Rising Star: Melie's Kitchen

We have always got an eye out for emerging talent and lately our sights and appetites have been set on Amelia Ferrier, the sixteen year old baking genius behind Melie's Kitchen. Amelia treated us to one of her favourite summer recipes and gave us a little insight into her own wonderful world of baking....

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How did your love of baking come about?

I've always been very fond of baking and creating things. My mum bought me a kid's cookbook for my 8th birthday and I ended up baking every recipe in that book! I haven't really left the kitchen ever since.

What is your favourite treat?

Cake! I love how versatile they can be and that you can add as many flavours or textures you like and it will always end up tasting delicious. I also love tarts and pastries. I absolutely love French patisserie and little, individual sweet treats.

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What are your 'must follow' baking Instagram accounts?

majachocolat is a favourite who is based in Copenhagen. She uses all different kinds of chocolate in very clever ways, which I absolutely love. Another favourite is beatrixbakes, who is based in Melbourne. I really like their rustic take on baking and their unusual twists on classics.

How would you describe your baking style?

It's definitely a mix between French patisserie and classic home baking. I enjoy baking a variety of flavours and textures all with fine details however it's not totally complicated like French patisserie. My baking incorporates a lot of simple skills and techniques used in everyday home baking.

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What tools can you not live without in the kitchen?

My cake slicer!!!!!! I used to ruin every cake I made when I tried to slice it with a knife though the middle, and the layers would always end up wonky and uneven, so as a present my dad got me a special cake slice which makes perfect pieces.

You’re having a summer tea party for your friends, what’s on the menu?

I'd probably have a couple of different mini cakes/cupcakes with lots fruity fillings (strawberries, raspberries) and lemony/limey icings, and little puff pastries with this really good nectarine and strawberry filling that I make batches of every time they come into season! I'd also have a nice big jug of cold, homemade rosewater and thyme lemonade, or some sort of watermelon and mint concoction!

What are the top five things that you love about summer?

RIPE AND JUICY NECTARINES! (my most favourite fruit ever), tanning with a really nice cold homemade fruity iced tea, no school which means I can bake whenever I want, sunny weather (which also makes the lighting for food pictures better haha), and going away to my bach with friends.

What's next for Melie's Kitchen?

I'd like to hopefully open my own store one day or even write a cookbook! As I get older, I'd really like to continue into the food industry, I can't imagine myself doing anything else!

Amelia has shared her delectable yet easy Almond and Malt strawberry cakes complete with jam, white chocolate and almond dust recipe with us - yum! It's sure to be a crowd pleasure this summer....

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ALMOND & MALT STRAWBERRY CAKES WITH JAM, WHITE CHOCOLATE & ALMOND DUST

You will need:

Almond cake:

  • 1C plain flour

  • ½ cup almond flour

  • ½ tsp. baking powder

  • ¼ tsp. baking soda

  • Pinch salt

  • 55g butter softened

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

  • A few drops of almond extract

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ cup buttermilk (or ¼ cup of milk mixed with a ¼ cup of plain natural unsweetened yogurt)

Malt & almond filling:

  • 150g softened butter

  • 1 2/3 cup icing sugar

  • 2 tbsp. almond butter

  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 3 tbsp. milk

  • ¼ cup malted milk powder (such as Horlicks)

  • Pinch salt

Almond sand:

  • ½ cup almonds

  • 3 tbsp. caster sugar

  • 3 tbsp. plain flour

  • Pinch salt

  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted

  • 1 tbsp. almond butter

White chocolate layer:

  • 180g white chocolate, chopped

Garnish:

  • ½ cup strawberry or raspberry jam

  • Chopped strawberries and edible flowers for decoration

Directions:

Almond cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 170c. Butter and line a slice tin with baking paper.

  2. Sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  3. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric beater until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat until combined. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (it will look a little bit curdled). Add flour mixture and mix gently until combined.

  4. Spread cake batter evenly in the slice tin and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Set aside in the tin to cool completely.

  5. Gently remove from the tin and peel away the baking paper from the sides only. Carefully slice the top off the cake with a large serrated knife so that you have a flat surface. Spread the jam evenly over the cake. Set aside while you make the malt and almond filling.

