Saturday, 27 November 2010

An English Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving–since I started celebrating it back in 2000– has always been one of my favourite holidays. Think about it: you don't have to buy tons of presents, you get to eat A LOT, and hang out with people that, though they may drive you mad at times, you love. The whole sentiment behind it is pretty kickin' also. I don't think people are grateful enough of the time. Yeah, that's right. I'm getting all preachy on yo ass.

So, I realised some time ago that I hadn't celebrated Thanksgiving since 2005. This kind of upset me, and I felt like I was missing out. So I decided that I would cook Thanksgiving dinner for my housemates on the day. Then we invited a couple more people. Then a couple more. Before I knew it I was preparing to cook a meal for 15 people. And you know what? It. was. awesome. Everyone came over, we drank, we ate far too much food, and we were merry.

Here's a rundown of the whole shebang:
pigs in blankets (thank you Kat)
devils on horseback (thanks again, Kat)
roast potatoes
sweet potato-orange mash
green beans (thank you Jamie)
corn on the cob and broccoli (thank you Vivi)
roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and pomegranate seeds
maple-glazed butternut squash
buttermilk biscuits
gravy (thank you Katemonster)
apple and blackberry pie
homemade belgian chocolate ice cream

Keep an eye out for some of the above recipes. I will post when I stop being full.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Bleedin' Armadillo Groom's Cake

So, I've been promising this for a while, and here they are: pictures of my bleeding armadillo cake for Mia's 21st.

Getting a photo of the entire thing was a bit diff. Note that it's on two separate boards.

Definitely not at pretty or professional as the one in Steel Magnolias, but not bad for a first try dare I say so myself.

"Nothin' like a good piece of ass."


Monday, 1 November 2010

Maté Cupcakes

I love tea. I also love cupcakes. And when the two come together, well, it's pretty magical.

For me, this joining together of awesome and awesomer only ever seemed to come in the form of a cupcake accompanied by a cup of tea.... that is, until quite recently. I had been thinking for a while about infusing tea into some baked goods, and then, when over at a pal's and perusing their cookbook selection, I had a nose into the book, Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. Besides being pretty exciting as books go, this recipe book contained a recipe for Earl Grey cupcakes with lavender icing. Knowing that other people had thought about the beautiful marriage of tea and cake and had successfully pulled it off was all I needed to set my plan into motion.

Instead of using Earl Grey tea, which, according to my research is quite a popular choice for this type of cupcake, I took a different route (I should say that there is nothing wrong with Earl Grey: I love it, it warms the heart and smells like love). The tea I used is the Maté Laté tea from Argo Tea Café in Chicago. This tea is an energizing Argentinian herbal tea roasted with almond and cocoa, so it seemed just the ticket. Obviously, one should experiment and use any sort of tea that might be interesting. Topped with some vanilla frosting, it's the perfect TEAtime (ha!) treat.

Maté Cupcakes

1/2 cup/4 oz/115 g butter
1 cup/7 oz/190 g sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups/5 1/2 oz/150 g flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup/4 fl oz/120 ml milk
2 tbsp tea (either loose and ground up finely or from a teabag)

1/4 cup/2 oz/55 g butter, room temperature
2 cups/9 oz/260 g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180º/Gas mark 4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and tea. Set aside.

2. In a bowl or in a food processor, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time; the first one should be fully incorporated into the mixture before you add the second.

3. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixture, and then add the milk. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, being sure not to over-mix.

4. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and fill about 2/3 full with the batter. Bake 20-25 mins, until a toothpick inserted to the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

5. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can make the frosting. In a medium bowl in the bowl of a food processor beat together all the ingredients until light and fluffy. Ensure the frosting is at room temperature before attempting to frost the cupcakes.

Makes 12-16

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