Wednesday 24 November 2010

Lemon & olive oil cupcakes with raspberry cream cheese frosting v2.0

I reckon if you could taste sunshine it would taste like tangy citrusy lemon and the grassy fruity and pepperiness you get in really good olive oil.

So a wee while ago when I saw a recipe for lemon & olive oil cake I remember thinking: that sounds like sunshine in a cake.  But when I went to find the recipe again, I couldn't for the life of me find THE one I was looking for.

I was positive it was an Ottolenghi recipe but I think I got mixed up with their lemon polenta cake.  Then I was convinced that I'd seen a recipe on smitten kitchen's blog, or maybe orangette's blog.  But alas, no luck.  I vaguely remember the post being about the blogger's sister giving her a recipe for the cake but I'm not 100% sure if that is a total confabulation.  Maybe I'm just getting old...memory like a sieve!

Without a proper recipe, I thought why the heck not adapt my go to cupcake recipe and see if that doesn't work.  I know I've been doing that a lot lately which is not very fun for you all.  I do pinky promise to try out new recipes soon but so often these days I find that I am baking in a manic rush and under such a tight time frame that there isn't much leeway for experiments, you know what I mean?  But I do have a stack of recipes that I'm dying to try out in the Christmas hols so please bear with me!

These cupcakes were for my lovely friend Pav's Alice in Wonderland bridal shower in the weekend.  They were tender and fruity, pretty and girly, and perfect for a mad hatter tea party!

Monday 22 November 2010

A very merry bridal shower

I apologise again for abandoning my blog this past week.

My gorgeous girlfriend Pav is getting married in January and we threw her an Alice in Wonderland themed bridal shower in the weekend.

With the help of the wonderful bridesmaids: Claire, Vicky & Monique, we managed to transform Pav's house into a little slice of Wonderland.   

It was a week of baking, paper flower making, and playing card tying. Of battling layers and layers of uncooperative pastel tissue paper, ripping yet another paper flower with clumsy fingers. Of sitting watching CSI reruns while knotting jumbo playing cards just so far apart and alternatively black and red.  Of labelling a million "eat me" and "drink me" labels, printing off posters, and making fiddly wee toothpick flags.

You could say I went as mad as a hatter.

And I loved every minute of it.

So without further ado, I present to you....Pavanie's Very Merry Bridal Shower!

Sunday 14 November 2010

Sneak peek shhhh.....

Apology: I'll be a bit slow posting and getting back to you this week.

Friday 12 November 2010

So many herbs, so little thyme

For my birthday my awesome parents in law to be got me a herb planter and loads of yummy herbs.

So today, on a gloriously sunny Auckland Saturday, C and I got our green thumbs out...

Monday 8 November 2010

Sea salt & cracker toffee and secret recipes

A little while ago I got to taste some caramels made by a lovely lady I used to work with.  I put a piece in my mouth and bang! It was love at first bite.  The caramels tasted just like Daims, which are little Swedish caramels with bits of almond covered in chocolate and are a staple on my duty free shopping list.

Psh, caramel covered in chocolate doesn't sound too flash, I hear you say?  Well my friend, it's not just any old caramel we are talking about here, this caramel is brittle and crunchy without being sticky, buttery smokey and salty sweet without being toothachingly sugary.  The result is totally moreish and very very addictive.  The caramels made by J, were just as crunchy, just as smokey and buttery as my beloved Daims.

I HAD to have the recipe.

Unfortunately, J had been sworn to secrecy from the person whom she got the recipe off of as it was a Family Secret Recipe.  Which, of course, made me even more obsessed with finding out how to make them.

What is it with secret recipes that just makes you want to crack them?  There's really something magical and mysterious about a secret recipe - just look how well it's done for Coke and Colonel Sanders.  It made me kinda wish I had more secret recipes.  Come to think of it I don't even have a single secret recipe. Not one. I'm guess I'm an open book kinda girl, as soon as I get a good recipe I wanna tell the world...Hey everyone! Check this out, it's so meeeeeean!!!!  

J was very apologetic that she couldn't share the recipe but I totally respect baker/recipe-giver confidentiality. One tidbit of info I did manage to squeeze out of her was that J's caramels, had crackers in the middle to make it that bit crunchier.  So pretty much as soon as I got home, I scoured the internet for a like recipe and hit the jackpot with a recipe for Saltine Cracker Toffee or as I like to call them Sea Salt & Cracker Toffee just to be a lil fancy.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Ginger steak salad, superwomen and super lashes

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is an absolute superwoman.  She is a mom of four, runs a cattle ranch and still finds time to run an amazing blog, write a book and take amazing photographs. Not to mention all her recipes work like a dream.

But when I come to think about it, I actually know a lot of superwomen.  I'm sure I'll end up blogging about all of them sometime but today I want to introduce you to Mel.

She is one of the brightest women I've ever met - a veritable brainiac.  Top of her class pharmacist, attentive wife, caring sister, doting daughter and the most thoughtful and fun friend.  And did I mention she looks like she should be a model? If she wasn't my friend, I would totally hate her.

We were in first year pharmacy together and became friends on the elevator on the way up to the very first lecture.

Mates at first sight.

We had a lot in common, both loved shopping and clothes, eating, talking, we were both closet (ok not so closet) science geeks, extremely competitive and shared OCD tendencies when it came to studying and organising and well, life. 

Mel went on to actually become a superstar pharmacist while I changed my degree four times and ended up a corporate lawyer now applying for med school.  Clearly one of us had her head screwed on better than the other.  We've had our fair share of silly girly shenanigans, triumphs and tragedies, and when I changed degrees and later she moved away, we inevitably don't spend a heck of a lot of time together.  But as is the magical time-travel like phenomenon that is the bond of old friends, whenever we do hang out it's like we're 18 again and nothing has changed. 

We've both developed love of cooking and baking.  I think it appeals to our inner science geeks - the precise measuring and timing, the alchemy of ingredients turning in to dishes and recently she introduced me to a scrumptious recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog for Ginger Steak Salad.


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