Saturday, July 17, 2010


This is my long delayed fifth contribution to Food For Thought, the brain child of the lovely and brilliant Jain of Once in a Blue Moon.  All I can say Is I've been meaning to. This is a fortnightly meme of food and books. The perfect combination.  Thank you Jain for hosting this meme. It's a brilliant idea and one of the most exciting I've come across.

THE FAIRY FOLK AND SHE by Mary-Anne Grosse Ivie.

I have to tell you that when this book arrived in the mail I said to myself that it had better be good because I had  no wish to write a bad review or to feel obliged into writing a good one in spite of. I needn't have feared.

It was an enchanting fairy tale ~ with a twist. In the World Within a World of fairies, gnomes, elves, brownies, warlocks, witches, sorcerers and sorceresses lay the enthralling towns of Tranquility, Serendipity  and Ever After and a little further away, Darkland, a place where evil triumphs. 

Lisa, the daughter of the Old woman in a Shoe sacrifices a good part of her life to Razzlewitch who, in return, saves her family from poverty and hunger. While there Lisa discovers that she has powers she never knew she had. It is a story where love, trust and kindness conquers all  A tale told by Mary-Anne, I believe, from her heart.

Like all fairy tales the line between good and evil was distinct. Their names say it all ~ Verity, Melody, Kindred, Willoway and Zyneth the evil one. 

Although it was an intriguing fairy tale of good fighting off evil in which the child in me could sit back and enjoy I couldn't help but notice through my adult eyes, how, as the story went along, its characters raised, in their quest, the deeper and more soul searching questions of free will versus destiny, of the need to believe in the power of love and trust, and at one point, there even rose the question of the existence versus the non-existence of a supreme being. I found that as refreshing as the characters are innocently charming.

I was especially surprised too at the way the story  came to a close. I had expected the story to end with a scene in Tranquility. It didn't. Secretly, I wished it did. It would have been the most bewitching place to bring the gentle end of the story to. But then again it made complete sense that it didn't because Lisa was after all a human living a real existence in a real world. Life, as we know it, is not a fairy tale.

I give this book 5 stars. If I hadn't had errands to run because I was an adult I would have sunk myself into an overstuffed pillow, sucked on some lollipops and stayed there until I was being called for dinner as opposed to cooking it. This is a book for both children and adults because it made me  wish that I lived in Tranquility amoung fairies, elves, goblins, warlocks and brownies....minus Zyneth of course.

Although there were ample mentions of food in the book especially the mention of pink fairy cakes first introduced when Seraphina the sweet fairy brought some to Lisa for tea I just couldn't bring myself to make them for this review. I should have because it became Lisa's favourite cake in the story.  

But I didn't. Fairies do something to me. They make me silly happy. I had such a blast making sugar paste fairies and I knew instinctively that she had to be sitting on a dreamy white cake (inside and out) deep in the woods, surrounded by shrubs, flowers and birds with lots of shade and bands of streaming sunlight. There! I said it.

Please don't mind her eyes. She looks a little squint but I dared not rectify it further for fear of making her look even more startled. H says she looks like the blue female in Avatar. No dear..this is Seraphina..let me spell it out to you.... S-E-R-A-P-H-I-N-A ......The Fairy.

I had searched the interenet on some instructions on how to make the fairy and this is the best video that I came up with. It was very helpful but unfortunately it stopped short of showing how to form the body and her dress. So the rest they say is trial and error....and lots of patience. But most of all have fun! 

Since I do not own a mould for a fairy face I had to be happy just rolling out a ball of sugar paste, moulding out the socket for the eyes with the end of a rounded stick and the rest they say is shaky hands and squint eyes. The video advised that the eyes be painted to look sideways rather than straight at you otherwise it would make her look very startled

I had also made the limbs by eyeballing the amount of sugar paste since I did not have those fancy thingys. Then I had a problem making the blouse and skirt. It made me almost cry (in fun) (I think) but finally I did it. The most enjoyable part was deciding the colour of her clothes. So fun fun fun. I was silly happy. The flower 'hat' was another thing that made me silly happy making and putting it on her little head. And of course the hair made me feel like a fairy hair stylist. Now that I've bared my soul please don't judge me.

Ah...And the WINGS! Oh that was so fun too. However they are only partly edible because I had used a gauzy paper print to stick onto the sugar paste wings for a more colourful and sweetly pretty pair of fairy wings. They were perfectly pretty. The rest they say is edible. Except for a toothpick in her little head and body.

Finally I glued all the parts together with royal icing and how I love her long and slender limbs and little Cinderella feet.  

And the cake was a white cake from Collette Peter's, my favourite cake decorating book. It was soft, white and delicious.

