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    Tuesday
    Oct222013

    Catrin Day of the Dead Cupcake

    catrin day of the dead cupcake

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    Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd.

    In 2013 Day of the Dead celebrations begin November 1st and finish November 2nd. 

    I've made a Cartrin this year, because a lady needs a dance partner. 

    Made in the same way as the Catrina skull last year, you start with a white egg shaped piece of fondant or modelling paste.

    Roll small sausage shapes and add to the skull to build up features. Use your finger tips and modelling tools to blend and shape the skull. Use a toothpick to mark out cracks and scratches on the skull.

    Start the body with a torso shaped piece of fondant or puffed rice treat. If using puffed rice treat, cover with a base layer of fondant first. Cut a vest and apply with damp brush, I had imprinted the rolled fondant so I dusted with green lustre dust at this stage to bring out the pattern and add depth of colour. Small balls of fondant were marked with a toothpick and attached as the buttons.

    Make white collar for the shirt, attach. Proceed to make the jacket, again attaching with a brush barely dampened with water.

    Bow tie is made with two rectangles, the larger one is pinched in the middle and shaped. The smaller one is wrapped around the center of the large one.

    Make pocket handkerchiefs with small triangles, attach to jacket and then attach false pocket flap to the top.

    For the hat I used puffed rice treat to reduce the weight, I know he is a skeleton and all but I didn't want to squoosh his head. Squeeze and shape the puffed rice treat into a top hat, cover with fondant. Make a band and brim with fondant.

    For the buttonaire see Catrina Cupcake  

    Leave the pieces to dry, supported where necessary to keep the shapes. Once dry use dusts to shade the piece and insert either a strand of dry spaghetti or a small wooden through the whole piece and attach to your cupcake.

    Happy Baking :)  

    Amazon has a range of day of the dead figures... click on the Senorita to visit Amazon :) 

    You might also be interested in a recipe for quick and easy Chocolate Peanut Spiders for the kids and young at heart.

    Saturday
    Oct192013

    Chocolate Tia Maria Fridge Cake 

    last of the chocolate coffee liqueur fridge (ice box) cake

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    Oh, have you tried replacing some of the cream in your ganache for plain Greek yoghurt?

    Even if yoghurt isn't in your top 500 foods, once added to ganache a little bit of magic occurs. Well, ok not "magic" (I'm trying to sell you on the idea because I like it so much), but rather the yoghurt has a two fold effect of lightening the texture of the ganache and adding an acid component that cleans the palate. 

    I like a ratio of 50% cream to 50% Greek yoghurt. The yoghurt ganache can be made with white, milk and dark chocolate. Think white chocolate yoghurt ganache with strained passion fruit puree for truffles or dark chocolate yoghurt ganache sauce with profiteroles or for your berries and waffles. What follows is the basic ratio/method that you can use in your existing recipes, plus a retro fridge cake laced with Tia Maria that the "Lovely Lauren" my step son Daniels girlfriend declared was so nice "I could eat this everyday". 

    Chocolate Tia Maria Refrigerator Cake

    Ingredients

    Sponge fingers come with different amounts of biscuits depending on the brand... from 250g to 400g but the following recipe makes plenty of ganache, in fact you might have some over to top a cupcake or two. 


    I x packet of savoiardi/sponge finger biscuits

    125 ml (quarter of a cup) of very strong brewed black coffee  (you can make up instant if you don't have shots of expresso handy) 

    1/4 cup caster sugar (superfine) 

    3 tablespoons of coffee liqueur (add more coffee if you want to avoid the alcohol) 

    1 tsp of pure vanilla extract/essence

    150g  (5oz)  milk chocolate, roughly chopped

    150g  (5oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped

    250 ml (one cup) thickened cream (whipping cream)

    250 ml (one cup) plain thick Greek yoghurt

    Place the sugar and coffee in a saucepan, bring to a rapid boil and boil one minute or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in Tia Maria and vanilla extract. Set aside. 

    Melt the chocolate with half the cream in a heat proof bowl over pan a simmering water. Remove from heat and stir through the remaining cream and yoghurt. Refrigerate until the ganache is thick enough to spread. 

    Divide up your sponge fingers, I made my cake by laying six sponge fingers side by side and allowed another 12 sponge fingers to create two layers on top. *This size will give you leftover ganache, if you are using a larger packet of biscuits you will use all the ganache. 

    Spread some of the chocolate ganache onto your cake platter to secure the first row of sponge fingers. 

