Friday, 12 February 2010

Valentine's Delight Numero 2

So Valentine's Cake number two was a bit of an experiment. And one which turned out very very well.

I love, no wait, adore white chocolate. MUCH better than the other stuff in my opinion. So when I saw recipes online for white chocolate mud cake, I decided a cupcake version was required.

However I usually find mud cakes a little hard going so I decided that a filling was needed to lighten things up a bit. I tried a few with whole strawberries in the middle, but the eventual winner was strawberry jam. YUM.

Sorry about the crap picture - all I had to hand was my iPhone!

These turned out EXACTLY how I hoped - dense and fluffy at the same time, with that lovely pocket of starwberry gooyness! The white chocolate is subtle in the sponge, so I decided I may as well overdose on the stuff and made a white chocolate ganache to put on top.

I'll confess - I had planned to chill and whip the ganache and pipe pretty patterns on top. But warm, meltey, chocolatey ganache was far too good to resist, so I poured the stuff straight on, mainly so I could lick the bowl. Ashamed? Not a bit!!!

When cooled, the ganache was just the right softness to be slightly gooey and sticky, but lovely and velvety too. Each cake was topped with a caramel filled, chocolate heart. (They didn't last long either...)

I don't usually eat too much of my own baking because if I did, I'd be the size of a hippo. But with these, I couldn't resist. They kept calling my name...

"Colene, eat me...EAT ME!!!"

So, all in all, the White Chocolate and Strawberry mudcakes were a success. I'm making more tonight actually, but with a Nutella centre for my friend who doesn't like berries (weeeeiiiirrrdddd), and I'm going to try to wait a little longer on the ganache front.
Oh and I'll try not to eat them all...


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Blondie making Brownies

So it's only a week till Valentine's day. Love it or loath it, it's a great chance to indulge yourself.

I've got a few things up my sleeve for this year's day of romance. Personally, the Kiwi and I don't dwell too much on Valentine's day - a card and tea usually does the trick. Our birthdays are both soon after, and well, we're just not soppy enough!!!

But here is my first Valentine's offering - brownies.

Yum yum yum. I love brownies, with all of their stodgy, chocolatey gooeyness.

I've got a few recipes for brownies floating about, but this one came from...wait for it... the Asda magazine. And I have to say, I'm quite impressed. They're everything they're meant to be - flakey on top, gooey in the middle and pretty much delicious.

Of course I couldn't just let the recipe be, so I added chocolate and fudge chips. Can never have too much.

Don't they look yum?

Strawberries, chocolate and cakeyness - it doesn't get much better, does it?

I put the cookie stencils I got for Christmas to work and they came out better than I expected, considering the rough surface.

We thought they were pretty delicious, but the pyusses didn't seem too fussed. Fine, Iwon't offer again.

Mind you, seeing as the Six Nations rugby is now on, it might take something special to drag the Kiwi away from the telly too.

The Kiwi and I also dug out our cocktail book this weekend. The Kiwi used to be a cocktail chef and still likes to dabble every now and again. I'm a sucker for a whiskey and gingerbeer, but decided to swap for some vodka tipples, and I've got no complaints.

Keep tuned for Valentine's treat no.2...

p.s Whether you're in a relationship or not, you should take part in Gala Darling's Radical Self-Love project - it's looking like a corker...

Monday, 25 January 2010

I Just Blogged To Say...

I love you. And I'm sorry for being so rubbish and inconsistent these last couple of weeks.
But to make up for it, have some super sparkly sugar cookies!!!

(Cookie Jar courtesy of Debbie - thanks for the awesome Christmas present!!!)

And some photos of the pyusses with bows on looking super suave.
Mika wouldn't stay still hence the fuzzy shot

And he soon tired of the ribbons...

Coco on the other hand was a little star

Doesn't she look cute?

Is all forgiven?


Friday, 8 January 2010

Things I Love Thursday January 7th 2010

Little bit late on this one - I'm still in some weird Christmas/New Year/Time Warp Limbo thing where I don't actually know which day is which.
Anyhoo, here's what's been titilitating my visual tastebuds this week!

-New Years! We had two this year - a proper Scottish Ceilidh on the 31st, and then a house party on the 2nd of January which was messsssssy. I love whiskey and apple juice, but 10 of them don't like me too much. Fast forward to the next morning and I woke up wearing Boyzone pyjamas I bought when I was 8. We also played a seriously competitive game of Fuzzy Duck. Good times!

- The Sandollar Cafe. This is one of the me and the Kiwi's favourite weekend breakfast locations. It's right beside the beach, and is really cute.

They have an amazing menu, but we always have the same thing when we go. The Kiwi has a croissant with bacon, eggs and cheese, and my favourite is the Sandollar breakfast, with which you get -tea for one in a cute teapot

-and pancakes, crispy bacon and maple syrup. You do, honestly. I was just very peckish when this photo was taken.

-The pyusses. I felt sorry for them over the festive period as we had to leave them at home when we went out to my parents, but they were visited by their Great-Auntie every day and they love her to bits.

Coco was over the moon with the mouse she got in her Christmas stocking and alternates between giving it kisses and trying to rip its head off.

