This year for Christmas/Billy Idol Day we didn’t do too much in the way of anything really. We hung out at home and took Lottie for a walk. The big thing that we did involved me spending several hours baking an extremely epic cake. I spent so long on it that I have a LOT of photos!
I present a raspberry Billy Idol Day Cake complete with Billy’s Fist as a topper :D :D :D
I slaved away in the kitchen for hours to make this cake. I hand made 3 kinds of icing!!
The fist topper is made of marzipan (which I can’t actually stand but was the right colour) and the glove was shaped on and painted with food colouring. I made the roses out of my fondant, more on that later!
The little chocolate bows, hearts and jewels are from a daiso chocolate mould and covered with edible glitter. Omg I love edible glitter, whoever invented it is a genius.
Around the bottom there are little plastic hearts also from daiso, a row of raspberries that we picked at the farm and a marshmallow twirly rope.
The cake itself was raspberry flavoured and had a lot of raspberries inside it too, SO delicious!
The icing you can see around the cake is buttercream and that’s what was used to stick the layers together as well.
I’m still learning to pipe nicely but I think this is pretty good progress!
The inside was crumb coated in cream cheese icing (my favorite) and I hand made the marshmallow fondant too.
While I was baking it there was a minor mishap with the marshmallows as I accidentally bought the wrong ones and they didn’t melt the way I expected them to XD Check out the bonus photo at the end for the fallout of that mishap!
To be fair most of these photos are very similar so I wouldn’t blame you for just skipping down
We lit the candles to serve it and it was DELICIOUS. James ate so much haha!
The problem with baking these big cakes is that we only ever get through like a third of it before it’s bad >_<
Just a couple more photos… because… XD
What is your favorite flavour of cake? I want to make some more! Stupidly I actually enjoy the decorating part more than I do the actual eating so I think I need some new flavours to change my mind!!
This is the mess you get when you buy the wrong marshmallows. It looked so pretty though that I almost wanted to just leave it haha!
In the left corner we have Violet’s Mini Snack SizedTrifle!
And in the right corner we have James’ Epic Berry Trifle!
Who will win!?!?
To make your own you need:
Cake mix and the relevant ingredients
Custard (doublethick is the best!)
Strawberries or other berries
The basic recipe is the same, it’s just the presentation which decides the winner so let’s get started!
Make the jelly according to the instructions.
I picked strawberry to go with the theme.
Put it in the fridge to set.
Make your cake according to the instructions and bake it.
Wait for everything to be set and cooked. The cake should be cool to the touch before you begin putting it together.
Chop up some strawberries as decoration and put your own spin on it.
To decorate like James’ monstrosity awesome creation start with a layer of jelly then a circle of cake then custard. Keep doing this until you get to the top. Finish with custard and add berries with a strawberry topper.
Delicious, I guess… if you like that kind of thing…
Now if you want to make Violet’s Super McAwesome version start with strawberry slices around the edge of the cup.
Fill the middle with custard.
Cut up some cake and add that then some jelly cubes. Continue layering the ingredients.
Finish the top with some pink sprinkles, jelly cubes and a strawberry heart.
Enjoy your delicious creation and try not to spend the rest of the night arguing over who’s is better. Realistically there’s no argument because clearly the winner is JamesVioletJames Violet.
Which would you make? The Epic cup or the Cute Heart?
James put so much effort into out Halloween foods last week that I thought it would be a shame not to show them off!
He spent all day cooking because Halloween is his favorite holiday of all time, we had so much food it was ridiculous.
He made Mummy sausage rolls. He made his own Crescent Dough (they don’t sell it in Aus) from scratch!
Devilled eggs which had bloody cracks all over the bottom.
Bone shaped bread sticks, again totally from scratch. He’s so good at baking bread!
Baked potato/sweet potato chips and grilled haloumi. Not sure how these ones were spooky but I’m sure there was a reason XD Apparently the haloumi were going to be frankensteins and the chips were black and orange, but the dye didn’t take to the potato and he ran out of time with the frankensteins.
Onion and bacon dip again from scratch. This was SO delicious, I ate a ridiculous amount of it. I ended up having some kind of allergic reaction to the onion he used so my face was a little puffy and I was tearing the entire night. I had to re-apply my false lashes 4 times because they glue just wouldn’t stick >_<
Totally worth it though because it was delicious.
And the pièce de résistance? Graveyard cake!
James’ mum apparently used to make this for them as children.
We didn’t have all of the American ingredients but he did very well anyway and it was delicious!
For drinks, Celina made the most delicous betty sorbet smoothies.
And they were served in my custom goblets.
Of course we had all of the usual candy and we bought some imported things like candycorn. We all ate far too much and watched Silent Hill. The next day James and I had the traditional post Halloween breakfast of candy :D Best Halloween so far!
The kits come from Japan and cost a couple of hundred yen which is only a couple of dollars. Roughly 100 yen = AUD$1.00. To get them in Australia the minimum cost is around $15. Kim brought this one back from Singapore for us. The idea is that you make the candy yourself, it comes in powdered packets which you mix and pour into molds. Each kit has different flavours and a theme, we made the sushi one this time.
The very famous RRCherrypie does instructional videos if you want to see some, they are totally addictive!
This is the contents of the box, you have to cut open the plastic package because it has instructions as well as places to measure your pieces.
One by one you empty the packets into the corresponding plastic area, add water, stir and leave to set.
These parts were the egg and tuna topping.
I was kind of crap at making the nori wrapping XD It’s like trying to roll out bubble gum!
Totally serious business!
But in the end it does really look like sushi! And it even comes with soy sauce.
Both mine and Kim’s panda bento suffered slightly from user fail but it was a really fun way to spend time! The sushi was all grape flavoured but other kits vary.
You can get them on Amazon, ebay and a lot of other online stores, just google Kracie or Poppin Cookin kits. Hope you guys enjoyed as much as we did!
One of my favorite Korean restaurants, Gami Chicken, has the most delicious kimchi pancakes. They are quite expensive though so one day during a massive craving, James decided to try and make some at home.
They turned out quite delicious! This recipe is a combination of some he found online and some from the Korean cooking books we had.
1 cup kimchi
1/2 an onion
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup water
We found kimchi at the local Asian grocery store for $4 a jar. I wasn’t really planning to use it for anything else so it was fairly cost effective. Celeste is always telling me to try making my own though which I really should some time! One of my favorite TV shows at the moment is a Korean show called “We Got Married” and on the show quite a few of the couples have tried making kimchi. Their results are usually quite hilarious so for now I think I’ll stick to the $4 tubs XD.
So step one was cut up the kimchi so it was quite fine.
I don’t like spicy things so James drains the juice out of the kimchi so that this version is extra mild. If you like spicy things you can add more juice. If you add juice make sure to add less water.
Next the onion was finely chopped.
Salt and sugar in too.
And flour and water.
Mix it all up until it forms a thick batter.
Put some oil in a pan on a high heat and pour the batter in.
Smoosh it all out so it forms a flat pancake. The batter is quite sticky, so this can be a little difficult.
Let it cook in the oil until the sides crispy up. Take a peak at the bottom to make sure it doesn’t burn!
Flip it over and it should be golden. Flipping can be pretty hard, and if you are doing the one, two, three cartoon pancake flipping method then make sure that all the oil has been absorbed by the pancake ;) You don’t want that sucker to splash hot oil everywhere when it lands back in the pan!
Cook the other side until it matches and it’s ready to serve!
This made a pretty huge pancake so I ate half and saved the rest for later. You could probably make two with the amount of batter we made, but it’s easier to cook it all in one go.
So delicious, crispy, really quick and easy to make for lunch! Yum!
What do you guys normally do for lunch? I feel like I’m always rushing because I work while I eat most of the time so I don’t cook as much as I’d like to >_<
It’s time for another one of Jimmy’s guest posts!!! Neat! Oh, and we’re making baked donuts. OMGKJDNKJDCNKD!!!!!! YES!!! YESYESYES!!!!!!!
So every 6 months or so I go on a bit of a health kick. It’s usually brought on when I’m going through photos and I’m like, where am I in all these photos? I only see that guy who looks like he could be my twin from a planet inhabited entirely by edible couches that are both delicious and majorly comfortableOHMYGODTHATSME. This will not stand. So I go to the closet, pull the secret lever, go through the secret passage way, solve the skeletons riddle, past the pit of dispair and find my running shoes. Dust them off, freak out a little because a spider crawled out and nearly touched me, back through the pit, get stuck talking to the skeletons wife (who is a major chatterbox btw, but she brought me a pie so what can I do?) back up the secret passage and through the closet. Then I pop on the shoes, look out the window and chicken out because it looks a little like rain. But you know, I play some wii fit tennis and stuff. IT TOTALLY COUNTS! It has “fit” in the title of the game!!! Then the next day I look for rain, but it’s a beautiful day outside. Stupid sun. Not even a swarm of bees on the horizon. I manage to drag myself down to the street and the little green crossing man lights up with a hint of mockery, as if to say pfft, good luck…and that’s what gets me going. I’LL SHOW YOU CROSSY MAN! I burst into run, get about three steps and twist my ankle.Me: oowowowowoww, Violet, I hurted my self…
Violet: Did you remeber to stretch first?
Me: Stretch? What am I, a woman!?!
Violet: You get no sympathy. And you get to make me dinner.
I sometimes manage to actually run every now and then, and when I do I try my best to eat right, but I still love baking. So before I bake anything this conversation takes place:
Me: Are people actually going to eat these if I make them or am I going to end up eating all of them again?
Me: You go to hell cupcakes!!! You go to hell and die in a fire!!
Cupcakes: But we’re delicious!
Me: Oh. Ok.
Violet: Who ate all the cupcakes!?!?!
Mrs. Skeleton: I can make a pie!
Everyone: NO THANK YOU!!!!
And now we come full circle. I needed something that I could bake, would taste delicious but would still be healthy-ish if/when I end up eating them all. These donuts only have something like 300KJ each and since the daily recommended kj intake is around 8500, you can eat 28 of these bad boys a day!!!
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk at room temperature (I can never find buttermilk so I use regular milk with a little bit of lemon juice, but mix them separately so the milk doesn’t curdle.)
2 eggs at room temperature
50g of room temp butter (if you are really eating healthy then you can sub this with 2 tbsp apple sauce or light margarine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries
Combine all your dry ingredients in a sifter and…sift them?
Just make sure that they all mix together well.
add all the wet ingredients except for the lemon juice
Give everything a good stir, THEN stir in a few quick splashes of lemon juice
At this point I poured some of the mixture into a lightly greased donut pan because Violet likes plain donuts, but I like blueberries, so I made 6 plain and 6 blueberry. I have also made mixed berry and mixed berry with cream cheese which was really nice.
Finding a donut pan can be difficult, we luckily came across this one at K-Mart for $9, but if you can’t find one try looking for a mini Bundt Cake pan, they are a little more common since you don’t usually bake donuts.
Never having made donuts before, I had no idea how much batter to put in each little thingy. As it turns out filling it to the brim was too much and mine came out as some kind of donut-cupcake hybrid that I called cupnuts. Because that sounds hilarious.
On the other side they look normal-ish. Really it’s a brilliant system because since the middle has a divit but not a hole you can put a filling like custard or jam or something there!
Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos of the icing process, but here’s the recipe!
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp whole milk
A little cream cheese if you like, but again that’s going to add to the Kj count =(
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
It makes quite a bit of icing, so if you want to make less you can just keep adding a little milk to an icing sugar/vanilla extract mixture at a time and stir so that it’s liquidy but will still dry with a shell over the top when left out on the counter.
Dip the donuts into the mixture and rotate as you pull it out to get a smooth finish, then decorate with your favorite toppings!
These ones look a little…deflated. That’s because I forgot to add butter I think. I forgot to add something somewhere along the way and they came out really chewy.
