Food Safety…

I still have my ever expanding list of cakes to post about (will I ever get up to date?!), but I also want to update you on some long over due news… Back in September last year, I took a one day course with my local Council in Food Safety.  At the end of the days course, I sat an exam and am pleased to say I passed and now have a Level 2 Food Safety in Catering Qualification.  I also registered my ‘business’ with the Council, so all my customers could be reassured that I work to a high standard, and if they ever did have cause for complain, that I’m on the Council’s books and Officers could come and investigate any problems.  Since registering with them, I have also had one of the Food Safety Officers come to my home to inspect me and my kitchen.  So at the end of September this year, one of the Officers inspected my kitchen, examined my paperwork & questioned me!  Luckily my Food Hazard Analysis paperwork and all related information was complete and in place, and I answered all questions satisfactorily.  I think my kitchen was just so damn clean that he didn’t feel the need to thoroughly inspect everywhere!!  This is because he had cancelled my appointment a few times, so after every re-arrangement of the inspection date, I had extra days to really go mad on the cleaning – I even cleaned on top of my cupboards and all the door fronts & handles.  I was over the moon when at the end of my inspection the Officer rated me a 5 – the highest possible score :-D   I now proudly display my Level 2 certificate & my Rating sticker in frames in my kitchen!  My rating can also be checked on the ‘scores on the doors’ website – for those who haven’t heard of this, it is the scoring system local councils use to allow customers to see their food hygiene rating, and businesses are issued this sticker to place in the window of their business premises.

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My Level 2 Food Safety certificate and Food Hygiene rating sticker

And I’d also like you to see a great little piece of artwork I also have in my kitchen..  This was a present from my brother last Christmas – a unique and custom designed piece of artwork especially for me!  I can’t wait to use this lovely logo more – I have started printing labels to stick on my plain cake boxes, and am still toying with the idea of getting some business cards made!  This would mostly just be for fun, as I don’t get that privilege in my current science job!!

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My own Victoria Sponge logo!

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My logo on cake boxes

However, I do need to start being a bit more business-minded, and I have a lot of work planned for my Christmas break – including creating labels for each recipe I use to inform customers of all the ingredients I use.  The Officer from the council said they also want to see my phone number on any labels they come across on my products, so amongst my list of jobs is getting a work phone sorted and buying a labeller to print these labels professionally.  I will also be trying to work on my pricing, primarily to make the process quicker, but also to try and prevent any more orders where I am only just breaking even or possibly working at a loss – I am still to figure out how to factor in my overhead costs!!
Well, I certainly have a lot I am hoping to achieve before the New Year!  And I won’t have much of a break from baking/decorating – I already have bakes planned in for Christmas Eve and Boxing Day – but  I’m making sure I have Christmas Day off!!

Halloween Cake Pops

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Happy Halloween!

Now for quick Halloween post, before it’s time for a Christmas post!!  As usual, my friend Helen held a Halloween party, and I decided this was a good opportunity for me to try out cake pops again to take along to the party.  I made a batch of vanilla ones, and half a batch of chocolate ones ask hadn’t tried those before.  I spent quite a while melting the Candy Melts, trying again to get the right consistency.  I thought doing this in the microwave might give better results than over the hob, but I actually think this made it harder.  However, I didn’t want to spend too long on this, as figured I should be able to make up for any untidiness at this stage when I decorated them.  As getting the Candy Melts to a suitable consistency was so time consuming, I decided to only coat them in one colour – white.  This did restrict my options a little, but it was still pleased with the ideas I had and how they turned out.

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Halloween cake pops

I began with some eyes balls, as I wanted something a little gruesome!  I used a red icing pen to make the eyes look blood shot, and coloured fondant discs for the irises and pupils.  Again I used coloured icing pens and strips of fondant to make the mummies, and circles of fondant draped over the pops to make the ghosts.  I was worried the ghosts might be too sweet with that much fondant on top of the Candy Melts, but everyone enjoyed them and commented they were their favourite looking pops!  I also decorated a few to look like Jack Skellington from the Nightmare before Christmas.

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Spooky cake pops!

There’s still room for improvement so I’ll need to find another excuse to practice again….  I’m sure I won’t be short of volunteers to taste them!