Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cupcake Frosting

No cupcake is complete without frosting, and one of the most popular frosting is cream cheese frosting. Basic cream cheese frosting can be altered with flavoring such as vanilla and maple to add some extra pizazz, but classic for me is alone, white.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter
12 oz cream cheese
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature.

In a mixing bowl, mix butter on medium speed until light and creamy.

Add cream cheese and mix until fluffy.

Slowly add the sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to mix.

Finally, add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix until it has a creamy consistency.

You can store this frosting for up to three days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. When you are ready to use it simply mix it with an electric mixer until it becomes smooth.

This should give you excellent frosting to top your cupcakes with! If you want to alter it to make it Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, simply add maple extract instead of vanilla. You can also play around with this cream cheese frosting by adding a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon. This will spice things up and tastes great on pumpkin cupcakes (Halloween!) or on apple spice cupcakes. Cream cheese frosting tastes great with most every cupcake though I wouldn't recommend topping off vanilla cupcakes with this frosting.

Basic Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes (best on the net)

Super moist!

3/4 Cups unsweetened best dark chocolate (melted)
3/4 Cups hot water
3 Cups all purpose flower
1 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter (1 stick = 113gr - 339gr)
2 1/4 cups sugar (only 2 cups was not sweet enough, the 1/4 is important here,  unless you're putting frosting on top)
4 large eggs
A generous splash of vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat your over to 350 degrees.

Beat together chocolate and hot water until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and powder, and salt until well combined.

YES this works! Just do it
Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan over low-medium heat until smooth. Once smooth, transfer to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time. Add cocoa and mix. Add vanilla and mix well. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture. Don't over mix!

Now pour cupcakes into the cupcake tins and pop your chocolate cupcakes in the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes, rotating pan at the halfway mark.

You can store your chocolate cupcakes for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to two months but they taste so delicious when they're fresh. Frost them with chocolate, buttercream, or cream cheese frosting for an extra tang! Sometimes I like to top them with just some powdered sugar. These chocolate cupcakes are very rich and frosting might be too much for them. If you want a lighter frosting, go with boiled. This also tops chocolate cupcakes off great, but my favorite is the cream cheese.

Cream cheese frosting/topping

Dark Chocolate Cupcake recipe

Vanilla yummy Cupcakes

220g self raising flour
160g plain flour
225g butter, softened
340g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
4 large eggs
125ml whole milk
125ml natural yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract

180 degrees/gas mark 4 oven, approx 20 mins. Perfect!

Yield between 2 dozen and 30 vanilla cupcakes.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2.. Mix together cake flour, flour, sugar, and baking powder. Make sure these are combined well.

3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add butter. It will be easier to cut the butter into small squares at room temperature. Don't just add the whole stick.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, yogurt and vanilla extract. Add this to the dry vanilla cupcake ingredients.

5. Beat until combined but don't over beat!

6. Fill 2/3 full cupcake tins with cupcakes batter.

7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes (give or take a few).

You will know your vanilla cupcakes are done when you pat on the tops and they spring back up at you. If they sink then the vanilla cupcakes need more time.

As far as frosting the vanilla cupcakes goes, I would suggest using the buttercream frosting recipe. Decorate your vanilla cupcakes with colored sprinkles, sugar candies or fruit.

Vanilla Cupcake recipe

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ruti's Fish

Steak nisha ha nilus

The numerous times I've made this, and still I don't have an image to post here.
This is my absolute default recipe for guests comming over.
Quantities are ommited as it's so personal.
Its so easy, stress-free just what you need for feeding friends or after a long day.

Tomatoes (tin or fresh)
Lemons (pickled or fresh)
Fish Nilus

1. Chop garlic and onions and fry in a little oil.
2. Add Salt and tomatoes for a red sauce.
3. Arrange fish (between 2 or 3 fingers thick) into a deep dish.
4. Squeeze in wedges of lemon in between the fish.
5. Sprinkle some corriander.
6. Pour the tomato sauce, cover with aluminium foil and bake. After 40 minutes, check the middle of the dish if the fish is soft,moist and opaque.

Tip: Take the fish out of the oven just before it is done.
This way the fish stays perfectly moist when it's finally served.

