Friday, September 21, 2012

Baby Shower for Becs

'Girl' Cupcakes

The cupcakes were the Lemon cupcakes with a Lemon Buttercream Icing

'Boy' Cupcakes

Uncooked Turkish Pide bead dough


and sliced.....

Eclairs (or profriteroles) with whipped Chocolate Ganache icing and with Custard Cream filling

They don't look glamorous because I ran out of time but they tasted AMAZING!

Ginger and Coconut Crunch....Donna Hay

Annabel Langbein's Chunky Guacamole

Mini sausages wrapped in streaky bacon with Rosemary, Honey and Wholegrain Mustard glaze

Annabel Langbein's Samosas using Spring Roll pastry and deep fried rather than baked. They aren't in the traditional triangle shape because I bought the wrong wrappers (they were too small)

That's Becs....the pregnant one!

Harry with cousins Hollie and Mini
Last weekend we hosted a baby shower for my sister in law Becs who is due with our new nephew (they don't know what they are having but I just KNOW it's a boy and my ring test confirmed it), in just a month's time. It was a weekend of cooking but at least I didn't have to worry about the games etc as these were assigned to the lovely Tori who did a fantastic job of them. 

I made the girl/boy cupcakes which were the lemon cupcakes you can find a few posts ago with a lemon buttercream icing. I bought chocolate molds from my favourite cake decorating supply shop and while I had intended to use gumpaste to make them, I changed my mind and did white chocolate ones instead with a bit of gold and silver lustre dust and edible glitter to zhoosh them up. I have to say I thought they turned out pretty well.

Having received Annabel Langbein's new cookbook 'Simple Pleasures' from Dons the other week, I was pretty keen to try some recipes from it. All worked out very very well. From it I whipped up the Turkish Pide Bread (really easy and very yummy...the girls asked where I had bought the bread from), Dukkah (easy and yummy with a good EVOO and the bread I made), Chunky Guacamole (fabulous slightly different way to make this old classic and one which I will default to from now on), Samosas (I'm sure my Indian friends at work would be impressed with the flavour of this was complex and well balanced) and Speedy Peanut Sauce (speedy like it says and tastes way more complex than it is). I also made Ginger and Coconut Slice from Donna Hays new magazine which was delicious. I am very fussy about GC and this one did not disappoint. The sausages were from a magazine called Good Food Australia and will be redone again and agin when there is a gathering. 

So all in all it was a pretty successful day. Thanks to the others for bringing more food on the day....we did not go hungry at all! Finally get Annabel's will NOT regret it!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reuben turns 15!!!

Reuben is seriously going to KILL me when (or if) he sees this post because I wanted to create a year by year photo board of his life thus far. Reubs turns the big 15 tomorrow at exactly 3.26pm. I am so proud of my boy. He is turning into an amazing young man who is kind and caring, bright and clever and very, very handsome. He especially loves animals (...oh and Xbox, gaming, his laptop etc), and I think this goes to show what a special boy he is. He knows he will be called 'Bub' by me for his whole life...even when he is an old man and I will make no apologies for that whatsoever. Happy birthday my most darling boy. I love you SO much!!!....and sorry darling but this is a mother's need to boast about her baby.....

Straight away after Reuben was was a long long labour ending in a Caesarian section. Reubs weighed 4220 g (or 9lb 5 oz for the oldies out there)

Going home from the hospital

1 year old....looking just like a photo of myself taken at that age

On his 1st birthday in the car we gave him

Aged 2 with his friends Jesse and Ella

2 years beautiful

On his 3rd birthday
4 years old with Ella

4 years old with his favourite cat Louis

5 years old

6 years old

7 years old

8 years old

9 years old

10 years baby in double digits
11 years old

11 years old on his birthday night

12 years old
13 years old
14 years old 
At lunch on Waiheke last year when we celebrated Reubs Nana Helen's 70th birthday
A huge Happy Birthday to Helen too who Reuben shares his birthday with. You are a fantastic grandmother and we are all very lucky to have you!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Baking for Nightshift- Ripe's Esmeralda Slice

Ripe is a fantastic Deli-like cafe located in Grey Lynn. They specialise in amazing homemade baking and beautiful salads and takeaway meals as well as the usual coffee. Awhile ago the owner Angela Redfern put out a cookbook which, for those of you who don't have it, is well worth the purchase if only for the salads and slices alone. This recipe, however, is not in the cookbook. Like many other passionate home cooks and one who love recipes, cooking magazines and cookbooks,I have (or had) and enormous pile of cut out recipes all piled into a box. I dragged that box out the other week and left it on the dining room table knowing that if it was there I was more likely to get onto the task of sorting them all out. Well I finally did get around to it. An enormous pile was ruthlessly thrown out and the recipes I knew I was likely to make now fit into the previously overflowing box. As well as that I managed to find a couple of recipes I had made and loved and then lost again. This recipe I cut from a newspaper of some sort and then had stashed it away in the bottom of the recipe box. 