These are great for parties where you can set up a make-your-own donut bar!
I’m so awesome at this being healthy thing. What do you guys think?
Finally a food Friday… on a Saturday. I think I have the flu ;_;
It’s one of James’s favorites actually: Peach Melba Tea from Oriental Tea House. I’m in their Tea Tester program so when James found out theyoffered me a box of the Peach Melba he threatened to break up with me if I didn’t give it to him XD
We made the tea as an ice tea and it was delicious, but not overly exciting, so I thought I’d bam it up a notch and try something a little different.
A while ago while I was on a jelly binge we found a new “create your own flavour!” box and snapped it up thinking of the delicious flavours we could make! The possibilites were endless… cotton candy…strawberries & cream…unicorn…but that was just the problem >_< Too many choices! When the Peach Melba tea arrived the same day we ran out of regular flavoured jelly we decided it was fate, we would make the worlds first PEACH MELBA JELLY!!!
The tea comes with some instructions on the box for optimal brewing!We added two teaspoons of sugar to a mug, then put two tablespoons of the loose leaf tea into our favorite brewy-meshy-tea strainy thingy and filled it with boiling water.
Then we put the create-a-jelly mix into a big bowl, poured in 200ml cup of boiling water and stirred until it dissolved
After about 5 minutes the tea was ready too!
We poured the tea into the create-a-jelly and whisked. Whisk like the wind!!! Oh, but also not too much because you don’t want bubbles in your jelly! James is always over zealous with his whisking.
It made enough for two of our heart shaped silicon cake pans which are about an inch deep and the size of my hand spread out. If those aren’t scientific enough measurements for you then you’re at the wrong blog… ;)
It was about this point that I made the mistake of reading the tea box out loud. Apparently you can EAT the tea bits after brewing because they are actual pieces of peaches and berries ets. James thought it would be a brilliant idea to add the tea to the jelly. I wasn’t so keen on the idea so I didn’t let him touch mine. It did actually look very pretty though, the kind of thing I imagine would be lovely at a tea party.
Into the fridge they went for a few hours until set.
We haven’t quite mastered getting the jelly out of the molds yet. It’s a long debate between the two of us as to the best way to get jelly out in one piece. All suggestions welcome! It might not look very pretty but it tasted delicious! James thought the peach bits were really nice in the jelly, but he actually hates tea so he picked out the leaves. I didn’t like the solid bits but I have really weird things about textures. The plain one was really yummy though!
Ignore that and look at it in the mold again :D
There you have it! If you’re looking for a deicious way to keep cool in the summer or for a fancy way to jazz up a triffle, Peach Melba Tea from The Oriental Tea House! I’m not going to stop here though, now I know it works I’m going to try other teas, I think blueberry would be so good!
So my crepe obsession continues and I’ve even started to get James making them at home :D
And this is how he does it! This mixture makes about 12, depending on the size of your pan.
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tbsp matcha powder (don’t add if you just want normal crepes)
pinch of salt
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the milk in a food processor if you have one, blend really well if you dont. Blending will add air bubbles so you want get as smooth a crepe. Let the mixture rest at room temp for 30 minutes.
Once you have the mixture ready it’s time for the fun part ^_^
We use a pan like this because it’s huge.
Coat it with butter.
Mix up the batter so it’s nice and runny.
Pour some in to the pan and drizzle it around.
Now move the pan around and cover the entire bottom of the pan in batter. If your batter is cold from being in the fridge it will be thicker and therefore take longer.
This is what you want!
Now turn the heat on medium.
And pop the pan on top. After a while you should see areas turn dark green.
Eventually the entire thing will turn dark green and start to have tiny bubbles.
While this is happening you should make whatever fillings you want on another stove burner. I like strawberry sauce. This can be made by combining some corn starch/corn flour (it’s the same thing) with some sugar, then whisking in strawberry juice. James just buys tinned strawberries and uses the juice from the can. Pop that onto the stove and bring to a boil while stirring with a whisk. This can be done with any kind of juice and amounts will depend on how much juice you have and how thick/sweet you like your sauce! I think this was about 1 can of juice with 1/4th cup corn starch and 1/4th cup sugar.
Once the whole crepe is dark, use a spatula and flip the sucker.
Cook the second side for a much shorter time as it should be thin enough that it just needs a tiny bit of heat. If you don’t add matcha powder it’s much easier to tell when to flip becuase the brown shows up much more.
Pop it on a plate!
Add your fillings :D I like green tea crepes with some thick cream drizzled.
Then the strawberry sauce on top.
Fold into quarters and you’ve got a delicious breakfast or dessert! YUM!
It takes around the same amount of time to make pancakes so I like to have these on the weekend, possibly in bed haha! The batter will keep for 2-3 days, or you can make all the crepes at once and freeze them for up to 3 months! If you do, just defrost for an hour at room temp.
Hi everybody!!! It’s you’re favorite person on this blog, me!!! JIMMY!!! woooooo!!!!!
Grab yourself some mardi gras beads and your favorite zydeco record because I’m taking your taste buds on a vacation to the deep south! What’s that, you don’t have a favorite zydeco record? I know, it’s so hard to choose, they are all just so awesome. Pulled pork isn’t just from the Southern United States, there are variations and recipes from all over the country but I like to make mine with a Cajun style Louisiana sweet mesquite meat rub, so lets hop on a fan boat and get cookin’ chere!
This recipe is REALLY easy. All you need is:
A bottle of coke
A bottle of BBQ sauce
A little less than a kilo of pork shoulder or 2 racks of pork ribs
Your favorite seasoning (optional)
8 hours of your life you dont mind spending wishing for a time machine
You gotta love my exact measurements! I’d say use around 250ml of coke and around 250ml bbq sauce but it depends on the size of your pot, you need enough liquid to make it to the brim. I also didn’t use all that pork you see in the photo which is about 1.5 kilos, I chopped up the rest and made an awesome pork katsu curry.
According to Violet this recipe is even easier if you have a ruggedly handsome chef to do the cooking for you.
I prefer to make this recipe with pork ribs because I think ribs are just the best things ever. I would marry ribs. And have little rib babies. I would then take us on a family vacation and “accidentally” crash the plane on a deserted island and proceed to eat my wife and babies to survive and then be very sad. Not because I just ate the love of my life, but because I no longer had any ribs. Buy me some ribs.
Anyway, pork shoulder is much cheaper and to be honest it tastes about the same, shoulder is just a little harder to work with because:
a. It’s not as tender a cut of meat
b. You have to cut the fat off
Once the fat is off you can do a few things with it
Throw it away.
Cover it in salt and make pork crackling.
Put it on a spike as a warning to other pork fats that you are not a merciful ruler.
Slap strangers across the face with it and yell “you’ve been pork-fatted!”
I only endorse two of those, but I’ll let you guess which ones. Cut the remaining pork up into pieces that fit in the bowl and pour in your favorite BBQ sauce. Measurements don’t have to be precise at all here. to be honest I have no idea how much BBQ sauce I poured in, but it was pretty much a 1:1 ratio with the coke I added later. The pork pieces dont have to be tiny either, but smaller pieces will break down easier. 2″ x 3″ strips should be more than fine.
Pour in the coke. I like to use vanilla coke, but it’s up to you. The coke just helps break down the enzymes in the meat and by the end it doesn’t really taste much like coke at all anyway. I have also been thinking of making this with orange fanta sometime for sort of a beef a l’orange kind of thing but the other members of the house seem to think that’s weird.
Just add enough so that it fills up to the brim
If you want, add your favorite spices. This recipe still comes out great without them, especially if you buy a really nice BBQ sauce, but I LUUUUUUVVVVV this meat rub. It’s from www.SouthernBBQSauce.com and makes EVERYTHING taste better.
Toss it with your hands so that everything is well covered…
… look like a smug butthead…
… and pop it in the oven!
It’s going to be in there at just over 100 Celsius (212 Fahrenheit) ((373.15 Kelvin)) for 6 hours. Well in total it’s going to be about 8 hours, so start this in the afternoon unless you like to have dinner at 4 am. If you are lucky enough to have a slow cooker then pop it in that instead. Also, if your oven is measured in kelvin then you may want to consider buying a new one…
This is the most painful part because if you’re in an apartment like us then there is no way that you can escape the delicious smell coming from your oven. You will smell it everywhere and no matter what you eat, you will be wishing it was Coca-Cola pulled pork. Go ahead and give it a stir after 3 hours.
6 hours later…tadaa!!!
At this point pour it through a strainer. The bowl will be HOT. Too hot to just quickly try and grab it out of the oven and pop on the bench in bare hands because you can do it reallyreallyreally fast usually? You better believe it…
You should be left with a bunch of meat pieces, so grab two forks and start just pulling everything apart. The pork pieces I cut up were pretty big so this time it was a little bit harder, but still worked. The first time I did this I used ribs and just cut the racks in two so they fit in the pot and at this point they just fell apart. It was awesome and delicious but make sure you get all the bones!!!!
Pour most of the sauce back into your bowl so that the meat floats a little. The more you pour back in, the longer you have to wait for it to reduce so the sauce thickens up a bit and doesn’t just run all over the place. Pop it back into the oven with the lid off at 150 Celsius, 356 Fahrenheit, 453.15 Kelvin (seriously, get a new oven) for an hour or two, but keep an eye on the sauce. If it’s too runny then crank the heat up a bit and if it’s too thick, add a bit more sauce. At this point it’s up to you how you like it.
After an hour and a half mine looks like this and I am too hungry to wait anymore!
Violet likes hers served on rice with sour cream and pickles. Everything melts together in a big gooey mess.
I like mine on buttery toasted buns with sour cream, mozzarella cheese and pickles. Okay, so it’s not the healthiest of meals, but maybe you could make yours with coke zero?
Pulled pork is awesome and if you’re lookin’ to fancy up a BBQ, this is definitely the way to go! That’s all for now, but as they say in Louisiana (according to wikipedia anyway) Fisça da Geda ywum ywum doun bayeou!
Quite a while ago the lovely Yumeko came to visit Aus and she gifted me with some chocolate Pocky molds. I suck and therefore I have only now gotten off my butt to actually buy pocky so I can make these. Yeah I suck.
Yay Food Friday though :D :D :D
It’s an easy concept, melt some chocolate!Put a piece of pocky and some decorations into the mold.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done without getting them everywhere XD
Camwhore with the instructions.
Add chocolate to the mold.
Put chocolate into the pocky part before you stick into the pocky this way it gets completely encased.
Then more chocolate.
Scrape off any extra… or alternatively don’t add too much in the first place.
Stick them into the fridge until completely set.
My first lot pretty much sucked because they broke as I took them out of the molds. At this point if yours don’t suck you can add more decorations.
My second batch was much cuter.
Of course it was a super hot day so after about 10 seconds they melted back into chocolate goo and I ate them with a spoon XD
Awesomely fun way to spend an afternoon especially if you can make them with a friend!
Now if you want to see good cooking look at what this handsome guy who seems to live in my kitchen has made lately…
Delicious paella, soooo good. I only tried this for the first time recently but it’s so yummy!
Sausage bread and he even baked the bread from scratch!
And green tea loaves of bread too with cream cheese inside. *drool*
Too many episodes of Pushing Daisies have been stuck in my head lately so I got it into my head to try and make Chuck’s Cup Pies :D I didn’t bother looking for a recipe because it’s such an easy concept.
Cut up the strawberries into small pieces and put them in a bowl. I used around a punnet and that made 6 pies.Add around 1 and a half table spoons of honey.
Dump in around 4 tablespoons of sugar.
Mix it all together until everything is wet.
Line the muffin tray with pastry. I was in a hurry so I went for a messier… more rustic look XD
Spoon in the strawberry mixture.
Add a pastry top.
