Friday, December 30, 2011

An early fresh start and American Horror Story

It has been a while since I posted. A lot has happened in the latter part of this year, including an annoying ailment that prevented me from eating any sweets or cakes but did not prevent me from making them so it's no excuse really. In better news however I finally Mastered Science..... it turns out it's not about food, annoyingly enough! This time last year I made all sorts of resolutions including multiple ones relating to this blog. This year I am making just 4 resolutions but each has a detailed plan with small goals and objectives that can be easily reached. The most relevant resolution for this post relates to this blog where I am determined to improve my blogging skills and's hoping for the best and starting how I intend to continue.

American Horror Story

I heard a small amount of hype surrounding AHS before and after it started, mostly on Ellen but I'm sure it received more attention but I hadn't seen it. However almost every promotional piece I saw seemed to be promoting the show on the basis of the frequency that one can see Dylan McDermot's back-side in the nip, and while I will admit that his fantastic physique (the man is fifty unbelievably!) is appealing, there is a great deal more going for this show.

There are a number of interesting and unique elements to this show. Firstly there are only twelve episodes in season 1. This is more common in British series and although it is unfortunate that the season is so short, it makes me think that they spent a great deal of time on each episode and focused on overall storyline rather than making 22/24 episodes which more often than not feel exactly like the one before (not naming any names- Lie to me, What?? who said that?) Another interesting element is that this show is co-written by Ryan Murphy who brought us such horrific thrillers as.......
his back catalog consists of upbeat shows such as Glee and Popular and the screenplay for Eat/Pray/Love and the dramatic Nip/Tuck. This show taught me a great deal about Ryan Murphy, primarily that he has somehow managed to change MSG into a form that can be transmitted through the small screen directly to the optic nerve and the result is television crack. I experienced this phenomenon while watching 'Glee,' week after week I found myself returning despite the fact that I have never managed to watch an entire episode without needing a shot of insulin afterwards. AHS is similar, I wasn't even sure if I liked it at all for the first few episodes but each week I came running back wanting more.

The basic plot (no spoilers) basically follows a family who have moved from Boston to LA to escape their troubles and move into a beautiful historic mansion, only to find that they are being haunted by more than their past. As already mentioned Dylan McDermot plays the (frequently naked) husband struggling to balance his past, his hopes and dreams for the future and his ever present weaknesses. Connie Britton plays the long suffering wife who genuinely wants to move on with her life and be a good mother and wife but is struggling to forget, which mirrors the ghostly characters who cannot ever leave their pasts. Taissa Farmiga plays the classic teenage daughter; depressed, disenfranchised by parents who know nothing, and yet desperately seeking love and acceptance without wanting to ask. She has relatively little acting experience and yet every scene she is in she manages to convey the message and the emotion of the experience without losing any of her 'too cool for this,' attitude. There is one scene in the later episodes where she has a personal revelation and I must say she played this scene very well, the whole scene stuck with me for days afterwards, which is a rare occurrence. The various characters that the family encounter (living and dead) are each individually important to the plot and this show includes powerful performances by Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy  and Jamie Brewer to name but a few.

Suffice is to say I thoroughly enjoy this show. It is very dark and unrelenting at times in it's exploration of the nastier elements of life, and death. The introduction music alone would dissuade those who are easily disgusted with images of body parts in jars and eerie music that hits all the combination of notes that make your skin crawl. However if you are in any way interested in the creepy and addictive I would strongly suggest looking for this show. Well worth a watch, just not when you're home alone ;)

Monday, August 15, 2011

The addiction that is Biscotti making and why I can't handle it.

I recently posted an apology on my facebook to all my friends saying that I'm sorry for the last year when I became a complete flake or just ignored them, doing a masters and a full-time job isn't the easiest thing ever, and their are people that do all this while being a loving wife and mother, wtf? amazing! Anyway the point is that I think this blog deserves an apology also.
When I sat down to write new years resolutions this year there were actually two resolutions dedicated to this blog, including 'Update every week.'....................erm fail! Anyway the masters took more out of me than I expected and every other area of my life suffered, sorry. This last moonth of August is gonna be the worst because this is the countdown to the big thesis hand-in. I'm not even a hundred percent sure that I will manage to get it in on time but I'm gonna give it my all, which mean, no or very little baking =(

I had been trying to write a post about Biscotti for the last 2 weeks and somehow it hasn't quite happened. I was inspired to make Biscotti after seeing an episode of 'Extra Virgin,' where Gabriele Corcos makes them. Debi Mazar makes fun of him because she says that he has become obsessed with making them, to the point where she has found him in the middle of the night surrounded by flour and cookie dough. That sounded funny, but it's not funny.

