Tis been a very, very busy Month and finding time for baking and posting has been pretty much impossible. I do apologise and heres a few pics to keep you going until my life calms down.
Cheats Chocolate Cheesecake
And heres the cake I made for my darling fiancees 21st birthday......
It was an incredibly moist Banana Cake (my Grans recipe) with Vanilla (the orange part) and Chocolate Icing (the black part. Our car is a bright Orange Ford XR6T, so the car cake was made to look like that. Unfortunately it didn't come out as well as I had hoped, because I had to make it really quickly, so couldn't do all the extra bits and bobs i'd planned. But he still loved it, so thats good!
Yesterday presented itself as the perfect opportunity to do both. At first I though I would do Rapberry & White Choc Muffins and a pan of brownies, but after some consideration I thought two rather sweet treats might be a bit indulgent. So I decided to combine the two into one, which I thought would be perfect as I knew the "blondies" would be very sweet indeed and would need something tart to cut through that sweetness.
And here are the results, absolutely delicious Raspberry & White Choc "Blondies" that everyone adored!
Gooey, chocolatey, raspberry goodness!
90g castor sugar
150g white chocolate
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
50 white chocolate, roughly chopped
150g frozen raspberries
Beat eggs and sugar together until pale and creamy. Melt butter and first amount of chocolate together in microwave on medium, checking and stirring every 30 seconds. Beat this into egg mix. Sieve in flour and baking powder and fold into mix along with second amount of chocolate. Pour into a lined slice tin (about 20x30cm) and spread out to edges. Push raspberries into the mix evenly over tin. Bake about 25 minutes until brown on top, but not cooked through. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.
I remembered seeing a yummy looking fritatta (tortilla, quiche, whatever you want to call it) in Gordon Ramsey's new book, made with panceta, peas and goats cheese. The combination of flavours sounded perfect and I thought it would be perfect to make them into muffin sized mini-fritattas. There was a few changes here and there, swap pancetta for the bacon already in my fridge, goats cheese became feta and I added some fresh mint and parsley.
The results were very tasty and quickly scoffed down by everyone. The sweetness of the peas were a great play against the saltyness of the bacon and feta.
Bacon, Pea & Feta Mini-Fritattas
makes 12 (in a standard muffin tin)
2 rashers of middle bacon
150g frozen peas
50g feta, crumbled
1 Tbsp each of finely chopped, fresh mint and parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon until starting to go crispy. Remove from pan and chop into small squares. Mix in a bowl with peas, feta and herbs. Divide evenly between the 12 holed, paper lined muffin tin. Beat egg and cream together well and season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly between the 12 holed, paper lined muffin tin. Bake in a 200C preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
These look set to be a new favourite in our house.
From what I gather reading cookbooks and foodblogs, the Americans have vegetable shortening which is white and would be used in a situation like this. But in NZ we don't have this, we have good old beef dripping and lard, not exactly the thing you want to put in your delicate cupcakes. So, I put the question out to the wonderful forum community at foodlovers. And the wonderful Lisa from Denheaths (best custard squares in the WORLD) even offered to import some Whip and Ice, which would have done the trick, but alas the only container size avaliable was just a wee bit large to fit in my freezer (but THANKS HEAPS Lisa). So I sat on it for a while longer.
And then it came to me! Yes NZ butter is incredibly yellow and makes icing yellow, but what about imported butter? Specifically Lurpak, a wonderful Danish butter. Its not as yellow as NZ butter, and with enough creaming, it might just produce what i'm after, White Frosting. So I put it to the test, and as the post is titled, Mission Accomplised. Yummy white frosting to go with my delicious Vanilla and Rhubarb Cupcakes.
Meet the Cupcake Family.........
Mr Silver Balls
Mr Chic White
Mr Flower, and
Mr Blue Sprinkles
I used this recipe and added 2 cups of chopped raw rhubarb. For the frosting, beat 50g pale butter until nearly white. Add the juice of 1 lemon and enough icing sugar to make a stiff frosting. Beat together until frosting it white, then fill a piping bag and pipe away.....
Don't you just love it when things go your way!
Chelsea Buns were always a favourite in my house growing up, not only because they tasted good, but because my lovely sisters name is Chelsea, which used to humour us. (Along with the fact that the premier sugar brand in NZ is Chelsea sugar). So we had Chelsea Buns made with Chelsea sugar with our sister Chelsea!
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
selection of spices (I used cinnamon, all spice & nutmeg)
handful each of:
dried chopped dates
Rub butter (50g) into flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add just enough milk to make a dough. Roll dough out into a square. Brush over melted butter, sprinkle plently of brown sugar on, the dried fruit and about 3 tsp of your choosen spices. Roll up into a log and cut into 2 cm wide rounds. Lay flat on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 220C pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes.
Depending on how sweet your tooth is, you could either serve them as is or drizzle with coffee icing or pink icing.
What do you do to celebrate fathers day?
I've noticed that most of my lovely readers enjoy my sweet treats and baked goods the most. For this reason I have decided to dedicate this blog, Tantilising Your Tastebuds to all things sweet. Updates will still be around once a week, but they will be accompanied by stories, mouth-watering pics and recipes.
For those of you that are interested in dinners and savoury cooking, I have a new blog called Whats for Dinner Honey? (www.whatsfordinnerhoney.blogspot.com) Its all about what we eat for tea each night. You'll see my cooking, the odd take-out, restaurant reviews and often wine matches. I hope to update this blog most nights, but it will be mainly pictures with the odd recipe. No stories though (unless i'm particulary reminescent).
