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Archive for December, 2012

Heaven in bite size

It’s small, its pretty, it’s colourful, it makes you sigh, and it is ‘bite size’. A gold star to you if you answered ‘Cupcakes’.

Cupcakes

I have always been fascinated by these small delicate looking cakes that come in its plethora of colours, designs and decoration.  And me being me wanted to make it. And what better time than the holiday season to do some baking.

You will find a couple of pics of my very first attempt at baking these mouthfuls of heaven, and I request that you don’t be harsh in your criticism, after all I am a self-confessed juvenile when it comes to baking. Again it was Sir Thomas Edmonds cookbook to the rescue.

I chose not to use those cupcake covers as the ones I baked were using the smaller patty tins as against the regular muffin ones. Either way the charm of the cupcakes weren’t lost.

The recipe for the cupcake itself was spot on, measures were perfect and turned out close to impeccable. Icing well, that’s another story. I ended up making my own measures and failed miserably. So I had to keep adjusting until the icing held together. I had blue, green and pink food colours to use. I first made White Icing and split it in four different cups. And I have again strayed from the ordinary, I mixed pink and blue for the lilac icing, and pink, green and blue for the burgundy icing. Green and Pale blue were from just one drop of the respective colours used in the icing. And as an instrument for distraction from the imperfections of my cupcakes and of course to make it a lot more prettier I used Cachous (aka) Sugar pearls in the centre which I find quite elegant in baked goodies.

Verdict of taste check? Well that’s easy enough. Yum Yum Yummy!!!

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Cool bananas……

Banana cake with chocolate icingApart from “Cool Bananas” being a kiwi slang meaning “Awesome”, there is yet another thing that is ‘awesome and renowned,’ and that is the good old Kiwi favourite – Banana Cake (aka) Banana Loaf / Bread.

Mind you I have tried the odd banana cake here and there which weren’t great from few local bakeries and some of them prepared by others which left me pitying their futile attempts at besting a traditional entity.

Finding a good tasting banana cake was just about forgotten when along came a banana cake in its most simple form, without icing or cream, in a good old lunch box. My colleague offered it to me which I sampled and it was love at first bite and I felt compelled enough to ask for the recipe so I could trial it. My colleague who in her offhand casual manner said … ‘Hmmm, it’s just the Edmonds recipe that almost everyone follows’. She said she just whipped it up last night because the bananas were going off and she didn’t want it to go to waste.

And wind to flashback, there I was imagining me making ‘hard to swallow’ and ‘Ugh’ faces of the number of times I had to force myself to finish over ripe bananas to just keep it from going to waste. But voila…here was a simple sensible idea to make use of the bananas before they become worm food. And I have it on good authority that the blacker the banana skin the better your cake’s going to turn out.

So here was my first day of leave in yonks, I pulled out my never-before-used Edmonds book and located the recipe for Banana Cake. I am not a huge fan of chocolate icing on the banana cake, but chose to do with this icing to indulge my chocolate loving (choc-crazy) Mother in law 😀

Ingredients:
 
For the cake – 
125 gms softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hot milk
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
 
Method:

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add mashed banana and mix thoroughly. Stir baking soda into hot milk and add to the banana mixture. Sift baking powder and flour into the mix and fold. Grease a 20 cm round cake tin or loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning it on to a wire rack. When cold, ice with Lemon or Chocolate icing or dust with icing sugar.

For the icing –

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa 
2 tsp softened butter
Few drops of Vanilla essence
1 tbsp boiling water
 
Method:

Sift icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Add soft butter and a few drops of vanilla essence. Pour in boiling water and beat well. Spread immediately and leave it to set.

If you looked at the above list and thought it was too much trouble, don’t be….it looks laborious but its anything but. Whip it all together and you have a star!

Okay, that’s me over and out, time to go bananas………!

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This morning I got up to let my dog Molaga out for his business. He wouldn’t go out!!!! He tried going out just to obey me but hesitantly and kept coming back into the house without relieving himself. Which I tell you is definitely odd given that it was over 7 hours since his last trip.

Anyway Molaga and I had our morning romp, fed him his brekkie and left for work, only to hear around lunch time on the news that 3 people were killed in a tornado in Auckland. Thunder and lightning raged on most afternoon. Molaga is not afraid of thunder/ storms thank heavens for that. With concerns of my dog going into withdrawal running in the back of the mind, I returned home to find my parents in law confirm he was still in the same state as he was in the morning.

After about 6 ish when the sky cleared up and the sun decided to peek out, came back my four-legged son’s boisterous mood as if a black cloud had been lifted. How else can I explain this…??? but dogs just have that sixth sense, that which us humans definitely lack. And we think we have a sixth sense…Duh!

I told Molaga to teach me such skills to predict such stuff, and all I got was his wide toothy smile and golden brown eyes grinning looking up at me as if he knew a secret…..

Next time Molaga, a heads-up would be real nice!!! Btw have you considered becoming a working dog and take on a job as a weatherman, or in your case a “weatherdog”.

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Many are the songs we love, but very few capture your mind’s imagination. And out of those gems are the rarest few that evoke emotions or feelings that one would have experienced at their lowest ebb, or their loftiest high. Or those that resonate of  incidents or entities that are special, private and buried in the deep ocean of ones heart.

I must admit most of Adele’s greatest hits such as ‘Rolling in the deep’, ‘Someone like you’ and ‘Set fire to the rain’ hit those notes for me. It’s not just Adele’s fine whisky-like quality of her voice but it’s also her music composition and lyrics which add magnitude to the song.

But this particular artist who by the way I had never heard of before strummed my heart-strings with her mellifluous lilt. Its been ages since I heard a song with such depth rich in vocals and tune.

I kept hearing this song on the radio on a few occasions at work which by the way I should say is awesome and makes my work light and less stressful. This song always left me wondering who sang this, who had such a quality in her voice that can put one in a trance and made me want to listen harder and closer to the angelic and mesmerizing voice. But as usual I never got around to checking until now.

Then came an opportunity thanks to my impulse loving husband who decided to take me out to Breaking Dawn movie which I had been wanting to see ever since its release. Don’t judge me people, but yeah I bite…I am a Twilight fan and I make no apologies for it. And Voila….!, wonder of wonders I find that this song was a Twilight Soundtrack from the aforesaid movie. I was yet to find out who it was for the last time or so I hoped.

Today I heard it, and here I was again thinking yet another time, telling myself I have gotta know who this is…! But this time I knew what to Google for. If you were expecting a hit like ‘Gangnam style’, you may as well stop reading and look elsewhere.

The artist I am referring to is Christina Perri and the song title is ‘A Thousand Years’. Here is the link –

I don’t know why it is I keep making this song to be about a parent child relationship, but I invariably kept thinking in the back of my mind that this was a song I will be singing for my child. Such is the power of music I guess. Crosses boundaries and creates a bond with the artist and listeners caught up in the vortex of unspoken communication of emotions, of stories.

And I know I will keep listening to this song ……… A thousand times!!!

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