, hilariously bad Mona Lisa knock-offs, ancient typewriters, incense candles and telephones that couldn’t possibly still work can all be found for sale in the street. If you want a hat, you go to the city’s hat district. Kitchen sinks are found in the kitchen sink district. And so it goes.

Article title Quinten’s photos from his time as an exchange student in Colombia


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My exchange university is Universidad del Rosario, an affluent four-hundred-year-old private institution in central Bogota, and the possible setting for a Latino version of The O.C. I spend my classes rubbing shoulders with the friendly, clean cut sons and daughters of senators and businessmen and struggling to participate in discussions about art in Spanish. In the afternoons I take Spanish classes at Universidad Nacional. Colombia’s largest public university has socialist graffiti on every wall, a plaza named after Che Guevara, and kids with beards and tattoos that play frisbee and smoke joints on the grass. A family of horses roam freely around the grounds and a piece of graffiti above the main gate warns you “Danger! Reality on the other side”. Any article about Colombia needs to address certain clichés. The country once had a reputation as a violent, corrupt narco-state, and justifiably so. Indeed, most Australians seem ignorant of anything Colombian beyond drugs and Pablo Escobar. For those unfamiliar with Pablo Escobar, imagine if Carl Williams was a billionaire who assassinated policemen and politicians, blew up a plane, and then tried to run for public office. The drug trade has undoubtedly played a huge role in Colombia’s past, and cheap, high purity cocaine can still be found relatively easily – just ask a street vendor outside any Bogota nightclub. However, the worst of Colombia’s history seems to be behind it. Peace talks between the FARC – the country’s largest left wing guerrilla group – and the government are underway in Norway and the bulk of Latin America’s drug related violence has moved to Mexico. Certain issues still exist – those who’ll tell you Colombia is completely safe are just as wrong as those who say it’s dangerous – but the country is far more welcoming, and far more beautiful than it is given credit for. It’s the people that seduce you into loving this country. Bogota – crowded, dirty, polluted, gritty and grey – would be unbearable if it wasn’t full of Colombians. Music fills the streets, people chat at length with stran8 - Magazine

gers, street art brightens up even the most neglected neighbourhoods and there is a real sense of community that Australian big city life can lack. If Bogota’s high altitude chill and crowds get you down, a few hours on a bus will take you to colonial villages, thermal springs and mountain hiking trails. Miss a couple of classes and a cheap flight will take you to the Amazon jungle, deserts in La Guajira, the unexplored Pacific coast, hiking trails in the Andes, organic coffee farms around Medellin and Caribbean beaches so impossibly beautiful they’ll bring a tear to your eye. So while you’re around the barbecue with the family this Christmas, spare a thought for those exchange students living in Colombia. No, we won’t quite be dodging guerrillas’ bullets or under guard waiting for a ransom to come through. Rather, we’ll be sweating it out in the Amazon, hiking in the snows of El Cocuy or in the houses of friends eating natilla (a Christmas dessert) and drinking aguardiente (disgusting aniseed liquor). Wish us luck.

A Sweet Christmas

Cupcakes by Sweet Jems

By Jemmah Lowry


hirstmas is my favorite time of year for baking festive treats as gifts for family and friends. It’s also one of the busiest times of the year for anyone in any career line, so when thinking of making sweet treats, you want it to be time efficient and simple as well. Here I have provided a few simple ideas to help you create some of the sweetest treats this Christmas.

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small decorating bag and cut a small hole at the end. Pipe the chocolate over the top of the biscuits, enough to cause it to drip down and look like custard.

You can manipulate it yourself and pipe the drips in yourself for more accurate drips. Place a Jaffa on top and a spearmint leaf above the Jaffa and allow to set.