Biscotti making addiction is no joke, it's a serious and debilitating condition where the baker has to make biscotti over and over again until they are happy and the biscotti look right. To my dismay I have succumbed to this harrowing condition. I thought I could make one batch and have fun but one turned into two turned into thinking about it day and night wondering if a pinch more or less of baking soda or a little more citrus zest or slightly less chopped nuts would make the difference. I'm not gonna lie, I spend a lot of time thinking about recipes and how I can improve them or tweak them to make something different but this Biscotti thing has become ridiculous. The problem I think lies in the delicate balance between how easy it is to make biscotti and how difficult it is to perfect them. It's actually difficult to tell at any stage whether or not this will be the time until they are completely done and even then the real test is a day later to see how the crunch and taste develops in the air-tight container, because it does, for better or worse it develops.............and now I sound like a crazy person.

Enough is enough, I will keep working on my thesis and hopefully find some time to make another batch of Biscotti that i consider good enough to post here but until then I'm dreaming of better days to come when I can bake and post every week without study to worry about.
Bye =)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A edible centrepiece, classy and cookie?

I saw an episode of DC cupcakes recently that inspired me to want to make a bouquet of cupcakes. So when my boyfriend's parents got me a really cute set of mini cupcake cases it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I think this would be a perfect center-piece for a fancy party or even a wedding when the host wants to be a bit quirky and classy as well. I don't like the idea of putting them in a pot however it feels a little too earthy. Therefore I have gone with a few real leaves and the little rose cupcakes on, well I would ideally use Styrofoam but I didn't have any so I used an orange with the bottom cut off to flatten it. The results were pretty nice and I hope you'll agree.

The cupcake recipe I originally went with had to be altered because when I put it into the mini cases it expanded too much and overflowed, despite the fact that I only filled it 1/2 way full. Therefore I went with a recipe I remember from when I was a child. It's really REALLY basic but then it worked and I used really good ingredients so that they would shine despite the simplicity of the recipe.

Mini-Cupcakes Vanilla with Chocolate Frosting

125g Self Raising Flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
80g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
60ml whole milk
25g melted unsalted butter
1 lrg egg
1 1/2 tsp really good vanilla extract (as Nigella Lawson would say)


Best ever Chocolate frosting
with added chocolate.

The cupcakes are mixed together using the muffin method surprisingly. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Sieve together the dry ingredients, including the sugar. Whisk together the wet ingredients and then mix them together. Don't over mix, just mix them enough to incorporate everything. Spoon into the cases up to 2/3rd way full and then bake for 15 minutes or until the top starts to brown.
Let the cupcakes cool fully on a wire rack use this time to prepare the frosting. Then pipe it into rose shapes with a star nozzle starting in the center and then going around that in a smooth circular motion.

To assemble the center-piece I used real leaves and washed them thoroughly with soap and water. then I put tooth picks into the styrofoam(orange) and places the cupcakes around the leaves.
Here's some more pictures to get a good look at the overall effect. I would add more cupcakes if I had styrofoam  and maybe do the frosting in white also but I think it looks pretty elegant. Enjoy =)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Switched at Birth- review

Switched at Birth was one of the summer shows pushed pretty hard over on ABC family in America. The concept is an interesting one. Two families, each from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds are going along doing their own thing and then they find out that their daughters do not belong in the right families and that they were switched at birth, this could be the basis for an interesting and intelligent look into the difference between blood and water, into the effect that growing up in a different culture than your genetic family has on an individual and into the struggle that would naturally occur once the truth came out. That did not happen in this case.

Switched at Birth decided to make the whole show into a ridiculous sitcom about different families coming together and living in the same place without ever knowing each other. They spend ridiculous amounts of time focusing on situations involving love triangles and gambling problems. Within 3 episodes the daughters appear to have completely adapted to the fact that the new woman in the situation is their real mother and they all appeared to have established some degree of familiarity and love based on.........

The mother's seem to have the emotional and intellectual maturity of 16 year olds while the red-head mis-placed daughter appears to be the only one in the situation with the slightest grasp of reality and level-headedness.

