Five Things: But really, it’s just one big thing

So the thing is that I’ve totally neglected this blog, in pursuit of some of the larger items on the all-important Bucket List. While I’ve had the occasional cooking-binge, I haven’t been keeping up with the photos and careful transcribing of recipes. Which means I have a tall pile of recipes but no photos, and alternately a few blurry cellphone pics with only a vague memory of the recipe.

I’d say I’d get right on top of that except that this pursuit of Bucket List Item Number 1 is going to be keeping me kinda busy for the immediate future.

OK so the big ticket Bucket List item is….

To live in a foreign country where English is not the official language.

standing ovation for Mr Freston

So, in two days I’ll be going on a one-way flight to Switzerland! Yay! WhoopWhoop! Etc!

Five things I am most looking forward to, out of roughly five gajillion:

that's how i girolle

{owning a girolle to shave the tete de moine cheese}

say fromage

{in my next life, i’d like to be the bit of bread that gets dipped in the cheese}


break me off a piece a that

{chocolat. all it needs is johnny depp and his banjo}


oui oui

{fine wining}



{a whole new appreciation for hot chocolate, because – SNOW!}

Auf Wiedersehen until I find my feet in Switzerland! (since my top five reasons to be excited are all edible, I’d say that finding my feet beyond the blubber could be a very real problem for me soon…)





Bah! Humbug

I love the festive season and it’s lurking backstage in my mind throughout the year. I freely admit that I stockpile gifts, plan my packaging theme and generally have everything buttoned down tighter than a Kardashian’s shirt by October… which leaves me with plenty of time to kick back and watch the rest of the population play out the reality version of Where’s Wally. Where’s the woman trailing the 3-metre-long shopping list in Checkers five minutes before the doors close? Where’s the twenty husbands all frantically foraging the barren landscape of the Edgars’ perfume department on Christmas Eve? Et al.

wheres the xmas spirit

I don’t get those Scrooge-y characters who treat December like the end of days – Christmas is like everyone’s birthday! It’s like we’re all in that episode of Oprah where “You’re all getting one!!!”.* I first came across Scrooge himself (the literary character – I’m not old enough to have met him personally. I hope) when I was very young. My dad bought me a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens before I could even read, and even when I could read I couldn’t read it because it’s in this old-school font. I have absolutely loved the story ever since the day I mastered the beautiful old English hieroglyphics, and I love all the movie versions (including the Muppet one).

thats the spirit

If you have your own personal Scrooge, give them a taste of the Christmas spirit in this mint humbug cream liqueur – a recipe inspired by a lazy summer afternoon and a can of the newly-launched peppermint Caramel Treat. It’s so delicious that I did a little more sensory evaluation than was absolutely necessary and accidentally consumed about a third of it in an afternoon. It’s like butterscotch and peppermint having a cuddle while wearing velour tracksuits with the word “Juicy” across the bum (the tracksuit was another giveaway that everyone got on Oprah). That sounds ridiculous but try it and you’ll agree.


To make about 3 and a half cups of Bah! Humbug! Liqueur:

  • 1 can Nestle Caramel Treat – Peppermint flavour (290g)
  • 1 can Nestle Dessert Cream (320g)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup vodka or to taste – I prefer mine to be quite subtle, rather than knocking the other ingredients sideways and rendering them impossible to taste.

Decant the caramel and cream into a large mixing bowl. They would have set a bit in the cans, so give them a thorough beating with a whisk until they’re smooth. Beat them like they’re bad kids who are getting coal in their Christmas stockings.

Add the sugar and milk and beat a few minutes more until the sugar is dissolved, then mix in the vodka.

Taste to check the balance of sweet versus boozy. It seems a bit crazy to add sugar when there’s already an entire tin of caramel in there, but to me it takes the vicious edge off of the vodka.  The milk is necessary to thin things down a bit, as the mix will thicken in the fridge and create the alcoholic equivalent of peanut butter sticking to your palate. Taste often and adjust as needed. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery afterwards.

Pour into squeaky clean glass bottles or jars and keep in the fridge. I would have done a test to check how long it can be kept – but it’s never stuck around for longer than two days, so I can’t tell you.


{garnish of Rolo highly recommended}

Give it a good shake before serving over lots of ice in pretty glasses while watching the sun go down, or over vanilla ice-cream for breakfast – it’s the Silly Season and you can get away with it.

