Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who's coming to dinner?

Being a shameless admirer of all things naff it is no surprise that I love cliches and quotable quotes.  So ingrained is my dag-ness that I think about and store instances when said cliches and quotes could be applied to conversation, so as to appear spontaneous and witty when conversing with my peers. I do this in the hope that after a refined chortle my acquaintance will congratulate me on my impressive incite into the human psyche and ask me to be their friend. Doubtless my (dear, long suffering) friends will attest to being overcome by my power to woo them with said charm....

  All of this got me to thinking...if I could choose a bunch of people to make sweet syntax love to in order to charm them with my witty yet sensitive intellect and ensnare them into my web of friends... who would it be? (the question itself being pretty daggy dinner party conversation) More to the point what would I serve them for dinner? It's not an easy question to answer, I'm sure I could invite loads of people but would they work together ok? Think of the complexities of interactions!  They can't be too brilliant or have been dead for too long... the conversation would be awkward (can you imagine poor Jane Austin sitting next to Russell Brand?) and you wouldn't get past pleasantries, certainly a lot to think about. Oh and you wouldn't want to invite a chef or food critic who wants that kind of judgment when catering for guests!

this is my friend Pickle's pictorial representation of an ideal party

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh for wistful dreaming and french cooking

I have a confession to make. I'm not faithful to baking. I have been known to become smitten by the  heady spicy aromas of an Indian curry and prance at the prospect of roasting a chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. Don't get me wrong the sugar high of making a beautiful cake is a splendid feeling indeed however the magnificent sense of accomplishment of serving said cake at the end of a successful diner party gives me a reason to live (ok so that might be a bit dramatic but you get the idea).
As a dear friend so tactfully once put it : my name is Ms Cupcake and I'm a catering whore.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The joyless cake

I was recently given a challenge by a friend of mine. Make an awesome birthday cake.
Haha Ms Cupcake let slip a cackle, that I can do! But wait there was a challenge. The people eating this cake are allgergic/intollerant of EVERYTHING THAT MAKES CAKES AWESOME! No butter, flour, sugar or eggs... just the fundamental anatomy of any good cake. Even the humble strawberry is met with a suspicious squint and tag of 'moderation only'.
Ok so this was going to be more dificult than I imagined. As I trawled the recipe book that resides in my brain I would think of a few optons only to have them shot down for some fundamental reason (syrup is made of sugar you fool! Merigue? what! are you crazy!).
So I switched tactics, rather than focusing on the can't haves, I switched to the can haves... hazelnuts.. good.... polenta... interesting... glucose... so there can be some sweet...citrus...hmm a good mate of semolina!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

one two three...cook!

I love Masterchef and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Yes it's over dramatised and yes it has spurned nightmares in which I am devoured whole by Matt Preston, but I like it. 
I like the unashamed hedonism of the judges as they struggle to refrain from launching face first into the plate of food in front of them and I like learning new cooking styles and tricks. But perhaps most of all I like  being reassured of the fact that I am not the only person in the world who is completely obsessed with cooking and food....

Being all too aware of my obsession it  came as no surprise then to my friends when I announced that there had to be a Masterchef style cooking challenge on our recent long weekend island holiday. The deal, I explained to them, was to cook one course with a partner for $15 using what ingredients you could find in the small general stores available to shake it up a bit each team would also need to buy a mystery ingredient each that had to be incorporated into the opposing teams' dishes. The final challenge was to make it dairy free to accommodate for allergies...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

zen and the art of cupcake making

I enjoy discovering little things that made me smile, such as running my hands through the lentil bins at Kakulas Bros. (yep I'm the reason you need to wash them) or words I like rolling around in my head. Take for example the word's soothing and comforting in is soft elongated vowel sounds, try saying it...cathartic isn't it?..... I got onto this train of thought as my mind was wandering while sifting flour. I was staring blankly at the wall enjoying the moment and realised that this is why baking is enjoyable. You allow yourself to zone out and start to enjoy the physical subtleties of making something with your hands. So as I was entering my cupcake zen the other day I found myself smiling at nothing in particular as I methodically weighed, whipped and stirred. It was nice.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A pastry by any other name...

In her vain attempt to justify shaking up with one of her families' mortal enemies Shakespeare's Juliet utters that immortal line
  What's in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet'
As futile as her balcony mutterings may have been the lass had a point. Substance wins every time over which case we can forgive the French for their questionably titled cabbage pastry. Probably more familiar to you as choux pastry, cabbage is indeed the literal translation. Perhaps a step up from it's orginal moniker (from when it had just been imported along with it's chef from Italy) as pâte à popelini... roughly translated to breast paste. The elegance of the french language makes it perfectly ok to refer to these as little cabage puffs... and indeed it would seem you're lover too as the endearing mon petit chou is translated to my little cabbage.. or perhaps the franks are just really big fans of cabbages. My point being call it what you like but when made well desserts from this pastry are divine little puffs of heaven...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Petit Fails

I would venture that there is no food more beautiful than petit fours. Even the my beloved cupcakes must stand aside for these exquisite little cakes. So having always been an admirer from afar I decide to have a play in the kitchen and see if I could make some. Admittedly I didn't quite have the right ingredients to have a proper go at it but I am sad to say I ended up with rather pathetic little petit fails.