    Start to build the cake by dipping biscuits in the coffee/tia maria solution, lay six across the bottom, top with ganache, dip another six biscuits lay those on top of the base layer, top with ganache and lay final layer of dipped biscuits on top. Use remaining ganache to cover the sides and top of cake. 

    Chill for 4-6 hours. 

    Optional: decorate with your choice of chocolate curls, grated chocolate, chocolate coated coffee beans or crushed choc/coffee candy bars. 

    adapted from no bake Irish gateau Hamyln all colour cookbook: 200 chocolate recipes 

     Happy Baking :)

    You might also interested in no bake Tia Maria Treats

    Or perhaps you have been hankering to make a Chinese dragon  

    Wednesday
    Sep252013

    A Trip to the Moon Halloween Cupcake

    A Trip to the Moon (French: Voyage dans la Lune)

    A Trip to the Moon (French: Voyage dans la Lune), is a 1902 French silent film directed by Georges Méliès. It was named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice, ranking at #84, and in 2002 it became the first work designated as a UNESCO World Heritage film.  Wikipedia

    Sweating modelling chocolate today, but first a bit on 'A Trip to the Moon'. It was fantastic a hand coloured print of the short silent film was found in the 1990's and fully restored in the 2000's, however for me it did lose a little of it's "innocence" once I saw the blood coming from the moons eye. My parents are to blame of course. Mum told me it was "dripping cheese" coming from the moon... and I believed it ;) 

    black and white still of the iconic moon

    colour still of the moon 

    And you can watch it now on You Tube (it's black and white... think of cheese).

    Ok on to "sweating modelling chocolate". Modelling chocolate is brilliant when you are making figures or highly detailed pieces that you need to spend more time on than fondant alone would allow. The problem is "temperature", it's fairly cool in Melbourne at the moment but already my modelling chocolate is starting to sweat/fat seperating. 

    Now you can put your modelling chocolate in the fridge to firm up again, but as the temperature rises, and rises, over summer it's a losing battle. But you can still have the benefit of a bit of extra time to sculpt by mixing it with your fondant or modelling paste. 

    sweating modelling chocolate (sorry for the phone photos... bit of colour glitch)

    I thought "hmmm, might be ok?"

    But no, scrapped that and mixed fondant, a little CMC powder, modelling chocolate just till the sweating disappeared. 

    In the height of summer I use 50/50 fondant and white modelling chocolate... you can adjust the amounts to the weather conditions where you are. 

    Here you can see I still made a lot changes to moon after this point, the modelling chocolate content allowed me to work longer without the surface crusting. The mixture is soft and malleable. 

    I use this recipe, though any modelling chocolate recipe would suffice. 

    Have fun sculpting and happy baking :) 

    You might also like Swamp Zombie!!

    Saturday
    Sep142013

    Frankenstein's Monsters Cupcake

                                 Frankenstein's Monsters Cupcake; topper made from modelling chocolate and fondant

    “I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel...” Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by Mary Shelley about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Wikipedia

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    Goodness, I'm late, I'm late, I'm always running late but instead of making a white rabbit/Alice in Wonderland cupcake I had a slight panic moment when I saw Martha Stewart's Halloween issue is out already... it must be time to work out this years Halloween baking theme. Shall it be classic monsters? Yet, I've never done Hitchcock before.

    Mad scientists appeal to me. I think I can make something with a bowl of green goo (green coloured peanut butter turned into powder perhaps?) or pop rocks/space candy, I love pop rocks, I could fill test-tubes with those and give them out to sprinkle of top of frosted cupcakes or bake them into the cases of chocolate chilli tarts.

    Hmmm, what to do? What will you do? 

     

    Also out now the first edition of Taste.com.au magazine. Definitely worth a look, with  Zumbo, Manu and Matt Preston writing stories/recipes plus a plethora of other aussie food journalists. Paper copy from Woolies, digital copy from itunes. 

    I'm off now to read Martha Stewarts Halloween :) Happy Baking. 

    Thursday
    Sep122013

    Honey Joy Cupcakes

                                                       honey joy cupcake 

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    I do love a bit of retro, it makes people happy, it makes me happy :) and can anything be more retro that breakfast cereal? Hmmm, now I've said that you can probably think of examples that are more retro but ssshhh that will spoil the segue into today's story.

    Okay, cereal/childhood, childhood/cereal, those TV advertisements with Tigers, Monkey's, Roosters and Toucans to boot... little toys and collectibles hidden in the colourful boxes and those cute individual cereal packs that you always wanted your mum to buy you.

    That's probably a slightly glossed over version of childhood memories, no soggy flakes floating in milk today but rather a small vanilla cupcake, brushed with warmed honey, swirl of milky white chocolate ganache and topped with a mini honey joy.

