Friday, April 2, 2010

St Patricks Day

Ok, I have decided I am definitely not the best blogger.  I love to try new recipes and see how they turn out, however after a full day at work, I am not always up to cooking while taking photos and then blog them.  I sometimes get halfway and make the food while taking photos then don't have the energy to actually do the blog, not very inspitring I know.

I did make some biscuits and cake for St Patricks day and since I did take photos of them I guess it's never too late to show you. 
I am such a huge fan of the Red Velvet cakes I blogged last time that I used St Patricks day as an excuse to make green ones.  My friends at work (who are my tasting experts) were not at all impressed by bright green cakes.  They loved the red and purple ones, and the blue cream filled ones went down ok too, but they really drew the line at green ones.  Mind you they still ate them.  The photo doesn't really do it justice though, it was seriously bright green in natural light but I didn't really capture that in the photo.
I just bought myself a few new icing tips and wanted an excuse to try them out.  So I decided to make biscuits and ice them with a shamrock on top.  Then I decided to make it more difficult for myself.  I really felt like some chocolate chip biscuits and that thought led to why not ice the chocolate chip biscuits.  Yes great idea until I was icing them, and discovered a first attempt at icing should not be on a bumpy biscuit.  I think they turned out ok, but you can be the judge of that.

Chocolate Chip Biscuits

125g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarb
250g choc. bits
½ cup (60g) chopped walnuts

Cream together butter, sugars and vanilla.
Add egg and beat well.
Stir in sifted dry ingredients.
Fold in choc. bits and nuts.
Drop teaspoons of mixture onto a greased cookie tray.
Bake at 190 c for about 12 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Red Velvet Cakes

I read the amazing blog Delicious Delicious Delicious (one of my favourites) and saw the recipe for red velvet cupcakes.  I had heard of these before but wasn't sure about trying them, but after reading Mr P's glowing recommendations (and the fact that they looked good enough to eat off the screen) I thought I would give them a go.

I am soooo glad I did, this recipe is amazing. The uncooked batter has the consistancy of a chocolate mousse and is nice enough to eat on it's own.  I did restrain myself but it took a lot of effort.  The cooked cakes are the lightest fluffiest cakes ever.

I made these for my sister's birthday, and as she is a bit of a fan of pink and purple I adjusted the colour accordingly.  I know the cake is sensational enough on it's own and doesn't need decoration but it was her birthday and I was going all out.

This was also my first attempt at sugar flowers.  If I may make a suggestion, doing this on a 38 degree day is not the smartest move.  Something I learned the hard way.  The flowers are not great but my sister liked them and that is all that mattered.

To make the flowers I made a batch of royal icing, which is basically egg whites and icing sugar.  This hardens up nicely when you are done, but is very sticky in the heat.

Royal Icing
2 egg whites
4 cups icing sugar

I also bought a few pink sugar decorations and sparkles (which I am building up a collection of) just to top them off.

I have made these a few times now once even in red.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vodka Infusions

Here is a new favourite of mine.  They are called vodka infusions and they are seriously addictive.
It is a very simple process add lollies to vodka, wait for them to dissolve and then drink either straight up or with lemonade.

I have made these with redskins, skittles, jelly beans and raspberry lollies.  The gelatinous lollies take a lot longer to dissolve, up to two weeks, whereas skittles and redskins can dissolve in a day.

I would normally add a packet of redskins or skittles to a bottle of vodka.  The citrus skittles are really nice all mixed together, it looks kinda weird browny colour but tastes really good.  I did the other skittles all separated as I had been warned that these don't mix well.

My very first one I made was with raspberry lollies, not knowing how many to use I filled an empty vodka bottle with them and then filled the gaps with vodka, this was a very slow dissolve, mostly I think because I had too many lollies in there.

After four days I got impatient and decided that I probably needed to dilute the mix to allow the lollies to dissolve.  Upon tipping the (VERY THICK) mix out, it became a thick syrupy type of liquid (and I use that term loosely) so I simply put it through a strainer and decided it was ok.  This has to be stirred when mixed with lemonade but tasted incredibly good.  I did decide after that though that it needed to be diluted so I did add more vodka till it was pourable.

Skittles are quite nice as well, and they disolve overnight which is really cool.  The only problem is the film of sedament that floats on top.  It is not nice and really needs to be filtered to get rid of it.  I've heard the best way is to use a coffee filter but since I don't have any of those I ended up using a paper towel over a strainer.  Taste the colours of the rainbow has a whole new meaning.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Home Life

My home is a riot of fun and activity.  That's right I have pets and they never stay still.
I have two dogs, Buffy (Border Collie) and Willow (Chocolate Lab)

and two cats, Cassandra and Niobe

And they all get along.....I know, I know this is not normal right.  Aren't cats and dogs supposed to fight like um....cats and dogs :)

But they don't, they play wrestle (the dogs have to scrunch down on the ground or roll around on their backs in order for the cats to reach them) and they love playing chasey,  hence the riot and activity.

They are very inquisitive

and get into everything
Which makes life really interesting, you never know what is going to happen next.

Oh and by the way all those photos of ninja kittens are real, Niobe is practising to be one I am sure. You just never know when she will strike.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Re-Inventing the Lamington

I have just recently added an entry to Mr P's Wonderful re-invention of the lamington contest.  I only heard about it from my sister the last day you could enter (lucky I just happened to have made the lamingtons for my BIL Birthday/Australia Day party). 

She also entered a marvelous rainbow coloured lamington which you can see on her blog Dragon Musings.  This was quite a sight when it was cut open as no one knew what she had created.  Very impressive!!

For those of you who don't know, a lamington is generally a piece of cake with jam (and sometimes cream) in the middle then coated in a thin cocoa based icing and sprinkled with coconut.
The competition was to see what variations people could come up with.

My little lamingtons were done in good old green and gold.  So to make them that colour, instead of using icing I used jelly.  Some pineapple flavoured and some lime.  I admit I made a bit of a mistake not letting my jelly set quite enough though.  The first one I made just soaked up all the jelly and became, in about two seconds flat, a goopey blob of jelly soaked cake, yuk.

However I did not leave myself enough time to wait for the jelly to set properly so I had to make the best of it.  I carefully spooned the jelly over the cake a little bit at a time, in order to make sure that it did not soak too deeply.  Then coated them in the coconut.  Just to make them a little more different I sprinkled edible sparkles over them. 

I seriously just love the idea of sparkley food.

Then to top the day off we washed them down with some green and gold skittle infused vodka, I will share that recipe with you later