4 years on…..

I cant believe four years have passed since my somewhat underwhelming attempts at blogging fell into my personal festering pit of incomplete things.  I’m sure this page had fun in there alongside my abandoned Mandarin classes, neglected Kitchenaid and numerous quasi-complete sewing and painting projects.  Hells, I should probably put myself in that hole as being one of my biggest failed projects.

But, I once again find myself drawn to the prospect of catharsis in writing, to satisfy an itch that cant be scratched with the vapid musings in Facebook and Instagram.  Its as if I am searching for some rich threads I can add to the tapestry of life, not to say that I am unhappy per-se, but the day to day meanderings often blur into one big ball of humdrum.  Perhaps picking out happy highlights and re-living them through here,  might just help me find that contentment that is so easily forgotten before being acknowledged.

Im not promising this endeavour will be any more or less fruitful than it was 4 years ago, in fact I cant even promise that I wont delete this idle ramble straight away, but I feel that a mental shift is required in my life, I feel its time to come out of my foggy neutral and start participating in things that bring me joy instead of hiding under my blanket of wine and introversion..

so yeah.. if you have stumbled across this page, I make no apologies for the content.. or disjointed, sporadic and poorly written entries.

 

Advertisements
Black Forest cupcakes… Well, sort of.

Black Forest cupcakes… Well, sort of.

Baking day!

I have long sought to find the ‘perfect’ chocolate cupcake recipe. Something moist yet light, fluffy and chocolatey, yet able to hold whatever icing I want to pile on top of it. I’m happy to say, my long search is over, so miss Allie at baking a moment, I tip my hat to your perfect creation. Not only has this one “made the book” but the recipe was so delicious that my partner, who hates eating batter, was devouring them both raw and straight out of the oven! So please try this one out if you feel like a truly delicious cupcake. perfect chocolate cupcakes – Baking a Moment. The only variation I used, was a direct substitution of full fat sour cream for the yogurt, and reduction of sugar by 1/4 cup (I often find American recipes a teeny bit too sweet so I always reduce sugar)

20131110-214302.jpg

Black Forest is my favourite flavour cake, but it’s hard to get perfect. The cherries need to be sour, the cake light and the chantilly not too sweet. And as much a fan I am of a boozy Black Forest, this wasn’t the time or place for it. For cupcake topping, I needed to substitute melty cream for something that would stand up to a warmer room, it had to be buttercream, but American buttercream is too sweet and grainy, and my last attempt at Italian buttercream was… Well… Soup. And although I feared I would give my friends a cardiac episode, I went for vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.

20131110-220800.jpg
I started the night before, I wasn’t sure if I should make a cherry curd or jam, in the end I decided to make a loose gel from the juice of a jar of sour cherries.

20131110-222132.jpg
I tore up a handful of the cherries from the jar and reduced it all down to a cup in volume, added 1.5 gold standard gelatine leaves then let it set overnight in the fridge.

20131110-221026.jpg
Suisse meringue buttercream is made by cooking 1 1/4 cups of sugar and 4 egg whites over a Bain Marie whisking gently until it reaches 71 degrees Celsius (160F). Remove from the heat and beat on high until cold, then add 2 cups of butter to it, one teeny cube at a time, and then beat beat beat, the more you beat it the nicer it is. Vanilla it up and colour to your liking. This makes enough for 18 very generous piles of icing.

20131110-215455.jpg

Then the fun bit! I baked up a batch of the perfect chocolate cupcakes from Baking a Moment, (ate way too many straight from the oven). Cooled and shallow cored them, filled them with cherry gel and dressed with silky buttercream and a shiny cherry on top.

20131110-221817.jpg
And the verdict? We’ll at the rate they were inhaled, I’d say a screaming success.

20131110-222353.jpg

Berry Butters! A sweet addition to put the awe in Awesome.

Berry Butters! A sweet addition to put the awe in Awesome.

As a child, I was never a fan of lemon butter (or curd, for the foodies). I never actually started to appreciate the taste until my late twenties when I stumbled upon a little French patisserie nestled in a little melbourne alleyway, and I was in love at first bite.
Until then, Lemon curd was always cloyingly sweet, gelatine filled crap from a jar, but this, this was special, light pastry housed a rich creamy curd with a sharp sourness as the top note completely complementing the hint of sugar that lingered on my lips.