    Honey Joys are a "side of the box" corn flake recipe that has been popular with Australian kids for generations. The Aussie alternative to the marshmallow rice krispies treats in the US perhaps? 

    Simple and inexpensive to make, honey joys are usually baked in cupcake paper liners in a cupcake pan. Today I've used silicone half sphere baking pans to make mini honey joys, but a buttered mini cupcake pan would also be suitable. 

    silcone sphere baking pan, standard honey joy, baked mini honey joys

    Honey Joys 

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups corn flakes (breakfast cereal)
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 90g  (3.17 OZ) butter or margarine

    Method

    Preheat oven to 150C - 302F  (130C/266F fan)

    Melt butter, sugar and honey together in a saucepan until frothy. Add corn flakes and mix well. Working quickly spoon into the holes of silicone pans or buttered mini cupcake pans. Bake in a slow oven 150°C for 10 minutes for silicone or 7 to 9 for minis. Cool. Store in a single layer. 

    Cake batter

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F (160C/320F  fan)

    Ahhh, being a bit "Australian" sizing today because I've used smaller than standard cupcake but bigger than mini paper liners. Patty cake/Fairy cake sized... though I'm not really sure what the correct name for them is. You can use a mini cupcake tin and paper liners for a slightly small result.

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

    Ingredients

    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)

    optional

    1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey warmed in microwave until runny

    Method

    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 for patty cake sized and 15 to 17 for mini cupcake size. The cakes will be lightly golden with a slight spring when the centers are gently touched.

    Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes removing to a wire rack. Brush tops of cakes with warm honey is using. Leave cakes to cool.

    Ganache

    Ingredients

    250 grams (8.8 OZ) white chocolate (finely chopped)

    125 mls (4.2 fluid OZ) cream 

    Method

    Combine the chopped white chocolate and cream in a dry and heat proof bowl over simmering water. (Do not let the water touch the bowl). 

    Stir occasionally until both chocolate and cream are almost all combined, but you can still see a little chocolate unmelted. 

    Remove bowl from heat and stir until the chocolate and cream are fully combined.

    Refrigerate until the ganache thickens and reaches piping consistency.

    Stir the ganache and either fill your piping bag and pipe a donut shape on top of each cake with a large round piping tip or use a teaspoon to drop a spoonful of ganache in the center of each cake.

    *Store any remaining ganache in the refrigerator. 

    Top each cupcake with a honey joy just before serving. 

    *can't find self-raising/rising flour where you are? 

    From the Australian Women's Weekly this easy conversion; To convert plain flour into self-raising flour, add two teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. Adding one teaspoon of cream of tartar and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to one cup of plain flour gives the same result.

    *left over ganache can be rolled into truffles or gently melted in the microwave for a white chocolate sauce. 

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also be interested in chocolate scones 

    or Little Lime Lemon Lamingtons  

    I'd love to see on Facebook too. 

    Saturday
    Aug102013

    Once Upon a Time cupcake or Cinderella and the Brothers Grimm. 

                                       once upon at time cupcake

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    But she could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut the toe off; when thou art Queen thou wilt have no more need to go on foot." The maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King's son.

    Cinderella Brothers Grimm

    Missed career... I would have loved to have been a "folklorist"... I do love a good story and what better than the Brother's Grimm. 

    The story of Cinderella gained popularity when a version was penned by French author Charles Perrault in 1697, popularity of the tale continued when the Grimm brothers included a version in there first volume of fairy tales in 1812. Of course we all know the 1950 Disney movie, but it's a Grimm brothers retelling that inspired today's cupcake. 

    making a fondant toe

    Having trouble shaping fingers and toes for you fondant figurines? Start taking photos of fingers and toes, yours, the kids, great Uncle Charlie and pop them a hands/feet folder in your computer for reference. Toes like fingers are rarely straight, ok this seems like stating the obvious but it is the common mistake that you see in fondant figures... super straight fingers and toes. 

    Once I made my toe shape it was just a matter of adding the details, no pedi's in those days so I aimed for a "rough toe", a bit dirty with chipped nail. Colouring was done with a small artists brush and blending white, brown, red and yellow petals dusts. A toothpick was inserted in the base of toe to attach it to the cake.

    making casual roses

    Small casual roses are easy to make for your cupcake toppers. Make tiny balls of fondant, to start the rose roll one the balls into a cylinder shape. Roll/squash the other balls into tear drop shapes.

    putting roses together

    Start to attach the tear drop shapes to the cylinder with a little water, build up the the rows by slightly overlapping the petals each time you go around. Oh, and make sure each row of petals is higher than the last row. Use your fingers to shape the petals as desired. You can make these roses very quickly once you get the hang of it. To finish, cut or pinch off the rear of the rose to neaten your work and adhere to cupcake with a little water or cake glue. 

