Poop on Toast

These trials were inspired by a consumer-complaint I read about at work, in which the consumer had become so wildly upset by a spicy product (which everyone else loves, by the way. If you dislike spicy food, don’t buy the one with the word “curry” across the front) that he felt the need to write to us. He expressed his displeasure at length, concluding that a “poop on toast” flavour would be preferable. Thank you, anonymous miserable whiney-pants, your letter was the source of much giggling in the workplace and gave me an idea – what would make the most delicious and realistic Poop on Toast?

I gave this plenty of thought and research, and decided to narrow the ideas down to four – two savoury, two sweet. Plus a “side dish” for fun (there was going to be an edible fly and maggot garnish too, but nobody else seemed enthusiastic about these so I dropped them). I got so caught up in the theme that I made a Poop on Toast birthday cake, and I’m still waiting for the right event to try out the mini Poop on Toast hors d’oeuvres that I thought up.

{Um. Happy Birthday Kelly}

Sadly no-one ever expressed interest in eating any Poops again after the initial trials, but I bet it would make for interesting conversation at a dinner party or bookclub gathering. It was grudgingly admitted that all of them tasted amazing, so the winner had to be selected based on most convincing appearance…

Savoury Poop No. 1: Meatloaf

I figured meatloaf would be easiest to shape, and this is a very yummy recipe – but it turned out a bit too soft and goes a bit amorphous in the oven. Which could still be a poop shape actually. Depending. I’m going to stop now.

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (essential ingredient! everything is better with cheese)

1 teaspoon salt

450g lean beef mince

Mush everything together in a bowl until just mixed (don’t let it become a soggy pulp). Shape it into a snakey shape on a sheet of cling-wrap, wrap it up snug as a bug and chill for a little bit to firm up. Ideal time to get the oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius. When its ready, unwrap and shape the poop on a baking sheet.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2/3 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard – carefully brush this savoury gloop over the shaped poop. Bake for 20-30 minutes (one of these days I will replace the clock’s dead battery and start timing things) until cooked through and browned and poopy. Serve on hot buttered toast.

Savoury Poop No. 2: Boerewors

This does seem a little like cheating… but I won’t tell.

Using sharp scissors, remove the casing from boerewors. Shape it into the desired shape on a baking sheet and brush with shop-bought barbeque sauce. Pop into a hot oven for about 20 minutes – I don’t know. It will take the same amount of time as the meatloaf, and is also served on hot buttered toast. I wish I could say yum but it doesn’t seem right.

Sweet Poop No. 1: Chocolate Ice-Cream

There’s just no point making a double batch so that there’s some for later – leftovers of this ice-cream do not exist. I was so busy sneaking little spoonfuls of it I didn’t get around to taking photo’s. Nothing competes with home-made ice-cream; plus if you make it in poop shapes it’s already in portions for serving and you don’t need to wrestle it into perfect ice-cream balls.

50g sugar

125ml water

250g dark chocolate, grated

3 egg yolks

400ml thick cream

30ml chocolate liqueur

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly (the end result is worth the effort). Boil for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Add the grated chocolate to the syrup and pour into a blender. Blend on high speed for 10 seconds or until as smooth as Jude Law in the company of his kids’ new nanny. Add the egg yolks one by one with the blender running on medium speed, and beat until well mixed.

Beat the cream until it forms soft peaks then very gently fold into the chocolate mixture with the liqueur. Carefully pout into a large freezer bag, seal, and freeze for at least 5 hours.

Prepare vanilla french toast, cut a corner off the ice-cream bag, and pipe a poop onto the toast. Serve immediately, otherwise this Number 1 will turn into a Number 2.

Sweet Poop No. 2: Chocolate Mousse

This is real chocolate mousse, not the strange jellified lumps of aerated wobbliness served at family restaurants. This recipe makes the best dishes for licking out afterwards.

150g dark chocolate, chopped/broken into bits

3 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon castor sugar

1 cup cream

Set the chocolate in a bowl over another bowl of hot water (Confession: I use the microwave). Stir until it melts, then allow it to cool back to room temperature (scrambled egg mousse is not remotely as good as chocolate mousse). Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (hold the bowl upside down over your head – if the egg doesn’t fall out its ready. If it does fall out – oops. Start again). Lightly whisk the sugar and cream together.

