Well, last year’s attempt at getting back into blogging didn’t quite go according to plan. To be frank, my whole year didn’t go quite according to plan. Nothing terrible happened to me but the year just seemed to fly by and I managed my time very badly indeed. That said, I did 2 beginners blocks of flamenco dancing and also started silversmithing classes, both of which I really enjoy and hope to continue into 2017 and beyond.
Had great times in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, although still haven’t learned to decorate sugar cookies or make quite as many new dishes as I planned.
Beading took a bit of a back seat, with only 3 projects getting finished but have some new ideas and plans in the pipeline and I’d like to incorporate some of my silver work in with it once I develop my skills a bit.
I’ve been crocheting up a storm, it’s such a nice hobby to do on the couch, in front of the tv, on cold dark winter nights.
Again, I’ve failed badly at my attempt to dedicate more time to dressmaking. I’m really mad at myself, as I love clothes and it is one of my ambitions to become skilled at making them. I actually think I may be putting too much pressure on myself, so this year I aim to just chill and enjoy the process.
I’m about to embark on an embroidery sampler project, which I’m really looking forward to – I don’t know many stitches at the moment, so it will be a bit of a journey of exploration. Can’t wait for my linen to arrive.
Anyway, enough chitter chatter, I have a ton of unfinished projects just begging to be completed.
I’m not a huge sweet fan, and will almost always choose something savoury instead, however sometimes only sweet will hit the spot. This coconut ice is really quick and easy to make, although I needs to set in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight. I make mine in my food mixer because I’m lazy but it can be easily mixed using a bowl and wooden spoon.
This recipe will give you a nice coconut-y coconut ice, just the way I like it.
Beat together the icing sugar and condensed milk until you have a smooth paste.
Add the coconut and mix well.
If you're making two-toned coconut ice, spread half the mixture onto your tray, levelling it off to approximately 1cm in thickness then beat the food colouring into the remainder until you have a nice even colour.***
Spread the coloured mix on top of the plain one, again at around 1cm thickness and smooth down the top.
Leave in the fridge overnight then cut into squares. You have my permission to eat any uneven edges you need to cut off.
* I find red colouring gives a nicer pink than pink colouring
** I use a 20cm square silicone cake mould, so I don't bother greasing it. The mix doesn't quite fit across of the bottom of my mould, but it's firm enough to hold its shape.
*** If you're not adding colour to your coconut ice, spread all the mixture onto your tray, keeping the thickness at around 2cm.
It’s was my brother-in-law’s birthday last weekend, so I baked him some cakes:
Piña Colada cupcakes – by special request. I even put little umbrellas in them.
I also made jelly and custard cupcakes. These are always a great hit with the little ones (and big ones too!)
The Piña Colada ones were from Love Cupcakes, my hands down favourite cupcake book. The jelly and custard ones are also based on a recipe in the book but I’ve tweaked it so many times it doesn’t bear much resemblance to the original. Here’s my recipe for them:
Jelly & Custard Cupcakes
An homage to that old favourite childhood pudding - jelly and custard...in cupcake form.
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c and line a muffin/cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
Put the butter, caster sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of your mixer and beat until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs and mix to combine (don't worry if it looks a little curdled at this stage, adding the flour will sort that out).
Add the flour and baking powder and beat again until combined.
Add the milk and beat again.
Divide the mixture evenly between your cupcake cases, bake for approximately 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, and turn out on a wire rack to cool.
Once cupcakes have cooled, using an apple corer or knife, removed a section of cake from the centre, taking care not to go straight through to the cupcake case. Fill the space with raspberry jam and pop the piece of cake you removed back in.
To make the frosting:
Beat the butter and vanilla until pale and fluffy
Add the icing sugar and beat, slowly at first, until the mixture comes together. Add the custard powder and beat again to incorporate
At this point, you will probably find the frosting to be a little too thick. Add milk, one tablespoonful at a time, until it reaches your desired piping constituency.
Add the frosting to the cupcakes using either a piping nozzle of your choice or spread on with a palette knife.
I use a very heaped tbsp sized measuring spoon to measure the mixture into the cupcake cases. This will give around 16 cupcakes.
I find squeezy seedless jam ideal for these cupcakes.
I prefer about 4 very heaped tablespoons of custard powder in my frosting, as I like it to be quite custardy.
I like to use large nozzles, as they allow me to cover the cake quickly and easily (cake decorating is not a skill I possess!).