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    Entries in black (24)

    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

    Wednesday
    Sep262012

    Liquorice Lovers Ice-Cream Recipe

                          liquorice lovers ice-cream

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    Sad to hear that Darrell Lea is closing it's remaining 27 stores this month. The iconic Australian Chocolate and lolly maker has been producing much loved treats such as Soft Eating Liquorice and Rocklea Road® since 1927. However, all is not lost, under the new ownership Darrell Lea stands in local supermarkets and the like will continue to stock your favourites. 

    For my Dad it's the original soft eating liquorice, soft sweet, rich with molasses and just a touch of salt. This ice-cream recipe today is for you Dad. 

    Darrell Lea soft eating liquorice 

    Liquorice Lovers Ice-Cream

    you'll need an ice-cream machine for this recipe

    Ingredients

    200g good quality soft eating liquorice, cut into pieces

    5 large egg yolks

    1 cup milk

    2 cups of thickened cream (in Australia this is whipping cream with a 35% milk fat content)

    3/4 cup sugar

    black food colour

    *a prepared ice-bath... which consists of a bowl (or it could be your kitchen sink) with ice cubes in it. This is to speed even cooling of the custard mixture... you don't want to end up with scrambled eggs!!

    cut liquorice

    In a medium saucepan warm the milk, half the cream, sugar and the liquorice pieces. Bring to a simmer, remove pan from heat, cover and let cool.

    strain mixture and discard liquorice pieces

    Once cool, strain liquorice/cream mixture into a clean saucepan. Discard liquorice pieces.

    In a medium bowl whisk egg yolks together. In a seperate bowl pour in the remaining one cup of chilled cream.

    Gently heat the strained liquorice/cream mixture until it is just warm. Pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan over a medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

    the second straining step picks up any egg residue left in the mix

    Strain the custard through a fine seive into the chilled cream. Add black food colour if desired.

    adding black food colour

    after food colour is added

    Stir constantly over the ice bath until mixture starts to cool, place bowl in refrigerator or freezer to chill completely. 

    Once chilled churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturers instructions. Let the the ice-cream "ripen" by storage in the freezer overnight before eating.

    *Note... I haven't added salt to the recipe as the liquorice released enough salt, however if the liquorice you are using is particularly sweet add a pinch of salt to the cream mixture at the start.

    Happy Baking :) 

    you might also be interested in baci chocolate ice-cream

    or what about combed chocolate curls

    Friday
    May112012

    Isomalt sugar drizzled decorations

    pink drizzle isomalt decoration tops a mini fondant covered cupcake

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    With a zillion (ok, not quite... but a lot!!) of dessert and cake decorating possibilities "isomalt drizzles" are quick and super easy to make when using precooked isomalt sticks. 

    I used CakePlay's clear isomalt sticks in all today's pieces. The sticks are available in a range of colours, but I prefer colouring the clear isomalt myself. 

    tools and black isomalt drizzles 

    The only tools you will need are: a spoon, a pair of scissors (oil the blades), a non stick baking mat and a small pyrex or equivalent microwave safe glass jug. 

    If you want to shape your pieces, silicone moulds or any food safe heat proof surface like a tin can, the back of a muffin tin etc can be used... though do oil the surface first, isomalt is mighty sticky! 

    Pieces of sticks are melted in a microwave safe container, a small pyrex jug is ideal. From there you can add a few drops of food colouring and flavouring if desired, move your spoon gently through the melted isomalt to incorporate colour. Concentrated gel paste colour work best, as you don't want to add to much moisture to the isomalt.

    Gently lift your spoon up and down in the melted isomalt until it thickens slightly and it looks like this....

    try red isomalt drizzles for all your romantic occassions

    Start drizzling!! Drizzle directly onto a non stick baking mat for flat pieces. Drizzle over your oiled mould of choice for shaped pieces or if using silicone you can drizzle directly on the surface. Shaped drizzles hold their shape and you can create baskets or cages with the same method.

    Scissors with oiled blades are used for cutting any errant threads of isomalt and can also be used for trimming/cutting the finished pieces into shapes if desired.

     

    Japanese Forest Cupcake; offset piping and green tea flavoured black sesame isomalt drizzle to complete the organic look. 

    Solid colour density is achieved by adding a drop or two of white food colouring simultaneously with your colour of choice. For the Japanese forest cupcake I made a slurry of green tea powder and water to add with a drop of white food colouring. Without the addition of "white" the colour is a murky/clear green. 

    If your isomalt hardens before you have finished your drizzles, reheat in 5 second increments in the microwave. Some food colouring shades alter on reheating, for that reason I prefer to work in small multiple batches. 

    To attach isomalt to fondant covered cakes, simply dip the base of your finished drizzle into melted isomalt and attach to your cake... isomalt will set almost instantly giving you a securely attached topper. 

    Isomalt or sugar work pieces are susceptible to moisture and are best used within a few hours. If storage is must, you can try and store the toppers single file in an airtight container with silica sachets... be warned in humid weather you still run the risk of the pieces becoming cloudy.

