09 February, 2017

For the first time since the diagnosis I am going to sleep relatively warm and fuzzy inside. I am currently thinking of Dad's life as a celebration. My Dad is a gift to this world and his presence has touched so many people. I am beyond honoured to be born into this world to have him holding me and protecting me for 22 years. I am a lucky lucky daughter. He's the kind of guy you look at and wish he was your father. 

Right now, I am most sad about the fact that more people need to meet him. He has so much love and humour in him and so many more hearts to touch and so many more people to make laugh. So many more rooms to light up. 

When I say that I love my Dad it's not a love for just a parent - it's so much more than that. I'm lucky that I'm at an age where I can see him for... him. I can disassociate him from being simply a father and love him as how others see him too. There's a reason people constantly talk about Dad and why everyone seems to know who he is. He remains a gentle, beautiful and honest soul to his family, neighbours and to people who don't even know him. He's a pure and clean soul. Pure souls remain unpolluted from this sick world and their humility and kindness exude out of them. His aura is palpable. I am going to sleep tonight warm inside because I am this persons daughter and because I have had 22 years to teach me what it means to be a pure spirit. He has been my teacher this whole time.

Through taking chemo, temperatures, gross alternative medications he will do dances to make me laugh or drop a quick joke to lighten the mood. 

Yesterday he told me that I was his light and inspiration. He then held my hand and said "I love you". But being Dad he will add a "ya" instead of a "you" because he apparently can't afford to look too soppy around me. The fact that he constantly sees me as his smallest girl and so wants to protect my emotions is both beautiful but also frustrating. 

The support I give him is not an 'extra thing I have to do' which is what people make it out to be. If its to someone that you love more than your own life it is natural and unconditional. People keep telling me that I'm strong with what I'm going through. I just keep thinking that I'm not. My love and support is simply given with no explanation. It doesn't make me 'strong' or 'sweet' that I go the extra mile to consider his feelings. It makes me someone who loves her Dad unconditionally. It's nothing that someone else who shared my love for their father wouldn't do. 


There's a reason why someone like him is in this world. Ask anyone and they will say the same thing. 

My love for you is more than unconditional. I am honoured to have your blood running through my veins. 




22 January, 2017

Easy Banana Bread


My life has completely turned upside down since I last wrote on here. My world is broken and my heart is black. The pain that I am experiencing at the moment is indescribable. My darling father/bear/sunbeam/best friend/personal comedian/hugger/ball of goodness has been diagnosed with cancer. Grade 4 Glioblastoma which is an aggressive form of brain cancer. I never thought this would happen to me. It was never supposed to happen and I refuse to believe that it still is. 

How does one deal with this?? Where are the answers? My parents mean everything to me. They are more than parents to me and my family is being tortured right now. I don't know how to feel and although it has already been nearly 2 months since Dad's diagnosis, this still isn't real. 

Sometimes I wake up and I feel a smile spread across my face because it was a joke and a horrible, disgusting, nightmare that I dreamt for far too long. Then reality hits me. It wasn't a nightmare. It was yesterday and the day before and the day before that. And yes, it will still be today, tomorrow and the day after that. And I'm paralysed and I lay there for minutes trying to process that yes this is real and everything was too good to be true. 22 years of pure love, a picturesque childhood and perfect parents who understood my sister and I for who we are; not for who they wanted us to be. We had it too good and if its too good for too long it's going to come to an end. Never ever ever in my wildest dreams would I associate the word cancer with my family. 

Throughout my life I have been the crazy daughter who would be paranoid and obsessed with my parents health. From a very young age the worst possible thing that could ever happen to me was the thought of my parent(s) becoming sick. I wished for my family's health every birthday. I would be on my mum and dads back to go to regular checkups, I monitored what they ate, I made sure that they exercised, I would make sure my mum went for her twice a year mammogram appointment, I would warn my Dad about heart attacks; what they felt like and what he should do if he ever had one and I constantly massaged him so he would feel less stressed from work (and therefore less of a chance for the onset of diseases). 
I once made both of them stop drinking hot chai in the morning because I had read that hot beverages can cause throat cancer!!!!

But wow... on December 2nd, 2016 who would have ever anticipated fucking brain cancer!? I missed it by a fucking mile. 

