Sunday, July 31, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

So here's the thing. I've never really been into Nigella Lawson. Shocking, I know. Maybe the lady can cook, but I don't know, the whole sex siren/chef thing just all seems a bit on the pretentious side for me.

Then I found out that an old friend of mine is moving to Canada, and we were going over to his place to pinch all his extra condiments and vanilla extract have dinner and say goodbye. Which seems like unrelated information, except that I decided to take along some cupcakes with red maple leaves on top - you know, as a nod to the Canadian flag. So in keeping with the colour scheme, red velvet cupcakes seemed like the obvious choice.

And (wait for it - the point of this is coming any minute now!) recently Taste magazine featured - you guessed it - Nigella's Red Velvet Cupcakes. Since I've never found a red velvet recipe that I'm 100% happy with, I figured I might as well give them a try.

I'm so glad I did.

I take it all back, Nigella - sure you might lick your fingers and make lascivious faces at the camera a little more than I like my celebrity chefs to be doing, but boy do you know your red velvet cupcakes.

See how pretty they look, fresh out of the oven? It was almost a shame to frost them. Almost.

I thought the crumb of these cupcakes was divine - light and fluffy, but still moist, and with a lovely flavour (so often I find "light, fluffy" cake tastes like not much really - not so here). Also I was really happy with the bright red colour - some red velvet cakes I've made have not had as much colour as I would like (and yes, I know the original red velvet cake was probably just a reddish brown from the cocoa, but what can I say - this is an area where I am not a fan of subtlety. Bring On The Food Colouring!).

Anyway, I didn't use Nigella's frosting recipe, I just sort of cobbled one together - mostly butter-based, but with some cream cheese added for flavour. It was really yummy, and I wish I'd payed attention to the quantities I used. Sigh. And I coloured some white chocolate melts with red powder colouring, and piped maple leaf shapes onto baking paper. Once they were set, I popped one of top of each cupcake.

My friend was amused. And we all enjoyed the cake.

I'm interested to see how these cakes hold up to freezing (I love freezing cupcakes, it means I always have something home-baked on hand if people drop in for a coffee). Some cakes freeze better than others, so we'll see. I'll be taking the rest of the batch out on Wednesday night, so I'll be sure to let you know how they go.

And if you want the recipe, go here: And once you wade through all the over-flowery directions, you'll be glad you did.

Thanks Nigella. And... you know... sorry about not watching your shows and all.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday

The theme for this week's Muffin Tin Monday is "We Forgot It Was Monday Again And Were Therefore Forced To Somehow Incorporate An Omelette Dinner Into A Muffin Tin". Catchy, eh?

Here's what I came up with:

Top Row: Half a clementine; Banana slices.

Middle Row: Omelette. There is finely chopped spinach mixed in with the eggs (which is why it's kind of green), and the omelette is filled with ham, cheese, olives and peas. I cooked a whole omelette for her, but just added a few slices of it to the tin, figuring I could refill as she ate.

Bottom Row: Carrot flowers; Cucumber flowers.

The After Shot:

I was quite pleased with the vegetable content of this dinner, as sometimes we still find vegies quite the challenge. The Muffin is pretty good with pumpkin, carrot, etc, but not so great with greens. The fact that she happily munched her way through two types of green vegies, plus was coerced into eating a couple of pieces of a third (the cucumber), makes me happy. She ate almost the whole omelette (ie. just over twice as much as what is shown in the "before" tin above), so I didn't push her too much with the other foods. I found a carrot on the floor afterward, so actually only three were eaten, not four. But for me, this dinner was a big success.

To see what other mums did this week, go check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Hearts & Flowers Dinner

Hello and welcome to Muffin Tin Monday, dinner edition!

Once again I sort of forgot it was Monday until this afternoon, so tonight dinner was served in Muffin Tins all round. Husband and I had a 12-hole tin each. The Muffin had this:

Top Row: Peas; Tomato sauce in a heart cup; 2 lamb cutlets (or meat lollipops, as Husband said).

Bottom Row: Heart shaped roast potato; Roast butternut pumpkin with hearts cut out (although you can't really see it in the picture); Roast carrot flowers.

All shaping of vegetables was done while the vegetables were still raw. It was a total coincidence that the heart cookie cutter I used on the potato just happened to be exactly the right size for the heart-shaped cup!

