Thursday, September 23, 2010

Martha's Pantry, Wellington; Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I had heard of the beautiful cupcakes and the divine high teas, so my mother and I decide it was necessary to indulge on a particularly cold and windy overcast Wellington day. 

We managed to score a table in the packed wee cafe, sitting down while the evacuees, a mother and three or four year old little girl, were only metres away.  The staff were very friendly and told us while clearing the table, that a cupcake had been in order for the previous little girl due to a particularly nasty doctors visit. I thought how delightful this place would be as a child, however looking around the majority of the clientele were alot older.  

After ordering a cup of tea, chocolate milkshake, mini cupcake, lemon curd cupcake and lemon meringue pie between us, we sat down to our grown-up tea party (or feast) to taste, nibble and sip, before a verdict could be reached.

I will admit that while the cupcakes were in pretty little cases they were particularly dry. A disappointment similar to that found at the "Cupcake Parlor" in Christchurch. Perhaps they were stale. Despite this they did look the part and were decadently decorated with layers of icing. I thought the lemon curd cupcake's stale interior was disguised, a little, by the large dollop of delicious lemon curd in the middle. This, I thought, was a very nice idea indeed. 

The real winners of the day was the chocolate milkshake and lemon meringue pie. The pie looked homemade with a rustic feel. The pastry was thin, crisp and sweet, which was pair perfectly with a tangy lemon curd and a velvety meringue which floated on top. The shake sprinkled with real chocolate and full of creamy ice-creamy goodness. Even two men in orange vests, who I assume were contractors, were sitting at the corner table (possibly on lunch break) slurping one each. The shake was definitely an afternoon tea by itself. It was huge!

In conclusion I would recommend this cute wee little place, however perhaps not for the cupcakes.

I was inspired by the lemon curd cupcakes, therefore went home and made myself some nice moist ones (one is shown below). I will share the recipe in my next post.

For your reference:

Baking: Vanilla Bean Meringues

Vanilla Bean Meringues

These are used every Christmas to make a meringue mountain with cream and berries
(off course minus the blue food colouring!)

At the bottom you can see a blue meringue topping a White Chocolate, Raspberry and Gingernut Cheesecake laced with Butterscotch. This recipe will be shared in a later post.

6 Egg Whites
2 Cups Castor Sugar
1 Teaspoon Natural Vanilla Essence
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste (optional– don’t panic if you don’t have it)
1 Teaspoon Malt Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Cornflour
1 Teaspoon Blue Food Colouring (if you feel so inclined)

Preheat oven to 115C.

In a large metal bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form using an electric beater.

Gradually add caster sugar (teaspoon at a time), Beat in vanilla paste, essence, vinegar and cornflour.

Spoon mixture onto baking tray, and bake in an oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes turn off oven and leave meringues in there to cool down and dry out.

Below is a Jaffa Mouse as well as a White Chocolate, Raspberry and Ginngernut  Cheescake laced with Butterscotch  topped with a blue Vanilla Bean Meringue ( I will share the mouse and cheesecake recipes with you later)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Biscuits, Cookies and Slice: Oaty Chocolate Chunk Crisp Cookies

Oaty Chocolate Chunk Crisp Cookies

My mother has brought us up to like crispy cookies that you can eat easily with a cup of tea (perhaps have a little dip). Therefore cakey cookies esp. those with eggs in them are shunned.

These are my favourite delightfully crispy chocolate cookies with rolled oats so you can feel virtuous that it contains something healthy.

I didn't think in detail directions were required so below is what I use when making them.

250 g Butter, Softened
¾ Cup Brown Sugar (tightly packed)

3 (very large) Tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk ~ perhaps almost but not quite a half can

1 ¾ Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
250g Eating Chocolate (Dark or Milk)

BAKE for 15 - 20 mins til lightly golden 
- turn off oven leaving oven door open a little and leave to crispen