Fold in the edges and press them with a fork. Don’t forget to poke some holes in the top too!
Bake for around 20 minutes at 180 degrees C or until the tops are all golden and delicious looking.
Trust me, they’re so delicious you won’t even have time to take a photo of the finished project because SOMEONE will eat them all while watching Game of Thrones… ok yes it was me but they were soooo good *_* Go make and eat now, I command you!
Ah budget food, I know thee well. The problem with budget food it that is always seems to save on money by taking a long time to prepare and that’s not something I’m prepared to compromise on often. James is awesome at cooking and he enjoys taking time to make really complicated recipes… I do not XD I like baking but cooking because I *have* to is not something I’m good at. So James does pretty much all of the cooking in our house and I make desserts :D
So in the spirit of my hatred of wasted time and money I present the “James Can’t Be Bothered Cooking So Let’s Have Cheap Easy Pasta” recipe…
Also fair warning that I like my food with a lot of strong flavor ;)
Pasta (my favorite is fettuccine) – around $0.69 a pack if you get the home brand one
Tomato paste – around $1.10 a bottle if you get the home brand
Pre made pesto – around $4 a bottle
Parmesan cheese – around $2
Mozzarella, pre-shredded – around $5 (optional)
Frozen or fresh veges (optional)
Cook the pasta, for ultimate laziness points use one of those microwave pasta box things. I got mine at a junk store for $2 and it is AWESOME.Add cooked pasta to a bowl.
Add a spoon of tomato paste and one of pesto.
Mix together, add a lot of parmesan and mozzarella if you like a lot of cheese (I do!).
Add optional veges, I like fresh mushrooms or just those cheap frozen cubed veges.
Quit screwing around in the kitchen and get back to work while you eat lunch ;D The total time spent in the kitchen (not including pasta cooking time because I am generally back at the computer during that) is maybe 5 minutes.
It doesn’t look particularly appetising and it’s definitely not presented very well but it tastes good and it’ll get you through until dinner haha!
For something more visually appealing, here’s some packet mix pudding that I made last month. It looks good and I didn’t think it tasted half bad but James thought it was the worst thing in the world and spit most of it back into the sink. Clearly I need to stick to baking pies and macarons!
I’m completely obsessed with watching videos of those Japanese DIY gummy sweets though, they look like SO much fun to make and if importing wasn’t so insanely expensive I would totally get a bunch of them to experiment with! I need to find a Japanese grocer near here so I can start hunting for them at reasonable prices ^_^ If you haven’t seen the videos you totally need to, just check out RRCheriePie’s Channel. I wasted too much time watching them on the weekend… I probably should have spent that time making better pasta ;)
And that first sentence was my attempt at the start of the Superbowl song!!! I should probably mention that neither of us are very into sports. At all. I used to be really into skating, BMX, snowboarding, the kind of stuff that resulted in a LOT of homemade ramps and even more injuries, but that’s about the extent of my sports enthusiasm. The only two games I did use to watch when I lived in America (other than my schools games) were the Thanksgiving Day game and the Superbowl.
But the Superbowl isn’t so much just a game of football as it is an event and that’s why in two days an estimated 111 MILLION people will be watching it. It’s gonna be HUGE!!! And with almost any American sporting event, there will be food!!! FOOOOOD!!!!! Since it’s such a big game the food has to be equally impressive.
To get an idea of how impressive the food should be, football announcer John Madden brought back the popularity of the Turducken during the Thanksgiving Day game. For those of you who don’t know, the Turducken is a de-boned chicken, stuffed into a de-boned duck which is then placed inside a de-boned turkey and then cooked, sometimes stuffing or sausage meat is used to fill the cavities not taken up by poultry. Sounds delicious, I know. If you could find a way to get beef in there then it would be my idea of heaven, but that’s was just for the Thanksgiving game!
Sorry to any vegetarian readers, but I’m allergic to fruits and veg (seriously) so meat has become my best friend. I’m getting a little off topic. The Superbowl spread has to be awesome and that’s what I’m here to help you with today! This culinary creation is inspired by a dish from Japan where you can actually order it from Pizza Hut! I have no idea why this was never made on Iron Chef, but ladies and the two or three gentleman who read this blog, I give you…THE PIGS IN A BLANKET PIZZA!!!! *choir of angels*
As you can see it’s a pizza, but the crust is made up of pigs in a blanket!!! Brilliant!!! I’m gonna guide you through making this, but I would like to start by saying that if I could have gone to shops and bought crescent dough for the pigs in a blanket, I would have. It tastes so much better, but it’s pretty hard to make and you can’t buy it in stores here. The reason I didn’t use puff pastry is because I takes about 30 minutes to bake and the pizza takes 15, so it would burn.
You will need:
Salt (I use garlic salt because we love garlic)
Start by pulling a stupid football pose that you thought was a good idea but actually just looks like you’re trying to stop someone from murdering you.
Then REALLY start by combining 3 cups flour, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 3 tsp yeast. Yeast varies from type to type, so see how much you will need against how much flour you’re using and whether it needs to be dissolved in water first.
Mix everything up and then make a well in the middle and add 1 and a half cups warm water. Mix that up until it it makes a rough sticky dough.
Pull a stupid face because your hand looks like it’s mutating.
Pop the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. I like the folding technique. Once it’s come together in a nice ball, pop it into a well greased bowl and cover it with cling wrap. This needs to sit in a warm area to rise, I fill my sink with about 4 inches of fairly warm water and put the bowl in that. Let it rise for 30-45 minutes until it’s doubled in size.
Does it looks like this? If so, congrats, you didn’t kill the yeast!
At this point you can work out how many sausages you’re going to need.
Deflate the dough by dropping it onto a floury surface once again and then flatten it. At this point you need to work out how much dough is going to be your pizza base and how much is going to be for wrapping your sausages. I put two thirds to the dough and one third to the sausages. This gave me a medium crust and plenty for wrapping.
Roll out your sausage dough into a square (or if you’re an idiot like me then a circle for some reason) and then cut the dough into triangles. This is much easier if your dough is a square…roll your sausages up in a triangle of dough. If you REALLY like your guests then at this point you could also wrap the sausage in bacon and add a little cheese. Mmmmm heart attack-y!
Smooth your pizza dough to fit your pan and place the wrapped sausage around the outside. I used a little bit of water to help them stick.
For my sauce I use tomato paste and a sprinkling of dry basil.
This is going to be a Hawaiian creation, so I added ham and pineapple.
Add some cheese and it’s almost done! Stick it in a preheated fan forced oven at around 170c (330f) for 15 minutes
Just in time for some stupid eating poses!!!
Seriously, it tastes awesome. I meant to brush on an egg wash over the sausage dough, but I was REALLY hungry at this point. Eat the pizza part then dip the pig in a blanket into some ranch/BBQ/tomato sauce, you’re gonna love it! Yummy! Now sit back and enjoy the game. GO PATRIOTS!!!!
Woohoo the return of Food Friday! It’s been quite a while, mostly because I haven’t been well organised. You’ll be surprised to know that I didn’t stop eating for these last few months, I only stopped remembering to charge my camera when I did so no photos ;)
And this is what I’ve been doing with mine recently:
Thickened cream (heavy cream/whatever the type of cream you generally eat with cake is called in your country, something with at least 35%+ fat)
Fruitcake (not really needed but I had some spare to use up)
Now I see a lot of people making these fancy looking desserts in fancy looking wine glasses etc. I love how pretty they look but I also hate eating out of them because it’s hard to get the last bits out and the ones we have are small compared to regular glasses so I say screw prettiness, go with the biggest cup you have >:D
Left: Very pretty. Right: Realistic of how much I want to eat chocolate.
So this is the simplest concept ever: layering!
Stick a spoon full of fruitcake in the glass and pour a spoon of cream on it. If you’re not using fruitcake you can substitute with regular sponge cake or more chocolate biscuits.
Add some blueberries and chopped strawberries.
Roughly chop the Timtams and add some.
Continue layering deliciousness until you get to the top.
Lastly add the sprinkles and enjoy!
eat while watching crappy movies or playing video games.
Took around 5 min to make and as the cream melts into the Timtams it forms the most delicious mush in the universe. *craving again*
Food Friday is as healthy as ever ;) Next week I’m going to share my budget recipes, money is tight here at the moment so we’ve been cooking frugally. Sometimes the best comfort food recipes are the cheapest! ^_^
James grew up in America and he misses it… especially the food… a lot. His Mum still did the big American-style feasts when they moved to Russia and then over here too so when he moved in with me and discovered that I didn’t really cook he took it upon himself to make that happen as often as possible XD
So this year he decided to make some kind of epic Thanksgiving feast. It’s not an Australian holiday so I really only know what I see on the US tv shows here but I think he did a pretty good job!He made slightly burntcrispy pumpkin, scones (which apparently are called biscuits in the US and are eaten with savory meals?!), roast chicken, chicken nuggets, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potato and baked asparagus.
I know you’re supposed to have turkey on Thanksgiving but it’s so expensive here (like $60 for a bird) so we opted for the much cheaper pre-prepared Woolworths chicken for $9. We did have turkey but more on that later!
Does anyone know why scones are called biscuits in the US? I have the feeling there would be some awesomely epic misunderstandings if I visited and asked for a biscuit and was presented with a scone instead of a cookie XD I’m confused just thinking about it. Also the idea of eating scones with savory food squicks me out, scones should be served only with jam, cream, butter and a good cup of tea :D
My delicious dinner:
Of course I couldn’t resist trying a nugget in a biscuit while dipping it all in mashed potato, I did skip the barbecue sauce though ;) A slice of dessert if you get the reference haha! It really tasted horrible XD
I stuck mostly to the mashed potatoes and asparagus, so yummy!
Now dessert which is all I really care about hahaha! James making his dessert:
And its…………………. TURKEY BALLS!
Basically they are chocolate truffle balls with tails and a chocolate peanut for a head! Zomg so delicious!
We also had James’ version of my apple pie! Now that it’s coming into Summer I want to marathon Pushing Daisies again and bake a lot of pies… this can only end well right?
So yay for Thanksgiving! If you live in the US what do you guys do for it? Any special American foods I should try next year? We had pumpkin pie last year and it was so very not for me but I loved trying it anyway! If you celebrated I hope you had an awesome time!!
Food Friday! Today I’m showing you my favorite summer food to cool down in summer: cold soba noodles, and one of James’ random kitchen creations: fried rice sushi XD
Both of them are ridiculously easy which makes me happy!
Soba noodles first!
Cook noodles and wash them until they’re chilled. Put them onto a wooden rack in a bowl (I didn’t have one so I use the steamer rack from my rice cooker).
Make dipping sauce out of soy sauce, sugar (or mirin if you have it) and rice vinegar. You can also buy proper soba dipping sauce but this is the cheap lazy version XD You can either dip the noodles in the sauce as you go or just pour it on top which makes eating on the couch much easier!
If you feel like it you can also add some cut up seaweed to the top as garnish, I like using those flavored pre-cut snack versions. Yummy and great to cool down in summer!
Next this is something James wanted to experiment which I found hilarious because he hates both seaweed and fried rice so I had to be guinea pig >_<
Basically it involves lef tover fried rice and again those flavored pre-cut seaweed snacks. I could eat so many of those *_*
So take a sheet and place a spoon full of rice on it, warm up in the microwave for a few seconds so the rice wets the seaweed enough to stick.
Fold it up into a little cone.
Repeat until you’re not hungry anymore. I wasn’t expecting to like these, sometimes James makes the weirdest food especially when he’s trying to make stuff I would eat. He can’t eat fruit or vegetables and I loooove veges so it’s always odd seeing creations made my someone who doesn’t eat that kind of food… like when Bender from Futurama was a chef XD I hope he doesn’t try cooking me a pony! *_*
Anyway long rambling aside it was actually pretty nice! I would probably be lazy next time and just eat it all with a spoon :D
I’ve been here a couple of times for yum cha and the food has been fairly average, this night we had a banquet instead and it was delicious, much better than the yum cha!