    Red cake gel makes for great blood that stays in place. 

    Happy Baking :) and don't forget if you have a question or just want to say "hi" Facebook is your best bet for a fast result.  

    The Lone Baker Facebook

    Want to read Cinderella fairy tale in it's entirety? Here it is.... 

    The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and said, "Dear child, be good and pious, and then the good God will always protect thee, and I will look down on thee from heaven and be near thee." Thereupon she closed her eyes and departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother's grave, and wept, and she remained pious and good. When winter came the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and when the spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife.

    The woman had brought two daughters into the house with her, who were beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart. Now began a bad time for the poor step-child. "Is the stupid goose to sit in the parlour with us?" said they. "He who wants to eat bread must earn it; out with the kitchen-wench." They took her pretty clothes away from her, put an old grey bedgown on her, and gave her wooden shoes. "Just look at the proud princess, how decked out she is!" they cried, and laughed, and led her into the kitchen. There she had to do hard work from morning till night, get up before daybreak, carry water, light fires, cook and wash. Besides this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury -- they mocked her and emptied her peas and lentils into the ashes, so that she was forced to sit and pick them out again. In the evening when she had worked till she was weary she had no bed to go to, but had to sleep by the fireside in the ashes. And as on that account she always looked dusty and dirty, they called her Cinderella. It happened that the father was once going to the fair, and he asked his two step-daughters what he should bring back for them. "Beautiful dresses," said one, "Pearls and jewels," said the second. "And thou, Cinderella," said he, "what wilt thou have?" "Father, break off for me the first branch which knocks against your hat on your way home." So he bought beautiful dresses, pearls and jewels for his two step-daughters, and on his way home, as he was riding through a green thicket, a hazel twig brushed against him and knocked off his hat. Then he broke off the branch and took it with him. When he reached home he gave his step-daughters the things which they had wished for, and to Cinderella he gave the branch from the hazel-bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother's grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears fell down on it and watered it. And it grew, however, and became a handsome tree. Thrice a day Cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if Cinderella expressed a wish, the bird threw down to her what she had wished for.

    It happened, however, that the King appointed a festival which was to last three days, and to which all the beautiful young girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were to appear among the number, they were delighted, called Cinderella and said, "Comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our buckles, for we are going to the festival at the King's palace." Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to go with them to the dance, and begged her step-mother to allow her to do so. "Thou go, Cinderella!" said she; "Thou art dusty and dirty and wouldst go to the festival? Thou hast no clothes and shoes, and yet wouldst dance!" As, however, Cinderella went on asking, the step-mother at last said, "I have emptied a dish of lentils into the ashes for thee, if thou hast picked them out again in two hours, thou shalt go with us." The maiden went through the back-door into the garden, and called, "You tame pigeons, you turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to pick

    "The good into the pot,
    The bad into the crop."

    Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen-window, and afterwards the turtle-doves, and at last all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, pick, and the rest began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good grains into the dish. Hardly had one hour passed before they had finished, and all flew out again. Then the girl took the dish to her step-mother, and was glad, and believed that now she would be allowed to go with them to the festival. But the step-mother said, "No, Cinderella, thou hast no clothes and thou canst not dance; thou wouldst only be laughed at." And as Cinderella wept at this, the step-mother said, "If thou canst pick two dishes of lentils out of the ashes for me in one hour, thou shalt go with us." And she thought to herself, "That she most certainly cannot do." When the step-mother had emptied the two dishes of lentils amongst the ashes, the maiden went through the back-door into the garden and cried, You tame pigeons, you turtle-doves, and all you birds under heaven, come and help me to pick

    "The good into the pot,
    The bad into the crop."

    Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen-window, and afterwards the turtle-doves, and at length all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the doves nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, pick, and the others began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good seeds into the dishes, and before half an hour was over they had already finished, and all flew out again. Then the maiden carried the dishes to the step-mother and was delighted, and believed that she might now go with them to the festival. But the step-mother said, "All this will not help thee; thou goest not with us, for thou hast no clothes and canst not dance; we should be ashamed of thee!" On this she turned her back on Cinderella, and hurried away with her two proud daughters.

    As no one was now at home, Cinderella went to her mother's grave beneath the hazel-tree, and cried,

    "Shiver and quiver, little tree,
    Silver and gold throw down over me."

    Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She put on the dress with all speed, and went to the festival. Her step-sisters and the step-mother however did not know her, and thought she must be a foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress. They never once thought of Cinderella, and believed that she was sitting at home in the dirt, picking lentils out of the ashes. The prince went to meet her, took her by the hand and danced with her. He would dance with no other maiden, and never left loose of her hand, and if any one else came to invite her, he said, "This is my partner."

    She danced till it was evening, and then she wanted to go home. But the King's son said, "I will go with thee and bear thee company," for he wished to see to whom the beautiful maiden belonged. She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the pigeon-house. The King's son waited until her father came, and then he told him that the stranger maiden had leapt into the pigeon-house. The old man thought, "Can it be Cinderella?" and they had to bring him an axe and a pickaxe that he might hew the pigeon-house to pieces, but no one was inside it. And when they got home Cinderella lay in her dirty clothes among the ashes, and a dim little oil-lamp was burning on the mantle-piece, for Cinderella had jumped quickly down from the back of the pigeon-house and had run to the little hazel-tree, and there she had taken off her beautiful clothes and laid them on the grave, and the bird had taken them away again, and then she had placed herself in the kitchen amongst the ashes in her grey gown.

    Next day when the festival began afresh, and her parents and the step-sisters had gone once more, Cinderella went to the hazel-tree and said --

    "Shiver and quiver, my little tree,
    Silver and gold throw down over me."

    Then the bird threw down a much more beautiful dress than on the preceding day. And when Cinderella appeared at the festival in this dress, every one was astonished at her beauty. The King's son had waited until she came, and instantly took her by the hand and danced with no one but her. When others came and invited her, he said, "She is my partner." When evening came she wished to leave, and the King's son followed her and wanted to see into which house she went. But she sprang away from him, and into the garden behind the house. Therein stood a beautiful tall tree on which hung the most magnificent pears. She clambered so nimbly between the branches like a squirrel that the King's son did not know where she was gone. He waited until her father came, and said to him, "The stranger-maiden has escaped from me, and I believe she has climbed up the pear-tree." The father thought, "Can it be Cinderella?" and had an axe brought and cut the tree down, but no one was on it. And when they got into the kitchen, Cinderella lay there amongst the ashes, as usual, for she had jumped down on the other side of the tree, had taken the beautiful dress to the bird on the little hazel-tree, and put on her grey gown.

    On the third day, when the parents and sisters had gone away, Cinderella went once more to her mother's grave and said to the little tree --

    "Shiver and quiver, my little tree,
    Silver and gold throw down over me."

    And now the bird threw down to her a dress which was more splendid and magnificent than any she had yet had, and the slippers were golden. And when she went to the festival in the dress, no one knew how to speak for astonishment. The King's son danced with her only, and if any one invited her to dance, he said, "She is my partner."

    When evening came, Cinderella wished to leave, and the King's son was anxious to go with her, but she escaped from him so quickly that he could not follow her. The King's son had, however, used a strategem, and had caused the whole staircase to be smeared with pitch, and there, when she ran down, had the maiden's left slipper remained sticking. The King's son picked it up, and it was small and dainty, and all golden. Next morning, he went with it to the father, and said to him, "No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits." Then were the two sisters glad, for they had pretty feet. The eldest went with the shoe into her room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut the toe off; when thou art Queen thou wilt have no more need to go on foot." The maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King's son. Then he took her on his his horse as his bride and rode away with her. They were, however, obliged to pass the grave, and there, on the hazel-tree, sat the two pigeons and cried,

    "Turn and peep, turn and peep,
    There's blood within the shoe,
    The shoe it is too small for her,
    The true bride waits for you."

    Then he looked at her foot and saw how the blood was streaming from it. He turned his horse round and took the false bride home again, and said she was not the true one, and that the other sister was to put the shoe on. Then this one went into her chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was too large. So her mother gave her a knife and said, "Cut a bit off thy heel; when thou art Queen thou wilt have no more need to go on foot." The maiden cut a bit off her heel, forced her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the King's son. He took her on his horse as his bride, and rode away with her, but when they passed by the hazel-tree, two little pigeons sat on it and cried,

    "Turn and peep, turn and peep,
    There's blood within the shoe
    The shoe it is too small for her,
    The true bride waits for you."