If I am fully honest I must say that I have only watched maybe 4 of the 8 episodes that have shown to date and even then that's something of an exaggeration because the dialogue is so ridiculous that I literally had to skip whole scenes within each of the episodes. I decided to watch this based on the fact that Vanessa Marano (Luke's Daughter in GG) was a main character. Honestly she does not impress. To me, in my humble opinion, it looks like she is still playing the same character as she did in the Gilmore Girls, except now that she's hit her television teen years, she's showing a wild side, which leads to her making several crude jokes and one really awkwardly sexy scene that I skipped through, it was just too forced and awkward, yuck! Anyway suffice is to say that I will not be watching this ever again and despite the dismal amount of summer tv I wouldn't recommend anyone else to watch this either.

On a brighter note I am watching True Blood season 4 and I hope to do a review, Wednesday next week of the season so far.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

French Macarons for Bastille Day

 Seven years ago I spent a year living in France, studying the great language and the great philosopher Sigmund Freud in all his perverse glory. It was during my time there that I was introduced to french macarons. Every Sunday I would take a 'me day.' Get up early and walk to 9am mass in the cathedral, then on to a swimming lesson and then spend the afternoon doing whatever I felt like before an evening cycle around the beautiful village of Angers. After my evening cycle I would come home to enjoy a little treat, usually one that I had purchased that morning from some bakery or another. I had one favourite bakery that was on the little street leading to the cathedral.
To set the scene a little more this bakery was on a little shopping street. The street was pedestrianized and first thing on a Sunday morning it was usually abandoned. The only people around would be on their way to mass or in the apartments above the shops. It gave the street a slightly festival feeling with no cars or rushing business people around. The little bakery was on the corner of a row of shops 3/4 way down the street and to be precise it was more of a patisserie, chocolaterie than a bakery. The windows of this place where a sight to behold, always filled with different beautiful sweets and treats. They had everything from the traditional to the seasonal treats and usually they had a selection of macarons, sometimes even arranged into a wedding 'cake!' These were art, not food and I dreamed of one day being able to make something so tantalizing and so perfect.

I have not yet reached that day but I have made steps towards it.

Touch of summer macarons

125g      Ground almonds (sieved)
175g      Icing sugar
25g        Freeze dried strawberries and raspberries
3            Egg whites (1 day old from fridge)
25g        Caster Sugar
Tiny Pinch Cream of Tartar
1 Pinch Salt

Smash up your freeze dried fruit in a baggy. Sieve your almonds before weighing as some bits don't get through the sieve and it is important to be exact. Sieve together the ground almonds, salt, icing sugar and crushed freeze dried fruit. The result should have just a few specks of the red throughout the dried ingredients.
Whisk up your egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff then add the castor sugar and whisk until you reach the stiff peaks stage. Add the dried ingredients to the meringue and fold in until all thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe 1 inch circles onto a lined baking sheet. Allow this to sit for 30 minutes before cooking in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for 5-10 minutes
Let them cool before removing from parchment or silicon and remove carefully as the macarons can easily break. Fill with buttercream or seedless raspberry jam. I also used a lemon curd here but I would not recommend as it was too heavy

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer time = Fresh Strawberry Jam

Ok well it would be nice to say that this was a family tradition, that each year we would pick dozen of strawberries and make jam from the family recipe, but that would be a lie. There is an amazing recipe for apple jam somewhere but I've gotta find it before autumn. My Mum was more the sporty, musical type so we spent our summers playing tennis, swimming, playing outdoors and going to susuki conventions.  We did pick blackberries behind the tennis court and have them with ice-cream which was amazing. However today is strawberry jam and it's pretty amazing also.

This Sunday was amazingly sunny and myself and my friend went walking, then we stumbled upon a berry-picking farm and well what kind of a foodie would I be if I hadn't suggested we go picking. So we each came home with about 2Kg of strawberries and slightly burnt shoulders ; ). I love strawberries and while I could have eaten them all I think I might have turned red. Therefore after some debate I decided to make a small batch of jam. It being my first time and with a severe lack of any jam making accessories the ultimate recipe had to be Jamie Oliver's quick strawberry jam that he made in an episode of Jamie at Home. He crushes together 150g of sugar per kilo of strawberries (with his hands) and cooks this for about 30 minutes, while scrapping off the scum that forms on top. My strawberries weren't quite as perfectly red as I would have hoped and some were less sweet than others so I decided to up the sugar to about 185g per kilo and increase the cook time to 45mins to account for the extra sugar. The jam turned out amazingly and although it doesn't look very thick in the saucepan as it cools it gets to the right consistency pretty fast. As you can see..