They do the BEST ice tea too, I always get strawberries and cream and it’s perfect for hot days.
Vanessa and Nikki being generally adorable.
The prices here are on the higher side of things but the atmosphere is nice so I would come here for a business lunch or if I had to take my parents out ^_^
Salt and pepper squid that was delicious!
Vanessa and I both have a love for vegetables, I couldn’t help but take this photo of her showing her true colours ;)
All in all it was a delicious dinner. Next time I’ll know to skip yum cha and go straight for the delicious tea and menu items!
On the way home James and I felt like something sweet so we stopped in at Harakuju Crepes… which is basically as the name indicates: Harajuku style crepes.
They do all the standards like strawberries and cream etc but they also do specialty crepes like cheesecake… which is literally a slice of cheesecake wrapped in the crepe with whipped cream, strawberries and sauce XD They also do savory versions but I’ve not tried any yet.
I tried out the new green tea flavour and it was very yummy. Best flavour ever: green tea crepe with strawberries, icecream and chocolate sauce inside. Very yummy dessert!
The last of my food related adventures for today was trying the new schnitzel place which just opened in the Melbourne Central food court.
I am a big fan of parmigana so I was very excited, probably slightly sadly so ;)
Schnitz kind of reminded me of Grill’d but for schnitzel. The prices were similar too, I went for the Swiss Schnitz roll which is a “Schnitzel of your choice plus Swiss cheese, avocado, semi-dried tomato, baby spinach & sweet chilli mayo.” That in a small combo with chips and a drink was $16.40 so more expensive than most of the other food court shops.
Overall I actually liked the chips better than I did the schnitzel roll. There was nothing particularly bad about it but it didn’t stand out as being awesome either so I can’t imagine myself craving it again enough to spend the money. I do still want to try their parmagana though!
The chips were actually really good though, they were seasoned with something yummy and they tasted almost like honey. Odd flavour to begin with but quite addictive!
So those were my food adventures for this week! Have you guys had anything good to eat this week? Anywhere you think I should try out? I’ve been eating out way too much lately, I’m guessing the next few weeks will be back to budget pasta at home to make up for it haha!
I’m pretty sure it’s still Friday somewhere in the world right? Planning fail again XD One of these days I’ll get myself properly organised!
So today’s Food Friday is James’ Jam Drop recipe which I will steal and claim as my own >:D Mine didn’t actually turn out half as nice as his but oh well!
130g butter, softened
112g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 large egg
2 tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoons self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
Jam for filling and then any decorations you want
Get all of your ingredients together!
Stick the butter in a mixing bowl.
Add the suger and vanilla essence.
Have an argument with your boyfriend over whether a couple of grams extra will *really* ruin the entire batch of cookies… Seriously James is ridiculously particular with his measuring.
Try not to stab him with your butter knife when he insists on spending 20min finding new batteries for his electric scale to get the measurements perfect.
Whip it with an electric beater until it starts getting fluffy and the butter gets a little lighter.
Add in the egg…
And the food colouring…
Whip it again and until it’s fairly fluffy.
The recipe here differs depending on who you are…
If you are James then: take forever finding a clean bowl and sift all the flours together making sure to mix thoroughly. Add it to the cookie mixture and mix until it forms a dough.
If you are Violet: get bored looking for a clean bowl and start dumping the flours into the current bowl, sifting is for suckers and people who don’t want to get some crafting done tonight too! Finally dig out a sifter half way through because of the look James is giving you. Sift it all into the bowl and mix until it forms a dough.
Stick the bowl into the fridge for 20 min to cool, when you get it out again it should be easy to roll into small balls and put on a baking papered tray. I used the 20min to go to the 7/11 and procure chocolate, but you should use yours for preheating your oven t0 180 degrees Celsius :D
It probably wasn’t actually 20min because my dough was still fairly soft. I was impatient to finish and sit down after having walked most of the day so I ignored the instructions :D
Aaaanyway poke your thumb into the middle of them so it forms a little well for the jam.
Then spoon in some jam! This is my favorite one, it’s strawberry and rose petal.
I decorated mine with some of those little sugar balls that I can never remember the name of.
Finally, stick them in the oven for 15minutes or until they look cooked. Interestingly enough it wasn’t the lack of precise measuring that killed my cookies… it was my being distracted by watching Xmen First Class and forgetting they were in the oven hahaha!
So mine were a little crispier than usual but still very delicious!! Be careful if you put in too much jam they will boil over. Also be VERY careful when you take them out because the jam will be liquidy and very hot so don’t burn yourself!
Still very yummy but I’ve decided to leave these to James and perhaps retitle this section from Food Friday to “Violet Sucks At Baking… Mostly Out Of Laziness And Lack Of Allocating Enough Time”. Catchy yes? I can totally make a Violet Sucks At Baking icon ;)
If you’re curious, they did actually taste the same as James’ version just a little browner ;)
I’ve been pretty obsessed with Pinterest these last few weeks, it’s a really fun way to find new ideas and collect things you want to do together. I’ve even got a board for recipes I want to try out now :D Woo motivation!
So one of the recipes I collected was an awesome looking strawberry hot chocolate thingy made from melted icecream. I fell in love with how adorable it looked but the ingredients seemed a bit rich for my taste. You can see the original photos and recipe here.
Anyway, we had a movie night the other day and marathoned awesomely terrible 90′s teen movies, what better to do than try my own version: lazy bunny strawberry hot chocolate ^_^
What you need:
Fancy glass to put it in (seriously this is what makes it that much more awesome)
Strawberry milk, or strawberry Nesquick etc, something pink and milky :D
Cream to whip (or whipped cream in a can for extra lazy points)
Something to make the bunny ears, I used thick shards of honey comb from a failed attempt to make crumbly honey comb
Get your ingredients ready or if needed run to the 7/11 because you’re silly and you didn’t plan this ahead ;)
Put the cream in a bowl and whip. If you have no clean bowls and your kitchen is totally dirty because you have done any washing up for days then tupperware will do nicely.
I can’t believe I actually whipped my own cream, that’s like the only part of this entire recipe which isn’t lazy XD
Break up some chocolate and microwave it 30 sec at a time until it’s all melty.
Mix it well so it’s consistant and easy to pour.
Get your fancy cup and dip the top in the melted chocolate.
Use a spoon to eat the rest of the chocolate drip more of the chocolate inside the glass. This makes the drink super yummy and chocolatey :D
Pour some of the pink milk into a mug and microwave it for 30sec at a time, stirring until it’s hot. Be careful not to boil it! Fancy people would probably do this on a stove… but it’s hard to be fancy when you’re about to sit down and watch Clueless and the original version of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie… and Can’t Hardly Wait :D :D :D
Pur the hot pink milk into the glass, the chocolate should have set a bit by now so it won’t just run everywhere. If you were smart you would have realised that it’s hard to pour from a mug into the tiny mouth of a mini wine glass so you would have transferred the milk into a milk jug BEFORE spilling it all over the counter… apparently I’m not that clever.
So now you’ve got something like this:
Fill the top with whipped cream. Don’t over fill it or you’ll make an even bigger mess on the bench >_<
Decoration time! Sprinkles first…
Then ears out of failed honey comb, you could use shortbread or flakes or anything vaguely pointy.
Use a little bit of melted chocolate and a finger to draw the bunny’s eyes and nose. Mine looks kind of evil…
He’s probably mad because I spilled half of the melted whipped cream all over the counter too >_< This cooking thing is messy business!
Do you guys have special movie night food? We usually just pile as much junk food as possible on to the couch and go nuts :D I’m running out of 90′s comedies to watch though, do you guys have any recommendations?
Mmm time for food friday and today I visit the new frozen yoghurt place in QV- Tutti Frutti
I looooooove frozen yoghurt. No really I looooooooooooove frozen yoghurt. Every time a new store opens down here I want to check it out!I’ve walked past the new place in QV quite a few times wanting to go in because it’s the first one I’ve seen here which is self serve and is charged by weight.
So meeting up with Celeste was a good excuse to try it out XD
The idea is you get a cup…
Fill it with whatever flavors you like, I tried green tea, taro and chocolate.
They had 6 flavors total to choose from: plain, chocolate, raspberry, mango, taro, green tea.
Then you add as many toppings as you want.
And take it to the counter to be weighed and paid for.
Between the three of us I think we tried all the flavours other than plain and they were really good. This was my first time trying taro yoghurt and it was surprisingly yummy. I’ve only had taro pancakes before and they were terrible so I was surprised how much I actually liked this.
The prices are about average for frozen yoghurt here with all of ours being around the $7 mark. You get more for your money though because you get to decide how many toppings you want and can mix flavours. Unlimited mochi? Yes please hahaha!
There was a good range of toppings both sweet things and healthier fruit options.
The yoghurt itself was yummy and quite flavoured without having the sourness that some frozen yoghurts get.
I will definitely be going back sometime soon :D I’m really glad to live somewhere with so many yummy food choices!
So yes, if you’re ever near QV and in the mood for some frozen yoghurt check out Tutti Frutti ^_^ Do you guys like frozen yoghurt? What are your favorite flavours? I’m liking green tea with chocolate and mochi for toppings at the moment. Have any of you ever tried to make it at home? I’ve always wanted to so I’ll have to think about stealing borrowing Celeste’s icecream maker XD
I’ve been really sick this week, thus the lack of posts :( Every time I go to one of these gigantic events I always come back home with whatever bug is floating around. This time it’s some kind of nasty flu-ish thing that involved me laying next to a bowl for a long time with a cloth trying to break the fever. Very icky.
So what are your favorite foods when you’re sick? I like tea (obviously) and James has started making these frozen juice pop things because I can’t stand drinking the stuff.
Other than that I keep it simple with plain crackers and lots and lots of water. I hate chicken soup so tell me your favorites so I can get James to make for me XD
Anyway I’m going back to bed again now, will be back on top soon to show you all the fun we had at ABBW last weekend!
Seeing as I’ll be at IMATS this Friday, I won’t be able to do a Food Friday as per usual so here’s Food Ffffthursday!
So tea, I love tea. Sometimes I love tea more than James… or maybe not because James brings me tea so I’ll keep loving him more :D My favorite teas change depending on mood and temperature but here is my current top 5.
This is my tea shelf, it’s not very impressive at the moment and the only way I’ve been able to store them all is to stack everything. Do you guys have a fun way to store tea? I want a special shelf set one day just for tea :D
A tropical black tea flavoured with guava and papaya. Blended with real fruit pieces and the petals of southern flowers, Grenada is sure to transport you to the tropics.
Kim turned me on to Lupicia teas, the man that works there is so friendly and helpful. He really knows his stuff too so I love going there! This is a great tea with breakfast, it’s light and refreshing and smells great :D Super fruity and delicious!
This tea has intense flavours and is a perfect pick-me-up to get you through the remainder of the day, no matter what you are doing.
This is my ultimate brain fuzz removing tea. In the morning or the afternoon… or any time when I’m not focusing as much as I should be XD Stroooong and delicious with several sugars and milk. My favorite way to have black tea is with 3 sugars and a tiny bit of milk. James doesn’t even drink tea, in fact he hates it unless it’s ice tea but he’s so good at making it now!
This light, soft and soothing herb blend is for when the day is done and sweet dreams are all that is left. Gentle lemony mintiness from lemon balm combines with the sweet perfume of rose, lavender and jasmine. Calming and quiet, warming, mild and muted, this is a glorious way to say goodnight.
