Sunday, 14 April 2013

Lemon Tart



Hello Hello one and all,

So spring has finally arrived. 
And with it, has come the hurricane of anxiety and procrastination that is exam season.

Therefore, this felt like the right time to post another recipe.

Lemon Tart. The perfect balance of sweet and sour that reflects this time of year. 

The sun is finally out in all its glory, yet I am forced to lock my self in the library staring longingly out the window like a forlorn lover. 

This recipe is based on this from $120 Food Challenge   

Pastry: 

Filling:
3 heaped tablespoons cornflour
3 large lemons
3 egg yolks
250ml milk
125ml water
60g butter diced
150ml sour cream
150g cream cheese

1. Mix together cornflour, sugar in a saucepan OFF heat.

2. Add in the zest of two lemon rinds and the juice of all three. To zest the lemons, I use a mircoplane grater which is much finer than a normal cheese grater so wont leave you picking bits of lemon rind from your nashers.

3. To the mixture add the egg yolks, milk and water. Whisk this together until the mixture is smooth and consistent. 

3. Add the cubes of butter and mix over a medium heat until all the butter is dissolved. Now comes the tricky bit. The mixture needs to thicken so keep stirring it over a lower heat until it gets gloppy. Be careful that the bottom of the mixture doesn't burn, although don't be alarmed if a few golden brown bits start the appear.     

4. Pour the lemony gloop into another bowl to cool to room temperature  Place cling film or some baking paper on the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin forming.

5. When its cool, (or for the impatient of you, until its not boiling hot) whisk in the sour cream and cream cheese and mix until its not lumpy. Pour this glorious concentration into your pastry case and put it in the fridge to chill for a few hours.

6. EAT THAT TART 



Thursday, 31 January 2013

Honey Boo Boo Blondies


HELLO AMIGOS.

Wassap gurrrl?  Its been a while... how U beeeeen?

As you I am sure you have noticed by now, I am about as reliable as phone signal in the Yorkshire Dales, which, per chance, is where I spent a glorious week playing with rocks and mud in early September. 
For those of you who have not had the chance to grace this beautious landscape and were wondering what I have actually been doing all this time, I am finally here to quench your curiosity.
Yep, that's me in the pink. 
When informing people of my choice of degree (Geography), I often receive the following responses:
'So, you like rocks....?' 
'So, you like maps...?'
'A whole degree on colouring in? '
'Whats the capital of Iceland/Brazil/Australia/Mali/Sierra Leone/Uruguay?'
'Where actually IS Timbuktu?' 
'Got yourself a fresh set of Crayolas yet?'

HAR. HAR. 

Please, explain to me what Rappaports Rule is, or how to calculate the drainage basin of a lake using ArcMaps or how to reconstruct Quaternary environments using marine diatoms, or even what a diatom is? Yeah? Didn't think so BITCH. 


On an unrelated note...

Has anybody been watching the genius that is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?

Wise beyond her years


Now don't judge. The first two or three times I watched this show, I too thought it was offensively trashy, the scum of reality television.

But as I watched this redneck family fling themselves around in mud whilst preparing their youngest, Alana, for glitzy beauty pageants, I came to realize the wisdom of this family and even admire some of their values.  
A few of my favorite lines have included:

'All that boy is wanting is to get in your little biscuit and get a little piece then he’s running.' 
Mama June warning her girls of the intentions of many young bachelors. Indeed Mama June, they is all after one thing. 

'It's aiight, it just makes her a extra bit speshul' 
Mama June on discovering her new born granddaughters eleventh digit. No big deal, everyone deserves love.

'Couponing - it’s even better than sex.'
Indeed, the satisfaction of slaving over newspapers, coupon books and the internet to get the most out of ones buck, can be comparable to sexual gratification. What makes this even better? All their hard earned cash is spent beautifying and supporting Alana, otherwise known as Honey Boo Boo child, for her one true calling in life - pageants. 


'I know some of it is close to expiring, or maybe like fell off the back of a truck but pshhhh, it's cheap.'
The families willingness to relinquish quality food, just to help little Alana get one step closer to her goal of winning the big crown, can only be admired. I mean, who needs nutrition when you can follow your dreamz? Right?