Whisk the egg yolks lightly and mix into the chocolate until blended and smooth. Add a quarter of the beaten egg white into the chocolate mixture and stir in. Then add the chocolate mixture to the remaining egg whites and very gently fold in, then fold in the cream which you have whisked to form soft peaks.

Spoon ever so gently into a large freezer bag, seal, prop upright in a bowl and refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Serve in the same way as the Chocolate Ice-Cream.

{refrigerated poop}

Side-Dish: Toilet Paper

Unroll a sheet of defrosted phyllo pastry; working quickly so it doesn’t dry out, cut it into toilet-paper-width strips, then use a sharp knife to make little serrations across the toilet paper every 10cm or so; shape the toilet paper on a baking sheet (crumpled or straight, that’s the beauty of phyllo) brush with water and sprinkle with castor sugar (only if it will be served with a sweet poop of course, the water and sugar may be skipped for savoury poop) then bake until just crisp but not browned (you will need to watch it constantly but then it does take less than a minute).

{sugar-free on the left, sugary loo paper on the right}

The verdict:

The ice-cream and mousse looked quite similar and both were absolutely delicious, but it was much easier to shape and serve the chocolate mousse (it doesn’t melt as soon as it hits the toast, and its a lot easier to squeeze out of the freezer bag).

{ice-cream poop on the left, mousse poop on the right}

The meatloaf, though yummy, was a little too shapeless and tended to char a little in the thinner parts whereas the boerewors held its shape and browned evenly, making a particularly convincing poop.

{boerewors poop on the left, meatloaf poop on the right}

And so the winner is – Boerewors Poop!

*dubious round of applause for the winner*

I so dare you to try this out – your guests reactions alone will be well worth the effort; have a camera ready.

 

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Eat this, Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali’s Meditative Rose is one of my favourite paintings ever (close contenders are The Kiss by Gustav Klimt and a painting by my cousin Carmen – I am the proud owner of this original work of poster-paint on board). Last weekend I spent time in the garden trying to photograph my cats, but gave up when they insisted on turning their bottoms to the lens; instead, I turned to my afternoon snack.

And so I give you – Meditative Naartjie.

{Meditative Naartjie}

I love this photo.

I also loved the naartjie itself, which was sweet and juicy. From meditative, it evolved to munchable.

To continue in this artyfarty vein, here’s my version of William Carlos Williams’ poem:

I have eaten
the naartjies
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

{all gone}

The Incredible Cupcake-inator!

Hey you! Yes you!!

Are you heating up your whole entire oven every time you bake cupcakes?

Are you racking up huge electricity bills just for a bit of cupcakely indulgence?

Are you *accusing tone* depleting the earth’s precious resources for the sake of your own selfish gluttony?

Well, waste no more!

Introducing the Cupcake-inator, the revolutionary new goodiemagadget that will transform the way you bake!

{drumroll please}

Simply plug it in, wait for the indicator light to switch on, add your batter to the non-stick pockets and Hey Presto! Cupcakes in just 4 – 6 minutes! No cupcake liners required!*

Not only will you have 8 uniformly-shaped delicious homemade nom-noms, they will also be the perfect  size: at just 5cm diameter on the top end, the smaller size means that you will instantly double your regular output at just a fraction of your regular energy consumption!!

But that’s not all  – they are also the perfect size for stuffing a whole one into your mouth, and you won’t feel bad if you eat three in a row! Or even *gasp!* four in a row! You can even ring the changes by making petite pies, using the Recipe Booklet compiled by some random anonymous home economist, which you will receive free of charge inside the box! (the booklet, not the home economist).

{yum yum!}

Less electricity, less guilt about single-handedly murdering the planet – more cupcakes!

Buy one now and you will receive:

  • Personal Satisfaction!
  • A Smug Smile on Your Face!
  • Lots of Compliments and/or a Voluptuous Bum! (depending how many you do – or don’t – share)

*T’s and C’s apply – if they’re very gooey cupcakes you either need liners or the ability to magically apparate them out.

But seriously, people: go check out the Salton Elite Cupcake Maker – I wasn’t kidding about the 4 minutes. Or anything else, actually – it really is that amazing. {The website has a list of stockists}.

Cupcakes: Ma Cherry Amour

The secret to the success of these cupcakes is to wear dark glasses, bang your hands around on the kitchen counter piano-fashion and sway wildly back and forth while singing the Stevie Wonder song. Okay that’s a lie, but it sounds like fun, right? Do it anyway.

