Monday, February 28, 2011

Note: Cake Pops

Cake Pops have apparently taken the world by storm. In the UK and US they have become very popular as they can be decorated beautifully (google images Cake Pops and you will see what I mean). I decided to test out what they actually tasted like, not paying much attention to its aesthetic value. Sadley I was very disapointed.  

From my understanding by reading other recipes:
To make cake pops you make a cake (in my case a red velvet cake dyed black) and crumble it into icing (in my case chocolate icing). Mix it all up and roll it into balls. Allow to set in fridge. Pop a stick into each ball then dip in chocolate.

For all this effort, I did not think it was at all worth it! I would much rather have a chocolate truffle or in fact a slice of iced cake. The texture of these cake pops is what I think I did not enjoy.

They were also quite rich which surprised me, as red velvet cake has very little cocoa in it and the chocolate icing was not overly chocolatey. I think my parents chickens will be enjoying my Cake Pops tonight for their dinner.

I think I will make truffles on a stick (Truffle Pops) instead. As they are both delicious and able to be decorated beautifully.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Note: What can you as a Wellingtonian do to help Christchurch?

Either make something and bring it along OR pop along and buy something yummy for morning tea!

Basics: Lazy Chili Sauce

Lazy Chili Sauce

When I make this, I make 5 - 8 times the recipe given. I would make at least double, as you will only produce about one or two jars (which is definitely not enough as this sauce is amazing!).

I am lazy and can't be bothered coring and cutting fresh tomatos into small pieces. If you want to use up ripe tomatoes just weigh how many you have and adjust the recipe to suit.

400 g Tomatos (1 Can of Plum Tomatoes Whole or Crushed)
1 Medium Whole Chili, With Green Top Removed
2 Tablespoons Thai Fish Sauce
3/4 Cup Malt Vinegar
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Thumb Size Piece of Ginger

1. Place 1/4 can of tomatoes, chilis, fish sauce, vinegar, garlic and ginger into the food processor and liquidise.

2. Place rest of tomato into a large saucepan. If you are using whole canned tomato's, run a knife around the saucepan to break the tomato's into smaller pieces.

3. Add sugar, and liquidised tomato mixture into saucepan and simmer for at least 20 minutes. The sauce mixture volume should reduce by approximately a fifth and it should look nice and syrupy. If you are making multiple quantities, this process of simmering could take up to an hour depending on the volume.

4. Pour mixture into sterilised jars. Cover with jam covers and when cool jar lids (this is the same process that is followed with jam and described in the link following

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christchurch Quake No. 2

I have not posted anything for approximately a week as I went to a wedding last week/ weekend and secondly I went back to university in Christchurch.

As most of you will know, while I was there a fatal earthquake struck. My friends, family and myself were very lucky and none were seriously injured.

At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who were not so lucky.The damage to Christchurch is horrific, and I hope everyone throughout the country bands together to help the Garden City in this time of great need.

My brother and I have evaluated to Wellington due to problems with water and the structural integrity of my flat. Also evaluating (home to Mum and Dad) seemed sensible, as the strain due to shear volume of people is being felt on water, power, communication and wastewater services.

I was there for the first quake in Sep '10. This quake (22 Feb '11) felt very very different. As we all wait, we will hopefully see many more rescued from the collapsed buildings in the CBD and Christchurch will again be able to pick itself up and start again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baking: Rosewater Teacupcakes with Raspberry Icing

Rosewater Teacupcakes with Raspeberry Icing
Today is my birthday.

This morning I had a lovely present from Vic University (Wellington).My summer school paper's exam. Due to the very little time (approx 1 hour) I had at home (inbetween the exam and going out), I was not able to make a proper happy birthday cake.

However I have being dying to use the Teacupcakes - (bake and serve cupcake molds shaped like a teacups complete with saucers) I was given for Christmas. I was given a set by my good friend Lydia Ng and by my nextdoor neighbour/subsitute mother Colleen Munro.

They both must know me well, as I adore them (they are so cute) and receiving two packets of them is ideal to fit a batch of cupcake mixture (as each packet contains 4 sets).  

225g Butter
225g Caster Sugar
4 Large Eggs
225g Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Rosewater

200g Butter
2 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar
3 - 4 Drops Red Food Colouring
1 - 1 1/2 Teaspoons Raspberry Essence (taste it before adding more)
1 Tablespoon Boiling Water

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using an electric beater.

3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add flour, baking powder and rosewater, and mix until just combined.

5. Spoon out into greased teacupcake moulds or cupcake cases.

6. Bake for 20 mins.

7. Allow to cool on wire rack, until room temperature.

8. Mix together, using an electric beater, butter, icing sugar, food colouring rasperberry essence and water until light and fluffy. It should be still but malleable, if not add more water or icing sugar until it is required texture.

