Monday, February 28, 2011

Lavender Cupcakes



Lavender is something you either love or you hate.

I happen to love it.

It conjures up fond memories of my granny and her lovely boudoir. She had a massive collection of perfumes, body creams and facial creams you name it, she had it. I distinctly remember the faint smell of lavender in her bedroom.

In particular I remember little purple lavender soap's in the bathroom. I loved using these when I was a child. I would have a big bubble bath, either filled with a lavender scented oil, liquid soap. Or use the little lavender soaps. Made me feel like such a grown up!

I came across these lavender cupcakes on Nigella's website a while ago, and forgot about them. I find so many recipes that I want to try bake, cook, steam, fry or whatever that I have a foodie folder so I don't forget to try these cooking delights I come across.

After going through the folder I decided it was time to try the lavender cupcakes. Cooking with lavender is very experimental, if you add too much it is horrible, and very flower gardeny.

I had made my own lavender sugar from lavender, so that was ready to use. It is just like making a vanilla bean sugar. Add a few stalks of well washed lavender to caster sugar and set aside to permeate the sugar. You can use it in sweet baking or even some Moroccan type foods.

I adored the smell of the lavender sugar so much that I also tried making a lavender essence. Again wash some lavender stalks really well, put them into glass jars, and fill with a clean tasting alcohol. I used a good quality vodka. It makes the most amazing essence. And it is really cheap too!


Makes 6 Texas muffins size, or 10 cupcake size

Cake Ingredients
90 grams butter softened
2 teaspoons lavender essence
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons milk

Icing
1 cup icing sugar
50 grams butter softened
1/2 teaspoon lavender essence
2-4 teaspoons milk
food colouring and sprinkles

Method
preheat the oven to 170C
1. Place all the batter ingredients into a mixmaster and mix until it forms a firm cake batter, should take 3 minutes. Dollop the cake batter into prepared cupcake pan, lined with paper patty's. Bake for about 25 minutes. Place them on a rack to cool completely.
2. Beat all the icing ingredients until it comes together. Ice the cupcakes and decorate.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Pound Cake

Happy Valentines Day everyone!!!!

Most people hate this day and feel that it is only for the new lover's or, the chocolate and florist's of the world trying to make a bigger buck.

Well I love it!

Any day that celebrates love and all things loverly, baked or chocolatey fills me with warmth. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that you need to go all extravagant and spend heaps of money. I'm more of a stay at home, make a nice dinner, and bake (what a shock) for my loved ones kinda girl. I do think the whole restaurant and roses is a bit cliche.

Well my hubby woke me with the most amazing breakfast in bed, raisin french toast. He served it with creme fraiche, bananas, pure maple syrup and a dusting of cinnamon. I will have to nick his recipe to post on this blog soon, it was really really good ;)



I also had an appointment with the OB today, I'm now 20 weeks. We saw the little one bouncing around in there, turning it's head to face us, very strange and cute all at the same time. Actually it was trying desperately to stretch his/her legs out, but the placenta is in the way. Was a fantastic little morning show.

I wanted to top off the wonderful day we've had with a chocolate cake. A simple chocolate pound cake. My husband doesn't appreciate icing like I do, the weirdo, so I decided not to ice it in the spirit of valentines day. But I did serve it with creme fraiche and a dollop of a home made cherry and vanilla jam! I will be posting a recipe for the cherry jam very soon.

 


1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup of plain flour
125g butter
125g good quality dark chocolate
2 eggs
1/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons of vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Sift the flours, baking powder and cocoa together into a large bowl.

Melt the butter, add the chocolate, vanilla, salt sugar and eggs.

Bake for 30 minutes in a lined loaf pan on 160C fan forced. Serve it warm or cooled.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Fun

My day so far....

Woke up this morning and felt like pruning and planting. I planted some parsley seeds, hopefully they will take off soon, before it starts to get cooler.

Pruned my raspberry plant. Not long now till im feasting on fresh raspberries!! It's the second flush of fruit in only a short space of time :)


 My pentas, I have 4 colours. I love the baby pink, so pretty :)



I also planted an Impatiens. It is the first I've ever had so I hope I don't kill it. It is like a gorgeous baby rose bush, tight little buds with a lovely hot pink colour.

I just realised that most of my flowers are a pink variety ;)

After the gardening, I sat down for a cup of white and rose tea, with a lovely jaffa macaron from Zumbo. Zumbo's macarons are my favourite in Sydney.

Then I went for a drive with Chucky, was too lovely a day to sit at home, so we went for a walk near one of the gorgeous beaches. One side is a big national park, and on the other side is a stunning white sandy beach. We have a few beaches here, but the one in this photo is my favourite.

Chuck always takes a nap when we drive no matter how long we are in the car.