Friday Food: One-Pan Chicken

One pan chickenMrsDrWho is not well, so I shall save my new brownie recipe for next week when she feels more like eating chocolate: Though I am sure she would eat brownie, just to appease me!! This week I am making the cover recipe from the August Coles Magazine: One-Pan Chicken with Bocconcini and Olives.

It is heralded as a 15 minute meal, and though it does take a tad longer for normal hot plates to heat up as opposed to a gas stove-top, I think it is a 15 minute meal. Today is rainy, dull and almost properly wintry, and this looked to be a perfect dinner.

I cut my chicken breast fillets very poorly, but this recipe serves four. I used baby bocconcini because they are cute. I dolloped on some basil pesto at the end and served the chicken with garlic bread. I think it needs some salad or greens to make it a proper dinner.  I can highly recommend this recipe, I love the combination of the saltiness of the olives and the smoothness of the cheese.

 

One-Pan Chicken with Bocconcini and Olives      serves 4

 

  • 2 large chicken breast fillets
  • 2 tspn dried oregano
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 400g can cherry tomatoes
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (120g)  pitted mixed olives
  • 180g bocconcini, coarsely torn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • garlic bread to accompany

 

Cut the chicken breast fillets in half horizontally, sprinkle with oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Chicken

Heat a pan on the stove over a high heat, add half the olive oil, and fry the chicken for 2 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Onion and garlic

Add the rest of the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for a minute, or until it is softened.

And simmer

Pour in the two cans of tomatoes and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling add in the chicken breasts and any juices on the plate, as well as the olives and bocconcini. Turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for a further 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce slightly thickens.

Serve with basil pesto and garlic bread.

Cheesy one pan chicken


Friday Food: Donna Hay Spelt Flour Pancake Mix

2F0BAB12-7497-4382-BDB8-3E796D26E07EThis week I am test driving Donna Hay’s relatively new pancake mix. I normally make my own pikelets/pancakes/hot cakes, but just for the thrill of it I thought I would give these a whirl. MrsDrWho thinks because they have spelt flour and vanilla bean in the mix they might be almost like a home made version.

The pancake mix comes in quite a posh looking bottle, much classier then the usual supermarket  versions, though it is stocked by Coles supermarket here. You simple undo the lid, add milk, butter and an egg and give it a jolly good shake: with the lid on!! And you are ready to go. 

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The verdict? They are pretty good. I think the spelt flour and vanilla bean raises it to the next level and if I didn’t have the time to make my own, I would definitely use this. At around $6 I think this is good value.

The instructions say it makes 8 pancakes @60ml or 1/4 cup each. I made two 40ml pikelet size for my trial run. 

I whipped up a quick strawberry sauce by dicing some strawberries and adding sugar to taste, then microwaving them on High for two minutes. Best to use a deep container, and yes I did, so it didn’t overflow. Of course you can serve these with whatever accompaniments you desire. They are not overly sweet so you could also go savoury: bacon, banana and maple syrup would be my choice.

 

 

Donna Hay Spelt Flour Pancake Mix        Makes 8

  • 1 container of pancake mix
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 egg

 

For the strawberry sauce:

  • 2-3 strawberries per person
  • caster sugar to taste

To serve:

  • vanilla bean yoghurt

 

 

Preheat a non-stick pan to medium high. My pan is not so non-stick anymore, so I added a knob of butter when it came time to cook the pancakes.

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Whisk together the milk, egg and melted butter and pour into the bottle of pancake mix. Don’t lose the lid, because now you are going to replace the lid and shake the bottle until you make a smooth batter. Take care when you open the lid as mine went “pop”.

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Pour 60ml, or 1/4 cup, portions into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. You can sneak a look at the underside to see if it is golden, or check on top that bubbles have formed. Turn the pancakes and cook for another 1-2 minutes and they are done. I find they take less time on the second side.

Make a quick strawberry sauce by finely dicing the strawberries and adding about 1 tspn caster sugar per person. Place in a high sided container and microwave for about 2 minutes on High. It will be jam hot, so be careful! Cool slightly before serving with some yoghurt, cream or ice-cream and maybe a strawberry as garnish.

 

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Of course someone had to taste the pancakes, so I stepped up, and they were delicious: light, tasty and without the tang I usually associate with pre-made mixes. I am glad I only made two, because if I had made more, I would have eaten them all!!

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Friday Food: Caramel Crown Muffin Brownies

60C1153F-A5F6-4D7C-9D82-786F07284BB9There are lots of biscuit based baking recipes in the August Taste Magazine, and I chose the Caramel Crown Muffin Brownies and I have made three batches, very successfully. A Caramel Crown is a plain sweet biscuit, topped with firm caramel and then dipped in milk chocolate. 