This tea is some kind of magic, I don’t know what it is that makes it so relaxing to sip but a cup of this will put me right into sleep mode at the end of the night. I like this one plane and non-sugary for maximum effect :D
… no clue actually, their website appears to be non-functional XD
This is perfect for Winter, I like jasmine/green blends even more when they have mint in them but this one is pretty yummy too! Last Winter I practically had this stuff on tap, such a nice way to keep warm when it’s freezing outside.
For me, the scent of Jasmine evokes memories of the exotic tea salon tucked away in the Marais district of Paris where I had my first cup of this classic tea with my mother. We’d been happily wandering the streets of her childhood all day…
Green tea brings me back to earth. A smooth Chinese green, full of health-giving properties.I think:
The lovely Stef turned me on to this one. My tea shelf is a mix of fancy stuff and grocery store stuff. I can tell the difference but this one is so nice it doesn’t taste like supermarket tea even though it is. With a tiny bit of sugar added it’s absolutely delicious so thank you for the awesome recommendation Stef!
What about you guys? Do you have all time favorite teas or are you totally obsessed with a particular one right now? Send me your recommendations so I can give them a try!
Have you guys seen those magic Breville tea making contraptions? Michael from Craving Tech wrote about them a while ago and ever since I’ve totally wanted one, they look so cool! James said that it made my tea automatically he’d have no use anymore though hahaha XD
Fooooood Friday :D And it’s time to use the chocolate left over from last week’s decoration ^_^ To do so I’m going to make little presents for my friends… ok maybe I’m just going to eat it but we’ll see!
This idea was another one from a Japanese magazine a bajillion years ago. Cute little disposable spoons filled with chocolate fudge or chocolate something, I did mine with chocolate ganache. And I did it the laziest way possible which makes it even more awesome ;)
Step one, get chocolate.
Step two, try not to eat chocolate.
Step three, buy more chocolate.
Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl.
If you’re really into it you could use a double boiler system to melt the chocolate but like I said, I’m lazy. I used the microwave. Put it in for 15sec at a time until it’s around 2/3rds melted.
Let the hot bowl melt it the rest of the way, this way you won’t burn it.
To turn it to ganache you need thickened cream.
Add a spoon full…
Mix it very thoroughly, it looks pretty gross.
Keep mixing until it gets much darker and really shiny. At this point you’re forgiven if you want to eat a few spoon fulls ;P
Grab yourself some pretty spoons…
And put the ganache in! If you want to be anal about it you could pipe it in but that just dirties something else.
Once they’ve cooled down a bit you can decorate them. I used left overs from the last lot so I added a bunch of sprinkles.
And piped a heart and a V so it’s like saying “Love Violet”.
Let them cool in the fridge and you’ve got some delicious spoons. That’s it! These are great to take to parties or as gifts etc.
So now you just have to give them to your friend… yeah of course… definitely don’t just eat them all. I mean that would mean you have pretty much no self control huh? Oh… right.
Foooood Friday! Today I show you my attempts at a yummy idea I saw in a Japanese magazine like 1 years ago XD Basically the idea was for people strapped for time who wanted to make presents for friends/whatever that were personalised you could take a block of chocolate and decorate the flat side. Easy done :D
My attempts? Well baking is not my strong point but I’ll be damned if I don’t give it a go XD
What you need:
First make up some icing, you probably won’t need very much so just stick some icing powder into a bowl, measuring is for suckers ;)
Add a little peppermint essence:
I really wish these stupid bottles came with dropper tops, it’s quite hard to get the right amount out *_*
Add a few drops of food colouring if you want.
Mix together and if needed add a few drops of water at a time until it’s a consistency you can pipe.
Mine was a bit too runny so watch out for that!
Take a break and have a cup of tea because you’ve worked hard so far :P
Now you need to cut a piece of chocolate to use as the canvas. If you’re like me you probably cheaped out and bought the home brand chocolate so don’t expect too much quality-wise ;)
Decide how much chocolate you will use based on how much you love the person you’re giving it to. I’m giving mine to James… this much?
Hell no I’m not giving away that much chocolate! Realistic:
I love him but I also love chocolate! Unrepentant!
Pour the icing into a corner of the freezer bag.
Snip a tiny corner off so it becomes a make shift piping bag… or you could just use a real one.
Now pipe on a pretty design :D I wrote “James” and drew a heart… unfortunately I was a little over ambitious with the S so it looks more like “Jimmy”…
…then it melted a bit so it looked more like Jsmnay.
I piped around the outside too as a border.
While the icing is still wet add sprinkles all over it.
And brush off any extras.
He loves little marshmallows so using some more icing like glue I made a border of them.
And because it already looked pretty hilarious I added some more icing on top. I’m deleting all of the inappropriate comments James keeps trying to add in here about what it really looks like.
So stick it in the fridge to set and add a cute bag!
Present for you!
Taaadaaaa! I love you Jsmnay! Even if sometimes I’m not sure why…
So I’m sure if you were better at baking/decorating you would be able to draw something actually cute on there! And hopefully the person you give yours to won’t be silly enough to try and eat the cute bag. Happy Food Friday!
I’m totally going to make an adorable graphic of me in my chef’s outfit for these posts as soon as I dye my hair again :D Until now you guys have to put up with…. a text stick figure with kind of a chef hat… just pretend it’s me ok?
….M …/O\ —-/\—-? .. / \ . ——- .. ||
Ok it looks more like a crown than a chef’s hat… also the question mark is totally a wooden spoon… just use your imagination ok?
Fried rice is my favorite comfort food and seeing as the weather has been so chilly lately I like nothing more than curling up on the couch with an episode of Buffy, a bowl of fried rice, a cup of tea and some knitting.
So as a completely random post, here’s my current favorite recipe!
What you need:
A couple of cups of old rice (I usually use 1 day old rice because I’m impatient)
Anything else in your cupbord, my favorite add ins are peas and leeks!
Cut up all of the ingredients and fry the onions in a little oil.
Once they have cooked 80% add in the ham and any other bits you want like peas. If you want to add in leeks (which is damn delicious) you should do it along with the onion because they take around the same time to cook.
Mix them all together and allow to cook for a minute.
Now make some room on the middle of the pan and crack in an egg. Stir it around with the spatula and scramble it. Keep stirring until it comes apart into little pieces.
Add in some more oil and then the rice. Stir it all until it’s hot and add a little soy sauce.
Serve and enjoy with a good movie :D And next time I will get James to take the photos for me so you can see how awkward I am in the kitchen! What are your favorite comfort foods? I need more midnight snack ideas!
So following on from my chef’s hat yesterday it’s Food Friday today :D Fridays will now be full of baking, favorite midnight snacks, yummy cafes/restaurants I visit and other food related things. I preface by saying I don’t know much about food or cooking, but I know that I like eating it! James does most (all) of our cooking at home because I’m usually working but I do enjoy making things (mostly sweets) when I have free time. So this is going to make me get away from the computer a bit more and start enjoying it again :D
This post is about a cute cafe I found so it might not be too useful for overseas readers. If you are still in the mood for food then check out some of my old baking posts, here’s one for macarons, mochi/daifuku and chocolate fudge!
So let’s start with a discovery. I am terrible at directions and I don’t have a lot of time to explore, we’ve lived in the Melbourne CBD for over a year and haven’t eaten out much because of the expense. James and I don’t go out much ourselves we usually go out with a purpose eg. to get to an event or meet someone for a work. So even though I’m right in the middle of it, if you asked me where a good place to eat in Melbourne is I would probably look at you blankly and suggest McDonalds and then frantically text my food blogger friends for suggestions :P
That’s why my first non-friend-referred discovery was so exciting! My Dad was visiting for the day and after we went to dinner at a Greek restaurant he and my step mother wanted to go for coffee. James and I had only been in that area of town twice and no where else seemed to be open. We wandered back down to the Bourke St mall and headed up past Target hoping something would be there on the way to the hotel. Everything was closed until I spotted a cute little cafe from across the road, eagle eyes for the win!!
So that long and convoluted story is how we discovered Puccino’s. As it turned out they had just opened 3 days before so I didn’t feel quite as bad for not knowing it existed XDThe cafe is adorably decorated with a quirky feel, spindly chairs, flowers everywhere, lots of lights and water in jars with lemon and mint. A little like the kind of faux French cafes you find in Japan, very cute and lots of little details.
James had a hot chocolate and a lemon tart. I went for a green tea chai latte. Dad and Beth had coffee, some little tart and a donut which I forgot to get photos of.
I can’t comment on the prices or taste of the coffee because I don’t drink it and have no clue about it but both Beth and my Dad are avid drinkers and they said it was as good as their favorite place back home.
James’ lemon tart was quite sweet and balanced out the hot chocolate which had that slight bitterness dark chocolate lovers adore. He loves anything lemon flavored and really enjoyed the combination of the tart and chocolate together. I was more interested in how cute the display looked ;)
Green tea latte is one of my all time favorite hot drinks but I’ve never had it with chai before. I’m always on the fence with chai things because they are either really good or really bad, there’s not really any middle ground. Luckily this one was really good! $4 for a large is pretty good too so I’ll definitely be going back for more. I think I even liked the really milky chai version better than most of the plain green tea lattes I’ve had around Melbourne XD
While we were chatting the owner came over to see how everything was and if we had any problems or suggestions as they are such a new business. He came back with complimentary macarons for us to try! Such a sweet gesture!
The four flavors were pistachio, black sesame, rose and salted caramel.
There were around 10-15 different flavors in the displays, they were average sized and prices for Melbourne macarons. They had a deal for 4 for $10.
The texture was really nice, they were not the cakey rubbish some stores pass off as macarons but the soft melt in your mouth kind with a crispy shell. Of the 4 flavours the salted caramel was my favorite! The rose was sweet and buttery and the pistachio was very tasty but could have been a little stronger. The black sesame wasn’t something I was used to so I didn’t like it at first but as I kept eating it was grew on me a bit. I think I just don’t like the flavor in general not the macaron in particular!
On they way out I went to say thank you and goodbye to the lovely owner and he presented me with a take home box of 4 more macarons too :O So nice of him!
They were really lovely and accommodating and the beautiful girl at the counter even took a photo with me! So sweet :D
The macarons were rose, salted caramel, raspberry/chocolate and passionfuit. The rose and salted caramel were again very nice, James’s favorites are always the super fruity flavors so he got the other two. His report: mmm yummy. After taking a bite too I will translate that to mean: these ones both had a very strong flavor, yummy and definitely for fruit lovers! I liked the raspberry/chocolate one the best… probably something to do with my love of chocolate… where as James loved the passion fruit one.
So in conclusion, friendly staff, lovely desserts and a *very* nice chai green tea latte means that I will definitely be going back again.
If you want to visit, I can’t give you the exact address because they don’t seem to have a website or any reviews up yet but if you’re in the Bourke Street mall, walk up past Target towards Russell St and it’s on the left side of the tram tracks. The Puccinos shop front is quite small and there is a sign on the overhang but keep an eye out because you might miss it. If you’ve reached Hungry Jacks you’ve got just a bit too far!
Definitely worth a visit!
Hope you guys enjoyed the first Food Friday, next week I’m going to bust out my apron and chef’s hat and get to some fun things to do with chocolate :D See you next time!
So to go with the new Food Friday thing I’m going to do I decided I need a spiffy new hat :D But I really didn’t want to spend a lot of time or effort on it. Scraps pile to rescue!
I used the top of a skirt which had stretchy smocking sewn into the waist band (the cut of which made it HIDEOUS when worn) and some lining out of another dress I’m planning to cut up. You could easily do the same with some white fabric and something stiffer for the band around your head.
So what you need:
White fabric for the poufy bit
Shirred/smocked fabric for the stretchy thing or stiff fabric to use as the band
Needle, thread scissors
Ability to not spend a long time looking at your awesome new hat in the mirror
So what did I do? Measured around my head and cut that much of the smocking.