Although they sulked with us a little bit for leaving them, they soon got back to being their normal selves. One of their favourite hobbies is being pervy. As soon as they hear the shower running, they bolt through to the bathroom, sit side by side on the toilet seat and peek round the shower curtain. They seem to think the water is dangerous though because if the see it touch you, they start crying and whining, and won't stop until you get out. Here they are perving at the Kiwi (no naked Kiwi shots, thankfully)

-What with all of the snow we're having in Scotland at the mo, the cats have decided to take the role of living hot water bottles, which I'm chuffed about. They let me warm my cold hands on their furry bellies! Here's what a typical evening looks like - the three of us cuddled up on one seat!

-The new set of Alice in Wonderland themed Swarovski jewellery. I love the Tea Party pieces, the Red Queen earrings and the Flower Garden ring is very cute. Obviously I love the Cheshire Cat necklace (who will be voiced by the wonderful Stephen Fry in the new film)

-This story about a man who set off a major security operation in Newark aiport, because he did a film-style run through security just to kiss his girlfriend goodbye! Aww!
-Luxirare's edible Crayons. If you've never visited her website before, you should.

-Anyone who regularly reads Cupcakes Take The Cake (If you're not, you should do that too), will be excited to see the inside of Baked By Melissa's store. Melissa makes amazing mini-cupcakes, and seeing inside her shop made me dream even more about my own one.
- Cadbury's Black Forest Chocolate. This stuff is AMAZING. It's Dairy Milk, with cherry flavoured jellies and biscuite pieces and it's yum! The ridiculous thing is you only get it in New Zealand, so thankfully the Kiwi's family sent us some over.

-Receiving e-mails from shops with new Spring items. Looks like my bankie is in for a battering again as more 'Colene' things come into the shops. Parisian polkadots? Yes please! All items below are just from Miss Selfridge - I love the red jumpsuit, and the patent black booties.

-HOWEVER - the hot topic of conversation in my world this week is how much the Kiwi looks like Basshunter, who is in the Celebrity Big Brother house at the moment. SO many people have mentioned it to me, and it's scary. I think they were separated at birth!

The Kiwi

Hope you're all having a good first week of 2010!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Let It Snow...more??

I can't believe I forgot to post these!

Although these may look very festive, they actually still seem quite appropriate considering the weather outside - we have a LOT of snow!!! Apparently temps could dip as low as -21 on Friday. I'm sorry, but did someone move me to Antartica without telling me?!?

Anyhoo, I lost count of how many of these I made over Christmas - the ones with glitter and Gingerbread men, are obviously gingerbread.

And the little red candy canes (seriously, how cute? They actually taste of peppermint too!!!) were either red velvet, or chocolate chip. The little hint of mint from the canes worked nicely with the chocolate, and I dusted a little sparkle on them to make them even more festivey!

I'm actually tempted to make more now...but what if the reason it's still snowing is because I'm still making festive cupcakes?!?!?
Hmm maybe some Pina Colada cupcakes with little umbrellas are in order...

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Old Years Thankfulness!

Happy New Year!

I realise a lot of people will be sitting writing New Years Resolutions lists this week - stop smoking, go to the gym more, eat less fattening foods etc, but I find those lists quite annoying.

Yes they are good for inspiring you to get off your arse and do something, but just writing something in your diary or on a bit of paper isn't necessarily going to make you do it. And then by February, when you look at your list you feel like a failure. Boo.

Well not on this blog!
Instead, I am going to look back at some of the best things that have happened to me this year, and be thankful for such a great year. Much better to be positive!

So, here goes!

- My year started off with a much anticipated trip to New Zealand - it was a fantastic three weeks back on the Kiwi's home turf, and can't be summed up in one go. So firstly I love the North Island because -

My friend Anna lives there - Hi Anna!

We saw the Kiwi's family again! Hi Jordyn and Zoe!

We celebrated the Kiwi's 21st birthday - yes, he's just a baby.

I love the South Island because -

I pulled my first pint

We went road tripping and met up with loads of friends

I did my bungee jump - aagh!

Finally, I love Durville Island because -

It looks like the Secret Island

I learned to fish

I saw actual glow worms and they were amazing, but unfortunately not very photographic!
I spent lots of time on a boat

We also visited Barcelona, and I loved it. Paris, you have some serious competition

The city is gorgeous

As is the food - yum!

We fell in love with an ice bar

And I discovered Gaudi's work - I want to live in a gingerbread house!

On home turf, we spent a weekend tank driving which was amazing fun!

-We were wined and dined in posh hotels in Dundee, Stirling and Inverness and visited the Highland Wildlife Centre.


GOOD year for baking!

I made these adorable cake bites for the first time - I must have made hundreds since

I found an awesome cupcake contact in New Zealand who made and delivered cakes to a friend for me

I made my fun Halloween cakes!

I did some fun special orders

I purchased some important baking equipment including two stands, a cupcake caddy, countless sprinkles (candy canes anyone?). Sadly the Kitchenaid is still slightly out of reach.

And I perfected multicoloured swirling!


We celebrated our first year with the pyusses - how is this possible? It feels like they've been around forever!

The Kiwi and I celebrated our third anniversary in style at Malmaison.

I finally took the plunge and cut my hair short! Again this may not seem like a big deal but look how long it was beforehand! Thankfully I love being a shortie.

I added to my shoe collection - and as you now know, THE DREAM SHOES are now mine! Mua hahahaha!

We attended a good friend's wedding - ah! People I went to school with are getting married! We must be getting old

I finally took the plunge and got my tattoo

And (drumroll please...) I started this blog!!!

Thanks so much if you've been reading my little ramblings! Here's to a great 2010!