I think that's why I am taking this the hardest out of my mum and sister. The fact that I have had such a paranoia about this for years and that my nightmare is actually materialising itself is the most dumbfounding and unbelievable thing. I still haven't accepted it. I'm still in shock and I can't believe that out of everything it was THIS. The ONE THING I needed. It couldn't have been financial difficulty, a parental divorce or a bad breakup which I could've experienced. I so so so so wish it were one of those instead. I so wish we were homeless, that my parents divorced or I remained single for the rest of my life if it meant that my Dad didn't have cancer. 

I can't even get up to start my day and I lay there numb with emotion. The only thing that gets me out of bed is my Dad and I run to the kitchen to see him sitting there, beaming down at me and commenting on how late I woke up or asking me if I want to watch the next Breaking Bad episode. The grammar in this post is horrible but to be honest I don't really care. My brain is racing at a million trillion miles per millisecond and I am just pouring my feelings out.


My Dad, if you're blessed to meet him in this lifetime, is someone you want to meet. He oozes a zest for life, love and positivity and when you talk to him you ultimately just want to do a running jump and squeeze him. Bc he's cute, bc he has glasses and bc he is soft. Legitimately the only teddy bear you need.

I could make this post even more saddening as it already has been. I can talk more about how I am feeling (what even are feelings anymore though?), how my family is dealing with this or how my Dad is coping. But I don't really want to do that. I want to dedicate this banana bread post to Dad because I made this for him a couple of days before he was officially diagnosed. He loved it and he loves bananas and nuts...cos u know, he's a bear.

Currently he is on a low sugar diet. Doctors tell us to let him eat whatever he wants but we are desperately searching for ways he can suppress the cancer so we can have his light around us for longer. 

I read a quote the other day on a cancer dedicated Instagram page. It said that one of the hardest things to go through in life is the mourning of someone who is still alive. I have never read anything more accurate.

Glioblastoma is deadly, it's a cunt and it's the most fucked up thing to happen to someone you love more than your own existence. Cancer in general is a fucking cunt. 


Easy Banana Bread 
                                                                                  Serves 10 
- 1 cup SR flour
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 50g melted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup mashed banana

Method
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Spray a 7cm-deep, 10 x 20cm (base measurement) loaf pan with oil. Line base and sides with baking paper, 3cm above the rim.
 Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well in the centre. Add butter, egg, vanilla, milk and banana. Stir until just combined.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan for 10 minutes to cool slightly. 
Serve warm.


02 October, 2016

Giant Oatmeal and Glaced Cherry Cookies


Hi babies!! 2 years later and the ol' bitch is back. Imma not go into detail as to why so lets just crack on w the show.
Basically, I'm still in Melbourne studying Law. I have hardly baked at all since being in Melbourne which is really sad. 


But this time I did. I remembered how much fun I used to have photographing and then posting it on the internet. So when I made these cookies I pulled out my camera and I snapped it making sure that I continue this little blog. Because to be honest, the fact that I've kept this blog for so long is what makes me happy and I want to keep doing it.

I love the fact that people are (hopefully) reading it. And if not, dats okie too! It's just fun photographing everything while I bake goodies.































I recently discovered a spoken-word Punjabi feminist online called Rupi Kaur today and I really wanted to share a link to one of her Ted talks which is really incredible (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlToQQfSlLA). She's the first online Indian feminist I have ever heard of and I think she needs to be given a lot more recognition.

Her poetry is presented in cute lil simplistic pics on her Instagram (rupi_kaur) and she delves into issues such as feminism and racism. Despite many online personalities using social media to write lengthy paragraphs in an attempt to educate and empower readers, Rupi uses 2-3 sentenced poems to clearly pinpoint pervasive ideals of 'the female' which she then proceeds to articulately rip to shreds. She does this through a perspective which is authentic and entirely her own. Rupi's also of Indian descent which is even more of a yay factor (if I haven't already mentioned hehe).

She's probably most well known for her 'period photo' which circulated the internet. Instagram took the photo down saying it didn't comply with the social networks community guidelines. In response, she penned a very powerful letter to the site and most importantly, to every woman ever.