Malt & almond filling:

  1. Whisk together butter, almond butter and icing sugar until light, pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). While the butter and icing sugar are whisking, stir together the milk and dark brown sugar then microwave for 10 seconds to dissolve the sugar slightly, it doesn’t matter if its not fully dissolved. Leave to cool slightly.

  2. After 4-5 minutes of whisking your butter and icing sugar, add 4 tablespoons of the milk mixture (discard the remaining), along with the malted milk powder, and salt. Beat for another 2-3 minutes.

  3. Spread evenly over the cake and jam layer, taking time to spread it as flat and even as possible on top. Place in the fridge or freezer to set for about 30 minutes

Almond sand:

  1. Preheat oven to 170c.

  2. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until the almonds resemble fine breadcrumbs. Set aside.

  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Mix in the finely chopped almonds, using your fingertips to rub the almonds into the mixture.

  4. Sprinkle over a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 8 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

  5. Once cool, crumble it up with your hands until it is a sandy-like texture.

White chocolate layer:

  1. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and give it a good stir. Return to the microwave for another 20 seconds, remove and stir again until smooth.

  2. Spread over the cake in a thin layer, and then evenly sprinkle over the almond sand to cover the white chocolate.

  3. Place back in the fridge to set for a good 2-3 hours if you have time. The firmer the cake is the easier it is to cut.

  4. Once it has fully chilled, carefully remove from the tin. Run a large knife under hot water for a couple seconds then slice the cake into squares, re-heating the knife after each slice.

  5. Decorate with chopped strawberries and edible flowers if desired. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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We are so excited to see what's next for Melie's Kitchen and have no doubt that Amelia's baking future will keep us well-satisfied for years to come x

Ruby Loves: Weekend Farmers Markets

We love heading out our to our local farmers' market bright and early over the weekend. We have a tendency to lose ourselves in the flurry of fresh produce, delicious treats and charming stallholders, indulging ourselves along the way - but why not, it is the weekend after all. With so many new markets and stalls popping up each week, we decided to go on a little adventure to our favourite markets across the country. Here are a few of our favourites from Auckland all the way down to Dunedin...

Auckland

Auckland has an abundance of must see farmers markets. It was tough picking one, so we had to choose two...

City Farmers' Market at Britomart

Every Saturday, rain or shine, we find ourselves at the City Farmers' Market in the centre of the Britomart precinct. This pint sized market has it all - from french pastries and crepes, to mussel fritters and octopus dumplings, it's very difficult to not sample everything in sight. Our picks are Philippe's Chocolate & French Pastries and Mulleez Smoked Seafood. Don't forget to pick up a bunch of fresh flowers before you leave - another stall too difficult to resist.

Grey Lynn Farmers Market

On Sundays it is essential for us to head over to the Grey Lynn Farmers Market. A little pocket of the country along Richmond Rd. Our absolute favourites are newcomers Carew Kitchen, who make the most delectable almond milk, and Hakanoa Handmade Drinks, which you can use in a 101 different ways - just check out their recipes online. Despite being another small market the amount of fresh produce and warm, flakey pastries they have on offer is worth the early wake up call.

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Hamilton

The Hamilton & Waikato Farmers Market runs every Sunday from 8am - 12pm and has a massive selection of goodies week to week. With fifty stall holders (and growing) there are treats for all tastes, including dogs! We cannot get enough of award winning Sweetree Honey and Soggy Bottom Holding, who hands down serve the best pies in the Waikato.

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Wellington

We adore the Hill Street Farmers' Market, which run every Saturday from 8.30am - 12.30pm, offering a little slice of the country to our capital. The market is buzzing with incredible stalls, so it's very hard to pick and choose favourites. Two stalls we are quietly obsessed with are Fix and Fogg and the House of Dumplings. Peanut butter and dumplings are high on our list of favourite things, and these two offer some of the best. Definitely worth a visit them this weekend.