    Whether you are topping a cupcake or creating a serving basket for you your sorbet, hope you have fun creating isomalt drizzles.

    Happy Baking :)

     *isomalt and sugar and extremely hot when melted, please take extra care when working with either. Remove pets and young children from the room and have a bowl of iced water handy in case of burns. 

    *troubleshoot... "My spoon is in the jug and isomalt has set so I can't microwave"... pop your jug into a bowl, pour boiling water around the jug until isomalt has softened enough to lift out your spoon. 

    *keep your pieces small, thin and easily edible... you don't want broken crowns/dental work spoiling the moment.

    * isomalt sticks are available from cake decorating stores, in Australia I got mine from baking pleasures

       around $15 in Oz or $10 in US for 12 sticks. Also available from Amazon in bulk amounts or single packets 

     

    You might also be interested in toffee springs

    or perhaps flowers made from Starburst lollies for Mothers Day here

     

    Thursday
    Dec152011

    Christmas Rush Raspberry Tuiles 

    Two ingredients (rasberries and sugar) Rasberry Tuile Topped mini cupcake

    Good griefl, I swear I had black and silver cases in "medium", but all I find was mini's. This left me with toppers that were far too large and since I'd already applied silver leaf to black choc candy coated balls I had to come up with a different topper. 

    Two ingredient 'Raspberry Tuiles' have a long oven drying time, but other than that were simple and quick to make fitting in perfectly with "Christmas rush" mode that I'm well and truly in!! 

    Now I did burn the first batch, second batch I reduced the cooking time by 20 minutes and they worked perfectly. I used a metal ruler and a sharp knife to cut strips; I then bent the strips and pinched ends whilst still warm.

    The strips dry quickly to produce a crispy tuile that is intense in flavour, colour and is also vegan and gluten free. They are best made close to serving and perfect to top a range of desserts.

    You just need raspberries and sugar for these... do give it a try and watch chef *David Carmichael the Executive Pastry Chef at The New York Palace demonstrate how the make the tuiles (recipe included).

    *Note: chef Carmichael uses 4 pints (8 cups) of raspberries, I halved the recipe.

     if you use a silpat you will end up with a waffle pattern on the shiny side.

    Happy Baking :) and Christmas preparations!!  

    Monday
    Nov212011

    Three French Hens Cupcake

                                   

    On the third day of Christmas, 

    my true love sent to me...

    Three French hens,

    Two turtle doves,

    And a partridge in a pear tree.

    Goodness, birds were just "the gift" in the 1700's if the English carol 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is anything to go by. As a lady in the 1700's your true love brought you geese, hens, doves, turtle doves, calling birds, swans and a partridge of course... but wait you thought at least there was jewellery?? The "golden rings" most likely referred to golden ring necked birds. But at least you also got some "leaping lords"! All the birds were eaten in era so could have been destined for the pot. 

    Whilst where here, verse four is actually "colly birds" not "calling birds" as often sung; colly birds are a smallish blackbird. French hens in the era were either the Crevecoeur, Houdans or the La Fleche breeds.

    Alternative lyrics: There is Australian versions of the song using Australian animals such as "dingo's dancing", a religious rewrite of the lyrics, though there is no documented religious link to song. I even had the pleasure of hearing a heavy metal version of the song on the weekend... unless you are a Twisted Sister fan I'd give it miss. 

    Want to make your own hens? 

    Black fondant is rolled into egg shapes then shaped into nesting chickens.

    With fondant or modelling paste use red to make wattles and combs and orange for the beaks. Black rolled out thinly is used to cut feathers from. White is rolled into small egg shapes to make the eyes and thinly rolled mauve is used to make the eyelids. Attach all pieces to hens bodies with water using a small paint brush, starting with feathers, then comb/wattle, then beak and eyes. Use a black food marker to finish the eyes. Allow to dry.

    Happy Baking and Singing :) 

    Monday
    Oct242011

    Blossom Cupcake Toppers

                                 sour cherry cupcake with blossom toppers

    It's raining, it's pouring... it must be Spring in Melbourne!!

    Today we are making blossom toppers, a little bit fiddly but easy to make. You can go for a natural look or try a more Asian approach with a glossy black finish. 

    You'll need:

    black modelling paste/or black fondant with CMC added

    white modelling paste/or white fondant with CMC added

    leaf flower glaze

    lustre dusts 

    Roll out small "snake" shapes from the black modelling paste (I've used brown modelling paste in the demo because it was easier to see the steps). With a small pair of sharp scissors cut nicks into the snake shapes, move the shapes to replicate branch shapes. Allow to dry. 

    branch shapes drying

    Once dry paint on leaf/flower glaze with a small brush, allow to dry and repeat. You may need to repeat this step several times until you have a high gloss finish. Allow to dry.

    glazed branches drying

    To make a blossom, roll six small balls of white fondant. Five of the balls will become petals, the sixth the centre of the blossom. Squash a ball lightly with your finger and in forward pulling motion to form a petal. Once you have your petals made, join together by squeezing together the narrow ends with dampened fingers. Add the centre. Repeat until you have desired amount of flowers. Create buds with small balls of modelling paste. Allow to dry. 

    squash a ball lightly in a forward motion to create petals

    Once dry dust the blossoms with lustre dusts of choice, attach the to branches with a small of amount of dampened black modelling paste. Allow to dry before using to top your frosted cupcakes.

