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08 August 2008

oops I did it again.......

Once again I prove true why you should never let me near anything hot. I burnt myself again on the oven :( This time though, I wasn't making pizza with friends, I was trying out a new cupcake recipe. I took a white chocolate mud cupcake recipe and turned it into double white chocolate, strawberry and cointreau cake. I halved the original recipe, stupidly thinking that I'd get a smaller then usual sized mixture. Stupid once again. When a recipe goes from 4 cups of flour down to 2, you know that it will be smaller then the original, but its still going to be a normal sized cake. My plan was to bake it in these really cute mini cake pans I got. There are stars and love hearts, as well as 2 mini spring form. So a bowl of cake batter later I have 2 stars, 2 hearts, 2 rounds as well as 6 cupcakes in the oven and then the leaking happens. I had forgotten to line the bottom of the springforms so the batter was leaking through the bottom as it heated up. Nothing a layer of foil can't fix! Now I have to clean the oven. Have I mentioned that I have no white sugar in the house either so my lovely white cake with now be a shade called raw sugar.


The upside is that the batter tasted fantastic, they aren't gluten free or vegan which means I get to see what the recipe is like before I start tinkering.


White Chocolate Mud Cake with Cointreau Strawberries


handful dried strawberries chopped

cointreau

2 cups plain flour

¾ tsp baking powder

250g butter, chopped

150ishg white chocolate, chopped

1c milk

2c caster sugar

2 eggs (I used 3 as mine were tiny)

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g white chocolate chopped, extra

cointreau extra


Put strawberries in a small bowl and cover with cointreau, leave over night or until the strawberries have absorbed most of the cointreau.

Preheat oven to 155°C and grease cake tins.

Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, whisk to create a hole in the middle and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat melt, butter, white chocolate, milk and sugar until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk eggs one at a time into the chocolate mixture the add vanilla and beat until well combined.

Add chocolate mixture to the flour and mix until combined. Add in the strawberry and cointreau mixture then the extra chopped chocolate. Mix until combined. Have a taste and add more cointeau if needed. Taste should be there but not overpowering everything else.


Divide evenly among cake tins and bake for ~ 40 min

If you've made cupcakes start checking around 30 min


So, my oven is slow, the cupcakes too about 40 min and were still a little under done, the hearts took the same. Stars and circles took just over an hour. Photos are below















06 August 2008

Birthday cupcakes of yuminess



At the start of June my parents abandoned me to spend 6 weeks traveling in Europe. Normally I wouldn't have minded this, seeing as how I don't live with them anymore anyway, except once again I would be alone for my birthday. All immediate family would be in Europe.

As it turned out I got a birthday breakfast of French pastries and coffee, organised by me as housemate was still snoozing (see left). Then there was a show and drinks that night. Yet in all the excitement of house hunting that day, there was no birthday cake for me :(


So on the monday I decided to bake birthday cupcakes and force them on the people at band. Keep in mind that I'd only been playing with them for a few weeks. At this point I thought the only dietary concern was gluten free. So I made the Coconut Marshmallow Clouds from 'The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook' by Jennifer Graham.

3/4 c shredded coconut
2 1/3 c plain flour
1/4 salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
3 egg whites, extra
200g softened, unsalted butter
1 3/4 c caster sugar
1 Tb vanilla extract
1 c coconut milk

Coconut cakes
makes 24

Preheat oven to 170C. Line two 12-hole muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Using an electric food processor, process coconut until very fine - about 3 or 4 minutes. Add coconut to a bowl with sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until evenly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs and egg whites. Do not beat.

In another bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the caster sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar is almost dissolved.

Add the eggs a quarter at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Add a third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half the coconut milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

Spoon mixture into the cupcake papers, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake for 18 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 3 minutes before icing.

Pipe the icing in a circular motion starting around the edge of the cupcake, to form a soft-serve ice-cream effect.

Marshmallow Icing

3 egg whites
480g white sugar
3 tsp glucose syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
150ml water
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
pink food colouring

In a metal bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, glucose syrup, cream of tartar and water. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and beat continuously with a hand held mixer until light, fluffy and forms soft peaks. Take the bowl off the heat and add the vanilla extract and a few drops of pink food colouring. Whisk the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.

When I made these, I think my peaks weren't stiff enough as the icing was a little runny. Not as it in oozed off the cake but, if the cupcake wasn't kept horizontal, things moved.

