Sunday, September 26, 2010

Peanutbutter cup cupcakes and the boyfriend's birthday

It's my boyfriend's birthday this week and therefore I have a very very good excuse to bake, probably the best excuse other than Christmas. My BF knows how much I like to bake and since he knew I would probably bake him something he came to me a week ago with a picture of peanutbutter cupcakes and said 'these please!' This started my week worth of recipe design and the ultimate decision was to go for the classic peanut butter and chocolate combo.
If nothing else I am an original!

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

2 1/2 Cups self raising flour
1tsp baking soda
200g Butter
200g brown sugar
4 eggs
2 Cups peanut butter, I choose crunchy but it's up to you.
1/2 cup milk
1 Cup Chocolate spread

Chocolate icing, i'm not going to lie I stole this one from Betty Croker as I am quite busy ATM
Decorate with peanut candy

First scoop small amounts of chocolate spread onto some greaseproof paper with a melon baller. Put this into the freezer to chill while you work. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Cream your butter and sugar. Sieve together your flour and baking soda. Then add your eggs one at time and 3/4 of your flour mixture alternating between the two and mixing thoroughly. Mix your peanut butter with the milk to smooth it out and then add this to the mixture with the remaining 1/4 of your flour until you have a cake like batter.

Line your muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Scoop some batter into each muffin case until they are 1/3 full. Insert your frozen chocolate spread nugget into this and then scoop in more batter until each case is 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20mins on 180' or until browned and set. Turn your tin if necessary.

Cool them on a wire wrack and then decorate with your chocolate icing and peanut candy. I used my beautiful Masterclass icing set that my wonderful sister gave to me last Christmas and which I have not used nearly enough for my liking.
Then enjoy, with caution because they are a tad addictive. ; )

'No Ordinary Family,' Review

I had my hopes set to reasonably high for this show. I have a lot of time for Julie Benz, she did an excellent job on Dexter, in Angel and Buffy and even in Desperate Housewives she brought her characters to life in a way that many of the female supporting actors don't. So when she left dexter I kept my eyes open for her next project - 'No Ordinary Family.'

Lets look at the other characters, Michael Chiklis. I have never seen 'The Shield,' but from what I have read about it, the character he plays in NOF is drastically different from that of Vic Mackley, which is usually the sign of a quality actor. Kay Panabaker, Disney Kid! Disney does a number of things right, fostering good child actors is not one of them. Every disney kid I have ever seen annoys me and Miss Panabaker is no exception.Jimmy Bennett is unoffensive but in the pilot episode plays a background role.(Spoiler, I love the fact that his super power is not being retarded anymore, magic!!)

My initial impression of this show was something between the first season of 'Heros,' and family values elements of 'The Incredibles.' This premise is not altogether unappealing to me. Unfortunately the pilot of No Ordinary Family disappoints.

The story telling style is interesting but completely inappropriate for this particular show. This is a spoiler but the narrative is generated from the stories that the couple are telling their therapist. Having worked with many therapists in the past I know for a fact that if someone came to you with a story of super powers obtained after a near fatal accident, it would be your duty to report this to the authorities or at the very least another medical professional. For the sake of those connected with this situation as well as their health. Maybe that is something they will explore in further episodes, maybe not but it seems like a stupid idea on the part of the main characters.
The thing that disappointed me the most here was the dialogue. I feel for the underpaid and unappreciated writers of Hollywood but the talented writers on this show need to take another look at the script before they send it to producers. There are a number of good actors on this show and yet they are crippled by this terrible script. I watched the final scenes of the show in disgust as the main characters exchanged cliche platitudes of love. I imagine that they felt as stupid as they looked saying these lines.
So will I watch this show again? Well I believe in second chances but I'll probably record it and watch it when there is literally nothing else on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Secondly, cookies!!!

Since this blog is entitled TV and Cookies it seems only right that the first recipe should be cookies, well sorry but the second one is. My favourite type of cookies are the gooey, chewy ones. The cookies in M&S are a perfect example. It have been searching for years to find the right recipe though.
On the one end there are the overly fatty gooey cookies, they feel greasy and taste of butter. The other end is the cakey cookie; airy, dry and to my tastes, disgusting.
I recently made another oatmeal cookie that called for baking soda dissolved in hot water, which I wasn't used to using, surely this would raise the cookie, not in small amounts though. Those oatmeal cookies are now famous among my bf's friends, or infamous for being too irresistible.
I decided to attempt a chocolate chip cookie with the baking soda and the results were interesting.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (1), yes I plan on doing multiple versions of these