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Christchurch

Christchurch has a lot of fresh and exciting markets popping up but our favourite is a golden oldie, The Christchurch Farmers' Market at Riccarton House. Open from 9am - 1pm every Saturday, we love heading out to these markets to see what's new. Cakes by Anna is an absolute favourite and we are also loving new kids on the block Honest Organics. Their sweet yet healthy range of treats is incredible, we especially love the Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl, with the raspberry base, yum!

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Dunedin

Last but certainly not least we have the Otago Farmers' Market, the perfect place to end our journey. A hub of food, produce, treats and flowers it's a wonderland for any market lover. The market runs every Saturday from 8am until 12.30pm, and we can never resist starting off with a sweet crepe from La Crepe. After collecting fresh fruit and vegetables for the week ahead, we make sure to grab some pizza from Mamma Mia Pizza. They may just make the best wood fire pizzas in Dunedin and it's the only (and best!) way to finish off a trip to the markets.

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What are a few of your favourite markets? Comment below and we'll make sure we check them out x

Ruby Loves: the Muesli Hub

Essential to any morning wake up and one of the most delicious meals of the day, we love breakfast here at RUBY! Lucy & Jono from The Muesli Hub craft both tasty and nutritious muesli which can be custom-made to suit your own preferences and lifestyle. We were intrigued to find out more so we had a chat to the dynamic duo about their breakfast obsession.....

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How did The Muesli Hub come about?

The Muesli Hub was born from a love of breakfast and a desire to find the perfect breakfast which we quickly realised was different for everyone. We couldn't find a perfect option on the shelf and often found ourselves adding things in or taking things out. After travelling, we came home to New Zealand with an idea to shake up the breakfast scene and encourage people to love breakfast again, which has since seen The Muesli Hub come to life.

The Muesli Hub

What is your favourite muesli?

We both eat a lot of muesli, often finding it sneaking its way into lunch or daytime snacking options. Lucy loves the superfood base, mixing in roasted hazelnuts, almonds, blueberries and a double serving of coconut topped off with chia seeds and freeze dried raspberries for a pop of colour. Jono is a sucker for the lightly-honey roasted base and can't go without walnuts and macadamia nuts in his mix. He tops this off with juicy Turkish figs, whole cranberries and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and linseed. Sometimes, he mixes in some yogurt-covered raisins for a burst of healthy sweetness. Both of these mixes combine ingredients which are great for the skin, hair, heart and mind, not to mention are also full of super foods which are packed with nutrients.

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Favourite breakfast spot...

If we head out to a cafe for breakfast we can't go past Fred's on Franklin Road. They are certainly lovers of breakfast and make a killer Bircher muesli. We love the focus that Fred's puts on flavours, from their milkshakes to the unique and original flavour combinations on the menu which showcase how well different ingredients can go together.

Breakfast is our favourite meal of the day...

We love all the feelings that come with morning time, whether it be an early mid-week start and morning jog, or a hot tea and fuzzy socks on a wintery Sunday. We think that the morning meal should be celebrated. Breakfast is the one meal of the day where a lot of people go for an off the shelf option, we figure that you design lunch and dinner around your lifestyle, so why can't this concept of 'eating for you' start at the breakfast bowl.

Packaging

With the help of Jono & Lucy, we've created our own RUBY & Liam muesli masterpieces! Emily, our Liam Designer, and Deanna, our RUBY Designer, share the inspiration behind their choices.....

Emily Miller-Sharma, Liam Designer

Sugar for me is kind of a no-go (especially in the morning) so I sweetened our Liam muesli with banana chips and dates, complementing the sweetness with the spiciness of cinnamon. I like the idea of the contrast that adding salt gives. I've kept the nuts raw as they are better for you that way, and as the muesli base is toasted there's some baked-tasting crunch in there.

Deanna Didovich, RUBY Designer

I always love a gluten-free muesli because they are light, crunchy and bubbly. To our RUBY mix I added apricots, turkish figs, cashew nuts and almonds, with a sprinkling of dried raspberries and Himalayan salt. I'm looking forward to enjoying mine with some coconut yogurt and berries.

Brekkie Mixes

We've got five RUBY & Liam muesli packs to giveaway! Follow us on Instagram to find out how you can win x