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    Thursday
    Oct292009

    Curse Mr. Kelly and Save the Chickens cupcake

      

    There is many "classic teenage moments",  and this is one of them ;-)

    My girlfriend Cindy had prepared the families favourite chicken casserole, it was a day when she, as a flat out mother of three she was pleased to be on top of things, that was until it was time to serve dinner. Teenage son "What's for dinner?" Cindy "Our favourite chicken casserole", from that moment it goes down hill... Teenage son over the six hours since she last saw him has decided, after learning about chicken farming at school that he no longer eats chicken, at least not factory farmed chicken and how could his Mum "do it".

    Developing a social conscience & the power to disrupt the family that does along with it, lol I love. Cindy wasn't as enamoured, she cursed the teacher Mr.Kelly for raising the subject at school as she rushed to the shop to buy a block of tofu ;-)

    My stepson Daniel, sits his first VCE (high school final) exam tomorrow. Good luck Dan and thank you...

    Mr. Kelly & Mr. Pearson Media teachers at Wantirna College. You have both been inspirational, wonderful teachers. Daniel wouldn't be there without you guys. Thank you from the bottom of hearts for everything you have done.

    PS I watched lots of films you have recommended and enjoyed them, but come on Copycat is not that good a film! Someone just has a "thing" for Sigourney Weaver... admit it! 

    Wednesday
    Oct282009

    All that Glitters

    Time for a little bling!  Make your cupcakes glitter and shimmer with these products available from cake decorating stores.

     1. Blue fine sanding sugar: Sanding sugar is available in coarse or fine in a wide range of colours. 2. Lustre dust: Available in metallics, lustre dust can be dusted on dry or mixed with a little vodka for a metallic paint. 3. Cachous: Assorted sizes and colours of metallic cachous, try mixing different sizes on the same cake. 4. Pure edible Silver Leaf 23 carat: Pure silver leaf available in sheets. Apply with a fine dry brush to lift pieces from the sheets.  5. Pure edible Gold Leaf 23 carat: Available in leaves, pieces and shaker containers.6. Edible glitter: Wide range of colours, use as whole flakes or push through a fine sieve to make the whole cupcake shimmery. 

    Tuesday
    Oct272009

    Midnight Mint Mini Cupcakes

     

    Dark and minty, the perfect after dinner mint experience.

    Makes 24 mini cupcakes

    Chocolate cake

    Ingredients

    1 ½  cups self-raising flour
    ½ cup cocoa powder (preferably dark dutch processed)
    ¾  cup caster sugar (superfine)
    ¾  cup milk
    60g dark chocolate (2oz) melted
    125g butter (4.4oz) melted, cooled
    2 large eggs beaten
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

    2 Peppermint crisp bars choppedNestle Peppermint crisp bars... a profusion of thin cylinders of mint-flavoured toffee enrobed in milk chocolate. Popular in Australia crushed or chopped as an ingredient in or on cheesecakes, pavlovas, cakes, cookies and the like. 

    Method 

    Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 24 cup mini muffin pan with paper cases.

    Combine sifted flour and cocoa with the caster sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.
    Add milk, butter, chocolate, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture. Using a large metal spoon, stir gently to combine.
    Divide mixture into the paper cases. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, careful not to overbake. Stand in pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    Peppermint Ganache

    ½ cup cream 
    200g (7oz) dark eating chocolate chopped
    2 drops of peppermint essence or oil

    Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat, add chocolate, stir until smooth & add essence.

    Dip the top of cooled cakes, one by one into the ganache. Sprinkle with chopped Peppermint crisp bar. 

    *the ganache will lose it's gloss once set, if you are not serving the cakes within an hour but want "gloss" a teaspoon of corn syrup stirred in after the chocolate has melted into the cream will preserve the gloss.

     

    Monday
    Oct262009

    Yummy Soup! Recipe management software for Mac.

    Tried many, own several, but I love this recipe management software from Hungry Seacow Software most of all for it's easy, fast, complete drop & drag import of recipes from all the major food sites. A host of other features including full screen view for those of us (me!) that can't read a recipe off the screen to bake unless it is LARGE. 

    At only $20 USD for a family pack I highly recommend  it.  

    System requirements; Mac OSX Tiger 10.4, Leopard 10.5, Snow Leopard 10.6 15 day free trial

    Sunday
    Oct252009

    Vampire's don't Sparkle, but Dead Fairies Do Cupcakes


    vampire |ˌvampʌɪə|
    noun
    1. a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth.

    Sorry Twilight fans, but vampires don't sparkle. An evil elf maybe, or even a dead fairy...

    Dead fairy kits (truly) are available online from Silver Crow Creations

    Each kit contains two skeletons, two pairs of wings, glitter glue, stick on "jewels", gifts for the fairies to hold if you want to use them as Day of Dead figures. Plus you can sew a little skirt for them if you like, the kits also include tulle, needle and thread. 


    I used them to top mini muffin sized frosted cupcakes, baked in black foil liners and topped with black sanding sugar. 

    Macabre, I love them!


    Sunday
    Oct252009

    Weird Science

     


    If the names: Ferran Adrià, Heston Blumenthal, Wylie Dufresne roll off your tongue you already know what a syringe, and three white powders are going to produce. 

    If not, welcome to world of culinary Molecular gastronomy. Since the 1990's some of worlds greatest chefs have passionately embraced the use of science, technology and cutting edge equipment to produce food in new surprising flavours and structure.

    Hot coffee and iced coffee in the same cup yet both elements stay separate, inside out boiled egg, a sculpture of fruit foam tasting more like fruit than fruit itself but disappearing on your tongue, it's all possible with molecular gastronomy. 