The inspiration for these divinely yummy Chocolate Cherry Red-Wine Cupcakes (what’s not to love??) is a mysterious can of pitted black cherries which have been lurking around in the deepest darkest recesses of my grocery cupboard for months – does anyone know what they’re actually for? I hate to throw food away so I was very happy to come across a cupcake recipe calling for them. The result is a hybrid cupcake, somewhere between  Ming’s Cupcake 26 and a recipe from The Artful Cupcake, with a few of my own tweaks added for good measure. (An observation: Canned cherries are a disappointment – they look like olives and taste like grapes. I might try the fancier kind in glass jars next time, not that it really matters with all the wine in these cupcakes).

This is a very sophisticated, grown-up cupcake so the best part is that it’s incredibly rich and sticky and squishy, and tends to stick all over your hands and face making one look very unsophisticated and not-grown-up. It’s not overwhelmingly wine-y until you bite into a boozy cherry… yum!

Truth be told I should have done a better job of decorating these; they don’t deserve to be ugly. They were supposed to have been topped with a pillowy blob of whipped cream, then the glace cherry… but I was feeling a little “delicate” after a night out and so incapable of cracking my eyes open wide enough to locate the cream. They tasted amazing anyway, and the plus side of an ugly cupcake is that people tend to avoid them – leaving more for you.

For 24 small (5cm diameter?) or 12 regular-sized Chocolate Cherry Red Wine Cupcakes:

1 cup Red Wine (I used Beyerskloof Pinotage)

3/4 cup drained canned cherries, roughly chopped into halves and quarters

1/4 cup butter

2 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bits)

1/4 cup cocoa

1 cup flour

1 rounded teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup plain yoghurt

Fire up the cupcake-inator, or preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Use cupcake liners, as they are quite squishy and a challenge to dislodge when they’re done.

Simmer the cherries in the wine for 10 minutes, then remove 1/4 cup of the liquid to use later. Your kitchen will smell amazing. Try very hard not to pour the liquid into a glass and scrap the cupcake idea.

Wine facial? I think yes.

Add the butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, chocolate and cocoa to the pot (off the heat) and stir until its all melted together. No creaming of butter and sugar, yay!

In a bowl, mix the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking soda and salt together. In yet another bowl (all the dishes are worth it, promise) mix the egg and yoghurt together briefly – if it looks a little curdle-y, don’t worry. If you keep worrying, have a glass of Beyerskloof Pinotage. Add the cooled wine-y mixture and beat briefly. Add the flour mixture and stir it in briefly – hmmmm. Yum. Don’t eat it all just yet.

Using an ice-cream scoop, spoon the batter into the cupcake liners in the Cupcake-inator or muffin pan (up until 1/2cm below the top – they don’t rise much and will fall a bit too) and bake for 6 minutes or 25 minutes respectively. It will be impossible to evenly distribute the cherries – it’s a bit of pot-luck when handing them out. Obviously, don’t just scoop batter from the top of the bowl or only the last few cupcakes will have any cherries.

Put them on a cooling rack and continue to exercise restraint – don’t eat them yet, there’s one last yummy step that you must not forget. This takes them from being just cupcakes to being Capital C Cupcakes. Using a teaspoon, spoon the reserved cherry-steeping-wine mixture over each cupcake and watch it being absorbed into the rich chocolate yumminess. I haven’t bothered to photograph this part since they look exactly the same before and after (you have to eat a non-soaked one then a soaked one, as a form of sensory profiling) (purely for research purposes of course, and nothing to do with sheer gluttony).

When they’ve cooled completely, decorate them – preferably with a dollop of whipped cream, or possibly (on the kind of day when your eyeballs are stuck to the inside of your eyelids and the smell of water makes you feel close to expiry) just melt about 50g of dark chocolate until just, just melted, let it cool slightly, then whip in a blob of softened butter (is it rude to say that I think that this is the food-equivalent of Taye Diggs? Well I won’t say it out loud, just in case). Swirl it over the top of each cupcake and embed a halved glace cherry on top.