If other, i'd love to know what.....leave me a comment with your fave.....
I look forward to seeing you all at both sites!
So as you've all probably noticed, posts have been few and far between lately. I've already apologised for this and promised to get back to frequent and regular postings. However, the last few weeks i've been increasing my hours back to full time at work and as of next week will be back full time. That combined with studying and all of lifes other commitments, means that i've realised that I just can't deliver the way I would like too. Don't worry, i'm not stopping blogging completely, i'm just letting you all know that updates are more likely to be once weekly, or if I do get them up more frequently, they are likely to be shorter and mainly photos. Hopefully some time in the near future circumstances will change and I will be able to get back to 5-6 posts per week.
And with that out of the way, on to this weeks treats. With the abundance of winter fruit around in these recent chilly days, I have been doing a LOT of cooking with fruit. Lemons, apples, tamarillos (often called tree tomatoes) and pears have all made their way into cakes and the like and soon I will be playing around with more citrus and starting on the new season rhubarb. I just love cooking with fruit, I find the tangy sweetness can really lift the flavours in baked goods. And while we deep down know that the sugar rules out any health properties, I can't help feeling rather virtuous about having fruit in my cake.
Today i've got two treats to share, the first being a take on a classic french dessert, Tarte Tartin Cupcakes and the second a dense and tangy dessert cake, Tamarillo Cake.
First up though, the cupcakes....
A plain cupcake batter topped with apple slices, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and baked until caramelised.
Next time I make these (coz they were so yummy) I think i'll add some spices and chopped apple to the batter to carry those delicious apple pie flavours throughout the whole cupcake!
Ready for your close up Mr Apple Pie???
And on to treat #2.......................
This cake was very dense and didn't keep overly well (as I find often in cakes based on yoghurt and/or oil). And being that tamarillos are an aquired taste, the same goes for the cake. I enjoyed it, however Shaun did not.
This recipe is from Taste Magazine, however has not yet been uploaded to their website. I will add a link once it has been.
So until next time, eat well, be well and enjoy life.
Anyway, my rant on seasonality brings me to the great way that each season has different styles of food. And at the moment i'm loving the winter feasts, soups, casseroles, roasts, MMM. Even though we are experiencing a very mild winter (the weather in wintery NZ at the moment is better than what I experienced in summer-time Britain last month) I am still embracing these wonderful meals.
Every winter my work holds its annual soup competition, and its honestly my highlight of the working year. Warm soup, all different flavours, some great, others not so, to warm you up on chilly winters days and all for free. Being the kitchen lover that I am, I most often volunteer to make the soup for our team (our workplace of 150 staff is split into 10 teams), and this year was no different. In the past i've done my world famous Pumpkin Soup (you'll be seeing that shortly)and a heartwarming Vege Soup. This year, having just returned from Europe and in the midst of unpacking from our recent shift, I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked to have been, however this was my entry:
Spicy Lentil Soup.
Its a recipe from a recent Taste magazine. I wasn't hugely impressed by it, thinking it tasted more like Tomato soup (not a favourite for me) but I have made some changes now so hopefully if you decide to try it out, you'll be a bit more satisfied.
1 large onion, finely diced
5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp toasted and freshly ground corriander seeds
1 Tbsp toasted and freshly ground cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
200g red lentils
2 cans Italian tomatoes
2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
3-5 cups water (depending on prefered consistency)
sour cream and chopped corriander leaves to serve
Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add about a Tbsp of oil. Add onions and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add garlic and tsp of sugar and cook for a further 5 mins. Add spices and cook a few minutes. Rinse lentils and add to onion mix. Add tomatoes straight away and stir thoroughly. Squeeze the juice from the ginger into the soup (discarding the flesh), add the 2nd tsp of sugar and the water. Put a lid on the pot and gently bring to a boil and cook gently for 1 hour. Add more water if desired. Season with salt and pepper after the hours cooking. Let cool for 10 minutes and then puree. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle over chopped corriander.
Do you have a favourite season, if so, why???
I know, I know. Its been a month since I last posted an entry and its completely not acceptable to leave any faithful readers I do have, hanging for that long. So first up is a big apology from yours truly, please forgive me. I don't want to bore you with the details too much, but here’s a quick run down as to why I have been so slack: I made it home from my amazing Europe trip not long after my last post and then the next day had to set about packing as we were moving the following day. Hectic, well moving is always hectic, but moving with full on jet lag, that’s just crazy. So the next week was dedicated to the fun that is unpacking and arranging a new house. Following on from that I had 21st's to attend and bonding time with my little sister, helping her prepare for her first school ball. Then there work and study, the study being the most stressful seeing as its 4 weeks into semester and my textbook is on backorder. And then its this week where I had the ordeal of having a steroid injection into the bottom of my spine and more work. Which brings me to today, and here I am finally posting. Its not that I haven’t had time to bake, I’ve got a pile of things awaiting posting, its just finding the time to post them.
I had a big bake day last Thursday preparing a cupcake feast for my workmates and here a some of the spoils: Double Choc Mint Cupcakes
Choc cupcake with a square of mint choc in the middle, topped with mint buttercream and melted dark chocolate, mmm thats my idea of a taste sensation. Did I mention how much I love Mint Chocolate??
I'm not 100% happy about the recipe yet, I feel its a little too dry, so I won't be posting just yet, but be assured, I will make these again and once the recipe is spot on, I shall share. Though the mint buttercream was 100% perfect!
Thats about it for now, but rest assured, there is more coming soon! So until then, happy baking :)