Update

5/8/2008

So, I did my grocery shop this morning and once again spent way too much on things that aren't really needed at the moment. There is now a bottle each of pomegranate molasses, rose water and orange blossom water in my pantry, as well as copious amounts of olive oil. There are also a couple of block of dairy free white chocolate, normal milk chocolate, 4L of juice (the joys of shopping specials), fruit, vegies and so much more.

I also have yoghurt and long live cream. The number of times I wish I had cream only to be disappointed when I opened the fridge.

Tonights dinner/breakfast, the joys of being a shift worker coming off graveyard, was very yummy rack of lamb with roast vegies. The only issue was when I was still feeling peckish an hour later so I had leftover pizza . Tasted fantastic cold.

I also found dried strawberries and dried raspberries. These will most likely end up in white chocolate cupcakes or in scones. The Barefoot Contessa has a recipe for Strawberry Scones that sound yum. Then there are also the mini cake pans I now own, 2 stars, 2 hearts and 2 mini spring form. I've found that whilst I love cake, there is no point in baking a whole one. It just doesn't get eaten quick enough. Now I can make mini cake!!!!! Assuming it will take a half batch of cake, I can try lots of recipes now and not have to worry about having stale cake in the house for weeks!!

Way to excited about mini cake tins.

Other good news is that we will soon be internet enabled at home. Housemate is investigating getting ADSL2 with a wireless router so we can both be online at the same time. Currently I'm typing this as a word document for uploading at a later date.

Below you will find the recipes for both my gluten free, vegan chocolate brownies and my ├╝ber self-saucing chocolate pudding.

Oh dear, it seems I need to plug myself in.......

6/8/2008

Ok so I've been plugged in and am all charged up now. It's 1:14am and I'm still awake. Why did I sleep so long today. Turns out that setting the alarm clock also involves turning it on. Oh well, some valerian root and I should be right.


This weekend is a going away party for a good friend out bush. The plan is to head down early and help out with the prep. I think I'm going to take some stuff down with me so we won't have as much prep to do. There are several recipes that I want to try and this weekend is a good excuse to do that. The following come out of Belinda Jeffery's Mix and Bake. There are some fantastic recipes in here. The brownies are to die for, all four recipes! So there's a Vanilla and Polenta shortbread, Buttery Almond and Coconut Cake, Chewy Coconut Macaroon Cake, Classic Fourless Orange and Almond Cake, A Very Delicious Cheese and Apple Tart and the Brie and Pear Tart. As you can probably tell, I love nutty citrus cakes, delicate flavoured biscuits and cheesey tarts. There are many more in the book but I think I'll have to limit what I make. The shortbread is a must and I'll have to think of something else. Otherwise its just shortbread.


Currently watching the final of Popstars. This show has to be at least 5 years old. Its the season where they announce the first solo Popstar. Never really liked that show much. I liked the first season or so of Idol as well but, it gets to the point where there is so much hype about the shows and people in them that I just don't care anymore. And I'm not just talking about the general public. Sunday night at my parents house when all four of us were there was unbearable some nights. Everyone had a different favourite but, we were all pretty much in agreement over who wasn't that great.

Dinner with parents tomorrow. Dad has been wanting me to come round for dinner for the last 2 and a bit weeks, since they got back from holiday, but has never actually asked me. Just rung me up, told me to come round and collect the rest of my washing and to let them know if I'm staying for dinner. So of course, I went round during the day when they were both at work and collected my things then. I also need to do some laundry. We don't have a dryer and trying to get bedding to dry sans dryer in the weather we've been having is not fun.


Hopefully its bed time now. Going to hop into bed and see what happens.

Can you say allergy friendly???

I discovered when I baked birthday cupcakes to take to band on monday night, that if I want to make them edible for everyone then things have to be gluten free, lactose free and vegan. Occasionally fructose free as well. The last batch I took were chocolate brownies. They didn't turn out exactly how I'd planned but they still tasted fantastic 4 days after baking.

Gluten Free, Vegan, Chocolate Brownies.

