Saturday, 27 November 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge November 2010: Crostata

Gosh, I am so glad that I joined the Daring Bakers because I am really enjoying myself month after month. This month was no exception.

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

After two initial days of surfing the net, nail-biting, surfing the net again, sleepless nights - ok ok, I'm exaggerating ( I love my sleep - especially in this sudden freezing weather!) - I decided I would bake the crostata using version 1 of the pasta frolla (both versions can be found by clicking the link below).

With great hints and tips given by the ever-so-lovely Audax, I was confident enough about the pastry case. I absolutely love creme patisserie so any chance for me to use it I would! And then, like I wasn't chuffed with my plan as it is, I found this design (didnt use the recipe though) for an apple rossette on a pie. Well..... thats like a cherry on top!
 I was soo happy with coming up with that, I might as well not have actually baked it. Was totally exhausted by all that researching, could've done with someone making me a crostata! :-)

There's my baby daughter trying to run off with one of the apple just when I was getting ready to take a shot of the apples with the crostata! Guess it's keeping it real, lol.
Anyway, the pasta frolla dough is sufficient to line and cover a 23cm flan tin. Seeing that I wasn't covering the crostata and I really wanted to try out these figs that I had bought the day before, I decided to halve the dough and make two 20cm tin crostatas. One being my beautiful apple rosette crostata and the other being a fig frangipane crostata.

I got the recipe online at FoodLovers but had to cut down on the amounts. It looked gorgeous when it came out of the oven, the gorgeous almondy aroma is totally irresistable but even more then whenn combined with the pastry.

I didn't try the fig frangipane crostata, I rather saved it for a lovely brother-in-law who I knew would appreciate it. The apple rosette crostata with the creme patisserie filling on the other hand.....? Let's just say that I wasn't that willing to share ;-)

I'm so glad I got to try this out, the variations are countless and you can really play around with flavours or use your ultimate favourite. If you do try this out, make sure to check out Audax's tips, such as grating the butter and then freezing it before rubbing with the flour. Genius!!

Thank you Simona and a well done to all the other Daring Bakers xx

Friday, 19 November 2010

Cupcakes for Eid!

It was Eid this week - one of the biggest celebrations in the Islamic calendar. And as it is for Christmas, the preparation was manic! A whole load of gift shopping, making freeze-ahead finger foods, bake-ahead cookies and edible gifts (sorry no posts about those guys, they were often done late into the night with tired, droopy eyes!). And best thing of all.....I had a cupcake order!!! Yay!!

The order was for 24 cupcakes with 3 different flavours, I could make whatever I like but one of the flavours was to be chocolate as I was told the recipient liked her share of chocolate. Good. She can be my friend. We certainly have a good starting point for a friendship! ;-)

The chocolate cake was a very rich, moist chocolatey one and the buttercream was a chocolate fudge frosting, both together made it a chocoholic's dream!

Do you like the fondant blossoms? I think the contrast of the pink goes well with the dark brown swirl.

Once they were packed, I felt a sense of relief. I was happy with them and most of all, I wanted the recipient to be happy with them!

The second type of cupcakes I chose was carrot cupcakes with a orange-cinnamon cream-cheese buttercream. The carrot cupcakes were made using my favourite recipe (can be found on an earlier post), frosted in a rose swirl and dusted with ground cinnamon and a handmade fondant carrot.

The final of the three types of cupcakes are an all-time winner - Victoria Sponge cupcakes. A delicious vanilla sponge, filled with strawberry jam with a simple swirl whipped cream frosting and topped with an embossed red heart and gold glitter.

Just the way Queen Victoria would've liked it, only if cupcakes were 'in' then! (Great news about Prince William and Katy, don't you think?? )

It's just so amazing to think that this just started off as a hobby-turned-obsession. Not once thinking that I would be getting orders and all the proper stuff! But I am so glad! I love how the decorations come together and all looks good and nobody is none the wiser about the tornado mess in my kitchen or pulling-out-hair moments when the oven switched itself off in the middle of baking, or the girls tugging on my apron wanting me to watch peppa pig with them..... But I wouldn't have it any other way...

Oh, who am I kidding?!! I'd love a BIG self-cleaning kitchen and maybe the girls to be a few years older doing the actual baking while I sit down and have a cuppa. I might need to wait quite a while for that though! [sigh!]

See you soon everyone and hope everyone is enjoying the festive season whether it's Eid, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any others :)

I leave you all with the really gorgeous chocolate fudge frosting recipe xx

Saturday, 13 November 2010

My first blog award!

I checked my email a few days ago to find a lovely surprise in the inbox....... a lovely blog award waiting for me from the very lovely Cath of Dunn to Perfection . Gosh, it really did make my week especially when I felt like I hadn't been giving the blog much attention lately. There were 14 other blogs that Cath had to choose
and those blogs were really great!

I now have to give this award to 15 bloggers who I like. This is going to be hard, there's so so many brilliant food blogs!

The 'One Lovely Blog Award' goes to: ....... [drumroll]

(in no special order!)

Can you believe I got a blog award??!! I'm so chuffed about that.