    He looked down at her foot and saw how the blood was running out of her shoe, and how it had stained her white stocking. Then he turned his horse and took the false bride home again. "This also is not the right one," said he, "have you no other daughter?" "No," said the man, "There is still a little stunted kitchen-wench which my late wife left behind her, but she cannot possibly be the bride." The King's son said he was to send her up to him; but the mother answered, "Oh, no, she is much too dirty, she cannot show herself!" He absolutely insisted on it, and Cinderella had to be called. She first washed her hands and face clean, and then went and bowed down before the King's son, who gave her the golden shoe. Then she seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a glove. And when she rose up and the King's son looked at her face he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with him and cried, "That is the true bride!" The step-mother and the two sisters were terrified and became pale with rage; he, however, took Cinderella on his horse and rode away with her. As they passed by the hazel-tree, the two white doves cried --

    "Turn and peep, turn and peep,
    No blood is in the shoe,
    The shoe is not too small for her,
    The true bride rides with you,"

    and when they had cried that, the two came flying down and placed themselves on Cinderella's shoulders, one on the right, the other on the left, and remained sitting there.

    When the wedding with the King's son had to be celebrated, the two false sisters came and wanted to get into favour with Cinderella and share her good fortune. When the betrothed couple went to church, the elder was at the right side and the younger at the left, and the pigeons pecked out one eye of each of them. Afterwards as they came back, the elder was at the left, and the younger at the right, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye of each. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived.

    ###


    "Cinderella". Brothers Grimm, transl. Margaret Hunt, Grimm's Household Tales, Vol. 1, 1884.

     

    you might also be interested in.... White Chocolate Plastique (Modelling Chocolate)

    or how about making your roses from fruit chews? Starburst flowers cupcake

    Monday
    Jul082013

    A quick look at the Game of Thrones Official Cookbook

                                                                                          Turkish flat bread with black sesame.

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    Fan or Fandom cookbooks is that what you call them? I was attempting to block out all the bad fan cookbooks from my mind and think of the happy "Wookiee Cookies" memories... truly in the past we had the most fan fun cooking from the 'Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook'. 

    On picking up my stepson Daniels copy of A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook I was surprised and delighted to see a "real actual cookbook" between the covers.

    The contents are broken into the following categories; stocking your Medieval Kitchen, The Basics, Recipes by Region plus tips for putting together your feast and even dressing the table.

    I like that there is an old version of a recipe, followed by a modern day version of a recipe, honeyfingers anyone?

    Tryoshi Honeyfingers page 202-203

    Modern Honeyfingers page 204-205

    If you're a fan of George R. R. Martin's bestselling fantasy saga 'A Song of Fire and Ice', HBO's Game of Thrones or both... you'll whipping up a Westeros inspired dinner party in no time. Which is what Daniel had in mind when he said "I've bookmarked recipes for you to make".

    The Surprise:

    Hmmm, silly of me but I actually thought my stepson had read the recipes before he asked me to make them. Daniel requested Medieval Cheese-and-Onion Pie (page 143-144)

    I loyally (this is in my voice, Daniels version might differ slightly) went fourth to whip up a batch of *medieval pastry dough (page 9) and baked a pie worthy of Kings Landing. 

    Here comes the surprise bit... Daniel looks at finished pie and says "whoa what are the black bits?"

    I replied "dried currants".

    Daniel "I think I said leave the currants out".

    Me "no you didn't".

    Dan "yes I did".

    I win the dispute because I boiled onions for pie and anyone that stands in the kitchen to boil onions wins.

     cheese-and-onion pie ... I was going for a rustic edge, but think it just looks like I forgot it trim it.

    So the pie filled with onions, eggs, cheese, currants with basil and just a bit of saffron was served. Ok, this probably isn't sounding great, but you know what? The real surprise was that it was delicious, Daniel and lovely Lauren had two servings. This pie would make a great picnic pie served at room temperature. The combination of sweet and savoury sparked discussion which is always good and although most loved the pie a couple of people at the table didn't like the sweetness paired with what is essentially an early form of quiche. 

    I also baked a loaves of traditional flat bread (page 175-176), which was easy and "it's fresh warm bread", enough said. 

    All in all in the book is lots of fun to bake from and I will be baking the old version of lemon cakes and the new version of honey cakes for Daniel when he returns from overseas.

    Authors Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer run the succesful blog Inn at the Crossroads. Lots of interesting recipes and ideas there so pop over and a have a look. 

    *the medieval pastry recipe is wonderful, easy to work with, sturdy but not tough. The pie recipe did not include blind baking the crust, however I would blind bake next time. Blind baking instructions are included at the beginning of the book. 

    *there is meat and mulled wine and the like in the book too

    Stockists: A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbookvailable from all good bookstores... it's printed in Spanish as well.