'Ain’t nothing wrong with being a little gay, everyone’s a little gay'
Wise, wise words young Alana.

'Don’t tell nobody, but all of Pumpkin’s clothes from the dumpster.' 
They literally do not give a SHIT what anybody thinks of them. Their freedom is a quality to be admired, not scorned. Take note, we could learn a lot from Sugar Bear, Mama June and their southern brood. 

These blondies are a lil' bit of whatever you want them to be. 
Inspired by the Honey Boo Boo clan, they're not really sure what's going on but they are damn delicious. 

The Basics:
1 cup butter at room temp (if its straight form the fridge put it on a low setting in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Optional Extras:
150g Chocolate chips (dark, milk or white)
2 large chopped bananas
1 pack oreos
150g peanuts (or any other kind of nuts)


Preheat the oven to 170°C.

1. Mix the butter and peanut butter together.

Butters.


Blend em together 

 2. Add the vanilla and sugars. Cream together for about 10/15 mins until the mixture is a creamier texture and paler.
Hey there sugar
 3. Slowly add the eggs, don't worry if the mixture curdles.
I whip my batter back and forth, I whip my batter back and forth
 3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Unless you wish to have the complexion of casper the friendly ghost I suggest you mix it in slowly, although the choice is but your own. Try not to over beat the mixture once the flour is added as this will result in a heavier texture once baked. This rule goes for baking cakes and cupcakes too.
Peanut buttery and delicious, you could just spread this on toast?  
 4.  Add the extras! I made these blondies as a big mush of everything I find delicious but feel free to mix it up and add and take out whatever takes your fancy. Go crazy!
Roughly chopped dark chocolate 

This shit is bananas. 

Crushed salted peanuts
 5. I laid some Oreo pieces in the tray before I spread the mixture onto it. Do. This was a good move.  Although in future, I would use whole Oreos and create a full bottom layer of Oreo instead of just a few pieces.
Cookiez?
6. Spread the mixture into a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 20/30 mins. If your're not sure if they are done, stick a clean knife into them. If it comes out clean, they are cooked through.
Oven thyme.
 7. Then I got all fancy. I placed halved marshmallows over the top of the cooked blondies and put the whole thing under a hot grill for a few minutes until the marshmallows were nice and toasted.
Marshmallow Madness 
Is it a giant Smore? Is it a cake? No-one knows!


Cut em up into little bars and EAT EM.

Chocolate, peanuts, banana, Oreo, marshmallow and cookie. YUMMEH 




Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Jubi-tea Cupcakes



Its the Jubilee Weekend!
Well, it was. But I'm just so kooky that I have to do all my themed posts about 2 months out of season. Better late than never ey? Although technically it is still the jubilee year so HA. 
So lets just pretend for a second that its the beginning of June, the Jubilee weekend.  
Now for those of you non-Brits who have no idea what is going on (have you been hiding under a rock?!) I shall explain.
On the weekend of the 2nd of June, Britain celebrated the Queens' 60 year reign, otherwise known as the Diamond Jubilee.
London got pretty crazy, every shop, house and restaurant had red, blue and white spewing out of its windows and doors.
London Town during the Jubilee weekend
Living in London I felt obliged to go give a little wave to the Queen during the Jubilee boat pageant on the Themes. So the fam and I packed up our scarves and umbrellas and waded our way through the throngs of people to the top of a building central London by the Thames where we had the perfect view of the days proceedings
Hello Queeny!
A Very British Cupcake with Handmade Fondant Roses

Recipe adapted from bakingmad.com

3 Earl grey Tea bags/ 3 table spoons of loose tea
120ml Whole milk
140g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
40 butter
1 egg
a pinch of salt