*I always wanted the robotic self-propelling vacuum cleaner. My tastes have matured somewhat since then, and currently all I want for Christmas is a new set of wheels:

need this in my life so bad

Sugar and Spice

Rip van Winkle moment – it’s November already! *whips round ninja-style trying to figure out where 2015 went*. Plus it’s Diwali this week, the festival of lights and also of delicious sweetmeats that I look forward to all year, but am too intimidated to attempt. I’m not alone in my fear of all the fiddly prep-work involved in deliciousness such as (my favourites) naan khatai and murukku; many people rely on moms and grans to get down to bidniz in the kitchen before the big event. I’m not mentioning any names here. No fingers pointed. If you’re feeling victimized right now – go sort out a box of your mom’s homemade murukku for me, and you’ll perk right back up.

happy happy

Anyway so here’s the kind of recipe for a sweetmeat that is so simple it’s kind of equivalent to posting a recipe for making toast. It’s for coconut ice, with a nod to the East.


Now I know two ways to make coconut ice – the one way is to start by cooking the milk and sugar together and you need to have your wits about you or you will end up with a plate of pink and white granite. I don’t know that “nostalgia” is quite the right word to describe that particular home-ec practical session in high school. Possibly “dental-integrity hazard” is more appropriate. I actually prefer coconut ice cooked in this fiddly manner; on the rare occasion that it’s done right the texture is firm and kind of crunchy and crystal-y. However, the other way is significantly easier and just as delicious. The squidgy richness makes a little go a long way, so best keep the portion sizes weeny. I find that if eaten “neat” it’s almost overwhelmingly sweet, so I give it a Bollywood kick with rose water, ground cardamom and nuts. This sweet must be a dentist’s dream, if eaten in large quantities.

liquid tooth decay

powdered tooth decay

pink. doh.



i'm so fancy

To make between 30 and 40 pieces of coconut ice, ice, baby:

  • 1 can (about 390g) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 350g dessicated coconut, the fine type
  • Food colouring – I stuck with traditional pink and white but feel free to Go Wild! Blue!
  • Flavouring of your choice and to taste – I used rose-water in the pink layer and ground cardamom in the white layer.
  • Embellishments of your choice – I’ve tried chopped cashews, pistachios, shiny cake sprinkles.

This is a no-brainer. Mix the condensed milk, coconut and the icing sugar until it forms a sweet stiff sugary dough. Divide it up if needed, colour it, flavour it, knead it all together well, and pat it down into an even layer on a cookie sheet. Or a plate. Or whatever. Roll it into balls even. If you’re making layers, pat each layer out separately before putting one on top of the other and giving it a gentle pat or a once-over with the rolling pin (I aim to make mine maximum 3cm thick regardless of the number of layers). Let it settle down for a few hours. It’s supposed to be left alone overnight but I don’t possess that kind of willpower.

For the flavouring, it’s really dependent on your own taste. I have a heavy hand with cardamom (lurrrve it, cardamomnomnom) but when it’s paired with the rosewater layer it’s not too intense.

Cut your coconut ice into neat squares. Given my love of all things geometric, I don’t know why I was not blessed with the ability to cut a straight line free-hand. I like to think that this allows people to select a square of a size that best suits their appetite, but really I am just cursed with squiff cutting technique. Let’s call it “artisanal” cutting and you’ll all want to do it too.

Alternately (and wastefully) you could get all fancy and cut out shapes. Normally I’d advocate the remainder to be considered “chef’s treat” but I’m guessing this would lead to early onset of dentures.

So. You’ve got a lovely bunch of coconut (ice) dee diddle de dee…

Happy Diwali! Don’t forget my murukku.

PS: You know how, when a shark or a pitbull nibbles on a human, all the shark- and pitbull-rights activists start quoting stats for other threats to human life? Sharks = 5, Pitbull = 60 lives per year. Well, coconuts kill 150 people a year! Consider this to be your way of helping to get that situation under control. Safety first.

Smash Hit

Does anyone else remember the British magazine Smash Hits*? It was awesome, stuffed to the gills with music and pop-culture news, and incredibly funny. The style was a ridiculous mash-up of softcore Douglas Adams meets Monty Python, and many of their centerfold posters graced my teenaged bedroom wall.

