Our Festive Celebrations for 2013

Well hello there!!! Welcome back lovely readers.
Happy New Year to you all!!!
I can’t believe it’s now 2014. Christmas is all done and dusted for another year. Thank goodness Christmas only occurs once a year, I love it, but physically, financially and mentally I think once a year is more than enough for everyone (I believe the next 12 months is to recover).
We had a fantastic festive break, sharing it with beautiful family and friends. I feel truly blessed to be part of such a special network of people. I did promise a post-Christmas Blog Post so rather than waffle on (like I usually do) I think I will let the pictures do more of the talking today.

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It was a group effort putting our Christmas day feast together. This was some of the kitchen action on Christmas Eve. Zasister, Zagrandma and Zakidlets all doing their bit. Zadada was doing plenty behind the scenes, taking these pictures, tending to the outside maintenance and keeping Zakidlets entertained.

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I love a pretty Christmas table. This year I used a mirror as part of my centre piece on the table (an idea I found on pinterest). I was really happy with how it all turned out.

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Tradition in The Zamamabakes household is to attend Mass on Christmas Eve. We managed a quick bite to eat before hand, the kids request of course, but it was lovely to just sit and have a few moments as our family of 5.

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We had to leave some treats out for Santa and his Reindeer. The banana and strawberries on the plate was my attempt to Christmas Brekky a little (some more pinterest inspiration).

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I love watching the kids discover their gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.

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This was our group for Christmas lunch. Zasister, Zagorgeous Aimee, Zabrother, Zadada, Zamama (me), Zapop, Zagrandma and of course Zakidlets our little cherubs Alani, Blake and Ella. Missing from the picture is Zauncle Jim, he was behind the camera for this shot.

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Some yummy morning appetizers! I made sure I had that glass of champagne (a Christmas gift from Zasister last year). We had a delicious Cheeseball Zauncle Jim made I intend on sharing the recipe as soon as I can.

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This is some of what was on offer for lunch, dinner and lunch again on boxing day!! So much food, so delicious.

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Zakidlets table and the rest of us.

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Dessert was scrumptious another great group effort.

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And just in case you felt like something else sweet we had Zanan’s Trifle, Zagrandma’s fruit cake and a tray of yummy homemade chocolates.

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It’s not Christmas without a spot of cricket, I chose to spectate and ensure the electric fence was switched off!!!

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How could we forget Zapuppydog!! Blake found this dog shirt at the reject shop before Christmas, wrapped it up and put it under the Christmas tree for Locky. It was a little on the tight side so it was on long enough to take a picture. I think Zapuppydog needs to lose a little weight, (his New Years resolution perhaps).

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Boxing day brought some motor biking action.

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As well as some construction action.
Lots of fun was had by all involved.

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For Christmas Zagrandma and Zapop, Zanan and Zapop as well as Zadada and Myself all put in to purchase a climbing fort for Zakidlets. The only thing was it came flat packed.

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The day after boxing day we had a working bee that went for 12 hours (I happened to be in at work for 8 of those hours). I still managed to lend a bit of a helping hand when I got home (I think) for a few brief moments at least (I fitted in the fort a little more comfortably than Zadada), they even let me loose with the drill!!!

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The finished product with some very happy owners!!
Thank you to Zanan, Zagrandma, Zapop and Zadada for making this happen all in a day!!!
For those interested we purchased the climbing fort from climbingframes.com.au the ceder climbing frame specialists. See details here. We are extremely happy with it so far.

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We also managed a beach trip during the festive break. We had a great day!!!

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Before we knew it a week had passed and a new year was almost upon us. We stayed at home sharing New Years Eve with some lovely friends.

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New Year celebrations are not complete without Dessert!! In fact no celebration is complete without dessert!! I made an easy Chocolate, cream and berry log, it’s a bit of a cheats dessert, great when you are a little time poor and is always yummy!!

I am looking forward to sharing some recipes from the festive break soon.
While the kids are on holidays things may be a little hit and miss, I will do my best.
It’s great to be back, stay tuned.

Zamamabakes

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What’s cooking at Zamamabakes house on Christmas Day?

