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Archive for October, 2011

A Monkey Cake

I’m home.

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I’m happy.

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I’m cooking something new every day.

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This means more people are happy.

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Spreading the joy with food :)

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My baby cousin who is visiting, just had his 9th birthday.

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I made him a cake.

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When I showed him the cake and asked him what it was, he said, “It’s me!”.

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This is what the cake looked like.

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Obviously he thinks he is a monkey.

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And he may be right.

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I used my basic Fudgy Chocolate Cake recipe. (Just made a lot more icing!)

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Then I cut off a bit from each side to make room for the ears.

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The “ears” were Oreos covered in chocolate icing.

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Actually the whole cake was covered in chocolate icing!

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I gave the monkey a big yellow icing mouth, a scarily wide pink icing smile, raisin nostrils, and eyes made of holey chew sweets.

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Cheers to family and food! They are the best things in life, won’t you say? :)

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Chicken-corn Quiche

I love Quiche.

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Honestly, what’s not to like?
Eggs, cheese, pastry, and practically anything else you want!

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Infinitely adaptable, wonderfully wholesome, and so easy to make.

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I made a minced chicken and corn quiche. It was delicious.
Please make one. And put whatever you want in it.

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Mushrooms, bacon, broccoli, onions, sausage bits, tuna, peas.
(Just not all together!) :)
I promise you can’t go wrong.

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Chicken and corn quiche

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Serves: 4
Eat this with: A tomato salad

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Ingredients:

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butter, to grease
1 sheet puff pastry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
200 g chicken, minced
100 g baby corn, chopped
6 large eggs
100 g cheese, grated
200 ml cream
salt and pepper, to taste

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Method:

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1. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Grease a 9-inch pie dish with a removable base, with butter. Place the sheet of puff pastry on it and press down onto the base and sides, spreading it evenly. Pop into the freezer to chill.
2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Add the onions and sweat gently. Once they turn pink, add the minced chicken and gently fry over medium heat for a few minutes. Next, add the corn, season with salt, and stir well. Cook for a few more minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool.
3. In another bowl, crack the eggs in followed by the cheese and cream. Mix well and season. Add the cooled chicken-corn mixture and mix everything together.
4. Remove the pie dish from the freezer and pour the mixture in. Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes, until the sides are a lovely golden brown, and the top is set. Remove from the dish, slice, and eat warm.

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In other news, I’m going home in a few days. This means several things.

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1. I will be pampered silly.
2. I will eat like a crazy person.
3. I will spend lazy afternoons with my family.
4. I will meet childhood friends and we will laugh like monkeys.

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But there is one other thing.

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5. I will have access to a real kitchen. With equipment and space and a full pantry.
I will have people to help me and I wont have to clean up or do the dishes.
(These are all problems I have to deal with- staying alone, and cooking in a tiny kitchen!)

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In other words, I can cook something insane and not sweat the small stuff!

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So, in typical culinarystorm style, I thought I’d put this up to a vote.
I’ve picked five classic recipes I’ve always wanted to try, and you guys need to help me decide!

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The one with the top vote is the one I will cook and post about :)

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Have a fun week ahead! :)

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Happy Birthday

Today I don’t want to talk about food.
I want to talk about a special person.

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A good food teacher.

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Creator of my most favourite meal ever.

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A try-everything-once encourager.

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Eater of a spoon of sugar when there’s no dessert.

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Historical novel lover.

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Maker of a mean meat loaf.

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Secret pigging out partner.

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Holder of my darkest secrets.

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Provider of any-time hugs.

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Crazy shoe shopping accomplice.

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Eternal supplier of the “it’ll-be-all-right”.

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Giver of endless, unexplainable quantities of immeasurable love.

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Happy Birthday Mumma.

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We’ve come a long way from here.

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You only get more beautiful every year.
And I love you from the deepest reaches of my heart.
Forever.

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It’s been a while since my last post, but that’s only because I was up to my ears in an office project.

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It was a Show and Tell/Open House for our department.

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Other teams came to look at the kind of work we do, and we had a ton of fun in store for them!

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Side note: Have I ever told you about my job?

I edit books. REALLY fun books.