This kind of reminiscing makes me feel that I should check myself into a museum. And it doesn’t help that – wait for it, wait for it – oh cringe – my younger sister turned 30. How very dare she!!

say it isn't so

In (grudging) honour of her birthday I wanted to do something different because of course everyone is a Cake Boss nowadays, keen to show off their rainbow cakes/checkerboard cakes/Banting cakes/7-foot-tall cakes with moving parts and an integrated dishwasher. It becomes a massive competition between guests, and I’d like to say that I have matured above such things. But I have not. I wanted my contribution to fulfil several functions:

  • present the gift (a sparkly ring) in a beautiful way – fabulous presentation can make even the most dismal gift seem exciting.
  • be interactive. It’s fun to play with food. Peelable ice-cream, 3D cookie puzzles, edible string for cats – yay!
  • be tasty. In all the my-cake-is-better-than-yours-ness it seems that the taste is usually neglected.

The solution? A smash cake, also known as a piñata cake, currently doing the round for kids’ first birthdays on Facebook and Pinterest. It has been my dream for several years to create a smash cake, and I was fortunate in finding a silicon “giant cupcake baking kit” at Home Stuff. Now that I know it works as the PERFECT mould for a chocolate smash cake, it will never darken the oven doors. In case you can’t find a similar cupcake shape – I also spotted a fluted silicon jelly mould and a dome-shape jelly mould which would have worked fine together.

that's the one

So I packed my suitcase with the moulds and a large supply of caramel and strawberry flavoured baking chocolate (it’s not gross! Just don’t go expecting it to taste like the Swiss or Belgian stuff). I spent several hours carefully crafting the smash cake, including the Sonya biscuits which would be hidden in the centre with jelly sweets and the ring. Most of the time was spent having stern talks with the butter needed for the biscuits, which was frozen solid and extremely uncooperative in the Cape Town cold.

I made the bottom part of the smash cake relatively sturdy, so that it wouldn’t collapse under the weight of its contents. After carefully melting the chocolate in the microwave I let it cool so that it could be swirled around the inside of the mould while it thickened, forming a decent layer.

assembly required


I need to refine the technique for the edges of the two parts, and for the “grouting” between the two parts after filling (don’t forget to fill the cake before sticking the parts together with chocolate!). By this stage in the process I had already had a few fortifying G&T’s and didn’t care too much about the rough edges, so wrapped it loosely with tissue paper, cellophane and a large bow. It’s all about the presentation. I also carefully wrapped a bottle of pink Moet, to escalate the gift to it’s utmost awesomeness.

{the moet the merrier}

{the moet the merrier}

ready to go

At last the big moment arrived, and my sister ripped off the giftwrap to reveal my life’s work – only to misunderstand the instructions (“I thought it was hollow!”) and punch with her full weight into the top of the cake, hurting her hand.

whoopssmashed it

She then unwrapped the Moet and casually dismissed it, not having read the label. I heard earlier today that it is being stored in her fridge “next to the apples and the cucumber”. I responded by saying that it deserves to be kept alongside caviar and Louboutins:

{she tried}

{she tried}

Happy 30th, Caryn! It was a smash hit!


Next year – balloon cake?

Top of the Pops

When I was 7, I drew a picture of my dog Sandy in my schoolbook. I labeled her “dog” only I misspelled it so it read “dod”. (Could happen – d for g, if you flip it, reverse it, and dock its tail).

The boy sitting next to me* looked over at my proud rendition of Sandy and said incredulously “is that a picture of your DAD??” (misreading the word “dod”).

I can’t remember why I started with this story, but it was meant to bring us to the fact that it’s nearly Father’s Day, time to celebrate the people who brought up such awesome individuals as ourselves.


This is a super-easy recipe, more like instructions for assembly. It should come with allen keys and be written in wonky Chinglish.

Here goes:

gift wrapped

here's two i prepared earlier

poppa didn't raise no fool

  1. Bake cake. Buy it. Whatevs. You’re going to want to cut cubes from it. I baked vanilla mini-loaves and then trimmed off the tops and cut them in two (cunning plan – the trimmed bits need to go somewhere. Waste not, want not).
  2. Prepare cupcake cases – measure carefully, slightly larger than your cake-cubes. It’s easiest to make five identical squares on a Word doc, then smoodge them together in a cross shape, add colour/etc. to look like a popcorn box, and print. It’s not hard. 7-year olds do this stuff on those art & craft shows all the time, with their little blunt-nosed scissors and adult supervision. It took me only three attempts before I almost got it right. Then I went all-out and dug up my fancy scrapbooking scissors to make a scalloped top edge (neener neener neener, my cupcake case is better than yoo-ours, says my inner 7 year-old).
  3. I wrapped my cake-cubes in regular cupcake cases first, since the “popcorn boxes” I made were not exactly designed to be food-grade (as in, someone handled the paper with grubby paws, then it went through a printer, and then I stuck it in my gym-bag, etc.). I flattened the cases with a rolling pin so that they could be more easily folded round the cake. Pop the pre-wrapped cubes into your handmade popcorn boxes.
  4. Prepare popcorn**, or use store-bought. If you’re going to use store-bought then make it the caramel coated kind. Get a really large bag, party-size preferably. Same cunning plan as employed for the cake trimmings applies.
  5. Melt white chocolate and then cool to room temperature. Add the popcorn and stir to coat, then spoon it onto the top of your cake-cubes so that it completely hides the cake. Heap it up a bit to look more awesome. Chocolate-coated popcorn is something Maria in The Sound of Music should have included in her song about Favourite Things.
  6. Present your adorable little box of Pop-corn to your Pop and prepare to declared the Favourite amongst your siblings.

up close

* I FB-stalked him last week. He’s a dad himself now! With limited quantities of hair.

**If you live in a higher-grade country where corn comes in different varieties, get mushroom corn kernels. They have way less of that kernel-y stuff that stubbornly sticks between your teeth. If you’re in Deepest Darkest like me, good ol’ mieliepitte followed by dental floss will have to do.

Hard. Boiled.

Now that eggs have had the cholesterol charges dropped and protein is the new dietary black, we just can’t get enough of these little chicken-bum-emissions! Personally, I’m a huge fan. Never mind their versatility and crazy nutritive value, I have a complete and absolute phobia of birds – so eating eggs is, to me, my subtle contribution to decimating the bird population.

Anyway, so it’s Easter again, a time when lovable bunnies, fluffy chickens and candy eggs take centre stage in all their pastel-coloured sugar-coated glory. Blegh. So frikkin sweet my teeth hurt whenever I walk into a supermarket and get hit by the glare off of a thousand gold-wrapped chocolate eggs.

Give me eggs with attitood:

get your leather on

How awesome are these?? Makes such an awesome difference from the usual pink, yellow and lilac Easter-ness. Rustling these up made me want to sport a dragon ear cuff, sing that Black Parade song, and eat raw cigarettes for breakfast.

(Ok I’m kidding, I’m not even remotely as bad-a$$ as these eggs are) (how sad – I am less cool than a boiled egg).



Boil a bunch of eggs however you like them done – rare, medium or well done. Why not use the kettle for this purpose?

Cut out one of those kiddies fake tattoos to fit on the egg, and apply as per the instructions on pack – usually by holding a warm wet cloth over the tattoo for a minute. The backing paper will easily come away once the tattoo has transferred.

cut that out

warm and cosy

off with his head

Surprise/scare your loved ones for breakfast this Easter – studded leatherwear optional.

PS: You actually can purchase a robot to tattoo eggs – check out the EggBot! It really exists!! *nerd-snort*

Nest to Impress

Oh Em Gee how did we get to Easter so soon? I demand a recount! No way can we be near the end of the full forty days and forty nights already! Not only do I demand a recount, but I also demand a do-over because I kind of missed Pancake (Shrove) Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, St Patricks Day and Who-knows-what-else Day. I’m totally unprepared.

Bah Easter Humbug.

like clockwork

Anyway, like they did in the good old cooking shows on TV *rummages under the counter* here’s one I made earlier! Ta-da! *points eagerly at chocolate concoction while everyone gets bored and wanders off*.

snug as chocolate bugs II

Using balloons to mould chocolate bowls is so old it’s not even a “thing” anymore, probably because it predates Pinterest. I’d always had this idea it would be hideously fiddly until I saw a 12 year old boy using this technique on Junior Masterchef. True, he made a booboo and fed the judges a tiny bit of balloon which he’d neglected to mention was still lurking in the depths of his dessert, but it was beautiful nonetheless – a dessert tucked inside a white chocolate dome through which one had to smash your way like a pinata. I love interactive (violent?) food.

The planning stages were, for me, a wee bit fiddly – I considered things like the weird smell inherent to balloons, the height limitation of the shelves in my fridge, and the wisdom in dipping a balloon into piping hot chocolate (rookie mistake – don’t do this unless you truly do wish to paint your kitchen in the shade Molten Chocolate Explosion). Once I’d worked out these minor points it was all systems go.