The fact that we are only 4 days out from Christmas, I thought what better way to sign off on 2013 then to give you a little insight into a Christmas hosted by the Zamamabakes household.
This year we are doing things a little simpler (I think??).
Zagrandma (my Mum) always comes to join me in my kitchen on the day of Christmas eve, we play Christmas carols, dance around and do lots of Christmas cooking together. Its busy and lots of work but we love it. We usually manage to fit a festive drink in there somewhere too.

We will have a variety of guests Christmas day including Zagrandma, Zanan’s, Zapop’s, Zaaunt’s, Zauncles, Zachick, Zacousins.
Like most we make Christmas lunch our main meal of the day and for lunch I am expecting 8 adults plus 3 Zakidlets!! 2 Years ago we had 24 for lunch, it was hectic but lots of fun.

Tradition is to have a cold buffet of salads, ham, prawns, chicken and whatever other meats we decide to have sometimes turkey, sometimes pork it just depends on how complicated and time-consuming we want to make things ha ha. All the dining guests usually get delegated a dish or 2 to bring along which works out perfectly giving us a great selection of food to enjoy!

Zakidlets usually start their day with a ‘sometimes breakfast’ of Coco Pop’s, note the SOMETIMES!!!! They love them for a treat. I am also planning to surprise them with some fresh fruit candy canes made with real strawberries and banana’s.

Our guests will start to arrive around Mid-Morning which will hopefully give us enough time to get the house respectable after a morning of Santa Claus Surprises!!

This is our basic line up of food for the day,
Starters:
Cheese platter, including an amazing cheese ball (courtesy of Zagreatunclejim).
A few savoury snacks including a serve of my ‘Nuts and Bolts’ to nibble on.
I am hoping to make a serve of the delicious looking Prosciutto and bocconcini skewers pictured below. I found the idea here at taste.com.

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A glass of bubbles is a must and always goes down a treat in the lead up to lunch.

For Main the plan is:

Fresh cooked prawns
Chicken (this year I am trying a smoked chicken from our local butcher, he does his own smoking). Zagrandma is going to bake up a chicken roll (the ones you get at the supermarket with the stuffing inside)
Maybe a Roast Pork with apples and cider see recipe here, will just depend on whether or not time permits.
Christmas Ham (you can’t do Christmas without ham)

Salads and Sides
Roast Pumpkin Rocket Salad (I have not done a post on this recipe yet, sorry 😦 so stay tuned for it in my early Blog posts in 2014)
Potato salad being made by Zaauntkayla see recipe here
Wombok crunchy noodle salad (you’ll find the recipe on the back of a pack of Chang’s refried noodles) being made by Zabeautiful Aimee.
Cherry tomato, cucumber and green bean salad see recipe here
Beetroot Salad (Baby spinach leaves, tinned baby beets drained, feta crumbled, creamy garlic dressing from the supermarket, topped with chopped walnuts)
Fried Rice (ZaPop’s specialty, he even puts twiggy sticks in it)
Seafood Salad (Zaunclebrad’s favourite, he has this task)

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Dessert (Yum)

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Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Tart recipe here.

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Persian Love Cake (delegated to Zabeautiful Aimee) recipe here.

Zagrandma is making a Lemon Meringue Cheesecake (one of my favourites) I’ll post recipe 2014.

A nice fresh fruit platter is always a good option to have on hand.

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Then you just have to have a selection of yummy treats to snack on in case you’re still hungry!!!! Rocky Road, Truffles, White Christmas, Chocolate caramel balls, Christmas Jellies (I get these at the kids Christmas Tableau and freeze til Christmas). Zagrandma always makes a delicious Christmas cake which goes perfectly with a cup of tea.

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I think that is just about everything covered!!! The added benefit of an indulgent Christmas feast is eating the leftovers for a few days after Christmas. I’ll be sure to give you a report of how things go in a few weeks time, NEXT YEAR!!!!

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For now I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my beautiful reader’s. I wish you all a very safe and enjoyable festive season.

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Zapuppydog sends his best Christmas wishes too!!!