    Happy Baking :) 

     you might also like rainbow serpent 

    Saturday
    Jul062013

    Dragon Egg Cupcake 

                                                dragon egg cupcake 

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    “Well, I don’t have any pet dragons – maybe they would come in handy from time to time– nobody has given me any dragon eggs and since she had to walk into fire in order to hatch them I am not sure I particularly want that bit of it.”           

    Prime Minster of Australia Julia Gillard 

    Guardian UK May 27th 2013 political editor Lenore Taylor discussing HBO's Game of Thrones with Prime Minster Glilard.

    Dang, maybe Prime Minster Julia Gillard should have risked that walk into fire because one month later on the June 27th the morning newspaper read... 

    Ok, it's an emotive headline... but hey Australia was having it's own "Game of Thrones" moment when Julia Gillard was replaced by Kevin Rudd who had been replaced by Julia Gillard three years earlier.

    Confused? here is a mini Australian leader explanation before we get onto the cupcake...

    Ok, it works like this a Prime Minister has a decline in his or her personal ratings, and a perceived loss of support amongst the MPs in their own party. Sometimes you might be directly challenged by an MP who thinks they can be a better leader and they have the numbers..  and at other times like with Prime Minster Gillard you are so sure of the support of your MP's you make the challenge to squash any rumors. But oh dear, then there is a spill, MP's "cross" and all of sudden you aren't Prime Minster anymore. Kevin Rudd is the new Prime Minister of Australia. 

    For the cupcake today I wanted a melted/worn... but pretty (ok, that last bit isn't too Game of Thronesish).

    I started with a simple fondant egg shape, narrowing a little more at the top to allow for layers of fondant scales.

    The scales are tiny triangles of fondant. Attach the scales with water (that is as in "dampen backs slightly" you don't want wet fondant), starting around the centre and working up and then down if you want to the whole egg. I gently pressed down on the scales with a downward movement to go with the melting/worn theme today.

    Using silicone cog moulds, I moulded fondant cogs and stretched and squeezed them lightly into "worn like" pieces. I attached the cogs using water around the edges of a red fondant covered cupcakes. Let everything dry at this point because once dry you are going get a out a small *paint brush and your metallic food paints and get painting. 

    For the wings cut some wing shapes from modelling paste. The wings must be rolled out as thinly as possible as to not add excess weight to your eggs. 

    Wing with base coat of metallic dust. Please forgive food coloured hand.

     Now for the fun part, paint your cupcake to your hearts desire. I used a small artists brush I dabbed various Americolor airbrush sheen colours on the top of the cakes. The cogs were painted with copper and bronze food paint from the same range. The dragons egg was swiped in downwards motion with blue and green sheens. For the wings I used petal dusts in jade, slate and white shimmer and blend, blend, blend until you happy with the result. Lastly a light dusting of jade dust on top of egg and white shimmer on the front. 

    Cut slits in each side of your eggs, flick out a few scales as your dragon is breaking out. Insert the wings that have a little cake glue applied on wide end. Prop your eggs to support the wings drying in position, this can take a few hours to overnight depending on the temperature where you are. 

    So, coming to close now and if you still wondering "where in the hell is Australia?" or "what is this thing called HBO's Game of Thrones?"... tune in later in next week for pulled sugar work or if you are a fan of the Iron Throne check back on the weekend for some Game of Thrones baking. 

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also be interested in Bubble Wrap Chocolate 

    or how about a candied beetroot topper?

    Wednesday
    Jun192013

    Squid Ink Cupcakes and Squid Ink Grissini 

                                         squid ink cupcake with fondant squid arm 

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    During my absence I bet you have wondered "should I or shouldn't I bake squid ink cupcakes?"

    Umm ok maybe not, but just in case next time you're savouring your squid ink risotto it crosses your mind "oh, black velvet cupcakes" you can scratch that idea out and have another glass of vino.

    Guess I should mention the squid ink at this stage; squid ink is available in sachets, jars or by harvesting the ink sac from fresh squid. You can buy prepackaged squid ink from fish mongers, specialty food purveyors and online. Essential Ingredients online store has it if you are in Australia. Amazon has lots of different brands including Spanish Squid Ink Packets. Most of the prepackaged squid ink, such as the Spanish Cebesa brand I used have added salt so you will need to allow for that and reduce the salt in your recipes. 

    Baking squid ink cupcakes; technically you can do it, but do you want to? 

    I baked two batches of the squid ink cupcakes, batch one didn't rise, batch two with extra added baking powder had a better rise... but no doming. 

