Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Jelly Cupcakes

Happy Australia Day one and all! Now you might predict I'd be making a typically Australian dessert or sweet on this day, but I've decided to go with a take on a take of the Australian Lamington. If you aren't familiar with the lamington, you're seriously missing out.
It's a rectangle finger of sponge cake enveloped in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. Sometimes they're even filled with creamy goodness, and on occasion, jam. Recently I saw a spin on lamingtons in the form of jelly cakes. Jelly cakes are fantastic. They're a staple at every kid's party and a bit like a lamington, except without the chocolate. The cake is dipped in liquid jelly mix and immediately rolled in coconut.
So here's a spin on that, perfect food for a little girls (or big girl's) party. They look so quaint and pretty in all their pink glory, made deliciously moist with the addition of the jelly, and topped with a dollop of butter cream icing and a giant strawberry. They couldn't get much cuter!



STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM SWIRL JELLYCAKES

1 buttercake mix
red or pink food colouring
1 packet strawberry jelly crystals
1 cup dessicated coconut
As many strawberries as cupcakes
1 cup of cream, whipped

Make the buttercake batter as directed on the box, and divide the mixture in half. In one half add a capfull of red or pink food colouring and mix well until incorporated.
Alternately spoon the two colours of batter into cupcake tray holes, layering the two colours to achieve a two tone cupcake. Use all the mixture in this manner and bake as directed on the box.
When the cupcakes are cooked and cooled, cut out the centre of each to form a well. Do not cut to the bottom of the cupcakes. Aim for a 20c piece size as a top view, big enough to sit the bottom of a strawberry in.
Discard the cake removed. 
Make the jelly as directed on the box. While still warm, dip the top of each cupcake briefly in the unset jelly mixture and then in coconut.
Fill the wells with a dollop of  whipped cream. Cut the leaves off the strawberries. Position one strawberry ontop of each dollop. Serve.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Make Rolled Fondant Roses

My sister-in-law is expecting her first baby in a few months, and the occasion called for a baby shower and I put my hand up with glee. I've got a newborn myself and found that I left everything to the last moment in my disorganization. Running out of time, I set about designing a cake and found that I lacked some of the instruments necessary to go through with the project.
Not knowing the sex of the baby, I decided to go with a Sweetpea Baby Theme with a rolled fondant garden of roses, beans and peas and some other foliage with a wee baby amongst it all. I had no idea how I was going to make leaves and roses without any tools used to create those perfect petals and serrated edges. So I started researching and found a great tutorial on youtube. It's a very simple process anyone can use, even for those not so artistic and it doesn't require any cutting tools for your fondant. They are basic fondant roses and can be added to if you have the time and patience.
Enjoy the tutorial!



HOW TO MAKE BASIC ROLLED FONDANT ROSES

To make your own fondant at home, here is a cheaper and more fun alternative to store bought rolled fondant.

You will need:
Any amount of rolled fondant
A clear, plastic folder pocket

1. Take the plastic pocket and cut off the bottom and the side that usually clips into your folder. You now have a plastic sheet that can open and close as a book would.

2. Take a portion of fondant and roll it into a smooth sausage. Cut four equal portions from the sausage. You want them to be approximately marble sized when rolled into a ball.

3.Roll three of these portions into smooth balls, and the forth into an elongated ball, a bit more oval than the others.

4. Place each of the portions along side each other inside the plastic sheet. Gently smooth each ball with your pointer so that it flattens. Smooth down one side of the ball so that it is thinner than the other side. The end closest to you should be thick, sloping down gradually to be thinner. Ensure the balls are all even in size and thickness, and that the balls keep their aerial view shape.



 5. Gently remove the oblong "ball" from the plastic. Roll the thin end of it first, between your fingers, rolling towards the thick end so that it forms a spiral. This is the centre of the rose.


6. Remove the first ball from the plastic and position it flush against the centre bud, thin side up. Place it so that only the centre of the petal is stuck to the  bud, the sides free. The top of the petal should be at the same height as the bud.

7. Take the second petal and slip it in besides the first, so that the first petal overlaps it by half.  Take the third petal and slip it in half way under the second petal. Gently fold the end of the last petal around to meet the first.


 8. You now have your basic rose. Cut the bottom half off with a knife, as this is quite bulky.
You may also like to shape the petals a little with your fingers before setting is aside to dry.


The baby drying. I use an empty chocolate tray to dry the roses in. They dried in 2 days, but this depends upon the weather.

Baby's Sweetpea Cake

Monday, January 16, 2012

Curry Veggie Burgers

Are you vegetarian or carnivore? When I was a kid I was neither, I simply hated eating anything. Spinach was hidden on a little ledge under the dinner table, as were peas and the likes. Crackers were the only thing to be desired.Hence a skinny little runt I was. Determined not to let my own children get away with the same sneaky tricks I did, my husband and I selected a large wooden meal table without any secret ledges underneath. Ever since, I have been fossicking around for ways to incorporate good greens and beans in foods the kids will eat without fuss.
Hello delicious veggie burger!
Are you over fish and chips on Fridays as much as we are? Then mix it up a bit with these super healthy, delicious, goodness filled veggie burgers, adapted from taste.com.



