One of my greatest fears is seeing my friends, family or work colleagues naked. I mean I adore all of them but the last thing I want to do is see their naked bits. I remember meeting a girl at a work function back in my advertising days that told me that her female boss had insisted that they go for a group bonding session at the Korean spa in Kings Cross. The poor thing was dreading it as much as her other colleagues were and the idea of seeing their boss stark naked filled them with dread and apprehension. Plus, she developed a set of nervous hives to make matters worse...
She ended up refusing to go to the team bonding session and from all reports, everyone was slightly freaked out at seeing each other naked. The female boss was very fit and confident and everyone else, well they spent their time trying to cover themselves up with a small face towel-harder than you might think. It culminated in a "let's talk about what you find awkward with your body" discussion to which the boss answered "I think I'm a bit too toned and firm."
It was very awkward on Monday at work again. A little like the morning after the Christmas party where you've snogged everyone in your department and you realised that you have to see them every single day afterwards. And no, I'm not speaking from personal experience-please! :)
A slightly less alarming fear of mine is going barefoot. When I was two years old, I trod on a intricate brooch of my mother's. The claws that held the little costume jewels were askew as she had taken the jewels out and when I stepped on them, they pierced through the soft skin of my feet. After feeling the pain I looked at my foot and saw the circular shape of the brooch in blood on my feet. My mother started screaming and I started crying. Thankfully I haven't developed a fear of jewellery ;)
In fact I have a bit of a love for it. So much so that when I saw these amazing silicon molds while doing a flower session with Whimsical Cakehouse's Linda Harden, I had to have some of my own. She rang Betty at Glasshouse Cakes who kindly put some on hold for me (and since they are in Revesby, she held them for months for me to collect!). The small button mold was $19.95 and the larger pendant mold $46.95. When I got them I knew what I wanted to make: cookies!
You're probably sick of me saying that things are easy but really these molds do most of the work, particularly if you're just sticking to a few background colours or have your fondant already tinted. I used my usual sugar cookie recipe which rolls and rerolls with ease and then you cover them with a disc of fondant and the molded pattern which is coloured in gold. Easy no? ;) Much easier than going barefoot or seeing your friends or colleagues naked.
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your greatest fear? And would you have gone on that Korean spa team bonding session?
Gilt Brooch & Button Cookies
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
85 g/3ozs butter, softened
140g/5ozs white caster superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
180g/6ozs all-purpose flour
White fondant and colouring gels
Edible gold lustre paint
25 ml vodka
Silicon molds in button and filigree designs
Step 1 - Make cookies. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with a round or oval shaped cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on parchment paper. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Pushing the fondant into the molds
Step 3 - Make the molds but massaging white fondant until it is soft. Push down into the mold trying to match the size of the fondant with the cavity. An easy way is to roll it into a ball and then flatten it like a hockey puck and then gently push it in. You can then see how much excess there is, remove the whole thing of fondant and pinch off about the right amount. Then roll into a ball, press into a hockey puck shape and put it back in. Freeze the molds for about 5-10 minutes.
Cutting out rounds in the fondant
Step 4 - Meanwhile, while they are freezing. Massage the remaining white fondant until pliable and tint it whatever colours you would like it to be. I went for pastel Baroque shades. Cut out rounds or oval using the same cookie cutter and adhere each to the cookie with a little water.
Gold lustre paint
Step 5 - Take the mold trays out of the freezer and gently remove the fondant (gently pull at the sides to release them). Mix the gold lustre paint with the vodka and put in an airtight screw container. With a small paintbrush, paint the brooches and button being sure to dip into the little crevices. Also draw an outline on the coloured fondant. Once the gold paint has dried, attach to the fondant using a little water.