I threw in a handful of chopped glaced cherries to add some bite. It didn't really do much and if I were to do it again I'd add bigger, more biteable chunks so you can get somewhat of a cherry flavour. I also put in ginger powder and cinnamon powder because I hoped that it would complement the cherries. Yay


Giant Oatmeal and Glaced Cherry Cookies
                                                      Yields roughly 24

Ingredients:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 3/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 2 cups quick oats 
- 1/4 cup chopped glaced cherries

Method:
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add flour, spices and mix well. Dissolve baking soda in boiling and add to mixture. Stir into rolled oats and glaced cherries.

Drop tsp onto engrossed cookie sheet. Bake at 175 degrees celsius for 10-12 minutes. Don't overcook!

* I cooked mine for exactly 10 mins because I wanted them to be quite soft. I cooked the next batch a bit over so they became a bit more brittle. Time is of the essence with cookie consistency.

xxx
Bon appetit!

18 June, 2014

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies



My second post in a year and we are almost halfway through the year. Oh god :(
I was looking at my archives and I only posted 4 posts last year! I really need to pick up my game but I haven't made anything in my Melbourne kitchen because it's too small to do anything!


On another brighter note (or should I say sweeter and saltier note...lame), I found these cookies in my baking photos folder and totally forgot to post them. I think it's because the photos are quite dodgy and the light wasn't looking too good. But hey, I haven't posted in ages so I am literally scrounging for baking material to post.


I made these last year sometime (I think). The recipe yielded a huge batch which I didn't know what to do with so I distributed them amongst my friends and family! They are extremely short and so are extremely crumbly and v unhealthy. But sometimes ya gotta indulge...although I tend to use that phrase on a regular basis so it's not looking too good for me, help.

It's currently 1.30AM and I am sitting in my pyjamas, listening to Beyonce and munching on a carrot because I just woke up from a nap (I know, wtf...I'm confused too). So anyway, I will leave y'all with this recipe while I continue to lip-synch BeyBey and pretend I am at the MCWT (which was a life changing show btw).
Honey honeyyyyyy, I can see the stars all the way from here, can't you feel the glow on the window pane? You put ma love on top, top, TOP. Okay, yeah, bye! 

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
                             Adapted from For Me, For You
- 3 ½ cups plain flour

- 1 heaped teaspoon baking soda

- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

- 1 heaped teaspoon sea salt

- 280g unsalted butter

- 1 ¼ cups brown sugar

- 1 cup granulated sugar (raw sugar works well)

- 2 eggs

- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

- 400g dark chocolate, chopped (you can also use choc chips)*

- Sea salt, to sprinkle

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until pale.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and continue beating for 3 minutes.

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir to combine.  Add the choc chips and stir until evenly mixed through. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge  for 2 hours or until chilled.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Using an ice-cream scoop (or tablespoon) scoop up the dough and roll in your hands to make golf ball sized balls of dough.  Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Space the balls evenly with enough room for them to expand.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Makes 30 – 40 depending on the size of the cookies.

*I didn't stay completely true to the recipe as we didn't have 400g of dark chocolate so I used half dark and half milk. I know that the result would have been much better if I used all dark as it would have contrasted to the saltiness well..but next time! 

20 February, 2014

Cake in a Cup: Chocolate Mud Cake

Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am aliiiiiive..if anyone cared. I haven't blogged in about 7 months!? How crazy. A lot has happened since then. So, what I suggest y'all do is make up a cup of this cake, settle down and get ready to read.

7 months ago in July 2013 I decided to move to Melbourne. The decision was actually quite quick but I had been meaning to move out of home for a while as I felt like I needed to grow and gain independence. I also felt like there was so much out in the world that I wasn't seeing by simply staying confined and sheltered in a city which is extremely quiet. I sent out multiple applications to England and universities over there, but seeing as I missed the deadline for application admissions (ye...because the decision was spontaneous), many of the universities didn't accept them because the deadline was "strict" pfffft. Anyway, from the universities which I persuaded to consider my application, I got accepted into Edinburgh which um hello, yes, is in Scotland. I knew that it would be way too far and I knew that although I was desperate to move out of home I would miss my family like crazy. Also, I knew I would freeze my tits off.

My Dad suggested that I apply to Melbourne universities because a lot of my friends from Perth were moving there themselves. And he felt that it would be a city where I could experience a different lifestyle as well as be in touch with my fam bam...also, it was a 3 hour plane ride away. I applied to Monash university and got accepted. So, my mum and I packed our bags and headed over together. She stayed for a couple of days and helped me settle in. Getting my Mum to come with me to unpack was one of the best ideas because she really gave my apartment the home-y feel and I would be a headless chicken if she didn't come. Like, I don't think I would have made it to the apartment from the airport.. #awkward.