    Flavour wise; in a rich dark chocolate batter no taste testers picked up any squid ink or fishy flavour at all. 

    Five sachets of squid ink were needed to get a true black in a standard dozen chocolate cupcake batter. Overall, an expensive way to add colour. 

    But you could make a fondant squid arm or eight. Roll a piece of fondant into a squid arm shape, then roll small balls of fondant. Using the end of a small paint brush press the balls in pairs along the squid arm to form tentacles, dampen the base of the balls with water if need be. I frilled the larger suction cups. Leave the arm/s to dry before adding markings with a food marker and colour as desired with food paint and dusts. 

                                       squid ink grissini

    Baking squid ink bread dough; the addition of squid ink to your favourite dough recipe imparts a subtle seafood flavour and results in a stark black dough with no detriment to the finished bake.

    Perfect for your pizza bases, loaves or grissini pictured today. Make sure you play with  the contrast of colour... a black pizza base with the white of buffalo mozzarella and roasted cherry tomatoes or perhaps open sandwiches of crab, mayo and micro greens on a slice of black sour dough. The grissini are fun as part of dressing your table and pair well with seafood pasta, antipasto, tapas, or just to nibble with drinks.

    So grab your favourite bread dough recipe and make the following changes: 

     

    • Omit the salt entirely. 
    • Omit added parmasen, cheeses in recipes.
    • Omit herbs, you want the squid flavour to stand alone. 
    • For every three cups of flour in the recipe you will need approximately five of the 4gram squid ink sachets. 
    • Remove the equivalent liquids from the recipe. I usually hold back around one tablespoon to two tablespoons of the water or milk in the recipe. 
    • Instead of flouring your bench, oil your bench and oil your hands to work with your dough... you don't want white flour streaks on the finished dough. 

     

    Your dough will look a little lighter in colour after rising, but don't worry once it's shaped it's back to looking black. 

    There is no "golden brown"with the squid colour so rely on tapping/listening for a hollow sound if you're not sure your bread is done. 

    Squid ink is also great to use in your homemade pasta dough using the the same proportions as above, 5 sachets to 3 cups of flour. 

    That's it for today... any questions pop over to facebook for a faster reply. 

    Happy Baking :) 

    you might be in the mood now for eating some salt and pepper squid

    or something pretty... blossum cupcake toppers

    Monday
    Dec102012

    Cherry Eton Mess

    cherry eton mess

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    Tis the time for lots of macaron's that haven't quite "footed" and meringues that didn't quite, ummm "meringue?". What to do? Why make Eton Mess for dessert of course.

    Eton mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual cricket game against the students of Harrow School. wikipedia

    Oh my, I couldn't resist the boxes brimming with sweet dark cherries that fill the Australian fruit shops in December, plus I had macarons "oddments" and end of batch meringes from Christmas gift baking. So lets make a delightful mess... albeit a bit "girlie" today, I'm afraid I went too far with the 100's and 1000's (nonpareils).

    Cherry Eton Mess 

    (by all means go traditional and use strawberries instead if preferred) 

    Ingredients 

    *2 cups of chilled whipping cream

    2 tablespoons of sugar

    1 vanilla pod scraped of seeds (use vanilla extract to taste if you don't have pods)

    700 grams (25oz) of fresh cherries 

    leftover macaron shells, meringue pieces or buy a packet of meringue shells

    Method

    Pit most of the cherries, leaving a few whole ones for decoration. Place the pitted cherries and one tablespoon of the sugar in a small bowl and give the mixture a gentle squeeze to release a little of cherry juice, stir to combine. Refrigerate until serving time.

    Whip the cream, with the remaining one tablespoon of sugar and seeds from the vanilla pod until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until serving time.

    Assembly

    When you're ready to serve, in no particular order, spoon cream, cherries, broken pieces of meringues and macaron's into serving glasses. 

    Top with whole cherries dipped in melted white chocolate if desired. 

    *variations; try adding plain yoghurt or creme fraiche to the whipping cream. I often use 1 1/2 cream to half yoghurt, it will lighten the mouth feel and is more refreshing in summer. 

    Macerate the cherries or strawberries with sugar and a juice or alcohol of choice before assembling, brandy, grand marnier or a favourite dessert wine are good choices.

    Have fun and happy baking :)

    Want to make your own meringues? Here is a recipe for 4 individual pavlova shells that you can break up for your Eton Mess... omit or change colour as desired. 

    More desserts in glasses? How about Peach Verrines in Minutes

    More cherries? A quick cherry cupcake decoration

                          Snow Cherries