9. Pipe icing onto cakes, and top with a rose (i used fake rose buds which can be washed and used again).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Basics: Plum Jam

Plum Jam

Essentially all fruit jams are the same 1:1 fruit to sugar. Easy, right? 
The only difficult part is knowing when the jam has cooked long enough that it will set.
My Nanny (Grandmother) used to be a great preserve maker. Jams. Chutneys. Sauces. My Mum also makes her own marmalade and raspberry jam, however I know, in these times, this is quite uncommon. Despite this, I can't think of anything better than homemade jam.
You CAN taste the difference from the mass produced store bought!

1 kg Plums (stones removed) - can use raspberries, strawberries etc.
1 kg White Sugar
2 Tablespoon Water

1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and mix together. As it heats it will start to form a syrup.

2. Simmer for at least 10 - 20 mins. Keep checking to see if it is cooked by using a teaspoon to drop a teeny tiny (smaller than a 10c piece) onto a saucer. Wait for a minute or so. If it starts to set it is ready i.e. it is no longer liquidy but like a gel.

3. Skim foam off the top of the jam, and set aside (put it in a separate bowl to use on toast or in a trifle). If you leave the foam in the jam, your jam will be cloudy when it sets in the jar.

4. Pour boiling water into your jam jars and whish it around (to kill any bacteria in the jar). Pour it out, and pat dry with a clean tea towel.

5. When jam has cooled for a few minutes, transfer it into multiple jam jars.

6. Using jam covers and the rubberbands, which come with them, seal your jam and allow to cool.

7. Once screw on the jar lids and store in a dark, cool dry place.

Note: Once jam is opened, I always store it in the fridge.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Note: Red Velvet Layer Cake

My friend Nick Bollard made this Red Velvet Cake for us when my family were at his house. It tasted beautiful, but we decided that more cake was required than the recipe produced (to balance out the icing). This inspired me to make the Red Velvet Cakelettes (as you can see by the picture he also did not believe in tooo much food colouring).

If you would like the make a Red Velvet Cake yourself, instead of the cakelettes, the cakelette recipe will produce double the cake seen in the picture. Just pour it into a round or square springform tin (the bottom lined with baking paper and with greased sides) instead of into muffin pans.

You can also use the butterscotch frosting for the middle layers. Nick iced the top of his with a meringue icing which was light and sweet.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baking: Red Velvet Cakettes

Red Velvet Cakettes 

 Red velvet cake was popular in the 40s/50s however seemed to die out until a film called Steel Magnolias was released. After this is become increasingly more popular, a New York bakery is even very well known just for its red velvet cupcakes. I like to make cakettes (mini cakes) instead of cupcakes, as if you make a cupcake it  is difficult to add the frosting layer in the middle.
Below is my recipe, however as I am not a huge fan of artifical food colouring, I only add 3 Tablespoons red foodcolouring (hence why mine is not quite fire engine red). If you want some the firey red, add 4 - 5 Tablespoons red food colouring.
I have used a butterscotch and vanilla buttercream icing, however you could use crea chese, or buttercream in the middle layer and meringue icing on top.

Note: the cake is traditionally made with buttermilk, however who has that sitting in thier fridge everyday? I use normal milk (even trim if you like) and squeeze the juice of one lemon into it. This makes it curdle and will give a similar result to buttermilk.

250g Butter
1 1/2 Cups Caster Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Essence
4 Large Eggs or 5 Small
1 1/2 Cups Flour, Sifted
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Dutched Cocoa
1 Cup Milk with Lemon Juice in it and left for half an hour
3 Tablespoons Red Food Colouring ( 4 - 5 if want fiery red)

250g Butter
2 1/4 Cup Icing Sugar
2 Teaspoons Butterscotch Liqueur
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Essence
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste

1. Preheat oven to 160C

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.

3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, milk mixture and food colouring and beat until combined.

5. Spoon mixture into greased muffin trays (I use silicon bakeware). They should be approximately 3/4 - 4/5 full.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until when a cake tester is inserted it comes out clean.

7. Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto wire tray and cooling until room temperature.

8. Combine all icing ingredients in a bowl and mix until white and fluffy.

9. Cut cakes in half, spread icing in the middle and press back together.

10. Pipe a little dollop of icing on top of the cakette also (I think the one in the picture as a little much icing for eating purposes but looks it pretty).


The lighting in which I took this photo isn't very good but they are red inside!

Baking: Banana Cake

Banana Cake

I think banana cake is somewhat boring and dull, however this one has been made so many  times by my Nanny (grandmother), Mother and Myself that I believe for a banana cake it is a winner!
 Its is one of our staple tin fillers, esp. when we have to many bananas sitting in the fruit bowl. Un-iced banana cake can also be frozen for when you need one in a hurry. Just thaw it on the bench for a couple of hours and slap some icing on it. Done.