The After Shot:

I was really surprised that she didn't seem too enthused about the meat tonight. She liked it, but only ate about three quarters of one (she loves lamb, and will usually eat two of these, no problem). Tonight she seemed more interested in the vegetables. She even ate quite a big spoonful of peas (pulled a face, and had to be coerced into eating another spoonful, but still - usually she'll eat one pea at a time which is So Painful).

So what did you do for Muffin Tin Monday? I'm heading over to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog, to find out!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - T is for Tuesday!

The school holidays have totally messed with my sense of time and space. We completely forgot it was Monday yesterday, and only remembered at bed time that we should have done a muffin tin. So we decided to do a breakfast tin on Tuesday instead.

The Muffin said that since we were doing our tin on Tuesday, we should do a Letter T theme. So we did:

Top Row: Cherry Tomato with Thyme; Toast.

Middle Row: Trail Mix; Breakfast "Trifle".

Bottom Row: Tomato sauce; Hash brown Triangles.

Note: This tin was actually my breakfast. The Muffin's was the same, except she had a smaller cherry tomato, raspberry jam on her toast, and her butterfly shaped tin.

For the "trifle", I layered rolled oats, yoghurt with vanilla mixed in, and tinned peaches:

It was yummy. So was our trail mix, for which I mixed cashews, sultanas, coconut chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and a few M&M baking bits (I wanted chocolate chips, but I had run out).

The After Shot:

The Muffin enjoyed this tin. She was coerced into trying a small bite of the cherry tomato (a miracle in itself - she hates tomato), which did not change her opinion of them. Everything else was yummy.

To see what other (more timely) mummies did this week, check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We have awesome neighbours. The kind of neighbours that everyone wants. The kids (teenagers!) are the kind of kids we all hope ours will be when they grow up, their dad is a really nice guy, and their mum is someone I count as a friend. We've even co-hosted parties together (and that shows true patience on her part, 'cause I'm kind of a control freak where it comes to parties). Yeah. We have awesome neighbours.

And they're moving away.


So I made them some cookies.

There was a centrepiece cookie, too, but it had all their names on it, and I'm not sure whether they'd love that being put on the internet.

Anyway, you know who you are.

We really will.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thoughts On Winter

Winter is not my favourite season. I hate being cold.

But quite apart from that, I have noticed that in Winter (what with spending 90% of one's waking hours in jeans, and the rest in either black pants, or something similar), it is also a lot easier to let oneself Run To Seed.

Perhaps it is fortunate that I have a child to bring me back to reality occasionally...

Because when, at 10am, your four year old examines your legs and says "Mummy, why are you wearing stockings?", that's when you know it really is time to put down the piping bag, and go and wax your legs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Butterflies

This week's Muffin Tin Monday was supposed to be Red White and Blue themed, but as Indepedence Day is not an Australian holiday, and also because blue food would have required forward planning, and I was in a rush and completely disorganised, we chose instead (right at the Last Minute) to do a Butterfly theme:

Top Row: Clementine butterflies; Butterfly apple slices.

Middle Row: Half-hearted attempt at butterfly-shaped rice cake with Vegemite; Easter egg from The Muffin's stash (justification: butterflies lay eggs. I pointed this out to The Muffin after she had started eating, and she totally adopted the idea as her own: "oh yes Mummy, that is why I chose it" - hmm. Maybe, but I have my doubts. More likely she chose it because she fancied some chocolate).

Bottom Row: Tamarillo, chopped up small; Yoghurt with vanilla and butterfly sprinkles.

The After Shot: I forgot to take one! So you'll just have to take my word for it. She ate everything, except the tamarillo. This was a new fruit for her (and me!), and she was suspicious from the get-go. "Mummy that fruit does not look very nice. What are all those black bits?" I tried to explain that they were not black, they were dark red, and for my trouble I received The Dark Look Of Suspicious Disbelief. Anyway, I convinced her to try a bit, and she immediately pulled a horrendous face and squawked "Eeeeeuuurgh!" Which I guess means "no thank you, that is not to my taste". Oh well, I can't complain too much - I didn't like it either! (although I did refrain from saying "eeeeuuurgh").

To see what other mums are doing this week, check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Awesome Giveaway at

This giveaway is All Kinds of Awesome. If you win, you get the Lunch Punch set of your choice, plus a Whole Lot of cool new bento toys.

Check it out here.

Or... don't. 'Cause, you know, I want to win.


Good luck!

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