Needle and thread at the ready, I stitched up the sides to make it into a band. I also trimmed the top a bit so it looked more like a frill not a skirt.
To make the top poufy bit I cut out a big square piece of white fabric, the bigger the square the bigger the pouf. If you wanted to be correct it’s probably better to use a circle but I’m not going to lie: laziness was prevailing on my couch at the time.
Use the needle and thread to gather all around the edges of the white.
Pull it tight so it’s fits the stretchy band.
Turn the band inside out and stitch the pouf to the inside. You could finish everything off with machine stitching, overlocking etc but again… laziness because this is just a prop and I’m not a real chef XD
So you should have something along these lines. Haha I forgot to remove the tag from the inside >_<
Flip it the right way around and you’ve got yourself quite the spiffy hat there! Super girly and it matches my awesome apron too :D
With a cute outfit now I have more motivation to bake!
Stay tuned tomorrow for the super cute cafe I visited!
A lot of you have probably seen the tutorial I did on making an eyelash storage solution in the shape of a yummy cake. Well with the direction my house decorating kick is heading the whole cake thing doesn’t really go with my theme. The limited bench space also doesn’t leave much room for a several layered cake so time to find a solution which was pretty and also space saving.
This is what I came up with:
It can be hung on the wall, I can see my lashes at a glance and it takes much less effort to put everything away. This is an awesome solution for girls that have a lot of lashesSo tutorial time!
What you need:
Sticky tape (the type of tape is important)
Clear plastic or plastic wrap
Pretty wrapping paper or fabric
Cut the cardboard to the shape and size you want the finished product. Make sure there is enough room for all of your lashes, no point going to all this effort and then having no space for future purchases! ^_^
Measure and cut enough wrapping paper to cover the front of the cardboard. From this point the photos have a bit of glare on them unfortunately because the paper I was using is slightly reflective.
Fold the edges over and tape in place…
Fold over the other sides and tape too…
Now it’s time to cover the whole thing in clear plastic or cling wrap. This will protect it from any water that happens to splash there.
Tape the edges of the plastic over and around the back too.
Now you should have something like this:
Lay out your eyelashes and decide how many rows of pairs you have room for. I decided on three.
It’s now time add the part which will hold the lashes in place: wide strips of tape sticky side out. You need to be careful about what kind of tape you use, it needs to be sticky but not so sticky that you can’t get the lashes back off! Gaff and duct tape are too sticky, you want to use something like this clear plastic tape which is not particularly sticky. I suggest testing it out on an eyelash you don’t want anymore. It should hold the lashes securely when you put a corner on but it should not be at all hard to remove them by gently pulling the corner which is not attached.
For each row of lashes I put down 1 strip of tape, sticky side up.
Then fold the edges around the back and tape them im place. So you now you have 3 sticky stripes which are almost invisible.
To decorate it a little more I added a border of lace using the glue gun to hold it in place.
You could also do this same idea in an ornate picture frame just taking the glass out so you could access the sticky strips easily.
Last thing to do is add on the lashes! Lightly press the inside corners of them into the tape, you really don’t need much pressure at all and certainly not enough to disturb the curve of the lashes. Done!
And this is it in action in my bathroom!
It fits the current tone of my bathroom more than the cakes do and takes up so much less space! Do you all like the cakes or the board better?
BPAYis having a competition and you could win $3000 :D I sure could use $3000 so I’ll show you my entry in a little bit!
What is BPAY?
BPAY is a payment method that banks use to allow you to pay bills quickly and easily without having to deal with many separate companies. For example I can now pay my water, electricity, rent, phone etc bill from internet banking through BPAY in about 10 minutes rather than the long boring task this used to be 15 years ago when you actually had to go to each place to pay. Therefore I can now spend more time filming nail art tutorials, yay!
About the competition!
Everyone loves things short and sweet. They put smiles on faces and give us a warm glow inside. So we at BPAY figured if we could take a long arduous task like queuing at the post office to pay a bill and make it a short and sweet process online, the world would be a better place. And so we did.
To enter, you need to write either:
1. A recipe
2. Give a film synopsis
3. Pen a love poem
4. Write a short fiction
BUT the catch is you need to do that all in 120 characters or less.I decided that I would write one of my favorite quick, easy, lazy fudge recipes. It takes about 5 minutes to make and is pretty much impossible to screw up! This is what I came up with…
Put butter, 1pack marshmallows+block choc in container. Nuke 30sec, cool in fridge, cut, STUFF FACE WITH FUDGE!
111 characters, oh yeah 9 characters to spare=champion!
So want to see the long version of it?
What you need:
1 packet of marshmallows
1 block of chocolate
Some butter, around a tablespoon
Microwave proof container
You can use margarine or real butter, I didn’t want to waste the expensive margarine so I used cheap block butter.
So cut off a slice of butter.
And stick it into the microwave safe container.
Add the marshmallows…
Break the chocolate into pieces…
Add that too!
So this is what you should have…
Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Mine is 1100w so if yours is different please adjust the time.
Use a spoon to mix it all up, the marshmallow should be liquid and sticky. Don’t worry if the rest of the ingredients are still solid because the marshmallow will melt them nice and slowly.
Mix until it looks like this:
If it gets hard before it’s combined just put back in the microwave for another 10 seconds and remix.
You want to end up with something like this…
Cool the whole thing in the fridge until it’s hard again.
Cut into squares…
So if you think you can do something awesome in under 120 words here’s how to enter…
You can enter via the BPAY competition website, SMS or by Twitter, with the best entry from each category winning $3,000. Not bad for 2 minutes worth of effort, just like paying your bills via BPAY.
2) Via SMS, text your name, category and your 120 character entry to 0427 777 743
3) Via Twitter, tweet the category and your 120 character entry to @BPAYSS
Love Poem = POEM, Recipe = RECIPE, Short story = STORY, Film and Book synopsis = SYNOPSIS.Hope you enjoyed my superfast marshmallow fudge and give it a try! I only got that one piece because when I went to get some later it was all eaten *_*
Make sure to store tea in an air tight container so it lasts longer.
For the size jug I’m using I needed two of the tea dunking things with around 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of tea in each.
You shouldn’t fill them too full otherwise the tea won’t have room to move around and you won’t get a full flavour.
Once the kettle boils add the plungers and the water to the jug.
You should be able to see the colour change very soon, use your tongs to give everything a stir.
Now herein lies a very important lesson… when you go to refill your glass jug with new tea after it’s been in the fridge for days don’t pour boiling water straight into it! Glass (especially crappy glass from a $2 store) can’t take sudden temperature changes and will crack. Then you will have super hot water all over your bench which is very irritating to clean up and also then you have to have an internal debate on whether it’s worth it to catch a tram all the way to the junk store and replace the jug to continue with the tutorial… it’s not pretty, it looks something like this in fact!
So after deciding you are too lazy to go buy a replacement jug and digging around under your bench to find a smaller one and remaking it all up to this point… leave everything to cool for around 10 minutes.
Then it’s time to add in your sugar. We like a huge amount of sugar (like probably 1/4 of a cup for the big glass jug above or 1/8th of a cup for the small pyrex one below) but the first time you make this I would suggest measuring and adding a bit at a time until you’ve got a flavour you like. Ours tastes kind of like un-set jelly XD
Now stir it all together so the sugar dissolves and remove the tea strainers. Leave it out on the bench for a couple of hours until it’s room temperature then pop in the fridge over night. The next day you will have some pretty delicious tea ready and waiting to go :D
Do you guys have a favorite flavour of tea? I love strawberries and cream for the ice tea and at the moment my favorite hot tea is good old English Breakfast :D
James and I have been obsessed with a TV show called Pushing Daisies. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. Well we finished the series (it was cancelled ater 2 seasons) and since seeing all of the delicious looking pies on the show (the main character owns a pie shop) I’ve had a bit of an obsession with making pies. When we first started dating I used to make apple pies all the time but then we got busy with work and it just wasn’t a priority.
But now I am a pie making machine and I’ve been trying all kinds of different flavours. So I figured I would show you how I start with the basics. I can’t remember where this recipe came from, it’s been in my recipe file for years and I think it came from a book my Grandma gave my Mum from the 1960′s. Anyway, here’s how I make apple pies!
What you need, ingredients:
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
Puff Pastry (I’m using store bought because I’m lazy but I’m sure it would taste much better with home made!)
What you need, utilities:
Spoon for mixing
4x heart shaped silicon cake tins (obviously you can do it in something else XD)
First thing will be to wash and cut up your apples, remove all the skin and chop them into fairly small pieces. Set them to the side. Preheat your oven to around 190 Degrees Celsius.
In a mixing bowl put a couple of squirts of lemon juice.
Add in the white sugar…
And the brown sugar…
And the flour ^_^
Now add the Cinnamon, I use a lot (like maybe 2 teaspoons) because James loves it. I personally can’t stand cinnamon but there are so many other flavours in this that it’s tolerable ^_^
Next add a couple of shakes of Nutmeg, maybe 1/2 as much as the Cinnamon you put in.
Mix it all together!
Add in the apple pieces and mix it again. The apples should be coated in the sugary substance. It looks dry now but once the apples sit while you make the pastry cups it will go all liquidy and sticky from the apple’s juices.
Clean your pie moulds and if you’re making pastry from scratch do that now and roll it out.
If you’re using the frozen pastry then make sure it’s thawed.
Drape it over the mould and press in to place. Pleat the sides so you can cover the base properly:
You should have something like this:
Cut off the extra leaving around 1cm around the edges and pop in the filling!
I decided to be fancy and make lattice tops. This is achieved by weaving strips of pastry together. If you’re doing this then cut a bunch of 1cm strips of pastry and start by making an X with 2.
Build it slowly by adding 2 more in each direction, this way you can weave them all very easily without disturbing too much.
Continue until the whole thing is covered…
You should get something like this:
Cut off the extra and pinch around the edges to seal it…
Repeat with the rest of them!
Ok one more pie-cam-whoring photo because I spent so damn long making them XD
Now put them into the oven! After 20 minutes check on them and make sure nothing is on fire then leave for another 20 minutes.
When you’re already hungry this seems like hours though -_-’
Once you can see liquid boiling through the tops and the pastry is golden they are ready! Woo!
Take them out and leave them to cool for a bit. I like to cool them on the bottom too so they don’t get soggy as I don’t have a cooling rack.
And that’s it! Enjoy and eat! James likes to add icecream but I don’t really like icecream so I eat them plain.
Super yummy :D
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and do let me know if you give it a try! Would you guys like me to post other flavour variations I make too? Like with the different fruits?
This week is going to be insanely busy for me but I’m going to do my best to keep up with you all! Sorry if I’m slow to reply to comments and emails please be patient :)
I’ll post abut everything that’s going on properly tomorrow but for today I wanted to post the photos from our Master Chef Finale party ^_^
I didn’t really follow Master Chef at the beginning because it looked boring. People cooking on tv? I can watch James do that in my own kitchen mwahahah! Anyway by the end I was a little hooked just like everyone else in Australia so when Celeste invited us over for a Masterchef finale party I couldn’t say no XD
Each of us was to make a dish from the show, James and my contribution was the macaron tree (surprise!)
This is them cooling:
And our finished macaron trees… Yummy looking right?
Celeste and Kev made beef bourguignon (sp??) and stroganoff. They even hand made the pasta… omg it was so yummy! Seriously this was one of the best dinners I have ever had!
There was a little bit of this during the night…
But it was mostly this…
Getting to play with such fluffy kitties was a novelty for me, so damn fluffy!
We also had scotch eggs which were yummy!
Here I am putting together one of the trees, James did one and I did the other. *cough* guess who’s looked better!
Pistachio and green tea, Raspberry and white chocolate and Bueno flavors this time!