Any small amount of food photography mojo I may have developed has clearly disappeared but take my word for it the jam is amazing and delicious.  It tastes fresh and sweet like freshly picked strawberries in a jar and not like that crap I sometimes get in the supermarket.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday Cake and presents

I finally managed to finish the taught part of my Masters and therefore have a tiny bit more time on my hands. This time started the day before my birthday so I had relatively little time to plan but I was determined to make the best birthday cake ever. Therefore I hit Tastespotting for some cake ideas and I was struck by a beautiful cake made by Naturally Ella. Then I thought of another cake I had seen on Food network that used Pirouette cookies around the outside. I wish we had pirouette cookies here but alas I decided to make do with cadbury finger biscuits and the design I wanted was complete.

My Basket of roses chocolate and vanilla marble cake

The roses are piped icing and are actually relatively easy to do. I found a few tutorials on youtube and I was away. The cake inside (again inspired by Naturally Ella) is marbled chocolate and vanilla. I used a completely different recipe however and enhanced the chocolate flavour using some freshly brewed coffee. This picture was taken at my birthday dinner with my family and I also tried to get some photos of people happily eating the cake. unfortunately the people in question look demented, I will assume that they are just too excited about digging into the cake and not possessed somehow. (Side note: this cake is not known to cause demonic possession but you may look crazy while eating it, purily because you are destroying the beautiful flowers ; ).

The recipe

150g Butter
125g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
4 Tbsp Milk
250g Cake Flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder

Chocolate part
150g Cocao Powder
50ml Freshly brewed coffee

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and whiter in colour. Add the egg yolks and beat. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and add the vanilla to the milk. Slowly add the flour and milk mixtures to the butter in thirds and mix thoroughly. When mixed put 2/3 of mixture into a greased cake pan.
To make the chocolate just add the cocao powder to the mixture and add the coffee to achieve the desired texture.
Put the chocolate mix on the top of the vanilla and swirl just enough to get the marbling. Then bake for 45mins on gas mark 5.

When the cake is cooled divide it into 2 and use chocolate icing in the centre and to form a crumb coat.
The roses icing is a tradition buttercream with a crumb coat of chocolate butter cream. I applied the roses once the chocolate coat was dry and then attached the basket of Cadbury Fingers with a little extra chocolate icing et voila..

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It has been a while crocodile

I don't like college and yet somehow college has taken over my life this year, well college and work. I wonder if my dislike for college is related to it's ability to take over your life and your brain. See that's exactly the type of thinking that happens in college. The point of this tiny rant is to say that I am sorry I have not posted, more angry at myself than anything cos I was so determined to post once a week, but that's enough of that.
This week I wanted to make carrot cake. My boyfriend's mother likes carrot cake and I wanted to make one for her. Trouble is I don't have a recipe so I decided to try Alton Brown's recipe and review it here. The recipe is in his show on carrots (S8E17) and plays a very small part in the episode towards the end but the results from this recipe are delicious. I remember making carrot cake as a child from a Delia Smith book and her methods were very different and to my tastes, much less satisfactory! The cake and the frosting he makes are delicious. It is quite heavy, not for the faint-hearted. I substituted half of the yoghurt with milk, due to a lack of yoghurt so this may have affected things but the heaviness of the cake is quite appealing.

This is the original recipe

And here is the result -

It is sweet but not too sweet, slightly heavy but not stodgy. It is crumbly and delicious and definitely moreish.I will definitely be making this again and I would recommend you to try it too = )

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm sorry but I got this and it will be hilarious

I set myself a resolution to update here every Sunday and despite my stab at self discipline I have not managed that. There are only so many things I can control and our electricity is not one of those. Therefore when the electricity in our kitchen went out a week and a half ago I knew immediately that I could not bake for a while, which to a baker is like some kind of torture. I did try to make a cheesecake but since our microwave and cooker and hob were all banjaxed it was very difficult and ended up far too biscuit heavy. Therefore I decided not to show anyone.