I’m not crazy about just using the chocolate bowl as, um – a bowl. But it’s an awesome shape from which to go a little mental – like, it could be an egg with a chocolate dinosaur emerging or it could be the top bit of a gigantic chocolate wine glass (yes!!) or with a little bit of doodling it can be a cute little nest like the one I made.

scaled up

So, all you need really is balloons and chocolate. Nothing frightening. Don’t bother using fancy-shmancy chocolate with boastful exclamations about cocoa solids and stuff on the front of the wrapper; cheap & nasty cooking chocolate works best because it sets quickly and snappily and isn’t prone to the fancy-chocolate-sulks (you know – where it refuses to set because it’s out of temper, and it’s dull and floppy and dragging it’s chocolate feet).

  1. First up is hygiene. I can’t stand the smell of balloons, so I gave the outside surface a gentle wash with warm water and dishwashing soap followed by thorough rinsing. Inflate the balloon until the round bit is the right size for your purposes, and tie a knot. Resist the urge to let air out in farty noises.The washing process would have changed the texture from slippery to kind of grippy so give it a wipe with a tiny amount of cooking oil.
  2. Meanwhile, lay a sheet of greaseproof paper down on a tray which will fit into your fridge. Check this part. Your fridge may not be as big as you like to think.
  3. Chop up the cooking chocolate, and melt 3/4 in a shallow microwavable bowl in the microwave until the bits just start looking blurry at the edges. Add the last quarter and stir gently until smooth and melted and kind of like you want to stick your face into it. Don’t.
  4. The chocolate won’t be very warm after adding the last bit and stirring it in – lukewarm at most. Dip the rounded bit of your prepared balloon into the chocolate, turning it over and over so that the chocolate extends up the sides and forms a nice thick layer. Use the back of a spoon to help the process. Lift the balloon out of the chocolate and turn it gently to spread the chocolate evenly and get rid of any excess. Spoon a wodge of melted chocolate onto the greaseproof paper to be the “anchor” then wodge the balloon onto it, holding it steady until the chocolate sets at the base.

just chillinphweeeee

Repeat as needed, then pop the lot into the fridge to set completely. I always forget to time this stuff. Let’s call it an hour *looks shiftily in other direction*.

When it’s totally set, use a pin to VERY GENTLY make a tiny hole near the knot. Slowly let the air out, gently pulling the balloon away from the chocolate sides – gently, or the chocolate will collapse inwards with the balloon. Don’t take too long because or the heat from your hands will start to melt all that hard work.

Now isn’t that so pretty? Take a moment to admire your polished chocolate bowl.Next, melt chocolate in a contrasting colour and (I used a teaspoon) kind of fling it around in thin circular motions all over the chocolate bowl to make it look nest-y.

dressing the nest

Last but not least, use a bit more melted chocolate to secure eggs in the middle of the nest, and if it’s looking kinda bland throw some sweeties in there too. Or get a giant chocolate chicken (from the supermarket – life is too short to also mould a whole frikkin’ bird out of chocolate) and park it on the eggs *wails “why didn’t I think of this at the time dang nabbit”*.

snug as chocolate bugs

PS: Will someone who is braver than I am PLEASE create a balloon cake and prank someone? It’s so mean. So mean and so awesome.

Love Meh

So Shmalentines Day has come and gone. Meh.


Any half-witted wannabe Casanova can pop into the local petrol station for last-minute overpriced red roses. Booking a table for two at the local Italian or French restaurant doth not a Romeo make. And why girls the world over fall into a swoon over those transparent tubs of Ferrero Rocher from their Don Juans is a complete mystery to me. Like, hello! Put some meaning into it, guys! (and girls – fair’s fair).

Proper honest-to-goodness relationships are about so much less than roses, chocolates and gaudy costume jewelry. It’s all about happily putting up with the idiosyncratic weirdness that comes standard with another human being, and embracing mundane everdayness. It’s all about Dutch Ovens, tolerating snoozeworthy action movies about sentient vehicles, and other wildly unromantic overtures. Here’s a quote from one of my all time favourite books, The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult*.

“What I want is what other people take for granted… To ask, Did you set the alarm? To say: Remind me that we are running out of toothpaste. To have our time together not be so romantically charged but instead, just plain boring.”