 Your  biscuit just needs to fit inside your muffin tin holes.

I made 15 muffin brownies from the mixture, because the biscuit takes up some of the space in the muffin paper cases. This is annoying, because there are 12 biscuits in a packet. Maybe my muffin tray has smaller holes? The first time I did buy two packets because I topped the little cakes with buttercream and half a biscuit, but the last time I used a Rolo block of chocolate and that looked very posh.

The brownie is melt and mix so it is very easy and quick to make. Each time I ended up baking the brownie muffins for 30 minutes instead of the 25 the recipe calls for. I only made 1/2 or 2/3 of the buttercream as these are very rich. I did heat some up in the microwave to serve with Caramel Crown ice-cream, but MrsDrWho said she preferred the biscuits to be crisp inside the muffin, and not bendy.

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I didn’t use the buttercream recipe as I felt it would be too much chocolate on top of an already choc filled treat. I used a Donna Hay recipe which uses cocoa instead of chocolate: 250g butter softened, 320g icing sugar, 50g cocoa and 60ml milk.  I will included the buttercream as per the recipe here.

I highly recommend this recipe, and I think it will become a favourite. You could substitute other round biscuits, I might try Mint Slices next time. Oh or a Chocolate Royal.....

NB An Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 teaspoons.

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Caramel Crown Muffin Brownies           Makes 12-15

  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 85g sour cream
  • 2 packets of Caramel Crowns

 

For the buttercream:

  • 300g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 380g icing sugar mixture
  • 150g dark chocolate, melted and cooled 

 

Preheat the oven to 170/150*C fan-forced. Line two muffin trays with paper cases.

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Melt the butter, chocolate and sugar in the microwave. I use Medium in 30 second bursts and stop just before the chocolate is fully melted and then stir until it is smooth. Cool slightly, and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well.

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Add the flour, cocoa and baking powder, begin to fold it in, and then add the sour cream. When you can’t see any streaks of sour cream the batter is ready.

I put a tablespoon of the batter into the bottom of each paper case, and then pressed in a biscuit, allowing the batter to rise up slightly around the edges. Through trial and error, I found 1 1/2 tablespoons to be pretty much the right amount so my muffins didn’t overflow.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes, swapping and turning trays half way through. The muffins are baked when they are slightly cracked on top, and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream in the recipe, beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is pale and creamy: 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the icing sugar on a low speed so it doesn’t make an icing sugar cloud, and finally add the melted chocolate, beating on a high speed until smooth.

Decorate the cooled muffins as desired. I used either a plastic piping bag with the tip cut off, or a star tip, to pipe on the buttercream. To embellish I used half a biscuit or a square of Rolo chocolate bar. These were for the Doctors and Nurses at the vet who looked after Lorelai Gilmore and Hedy Lamarr this week.

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Friday Food: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chwy c c cookieDonna Hay’s 100th magazine is her last and so I baked the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from this last issue today. It's an excellent recipe because I had all the ingredients. Yay! I didn’t need to buy anything, well I bought extra butter in case. 

My word, the cold butter and sugar gave my mixer a work out, so be prepared for a bumpy ride.

I was not quite sure how to divide up the batter, so made 2 tablespoon or, 40ml, sized pieces. In retrospect I should have tried 1 1/2 tablespoons instead, as the biscuits spread and took longer to bake. I added another 6 minutes, so 20 minutes in all. 

The recipe does not actually use chocolate chips, I used 300g of good eating chocolate chopped into about 1/4 of the size of each individual square. I used 200g of ordinary dark and 100g of 70% cocoa.

I broke a warm biscuit in half and the chocolate was oozy and unctuous. I tasted some of the less chocolaty parts and it was delicious. I didn’t add salt to the top, I might salt a few later as I only baked about half of the batter.

The cookies should keep for at least a week in an airtight container.

Farewell Donna Hay Magazine, I have enjoyed the baking from the very first issue till the very last.

 

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies        Makes 20-24

 

  • 200g butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 40ml milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 egg
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn bicarbonate or soda
  • 1/2 tspn table salt
  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped

 

 

Preheat the oven to 160*C and line two trays with baking paper.

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Mix the butter and sugars on a low speed until just combined and then increase the speed to medium and cream for 8 minutes. The mixture will be light in colour and creamy. Scrape down the edges of the bowl to incorporate and outlying mixture.

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Add the milk, egg and vanilla and beat for a further 2 minutes.

