March 24, 2013

Lemon and Blueberry Cupcakes


It's be a while since I've made a cake or cupcakes (well not entirely true, I whipped up some chocolate cupcakes for my brothers birthday in January).  I haven't really had the spare time to cook for 'fun', lately it's been cooking cos a girls gotta eat!  I miss those days of having spare time to bake.  Ahh baking..  it's so relaxing to bake something simple, and then even better when you get to feed it to the people you love most.

I've had this cake book-marked for a very long time.  I'm a big fan of blueberries, and the thought of blueberries and lemon got me all excited.  I wanted to make it last year for my mum's birthday but never got around to it.  And then next opportunity to make it never came.  So this weekend when I should have been doing homework I thought I would make it.  But, it's kind of a celebration cake, the cake you make and don't have leftovers.  So next best thing, turn it into cupcakes.  I can freeze cupcakes (oh yeah, if you haven't heard, cupcakes freeze well! You just have to let them thaw slowly it room temperature) so it means I don't have to eat it all at once.

My other excuse was this awesome new set of pipping bags and tips.  I've never really been into decorating cakes (I usually bake the simple cakes with fruit on top).  But I noticed everyone always made these beautiful looking rose-shaped icing onto of theirs, and well, I wanted to do it too!  So don't laugh at my icing attempt - it was my first time!  I'm hoping to get a little more practice.


LEMON AND BLUEBERRY CUPCAKES
Recipe slightly altered from Sweetapolita
Cake:
1 cup + 3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sour cream (60ml)
3 tablespoons milk (60 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (use fresh if you can)

Icing:
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch salt
Tiny bit of yellow food colouring (put in a little at a time, can be intense!)


Preheat the oven to 180C.  Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, mix well and set aside.

In another bowl, add the sour cream, milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest, stir and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated.

Add the sour cream mix and half of the flour mix, and continue beating slowly and gently, adding more of the flour mix as you go.  Fold in the blueberries gently, then spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, place all ingredients into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the colouring (if desired) a bit at a time.  Place the icing into a pipping bag, and ice away!

Makes 12 cupcakes.


March 18, 2013

Google Reader update

In case you hadn't heard yet, Google Reader is saying sayonara.  If you follow this blog through Google Reader, and you'd like to continue following it, jump over to Bloglovin' where all my posts are. I'm a big fan of Bloglovin' as pretty much all blogs are on it, and clearly displays new posts.  I also like how you can now categorise blogs for your own blog roll.  You can also find my recipes on Pinterest.  All links are here and on the right.

A little pic cos I didn't know what to put here.

March 17, 2013

Grilled Zucchini Salad


I have a few dishes that are a regular - roast potatoes, grilled asparagus, grilled corn (I grill a lot), cucumber salsa, and yoghurt salsa.  These are the things I make when I cook a simple steak, chicken or fish.  One thing I make all the time but have never blogged is my grilled zucchini salad.  I make this dish a lot, and even though I have attempted to photograph it, it has always come out looking blah.  And because I'm telling you about one of my favourite dishes I don't want it to look blah. I don't want you to think "yeah.. looks oh-kayyy..".



So today for lunch I made this salad.  It's beautiful outside and there's plenty of light so I photographed it with no problem.  And of course it's a beautiful day outside and I'm stuck inside doing homework (yeah I went back to uni again, one of the reasons why I don't post as much - lack of time!).



This salad is a little time consuming, only because when you grill it you can't walk away - it only takes about 20 seconds to cook each side.  If use a BBQ you'll probably find this to be quicker, and my god does this dish go well with a BBQ steak!  It retains a slightly crunch but is also soft and juicy.  When I first made this dish maybe a year ago, I decided this was the only way to cook zucchini (besides a frittata!)

In terms of how many people this feeds, I could esaily eat the whole thing, but when making it along with other sides it could feed up to 4 (get a really large zucchini to be safe).  But for this particular one I'm going to say its a side dish for a two hungry people.



GRILLED ZUCCHINI SALAD
1 large zucchini, peeled into ribbons using a potato peeler
A large handful of rocket (arugula)
Two tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
Crumbed feta
Few basil leaves torn
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Dash of vinegar (red wine or apple cider works best)


On a hot grill pan or BBQ, evenly lay the zucchini strips so none are overlapping (I don't use oil in this step, but if you find it is sticking to the grill spray a little oil on the grill, it shouldn't stick when the grill is hot).  When grill marks appear (20/30 or so seconds) turn over and grill the other side. Place in a bowl and continue cooking the rest.  Toss the grilled zucchini in the bowl a couple of times as you cook so the heat is evenly distributed (the retained heat will soften them lightly and make them juicy).

When all the zucchini is grilled, add good couple of pinches of sea salt, and a good slug of olive oil, and toss well.  When room temperature, add the rocket, basil, crumbled feta, pine nuts and dash of vinegar, and toss lightly.

Serve room temperature or slightly cooled.



March 2, 2013

Pinterest


I succumbed.  I finally did it.  I got Pinterest.

I'm not that big on social media, which is weird seeing I studied and worked in Marketing for so long.  As much I agree Facebook and Twitter etc is great for businesses (not all though) and big corporations, the thought of me tweeting random crap and people having to waste their time reading it seems pointless.  And even though I say this, yes I have a twitter account.  I have never tweeted.  I don't even remember my login details.  I don't even remember the last time I logged in!

Pinterest was one social media I never thought I'd get into.  It would always pop up on my blog stats and I'd click and go "oh that's nice, some pinned my recipe!".  But then recently, Pinterest blocked my ability to see this.  I had to login.  It got me thinking about Pinterest and why I avoided it for so long.  So I joined, thinking if it's balls I'll delete it (yeah I said balls, and it's the balls you're thinking, correct). I had a look around, turned everything to private, and gasp, I pinned something!  Pinterest told me I'm only allowed to have three private boards and even then people can kinda seem them.  Ahhh screw it.  If I'm going to do this I'm going to commit.

Hi, my name is Natashia Bevilacqua and I am a Pinterest addict.

I thought there's no point in having this if I can share my pins (the idea still seems a little strange) and I pin off others - we're all here to get ideas after all!  I've included my little button on the right (and below), and you can have a look and see if you'd like to follow me, or, whatever, stalk (we alllllll do it).


Follow Me on Pinterest


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