125ml olive oil
200g dark eating chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
3 Tb no egg replacer
6 Tb water
1 ¼ cup (185g) plain flour
200g chocolate, chopped coarsely

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease deep 19cm square cake pan, line with baking paper, extending paper 2cm over side.
  2. Stir butter and dark chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool 10min.
  3. Stir sugar into chocolate mixture, then flour, no egg replacer, water and chopped chocolate. Spread mixture into pan.
  4. Bake brownies about 35 min. Cool in pan before cutting

Uber Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

At long last, what everyone has been asking for, my recipe for the amazing pudding from a few weeks ago. It started out as an ordinary self saucing pudding, but I had some strawberries that needed to be eaten and then there was the half packet of frozen raspberries and the balsamic vinegar and you get the drift of what happened. Needless to say it was very rich and very yum. My housemate and I were the only ones who couldn't finish it. This is meant to serve four.

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

60g butter
½ cup (125ml) milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1 cup (150g) self raising flour
1Tbsp cocoa powder
¾ cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
1Tbsp cocoa powder, extra
2 cups (500ml) boiling water
extras*

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease 1.5litre (6 cup) ovenproof dish.
  2. Melt butter with milk in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat; stir in extract and caster sugar, then sifted flour, cocoa and extras. Spread mixture into dish.
  3. Sift brown sugar and extra cocoa over mixture. Spread mixture into dish.
  4. Bake pudding about 40 min or until centre is firm. Stand for 5 min before serving.

· The extras are a couple of handfuls of frozen raspberries (fresh are acceptable also, we just didn't have any on hand) and a handful or so of chopped chocolate.

· We served it with a raspberry and strawberry coulis. Just stick berries in a pot with sugar, balsamic vinegar and a bit of water. Cook down until a thick sauce, squishing the berries as you go.


No photos this time, we devoured them before it was even cooled. That whole stand for 5 minute thing we ignored and burnt ourselves as a result.

05 August 2008

Things to do

So the 7 days of work comes to an end in an hour and I'm reminded of all the things I need to do in my coming week off work.

The big one is to eat my way through the freezer. I have a couple of weeks to do this in, but it needs to be done. The need has come about because as much as I love cooking, I love my sleep even more and when I'm working graveyard shifts, depriving myself of sleep because I need to cook a meal is not an option. So the freezer gets eaten so I can make room for one person portions of pasta sauce, curry, risottos, etc. I may find quiche in there too at some point!

So my list of things to do this week are the following

- do a grocery shop! Whilst we are stocked up on dry staples (rice, pasta, etc) I'm missing some things in the fresh food department such as potatoes, yoghurt, beans, tomoatos, avocado etc
- hit the gym
- email people the recipes they have been asking for, then post them here for everyone else to read. Or I can just post them and send them the link.
- do some baking. I have a hankering for macaroons, the american version with coconut rather then almonds in them.
- finish unpacking. There is a pile of clothing on my floor that is screaming to be put away. Funny how the clean clothes end up on teh floor and the dirty ones end up in that basket. Speaking of which..
- do some laundry!!
- write my post about the amazing experience that is Maha

So the grocery list at the moment looks like this:
potatoes
bananas
tomatoes
avocado
pomegranate
grapefruit
corn pasta
yoghurt
salad greens
juice
dried legumes
butter
olives
Chocolate
roo fillet
cream
kiwi fruit

My plan for eating out of the freezer is to have roast turkey tonight. I have a maryland cut that should be nice with some roast vegies. My favourite combo is parboiled potato, carrot, mushroom, pumkins, onion and garlic. I might put hte garlic and onion in with the turkey leg to help with flavours, along with a good squeeze of lemon over the meat.
The other plan is to polish of the baby spinach in either a spinach pesto pasta or in my yummy frittata. If I haven't posted it earlier then I will later. I should test it in quiche form too.

There's also so baking to be done for a going away party on Saturday out bush. Whilst technically they are at the end of the metropolitan train line so could be classified as outer suburb, there are cows at the end of their street. Enough said. i think the plan is for nibble type things as the main focus will be nice drinks rather then an amazing meal. Whats the point of an amazing meal if we're all too drunk to enjoy it.

The housewarming decision has been made as well. it's going to be an evening thing. People have been invited round for a sticky beak with cocktail "hour" to follow. So the menu needs to be finger food with options for gluten and fructose free, vegetarian, meatetarian, sweet and savoury. Also need to devise a cocktail of some sort. I'm thinking of trying out the one that was served at Wicked the Musical on saturday. Melon, Kiwi and Pear, called an Ozmapolitan. It involved vodka and came in slushy form. This one will require a few taste tests. I think a base of vodka and midori with pureed kiwi and pear should work. I also need to play around with the fig, vanilla and cinnamon mojito I had at Maha a few months ago.