Books like these :)

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We had some super fun activities planned for everyone, based around the theme of our books.

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The Gardening section, had tiny (and very cute!) saplings that people could take home and grow.

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More plants to encourage people to go green!

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We also had a craft section in which everyone could make their own photo frames using some wonderful (and unusual!) items.

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We set up a photo booth, with a vintage car cut out and some crazy props!
I like me in red hair :)

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And then there was the food and drink section. What fun :)

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We had a “Decorate your cupcake” stall that was very popular!

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A Masterchef guess-the-ingredient-stall.

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And a path breaking “Quickest-chocolate-cake-in-history-stall, manned by these two cuties!

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This cake is perfect for those insane cravings that come out of nowhere.

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All you need are some basic ingredients at hand, and you can have chocolate cake in 50 seconds! Yes. You heard that right.

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Recipes for this marvelous cake have been doing the rounds on the internet, but after several (failed!) experiments, we discovered the perfect ingredient ratio.

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This is a very basic recipe. Feel free to add some chocolate chips, dark chocolate pieces, or even liquor chocolate (yum!) in the mug! I’ve tried all these and they work really well.

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The cake starts to harden a bit when it hits room temperature, so eat it warm. If you like your cake a bit gooey, then up the liquid content very slightly.

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The Quickest Chocolate Cake in History

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Prep time: 30 secs

Cook time: 50 secs

Makes: 1 mug

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Ingredients:

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2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp ground sugar

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp milk

2 tbsp oil

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Method:

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1. Mix all the ingredients in a microwave-safe mug until you have a smooth batter. Microwave for 50 seconds. Eat straight from the mug! :)

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Here’s a fun picture of the people I work with. Their wonderful madness makes this a happy place to work in! :)

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This month’s book club choice was The Beach Café by Lucy Diamond.

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Although it wasn’t the kind of book I’d pick off the shelf myself, the story was about one of those wonderful, impossible dreams that we all dream about sometimes.

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Young girl. Aunt leaves her a café in her will. She has to pull it together.
Fall in love along the way. And become a stronger person through it all.

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Predictable I know, but a fun read nonetheless.

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Also, the setting. Oxford and Cornwall- this book screams with British-ness, and I love that about it.

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Side note- On a trip to London last year, I fell in love with the place.
Can you tell? :)

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Now the food- carrot cake, angel’s food cake, ham sandwiches, pasties- this book makes you hungry! The wonderful part of it is that all of it is heart-warming, no-fuss, home-cooked food. Just the kind I like :)

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For that reason, I decided to go with Fudgy Chocolate Cake.

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This is my favourite chocolate cake recipe. You can’t get it wrong.
Once those ingredients are mixed, you WILL say hello to a dense, fudgy, rich chocolate cake in about 40 minutes.

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The icing is as decadent. This is not a cake for the faint-hearted.
Embrace the chocolate attack. You’ll love it :)

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Here is a slice on my plate. Just before it vanished ;)

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Fudgy Chocolate Cake

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Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Serves: 10–12
Eat this with: Vanilla ice cream

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Ingredients:

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175 g plain flour, sifted
3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
200 g, caster sugar
21/2 tsp baking powder
250ml milk
175 g butter, melted and cooled (salted is fine), plus a bit more for greasing
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence

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For the icing:
150 g butter, softened
75 g cocoa powder
150 g icing sugar, sifted, plus a bit more
50 ml, thick cream
sugar flowers to decorate (optional)

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Method:

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For the cake

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1. Preheat the oven to 180º C and grease a 8-inch square tin.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, and then add the wet ingredients. Mix well until everything is incorporated and you have a glossy, thick batter.
3. Pour into the greased tin, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, keep in the fridge for about 10 minutes, before gently slicing through the middle, to get two layers. Set aside.

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For the icing

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1. Mix all the icing ingredients together.
2. Add a little more sugar, if you feel it’s not thick enough.
3. Place the base layer of the cake on a plate. Slather with icing :) Put the top layer over, and cover with the remaining icing. Decorate with delicate sugar flowers, if you wish. This cake tastes wonderful fresh, but only gets better in the fridge.

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