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Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Mexican food is the latest trend in Australia, with terrible little shops popping up all over... except one. Mad Mex.  I love it. The first time I had it, I fell head over heels for their churros, and resolved to be able to make my own. But I'd give these ones I made a 7/10 sadly, but I hope it was my fault & and not the recipe.  I plan to try them again after some further research. The cinnamon ratio is way off, in my opinion, and I love cinnamon. I would halve the cinnamon, or less. I also thought that maybe the oil was too hot... or something made them a little too doughy in the middle & almost burnt on the outside. I'll have to play around, but they were still edible. The reason I picked this recipe is that the author said he'd tried a lot of recipes and none measured up. I might need to research more about dough consistency & deep frying... as you'll see in a future post about doughnuts :)

Here is the recipe, and this guys photography is fantastic. Go HERE, you won't regret it.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry Pear Dessert Smoothie

I am entering this smoothie recipe into a competition to win a new blender (cross your fingers for me). It's been a favorite drink of mine since I invented it (I'm very smart) 9 years ago.

Frozen Strawberries (1-2 cups, or about a punnets worth 250g and freeze if you can wait)
Frozen Pear (cut up a pear or two and freeze them)
Ice cream, 2 scoops plus more for serving
Yogurt (optional) any flavour, I like Vaalia french vanilla flavour 150 g size.
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Milk

1. Cut up strawberries and freeze, or buy frozen strawberries. Cut up a pear and freeze, if you have the time, otherwise a fresh pear will do just fine.
2. In a blender, add strawberries, pear, milk and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Add ice cream and blend again.
3. Serve with another scoop of ice cream, and top with fresh strawberries. Enjoy! Makes about 1 litre.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lemon Layer Cake

I went to the most beautiful baby shower ever.  It was magazine worthy. I took a million photos, and here are some of my favorites:

I was asked to make a cake for the shower, and I was kind of nervous, as I knew there would be a lot of people there I'd never met before. That's a lot of pressure to make something nice, and I don't make many special cakes. I've made a few, but nothing spectacular, but I love to bake so I figured I could pull off something without too much skill. I'm not much of a decorator, but I have a nice selection of piping tips and bags, and I saw this idea of easy icing roses ages ago, and I wanted to try it. Perfect occasion. I'd also been seeing all those beautifully coloured layered cakes, so decided to try that too.

I got the recipe from here, using the lemon filling & icing as well.

I wanted to dye the layers nice shades of pink & purple. I added too much dye. I use the gel dyes, and used what I thought looked good in the batter. I actually used 3 different shades, but as you can see, it looks like 2. They seem to end up darker after baking. I wanted a really pale layer, then a bit brighter, and then a purple layer. Oh well. Lesson learned. Use LESS dye, a small enough amount that you think it's not enough.

I'd only done a filling once before this, and it didn't work very well. This time, I was lucky it worked. Here is the number one tip to adding a filling to a cake - DO AN ICING BARRIER! Pipe a healthy ring of icing along the outside of each layer that will be filled. This creates a wall that the filling will not squish out of. My cake was sliding around all over the place. I didn't do this barrier, so I propped it up in the fridge against large bowls, and stuck toothpicks all over the place. Not the simplest solution. Another lesson learned.

My next tip is to spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake once the filling is set, or once you are confident you won't push the cake over. A nice thin layer will smooth the cake out, and make a clean surface to decorate on. How many times have you gone to ice a cake and crumbs end up being pulled off the cake, and mixed in with the icing. Not pretty. Let this thin layer set in the fridge (or wherever you want)

To create the roses, you pipe circles, but backwards. So, you begin in the middle, and pipe to the outside. I tried almost ALL of my tips, but the nicest looking one was a 5 or 6 pointed open star tip, and a small one at that. Those large M1 tips are too big, in my opinion. Maybe on a large cake they would work. It's also A TON of icing using the M1 size. I don't know what my size was, but it wasn't tiny either. A medium size tip. Sorry I can't be more helpful, but a lot of tips don't have their size written on them.

This cake was delicious! It was so full of lemon flavour (as the buttercream icing was also lemon!), it was intense, but so amazing. Everyone seemed to enjoy it too, and that's what mattered to me!