Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Humbling Brithday

This has had to be one of the best birthdays ever! I am truly on my knees with thanks for everyone who helped to make this day so special!
Waking my family at a painful 6:30am, they came and gave gifts with gracious, cheerful smiles. From them I received a Kindle, amazon's e-book reader! It is really awesome and I have lots of fun already, thank you so much!
But the best bit came at school, when everyone gave me the most amazing and thoughtful gifts ever - in my case - home wares! I had already been given some cake tins by my family, but my friends also gave me two different types of gorgeous measuring cups, mini soup ladle a mug and more!
My bestie made me a cake (mmm, rich chocolate - my favorite!) and everyone was so nice all day. I know I complain to much, and today has really humbled me - I have the best group of people around me a girl could have!
So, birthdays are not just about the gifts, or even the awesome home-made cake. On our own birthdays we should strive be humble and grateful for those around us.

I look forward to spending lots of time cooking with my new supplies: job no. 1, bake some thank you cup cakes for everyone!

Now for some pictures!

Bundt and tube tins, plus mini bundts!

It is hard to tell by this photo, but the white measuring
cups are babushkas! They fit together so nicely, and are
as sculptural as they are practical.
The multi-colored  flower ones are also very sturdy,
 I am sure I will get a lot of use out of them!

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. 
C. S. Lewis 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Foods of Korea and egg rice

I am lucky enough to be friends with two wonderful Korean girls. They both are incredibly kind and patient as I stumble over the Korean words they are trying to teach me!
Anyway, on Saturday night I was invited to one of the girls' house for dinner. Her mum is really nice and an amazing cook. For dinner we had kimchi (spicy pickled/fermented cabbage), rice and this amazing chicken dish with noodles made from sweet potato. It was absolutely fantastic, I ate so much I thought I would burst! I had never had that type of noodle before, they were really tasty! They are semi-transparent and  really absorb the flavor of the food they are cooked with.
So, a massive thank you to my friend and her family for having me over, not laughing at my horrendous attempt to speak your beautiful language and cooking me amazing food! Sa lang hae!

This morning I got out of bed late and felt like cooking! So I decided to make myself egg rice. I added diced fried onion, red capsicum and soy for flavor. I made extra so I can have it tomorrow for breakfast, yum! This dish is particularly good because you can add anything you want to it. For me it means a quick and healthy breakfast. I am really slow on school mornings, so I normally end up skipping breakfast. Hopefully being able to prepare the night before will help me to be more organised and actually eat breakfast!
I normally use 1 1/2 cup cooked rice and 2 eggs per person, but it just depends on how hungry you are!

On a sweet note, I made each of my friends a 'happy first day back at school' parcel. Each one has in it three mini cup cakes in vanilla butter cake and chocolate butter cake (Butter cake + cocoa!) and about 7 of the lemon cookies I made with my cookie gun. The first day back at school is always hard and tiring, so I am hoping that these tasty treats baked in love eases the pain for my friends! On the down side, my hand is sore from using the cookie gun so much! But the look on my friend's faces when they see the parcels will be worth it I am sure!

Well, another post over and done with, I have done so many already! But with school starting I am sure they shall become less frequent, I will aim to have a new one every week, even if it is short. Let's just hope life doesn't interfere to much!
Over and out,
Ims x

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Past culinary adventures

Over the years I have done lots and lots of cooking. 
This post is a collection of some of the things I have made before starting the blog.
Chocolate Butterfly Cakes
These cup cakes were really fun to make. I just used a plain chocolate cup cake recipe that I like and then used butter cream icing to make butterfly cakes! Getting both 'wings' even proved to be a challenge, but one that I enjoyed immensely. I did not flavor the icing, but next time I would consider adding in some orange juice for flavor. The cakes stayed moist which was good, but they do not keep very long because of the dairy in the icing. This recipe is certainly one I plan on using again!
Bento box with Rice, Sesame chicken and Bok Choy
On a more savory note, this is a Bento box I made as a tasty school lunch. I used molds to shape the rice, which makes the box much more aesthetic! The sesame Chicken was nice and strong, but a little dry. The bok choy was really good, the vinegar in it balanced out the rich chicken nicely. I have made Bentos' with other things like flavored shredded carrot. They do take time, but are healthy and very tasty making them well worth it!
Gluten free banana bread
I have a friend who is gluten intolerant. I had never attempted to bake any gluten free food before and so I decided to give it a try using her as my test subject! The use of gluten free flour creates quite a dense bread, but using the mashed banana kept the bread moist so it ended up being really good. I added in walnuts for texture, giving the bread some interesting 'crunch' and serving to help cut through the density of the loaf. The banana also added a really nice flavor which kept the bread from being bland. The bread went down a treat with my friend and her family so I will definitely do more gluten free cooking in the future!
Carrot cake with cream cheese icing: 
decorated with sour mandarins and choc coffee beans
Carrot cake is my Dad's favorite and I really enjoy making it. So this moist cake is a win-win situation in my house! The cake has quite a rich flavor and has chopped walnuts mixed through the batter. If you ask me, carrot cake is not complete without cream cheese icing! It is best put on thick, but the cake has to be refrigerated or the cream cheese will go off.            This cake is quite rich, but not sickly sweet. I love decorating cakes and the simple pattern using the coffee beans and sour mandarin lollies turned out really well. This cake is perfect for any occasion whether it be an after-dinner dessert or an afternoon tea with friends!

So, there is just a few things I have cooked. I plan on making lots more in the future!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trying out the cookie gun

For last Christmas I got a cookie gun/icing syringe. Up until today I had only used it for icing. But, feeling very extravagant I decided to make a batch of lemon cookies using it. I ended up making over 80 quite small cookies in different shapes. The shapes I used this time were a flower, a wreath, a bat and a tree.
The awesome Cookie Gun!
The recipe used was just one for plain vanilla dough that had come with the gun, but I altered it slightly by adding lemon and using salted butter. The recipe called for '2 sticks of butter' and being in Australia where we don't buy butter by the stick, I turned to my best friend in the form of the internet! There I discovered that one stick of butter is about 113g. For this recipe I rounded up from the 226g it asked for and added in 230g instead.
The cookies have a shortbread like flavor and texture with a hint of lemon. Being not to sweet, they are really good and I am pleased with the out come!
I had to employ the help of my mother to help hold down the baking paper while I manned the gun because the dough had trouble sticking to the tray. I had to add more milk to the recipe to get the dough sticky enough, but emerged victorious! Because the gun can't cut the dough off, the cookie has to stick to the paper, which causes some issues!
Some of the shapes work better than others. The tree, wreath and flower turned out really well, while the bat is a bit more of a blob. I also tried to use the butterfly shape but for some reason the dough wouldn't stick, so next time when I make a different type of cookie I will have another shot at using that shape.
I had heaps of fun using my cookie gun for the first time and look forward to using it to make lots of themed cookies in the future!
The Flowers + Wreaths
Bats, Wreaths, Trees and Circles

Lemon Cookies
230g salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp milk
The zest from 2 lemons
The juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F)
  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until light and fluffy .
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Using a spoon, stir in the lemon zest and then the flour.
  4. Stir through lemon juice, then enough milk so the dough is firm but sticky.
  5. Either load into cookie gun or roll into small balls before flattening them out so that they are about 7mm thick
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Enjoy!

Yay! New Blog!

This is my new blog, all about food and how I cook it!
Post more soon!
Ims x