    For those who ask about where do I find "inspiration", it really is all around you... today's toppers were inspired by my kitchen tissue box.

    Happy Baking :)

    You might also be interested in Green Tea White Chocolate Cupcakesor go savoury with Bacon and Egg Noodle Omelette 

    Monday
    Sep262011

    Cupcake Cases, Liners, Papers & Wrappers

    Cupcake liners can match your theme, act as an inspiration or just be pretty like these pink and black toile cupcake cases by Meri Meri 

    "Pretty Pretty" applies to everything made by Meri Meri the designers and publishers based in the UK and US. Probably most well known for their cupcake kits, Meri Meri also produce an equally beautiful range of paper party-ware to match your theme.

    I love these pink and black toile cases, the paper is medium weight and best used with light coloured cake batters.  Whilst the boxes do hold a single cupcake I think I'll use them to package pink macaron's.  

    Happy Baking :) 

    Cupcake cases only available from Glasshouse Cakes and Supplies (AU)

    Cupcake cases and single and double boxes available from Meri Meri (UK)

    Cupcake cases and boxes available from Amazon (US)

       

    Thursday
    Sep222011

    Cupcake Cases, Liners, Papers & Wrappers 

    Cupcake liners can match your theme, just be pretty or act as an inspiration like these two gorgeous cupcake case entries featured today. 

    I'm now on facebook too!

    Ok, these are super cute aren't they? Going dotty with polka dot free-standing cases. These cases can be used for small desserts, ice-cream to hold lollies, nuts or for baking cupcakes. They do have a plastic film interior coating and are made in a wide range of colours to match your theme. 

    Available from The Party Studio (AU) and Bake it Pretty (US) 

    In case you missed these on facebook... gorgeous SK butterfly cupcake cases.

    Available in a range of colours from Squires Kitchen (UK)

    I have a new "good luck' baking charm in the form of a Momiji doll :)

    Momiji (pronounced mom-ee-jee) are collectible hand painted resin message dolls. The adorable dolls are given as small gifts to show friendship and love, each one has a place in the bottom for a hidden message.

    My Momiji 'Pixie' came packaged in a noodle box and is available from Tesora (AU)  

    and Amazon (US)  

    Happy Baking :)

    you might also be interested in...

    vestli house cupcake cases

    or brights

    Tuesday
    Sep202011

    "Weep now or Never more" cupcake

                                        weep now or never more cupcake

    Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
    Let the bell toll! -a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river - 
    And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? -weep now or never more!
    See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
    Come! let the burial rite be read -the funeral song be sung! - 
    An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young - 
    A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.

    first stanza 'Lenore' Edgar Allan Poe

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    My Nan was the cutest elderly woman who also had a penchant for horror stories, with a particular fondness of anything by Edgar Allan Poe. With Halloween just around the corner (or should that be "dark corner"?) my thoughts were of Poe and a quick cupcake pick technique that can be used for any occasion.

    Give your guests a small take home token in the form of a cupcake pick. Today I'm using miniature skeleton cameos for Halloween but it could be any charm, token or small costume jewellery piece to suit your occasion.

    Tiny Cameos 1.9cm x 1.27cm  (3/4 by 1/2 inch)

    Take your cameo or charm and colour a toothpick with food colour to match your theme. Attach a the toothpick (cut the toothpick if it's too long for your charm) to the cameo with a small piece of black fondant. Leave to dry overnight. 

    attach toothpick with black fondant

    Place picks in prepared cupcakes. The fondant is easily broken away leaving your guest with a reminder of the event. 

    Oh, a tip on black icing whether it's the glace icing I used to ice today's mini cupcakes or fondant... start with chocolate icing that way you won't have to use anywhere near as much black food colour as you would if you started with white. 

    Happy Baking :) 

    Sweet skeleton day of dead cameo charm with oxidised silver frame from Silver Crow Creations (US)

    You might also be interested in Gothic Cockroach Cupcakes

    Tuesday
    Jan182011

    Art by D.L. Giles

                                       'We three' D.L. Giles

    We weren't hillbillies... but when I was small, my Mum, my Uncle and my cousin would doodle and draw on the loo wall. It was an outside toilet at my Grandparents house that was sort of built into the house (I repeat we were not hillbillies I swear!!), the toilet itself had a rusted chain that you pulled to flush and wooden boards for the walls. It scared me as a child as there were always "giant" (or so they seemed) spiders spinning their webs just waiting for chubby little blonde girls to enter. 

    If only I had overcame my fears and "doodled" on that wall and I might have come away with at least some of the talent for drawing my cousin Debra possesses!! 

    More art works by cousin D.L. Giles can be viewed here