This week has been very busy and the kitchen is still not fully fixed, so yet again I couldn't bake. However I did get a really cute present yesterday that I will use next weekend. It's one of those giant cupcake mold. It's so cute and yet so tacky. I love it though! There is something so exciting about the concept of a giant cupcake. The mold has an insert for putting cream into the center of the cupcake which sounds slightly disgusting but for the sake of experimentation I will try out. So for now that's all I have but I will post a giant cupcake recipe as soon as I can.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My cure to the winter Blues - Oatmeal Raisin protein cookies

There are too things that always cause me to be depressed this time of year. It is not my dwindling savings, nor the cold weather like many people. The first is the simple knowledge that Christmas is over and the next one is so very far away. The second is all the eejits harping on about new years resolutions to lose weight and the unfortunate fact that I too have gained a few pounds over the holiday festivities and could probably do with losing weight too. Everyone is on a diet in January and it annoys me. I want to bake, I want to share my baked goods with others. However the usual joy and excitement in people's eyes I see when I produce cookies or brownies in January is replaced by an entire faceful of guilt and mild dislike of the person who is making them break their resolution. My delicious offerings are met with choruses of 'I can't,' and 'I am not eating...' and I hate this.
So this January I am changing it up. I am on  mission to create a cookie that is both delicious and tempting as well as healthy and guilt-free. This is my first attempt. I am aware that January is almost over so the project will continue into February but the winter blues cure will be achieved before the daffodils appear.

Oatmeal Raisin Protein Cookies

3 Egg whites and 1 egg
1 cup/125g Peanut or Almond Butter
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar/honey
3 scoops Protein powder
2 Cups/250g Oats
1 Cup/125g Raisins
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla essence
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Beat together the eggs, almond or peanut butter, agave nectar/honey, vanilla essence and protein powder until it forms a thick but smooth consistency. Add the raisins and cinnamon and stir until they are covered. Finally add the oats and mix thoroughly. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Using wet hands form the dough into 18 balls and bake for 10-12 mins. Half way through the baking process press the cookies flat with the back of a fork or a spatula.  Once done, move to a cookie sheet and dust with icing sugar.

The end result is quite tasty and the cinnamon and icing sugar is a delicious reminder of holidays past. Each cookie has about 80-90 calories and 4.5-5g protein. That's a lot of protein bam for your buck. However in my next attempt I intend to make the cookies smoother and slightly sweeter with the addition of more agave nectar or possibly something else. It would probably mean about 100Kcals per cookie but the extra sweetness is needed in these. I will update further when I know. These cookies certainly got the stamp of approval from the picky eater in our house so despite tasting, as he called them, 'healthy,' they are definitely delicious and worth a try. Enjoy = )

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Skins US and UK Season 5 Review

It has been a while since I did a TV review and I think that it is necessary to write something about Skins. There is a lot of talk in the US at the moment about Skins. It seems that American networks may have run out of new ideas and decided to steal old ones from the UK, I mean if it worked for 'The Office,' it can work for everything else, or...?! Then came 'Shameless US,' and now 'Skins US.' Now I can't say that I have seen 'Shameless US,' but I truly hope that they are at the very least using different plots and dialogue, because Skins US isn't!!
The first episode of the US show was identical to the original first episode, except for a few American anachronisms, name changes, one sex change and what was the other thing....... oh yeah, it looks like they decided not to bother casting anyone that can actually act! Then somehow, who knows how, the show received criticism, well I never! The whole thing is ridiculous, why not just buy the rights to broadcast the original first season of skins, instead of wasting time and money on this drivel? I wager that if they had shown Skins UK on a major network, it played on BBC America a few years ago to be fair, then the show wouldn't have stirred up half as much trouble. I can imagine that all the naysayers would just blame the fact that English teenagers are.... fill in the derogatory cultural slur here, and everyone would have watched with morbid fascination and disgust, while the Network executives racked in the cash!! This current mess could have been prevented if they had asked me first!! ; )
Now on to Skins UK Season 5. *Spoilers*
I want to premise my remarks with the statement that I have been a long time fan and viewer of Skins and have always thoroughly enjoyed the show. However after the first episode of season 5, my hopes are set pretty low. The Frankie character, while endearing, seems to have only the superficial depth that accompanies an alternative lifestyle and artistic pursuits, and her intelligence level must not be up there if she thinks that the blond bimbo wants to be her friend 2 hours after they had a mud fight and her life was threatened. I can understand the desire to be accepted, to think the best of people, but inviting these girls straight into your home and leaving your computer unlocked?! As I mentioned, she must not be the brightest spark! The other characters presented so far also leave little to be hopeful for. There's the perfect, but hurt on the inside, enemy, her little girl group who want to be nice but yet go along with everything bitch queen says, the comedy relief red head and the metal wannabe.......... Fun times! The first episode ends in the most random of scenarios that while unlikely will probably remind many a young person of nights spent in a field with a bottle of something cheap. The reminiscing aside however, that may have been our part of our boring adolescence but then there's a reason no-one filmed us doing that, it's just not good TV!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Adventures in Cookieland