250g Brown/Demerara sugar
300g Plain floor
Pinch of salt
1tsp Baking Powder dissolved in 2tbsp warm water
250g Butter melted
2 egg yolks
100ml Milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
150g Chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix together your flour,salt and sugar. Add the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Then add your baking soda water mixture, stir and let this sit for a few minutes before adding your chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture on to a greased cooking sheet. I like to use an ice-cream scoop to ensure the cookies are even, plus it's what they do on the food network ; )
Bake the cookies for 8 -12mins but keep a close eye on them. As soon as the cookies have browned remove them from the oven and put the cooking sheet on a wire rack. Some recipes call for the cookies to be immediately removed from the sheet but I like to let these ones sit for up to 8 minutes for a little extra cooking on a lower heat.There is also the crucial stage. For these cookies I let them cool for 3 - 4 minutes and then squash them with the back of a spatula. The crispy upper layer will split slightly to reveal the gooey deliciousness inside.
That's it and then the only difficult part is dealing with the complaints from people who can't stop eating your cookies and blame you for this. Enjoy....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Silicone Muffin cases - answer to my low fat muffin?

For the last few months I have been collecting various AGA merchandise, one of these items was a muffin tin. So I set about making muffins and cupcakes galore. The only problem was low-fat muffins. I found that if the muffin was fat free it stuck to the paper case or the muffin tin, despite the use of non-stick spray. Then I bought these silicone muffin cases and it occurred to me that these might be the solution, so I invested and the results were brilliant. I only had to use a small amount of olive oil spray and they came away from the cases with ease.

(I apologize that it looks like an 80s cookbook photo, my camera is not great.)

So my first recipe is for wholemeal, low fat hemp seed muffins -

2 cups wholemeal pastry flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds
1/8 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup fat free milk
2 eggs whites, one egg yolk
3 tbsp honey
200g apple sauce

The method is simple you sieve together your flour baking powder then add your sugar(optional). Grind down your hemp seeds until they are as fine as possible and then whisk into you dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and honey with your egg yolk. Rinse off your whisk before you whisk your egg whites til they are frothy. Add the milk and honey to the dry ingredients and then fold in your egg whites. The mixture should be quite aerated at this point and over mixing is dangerous.
Spray your silicone muffin cases with a very small amount of oil and then spoon in you mixture. Then cook in a 220' oven for 15 - 20 mins. or until browned and solid.
From the picture you can see what mine looked like and also how bubbly and light they are. I thoroughly enjoyed them but so did my boyfriend and his parents, none of whom are health freaks. In fact they liked them so much that there were only two left to photograph.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Television review - The hard times of RJ Berger

MTV shows have never really had a massive appeal for me, well not since Daria. So I was hesitant to watch RJ Berger but some friends were laughing about it and quoting it so I decided to give it a go. Possibly review it, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I watched all ten episodes but I'll get to that.
In that it's an MTV show it is a prerequisite for it to be overly sexual and vulgar. However I had hoped that this excessive sexual content would not interfere with the storyline. I guess it was too much to expect. From the very first episode it becomes obvious that this RJ lives in an unnatural environment filled with adults who are unashamedly over sexed. His parents and their friends talk explicitly around him and his parents have a sex room next to his. So.......that's...............................healthy!
The title implies a difficult school life, but by the end of the first episode we discover that it simply refers to his apparently enormous member when it's in full force.
In the first few episodes this seems to be a source of great power for the young man, then they appear to change the tone and decide that this 'gift,' is also a curse, a cross to bear, like his giant penis symbolizes the weight of his virginity. Towards the end of the show they make little reference, other than in passing, to the incredible large thing that initially set the premise for the whole series.
Other than the sexual content, this show could pass for any other teenage dramatic comedy, boy loves girl, boy can't have girl, boy jumps through several hoops to try to get her.......and you know the rest.
So why did I watch all 10 episodes?! Well I must admit that the show does have some slightly addictive appeal, each episode ends with a review of whats coming next week and although this section is tediously long and seemingly unnecessary, it highlights unexpected elements in the coming episode and leaves the viewer thinking 'ok that one might be interesting!' Needless to say, it lies. Although I fell for this obvious ploy 9 times so I have to give it some credit and a whopping 3 out of 10. Alright if there is really nothing else on.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cat starts a blog

My name is Cat. I am an amateur baker and a fanatic Food Network watcher. Therefore I have decided to start a blog, partially because I thoroughly enjoy reading other people's food blogs and mostly because it gives me a rather wonderful excuse to bake on a regular basis.
Once, or twice a week if I'm very lucky, I get a night where I bake/cook something delicious and sit down to enjoy some of the many television shows I have recorded on my DVR box. I think that watching television with some freshly baked cookies (especially when I have friends to share them with) is pretty much the best night of the working week. I would like to share this experience with others so here I am, TV and Cookies the blog.
Ok so the basis of the blog is this a weekly update where I will either describe a recipe or give a review of the shows I'm watching, maybe both, and I do hope someone else likes it but if not I'll still have fun writing and baking.

So.........that went well......but I'm back with a bang!

At the start of the year I said that I would try to post more regularly and......yeah....that didn't happen =/ Finishing this doctorat...