Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday and... Boo! Bonus Bentos!

Hallowe'en is one of the most fun times for Muffin Tin Monday!  Here's what The Muffin had in her tin this Monday:

Top Row:  Bat cookie eating chopped Papaya;  Witches Brew (green sauce - basically a pureed cucumber raita with added spinach for vitamins and green-ness);  Naan bread Witch Hat with string cheese and purple carrot detail.

Bottom Row:  Rice tinted green;  Star-shaped Egg;  Witch Broom (piece of banana dipped in yoghurt, sprinkled with shredded coconut, with a pretzel stick handle).

The After Shot:

The Muffin loved her Banana Broomstick!  She was very pleased with this dinner all round, really, although she didn't love the papaya (this was her first time trying it).  She ate some, and said she quite liked it, but wouldn't like a lot of it.  Fair enough (I felt a bit the same way about it, actually).

To see what other spooky treats were dished up this Monday, check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

But Wait - There's More!  Bonus Bento!

The Muffin wanted Hallowe'en-themed bentos on Monday and Tuesday this week, as well as on Hallowe'en itself, so here's what she had yesterday:

Spook Bento!  The Muffin has four ghost-shaped tortilla sandwiches (stacked - one cheese, one ham, one Promite, and one thick home-made applesauce) - I got eight ghost shapes from a total of two regular sized tortillas.  She also has a ghost pear (I am so in love with these - you should totally try this, it's really easy.  Pears seem to be a naturally perfect shape for slicing a ghost-shape from!)  The eyes of both ghosts are black sesame seeds;  the mouths of both were made from one chocolate chip - the flat part for the tortilla sandwich ghost, and the tip for the pear ghost.  Her snacks are a "Boo" marshmallow, three prunes (with a ghost sticker pick), and vanilla yoghurt.

On Monday, The Muffin had this for lunch:

This is not as neat as the spooks, but I really like the idea of slicing the top few millimetres of crust off the top of a bread roll, to make a flat surface for decorating (desperation being the mother of invention - I had run out of sliced bread!)  She also had chopped pineapple, and a little gummy heart lolly as a Hallowe'en treat (yes, an anatomical heart-shape, not a love heart).

My poor little vampire honestly looked WONDERFUL when I first made him, but this photo was taken after he'd spent the night in the fridge, and he looked a little washed out.  The sprinkle bow tie seemed to have bled its colour into the cheese a bit, and the eyes aren't quite right either...  Still, The Muffin was amused by him, and liked that there were raspberries "bleeding" into her yoghurt!

I'm linking this up with Halloween Bento of the Week over at Bento Blog Network - check out all the Hallowe'en Shininess!

I'll be back in a little while with The Muffin's actual Hallowe'en lunch, so I hope to see you back here soon!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday - Waiting For Hallowe'en...

The Muffin is very much looking forward to Hallowe'en.  As it's on a weekday this year, we're not having a party or anything (and trick-or-treating is not much of a thing here in Australia), but we still like to have a bit of fun, even if it's just a spooky cupcake or something.  :o)

Anyway, the point is, we decided one Hallowe'en-themed Muffin Tin wasn't enough - so we started this week:

Top Row:  Half a pear, with a ghost-shaped piece of skin cut away (and a "boo" pick made with a toothpick and a sticker);  Cauldron full of popcorn;  Spinach leaves.

Bottom Row:  Ghost bread and butter (with choc chip mouth);  Eyeball lolly;  Pea and prosciutto frittata.

The pea and prosciutto frittata was a recipe we found in the newspaper over the weekend, and The Muffin wanted to try it.  So I made them for dinner tonight, and they were yummy.  The prosciutto slices are pressed into a muffin tin as a sort of casing for the frittata filling.  So some of this meal was cooked in a muffin tin, too!  The recipe can be found here.

The After Shot:

The frittata was met with unqualified approval - she didn't even pick any peas out!  Hurrah!