I started at Monash University as a mid-semester student. It took a while to settle in and feel comfortable and come to terms that I had to cook, clean, wash the dishes, do laundry, go to the market to get groceries and manage bills all by myself, but I guess that was the independence I was looking for. Also, no one prepared me for HOW FUCKING COLD Melbourne was........... ummmmmmmm. I didn't bring enough winter wear so I was constantly shivering and feeling glum. I made good friends in my apartment building and a few at Uni, but, to be perfectly honest I don't think they compared to the unbreakable friendships I had at home. 2 girls that I live with however, have become like sisters to me as we see each other everyday and are coping with the transition from school to uni together.

Anyway, I have had hardly anytime to bake and my kitchen is T I N Y. Literally a 1x1...I can barely turn around in there let alone cook up a dessert! But I am searching for recipes which are quick and require minimum effort and which don't require any space to work with...lol.

I went home for the summer for 2.5 months and while there I baked this for my Dad's birthday. He loves loves loves chocolate cake and I knew he would appreciate this. It's a serving for one and you don't have ANY washing up to do afterwards. I love cakes in cups because they are so handy. No need to whip out an entire cake and turn the oven on. You just bung all the ingredients in a cup and microwave dat shit

The cake came out a perfect consistency and was moist in the middle. Sooooo gooooood!

Cake in a Cup: Chocolate Mud Cake
- 4 Tb Plain Flour
- 4 Tb Caster Sugar
- 2 Tb Cocoa Powder
- 1 Egg
- 3 Tb Milk
- 3 Tb Oil (I used sunflower)
- 3 Tb Chocolate Chips (I just chopped up a chocolate bar! Feel free to use random bits of choc)
- 2-3 Drops Vanilla Extract
 *You can also throw in your choice of nut as well. I like roasted walnuts with this.



 Add all dry ingredients into a mug and mix with a fork. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Then add your liquids and pour in the milk, oil and vanilla extract.Whisk lightly with a fork to incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet. If using chocolate chips/nuts, add now. 

Place the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on HIGH, although keep checking on the cake to make sure it does not overflow. I put a plate under the mug to catch any bits that decided to jump out! After the cake seems cooked (remember, the knife test here would be ineffective here as it's a mud cake and will naturally be moist in the middle). 
Allow the cake to cook a little and then enjoy!

05 July, 2013

Vanilla Butter Cake


Ciao Ciao! This is a simple cake that causes for no fuss and annoyance. Basically the best thing you can have on a Friday night by yourself. Lathered in custard. Watching The Titanic. Yep dats what I did. (Cool girl)

Mid-way through writing this post I made breakfast because I was famished and I cooked 90 second oats. A few days ago our microwave busted into nothing so Dad went and bought this super strength microwave that heats you food in 1 second. Literally, I could cook popcorn in there for 1 second and it would work. Anyway, I just put my oats in and during the 80 second mark I peek through the micro only to find out that my entire meal had bubbled over into a hot mess.
So I am now eating HALF a bowl of oats and I am too angry to make anymore.
I've finished and I'm craving more. (Oats, not cake! Although I could do with some cake omnomnom). I finally understand what the word HANGRY means. (Hungry and angry at the same time). Hksjdhflkjsdhflkjsdf
Note: this cake is supposed to be a butter cake not a sponge cake so it should be moist. Just a warning so no one hates me after they've cooked the cake waiting for an airy sponge.
ALSO. I GOT INTO MONASH UNIVERSITY IN MELBOURNE. SO I AM MOVING TO MELBOURNE IN 2 WEEKS AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING BUT YOLO. AND I WILL HAVE TO COOK IN MY 1x1 KITCHEN BUT I WILL BE COOKING AND IM SO EXCITED YEAH OKAY BYE XOXO

Vanilla Butter Cake
                      Recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly

 - 125g butter, chopped
- 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp of Vanilla extract
- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (225g) of self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius/160 degrees fan forced. Grease deep 19cm square cake tin and line base with bakin paper. (As you can see I don't have one of these so I fished out a lovely flower one which I thought suited the dimensions required).
Combine butter and milk in a saucepan and stir until smooth.
Beat eggs and extract in a small bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy; gradually add sugar and beat until dissolved between each addition.
Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in sifted flour and butter mixture in two batches.
Pour into cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes; turn top-side down onto wire rack and let cook. If desired, dust cake with icing sugar.