Until 2014

Zamamabakes xxxx

Zamamabakes is going to Market Part 3

What an adventure!!!!
Let me just start by saying Zamamabakes had a very successful Market experience on Sunday.
I believe the last baking preparation from part 2 was the making and freezing of Vienna Cream Icing.
To continue on from where we were up to I will begin with the prepping of cheesecake bases on Saturday Morning. I decided because I was going to be selling Cheesecake at the market I would make individual serves that would be easier for handling and serving. It was a bit of a risk as I had only ever made this cheesecake, ‘Easy Baked cheesecake’ as one large cake before. The good news is they turned out perfectly I just used two 12 hole muffin tins instead of the single spring form pan and reduced the baking time down to 35 minutes (my oven is fan forced).
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I think I had just popped the bases into the fridge when a little voice said ‘Mummy will you play with me?’ How could I resist an offer like that? So a quick game of ‘supermarkets’ it was before Zakidlets left with Zadada for a day out leaving me to get back in the kitchen and organise myself ready for Sunday’s market!! Thank you Zadada you are amazing (I know I say that a lot) but credit where credit is due and I don’t think you can ever thank someone too much.
Now on with the show!

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I had the pleasure of 2 beautiful helpers on Saturday. Zagrandma came out to lend a helping hand (love you Mum).
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Along with Zagorgeous Rikki my beautiful Sister-in-law. These 2 beautiful women gave up their day to help me and I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU I would have been up preparing and baking until midnight without you.

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The Kitchen has had quite a workout over the last week. A good warm up for Christmas Day (another adventure in the pipeline) Christmas lunch is at our house this year.

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Here’s a sight you don’t see too often. I was icing ‘Nanna Mac’s moist Chocolate cake’ ,Zagrandma snapped the shot!!

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We baked our little hearts out ending up with only one baking failure which was entirely my fault, I used SR flour instead of Plain in the Butterscotch Blondies and it made a huge difference to their appearance and texture. They were not Market worthy however they still tasted delicious so I shared them out to the family to have a nibble on.
The line up of treats shaped up really well.
Nuts and bolts savoury mix
Chocolate balls
Easy baked Cheesecakes
Fairy cakes
Nanna loy’s Kansas Cockles
Nanna Mac’s Moist Chocolate Cake
Dark Chocolate and Jaffa truffles
Zamama’s Rocky Road
Ginger Truffles
Persian Love cake
The Persian Love cake and truffles were the best sellers of the day!!! If you haven’t tried either of these you really should try making them for your self at home. All the yummy treats I sold at the market are available here on my Blog.

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Sunday’s Market stall looked like this. I had a wonderful helper Zagrandma again, as my second set of hands she did a fantastic job!!

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It was a great Market everyone was really lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to catch up and meet with some of my gorgeous readers as well as the general public.
This market was a first for everyone at this location and I dare say it won’t be the last. The organiser Cheryl From Tittle and Tatis already talking about a Christmas in July Market. Cheryl Did a fantastic job and Carmen from ‘Pure Balance Pilates & Yoga Studio’ who owns the venue did a great job helping Cheryl.
10am-3pm went really quickly and before I knew it, it was time to pack up.
It is was a huge job doing the market but was very rewarding to get so much support from my readers, perfect strangers, all my wonderful helpers, loaners (you know who you are) and a special mention to my Zasister doing up signage last-minute and Zanan (my gorgeous mother-in-law) doing some last-minute shopping for me. You all contributed to the success of my day and a success it was! Not only did I cover costs but Zamamabakes did make a profit which Zakidlets and I have already put to good use purchasing non-perishable Christmas fare to donate locally to the St Vincent de Paul Christmas appeal as well as making some gift purchases to donate to Operation Santa run by Uniting Care and promoted by Target department store. I will be doing a Blog post following up on our shopping/donating adventures later this week.

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I did manage to have a quick wander around the market, I couldn’t resist this cute little succulent at the stall of Retropickles, you really should check her out she is a beautiful talanted Lady.

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I had the most delightful surprise when the girls from Edenplace gifted me this 6 pack of delicious Cupcakes to bring home and share with my family. They were delicious!! Thankyou so much.