Mini Christmas Pudding These are a simple treat that can be made a week in advance ready for gifting. Recipe adapted from Mary Wills featured in Fresh Living Magazine pg 47, 2004. What you will need: 12 Arnott’s Royals Chocolate biscuits 100gm white chocolate melted 12 Jaffas 12 Spearmint leaves Place the melted white chocolate into a Magazine - 9

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Candy Cane Cupcakes Cupcakes are one of the most favored sweet treats to gift, and nothing beats a Candy Cane cupcake for Christmas. I devised two ways to recreate the candy cane in cupcake form. A vanilla cupcake filled with a white chocolate and peppermint ganache, and the following cupcakes, which have a hint of peppermint swirled with vanilla cake. Swirled Candy Cane Cupcake What you will need: 225gm softened Unsalted Butter 225gm Caster Sugar 1 Tblsp Vanilla Extract 4 Eggs 225gm Self Raising Flour 1 Tsp Baking Powder ½ Tsp Peppermint Flavor 1 Tblsp Red Food Coloring Makes Approx 18-24 cupcakes . Preheat oven to 180oC and line cupcake pans with papers. Place all ingredients except for peppermint flavoring and food coloring into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until pale. Divide the batter across two bowls and add the peppermint flavoring and food coloring to one of the bowls and mix until color is evenly distributed. Using a spoon, distribute the two colored batters across the cupcake papers evenly, layering the two colors of batter and filling no more than two thirds of the cupcake papers. Use a butter knife to swirl the cake batters together forming a marbled effect. Bake for 16-20 minutes until skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Sweet Jems (a.k.a Jemmah Lowry) is a home baker and blogger who was born in Australia and now lives in Hawaii. To see more creations like these featured, visit 10 - Magazine

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Using a 2D piping tip to pipe green buttercream stars up on each other to form a tree. Finish with sprinkles as baubles.

Christmas Cupcake Decorating

Using a piping bag with no tip and red buttercream, pipe a hat like swirl finishing with a tilt to the side. Using the star tip with white buttercream, pipe small stars around the base, finishing with one large star on the top as pictured.

Using buttercream in a variety of Christmas colors, you can create the sweetest finish to your Christmas cupcake treats. Following are a few examples of what you can do this Christmas to jazz up your cupcakes. To make vanilla buttercream, combine 1 Cup of softened unsalted butter, 3 cups of pure icing sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon milk in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add coloring as desired. Starting with a white base, pipe 2 layers of green leaves using the leaf tip (wilton #352) finishing with a red buttercream ribbon.

Starting with a white base, use 3 Jaffas and 2 spearmint leaves to represent mistletoe.

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: f l e s r u o y t Do i s a m t Chris s e l b Bau Article title

By Lauren Payne


o it’s Christmas time. The time where families travel hundreds, even thousands, of kilometres to share a buffet of seafood and delicacies. The time where children pull their yearly all-nighters, too excited to sleep whilst thinking about what awaits them underneath the tree. The time where shoppers flood the halls of every shopping centre on the planet, trying to find those last minute presents, and of course, the time where we decided it would be a good idea to decorate a tree. Decorating a tree is one of the most exciting things about Christmas. Some people love it so much that they drag out that dusty, plastic shrub from their cupboards on December 1st, knowing full well that the holiday in question isn’t for another few weeks. Having a birthday in December, everyone I know is in a position where they must decide on either a spectacular birthday gift, or Christmas gift. Nearly all cannot afford both. But what happens when people such as my dear friends who choose to give the spectacular birthday gift, cannot simply afford to buy new Christmas decorations to replace the derelict ones from the year before? Of course they could always run to the two dollar shop and buy plain, boring baubles for a maximum of $2, but what will they do if they want something just a little bit fancy and original? They make their own baubles! Making baubles is very simple, and the materials are almost everywhere. And so my friends, here is how you create the ultimate Christmas bauble o decorate your tree this Christmas!

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Materials • Patterned Fabric/ Glitter (whatever you would like to decorate with) • Glue • Ribbon • Plain Christmas baubles or Styrofoam balls • Scissors Method • Place your Christmas bauble on a corner of the patterned fabric. Wrap the fabric around the bauble making it look like a sack; this will help you determine how much fabric you must use for your bauble. • Cut the top of the sack off. This will leave your remaining fabric unharmed, and you bauble will also have its cover. • Use the glue to attach the fabric to the bauble by applying small dots of glue, about the size of a pea, on the inside of the fabric and returning it to its sack-like form. Press down on the fabric to make sure it sticks to the bauble. • Cut off a piece of ribbon and tie it to the top of your bauble. This will make sure the sack doesn’t fall apart because you cannot be too careful. • Cut off a longer piece of ribbon and tie one end of it to the top of your bauble. Tie the other end into a loop; this will be how it hangs from your tree. • Wait a few minutes for the glue to dry and TA-DA, you now have your own personalized Christmas baubles! You can find Lauren elsewhere: Twitter: Blog: au/

