Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Simnel Cake

Today is Easter Sunday and I am jetsetting, by myself, to China! There, I am meeting my boss and staying with her Chinese family for 11 days.  So, I will be having a little blog break but when I return I will tell you about my travel and foodie eats! Before I leave, I wanted to post my last Easter recipe: a Simnel cake.  This is basically just a fruit cake (my recipe, click here) traditionally covered in marzipan.  I decided to cover mine in Royal icing and top it with Easter eggs and flowers for a Springtime feel. 

I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter and I look forward to blogging again in May.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Carrot Cupcakes

I know these have been done before in the blogosphere, but I just loved the idea of making mini fondant carrots.  Plus, this cupcake recipe is really moist and filled with yummy things like nuts, pinneapple and carrot.  When you make your own little fondant carrots, make sure to create realistic little indents on the carrot!

Ingredients for Cupcake
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup well-drained pieces pineapple, roughly diced
2 tbsp pinneapple juice

Preheat oven to180 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with 12 cases.  Stir flour, sugar, bicarb soda, cinnamon and nuts together in a bowl until well combined.  In a separate bowl, stir toghether the oil, egg, vanilla, carrot, pinneapple and pineapple juice until well combined.  Add this wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir together well with a wooden spoon.  Divide mixture into 12 cases.  Bake for roughly 20 - 25 minutes or until cooked through.  Allow cupcakes to cool before icing.

Ingredients for Icing
250g cream cheese

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Beat all ingredients together and then spread with a spoon onto the cooled cupcakes.  Now make the fondant carrots.

Ingredients for Carrots
150g white fondant
orange food dye
12 small pieces of rocket leaves

Roll the white fondant out.  Add a few drops of orange food dye and knead until orange is completely spread through and dark enough.  Now cut a small piece of orange fondant to make 1 individual carrot, roughly 6cm wide square shape.  Roll this piece around in the palm of your hand.  Make a sausage shape, but squeeze the end so it is slightly sharper than the top.  Push the top down slightly with your thumb to make it slightly more 'square' shape than the pointed shape.  Now insert a skewer into the top of the carrot so you can stick 1 small rocket leaf inside (see picture below).  With your skewer lying horizontally, press it very lightly into the carrot to create realistic indent marks.  Gently place fondant carrot onto iced cupcake.  Serve.
Making the fondant carrot

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Chicken Cookies

I couldn't resist making my own little Easter chickens after seeing all of your beautiful Easter creations.  To me, these are the eptiome of Easter cuteness, even if I do say so myself! I loved making their unique facial expressions and drawing on their little feet.  As you can see, some of my chickens are stuck in their shells, some of them have just burst out with their feet and some of them are just sleeping until Easter arrives!

Recipes and Ingredients

Butter Biscuit recipe click here
Royal Icing recipe click here
250g white fondant, rolled
Yellow, orange, black food dye

Cut raw butter biscuits into an egg/oval shape.  Bake and cool as normal.  Make royal icing recipe as normal and split un-dyed icing into 4 separate bowls, with the last portion being less than 1/4 cup worth.  Leave the smallest batch plain (white), dye the next smallest black (for the eyes), dye the largest yellow (for the chicken feathers) and the second largest orange (for the feet and beak). 
Take a cooked and cooled oval cookie and paint it with yellow royal icing.  Ensure the icing is smooth.  You may want to use the flooding technique.  Allow to dry.  Meanwhile, cut cracked egg shapes from the fondant.  I did this free hand but my main method was: use cookie as a rough template, cut round shape first, then free-hand zig-zag shape for the cracked egg.  Once you've cut the egg fondant, place it at the bottom of the yellow cookie.  Smooth out the fondant and tuck any extra hanging bits around the side of the cookie.  Now paint the orange beak in a triangle shape and orange feet if desired over the white fondant.  Also paint black eyes on the cookie in any shape you desire.  You may use the white in conjuction with the black to create eyes.  Continue until all cookies are decorated!
I've shared this at Mom's Crazy Cooking Link Party.  Check out everyone's Easter Creations here

Tweet! Tweet!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Salt and Pepper Tofu with Asian Salad

I love tofu dishes and have long wanted to make salt and pepper from my Women's Weekly cookbook.  So tonight I finally made it because my boss gave me all the ingredients! You see I work casual shifts at a Chinese restaurant but my boss left to China with her family today so she gave me all her left over ingredients.  In fact, I am going to join her in China in a few weeks which I am very excited for.  But back to this is so flavourful and easy to make.  I love the crunch of the deep-fried tofu and then the silk interior.  Also, I actually cooked my vegetables but the recipe calls for uncooked vegetables to create a salad.

1 x 300g packet fresh firm tofu
1 small red capiscum, sliced thinly
100g snowpeas, sliced thinly
1 cup bean sprouts
1 small carrot sliced thinly
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
3/4 tbsp black pepper
3/4 tbsp salt
good pinch of curry powder
1/3 cup plain flour

Ingredients for Dressing
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
+ oil for deepfrying

Cut tofu block into 16 pieces.  Lay them out on absorbent papper and stand them for 15 minutes to allow excess water to seep out.  Meanwhile, combine capsicum, snow pea, sprouts and coriander in a bowl.  Combine pepper, salt, curry powder and flour in a separate bowl; coat tofu pieces in this powdery mixture.  Heat oil in a wok/or fry pan, once hot carefully place the covered tofu pieces into the wok and cook, turning now and then, until golden-brown.   Drain on absorbent paper.  Serve salad topped with tofu.  Serve with dressing on the side.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bird Nest Cupcakes

I've been sick this week with a virus, hence my lack of postings! But I'm finally feeling better and have the need to bake like mad.  And with Easter impending, I'm sure all of us are baking like mad and trying out new chocolate-filled recipes.  So, I'd like to share with you a cute way of decorating cupcakes for Easter.  The nest on top of the cupcake is made out of flakes and the eggs inside are either mini easter eggs or sugar-coated chocolate eggs.  If you want to make it even cuter, build your flake-nest and pop a little chicken inside.

24 chocolate cupcakes, iced
1 bag of mini flakes
Variety of mini chocolate easter eggs (eg. sugar coated, wrapped, caramel filled)
Easter chickens, if desired

To assemble the bird nest cupcake, line your cupcakes in a row.  Unwrap the flakes and chop them slightly to create a log-like appearance for the nests.  Try making some thin and some thick.  Arrange these chopped flakes around the outside of the iced cupcake, leave a whole in the middle.  Fill the whole with a wrapped mini egg or a few small sugar coated eggs; alternatively fill the whole with an easter chicken.  Serve.
I'm sharing this at Sweets for Saturday #12

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