23 May 2010

A not-so-Lazy hiatus...

Unfortunately, as you may have gathered from my ranting in earlier posts, my house is not in a good state at the moment. Earlier this week, it went from bad to worse, and I am totally without power or hot water - and have had to move in with my sister. (The power surge also killed my much loved electric mixer!) So there will be no cupcakes for a while - however, I will be back with dessert-y goodness once my house is back in some semblance of working order.

16 May 2010

Food as Fashion

I'm not normally too fussed with the presentation of food - but I'm always blown away by those who can weave magic with a camera and food. Fulvio Bonavia really takes it to a whole new level. In case you haven't already seen their amazing work, you can check it out here.

15 May 2010

Lime Macaroons

My friend's just turned 30 - so, for her birthday, I decided to make (read: attempt) her favourite sweets in the world - macaroons. Since limes are in season, I decided to make them lime flavoured - but you could make them any flavour, really. I used Bakerella's recipe for the macaroons and the filling is my own (not particularly creative) recipe.

They turned out... OK, I guess. They didn't have that nice 'pop' on the side like really good ones do; but they did rise (a bit) and they had that nice hard, crackable, crunchy shell with a deliciously chewy centre.
You can see the air bubbles in there!

Lime Macaroons (Makes 20)

You will need:

For the macaroons:

3 'aged' egg whites from 59 g eggs (to age - leave them loosely covered overnight)
2 Tbsp caster sugar
200 g (200 ml, packed) icing sugar
110 g (1 C + 1 tsp, packed) almond meal
1/4 tsp green food coloring

For the filling:

125 g butter
4 Tbsp icing sugar
zest of 2 limes
juice of 1/2 a lime
  1. Whisk egg whites until frothy and fluffy - allow it to form soft peaks.

  2. Gradually add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until you have a glossy meringue, whisking all the while. Don’t overbeat.
  3. Sift almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Add your whipped egg whites and fold. You don’t have to fold too gently, but you don’t want to over fold either. Add in the food colouring when about half the egg whites have been added.
  5. Draw small circles on a piece of non-stick baking paper (I used a 20 C piece to make sure they were all the same size). Note - don't draw the circles on the side you're going to put the macaroons on, or you'll get pen circles on the macaroons!
  6. Pipe the mixture onto the paper, using the circles as a template. I found they looked like little green dog doings... if that's the case, wet your finger and pat them into shape - they'll start to look like they should!
  7. Allow to sit for 1 hour. This will stop them from cracking when they bake.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes at 150 C.
  9. Once cooked, allow to cool on a wire rack.
  10. Whip the butter until light and fluffy.
  11. Gradually beat in the 4 Tbsp icing sugar.
  12. Beat in the lime zest and lime juice.
  13. Spread the filling on the flat side of a macaroon and sandwich with another to assemble.

10 May 2010

Emergency Omelette

It's cold. It's wet. The house is a pigstye. You've got almost no furniture or cookware - so what do you do when dinner time rolls around?

The thing I love about my emergency omelette is it's quick, easy and delicious, and can be prepared with nothing but a cutting board, a knife, a frypan, a bowl/mug and a working stove. And a spatula, of course.

This serves 2, or one very hungry person.

You will need:

1/2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (ie 1 big glug)
1/2 capsicum, finely diced
4 field mushrooms, sliced
8 broccoli florettes
8 peeled and cooked prawns (if they are frozen, pour some cold water over them to thaw - most conneseurs will despair at the loss of flavour, but trust me, they wouldn't have had much to begin with)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk (a glug)
1 Tbsp sour cream (or however much you lever in with the knife)
2 handfuls grated cheese

  1. On a medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and allow to brown.
  2. Once onions are cooked through, add the balsamic vinegar. Allow to reduce, stirring all the while.
  3. Add the mushrooms. They wil release some liquid into the pan; cook until the liquid is evaporated.
  4. Add the capsicum and cook until it starts to soften.
  5. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green (about 2 minutes).
  6. Turn down the heat to low and add the prawns.
  7. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Mix in the milk and sour cream until vaugely homogenous.
  8. Pour the egg mixture over the prawn and vegetable mix.
  9. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
  10. Cook on a very low heat untilthere is only a tiny bit of runny egg left on top (don't stir it, or you'll end up with scrambled eggs!)
  11. Using either your griller or your oven. put the frying pan under a grilling heat source to cook the top of the omelette. Cook until just firm.
  12. Put a large plate over the top of the pan and invert to serve. Too easy!

09 May 2010

Cupcake-less Monday

So this week has not been what one would typically describe as special. In addition to losing not one, but two pairs of glasses, my house is in lockdown preparing for the workmen who are (finally) coming to repair the damage caused by a storm in March, resulting in all the furniture in the living, dining and store rooms being moved into a glorified walk in wardrobe. While the hole in the roof continues to shower me in asbestos. Oh, and my hot water heater has packed it in.

Like I said - this week has not been kind to me.

The upshot of all this is that I haven't had the time to make any cupcakes this week. Hopefully by Wednesday, the plastering will be at least semi-finished, and I'll have been able to get a tradesman out to the house to fix the hot water (so I can actually do my washing up - how novel!) - so cupcakes will materialise. Eventually. I hope.

I'm planning on a black forrest inspired chocolate-cherry combo, and a zingy lime. But not until my house has some semblance of order returned.

But do not despair - I will be posting a couple more Lazy recipes this week, starting tomorrow with my Emergency Omelette.

03 May 2010

"Red Velvet" Cupcakes

Red Velvet cupcakes seem to have a bit of a varied reputation. Some people absolutely love them; others simply don't see the point and find them bland and boring. So I decided to jazz them up a bit by adding some strawberry jam.

I also didn't have any cocoa powder, so I used hot chocolate mix *blushes* - so I don't think you can properly call these Red Velvet cupcakes - more like "Red Velvet".

Turns out that adding the jam was the best happy accident I've ever had. Not sure if it's the pectin in the jam or what, but replacing 1/4 C of milk with jam make an absolutely beautiful and fluffy cake with an incredible crumb. It honestly doesn't seem gluten free - but it is!

However, I made the mistake of trying out some new cupcake cases. They didn't quite fit my cupcake trays, with the end result being that most of my cupcakes had hemispherical bottoms, which, let's face it, is not the most practical shape! (Although they looked very pretty in their cases!)

125 g butter (room temperature)
1/2 C hot chocolate powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp red food coloring
2 eggs
1 1/4 C self raising gluten free flour
1/4 C milk
1/4 C strawberry preserve

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  2. Cream butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in hot chocolate powder with a wooden spoon until combined. (Trust me - or you'll end up with a face full of powder if you try and cream it straight away!) Cream until pale. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Beat in 1 egg. Scrape down the sides. Beat in the second egg and scrape again.
  5. Mix in the flour in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and jam in 2 additions, mixing continuously.
  6. Stir through red food coloring.
  7. Divide evenly into cupcake cases.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
62 g butter (or 1/2 a stick to Americans)
5 Tbsp hot chocolate powder
250g tub light cream cheese
  1. Cream butter and hot chocolate powder together until light and fluffy (note: it's a good idea to mix it with a spoon until all the powder has been wetted with the butter or you'll end up with a face full of powder).
  2. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the cream cheese until just combined (if you overmix, it will go weird and liquid...)
  3. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.