Image courtesy of Flickr creative commons see pag details

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Good Food- Go God Let’s E By Mikaela Aitken


t’s rather unfortunate the festive period falls over summer, as most people want to look good in togs. But isn’t the best thing about the silly season the emphasis on scrumptious meals shared with much-adored friends and family? So to help you indulge even further and commit the sin of gluttony, here are two top spots in Brisneyland to blow your mind with deliciousness. Decadence done two very different ways. The first way is decadence done by your Grandma circa 1973. Sport some retro gear or your best cartoon inspired shorts, and visit Morningside’s new sister-sister-fiancé team at Southside Team Room. Warning: the people inside this café are just too kind and will woo you with their friendly chatter and laid-back manner. Be prepared to fall in like, maybe even love with the relaxed nature of the place. Oh, and did we mention one of the sisters and the fiancé are non other than Patience and John from The Grates? For the full gluttony experience, splash out and pre-book for a high tea inspired by what must be a magical depository of Women’s Day treats from the ‘60s and ‘70s. This will set you back $40 a head and is weekends only. Do not, I repeat, do not eat beforehand. Make as much room in your stomach as humanly possible, because

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you’re going to need it. Pick a tea; my recommendation is Lapsang Souchong. A smokey black tea, to help you cope with the truckload of food you are about to consume. Have a pitcher of iced raspberry tea with fresh raspberries, and prepare to indulge. The menu is spontaneous and with an inhouse baker, why shouldn’t it be. You may be treated to such delights as freshly baked pretzels hot from the oven, warm bagel bombs filled with cream cheese, house creamy mustard for the dipping, baguette mini sandwiches with meat mixes and dirty mayo. And that’s just the savouries. Then comes the sweets. You’ve got blueberry jelly jam meringue pies, chocolate fondue with marshmallows, strawberries, pretzels, and waffle cones, and fresh scones with jam and cream. But the true hero of the day is the fruit tingle cake. This eye-popping, mouth-watering, strawberry sponge from yesteryear evokes memories of childhood with real fruit tingles crushed into the icing. Hands down a piece of baking genius that will be the envy of all cakes. You will have to roll out of Southside Tea Room, post high tea. Be careful not to slip into a food-induced nap on your drive home.

drinking, eating, and sharing into a fine dining experience. The setting is stunning with so many unique ornaments to feed your eyes on. The staff are relaxed but wonderful at what they do, exciting you about the one hat menu choices. And boy are there choices. You may just fall into the trap of your eyes being bigger than your belly, but the food is so good you should listen to your eyes. Gorgonzola, pink peppercorn Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Char Siu Pork Ribs, Texas Brisket Flour Tortillas Chili Sauce. And that’s just three of the small plates. Round up your friends and take as many people as you can, then you will have more excuses for trying as many dishes as possible. The most breathtakingly scrumptious dish of all is the Saltbrush Lamb. This meal is nearly guaranteed to makes its way into your top five lamb dishes of all time. The lamb melts in your mouth with beautifully subtle flavours, and lies in an assortment of beans, micro herbs and caramelised onion. Then there’s the potatoes. Oh the potatoes, they must be cooked in duck fat to get the crisp lustrous flavour.

Now for decadence done in a modern New York kind of way.

But the kicker is, all the meals on offer will make you weak at your knees. The produce really is the hero in all of the dishes, and the flavour combinations are artful and divine.

Public is located on the corner of Turbot and George Street in the city and combines

Public really is an exciting addition to Brisbane’s food scene, and definitely ticks

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ood Eat!

The food and drinks Mikaela sampled at the Southside Tea Room and Public the boxes for decadence. So forget about the togs and get some expandable pants on. Indulge with loved ones this silly season and bask in the food Brisbane has to offer.

Visit the South Side Tea Room website here:

Visit Public here: http://www.lovepublic.