For next week's tin we're planning something witchy...  Until then, why not check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog, and see what other people did this week?

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Royal Show Entries

Once again, The Muffin and I both entered some of our baking efforts into The Perth Royal Show this year.  Here's what we entered...

Cinderella Cupcakes:  I entered these into the "Decorated Patty Cakes"  (ie cupcakes) section - and I won! 

The cupcakes themselves were my usual vanilla recipe (ie Billy Reece's Vanilla Vanilla recipe), frosted with my own vanilla buttercream.  The decorations are almost all sugarpaste (with a little CMC added).  There's a little royal icing to stick everything on, and also a tiny bit of piping on the "glass slipper" - oh, and the wheels of the carriage were lovely piped swirls of royal icing, painted with silver lustre.  But I took these photos after the Royal Show, and sadly the wheels were smashed to tiny pieces by the time I got them home!  So you'll just have to imagine them.

I was quite pleased with my little pumpkin - and it was very easy to do, too - I think with a different colour icing for the base, it would make a lovely Hallowe'en cupcake, too!

And here's a closeup of Cinders herself - she was the most time-consuming to make (unsurprisingly perhaps, although honestly I was expecting to have a lot more grief than I did with the glass slipper, having never made an icing shoe before.  It was easier than I thought it would be).  Cinderella's head and torso (with arms attached) were skewered with a piece of uncooked linguine (I thought spaghetti would not be strong enough to hold this, as it was quite a heavy decoration for a cupcake.  The linguine was a bit thicker and stronger), and left to dry overnight.  Then when it came time to decorate the cupcake, I simply draped a biggish circle of blue sugarpaste over the cupcake for the skirt, added the poofy bits of the skirt on in a slightly lighter blue (please feel free to admire my superior knowledge of dressmaking terms), and added Cinders to the top, pushing the linguine down into the cupcake to support her.

It was a bit of a rush job getting these cupcakes done this year - I just couldn't get inspired, so I ended up leaving it until the day before the delivery day to start making the decorations!  Luckily everything dried sufficiently, and I was happy with them in the end.

Bring on the cookies!  My cookies I was very happy with - no dramas here, I had a clear vision of how I wanted them to turn out, and they did...

Some of you may recognise the Dragon Claw Cookie (top right), and you'd be right - I originally made this cookie design to enter LilaLoa's Creative Cookie Competition way back in March.  It didn't win then, but guess what?  My cookies DID win at the Show!  Woo hoo!

I also got Second Prize in the "Cake Using Honey" class, but I didn't take a photo of that, because it was pretty boring looking (no icing allowed, etc).  It's a really yummy cake though, and it was based on my Sunny Honey Cupcakes recipe.  If you haven't tried lavender and honey cupcakes yet, then you should totally go and make these immediately - they are really yummy!

As pleased as I am about my Show wins, funnily enough the prizes I was most excited about were two little "Highly Commended" certificates - and they weren't even mine.  Because The Muffin entered two classes this year, and she got Highly Commended for both!  Happy Mummy Dance!  I was SO happy she got this bit of recognition, because she works so hard on her Show cookies, and she's always been so good about saying "I don't mind if I don't win, Mummy - it's fun just entering".  But you know that deep down in her little five-year-old heart, she'd love to win something.

Here are her Decorated Cookies:

I didn't help her at all with these, she did the lot herself, including making the little sugarpaste heart and flower (I did help bake the cookies obviously, but the kids' cookies are not judged on taste, only on appearance - they are even allowed to use store-bought cookies - so the baking part doesn't count in this class).

2012 is Year Of The Farmer, so there were special "Scarecrow" classes this year in every category.  I didn't enter any of these, but The Muffin did enter the kids' special class, which was "Scarecrow Biscuit".  What they had to do was use commercial cookies and lollies to make a picture of a scarecrow, glued down with icing onto a paper plate.  Here is The Muffin's entry:

Congratulations, Muffin!  Your Daddy and I are both so proud of you!

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