James making his tree:
Taste test? Why thank you!
Desert was also fantastic with opera cake! So delicious :D
Gangsta kitty is gangsta.
The kitchen was full of delicious chaos!
The tea was delicious and free flowing. It’s nice to meet other people who love tea as much as me! Celeste has over 40 different kinds of tea in her cabinet!! *40*
And lastly I will leave you with this. Because I can.
We had so much fun with our other “Cooking with Susie” sessions that we decided to give it one more episode: Sushi erasers with Susie :D
Because we’re moving, we’ve been trying to spend as much time with our friends up here before we have to say goodbye for a while.
What did we decide to cook? Sushi! Well not really sushi but erasers that are shaped like sushi in a a little kit thingy.
We bought the kit as a present for Susiewhile we were in Singapore so she brought it over to play with.
Basically it’s a little box that comes with clay and molds and when you put them in the microwave it magically transforms them into erasers. You can read more about it here.
With these sort of things reading he instructions is very important. Even more so when they are written in Japanese!
You should fill the little molds with some water so the clay doesn’t stick to it!
Add some clay to each side…
Squish the sides together
Pull the extra off and you’ve got a piece for your sushi!
Use something pointy to wedge the clay out.
No matter how realistic they look don’t eat them!!!
Keep making them until you’ve made all of the pieces!
This is the reaction you get when you tell two girls that you’re going to eat all their sushi…
These are some of the parts that will eventually make the wholes: rice, egg and roe! Susie made these ones so they are all perfect.
This is an example of the crappy ones I made… XD
Eventually she wouldn’t let me touch the clay anymore because of my shoddy workmanship mwahahaha! This mismatch of skills tends to lead to some jealousy.
But you know all of that can be fixed with our awesome dancing!!
So enough messing around, making sushi is serious business!
Fill the paper container that came in the kit with water and add the sushi pieces.
Wait patiently for them to come out of the microwave!
Then dump the pieces into cold water.
Cut out all the bits of paper for the nori wrappers etc!
This is a good point to exchange presents too… Susiemade me this awesome gigantic leopard print bow!! She is so talented and awesome. On the other side of that because I’m an awesome friend I got her…. my love and admiration :P
And here is our finished sushi!
Yummy yummy yummy :D Congratulations you have successfully completed a craft project made for children! I will claim that the language barrier was the reason it took us several hours. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But also even after it’s cooked you probably shouldn’t eat it.
Thanks for watching Cooking With Susie… and Violet!
Come visit Melbourne soon Susie!!! Let’s start a petition to make her come live in my spare room and do stupid stuff like this all the time?
Have you ever tried making this sushi erasers kit or any of these fun Japanese stye kits?
I blame Lolita brands for this obsession. If they didn’t keep including them in prints or in sweets deco maybe I could forget about how melt-in-your-mouth-delicious they are… maybe I could ignore the fact that they are incredibly pretty… and maybe I could stop thinking about how I desperately want one for breakfast today with a cup of tea…
And so it goes on until one day I got so frustrated I decided to make them myself. I suppose that’s in keeping with the spirit of this blog ^_^
I searched and searched for a recipe. Many were too complicated with things like measuring the temperatures in the room and comparing the humidity to get the correct amounts for different parts of the world!? Macarons are apparently the most fickle of all deserts.
Finally just as I was about to give up a friend sent me a link to Not Quite Nigella’s Recipe. It seemed easy enough but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of pistachio as I wanted James to actually eat them too. I kept searching until I found the Tasted By Two version. Seemed easy enough… and so the experimenting began! After maybe 10 batches I have modified the recipe for our kitchen/temperature/humidity/what ever other ridiculous things macarons are scared of. I am not a baking purist, I just did what worked! These techniques might not work for you but I assure you that my result was freaking awesome :D
So here is everything I’ve learned about macarons and my modified version of the Tasted By Two Recipe:
What you need:
Ingredients for chocolate macarons with chocolate filling-
For the outside bit:
65 grams Almond Meal
80 grams Icing Sugar
40 grams Caster Sugar
1 table spoon Cocoa Powder
50 grams Egg White at room temperature
Pinch of salt
For the filling:
Piping bag/Small plastic bag
Gather everything together :D
Line your trays with aluminum foil. Yes in the photo I’m using baking paper… and you know what, it sucked. Every recipe I found said to use baking paper but EVERY batch that I did using baking paper failed miserably. So what I ended up using for the successful batches was aluminum foil *very* lightly sprayed with olive oil. I’ll talk more about the failed batches and how to avoid that later!
Measure out your almond meal. Having the correct weights is very important so be quite careful. Now about the almond meal… many recipes I found said that you should crush the meal even further in a food processor to make it extra fine. I don’t have a food processor so I used it straight from the pack. No problems so far.
This is how fine it was:
Do the same with your icing sugar and sift them into your bowl. Make sure there are no lumps.
Then mix them together very well and make sure the consistency is even.
Now weigh your castor sugar.
And your egg whites. Egg whites are another highly debated point of this recipe. Some say you should leave them out over night, some say leave them for a week. I made macarons with eggs right after cracking them, over night and week old… and they were all exactly the same in my opinion. I really don’t think it makes a difference. Just make sure they aren’t too cold or else they won’t froth well.
Put your egg whites into a mixing bowl.
Add a pinch of salt to them
Now using your electric mixer beat them until they become slightly frothy.
When they look like this you should start adding the castor sugar a little bit at a time…
… until it looks like this :D The eggs should be light fluffy and peaky.
Now this part is quite fun! You should take your mixed up icing/almond and add 1/2 of it to the egg mixture.
Mix it up carefully, don’t be over zealous otherwise it will end up like cake. Once the first half is mixed in, add the rest and repeat.
According to a lot of recipes it should form ribbons off your spoon when you’re done. XD
Now mix in your spoon of cocoa
Ok time to get ready to pipe them. You can use a proper piping bag but if you’re not keen on cleaning one you can just use a plastic bag and throw it away after ^_^
Put your mixture into the bag!
And tie a knot into the top of it.
Now cut off the corner with a pair of scissors and pipe circles onto your tray.
Apparently some people will actually draw circles onto the baking paper to make sure they are completely perfectly shaped… I don’t really think that is necessary. If I wanted perfection I would go and buy them, I like he idea of mine being a little individual ^_^
Ok! So we’ve done the hard part! You should take your tray and bang it on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Then leave the macarons on the counter for 1 hour to settle. While they are settling let’s talk about some other variations!
James doesn’t like chocolate much either so he asked for some blueberry flavored ones.
I used tinned blueberries, crushed them and added to the mixture just before piping.
This is easy enough, you just need to add slightly more of the dry ingredients to counter the wet of the blueberries. If you’ve made a couple of batches you should be able to roughly guess at what the correct consistency should be.
My absolute FAVORITE flavor is green tea with pistachio filling. OMG this is seriously awesome. All you need to do is add 1/2 a teaspoon of matcha powder to the mixture instead of your chocolate powder. I’m using one from Tea2 but any will work.
They all look so pretty!
When you come back to the macarons the icing should have formed a very slight shell, you should be able to touch the top without getting your finger wet. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. When the oven is ready you can put in the tray and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you should be able to see the little crinkly bottom feet, if not something has gone wrong! Cook for another 4 minutes and then allow them to cool on the bench.
This is a picture of the first time I tried to make them, they weren’t very pretty but you can see the little crinkly feet I’m talking about…
Leave the macarons to cool while we make the filling.Basically all that is involved in that is melting chocolate in the microwave, adding a little cream, butter and a little icing sugar so it doesn’t go solid again. Very delicious. Be sure to taste it along the way ;)
The pistachio variation on this is basically crushed pistachios with butter and icing sugar to make a delicious paste:
Now it’s time to remove the macarons from the tray and turn them over… the bottoms should look like this:
Below is a good example of failed bottoms. The reason this didn’t work is because they weren’t cooked long enough so the insides were liquidy. They stuck to the (stupid) baking paper and collapsed when being removed. Still tasted good though.
Take a half and spread some filling on, pop another half on top and you’re done :D
And here are the delicious green tea ones:
So there you have it! No longer will I be a slave to sweets deco and brand prints! Next time I crave macarons I’ll bloody well make some! :D Mine may not be the prettiest ever made but they tasted damn good and nobody complained so I’m happy!
Hope you all enjoyed the adventure as much as I enjoyed eating all of the failed and successful batches of macarons!
Evening everyone! Ok so tonight I’ve just got a couple of things to take care of before we get back to regular posting tomorrow.
Firstly remember I did a review on Skin MD moisturiser a few months back? A lot of you had questions about where it was available and if it would be available in Australia any time soon. Well they currently don’t have plans to stock in physical stores in Australia but they do ship internationally. The only thing with this is that a bottle costs $18 and the shipping is another $9.95 which is not exactly cheap when you haven’t used the product before :(
Violet to the rescue of your bank balances!
If you want to order and you enter the promotional code “VIOLET” you will receive 20% off your order!
I know I’m going to be stocking up :D
Secondly my blog has also been featured on lots of other blogs lately !
I’ve also been receiving some lovely emails from you all and I just wanted to say thank you all for continuing to read my blog. I hope I can make it even better in the future!
Following on from that in an effort to make things even better around here I’m going to be making a couple of changes. Nothing major, just a few things here and there so please don’t mind as I tinker with the site. If something doesn’t work please let me know and I will fix it up! If there is something that you want to see on the website I’ll be putting up a little poll so you can have your say ^_^
There is also a competition coming up for you all to look forward to!
Today is a food review for a change, one for the Twist n Roll Bakery!
So the back story to this review is all about how for years and years and years of being teased with Lolita jewelery and dresses with macaron themes without ever tasting one… they were just so damn pretty but living in Brisbane I didn’t think that I would ever get the chance to try one so I stopped looking and tried to put the idea of deliciously cute sweet treats out of my head.
But I didn’t do a very good job and one day I was complaining on my second twitter account about how much I wanted some and one of my friends Roundragon did some research and found that there was a bakery called Twist n Roll who specialize in macarons! When I found out I almost fell off my chair in shock!!
They have a stall at the New Farm Farmer’s Markets (at the Power House) but it’s only on every 2 weeks so…. today we ventured out to New Farm to find them!
It felt like it was a million degrees out in the sun today so James and I kept cool with ice green tea with honey and mint and a lemon slushie thing. Yum!
After we explored for a while we managed to find the stall.
Cute right? I loved the little Eiffel Tower and the gigantic tree of macarons ^_^
I decided to be cautious and try a large Raspberry one for $3.50 so I could see if I liked them
Here is a nice close up…
And the insides…
So the verdict? OMG YUMMY!
The shell was crispy and the insides were gooey. It tasted very fresh and packed with raspberry flavor. The man and woman who were running the store were lovely and chatty, they were both French and super bubbly and friendly!
In fact I enjoyed it so much that I went back…
And bought 6 small ones ($2 each) in each flavor! They had sold out of caramel and pistachio so I got raspberry, chocolate, coconut, lavender, lemon and an orange one which had chocolate filling like a Jaffa.
They started out like this…
And very soon turned into this… I have to say that the only reason I didn’t take a bite out the raspberry one is because I took it home for James’ Mum to try!
James tried the coconut one and loved it and Oh and James got a German hotdog thingy which he greatly enjoyed…
So my final thought is that macarons are freaking awesome and I’m going to be visiting the Twist ‘n Roll bakery next time I’m over in Rocklea! If you are in Brisbane, you can see all the locations here. Looking at their website I’ve just found out Twist n Roll Bakery deliver, oh this is going to be so bad for my bank balance!!
Yes it’s seriously epic! Those of you with dial up might want to not continue because there are around 50 photos! Trust me though, it’s totally worth it because the end result is both pretty and delicious!