Now, sing it with me:

My Cherry Amour, lovely as a summer’s day
My Cherry Amour, distant as the Milky Way
My Cherry Amour, pretty little one that I adore
You’re the only cupcake my heart beats for
How I wish that you were mine

La la la la la la
La la la la la la

PS: When you are quite done singing with your sunglasses on and you have finished googling images of Taye Diggs, check out this interesting article about wet cherries – it makes me almost want to take back the nasty comment about canned cherries, considering how much effort goes into them. If you thought blow-drying hair is an effort, try an entire cherry farm…

Five Things: I Heart Food

and I think it hearts me back…

~i heart baguette~

~i heart cheesy bunny-ears~

~i heart Chinese take-out~

~i heart Lindt chocolate-chilli cake~

~i heart coffee spills on my filing cabinet~

 

Cupcakes: Rome-Sweet-Rome Spaghetti & Meatballs

Romesickness is the reason for these cupcakes.

Since spending a week in Italy I have been plotting and scheming ways and means to get back again, and scrapbooking the photo’s each month has only added fuel to the flame. So for last month’s scrapbooking session, I decided to treat us ladies (and the lord of the manor, of course) with these yummy Spaghetti & Meatball-inspired cupcakes. So okay, I’ll admit to having gone to a birthday party the night before scrapbooking, and so assembled these, in my glad rags, at 1am on a Sunday morning. I tell you – butter is not your friend at 1am in a cold kitchen. It is unyielding and a meanie, and you can smack it with a wooden spoon as much as you like, it will just sit there stubbornly refusing to become soft luscious buttercream icing.

The butter made me so mad that I actually held a grudge against it that whole Sunday, so much so that I didn’t ever get to taste these cupcakes. The noises made by fellow scrappers while eating them was encouraging, though.

Next time I do these I’ll  schedule the assembly at least a month before the time, on a warm day suitable for working with butter. I’ll allow enough time to make knobbly chocolate truffles for the “meatballs”.  I’ll also use strawberry jam because it has smaller, more abundant pippy bits that will make the “sauce” look a little more convincing. I accidentally bought youngberry jam thinking it was strawberry; it has a blue-ish hue that made the “meatballs” appear purple, so I added a big drop  of red gel colouring to remedy this.

What you will need to make Spaghetti & Meatball cupcakes:

Cupcakes (day-old is best – if it’s too fresh it will be difficult to cut)

Buttercream Icing*

Strawberry Jam

Cadbury’s Tumbles with Shortcake Centres (or chocolate truffles)

Note the extra-large bag of Tumbles…

*I have never, ever in all my days of cupcakery measured out the ingredients for icing. I just wing it and it always works – cream butter, add some vanilla and icing sugar and keep beating the bejeezus out of it until its creamy and fluffy and just the right amount of sweetness. For this particular cupcake, you may need a tiny fraction of a drop of yellow colour to make it more spaghetti-ish.

Back to the Cupcakes:

Using a small, sharp knife, cut a neat cone shape out of the top of the cupcake. You don’t want to go all the way through to the bottom, about three-quarters of the way down is ideal. Carefully remove the cake-cone and resist the urge to pop it straight into your mouth (your turn will come). By the way, such high-falutin devices as Cupcake Plungers are now available for the excavation and subsequent filling of cupcakes – I can’t see why this should be better than a knife though.

Using the knife (ha! try do this part with a cupcake plunger! *contemptuous sniff*), cut the tip of the cake-cone off. Pop this directly into your mouth – yum! Put a teaspoonful or so of jam into the hollow in the cupcake, then replace the flat “lid” that you formed a minute a go. If you’re a little Rainman OCD, you can put it back in exactly the same position you cut it out and you won’t be able to see that it was ever cut.

Next, fit whatever piping device suits you with a small plain round piping nozzle. Like, 3mm diameter small. Add the icing, and haphazardly pipe into “spaghetti” on top of the cupcake, in a wavy nest-y kind of shape. Put two or three Tumbles into the middle of the spaghetti nest. Carefully spoon the jam over the Tumbles – if its a little jelly-ish mix it briskly with a spoon and it will oblige.

Now, offer them around while talking loudly in an Italian accent and making wild gestures with your free arm – “Spaghettti-meat-a-boll-a! You-a will-a love-ah! Amore! When-a the moon-a hits my eye-a… etc.”

PS: Speaking of Rome – if you find yourself there with a rumbly in your tumbly, march yourself over the river to Trastevere and on towards Piazza San Cosimato (it’s on all the tourist maps). Look for Ai! Spagghetari – it’s got a couple of tables out on the pavement (actually it’s in a driving lane, but thats OK in Rome because they all know how to get a car through a space significantly narrower than the vehicle itself). Order the Spaghetti alla Carbonara, dive into it face-first, then write me a heartfelt Thank You letter.