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Planning your holiday season stress-free way By Cait McNamee


he most wonderful time of the year' is fast approaching and for many of us this means Christmas cheer and getting in the festive spirit but it also means a certain amount of stress and chaos. Whether it is gift buying, organising family gatherings or planning parties there is always a lot to do and often little time to get it all done. With a few simple organisational tips and a bit of time management much of the stress can be eliminated leaving more time to relax, spend time with friends and family and soak up the festive cheer. 1. Make a Pinterest board - If you use Pinterest starting a holiday board is always a good idea, it is a good way to gather information and inspiration that you can revisit nearer the time. You can collect together any recipes you think might be useful, crafty ideas and even some gift inspiration. 2. Make plans early - Create a monthly planner so that you can see your weeks laid out in front of you, this will give you a visual of how much spare time you have. Decide what needs doing two months before Christmas, one month before, two weeks before and a week before. If you can see all your plans clearly it makes it much easier to fit in any impromptu events that may arise or solve any problems that come up like a last minute shopping trip or food run. 3. Plan a budget - Decide how much to spend on each person’s gifts as well as other 16 - Magazine

expenses such as food shopping, decorations and days out. Organising where your money is going is a good way to avoid stress and also to avoid finding yourself in an unwelcome financial position come the new year. Alongside the budget it can help to jot down a few ideas for gifts as they come to mind, there is nothing worse than forgetting a really great present idea. 4. Do any online shopping early - Shopping online is a great help during the holidays especially for those with busy lives and those who hate pounding the high street with other frantic shoppers the closer it gets to Christmas. It is advisable to do your online shopping early to avoid the rush and prevent the nail biting stress of not knowing if your gifts will arrive in time for the big day. 5. Set aside a day for shopping - When it's time to hit the shops make sure you are prepared, if it is possible make it a weekday when the shops are a little quieter, you'll be glad when you don't have to queue for miles. Make sure you have a list of items to look for as well as a mini budget you can refer to just to make sure you aren't going overboard. It is a good idea to get a few buys in early, yes you will be carrying them around all day but it will give you an encouraging boost if you can see you are making some progress. 6. Stock up on essentials - Before you get too swept up in the festivities make sure you give some thought to the mundane items

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Christmas images all via Flick Creative Commons. Please see links to original content on page 4.

that you'll be needing, gift wrap, sticky tape, household bits and bobs for cleaning, as well as store cupboard food stuffs. Getting stocked up on these sort of things will take a load off your mind with things get busy and having everyone’s favourite snacks and meals stored away will come in handy and save money when you've had a busy day and need to whip something up in a rush.

to have fun and let your hair down once in a while. Everyone has their little traditions whether it is watching a film together as a family, a big night out with friends or just grabbing a cinnamon latte from Starbucks it is important to make time for such traditions. The earlier you plan the essential stuff the easier it will be to find the time to fit in days filled with holiday cheer.

7. Make time for traditions - With all the planning and organising that comes with the holiday season it can be easy to forget Magazine - 17

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Christmas bro By Rebecca Gillies


here is never a bad time for brownies. Especially when it comes to Christmas.

Brownies are not normally a food associated with the season, but they can be easily jazzed up for a delicious Christmas treat. Whether you are looking for a super simple recipe to throw together the night before a work Christmas party, or you want to go all out to impress your young kids Christmas Eve, the five recipes below will help make brownies a staple on your Christmas menu. There is one basic brownie recipe below. The five Christmas brownie recipes all build on this one. It is a one-bowl recipe, so minimal cleaning up is required.

Basic brownie recipe: What you need: 200 g dark chocolate - at least 75% cocoa. ¾ cup butter ½ cup brown sugar 1 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 tsp vanilla

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1 cup flour 1 tsp salt ½ cup of dark chocolate chips What to do: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease a brownie pan and line it with parchment paper. I always advise this because it so easy to remove the brownies from the pan. Break up the chocolate and place in a large, microwave proof bowl with the butter. Microwave the butter and chocolate in 30 second increments until the butter and chocolate have melted together. In the same bowl, provided it is large enough, add the sugars. Whisk until the mixture is well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla at once and whisk until well combined. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture together. Be careful here not to overmix the brownie batter. You want to mix until

the last of the flour strands are fading because you will mix the mixture again in a minute. Stir the chocolate bits into the mixture. This won’t require a lot of stirring – make sure the chocolate bits are evenly spread throughout the mixture and there are no flour streaks. Pour the batter, which should be heavy and thick, into a brownie pan. Place in the oven and cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the brownies after 20 minutes because you don’t want the edge of the brownies to burn. The mixture may seem slightly undercooked when you first take it out of the oven, but once it has cooled the brownies remain fudgy yet firm.