20 June, 2013

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Turnovers

Oh gawd, it has been ages since I last updated! I totally forgot about posting these morsels but I was going through my pictures on my laptop and re-discovered them!






I made these in about Feburary when I really wanted to bake but I didn't want to bake anything big. I hope other people get that feeling because I feel like that 99% of the time! I always want to create or bake something but there are days where I can't bear the hassle of cleaning up afterwards. This recipe is one of those fabulous go-to ones where you hardly have to clean anything. It's more of a station workshop where you spread, fold and bake. So easy.

These turnovers are filled with cream cheese, icing sugar and frozen blueberries. They are basically cheesecakes in a flaky puff pastry pillow. So, these are perf for portable cheesecake biteables.

I also got quite bored placing the blueberries on the sheets of pastry so I decided to get a little adventurous and I popped into the pantry and picked up some strawberry jam. The strawberry jam turnovers were strawberry cheesecakes, and the blueberry turnovers were blueberry cheesecakes!
There are endless options you could do to fill these turnovers to suit your taste! I'm so excited to experiement again with them and try different and wacky flavours. The best thing is that they are so crazy easy to make and are so easy to transport!

4 ingredients! Just make sure you have cream cheese in the refridgerator and puff pastry in the freezer and you are good to go. Just find little combos around your kitchen and chuck them in the turnover!

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Turnovers 

- 125g cream cheese, softened 
- 2 1/2 tbs caster sugar
 - 1 (25 x 25cm) sheet Pampas ready-rolled frozen puff pastry, just thawed, quartered 
- 75g (1/2 cup) frozen blueberries
- 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Combine: the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl.
Place the pastry on a clean work surface. Spread one-quarter of the cream cheese mixture over a pastry square, leaving a 1cm border. Sprinkle over one-quarter of the blueberries. Brush the edge with a little egg yolk and fold pastry over to form a triangle and enclose the filling. Use a fork to gently press the edges together. 

Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining pastry, cream cheese mixture and blueberries. Brush turnovers with egg yolk and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serve.

29 April, 2013

Crunchy Cocoa Roasted Nuts


Oh, hi!
I made some nuts. You should totally put nuts your mouth...naughty! (See what I did there?) ;)


This recipe calls for very simple ingredients that you are bound to have in the house. The products are individual crunchy roasted nuts enveloped in a thick chocolate meringue with a hit of pepper/chilli. So grrrrrrreat y'all.


I have deferred my first semester of university meaning I have 2.5 months off whut whuuuttt woooppwoooop. I feel SO relieved because I don't have to worry about assignments and all that shit (been there done that in year 12). But I can laze around on my fat ass like I have been doing for the past 6 months I actually need to get things done. But. I. Can't. Be. Bothered.


I've started up tutoring services and I've got a few students lined up which is quite exciting! But I'm still on the hunt for a job.

Crunchy Cocoa Roasted Nuts
- 3 cups of raw almonds (I used both almonds and walnuts)
- 6 Tb of unsalted butter
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tsp of salt
-1 cup of caster sugar
- 3 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Place a rack in the cdenter of the oven and preheat to 350 farenheit (or 175 degrees celcius).
Place almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and place in a medium bool to cool completely.

Place butter on a rimmed baking sheet and melt in an oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and 1/2 tsp of salt and beat until frothy. Gradually add sugar and increase the speed of the mixer. Beat until the egg whites hold almost stiff peaks.
Add the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, the cocoa powder, and cayenna pepper and beat until well incorporated. Pour the egg mixture over the toasted nuts and toss together until nuts are covered. Spoon mixture into the melted butter. Spread around the mixture onto the tray and place in the oven.
Cook for 30-45 minutes, taking the nuts out and turning them every 10 minutes.

02 April, 2013

Fig, Ginger and Walnut "Almost" Linzer Torte



Aloha!!! It has been ages since I last posted..almost 4 months. How bizarre!?