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Once all the unpacking was done (a big thankyou to Zagrandma again),to finish off a great day I got to watch the Zabigkidlets Blake and Ella doing something they both greatly enjoy, riding the pee wee 50 at home!! Alani and I sat back and had a little relax for 10 while they rode and Zadada whipper snipped!!
Stay tuned for my Blog Post towards the end of the week ‘The gift of giving’ to see where the profits from my market stall end up.
Until then my lovelies, stay safe.
Zamamabakes.

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Zamamabakes is going to Market Part 2

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Part 2 begins with this moist, misty morning which provided comfortable conditions in my kitchen for making Chocolate Truffles and Vienna Cream icing. All this is in preparation for the stall I am having at The Handmade Xmas Market this Sunday at Crystal Creek, for more details see here.
I have a list of tasks that I am working through, hopefully by Sunday Morning the list will have been successfully completed and I will be all ready for my planned 8am set up.

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How I wish my kitchen could always look this tidy! The reality is we are family of 5 and the kitchen rarely looks like this, but I love my kitchen and thought I should present it tidy for its online debut!
I snapped this picture after yesterday’s breakfast clean up.

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Just back tracking a little here, this was our Coles Supermarket visit on Wednesday to buy the remaining ingredients required for my ‘Market’ baking projects. We did this after I had finished work and done School pickup but before we collected Alani from day care (3 kidlets in the supermarket I only do when I absolutely have to!!!). I also did my usual weekly fruit shop from the fantastic Tweed Fruit Exchange. Then off home it was to unpack, make dinner, lunches, bath children, I won’t go on with the list, you would all know the things you have to do after a days work. It gives me comfort knowing there are many of us doing the same thing at the same time every school or work day!

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Once Zakidlets were in bed I made up a batch of my Rocky Road for the recipe see here. Then it was off to bed.

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Jumping back to yesterday now.
Morning!(comes around too quickly for my liking). Zadada took the kids to school on his way to work, giving me a full day at home which I greatly appreciate, especially when I work my 3 day week.
One clean Kitchen, washing hung, a general house tidy up and I was ready to start making truffles, the ones you see pictured here are gingerbread truffles which is an adaption of the Dark Chocolate Tim Tam Truffle Recipe see here.
I used ginger nut biscuits and white chocolate melts as alternate ingredients.

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The little gadget you see me using to dip the truffles is exactly that a truffle dipper (well that’s what I call it) I recently purchased it from my local kitchen shop Mallam House. I love it.

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In between all this creating there is a little person that requires my attention Miss Alani. Needless to say there is a fair bit of stopping and starting that goes on to keep her happy but that’s what parenthood is all about. This was one of those moments, I stopped what I was doing as she had asked me to play ‘Barbie’s with her. Today I met Woody and Jelly, great names for barbie doll’s don’t you think?

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Once Alani was down for her nap I finished off the Dark Chocolate Tim Tam Truffles I was making and made the Vienna Cream Icing see recipe here, ready for the cupcakes I’m baking on Saturday.
Note: I freeze my Vienna Cream Icing in airtight containers when I need to, it always defrosts perfectly, ready to be put on the cake/s.

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This was the end result after truffles set in the fridge.

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A picture of the kitchen, post cooking clean up.

I wanted to let you all know that any profits I make at the market on Sunday I will be donating to local Christmas charities in the Murwillumbah area. I thought it would be a good little Project to include Zakidlets in. Stay tuned for a Blog post on that later next week.

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I have had many people ask me where I find the time for projects like this and blogging in general. For a project like this (the market) I have the white board you see above, helps me to see where I am heading most of the time!!! I’m slowly learning it’s all about good time management which I am not very good at, but since starting blogging 6 months ago I am gradually starting to establish a bit of a routine. One which incorporates My family as the first priority, paid work as the second and blogging/baking/creating as the 3rd. Zadada and I are very fortunate to have 2 fantastic sets of Grandparents close by as well as a great bunch of Aunts and Uncles.
I am extremely grateful for the amazing, supportive husband I have (that’s why I married him). He is a fantastic hands on Daddy and he is an extremely patient man, tolerating my ‘Mummy lose it moments’, reassuring me things are not as bad as the Mummy moment presents. He is my rock and I love him dearly!