M & M Brownies Makes 18 What you need: Ingredients in the basic brownie recipe (minus the dark chocolate chips) 2 x 45g Christmas M&Ms (these are long containers with only red and green M&Ms)

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ownies 5 ways

What to do: Follow the above basic brownie recipe. However, instead of placing chocolate chips into the brownie batter, place one of the 45g containers of M&Ms. Stir the M&Ms well into the batter. Pour the batter into your greased brownie tray. Sprinkle the other container of M&Ms over the top of the brownie mixture. Bake for the same amount of time; 20-25 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing as the M&Ms will melt if cut too soon.

Christmas Shaped Brownies

What to do: Follow the above basic brownie recipe. Once the brownies are baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Then remove from the pan. While the brownies are still warm but not too hot, use the cookie cutters to cut the brownies into Christmas shapes. Depending on the size of your cutters, you can get four to six large Christmas shaped brownies. Allow the shaped brownies to cool. Once cooled, use store-bought icing mixture and M&Ms to decorate as you please. Allow the icing to set before serving.

½ cup butter 1 tsp vanilla 1 packet of cream cheese What to do: Follow the basic brownie recipe. However, instead of baking the brownies in a brownie tin, bake them in a muffin tray. Make sure you do not use a regular muffin tray – I would suggest if possible buy a muffin tray where the muffin hole has a small base and large top (shaped like a microphone). This is what gives these brownies their great shape. Otherwise, a mini muffin tray would work. You will make 24 bases. Because you are using a smaller tray, these brownies need to be baked for 10-15 minutes. Immediately remove the brownies from the tray.

Makes 4-6

Santa Hat Brownies

What you need: Ingredients in the basic brownie recipe Star and Christmas tree cookie cutters Red and Green store bought icing mixture, to decorate 45g Christmas M&Ms, to decorate

Makes 24

If using the microphone shaped muffin tray, ensure the large base is sitting on the tabletop and the small base is facing up.

What you need: Ingredients in the basic brownie recipe 24 strawberries For the cream cheese icing: 1 ½ cups icing sugar

Using a spoon, scoop a hole in the top of the brownie large enough for a strawberry to fit in. Allow the brownies to cool.

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Then, hull the strawberries and insert them into the hole in the top of the brownies. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix with a handheld or stand mixer until a light, cream coloured icing has formed. Place the cream cheese frosting into a handheld frosting instrument. Pipe the frosting around the outside of the large brownie base, around the outside of the strawberry, and dot the top of the strawberry with the icing. Repeat for the remaining brownies, making more icing if necessary. Allow icing to set before serving. ***

Christmas Tree Brownies Makes 24 What you need: Ingredients for the basic brownie recipe 24 strawberries Ingredients for cream cheese frosting (found in Santa Hat brownie recipe) and green food colouring OR 1 tube of store bought green icing 24 marshmallows or edible stars Sprinkles or cake decorating supplies, to decorate What to do: Follow the recipe for making the basic brownies. Simultaneously, follow the first six steps in the Santa Hat Brownie recipe. Make sure your brownies have cooled completely before you add the strawberries to the top of the brownie. Now, you have the choice of making the cream cheese frosting in the Santa Hat Brownie recipe and adding 1-2 tsp of green food colouring, or you can simply use green store-bought icing. Either way, prepare your frosting. Pipe the frosting around the outside of the strawberries, swirling the icing around from top to bottom. It is completely fine if the icing is not neat.

Allow icing to set before serving.

Using the sharp end of a knife, flick the icing out so the ends of the icing stick out like a tree. Move the icing around in all directions so the strawberries are completely covered in icing. The messier it looks, the better – it looks more like a Christmas tree.


Top the tree with a marshmallow or an edible star and decorate the trees with sprinkles. This will give the appearance of tree decorations.