I had taken the idea for its decoration from her lovely lovely book too. All was of white cut out vine leaves, rose leaves and some flowers carefully arranged and glued on with egg white onto a domed shaped fondant covered cake while Seraphina the fairy watched me, quiet and still. And sweet ~

Here's the recipe for the Snow White Cake ~ by Colette Peters

3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk, room temperature
4 egg  whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease and flour 2 9 inch baking tins. In a large bowl of an electris mixer, cream shortening until light and fluffy.Slowly add 1 cup of the sugar, continuously beating until fluffy. Add vanilla. 

In a small bowl, sift dry ingredients together. Ad 1 T of the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture and mix well. Then add 1 tablespoon of the milk. Alternate in this manner until the flour and milk is finished blending well after each addition. Do not overmix.

In another bowl beat agg white until fluffy and then add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff and shiny. Gently fold in teh egg whites into the flour mixture until blended.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Decorate with fondant and sugar paste decorations.

The recipe for the fondant and the sugar paste are here and here.


busygran said...

It's sooo pretty. She looks so sweet and gentle. I am a kultz when it comes to making figures.

chow and chatter said...

wow this is the best cake I have ever seen amazing


Diana H said...

Very nicely done, I love your fairy.

a moderate life said...

Lovely lovely lovely! I make fairie gardens with my girls in our back yard. The wee folk are always with us! :) What a beautiful fairie seraphina is!

Angie's Recipes said...

Very impressive!
I don't think..well, I know for sure, I would never be able to make such an elegant icing cake...I am just terrible at this sort of work..

Passionate About Baking said...

Oh wow! This is so gorgeous! The fairy's details are so delicate and refine. You're so talented Zurin!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Zu, rushing for my return flight at Mumbai airport and have not read through your review but...I have to send you a few exclaimation marks for the sugar fairy and the snow white cake! Wow wow wow!!! I can look on in envy as I will never be able to do something like this!!

3 hungry tummies said...

I am not a fan of fairy tales lol A beautifully composed post and very beautiful photos!

Sarah-Jane - said...

Oh Zurin - you have excelled yourself ! The fairy and cake are stunning and completely enchanting.

The photography is amazing and the book cover is simply beautiful

Well done !

Bakericious said...

wow wow wow I am speechless, the fairy and cake are so beautiful!

Mary said...

I have to say this post made me Silly Happy too! I feel like I'm in fairyland myself looking at your artistry~ Your talent and photos are amazing, no fairy overload for me~ what fun!

"If I hadn't had errands to run because I was an adult I would have sunk myself into an overstuffed pillow, sucked on some lollipops and stayed there until I was being called for dinner as opposed to cooking it"~ LOL, we are kindred spirits!

You definitely are the keeper of your own special fairy dust, thanks for sharing this :-)

ICook4Fun said...

Oh wow Zurin, you made this. They are so cute and pretty! I wish i have your talent to make this kind of delicate sugar work. Great job Zu.

petite nyonya said...

a gorgeous cake and such delicate work! fantastic!!

Rettabug said...

Zurin, I'm SO glad you decided to join in FFT...this book is very intriguing & your photos are just marvelous.

I was astounded when I realized the fairy was made of sugar paste & wasn't a purchased doll....Amazing work!!
I have a HUGE amount of respect for anyone who can work such miracles. I took one cake decorating class & gave up. (more due to arthritis in my rt. hand, but STILL!!!)

I hope you decide to play along with us every week. You raise the bar to an entirely new level.

Federica Simoni said...

wow complimenti per questo capolavoro!!!ciao!!

Jessica said...

As've outdone yourself! I love the little fairy nestled among the forest...and I quite agree about losing yourself in a great story. Loved it!

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

This is an absolutely gorgeous cake! The fairy figurine is professionally and wonderfully made.

Heatherfeather said...

So beautiful. You have such a lovely blog. All of your food looks gorgeous.

a quiet life said...

oh zurin i am over the moon you joined in again! and as always, you are at the very tippy top of perfection!

be still my heart on that cake... you know monique must be tingling with all your fairie talk too!

you need to write a book...

"If I hadn't had errands to run because I was an adult I would have sunk myself into an overstuffed pillow, sucked on some lollipops and stayed there until I was being called for dinner as opposed to cooking it."

doesn't get anymore descriptive then that!

your fairy is the prettiest i have ever seen! she just exudes happiness... i love that you free handed her, she is much prettier natural, virtual those silicon implants ;-) you are so exceptionally talented, but what i love the very most is feeling the joy you had making her, it must have been so fun to bring her to life! and to think your book was the catalyst, DON'T YOU LOVE FOOD FOR THOUGHT! i know i do, i want to read this book but i am terrified to slap together some D- review after your A+ plus with bonus rounds of extra credits!

i keep looking at her eyes, she is sooo sweet... and her hat, as a garden girl at heart i am eating this up! and then that cake, it my idea of heaven, pure sweetness and light. i have never been so enchanted...

i HATE to leave your post, i am just so at peace and all floaty and happy, but its been one of those mornings and i have to take my injured dog to the vets, otherwise you would be pushing me out of here with your dust broom at midnight, i am just head over heels, cow jumped over the moon happy! thank you so much for playing at food for thought, you have made my cheeks ache with happy smiles~

oh so funny, i see mary quoted your same line, see you should be writing for the masses, you have great style! oh and talent galore~

ann low said...