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Add the dry ingredients and mix slowly until just combined.

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Finally mix in the chocolate.

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Make  1 1/2 tablespoon balls and place on the baking tray. The biscuits do spread so leave lots of room or they will be misshapen like a few of mine. Sprinkle evenly with salt.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, swapping and rotating the trays half way through. They are ready when they are golden brown. Leave on the tray for 5 minutes and then place on a rack until perfectly cold.

  Chewy choc chip cookies

 


Friday Food: Almond Meal Shortbread- Gluten free

8C076E95-BA00-413A-994D-AC8B2230C5CBWe are blogging from the sick bed this evening. My annoying sore throat turned into a throat and gland carnival with the focus on swallowing swords! I respond very quickly to antibiotics and so only a day and a half later I am feeling less ill.

I baked these on Wednesday for the LoveBoatLady, who is recently gluten free. I searched on the internet and found this recipe at TriedandTrue. The recipe worked perfectly, I did contemplate using some lemon zest, but went with vanilla bean paste as per the recipe. The recipe suggests cinnamon and maybe even turmeric as a flavour. I think they would be nice with some finely chopped preserved ginger too.

I made my biscuits half a tablespoon, or two teaspoons in the rest of the world, and made 34 biscuits. They need to be kept in an airtight container and did soften over time. 

 

 

Almond Meal Shortbread      Makes about 35

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup pure icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tspn vanilla bean paste

 

Preheat the oven to 170*C fan-forced and line two trays with baking paper.

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You can sift the almond meal and icing sugar if you prefer, but I just put the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisked by hand until all the lumps disappeared.

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Add the softened butter and vanilla and stir with a spoon or spatula until it comes together as a dough. You may need to add a little extra almond meal if the dough is a little sticky, and I did do that.

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I used a 20ml tablespoon to measure out the dough into portions, halved them and rolled them into balls.

The shortbread does spread a little, so place the biscuits leaving room for expansion. Flatten with a fork dipped in almond meal and bake for 8-10 minutes, turning and swapping the trays half way though. I did bake these for the whole 10 minutes, and I kept an eagle eye on them so they did not colour too much. You want them to be pale.

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Leave them on the tray to cool completely. The shortbread with be very soft when hot, but harden on a cooling.

And that is it, some of the easiest biscuits, or shortbread, I have ever baked. Oh, I just thought they would be nice dipped in dark chocolate too. Yum!

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What’s The Use Of Worrying? What’s The Use Of Anything?

I have been worrying, worrying so much that I experienced some awful anxiety. I have terrible physical manifestations where I have a kind of ongoing panic attack. I am grateful for the part of me that looks after me and I rang Lifeline and talked to a kind woman who told me I would in no way be bothering my doctor if I went to see her. She was away, but I saw another kind doctor and I have some more drugs and I have had three visits to my psychologist in quick succession. 

That is why I have not been around, internetally lately.

There was no one thing, rather the cumulative effect of many things: my tooth died I had an abscess and then a root canal, my iPad just stopped working and had to be replaced, my specialist retired, there was a flood in the bathroom, I hit my tyre on the curb avoiding a  car driving madly in the rain and a few other bits and bobs. 

I just carried on regardless in the face of so many things and in the end my body and my mind decided it was all too much. I didn’t read, I didn’t sew or knit or bake. I did walk The Labradors and see my friends.

I feel much better now. I am a work in progress, it is very hard being ill and having to work on your mental health as well. I have lots of support and love from my family, friends and medical professionals. Thank goodness.

Lorelai Gilmore and a Hedy Lamarr are always there. They have a new friend called Billie who is a Guide Dog in training and she is staying with Sandy’s Mum and dad. Lorelai LOVES Billie and runs and plays.

Hedy had had an allergy and we all went to see Dr Marion who gave her some very low dose tablets that did the trick. She has only had three in the week since. Gilly is very well and happy. She loves the cold weather and still plays in the paddle pool. They both love the icy cold and frosty mornings.

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I bought some marvellous earrings for MrsDrWho’s birthday from CheekyLittleMonkeysJ on The Etsy. I bought TimTam and BBQ Shapes packets. I sewed a BBQ shapes zippy bag and made TimTam Bites fudge. You can see the earrings stuck in a piece of carrot! I can’t work out how to make a clicky link to the shop, so I will attempt to paste the URL.

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/CheekyLittleMonkeysJ?ref=l2-shopheader-name

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I also knitted her a PussyHat Project hat in miscellaneous blues of indeterminate make-up.