Garnish with corriander, and salt


Pickled Aubergines/Eggpants

Aubergines, nice plump and firm
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Garlic peeled and chopped
Greens: Cilantro/Corriander

1. Slice the aubergines about 1cm thick.
2. Spread on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
(Note: I don't bother "sweating" the aubergines first)
3. Grill till brown, turn over and brown second side. Set aside.
4. Add Balsamic, garlic, salt and chopped corriander. Toss

This gets stronger and more aromatic the longer it stands.

This can be repeated for sweet potatoes and whatever vegetables in season that you want to go anti-pasti with.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pickled Beets

Great thing about beets is I aways find myself making so much I give most of it away to friends as gifts.

So to all friends who have received, here is the recipe.
Possibly the easiest and stain-free beets recipe on this planet.

1 kg Beets
1/2 Tsp Salt
350ml Vinegar (regular plain 5%)
1 whole Garlic head
3 Tbps Sugar

1. Rinse the Beets if they are a bit muddy, I don't always bother if they are clean enough. Place all in a double-lined cooky bag.

2. Slice the whole garlic head in the middle, so all the cloves are halved, add to the beets, paper and all (I don't bother peeling)

3. In a large glass, pour about about 350 ml of vinegar, add 1/2 tsp of salt; 3 tbps of sugar.

4. Mix and pour over the beets.

5. Bake in 180c oven for 1 hour. Turn off and allow to cool. Usually I do this before bed and let it cool overnight in the oven. (If the beets are small then bake for less time.)

6. Once cold enough to handle, rub the skins off the beets, they should peel away very easily (I use rubber gloves to prevent finger stains)

Serve with chopped greens ie parsley, cilantro, etc.,

If you find it too acidic drizzle some honey on it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Veggie & Cheez Tart

Been on a no-meat binge for no explainable reason, this began with a desire to jazz up my short-crust recipe. So I jazzed it up by throwing a handful of dried herbs, in this case marjoram and some thyme. The pastry was wonderfully speckled and crispy.

Baked some veggies, here there are peppers: yellow, red, orange, yams, red onions, courgettes and carrots. Thing here, is colours, think colours and the veg will follow.
Douse with oil and again dried herbs. (no salt, don't want the vegetables to 'weep')
Into the oven for an hour at 180c.

Pile into the baked pastry case, add clumps of favourite cheese, I like here salty white cheese, then add some chopped greens like dill, cilantro or parsley for garnish.

Serve with tehina sauce on the side.

A light summery lunch, picnic or supper
Your veggie friends will applaud you and toast you as one of their own!

Nectarine and Almond Tart

Finally a decent photo!... whadya think?

Actually i have a confession here, i simply had some nectarines knocking about, threatening to go bad soon, armed with a new pastry recipe just looking for some innocent fruit, and as they say the rest is history!

French Tart Pastry
thanks to: french pastry

90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
150 g (5oz, or 1 slightly-rounded cup) flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).

1. Heat butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.

2. When melted, remove the bowl and dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

3. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.

4. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.

5. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.

6. Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them.

I find it best to pinch off a small amount of the reserved dough, roll it gently between your fingers to soften it, then wedge it into the cracks, smoothing it gently with your pinky.

7. Let the shell cool before filling.

Here i was totally lazy and made Bird's instant custard and just layered it on the tart crust.
Slice and arrange the nectarines, on a last minute whim, toasted some sliced almonds and scattered on top for that Oh-so-professional look.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beef in Tomato sauce

1 kg Fresh tender Shoulder of Beef
2 tbp of Cornflour
1 tbp of white sugar
soya sauce

vegetable oil for deep frying

5 big juicy Tomatoes (quartered)
1 Onion (chopped)
1 Garlic (optional)

1. Slice diagonally against the grain the shoulder into thin slices
2. Add soya sauce, mix.
3. Add sugar and mix.

4. Heat the oil, whilst waiting, add the cornflour and mix well.

5. Test the oil is hot, it should sizzle when you immerse a small peice of beef to
test temperature.

6. I insert the beef strips singulary with chopsticks you can do this with your
hands or a fork. The reason being, if you put all of the beef in the oil, it
will fry into a "clump"

7. Fry for a few seconds, the beef should only be semi-cooked.
8. Set the semi-cooked beef aside. Drain most of the oil, leave 1 tbp in the wok.

9. Add chopped onions and garlic, brown, then add the tomatoes and a little water if
necessary (Depends how juicy the tomatoes are.) Cook till soft.

10. When boiling add the meat strips and stir till thicken.
11. Serve with hot white rice.
12. Garnish with green leaves ie. chopped spring onions, chopped cilantro, or
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