Yearly Archives: 2018

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Letter boxes

The boring TV offerings left me feeling in need of some stimulation and creative outlet. Inspiration took the form of creating stand up letters.

You can see the box from the angle of the picture. Very straightforward.

And folds flat.

Thinking about how to creating a box for rounded letters like C, J and O or non-vertical letterforms like X. I think I have a solution but need to make up a couple for proof of concept.

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Gingerbread

I made some gingerbread and it was the nicest gingerbread I’d ever tasted. It was based on a recipe I found online but I’ve tweaked it in lots of little ways to make it perfect for me! Love it! Had some yesterday with a good coffee. So good.

Now, the icing still needs attention! Simple Royal Icing with a 2. nozzle. Should have watered it down to make it a little thinner. My hand was aching from the pressure I had to exert to squeeze the icing out of the piping bag.

More learning opportunities… Anyway, here’s the recipe for you:


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Macarons gussied up for Christmas

What do you do when you’re stuck in waiting for Mr Amazon to call round?

Make macarons.

Macarons seem to be divas of the cakey world. Ostensibly simple, deceptively so. They are proper little madams; the dominatrices of the food fetish world. They who must be obeyed demand mindfulness and control at every stage.

I made them once before and ignored their demands. They refused me. They did not gratify my senses in any way. They were bland, flat, soggy, nasty and bad. And they were the compliments.

The time came to try again… I prepared to be enslaved.

First I made them with green-coloured ganache and covered them with sprinkles. I was surprised. They were delicious.

That was all the motivation I needed to make another batch. Inspired and confident, the process was easier second time round.

I satisfied the urge to prettify them further with little gold dots, painted on with a fine paintbrush.

Most satisfying. Better than waiting around with nothing to do. A bit zen.

The chocolate ganache was made with Moser and Roth (Aldi) orange and almond chocolate (food of the Gods) and a bar of their ‘normal’ milk chocolate (still really good chocolate, imho).

They were left in the fridge overnight and bagged up this morning. My neighbour LOVED them. So did we.

The little bags set them off beautifully.

My recipe and method
If you want the piping template as well

Persevere. Be mindful and be careful with every stage and hopefully, you, too, will have a great macaron life.

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Ganache drip cake with unicorn poo

Lying in bed one night, I started Googling for cakes and toppings and came across Cupcake Jemma:and was inspired. She posts lots of How Tos on You Tube and with me nudging Mr T every 5 mins saying ‘That’s how you do THAT!’ and ‘Oh – wow! That’s so easy!’ it was simpler to cast to the telly and us both watch her tutorials. I couldn’t wait for next day and tackle Unicorn Poo.

It takes some time to make because of chilling the crumbcoat and icing in the fridge, letting the ganache and mernigues to cool, etc, but it’s really worth it. The cake is a three layered vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream icing. It’s topped with with pink ganache (white chocolate and cream with pink food colouring). And unicorn poo. As we all know, unicorn poo is somethig else. For a start, it’s magic. Secondly, it’s sweet and edible.

The basic meringue mixture is a ratio of EXACTLY (following Jemma’s order strictly to the letter) 1 of egg white to 2 of sugar. Add a tsp of vanilla essence or extract and a pinch of salt to flavour the mixture. Obviously, get your food mixer out to beat that meringue mixture and make it firm enough to form gravity-defying stalactites in the bowl and not give yourself an egg shampoo instead of a unicorn poo, should you decide to prove how clever you are by holding the bowl over your head.

Get a piping bag and draw lines of food colouring inside it using a long-handled paintbrush (I have paintbrushes used for painting food colouring only).

Fill the piping bag with meringue.The food colouring will streak the meringue as it’s piped onto the tray.

Get a baking sheet (or two) and cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper. THEN, stand little mini marshmellows on the tray, leaving some space between them and pipe the meringue vertically over each one making a little dome over them.  Sprinkle each one with hundreds and thousands, as well, if you like.

Put them in the oven (130 for approx. 35 mins)  then get them out and leave them to cool.

Decorate your cake with edible food glitter (essential for unicorn anything), unicorn poo, little stars, silver balls…up to you. Just be a bit wild. It’s about unicorns.

Lessons learned:

1. Make 1 1/2 times usual buttercream, not double. Now have buttercream in freezing. I don’t need more excuses to make cupcakes.

2. Ditto gananche. Only needed 150g choc and 75 g of cream (converted from ml).

3. Less is more when it comes to drip cakes. Too much ends up pooling on the cakeboard or running over.

4. Practice with food colouring first to make sure the meringues are bright without looking like something from the circus. I think I’ll colour the icing completely pink (vanilla makes it look a little on the yellow side) and put some thinish streaks of red inside the piping bag.

5. Plan to make this cake! Get the butter out the night before so it’s soft. Check the ingredients and get in what you need before you start. I don’t usually have bars of chocolate and cream in the house.

6. Think ahead about how to use up the egg yolks. We had a Spanish Omelette for tea.

But. OMG. That cake was amazing. I think sparklers would make it even more fabulous.

If you look for Gemma Cupcakes on You Tube, you’ll find lots of her useful hints, tips and techniques. And inspiration. My next cake will be a pinata cake…

Anyway, am learning loads and getting better and that’s what it’s all about.

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Mr Amazon called round – again

While shopping online (you know where!) for presents I spotted this cute box of icing nozzles. Too sweet to ignore.

 

And a lovely little set they are. Am very happy.

 

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I had a birthday recently and Mr T bought me an airbrush – doesn’t the compressor look damn sexy?! Can’t wait to start using it!

But busy Miss Lizzie today. Marzipanned the Christmas cake and re-organised the pantry. Mr T is putting me up some shelves today so am over the moon – all my baking stuff in one space! Christmas is coming early!

Ooh La La!



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