Oh Zurin! The sugar fair is very very pretty! You're superb!

Gerry said...


Totally amazing, one could never eat her she is so adorable....

Can the fairy grant me a wish? To be able to cook like you!

Many thanks it made me smile, a lot.

Zurin said...

Hi Everyone,

tq and tq and tq for all your generous comments. I enjoyed this post so much and Im glad all of you enjoyed my effort. Its worth every minute I spent to know that you did.tq again. :))

Hi Jain,

thank you for your always very generous comments. I get a great kick reading your extremely kind would not enjoy such great compliments.

If it wasnt for FFT I owuld not be doing all you are the greatest inspiration. Otherwise I would have read all those books and not done anyhting as creative as this. The credit goes all to you. You really do know how to inspire creativity in others. I will always be thankful to you for all those wonderful creative moments ive had.


Finger Lakes said...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful cake, Zurin! I don't have the patient for cake decorations and I always admire others who can do it so well.

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

cantik sekali !! Wor Wor, amazing cake !!

WendyinKK said...

Oh, the fairy looked so pretty perched on the cake, definately breathtaking!!
Esp when the pic was taken amongst those pretty flowers, it made it look even more fairytale like.

BTW, the cake's made with shortening, never tried any cake made with shortening. Does it stick to the palette?

Anonymous said...

Lovely blog post, I just can’t take my eyes off this beautiful cake & fairy, very well done!


Tina said...

the cake is such a dream!! i feel like getting into the pages of your book (great photography of the pages!) and pretend I'm that fairy, prancing and twirling in my beautiful dress, moving my slim lanky limbs about..

i LOVE the cake, and everything about this post!!

pigpigscorner said...

Well done Zurin! The fairy is beautiful!

Tasty Trix said...

Are you SURE that you aren't actually a professional cake decorator gone undercover as a blogger? Hmmmm. I think so, this is extraordinary work!

Zurin said...

LOL no I'm not a pro. Its just pure passion and interest and Im self taught.Ive never attended a cake decorating class in my life. I wished I had though. It wld have saved so much time, sweat and tears. :)) I learn from books.

Elin Chia said...

Zurin, you are so talented :) Beautiful sweet :)

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Your cake is Art my dear! I love it and want to run out and buy the book.
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Zurin said...

WEndy, no it didnt stick anywhere :D

pam said...

I'm speechless. The cake. The book. The cake. Amazing.

Sarah said...

Zurin, it such fun to see you sharing in FFT again. Your creativity with this meme is always stellar, and this little fairy on her cake is over the top wonderful. I thought she was a doll untill I realized that you had created her just for this post. I'm in awe of your talent. Love the description of the childlike urge to want to read to the very end without a thought of anything else. At 62, I still want to do that myself. LOL
I need to jump back into this wonderful adventure. I so love FFT. I agree with you, Jain is great inspiration! The talent in these FFT posts is awesome! ~ Sarah

Average Girl said...

Firstly, I am going to say that I have to order that book! Secondly, you are an amazing artist! Seriously amazing!

terri@adailyobsession said...

omgoodness woman, u r good!

Barbara said...

You have made me feel like a little girl again, in her room filled with books and dreaming of fairies and princesses. Your cake is just amazing! I can't imagine that this is actually food. How awful to cut into it. You are truly an artist. I still haven't participated in FFT but I so love reading the reviews and seeing all the creativity that surrounds them. Lovely!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks so much for popping into my blog so we could be introduced! I love your blog! And I'm truly blown away by this amazing cake. Its stunning and I am in love with your beautiful fairy. Her sweet little flower hat adds just the right touch.

Wow, you're really talented!

p.s. - the book sounds great too. I love fairy tales. :)

Celestial Charms said...

Oh my gosh, the book, your fairy, the cake...all spectacular. I really enjoyed reading your post. I stopped by after seeing about your fairy cake, at the lovely La Table De Nana.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely lovely!! The fairy is so tastefully done. Wish you would take orders for this cake Zurin, would sure love to have it for my girl's 9th b'day!
In fact i dare not show her this post as she would definitely long for such a visually amazing cake.

Susan: My Food Obsession said...

Your little fairy is just beautiful! What a dainty looking cake.

Awayofmind Bakery House said...

Zurin, the fairy is very lovely, it looks like there is a real angel sitting on the cake!


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