And so, I come to the humble egg. Eggs are not exactly a source of culinary white-knuckledom; we all have them lurking in the fridge and kind of take them for granted. But given a little extra attention, you could turn them into something mildly romantical that’s right up there with shouting at each other to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube.

you will need



take a crack at it

To make heart shaped eggy lurve, you will need:

  • Eggs
  • A chopstick or similar; they don’t necessarily have to be adorned with little kitties but I find that this detail adds to the overall experience
  • A piece of stiff cardboard and same-sized piece of foil or wax paper
  • Elastic bands, or if you also have a hard time finding stationery at home, clothes-pegs and a bit of patience

Firstly, I have to mention that I spotted this on Pinterest ages ago, and went into one of those thought-rages about having found yet another hoax pin. What prompts people to put crap like that out on the net? (I refer to things like melting tequila bottles in your home oven, how eating overripe bananas leads to instant weight-loss, how ramen noodles will wipe out the human race, etc.). Anyway, to cut a long story short, I tried it out since I’m a voracious consumer of boiled eggs, and boy was I pleasantly surprised – it works!

So very simply, hard boil the eggs in whatever way makes you happy. While that’s happening, lay the foil or wax wrap on the cardboard and fold in half, making sure the crease is extremely sharp. Peel the eggs as soon as you possibly can after cooking them, then kind of wodge them lengthways into the V formed by the cardboard. Working quickly, firmly but gently press the chopstick along the top and secure the whole bunch with elastic bands.

OK the elastic band bit comes from the websites I originally checked out but I could only ever find one and it was kind of stretched out to the point of uselessness, so I used two clothes-pegs and kind of kept up some pressure with my hands on the V part of the contraption.

After just a few minutes, you will see that, lo and behold, the egg has not disintegrated and has a bumcrack from the chopstick.

Release it from your Maguyvere’d egg-shaping device and slice neatly in half. Wow! Look at that! Heart-shaped romance in a boring foodstuff!

Now if you really want to lay it on thick, bake it into bog-standard meatloaf to really knock your other half’s smelly, threadbare socks off (you know if they don’t mind you seeing the state of their socks, it’s the real deal) (likewise, if they are impressed with your heart-shaped boiled egg you know they’re a keeper).

buried treasure

Happy regular plain old day, everyone.


*Have you read her latest? Leaving Time. I must admit to being disappointed. It was disjointed and not particularly convincing, I felt. It was like a wildlife documentary/M. Night Shyamalan mash-up. But hey, that’s just me, and I certainly couldn’t do any better.


Happy Halloween!

bite me

It’s a crying shame that we don’t celebrate it more energetically here in Deepest Darkest. Dressing up in one’s bedlinen in public, demanding sugar from complete strangers – DENIED!

This year, instead of the Witch Fingers I usually make, I took inspiration from scary apple treats I saw at Allrecipes. I loved the idea but had my doubts that anyone would consider an apple to be a “treat”. That’s like calling steamed broccoli an “indulgence”. Erm. No.

So I applied the idea to cupcakes instead, since I had spare vanilla cupcake batter on hand.

(the really spooky part? The excess batter made exactly THIRTEEN CUPCAKES! Are you getting goosebumps right now?? Snap, me too!)

This is not a recipe really, just a few simple steps; you will need:

  • Red Cupcake Batter
  • A handful of slivered almonds, lightly toasted in a hot pan or oven
  • Icing
  • Red ribbon-y jelly sweets – alternately, those dried fruit rolls that your granny enjoys eating.


dental caries guaranteed

carnivorous cupcakes

  1. Bake red cupcakes. You could go all out and do red velvet from scratch – or you could colour the bejeezus out of plain vanilla.
  2. Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a sharp knife to cut a segment into the top. Leave the little cut wedgie there for a bit – it will help to keep a clean edge on the “mouth” when you’re icing.
  3. Apply icing. I used buttercream, and kind of globbed it on with a butter knife. Ideally I would have liked to pipe it on so that it looked more polished but it was 2a.m. and I was really struggling to channel my inner Martha Stewart.
  4. After applying the icing (and large quantities of edible glitter – optional, but highly recommended cos oooh it’s so purty), remove the loosened “segment”. It’s up to you what to do next. What I mean is that you should eat it.
  5. Poke the toasted almonds into the “gums”, using the tip of a knife to make a small incision first if you find that the almonds are brittle and prone to shattering. I used four on one side, and two on the other side to fit on either side of the tongue.
  6. Cut tongue-shapes out of the jelly sweets, and poke them into the open mouth in a lewd fashion (the cupcakes I mean, not you. You don’t have to be lewd, unless you really want to be of course).
{oh so sweet and innocent...}

{oh so sweet and innocent…}

Tada! Halloween treats that bite back!!

{... until you make it angry}

{… until you make it angry}