From that moment I decided that I needed to make this, and after trial and error (and a plethora of trawling through recipes), I did. In addition to a smackingly tart lemon curd, I also mastered lime and passionfruit, but that’s all just pedestrian isn’t it? I wanted something special to fill my cupcakes with and spread on toast and put in the middle of cakes, and on ice cream and and… *breathes*

So I thought about what makes curd, eggs, butter, sugar, an ass-tonne of elbow grease, heat and an acid, if I can make this with passionfruit, why can’t i do this with blood orange, or pineapple, or mandarin. Well the answer is pretty simple. you can.

So I experimented 🙂 the recipe below is a one-size-fits-all recipe, the quantity of juice can be substituted to fit any fruit that is acidic and the curd always turns out perfect.

base curd recipe

175mls juice
165g butter, chopped
¾ cup (200g) caster (superfine) sugar
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks

method

Place the juice, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and sugar dissolved.

Place eggs and egg yolks in a large metal bowl and whisk until combined.

Add the hot juice mixture to the bowl with the eggs, whisking continuously. (If you don’t keep the eggs moving at this stage you are going to end up with scrambled eggs)

Quickly place the bowl while whisking over a pot filled with 1/3 simmering water (Bain Marie) ensure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.

Cook, stirring continuously, over your Bain Marie, for 6–7 minutes or until thickened and mixture coats the back of a spoon. (Blueberry butter cooking shown below)

20131107-222107.jpg

Allow to cool and store in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. Makes 2½ cups.

Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

20131107-222238.jpg

variations
BLUEBERRY

20131107-222419.jpg

Substitute 175mls juice with 1/3 cup blueberries blended with 1/4 cup lemon juice and pass through a sieve.

RASPBERRY
Substitute 175mls juice with 1/3 cup raspberries blended with 1/4 cup orange juice and pass through a sieve.

PASSIONFRUIT
Substitute 175mls juice with 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp (fresh!) and 1tbs lemon juice.

 

At this point I would say anything is possible with 175ml Lemon/lime juice and 1/3 cup of something acidic. Possibly event he tears of unicorns.

 

Raspberry white chocolate cupcakes.

Baking day!

image

I immensely enjoy my fortnightly cupcake baking sessions. It has fast come a tradition that every dungeons and dragons game the table be adorned with well dressed sweet treats from my oven.

Each fortnight I aim to push the creative boundary just a little more.  So today I put my own little spin on an old favorite.  Raspberry and white chocolate!

Now I’ve never been a fan of berry bits or chocolate chips floating around cupcakes, so I decided that the best way to get the flavour combination was to make a raspberry filled cupcake and pipe a thick sweet ganache on top and just use a light fluffy vanilla cake. Well that idea was a stroke of genius, the cupcakes were balanced and morish and the mousse like ganash topped it all off perfectly tying all the flavors together in a soft gooey moment of extreme bliss.

image

Recently I discovered a passionfruit curd recipe by Donna Hay, I previously have stuffed cupcakes with this creamy buttery goo, and I got to thinking that if I can do this curd with passionfruit, why not with other acidic fruits, orange, lime… pineapple… even berries! Even raspberries? Yes! It was so simple, but the result was amazing, my experiment paid off and the results all came in amazeballs.

image

Needless to say, these were a hit. . Unfortunatley now I have to top then next fortnight!!

Oh goodie! Another blogger!

I’ve often thought of starting a blog before, thinking it would be good to conform to the foodies code and post glorious pictures of steaming hot plates of food whilst playing critique, and write over opinionated prose on restaurants that I frequent, or to put together a page as an ode to sewing or needlecraft constructs that I (eventually) complete. The truth of why i never got around to it really is that I’m just not that good at keeping up with these things, I will be inspired and update like crazy for a few months, then my attention will wane and it will be another of those projects that are in the corner of my sewing cupboard that will probably not ever be completed.

What has ACTUALLY made me pull my thumb out and start blogging, wasn’t a fanciful notion that ill be able to make a glorious page full of insightful and inspiring words to share a little piece of myself with the world, and is moreso driven by my own personal need to get all of the busy busy thoughts out of my cluttered brain in a productive and cathartic way. And honestly, whining to my friends and family constantly about everything might be cathartic, but its certainly not productive if you don’t want people to think you do nothing but complain or boast, or talk constantly.

And so is born my little piece of the web, where I can post a billion pics of pretty cupcakes, rant about the shortcomings of a recent video game, or simply wax rhapsodic about the meal I have just eaten at the local sichuanese restaurant, and people don’t have to read it if they don’t want to.

so welcome to my crazy. 🙂