Halloween Chocolate Bats

Halloween Cake 1

I thought I’d do something simple and fun this Halloween. Say hello to my chocolate bats!

Halloween Cake 2
The process is fairly straightforward – pretty much the same method as the chocolate butterflies that I have made in the past with a different template and some flower wire. Also, the eyes of the bats are drawn in with toothpicks dipped in edible gold dust and vodka.

If you’re desperate for a template – any template – to get started now, below is a scanned sheet of my roughly sketched bats and tree stump. I will eventually attempt to make a proper template but for now this will just have to do, internet people!

Chocolate Bat Template

I also tried out a new chocolate cake recipe which was amazing. The cake turned out extremely moist and dense with no grief in regards to technique or complex ingredients. Recipe from here.

Halloween Cake 3

In terms of photography, I set up a black board on the dining table as below and took the photograph with a 60mm f2.8 lens.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this little project – I had fun making it. It’s been a while since I did anything fancy.

Chicken Tagine with Dates

I had an abundance of dried dates leftover from baking some sticky date puddings. After an extensive amount of Pinterest-ing and Google-ing, I decided to give chicken tagine a go with a few modifications of my own based on what I had available in my pantry.

IMG_0886Yes, this blog tends to be leaning on the dessert side but I thought I’d branch out today.

IMG_0897I had this spice mix in the pantry but you can use any Moroccan spice mix you can get your hands on with this recipe.

Chicken Tagine with Dates

Ingredients

3 tablespoons Moroccan spice mix
6 chicken drumsticks
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 onions, diced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup dried dates
1/4 cup walnuts
Coriander to garnish

Method

  1. Heat oil in frying pan.
  2. Coat drumsticks in spice mix and fry for 1-2 minutes each side. Remove from pan.
  3. Saute onions and garlic in oil. Add in chicken stock, tomatoes and drumsticks and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until drumsticks are cooked through. Season with sugar and salt to taste.
  4. Add in chickepeas and dried dates and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Serve with chopped walnuts and coriander.
  6. Serve with couscous or rice.

IMG_0894I really enjoyed making this – as I mentioned before, I usually expend my energies on dessert items so this is very different for me. Hope to pursue more savoury cooking soon.

Cupcakes for Spring

IMG_0872Spring in Melbourne is unpredictable. One day it’s sunny and beautiful, the next it is cold and dreary again.

I was invited to a barbecue a week back and decided to bring some of these along. If these daisies look familiar, it’s because they were done exactly the same as the ones on my Daisy Bee Cupcakes.

IMG_0883These were orange almond cupcakes with cream cheese frosting by the way – simple and easy. Recipe from here.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

IMG_0863Hello everyone! It has been a long time. Forgive me if my projects are less dramatic over the next coming months – I’m trying to make things that are less time consuming from now on.

My current challenge is to clear out my pantry that’s bursting with ingredients that I have acquired over the years and the first item to go was almond meal.

I had a massive stockpile of almond meal because I went through a macaron phase at one point (from now on I’ll just buy them, thank you very much!)

Anyway, we had friends over for dinner a couple of weeks back and I decided to go for a flourless chocolate cake – recipe from here. The only difference is that I substituted the hazelnut meal with almond meal.

IMG_0857This cake keeps really moist and has an amazing texture. Definitely worth trying out the recipe.

Raspberry Jam Drops

IMG_0731I have an obsessive personality, and lately I have been micromanaging my apartment into the perfect blend of ‘accidental’ chic and purposeful perfection.

As a break from all of that, I decided to hop into the kitchen to make some jam drops.

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First step is to gather up all the ingredients. Story about the butter – Simon Johnson left Echire butter that was 2 days before the expiry date on their shelves and we bought some unknowingly. As an apology they gave us a block of Lescure for free because there wasn’t any Echire left. Not complaining!

Vanilla from Heilala – supposedly award winning and whatnot. I haven’t tried out enough pastes to make a proper comment but seems good so far.

Also, in line with the chia craze, I got a bottle of raspberry jam with chia from Henry Jones & Co. Yes – I’m always searching for the new and novel. That makes this recipe vaguely healthy, no?

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Raspberry Jam Drops

Ingredients (makes 15)

60g butter
40g icing sugar
80g self-raising flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
Raspberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius (fan-forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together.
  3. Add egg yolk, flour and vanilla paste and combine.
  4. Roll into small balls and press a circle into the center.
  5. Spoon raspberry jam into the centers.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

 

Photography

photo

Lens: 60mm 2.8f
Processing: Lightroom 4
Props: Brown cardboard, wooden basket, baking paper and jam jar on a white stool

Candle Cupcake

Recently, a friend had a birthday and I baked a simple batch of chocolate cupcakes for her. Because it was such a plain project I thought I’d try to photograph it a little differently and decided to style it sitting on a SOMA cube motif. I like how theĀ  shadows turned out.

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There’s my set up – light coming from the right from my apartment window, black board at the back. Taken with a 60mm 2.8f lens.

photo

 

Raspberry Friands

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Hello, World!

Yes, I know that my supposed every Monday and Thursday posts have not been forthcoming for an entire four months. The truth is, life caught up with me and the other truth is that I was lazy. I didn’t want to face the mountain of dirty dishes that comes with baking and decorating, particularly with the more complex projects that I embark on.

Anyway, last night I decided to push myself and baked off a quick and easy batch of friands and they turned out great!

 

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These took almost no time at all to make and best of all, very little dishes to wash up because there was no creaming or whisking or anything fancy involved. And berries makes everything look pretty.

 

Raspberry Friands

Ingredients (makes 6)

1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
2 egg whites
1/3 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup raspberries

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 Celcius.
  2. Pour all ingredients except the raspberries into a bowl and mix well together.
  3. Spoon mixture into friand tins or cupcake ones if you don’t have them.
  4. Press the raspberries into the top.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and springs back when pressed.