What you need: Ingredients in the basic brownie recipe (minus the dark chocolate chips) 200 g cream cheese 1 cup icing sugar

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Christmas Brownie Lollipops Makes 36

2 tbsp cocoa 2 x 375g pack of dark chocolate melts 36 candy canes Styrofoam (or another stand which will allow you to stand candy canes straight up) Pretzels, for decorating M&Ms, for decorating Sprinkles, for decorating What to do: Follow the basic brownie recipe omitting the dark chocolate chips. Bake for

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the usual 20-25 minutes and allow the brownies to cool as usual. Once the brownies have cooled, break up into little pieces and place in a large bowl. Use a stand or handheld mixer to mix the brownie into very small bits. In a separate bowl, add the cream cheese, icing sugar and cocoa and using the same mixer, mix the ingredients together. Add this frosting to the bowl of brownies and mix well with the mixer until a soft dough has formed. You should be able to squish the brownies into balls. Make sure there are no leftover streaks of icing sugar or cream cheese. Using a tablespoon, scoop up some of the dough and roll it into a tight ball. Place it on a flat tray (which has been well greased and covered with baking paper). Repeat for the remaining mixture – you should end up with approximately 36 balls.

the curly end of the candy cane so only a candy cane stick remains.

Refrigerate these balls for at least one hour, preferably three.

Once the chocolate on the end of the candy cane has dried slightly, push the chocolate end of the candy cane into a brownie ball. Make sure the ball sits properly on the end of the candy cane.

Then, melt the dark chocolate melts in a saucepan over the stove, or simply do it in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Unwrap the candy canes from their wrappers, if necessary, and break off

Dip one end of the candy cane stick into the dark chocolate mixture and place the uncovered end in the Styrofoam. Repeat for the remaining candy canes.

Dip the brownie ball in the melted chocolate and using a spoon, spread the chocolate evenly over the ball. Place the

candy cane back in the Styrofoam to dry. Repeat for the other candy canes. If the chocolate starts to dry up, simply pop in the microwave and re-melt it. After you have just popped the candy cane back in the Styrofoam to dry, before the chocolate has actually dried, it would be an ideal time to decorate the candy cane. Pretzels and red M&Ms can turn the ball into a Reindeer, or you can simply cover the ball in M&Ms or red and green sprinkles. Serve cold.

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A traditional family Christmas

By Beth MacKenzie


rowing up, I have been fortunate enough to live in two countries – Australia and Canada. I’ve enjoyed many a white Christmas as well as those spent in the humid Australian summer. But throughout them all, they have always been celebrated with family at my side. Having spent the first six years of my life living in Sydney, family was never more than a few minutes drive away. Each Christmas, my mum and dad would take my two sisters and I to our Grandparents place. The day would be spent in the pool with our cousins, eating delicious food, opening gifts from one another and before we all left, we would collect a candy cane from the Christmas tree. My Grandma always made sure there was enough for everyone. For the next three Christmases, I got to experience that white Christmas that fills the pages of children’s storybooks. Sitting around with the family, watching the flames of the fire (no chestnuts roasting though) while sipping on hot chocolate and eggnog. Then once the fire has died down, leaving only a glow from the embers, the children hurry off to bed and fall asleep while watching the snow fall softly from the sky, waiting to hear the “Ho! Ho! Ho!”-ing of Jolly Old Saint Nic and the sound of his sleigh as it glides across the roof.

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These Christmases were a little more subdued than those spent in Sydney as our nearest family was in the next province. But none the less, they were just as special. On Christmas Day, Mum and Dad would spend hours preparing dinner while my sisters and I played with all of our new toys. Living in Brisbane for the past twelve years, my Christmases have been anything but lacklustre. We’ve had everything from the big family celebrations at my Grandparents (now living in the southern highlands of New South Wales) to just the five of us spending the day relaxing by the pool, eating the dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation as well as new additions to the Christmas Day menu. Having spent my last Christmas with my older sister, Emma in Prague and away from the rest of the family and all of our favourite Christmas foods, I am very much looking forward to this Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my European Christmas and would happily do it again, but nothing can replace a Christmas with the whole family. To quote one of my favourite shows Chuck, at Christmas time “there’s fun and friends and food…and that’s just the f’s!” To add to sweet Morgan’s list, this year my Christmas will also be filled with my immediate and extended family, a day full of frivolous activities and plenty of the festive

Christmas image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commo

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spirit! Getting back to my love of good food, here are a few recipes that my family likes to enjoy at Christmas – from my Grandma’s fruit cake recipe to ones that I’ve added in the past few years. I hope you enjoy them and that you have a very merry Christmas surrounded by plenty of family, friends and most of all, delicious food!