    Curious? Then why not start out with "fruit caviar or pearls", gel on the outside, liquid on the inside.

    Liquid, usually fruit, but it can be alcohol to tomato juice go through a spherification process to produce small balls or "caviar" to be used desserts, savoury dishes and cocktails. 

    For my first attempt I made red plum fruit caviar.

     

    Fruit Caviar technique

    500ml of chilled Red Plum juice (or 500ml of any liquid)

    1.5g Sodium Alginate

    1g Sodium Citrate

    500ml chilled water

    3g Calcium chloride

    Combine the first three ingredients in a jug, whisk together. In a separate bowl stir the calcium chloride into the water until dissolved. 

    Using a syringe or an eyedropper, drip drops of the fruit mixture into the calcium chloride bath. Allow to set for up to 5 minutes before rinsing in cold water. They are now ready to use. I paired the plum caviar with mini matcha & black sesame pavlovas but they could just as easily topped tarts or cupcakes. 

    Starter spherification kit from The Red Spoon Company

     

    Saturday
    Oct242009

    BOO! Halloween Cupcakes

    Ghost cupcake picks for Halloween, cute and scary thanks to little toy axes and red cake gel. 

    To make your own:

    RTR icing white (in Australia also called plastic or fondant icing)
    Chup a chups round lollipops 
    Wilton red cake gel
    Black food colour
    Toy axes
    Cupcakes baked in standard black baking cups 
    Light coloured frosting
    empty egg carton


    Pierce small holes in the bottom of an egg carton, this will be your “stand” for drying your ghosts.

    Unwrap lollipops, and roll out your RTR white icing unit 2-3mm thick, cut circles out with a cookie cutter and drape over lollipops.

    Stand you lollipops in your egg carton stand whilst you make the eyes. 

    Colour a small amount of white RTR black.

    Roll small balls of white RTR icing (eyes) and gently press onto ghosts, roll and even smaller balls of black and press into position on the white eyes.

    Let dry 24-48 hours depending on the weather. 

    Attach axes with small balls of white RTR on the back of the ghosts, let dry.

    Push your finished ghosts into the frosted cupcakes and take a tube of red cake gel to make the "blood" splashes. Don't forget to put a bit on the blades of the axes. BOO!

    You might be also interested in quick and easy creepy cockroach cupcakes...

                    cockroach cupcakes

    Saturday
    Oct242009

    Baking Tip

    A large bag of doggie treats to keep the dogs OUT OF THE KITCHEN.

    Marvin the toothless pug sucks on a chew stick.

    Saturday
    Oct242009

    "Got myself a gun" tiramisu cupcakes


    You woke up this morning. Got yourself a gun.
    Mama always said you'd be the Chosen One. 

    A3 (Alabama 3)

     

    I woke up that morning with plans to make chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with chocolate Swiss meringue butter cream frosting & apple toffee tower cupcakes. 

    Started by putting a tray of cupcakes in the oven, I then began whisking egg white in a bowl on the stovetop for the frosting, I also had sugar melting for toffee in another pot and chocolate melting in the microwave. At about the point that I was thinking, "how good am I" it all went wrong. 

    The iPod got stuck on repeating the first song on the playlist, the theme song to the Sopranos, A3's 'Woke up this morning'... Got yourself a gun. Distracted I check out the iPod settings rather than whisking the egg white. Scrambled egg white wasn't the aim and I had to start that again, whilst separating more eggs I smell "something"... the toffee was burnt. 

    The iPod is still playing Got yourself a gun; do I turn off the iPod? No, I decided to reset the iPod and get more sugar on the stove for toffee. iPod reset, but I now have more scrambled egg white. I start to panic (always helpful) and rush to separate more eggs. The reset ipod is still playing Got yourself a gun

    Ever pushed the microwave button for a second time and it’s not on the setting you started with? Well, I wouldn’t recommend microwaving chocolate on “high”, an eruption of chocolate coincided with the toffee burning yet again and the egg whites scrambling. 

    When I realised I had forgotten about the cupcakes in the oven I decided to sit down in the corner of the kitchen and cry, but it wouldn’t have been complete without Got yourself a gun blaring from the iPod. At that point I actually needed a gun! First to go the iPod!


     Tiramisu from the Italian phrase tira mi sù ‘pick me up'

    With only time left in the day for a quick recipe, here is the result “Got yourself a gun” tiramisu cupcakes.

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F 

    Line two 12 cup trays with paper liners (the small patty/fairy cake size)

    Cake batter

    125g butter (4.4oz)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup (150g) castor sugar (superfine)
    3 eggs
    1½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
    ¼ cup milk (60ml)


    Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, sifted flour & milk on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium & beat for 3 minutes until smooth and pale in colour.

    Drop spoonfuls of mixture into the paper liners. Bake about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes removing to a wire rack to cool.

    Coffee syrup

    1/2 cup of expresso freshly brewed strong coffee
    1/4 cup sugar 
    1 tablespoon of Tia Maria (you can use Marsala if you prefer)

    Stir together until sugar is dissolved. 

    Mascarpone topping

    1 cup heavy cream
    250g mascarpone cheese, room temperature
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar

    Mix mascarpone and icing sugar together, in a separate bowl mix cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture.

    Pierce holes into the cooled cupcakes with a medium skewer, brush with coffee syrup, top with mascarpone topping and dust with cocoa powder. 

    Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

     

     

     

     

     

    Friday
    Oct232009

    Happy Birthday Emma!

    Emma made her own tower of "froggy" cupcakes for her birthday. Fantastic job Emma! Happy Birthday :-)