Well today I made it and I think it will be perfect for my night shift tonight. If you like coconut and caramel this is the recipe for you. It is most certainly NOT low fact I think any cardiologist might have a small MI looking at the ingredient list. But hey, surely night shift is as good an excuse as anyone could want or need for a little indulgence.... It is easy to make and makes a good amount of slice. Make sure you use your larger slice tin for this recipe.

Ripe's Esmeralda Slice

250g soft butter
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 c dessicated coconut
1 tin caramelised condensed milk (either make your own or buy a tin as I did)

Cream the butter, golden syrup, vanilla and sugar together. Add the flour, baking powder and coconut and mix until well combined. Press into a lined slice tin.

Spread the caramelised condensed milk over the uncooked base.

2 c dessicated coconut
2 eggs
6 Tbsp condensed milk
4 Tbsp melted butter 
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and spread over the base and caramel.

Bake at 170C for about 40 mins until puffy and golden.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baking for Simon- Strawberry Cupcakes Part 2

This was the second flavour I made. I have had a few packets of that amazing Fresh As Freeze Dried Fruit powders in my cupboard for awhile so thought I really should use some of them up. As I had the most of the strawberry one this was the flavour I went with. These powders are phenomenal. The flavour hit is intense and it's nice knowing the flavour and colour is totally natural. I made a recipe I saw on Julie Le Clerc's new tv program called Cafe Secrets. She made passionfuit cupcakes with raspberry icing and called them Tutti Fruity Cupcakes. I just followed the recipe for the cupcake part and made up the icing so it had butter, cream cheese, fruit powder (you need a fair bit to get the flavour intensity you want), a bit of vanilla and some milk to get it to the consistency you want. You can find the recipe for the cupcakes here. These cupcakes seem to taste better today than they did yesterday but maybe that's because I was so sugared out my tastebuds were sugar-overwhelmed. You could use any flavour you want from the range- plum or passionfruit would be nice....

Baking for Simon- Triple Lemon Cupcakes Part 1

Packed and waiting 

I have SO much to blog about I have been putting it off. However as I sit here on the couch with my first cold of the year I have some time to do it....and there is nothing on the telly to distract me as I have caught up with the pre recorded programs I never have time to watch. The most unfortunate thing about this cold is that I have coughed so much I now have fully fledged Laryngitis. I can't remember the last time this happened to me but it feels almost claustrophobic not being able to talk. Those of you who know me will also know how much of a talker I am so to know that is to know the hell I am in having to be silent. I mean what if the phone goes? What about the list of things I have to do that involve talking? HELP!!!!

Anyway yesterday, when I could talk, I had an appointment for my little one with Simon who is a Paediatrician/Neonatologist I work with with. He also happens to be one of my my favourite bosses who I trust implicitly AND he has a very sweet tooth. I had promised baking to which he had requested 'cupcakes with lashings of icing'. That was what he got.

The first flavour I chose was inspired by the Lemon Curd I had made from the Little and Friday Cookbook over the weekend (there is more to come on this fantastic cookbook). I thought Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd in the middle with a Lemon Buttercream would be delicious. I have to say, without shame, they were (in fact I might have to whip some up for night shift on Friday). I found a couple of recipes but went with good old Martha Stewart. I halved the recipe and still got 16 cupcakes from the mixture. They were light and had a lovely lemon flavour to them. The curd in the centre was fantastic and the Lemon Buttercream just completed the lemon experience. You have to try these cupcakes. 

Triple Lemon Cupcakes (I halved this recipe but will give you the full one)

3 c flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (I only put in 1/4 tsp as I use salted butter)
230 g butter
2 c sugar
4 large eggs
finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 Tbsp) and 2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 c buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 170C and line muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (don't hurry this stage). Add the eggs one at a time beating for a minute after each. Beat in the zest and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the flour alternately with the buttermilk and juice in 3 lots.

Spoon into tins and bake 20-25mins until cooked and a skewer comes out clean. Once they are cool take out the centre (I use an apple corer), and put in some lemon curd (either homemade or bought). Put the tops back on that you have cut out (you might need to cut them down a bit) and ice with a nice lemon buttercream (just a light lemon flavour is all you will need).