CURRY VEGGIE BURGERS

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 zucchini, grated
1 small carrot, grated
3 stalks silver-beet, white removed, leaves chopped finely
3 slices wholemeal bread, crusts removed, shredded
200g canned chickpeas, drained
1 heaped tbsp mild curry paste (we used Tikka Masala paste)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. coriander
1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
oil for frying

Fry the onion for five minutes on a low heat until softened. Add the garlic, silverbeet zucchini and carrot and cook for 3 minutes until wilted and softened. Drain off any liquid that is left in the pan.
Place chickpeas and shredded bread in a food processor and pulse to combine and break down the contents. Add the vegetables and curry paste, egg yolk and coriander. Process until well combined.
Form the mixture into rough patties, coating each side in breadcrumbs. Lay on a tray and refrigerate for 10 minutes before frying until golden brown.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Bounty Balls

    I was feeling a bit overwhelmed the other day...two crying babies who had trouble sleeping and toys thrown all over the house, no dinner made and husband back from work any second. It was a teary moment. I started to wonder, was this what they called the baby blues? And then I realised how long it had been since I went into that kitchen and made something I didnt have to make...just make something for the sole pleasure of it.
    Being in the kitchen is therapeutic to me, its my time out, where I can create and enjoy a little time by myself, and recharge the old batteries. I'm not talking that time where you have to whip up the dinner with a hungry baby crying in your ear. I'm talking the babies-in-bed-silence, glass of vino in hand and the-world-is-your-oyster type of kitchen time.
    I knew that was what I needed to cheer myself up, and when my darling hubby came home I got just that. What was something totally superfluous that I could make? Then I remembered how everyone had enjoyed the homemade bounty bars I had recently made and set about making just that...but in balls, covered in dark chocolate. Talk about a cure for the "baby blues"!
    I am pleased to say that there are no blues anymore, it seemed to be the perfect cure. And...my babies are sleeping much better (bye-bye insomniacs) and that my dear, is why I am able to blog a little! Ah the simple things in life. The greatest pleasures. (They're gluten free sweets, too!)


    HOMEMADE BOUNTY BALLS

    3 cups dessicated coconut
    200g sweetened condensed milk
    1/2-3/4 cup icing sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla essence
    350g dark chocolate, melted

    Combine the coconut and condensed milk in a large bowl. Add enough icing sugar to make a stiff mixture.Add the vanilla and stir until well combined. Roll into walnut sized balls and refrigerate overnight until hardened.Coat in melted chocolate and serve when set.



    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Tropical Trifle

    Two days before Christmas I was wondering if I was being punished for feeling such a wicked glee at the thought of the upcoming festive food gorging. Two wisdom teeth decided to make their painful way into the world on either side of my mouth and I found it incredibly hard to chew anything. I envisioned the roast meats being neglected, the chocolates sitting alone, unable to be devoured, and all the lovely festive foods going off before I could bare to have them in my mouth. Or the alternative--pureed honey glazed ham being sucked through a straw on my favourite feast day of the year, 60 years premature.
    So would I be surviving the 12 days of Christmas off jelly and soup blends concocted of all the deliciousness that had been prepared for Christmas?
    Determined not to miss out, I found this wonderful recipe for Tropical Trifle in a Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. I don't usually find much joy in soggy cake and cream, but this trifle was different, it was the most amazing one I have ever tasted by far.
    Imagine the taste of mango combined with the zest of lemon, the smoothness of mascapone, the freshness of mint, rolls of jam sponge laced with coconut liqueur and pineapple juice atop mango jelly and passion fruit. It was simply divine.



    TROPICAL TRIFLE (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine Jan 2012)

    2X 85g packets mango jelly crystals
    400ml boiling water
    400ml chilled water
    1 mango, cheeks removed, flesh sliced thinly
    250g mascapone
    300ml thickened cream
    1/4 caster sugar
    finely grated zest of one lemon
    300g jam rolettes
    1/4 pineapple juice
    1/3 cup coconut flavoured white rum
    pulp of 6 passionfruits
    extra mango thinly sliced
    mint leaves to decorate

    Put jelly crystals and boiling water in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Add the chilled water and set aside to cool.
    Arrange the sliced mango in the bottom of a 21 x 10.5cm glass serving bowl. Pour jelly over the top and refrigerate until the jelly has set.
    Whisk the mascapone, cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in the lemon zest and set aside.
    Combine the rum and pineapple juice in a shallow bowl.
    Slice the rolettes and dip them one by one quickly into the rum mixture, then arrange on top of the jelly.Spoon over half the mascapone mixture on top of the rolettes. Drizzle half the passion fruit pulp over the top and swirl slightly. Cover with the rest of the mascapone mixture, and decorate the top of the trifle with the extra mango, mint leaves and remaining pulp.