Grandma Fay’s Fruit Cake

¾ cup (110g) currants 1 cup (250g) quartered red glace cherries 1½ cups (250g) coarsely chopped seeded prunes 1/3 cup (115g) honey ½ cup (125ml) brandy 250g butter softened 1 cup (200g) firmly packed brown sugar 5 eggs 1 ¼ cups (185g) plain flour 2 tbsp brandy extra

electric mixer until just combined. 5. Beat in eggs one at a time until just combined. 6. Add the fruit mixture and flour. Mix thoroughly. 7. Drop dollops into pan. 8. Drop pan from a height of about 15cm to settle mixture into pan and break up any large bubbles.

I’ve never tried to make my Grandma’s fruit cake but it’s something that I like to leave to her. She always makes plenty for the whole family and makes sure everyone has some for Christmas. She’s been making it for the family for as long as I can remember.

Method 1. Combine fruit, honey & brandy in a bowl. Mix well then stand for up to a week. 2. Line base & sides of a deep 19cm square pan.

10. Once the cake is cooked, remove fro m the oven and brush with the extra brandy.

Ingredients 2 ¼ cups (380g) raisins chopped coarsely 3 cups (500g) sultanas

3. Set the oven to 150˚C.

11. Cover with foil and leave it to cool in the pan.

ons. More info see page 4.

4. Beat sugar & butter in a small bowl with

9. Bake cake in oven for about 4 hours.

Magazine - 23

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s a m t s Chri : s a e d i gift d e s i l a n Perso s t i a r t r o P I

really enjoy creating things. In all kinds of ways. My store is full of lots of different things - from photography to cushion covers, bookmarks to babygros. I am a creative person. One of the most special listings in my store however, is my Custom Portrait service. I love to draw people. Portraits are probably the most challenging kind of art work for me, but also the most rewarding. There is something so special about capturing a special moment for someone, and preserving that moment in a unique and handcrafted way. I spend a lot of time on each and every portrait and the end result always evokes emotion in both the recipient of the portrait and in me too. It's just such a special and lovely thing to be involved in. If you would like me to custom make a portrait for you, all I would need is an original photograph of the special moment (which could be emailed to me) and a little time. I'll take care of the rest. You can buy a portrait here: portraits-of-the-people-you-love

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Handmade on Etsy

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By Claudia Jambor


Tired of mainstream mass produced fashion choices? This Christmas, buy her something unique at Juliaheartfelt. Stocking a wide range of beautiful woollen and silk textile creations including book covers, bags, summer Kaftans, silk and woollen scarves and accessories, Juliaheartfelt has the perfect gift for you. All of Juliaheartfelt’s creations are handcrafted from Australian Merino wool and silk. As an exclusive for readers, Juliaheartfelt is offering free postage within Australia for Christmas purchases. Check out it out! ://

B.Loved One B.Loved One is currently stocking a range of vintage bronze necklaces with cute cartoon cat pendants. With six different quirky furry friends to choose from and at just $10 each, these lovely little necklaces will make great stocking fillers. Want more? Check out the rest of B.Loved One’s sweet range of vintage necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Stocked in a variety of bright colours, pastels and prints, these accessories are also the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. Cat pendant range-

Lou Lou and Betty Give them a Christmas gift made by yours truly…You! Lou Lou and Betty stock a beatutiful range of brass jewellery charms and embellishments, giving you all the elements to create your own jewellery gifts this Christmas. Lou Lou and Betty also stock lovely ready-made brass necklaces, hair accessories and bracelets perfect to beautify any outfit. Even better, all Brass jewellery findings and embellishments are lead and nickel free. All Christmas orders made outside of Australia, please place your orders by the 30th of November to guarantee delivery of items within Australia. All Australian customers please place your orders by the 9th of December to guarantee delivery of items within Australia. Get in quick or miss out!

Pearl Jewelry Necklace Spoil your loved ones this Christmas with gorgeous hand crafted vintage jewellery. Specialising in vintage inspired wedding jewellery, Pearl Jewelery Necklace create stunning jewellery to suit any occasion including crochet and lace jewellery as well as other bridal pearl jewellery. All jewellery is made to order and can be customised to create the perfect gift for someone special this Christmas.

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