I've been going through some stuff the past 4 months and as a result, my love for baking started to fizzle out and what used to excite me before just didn't interest me at all. But things are slightly starting to look up and it's kind of strange because all of a sudden its just all whooshed back at me and the past week all I have been thinking about is cakes, cookies, macaroons, trifles..ya know, the usual bakey stuff.




I stumbled across this recipe on Poires Au Chocolat where Emma made a seville marmalade version of this almost torte. (I was also desparate to back and we didn't have any eggs in the house so this recipe drew me in even more).


I also asked Mum to get me some marmalade.. which she didn't get and instead she brought home royal fig jam. But I think the flavours of ginger and fig work quite well so I decide to bung it in to my torte! I haven't even been able to try the torte seeing as I am allergic to literally every food on the planet. So I'm absolutely guessing when I say that I think the flavours work well. However, my family thinks they do which is good.


I had to use smaller tart tins which are literally the size of my thumb because I didn't have any 6-inch pans! And I really should have thought of that before I was halfway through making it (soo organised). But they turned out fabbo!

I'm hoping to get back into this blog more. I took the four months off because of on-going shitty phases in my life but I am back now and I really pray to god that things get better from here. We'll see.

Enjoy da torte yo.


Fig, Ginger and Walnut "Almost" Linzer Torte
(adapted from Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts) from Poires Au Chocolat

50g whole almonds
65g plain flour (I used spelt flour)
75g light brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
big pinch of fine sea salt
75g unsalted butter
1 tsp milk
100g fig jam*
4 Tb of roughly chopped walnuts

Place the almonds, flour, sugar, ginger and salt into a food processor and blend until fine. Cube the butter then add it with the milk and blend until the dough just comes together. Wrap a 25g chunk of the dough in a bit of cling film. Lightly grease a 6" round cake or tart tin with a removable base (or in my case I used 10cm tart tins with a removable base), then scrape the rest of the dough into it. Use your fingers to press it out into an even layer with a little lip at the side. Place the little ball of dough and the tin into the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes - meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170C/340F.

Spread the marmalade out in the middle of the tin, leaving a gap at the edge. Tear the extra bit of dough into small chunks and arrange on the top. Put into the oven and and bake for 30 minutes until the sides and splodges in the middle are deep golden-brown and the jam is bubbling. Sit on a wire rack. After five minutes, run a knife around the edge and remove the tin. Leave to cool fully. Keeps well for at least 4 days in a sealed tin.

(Makes one 6" torte, 6-8 slices)

* The jams and marmalades I make are generally soft-set. If yours isn't, a tiny bit of lemon juice or water should loosen it slightly. Lemon would also be a good idea if the jam is purely sweet (i.e. not a little bitter, like marmalade).

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26 December, 2012

Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes


Merry (late) Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having an amazing and festive holiday season. I wish I could say I'm having a white christmas..but I'm not. It's blazing heat over here and I am sweating balls!

These cupcakes have 43grams of butter in them. Yes, you read correctly. 43 grams in 12 cupcakes. So out of the ordinary for cupcakes yet so amazing! These have become a staple in my house as me and my family don't feel guilty stuffing our faces with them.



My family is safely inside with the AC on full blast. We have been lazy asses all day because the heat has gotten to all of us.


I made these cupcakes the day before yesterday for myself. I adapted the recipe slightly so I could have it by subsitituing the white flour for spelt flour and the milk for rice milk. It turned out absolutely fine and super spongey!

The recipe also calls for 5 tablespoons of butter in the icing - but I left that out because it seemed too sickly sweet in such hot weather. But altogether, it's one stick of butter for BOTH the cupcakes and icing. You can finally gorge on cupcakes and not even feel bad about it.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
    adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
    makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour (I subbed in 1 cup of spelt flour)
a scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk (I subbed in 1/2 cup of rice milk)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 celcius).
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a handheld beater and beat on slow speed until the mixture is a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side or the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth. Just a few minutes. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into paper lined muffin tins, dividing between the 12 cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

                                                                               *

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
     from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
     makes enough for 12 cupcakes, double this recipe to frost an 8-inch cake

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the powdered sugar and butter together in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment on medium low speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer speed to low. Combine the milk and the vanilla extract and slowly stream it into the butter and sugar mixture. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes. If you find that your frosting is getting to warm in the summer months, stop beating and set in the fridge for a few minutes. Once chilled, hook the frosting back up the the mixer and beat once more until you reach the desired consistency.