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    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 :-)

    Friday
    Oct232009

    TAKE 5

    Haven't yet graduated beyond ripping open the packet of cake mix? Then this is for you! 5 packet mixes ranging from gourmet to off the supermarket shelf were blind taste tested and reviewed by a panel of nine. This week it's Packet Mix Brownies being tested.

    The Contenders

    1. Donna Hay                     $  7.99:   Molten Chocolate Chunk Brownies    

    2. Melindas/Gluten Free      $   6.95:   Chocolate Fudge Brownie    

    3. Greens                           $   4.89:   Choc Fudge Brownies    

    4. White Wings                   $   5.32:   Double Choc Fudge Brownies  

    5. Betty Crocker                  $   5.22:   Frosted Chocolate Brownies                     

     Unmarked boxes of baked Brownies were sent to the taste testers along with review forms in order to rate each Brownie from one to five, comment on taste and texture plus an overall opinion.  After collating the information the results were as follows...

    From a possible score of 45

    Donna Hay                    33.5 comments included  "MMM Yum!! I ate mine and the rest of Debbie's" Jodie

                                                                                 "Taste like home made, not packet"  Cindy

    Melindas (Gluten Free)   17.5 comments included  "After taste quite powdery" Sarah

                                                                                 "Dry"  Tim

    Greens                           18.5 comments included  "Enjoyed the icing. Favourite!" Jake

                                                                                  "Disgusting, I never thought brownies could taste like                                                                                        that"  Emma

    White Wings                   17.5 comments included  "Pathetic excuse for a Brownie" David

                                                                                  "Sickly" Mark

    Betty Crocker                  22.3 comments included  "Fudgy taste, frosting was nice" Debbie

                                                                                   "Not bad" David

     

    In this case you did get what you paid for with an easy win for Donna Hay! Pictured warm Donna Hay brownie, ready for a scoop of ice-cream! 

     

     

    Friday
    Oct232009

    Along came the Spiders

    Where to begin? 

    With Halloween just around the corner (or the October 31st to be exact), I just had to make my first post "Along came the Spiders" a quick and easy decorating idea for Halloween cupcakes. Ideal for an adult Halloween party, but equally a hit with the kids. 

    Want to recreate the look? Start with chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, standard sized not "muffin" sized as you need to use these laser cut web cupcake wrappers available from cake decorating and stationery stores to go around the cakes.

    Lightly frost the cupcakes with your choice of frosting, wrap the cakes with cupcake wrappers, top the cakes with *Vanilla Persian Fairy Floss add a rubber spider and voilà! 

    As an optional extra and to make your cakes shimmer, crush and sprinkle white edible cake glitter or use white disco glitter over the top.

    *Persian Fairy Floss dissolves quickly once in contact with air, top with the fairy floss no more than an hour before serving.

    For another quick and creepy cupcake idea how about gothic cockroach cupcakes...

                           Cockroach cupcakes

    You might also be interested in:

                                         BOO!

     

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