Below you can see it iced with the same carmel icing as the banana muffins featured earlier in the blog. It could also be iced with cream cheese, chocolate or lemon icing if you wish.

115 g Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1.5 Cup flour
2 Mashed Bananas
1 Teaspoon Soda
2 Tablespoons Milk, Heated until hot
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add eggs one by one (beating after each addition).

3. Lastly combine milk and soda in a small jug and stir until stops foaming.
4. Add flour, baking powder, mashed bananas and foamy mixture and give a good beat..

5. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean

6. Ice with caramel icing.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mains: Beer Battered Fish

Beer Battered Fish

If I am feeling lazy and the fish is beautiful and fresh I often cook it naked, in pan with just some butter and a bit of spice, however a batter does seem a little more naughty (and delicious with a tomato salsa).

This is the boys in our households favourite. Mum and I on the bother hand prefer our fish fried in fresh bread crumbs combined with a good handful of chopped herbs (i.e. parsley and chives) and a grind of black pepper.

Fish / Vegetables or anything else which you desire to batter
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Cornflour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Beer (approx)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
2 Shallots, Finely Diced
1 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
½ Lemon, Juiced

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth, but coats back of a spoon thickly.

2. Additional beer should be added if required to achieve this.

3. Dip fish into batter and fry in hot oil immediately until crisp and bubbles have formed in batter surrounding fish. Turn and cook till crispy other side.

4. Serve with a slice of lemon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mains: Mussels with Green Thai Curry Broth

Mussels with Green That Curry Broth

I love mussels. Ever since I tasted Bruce Manley's Mussel Fritters on a family holiday at the beach I have been obsessed. I used to make a tomato and red wine broth, but I promise you this is so much better! I am not a HUGE coconut fan therefore always use lite coconut milk (not coconut cream). 

1 Bag Mussels (I get enough to full a large stock pot)
2 Onions, Sliced
3 Heaped Teaspoons Green Curry Paste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
400 ml (1 can) Lite Coconut Milk
200 ml  Trim Milk (I use the empty coconut can to measure i.e. approx 1/2 can)
1 Tablespoon Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
1 Cup Beer (I used Tui in this case as was first I put my hand on)

1. Clean mussels in sink and pull off beard.

2. Place mussels in a large saucepan and boil until they open - approx 10 minutes (do not eat any that did not open).

3. White mussels are boiling, place onions and oil in a medium sized saucepan and saute until translucent.

4. Add rest of ingredients simmer for approximately 5 minutes until mussels are ready to be drained.

5. Drain mussels (discard of unopened ones) and pour broth over top.

6. Dish into serving bowls, using togs (to remove the mussels from the saucepan) and a soup ladle to pour the both over the top.

7. Serve with crusty bread (to mop up the yummy broth).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dessert: Rosewater Vanilla Baked Peaches

Rosewater Vanilla Baked Peaches

This is a quick easy dessert which uses ingredients which are just in the pantry! I make it when I don't have flakey pastry in the fridge to make a Peach Tarte Tartin.

1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Teaspoons Rosewater
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Essence
4 Peaches, Stone removed and cut in half

1. Combine all ingredients but the peaches in an ovenproof saucepan and bring to the boil.

2. Place peaches face down in the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Spoon syrup over and place in oven to bake for 15 minutes

4. Remove from oven and flip peaches over in pan.

5. Serve with ice-cream and fresh/frozzen raspberries.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basics: Vanilla Poached Pears and Syrup

Vanilla Poached Pears and Syrup

These are great for on top of a pav, in cakes or just with some ice-cream.

4 Pears, Peeled, Sliced into eighths
3 Cups Water
1 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

2. Bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes.

3. Allow mixture to cool in saucepan for ten minutes, then remove pears and place on plate or tray.

4. Return saucepan to heat and boil until reduced to at least a 1/3.

Dessert: Mums Pavlova

Mums Pavlova

Pav is a kiwi favourite, however in our family this is our favourite recipe.

3 Eggs Whites
1 ¼ Sugar
1 Teaspoon Malt Vinegar

3 Teaspoon Cornflour
Pinch Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste 
3 Tablespoon Water (cold)

1.Preheat oven to 150C.

2. Beat egg whites very stiff, add water and beat.

3. Add sugar gradually beating well.

4. Lastly mix in the cornflour, salt, vinegar and vanilla.

5. Wet lunch paper (double) and put on cold oven tray – put mixture on wet side (Baking paper could be used instead of lunch paper and would not require wetting).

6. Turn oven down to 130C and cook for about one hour.

7. Allow to cool for five minutes before turnning onto plate (I prefer not to turn mine upside down, but this requires using a fish flip to loose the bottom of thr pav from the paper and gentley sliding off. 

8. Serve, when cool, with cream, berries, vanilla pears or however desired.