Talk Nerdy To Me

The first thing to grab my attention today was an article about the Universal Tea Machine, which to me is a fascinating point of convergence where current events, engineering, mathematics, pinball and hot tea all meet in a glorious display of unadulterated nerdiness. I love it!

I could just picture what would happen if they implemented a similar system in all the vending machines at the office: hoards of grumpy caffeine-deprived people staring in confusion into empty styrofoam cups while us Technical nerds look down our noses at them whilst enjoying a hot perfectly-brewed cappuccino. If anyone ventures to ask how we did it we will all use words like “corollary” and “isosceles” and “Krebs cycle”.

The other thing is “Geek Week” nail transfers – I can get cupcake nails! Or pizza nails! Or chefs’ faces nails! The best part is that it’s all DIY so you can choose quite literally ANYTHING to make up your Perfect 10.

Which nail art would you choose??

The Cocoa/Chocolate Calculator

This is a useful calculation when you have no cocoa handy, and let’s face it if you don’t have chocolate handy at all times there’s something wrong with you and maybe therapy and not baking should not be your first priority.

Dark chocolate works best because of the fuller, richer flavour.

For every 1 Tablespoon of regular Dutch-processed/Alkalised Cocoa in the recipe, add 30g melted, cooled dark chocolate and subtract 1 rounded Tablespoon of sugar and 1 level Teaspoon of margarine or butter (because the chocolate contains sugar and fat in addition to cocoa and other stuff).

To recap:

1 Tablespoon Cocoa = + 30g melted Dark Chocolate – 1 rounded Tablespoon sugar – 1 level Tablespoon margarine or butter

OR

30g melted Dark Chocolate = 1 Tablespoon Cocoa + 1 rounded Tablespoon sugar + 1 level Tablespoon margarine or butter

 Class dismissed!

Rolo-ver Beethoven: Rolo Cupcakes

The thing is: you MUST freeze the Rolo’s. This will slow down the melting and potential boiling of the toffee centre, and they make yummy little treats.

I had this cupcake idea during a sensory evaluation session, and immediately purchased 3 rolls of Rolo (there are 10 in a pack, in case you were wondering). Then there was this incident at home involving my two delinquent cats and a dismembered bird, and I used one of the rolls of Rolo to pay a security guard to remove the offending feathered parts. THEN I froze the remainder, and THEN I accidentally ate a few while preparing the cupcakes (they freeze surprisingly quickly, and are nice and crunchy and suddenly melt back into toffee – these must be the closest one can get to Moonface’s Toffee-Shocks from Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree books).

I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe which I got via e-mail; the print-out has the name Ming at the bottom. I don’t know who Ming is but she makes a mean chocolate cupcake! Well done Ming! I’ve changed the preparation instructions slightly because I have a feeling Ming was smoking the ingredients while typing out the method.

To continue with the caramel toffee theme, I made a caramel frosting using the simplest recipe I could find. I’ve never really understood the Frosting thing: it makes too many dirty dishes and its sort of nerve-racking, praying that its not going to seize and form a granite-like mass in the pot. But it is yummy. I’d recommend good ol’ Caramel Treat as another option (thanks Geraldine!), or butter icing with a bit of caramel essence.

I used my beloved “Cupcake-inator” (the Salton Elite tabletop cupcake maker) (thanks Bee!) but these will work just fine in a regular convection oven too.

A warning: These cupcakes are shamefully decadent and rich and gooey. They are so sinful that you will need to say 10 Hail Mary’s straight after eating them, and help an old person cross the street.

What you will need for about 12 outrageously yummy Rolo cupcakes:

1 cup cake flour

½ cup decent cocoa powder (the alkalized kind, for those who are interested)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter or margarine (I find margarine much easier to work with in this recipe)

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 egg (room temperature)

¾ cup milk

2 rolls of frozen Rolo

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or fire up the Cupcake-inator. Put cupcake liners into a muffin tin or spray the Cupcake-inator pockets with non-stick spray. I know that it’s Teflon-coated but I don’t trust such newfangled notions.

In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

In a separate bowl, beat the life out of the butter or margarine to soften it up, then add the sugar and continue beating. Ming says that you should use an electric beater and beat it til light and fluffy, but what I find is that there’s so much sugar that it never does get creamy and instead the beaters just throw little clumps of sugary butter all over the kitchen. Just beat it around by hand with a wooden spoon until it’s evenly mixed. Add the vanilla and the egg and then use the electric beater to beat it on low-medium speed til fluffy and light in colour (if it starts to look a little curdle-y, add a teaspoon of flour).

Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately and fold in using the wooden spoon (don’t beat it vigorously, unless you did want doorstops instead of cupcakes at the end).

Remove the Rolo’s from the freezer. Fill the cupcake liners or Cupcake-inator pockets about halfway (a little less batter than usual because the Rolo will take up space). Push a frozen Rolo into the centre – make sure it’s covered with batter, either by scooping a little of the surrounding batter over it or adding a tiny dollop extra on top. Immediately bake in a convection oven for 15-20 minutes, or in the Cupcake-inator for 5-6 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, remember to lick out the bowl to help reduce washing-up.

If using a Cupcake-inator, carefully remove the finished cupcakes with a non-metal implement; if using a regular oven, just pop them out like normal. Either way, park them on a cooling rack to cool down before you embellish them further. If there is a particularly ugly one (and there always is), keep it aside for testing purposes but no matter how tempting it is do NOT stick it in your mouth fresh from the oven because the toffee will be hotter than hot, and it WILL blister your tongue and tonsils and oesophagus and digestive tract. It took me a few tries to get the optimal quantity of batter into the Cupcake-inator – where I had put too much batter in, it oozed over the sides and made a lid, which was prone to breaking off along the edges and lifting off altogether. This did however give me a unique insight into the heart of the cupcake, and because they were so ugly I was forced to eat them.

~stare deep into the heart of the cupcake~

To make the Caramel Frosting:

1 cup soft brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter

A teeny tiny pinch of salt. I forgot to add it so maybe it’s not necessary.

½ of a 1/3rd cup of milk (long story – just use a 1/3rd cup measure but pour the milk only up to halfway).

Mix the sugar and flour together in a small saucepan – this is to evenly disperse the flour and prevent lumps. Add the butter, milk and salt, and heat slowly over medium heat until it starts to boil. Allow to boil for 3 minutes – it will look quite scary and dramatic, and you may have visions of child burn-victims, but its over quite quickly. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and thicken before giving it a stir until it’s sort of fudge-y and grainy, then spoon over the cooled cupcakes. If it gets too thick  add a tiny bit of milk and stir it through. Even though it will look a little rough, once you spoon it over the cupcake it magically becomes smooth and glossy again.

Before the frosting sets completely, sprinkle a little salt over the top.

(While the frosting was still warm I managed to make one very arty swirly-patterned cupcake, but the more I worked with the frosting the more it started to turn into a fudge-flavoured rock so I gave up and just plonked it on any old how.)

Now when you eat them, you must undo your belt and top button, then settle down in your favourite armchair, put your phone on silent, keep a hot cup of coffee nearby and then… you may bite into gooey chocolate heaven… hmmmmmm.

Then get cracking with those Hail Mary’s.

Wooden It Be Lovely – My Own Wooden Spoon

I joined a woodcarving class a few weeks back, partly because I had always wanted to do woodwork instead of needlework in primary school and partly (okay, mostly) because I had committed myself to it whilst under the influence of Old Brown Sherry at a 70th birthday party. Now that I’ve been to two classes and have my own set of knives, I’m absolutely loving it and find myself sketching designs in my diary to alleviate boredom during meetings.

Currently we are working on key holders in a soft wood, and traditionally the second project would be a large, ornately-carved clock or wall bracket with a mirror in it. Around the time that we started discussing the “what’s next” I started this blog and it occurred to me in a Eureka-moment, that what I would most like to focus on is wooden spoons! I love when my different hobbies start to overlap (I am also thinking of getting another set of woodcarving knives for carving chocolate but that’s an experiment for another day).

I mentioned to our teacher last week that I am particularly interested in functional and/or food-related carving, and lo and behold! no sooner had I spoken the words when she found a wooden spoon blank in the back of a cupboard with a design already marked out on it. It had to be mine… oh yes, it had to be mine.

THE Wooden Spoon

I can’t wait to start on my wooden spoon!

PS: If you are interested in joining the Woodcarving (or Fabric-Painting) Classes, Ria is based in Ferndale/Randburg and runs 3 hour classes each week. Let me know if you need more details, I highly recommend it (she provides amazing tea-time treats as well that are reason enough to join!).