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Amongst my circle of friends there has been a death and a birth and a new puppy. Life just goes along on her merry way, regardless. I hate feeling anxious or depressed, but I am grateful so many people have my back, and glad to feel like my old self again.


Friday Food: Cinnamon-spiced Cookie Bars

Cookie barToday I baked cookie bars from the Super Food Ideas magazine, July 2018. Instead of making individual biscuits, you just bake a slice and cut it up!!

I could see immediately when I put the mixture into the tin that I had probably chopped the chocolate too finely. Their cookie bar had bigger chunks and more open spaces of plain cookie. I did follow the recipe, but I used 1 tspn of cinnamon paste instead of 2 tspn of ground cinnamon. The paste has made the cookie bar much darker in colour.

It was very easy to make and the ingredients were already in my kitchen. I think the addition of cinnamon is a nice touch, but it could be left out if you are not a fan.

And that is really all I have to say about this recipe. I am taking it to afternoon tea tomorrow where I have it on good authority that there will be egg sandwiches!!

 

Cinnamon-spiced Cookie Bars        Serves 16

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tspn of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tspn ground cinnamon, or 1 tspn cinnamon paste
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped
  • salt flakes to top if desired

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C or 160*C fan forced. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm tin. Make sure the baking paper reaches at least the top if the sides of the tin.

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I like to soften the butter and warm the sugar in the microwave for a minute on a lowish temperature. Then cream the butter, sugars and vanilla for 5 minutes. I also added the cinnamon paste, whereas the ground cinnamon should be added with the flour later.

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Add the egg and beat until just combined.

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Add the dry ingredients and beat for a further minute.

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Finally stir through the chocolate.

Press gently and evenly into the tin and sprinkle over the salt if you like. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave in the tin until almost cool and then cut into bars.

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I think these should keep in an airtight container for about a week. 

  Cinnamon cookie bar

 


Friday Food: Twix Biscuits

A twix biscuitThis morning while I was browsing the blogs I follow I saw The Decorated Cookie had made Twix Cookies on a Stick. Oh my word, I knew exactly what I wanted to bake today: Twix Biscuits!! A Twix is a finger bar of biscuit, topped with caramel and then dipped in milk chocolate: yum. I took a chance and did not chill the dough and it worked perfectly well, so you can go ahead and not chill the dough. I am living on the biscuit edge!!

I made half the recipe, so I measured out half an egg, by whisking the egg and then halving the millilitre measurement. My biscuit cutter measures  about 5cm and I made 20 biscuits, which means the full recipe for the dough would make about 40 biscuits.

I used Jersey caramels and pouring cream to make the caramels and milk chocolate melts for the topping. I loved making these biscuits and I think if I had a teeny tiny circle cutter I would make teeny tiny Twix biscuits, they are so cute!!

I am giving the quantities in cups because that seemed to be the easiest thing to do for em today. It also circumvents the whole making things metric. Still, I am converting the caramel and chocolate because they aren't in cups.

 

Twix Biscuits     makes about 40

 

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • salt as desired
  • 330g of caramels, approx
  • 20ml pouring cream
  • 360g milk chocolate, melted

 

Preheat the oven to 190*C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Cream and add egg

Cream the butter and sugar. When it is pale and creamy add the egg and vanilla.

And flour

Once the mixture is combined, slowly add the flour and salt, and mix on a low speed until the dough comes together. I used my hands to bring it together to form a ball. I love the special mixer attachment which scrapes down the side of the bowl, it really does work.

Rolling rolling rooling

I roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper, so as not to need extra flour and generally avoid sticky dough.  I use half the dough, cut out biscuits and then add in some more dough, about 1/4, etc. Cut out the biscuits and arrange on the baking trays. I left about 2cm between the biscuits and they did not spread very much.

And bake

Bake for 15 minutes, turning the trays and swapping them half way through. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes then move to a rack.

Melt

Melt the caramels and cream in the microwave for 90 seconds, mix to combine and then top each biscuit with as much as you choose.

Caramel and choc

Wait for 10-15 minutes until the caramel is set, then spoon or pipe on the melted milk chocolate. And you are done!! Keep the biscuits in an airtight container, I don't think they need to go into the fridge, and enjoy your Twix fix!!

Twix biscuits


Friday Food: Coconut Ice Cupcakes

Coconut ice cupcakeI have already baked these cupcakes once, for MrsDrWho, so I knew they were good. I baked a batch today to say thank you to the Doctors and Nurses at The Vet. When we haven't been to The Vet for a while I like to take them something baked. The recipe is from the May 2018 Taste Magazine. In the magazine they pipe a buttercream swirl as high as an elephant's eye on top of the cupcake. I did not. I am not a fan of huge amounts of buttercream, I prefer the cake to be the star and the icing to be, well, the icing on the cake.