Pre- heat the oven to 190 °C
1. Gently heat the milk over a low heat with the tea bags/leaves, leave them to stew as long as possible to get all the flavor possible. 
Watch the tea infused milk get darker...
...and darker...
...and darker.
2.Cream the butter and sugar together, don't worry if its not as creamy as usual you still need to add the milk later. 
mmmm buttery sugar
 3. Add the egg. Because I am a fancy pants and wanted to make these cupcakes extra fluffy, I separated the egg and whisked up the egg white in to a big puffy cloud and then added it to the mixture. To be honest it didn't really make that much of a difference and was more hassle than it was worth.
Magical egg white whisker machine that is actually a milk frother 
Mix in the eggs
4. Add the tea infused milk to the mixture. Remember to strain the tea leaves out of the milk! I stupidly skipped this vital step and it made the cupcakes very bitter and little bits of tea got stuck in my teeth. EW.
Tea leaf reading any-one?
6. Slowly add the flour.
mixy mixy mixer
6. Fill the cupcake cakes 3/4 of the way.

oooo shiny new cupcake pan
7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
Let the cupcake cool before icing them

Icing
Frost with a standard vanilla butter cream or a cream cheese frosting.
I achieved the tie-dye effect but using GEL food coloring's. 
I painted one side of the piping bag with blue and the other with red and filled the bag with un-coloured frosting. Then I just piped as normal.
Using gel colouring's not only gives a brighter colour but a liquid food colouring will just pour straight out the bag and make a big messy as I discovered.

Tie-dye skillz take 2

Hand made fondant roses
My first attempt at hand made roses here was less than a great success, although the end result wasn't bad it took me about an hour to make 3 little roses. After watching endless YouTube tutorials and taking a trip to the motherland (Hobbycraft) I decided to try again. 
Firstly if you are going to attempt this you must buy the flower-shaped-cutters you can see in the picture below. They made it 10 times easier and twice as fast.

Work in progress
I am not going to try explain to you how to do this because there are a million you tube tutorials which do a much better job of explaining than I ever will. But basically, its not that hard so don't be scared, try it!
Pretty little English Rose cupcakes



Monday, 28 May 2012

Lemon and Poppy Seed Cupcakes

The sun is out, its officially spring/summer and its exam season. Time for a new post.

Now usually when it comes to exam time my baking goes into over drive. I am a master procrastinator, in fact this blog was born out of a loving place of procrastination. 
When faced with the question 'so what did you do today?' apparently it is not OK to admit you vegged in your bed the whole day surfing the 'net, watching old season of Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. But should you reply with 'Oh, I baked cupcakes', people fall under the illusion that you are some sort of domestic goddess that found time to whip up something fancy in her very busy day.
FALSE.
Sometimes I bake just to have something to show for my day, and what of it? Its OK to only get dressed because you spilled cake batter on your pajamas. 


These cupcakes are the perfect combination of sweet and sour, with a tangy lemony filling they are just delicious. 
I was in such a hurry to decortae these babies I totally forgot to take pictures of the process, FORGIVE ME. If you are unsure about your mixture, the recipe is essentially this one with a few added extras.

Cupcakes
1 cup (123g) plain flour
1 cup (123g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup (57g) butter
1/2 a finely grated lemon
the juice of one lemon
100g of poppy seeds

Filling
Lemon curd, store bought or if you're a hardcore domestic goddess feel free to make your own (and teach me how).

Frosting
I kind of made it up soooooo just taste it as you go along and see it how it goes.
icing sugar powder
1/2 a lemon
a few drops of lemon essence
butter
cream cheese

Follow these instructions.
But for those of you who are too lazy to click the link, welcome to my world, I will give you a quick run down.
1. Mix butter and sugar until pale creamy texture.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until fully combined.
3. Fill up the cupcake cases 3/4 of the way and bake for about 20 minutes, a toothpick should come out clean.

Allow them to fully cool.
4. Use an apple corer or the wider end of a piping tip to gouge out the center of the cup cake. 
Fight to temptation to eat the little piece that comes out. KEEP IT.
5. Spoon some lemon curd into the whole.
6. Put the little piece of cake on top of the hole filled with lemon curd.
(I promise at some point, I will do a tutorial of how to do this properly.)
7. Frost the cupcakes.

Decorate as you wish. I made those little fondant flowers by rolling out some fondant and using a flower shaped cookie cutter. Pipe some yellow icing in teh center of the flower and use a knife to create the 'veins' in the petals. I sprinkled some poppy-seeds and graded lemon rind to finish.

....and TAADAAAAA: Cupcake.