I know it’s a busy time of year but if you do have a spare part of the Day this Sunday come along to the Market, and say ‘hi’. I would love to see you. My stall is inside the Old Church House. It will be pink and pretty!!!

The Details
Date: Sunday 15/12/2013
Location: ‘The Old Church’, 1003 Numinbah Rd, Crystal Creek, NSW
Time: 10am-3pm

Stay tuned for Part 3 of ‘Zamama goes to Market’. Hopefully I’ll get it to you on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Busy times ahead but fun!!!

Until then,
Zamamabakes!!!

Zamamabakes is going to Market Part 1

It’s all happening around this neck of the woods!!! Zamamabakes is getting out and about for her first meet and greet!!
Yes you read it correctly! I will be having a pretty little stall at “The Handmade Christmas Market”, this Sunday the 15th December from 10am-3pm.
Where: The Old Church 1003 Numinbah Rd, Crystal Creek, NSW 2484.
I will have a selection of bite sized yummies to purchase and sample. All recipes are available on my Blog so if you sample something you like you can make it again at home for all your loved one’s. The main idea of me getting out and about is that I would love to meet as many of my gorgeous readers that I can. If you live in the area and you feel like getting out and about come and say hi, It will be a fantastic day!
There will be a great selection of stalls to browse around, we have some very talented crafters around this area.
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As you can see I am in the preparation stages for my stall, lots of pink! (my favourite colour). I paid a visit to the ever so useful Reject shop to pick up some supplies. Coles supermarket has already seen me once this week and I intend to pay them another visit today. Even when I make a list I always manage to still forget something.
Hopefully the pile of bits and pieces all comes together nicely on Sunday! Those of you who can’t make the market stay tuned for my Part 3 Of “Zamamabakes is going to Market”.

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Yesterday morning I wrote up some cute little labels all ready for the market, I got them at the Reject Shop (just quietly that shop is so handy for all your bibs and bobs).

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Just detouring a little for a moment.
No day is complete without a surprise or 3. I unexpectedly had my services required for rounding up cows, even managed it with Alani in tow. Got back to the house and about 2 hours later got my second surprise for the day, a phone call from the kid’s school informing me Ella had left her swimming bag in Zadada’s car. So a 40 minute round car trip later, Alani and I had accomplished our second mission for the day, delivering a set of swimming gear to an ever so grateful Ella (she loves her swimming lessons).
My 3rd surprise for the day was Alani secretly consuming 12 days worth of Advent calendar chocolates while I was distracted reading school notes. She came to me and said ‘I only ate 2 Mummy’. According to Alani there are now only 3 days until Christmas!!! I do feel partly to blame, I should have been paying better attention. As a consequence I had to deal with a sugar loaded 2-year-old for a few hours. Zadada got home and commented on her very active behaviour!! Fortunately Alani recovered from her sugar hit and amazingly did not complain of an upset tummy.

Continuing on with the fun stuff.
I did eventually get around to some more jobs I wanted to do for my Market stall. One of those was making a batch of ‘Nuts and bolts’, a savoury mix which comes in very handy at Christmas time. Great for guests that pop in unexpectedly for pre or post-Christmas drinks as it keeps in an airtight container for a good month.

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Here is the recipe to the Nut and Bolts. I found this recipe a few years ago in the recipe book that came with our Panasonic microwave.

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Easy Ingredients

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Combining the butter, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Give it the required buzz in the microwave. (P10 just means high power)

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You end up with a mixture looking like this.

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The end result is this.
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Next job on the list was Zamama’s Rocky Road, you’ll find the recipe here.

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This is my second batch for the festive season. This batch will be coming along with me to the Market. Again this will keep for a good month in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I have a big day of baking planned for Saturday and I have some lovely assistants coming to help me. I look forward to sharing my market adventures in blog posts to come Part 2 and 3. Thursday I plan to be baking some more yummies for the Market. Stay tuned for the blog post Part 2 On Friday.

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In case you are thinking of coming this is the venue you are looking for it’s an old church that has been converted into a house. Even if you just come for the lovely scenic drive you’ll have a great day. Crystal creek is a beautiful place.

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Further details of the market for you all.
Hope to see you there.
Zamamabakes xxxx