So here’s roughly what you need for epic cake:
-3 standard cake mix bags (I know cheating :P) If you are in Australia get the Home Brand butter cake because it is AWESOME and it’s only 60c per bag. -Eggs -Milk -Butter Milk -Fondant icing -Ingredients for royal icing (check this recipe it’s great) -Milo (or just plain old chocolate powder if you’re not in Aus) -Red and green food dye
Gather your ingredients.
Preheat your oven following the instructions on your packet mix.
Now it’s time to make the cake mix :D Depending on your cake mix the ingredients might be different but this is how I do it… Packet mix in the bowl!
This cake requires 3 different layers, 2 of plain butter cake and 1 of my version of red velvet cake. We’ll make the red velvet version first.
Add an egg! Eggs look so gross XD
Add in the butter milk, you should use however much milk the packet mix says to, mine said 3/4 of a cup. For the other layers you should use plain milk.
Mix it all together
And then beat it to death! It should be nice and fluffy ^_^
Once it’s fluffy add 3 table spoons of Milo and beat it in.
Now add some red food colouring, this is why it’s called red velvet cake and it makes for a really pretty effect when it’s finished.
Pour it out into your cake tin, I use a silicone one because it’s easy to get the cake out of.
Put it in the oven until it’s cooked all through :D
Turn it out onto a rack to cool and make the other 2 layers.
The other two layers should not have milo, food colouring or butter milk in them. They should just be plain old butter cake following the directions.
If your cake breaks when you turn it out, just use some icing and glue it back together :)
Once your 3 layers have all cooled down it’s time to cut the tops off them. The reason you cut the top off is so you can get a nice flat cake and it doesn’t look like a gigantic lump on top ^_^ It’s much easier to ice a flat cake! So get a knife and poke it in the side towards the middle and start working your way around. Keep going until you’ve done the full circle. Use the knife to lift the top off (and eat it because by now you’ve spent forever staring at cakes bloody baking and you’re probably hungry).
Once you have 3 flat layers get some icing (I’m using Betty Crocker) and cover the top of the red layer/
Once it’s covered use the plate you had it on to flip it onto one of the plain layers.
Cover the top of the red one again and flip the last layer on to it. This is what you should end up with!
Cover the entire thing with icing ^_^
One for the cake, one for the cook!
Now get your fondant icing and roll it on the bench top. If it’s too hard pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds, if it’s too sticky dust it with icing sugar. Once you’ve rolled it out, drape it over the whole cake. It should end up something like this… You can see that I’ve repaired a crack by putting water on my finger and rubbing it. It’s going to be covered in icing so no one will ever notice!
Now it’s time to decorate! Make some royal icing in the colour of your choice, mine is pink! Put it into a piping bag and start decorating! Ok mine isn’t very even but this was my first time using a piping bag so it’s ok!
I tried to make it very decorative, there is a big heart on top, scalloping on the outside and lots of little bumpy bits. Whatever you do as long as you put effort in everyone will enjoy it!
Now put it in the fridge to cool and it’s time to learn how to make icing roses :D Grab some fondant icing and colour it pink with food dye. You do this by putting a tiny amount on and kneading it until it’s pink. Make sure to do this on a surface that you can clean easily, food dye will stick to EVERYTHING. Maybe wear gloves, look at my hands, they’re all red XD
So let’s start making a rose! Pinch off a little bit of icing and roll it in a ball.
With your finger squish one side of the ball…
Pick it up and roll the squished end in on itself like the photo below. You should make a bunch more squished balls, these are the petals.
Roll the second petal onto the first but on the opposite side like below:
Keep making petals and placing them around the part you’ve already made. You should over lap the next petal slightly with the one you’ve just done.
As you go you should use your finger to push the petals out a bit.
Once you think you have enough petals roll the bottom of the rose together with your fingers so it’s a bit rounded.
Make a bunch of them :D This is what you should end up with!
Now bring out your cake from the fridge. Mix up a bit of royal icing and colour it green.
I put a bunch of green icing in the middle of the heart and placed the flowers on top.
I make a lot of flowers in different sizes so….
…I can shape them into a heart too!
Yay! Finished :D
NOM NOM NOM!
I think the flowers really make the cake… and they are delicious too ^_^
And the best bit… When you cut it open it looks even prettier!
How pretty is it? And the red velvet is delicious!
Now serve with thickened cream…
So there you have it, it’s delicious! What do you guys think? What’s your favorite type of cake? Let me know if you make your own epic cake!
I hope you’re all ready for a no fuss mochi recipe!
Ok first off let me say that there are a bajillion photos ahead so if you’re on dial up this may not be the post for you… Now without further ado let me present….
Cooking with Violet and Susie!
Today on the Cooking with Violet and Susie show we will be preparing Mochi which will then be made into Strawberry Daifuku (also known as the yummiest thing on earth).
Here is what you will need: -1 microwave safe bowl -1/2 cup of white sugar -1 cup Mochiko (glutinous rice flour) plus extra for dusting (please note that one cup=250ml) -2/3 cup of water -1 punnet of strawberries (or your filling of choice) -1 chopping board -1 very sharp knife -1 spoon -Optional: anko to cover the strawberries in. Not used in this recipe but a delicious variation.Please make sure to buy GLUTINOUS rice flour, it is not the same thing as rice flour. Don’t even bother to try to substitute plain rice flour or you’ll end up with a disgusting floury mess. Also useful to have is a gullible friend who you can trick into doing most of the work. I call mine Susie. Another key ingredient is a boyfriend with a camera so you don’t get flour all over your nice camera. Silly photos optional. First get all of your ingredients together and wash the strawberries. Get your friend to take care of the boring task of cutting the tops off the strawberries. If you have small strawberries you should use one per Daifuku, if your strawberries are larger cut them in half. This recipe will make around 10-14 Daifuku. Measure out 1 cup of mochiko (glutinous rice flour) and dump it in the microwave safe bowl. Also add 1/2 a cup of sugar to the bowl. While you do something more fun (like getting 2/3rds of a cup of water) make your human slave… I mean good friend… mix the flour and sugar together very well. Now add a little bit of water and mix it around with a spoon. Don’t add all the water yet. It should look like this: I’m sure your arm will be tired from all that manual labour so get your friend to add the rest of the water and mix it up into a runny kind of paste. Kind of the consistancy of honey. /> If she doesn’t do it fast enough make sure to beat her into submission with whatever kitchen appliance is handy… When there are no lumps pop the mixture into the microwave for 2 minutes. Times will vary depending on your microwave, mine is 1200watts. You should also leave it to cool for a minute or so or else you might burn yourself. This is a good time for your boyfriend to think of more artistic or flattering ways to photograph you. Dancing is also a good way to pass the time.
When you finally get back to your dough you may be slightly confused because it looks so gross and weird. Don’t panic. Spread some mochiko on the cutting board. Now mix up the dough with your spoon into a giant sticky ball. I can’t think of any way to describe it other than big sticky mess. Be very careful because it will be hot, the mochi retains heat very well. Roll the dough out onto the cutting board. Use the spoon to roll it around until the whole thing is coated in flour. The flour will help it be cool enough to touch, don’t be fooled though the inside is still hot and will burn you. Cut a corner of the mochi (dough) off, it should be just enough to cover your strawberry. Pull it out so it’s kind of a flat triangle. Take a strawberry and stick it in the middle, the following few pictures show me covering it and making it into a ball. style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 311px;” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_axNtgCrpfKM/Sm1qoeY0F5I/AAAAAAAABIQ/9pc1WMBsWUg/s400/DSC_0132_090723_232.jpg” alt=”" id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5363059974852581266″ border=”0″ />Pinch the mochi closed and roll it in the flour so it’s not sticky. Taadaa strawberry daifuku! Make sure not to let Susie have any yet, she has to make her own! This section is titled “HOW NOT TO MAKE DAIFUKU”… or what James and Susie did. DON’T- Get the knife stuck in the mochi… DON’T- Get your fingers stuck to the mochi… OCCASSIONALLY- Laugh at your friend for getting her fingers stuck to the mochi… Especially as she desperately wipes her hands on the cutting board to try and get it off… DON’T- Try to colour the mochi with food dye after it’s been cooked in the microwave, this should only be done while it’s still a liquid! ESPECIALLY don’t just pour food dye over the top of it… this is asking for trouble.DO- enjoy having to clean up the food colouring you spilled everywhere. Totally worth it right? Now you should make many more! Use up the rest of the mochi! Taadaa! Again, take as much time to cam whore as possible, cooking is an achievement and d eserves to be recorded! Also make sure to send any beggers away empty handed. I mean you did all the work right? Why should they get any? See we’re still friends, promise! Not eat your delicious creation! Enjoy how warm the sugary outside is against the tart cold strawberry. Have a good Iron Chef style judging moment, you could even write a haiku if the mood takes you. Just try not to choke… I hope you enjoyed our tutorial! It was all very tongue in cheek in case my sarcasm didn’t quite translate over the internet… You should all make you own, I want to see your results! Hope you enjoyed the mochi recipe!
A while ago we were fortunate enough to stumble on a massive sale at Kmart… They had kitchen sets with like 100 pieces including pots and pans for $200… Awesome! Yay for having a matching kitchen set now :D
So to celebrate James and I invited our lovely friend Susie over to have some fun and do some baking! She had just bought some adorable dinosaur cookie cutters so we decided to make yummy dinosaur cookies.
We mixed up all the ingrediants, how cute is Susie btw?
Half way through we got distracted because there was a little mouse outside digging in the garden!! So cute! The photo is blurry because I took it through the door, I didn’t want to go outside with it hahaha.
I imagine James is thinking “Make my cookies girls!” Hahahaha! Nice try James, no cookies for you!
Dinosaur cookies! Stamping was fun, unfortunately we picked a recipe which really wasn’t designed to make cookies.
Of course while we were having fun talking about Decoden and trying to learn Japanese, James decided to play with the cookie cutters… dinosaur threesome= Slightly adult. ^_^
While I was icing the cookies Susie played my “Japanese Coach” game on my DS. She decided right then that she was going to get one XD
Yummy cookies! The icing made them look kind of gross!
Tadaa! Smile! They were delicious… well maybe not delicious but they sure were chocolatey…
I do love cupcakes, I like epic cupcakes even more.
Last week on Ricoche (a gal forum) Brenli and I were discussing my lack of skills cooking. Specifically this photo: Now I am a terrible cook, just ask James he has to eat my terrible food and try to smile why he’s doing it! Anyway the story goes my cupcakes fail but Brenli had seem similar fail turned into cute little Octopus cakes. My cupcakes decided to become a sea!
I present epic cupcake sea madness!
So you have to get all the ingrediants before you begin, I’m lazy so I use cake mix! You’re wondering… I’ve been to Violet’s place and her kitchen is not that clean wtf?! Well i moved the mess to the other counter :DMix everything up until it turns up into gross but delicious sludge.Add the patty cake thingies into your dish and then colour your mixture blue and green!Pour the mix in but make sure that you leave some of the white cupcake patties sticking out because they are going to be the waves!Mix mix mix. Looks great huh? Kind of reminds me of Playdoh… delicious! Stick it in the oven for a while… who knows how long. My oven sucks, it’s like 3 times hotter than a regular oven and the knobs don’t work so well.
Tadaa! Looks yummy right? Now take some time while it cools down to pose and show your outfit! I freaking love this dress!
Once it’s all cool add some icing! Make sure you don’t do this when it’s still hot because otherwise it will melt everywhere. I made this mistake last time XD
Now add as many sprinkles as you want!
Ok so it doesn’t really look like the sea but you know what I do
n’t care! It was yummy!
Hurrah time to enjoy it!
So you guys want to come over and eat my crappy epic? I swear I ate it and didn’t even throw it up!
No? You’d prefer epic cupcakes? Yeah fair enough.