Given the name of this blog it is not surprising that I like cookies. Since I lived in America I have also been obsessed with finding a recipe for the perfect oatmeal raisin cookies. I used to get these absolutely amazing oatmeal raising cookies in the GIANT bakery and since then I am determined to better those cookies, but have yet to succeed.
This week I finished my essays and finally managed to use my Kitchenaid mixer, I'm planning on posting seperately about the initial experience but one of the recipes that I had to try as soon as possible was Alton Brown's Chewy chocolate chip cookie. This recipe specifically calls for the use of a mixer and it makes me smile that Alton Brown uses a Kitchenaid in the episode 'Three Chips for Sister Marsha.' I tried the recipe and although I usually alter the recipes that I find, based on my preferences and little knowledge of baking, since I have a new toy it seems important to stick closely to the recipe.
Therefore the only alteration to this recipe is what I used as well as chocolate chips and I need to be honest about that. So here is the original recipe in US measurements, I will here include European measurements to the best of my ability.

Alton Brown's Chewy Cookie Recipe attempt, plus Fudge

200g Butter, melted
150g Brown Sugar
30g white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp Milk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
280g Bread Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
125g chocolate chips, dark and milk
125g mini fudge pieces

In a stand mixer beat together the melted butter and sugars, slowly incorporate the eggs, milk and vanilla. Then beat on high until the mixture is silky smooth. Turn the mixer to low and sift together the flour, salt and baking soda, then incorporate this slowly into the butter mixture. Alton Brown says that this should be done in three sections, beating the dough on high in between additions, the first time I tried the recipe I ignored this and the cookies were not as chewy, so the next time I tried it his way and they were perfect. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined the add the chocolate and fudge pieces and mix to incorporate.
The mixture needs to be chilled then for 1 hour, although I left it overnight just because this suited my schedule. Then scoop the mixture with an ice-cream scoop onto a lined cookie sheet.

Bake in a oven preheated to 200 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Alton Brown discusses cookie baking in this episode and mentions that the cookies must be taken out once they brown and look crisp around the edges. Once they look done, they are burnt! This is never so true as in this recipe. If you over cook these cookies, they lose all their chewiness and become nothing but small cakes. So watch them and remove before you think they are done. To this end I used silicon sheets so I could slide the cookies off the tray but put them back on if necessary. The cookies turned out delicious and now the only problem is not eating them all in one sitting!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What happens when a baker has the best boyfriend in the world?? and Christmas truffles

This is what happens -

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about it.

We only actually picked it up today so I haven't had a chance to try it out but there will be many many cakes, cookies, meringues etc coming soon.
This Christmas I also received a number of other baking items and it seems that having a baking blog is the best way to say 'I like to bake,' as loudly as possible. My wonderful parents got me silicon sheets for cookie baking, measuring spoons and lots of other fun things, my lovely sister got me a new bowl, special type of spoon and more muffin cases and lots of my friends and boyfriends parents bought other baking related items. I am happy out after this Christmas.
Every year now since 2004 I have made little food presents for my close friends and this year despite my busy college schedule I was reminded by a friend that they must be made or 'it wouldn't feel like Christmas!' So on the 23rd of December I set about making my delicious Christmas truffles. The recipe calls for chocolate cake and this year I used a store bought cake, other years I made my own. I have found no real taste difference, although the cake that was store bought must of course be very good quality in itself as it is the base for the truffles.

Chocolate Truffles

5 1/2 Cups (700g) Chocolate Cake crumbled
1 cup (125g) Ground almonds
1/2 cup (60g) Icing Sugar, more if desired up to 1cup/125g
50-100ml whiskey, to taste
2 cups dark chocolate
100ml cream
1 tsp vanilla essence


Coco Powder
Coco power and icing sugar mix
chopped or ground nuts

Crumble up the cake and add the ground almonds and icing sugar. Mix until the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Melt the Chocolate and the cream together on a double boiler or in a microwave. Add the whiskey and vanilla essence to this. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. Cool this mixture in the fridge for 15minutes before making balls of mixture and rolling them in one of the various covering ingredients. These can then be stored in an air tight container in the fridge to ensure freshness until you gift them or just eat them!!

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...