I used the reverse creaming method, from The Scran Line, but you can absolutely cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and then fold in the other ingredients.

I would not bother colouring the cake batter next time. The coconut cream does not play well with pink colouring once it is baked. I used red and yellow to make the pink and orange buttercream colour. I also think a pink and white swirl would look delightful.

I did colour the buttercream, and I love the way the icing looks. The recipe calls for white chocolate hearts and mini pearl sprinkles, but I eschewed those.

On the whole, an easy bake, and very coconutty!!

 

 

Coconut Ice Cupcakes    makes 12

 

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 155g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 190g self raising flour
  • 45g moist coconut flakes
  • 270ml can of coconut cream

 

For the buttercream:

  • 375g butter, chopped, at room temperature
  • 380g icing sugar mixture, sifted
  • 60ml milk
  • 1-2 tspn vanilla extract
  • pink and orange food colouring

 

Preheat the oven to 150*C  fan-forced and line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Dry

Put the flour and sugar into the bowl and beat until combined.

Add butter coconut

Add the softened butter and continue to beat on a low-medium speed until it forms a sand-like texture. Add the coconut.

Wet

Mix the eggs, coconut cream and vanilla extract and add to the dry ingredients with the mixer on a low speed. Once it comes together, scrape down the bowl and then fold together with a spoon, just to check there are no ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl.

Cupcake

Here is where I coloured half the batter pink, I really wouldn't bother marbling the cupcakes. The mixture is perfect for 12 x 60ml cupcakes. I used an Australian tablespoon which is 20ml, and spooned 3 level tablespoons into each paper case.

Bake for 25 minutes, turning the tray halfway through. I left my cakes a tad too long and I feel they were just a little too golden. I have no photo, not because I am hiding them, but because I thought I had taken one. You can see the golden colour in the photo at the top of the post.

Cool in the tin for a few minutes and then carefully lift out and cool completely on a rack.

Butter

While the cupcakes are cooling, or anytime really, make the buttercream. Use a mixer to beat the butter until it is very pale and creamy.

Buttercream

I mixed the vanilla and the milk together. Gradually add the icing sugar and the milk mixture to the butter, alternating, beating on a low speed at first and then higher, until combined.

Colour

Divide the buttercream between two bowls and colour as desired. Prepare a piping bag with a 1cm fluted or star tip. Spoon the pink buttercream down one side of the bag and the orange down the other. I piped a few test swirls until both colours appeared. Pipe swirls, as desired, on top of the cooled cupcakes and then eat!!

Pipe

I find coconut cakes do not keep for a long time. If the climate is warm they need to be kept in the fridge in an airtight container, but I think 2-3 days for these cakes at most.

Cocnut ice cup cake


Friday Food: No, just no.

Due to circumstances beyond my control there is no Friday Food this week. I baked cakes, I took photos, MrsDrWho took these photos, I made people eat the cakes: then we had huge storms and the power went out and then my iPad (containing said photos) decided to break down.

Mermaid cakes

Ironic, isn't it, that the very week I was actually organised, well and ready, The Universe conspired against me. The storms, floods and wind were the worst since 1954 and the rainfall in Hobart, 250mm or 10 inches, was the fourth highest for one day since records began.

Mermaid cake1

I made Mermaid Magic flavoured cupcakes. The Mermaid Magic is a special flavouring from Queen Fine Foods and it tastes like melon and grape. I was inspired by Nic from TheScranLine and his Sea Kween Mermaid Cake and his Sea Kween cupcakes. I used the method for the cupcakes and the Mermaid Magic flavour. The cupcakes were magic: I coloured the batter and piped it into the cupcake papers. I also coloured the buttercream icing and piped that on top with all the colours in the one piping bag.

Mermaid cake cross section

The people tasting the cakes fell into three categories:

  1. Yum, these are delicious, quite sweet, but that suits me
  2. OK, quite nice, I will eat them, but I probably wouldn't choose them again
  3. Blerch

Mermaid cake2

And that's pretty much it!! I loved the process of making and colouring the cake and the icing and Onyi said the texture of the cakes was great

Mermaid cake3

I say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good bye to my iPad and the 4500 photos. I have never used The iCloud because I am afraid of it.  Maybe I should conquer my fear?? Luckily I am very organised photo-wise and I have all the photos from my blog and others I just like, saved on my computer and DVDs. This gives me great impetus to use the photos and make a second photo book.

What else will happen?? Who knows!!!