Cats don’t have much to complain about. They lie around all day, soaking up the sunshine from their little window thrones. Then comes la noche and all they do is eat and sleep some more. So why do some cats look so damn grumpy?
- They are masking their slow realization that their plans for world domination will never succeed from a height of 9 inches.
- The cat food always tastes bad. How do humans eat such processed things?
- Their fur constantly oscillates between the two states of being cleaned or waiting to be cleaned.
- The bells on their collars instantly ruin all surprise attacks.
- Goldfish are no longer trending.
Grumpy Cat has entrenched his reign as the grumpiest cat of them all, and this Easter I decided to amplify his grumpiness a notch by adorning him with chocolate fondant bunny ears. Unsurprisingly, he looked grumpier than ever.
I made 3 almond butter cakes using hideous amounts of egg and butter (sorry guys) and decorated him using fondant. I made different shades of brown fondant by mixing chocolate fondant and white fondant together until I achieved colours I was happy with. The ears are chocolate fondant with white fondant insides, held upright by skewers passed through the cake.
Welcome to the future. The Earth has been rendered uninhabitable due to the devastating effects of climate change and humans are now looking for habitable locations in outer space. What do you do?
- Option 1: Throw a Space-themed party for no particular reason and make an edible version of your non-future life on Jupiter (it’s mostly hydrogen and helium – not a great place to build a house).
- Option 2: Go back in time to the year 2015 and read my article on how climate change will have a devastating impact on human health if we don’t do something soon.
- Option 3: Re-watch Interstellar and imagine what life would be like as Matthew McConaughey.
I chose Option 1 and found this recipe to help me. The cakes were relatively easy to make; the hardest part was finding bowls the right size and waiting patiently for the different layers to bake before re-baking them within another layer. Oh the patience! Once both hemispheres are cooked, it’s very easy to attach them with buttercream frosting, frost the entire planet and drape white fondant over the top. I used an edible orange food mist spray to create the outer appearance of the planet, although in hindsight some edible ink would have gone a long way.
Sometimes life will give you pie, and then take it away. Or not give you any cutlery to eat it with. By the same token, sometimes you will experience days of indescribable joy that seem to lift time’s wing, followed by moments of utter, sweeping misery. Last week was marked by a delightful celebration of friends and love – Valentine’s Day – but also by the departure of our beloved housemate Fabio, who is returning to the warmer shores of Italy and leaving behind a trail of broken hearts. Both events obviously required edible structures of some sort, so I made a gingerbread love shack (see below) and a Mario Kart-themed chocolate cake (see further below). Fabio is a Mario Kart enthusiast, and always chooses Luigi as his player persona, so this was very fitting.
Please excuse the poor image quality – my phone has been my main picture taker recently, because my proper camera is hiding somewhere on Unknown Luggage Mountain. Fabio’s cake was a simple devil’s food cake (recipe here) covered in green fondant (rolled out to cover the entire cake) and decorated with assorted colored fondant to make the racetrack, the mushrooms and Fabio himself.
The gingerbread love shack was slightly structurally unsound, so I inserted an empty cardboard box inside to improve roof stability and adhesion. I used royal icing to glue everything together because it dries very fast and very hard. I decorated each piece of the house before assembling using a #1 tip from Wilton and an icing bag.
For the enlightened among you who have watched Despicable Me 2, you will remember the pang of jealousy you felt as you watched Gru snap off a piece of his chip hat, dip it into the guacamole-filled brim, and chew contentedly.
For those of you who have yearned for a chip hat of your own, your day has come. I bring you – the Taco Hat.
This was made using a recipe I found here but I varied the measurements slightly and achieved the same result, using the following ingredients:
- 1.5 cups of flour;
- 300g of cornstarch;
- 300mL of warm water;
- 225g of margarine; and
- a pinch of salt.
Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and take the following steps.
- Mix the flour and cornstarch together until well combined.
- Melt the margarine slightly, add salt and pour the warm mixture into a well inside the flour mixture. Combine thoroughly until the mixture resembles crumbs of sand.
- Add water slowly to the mixture while you’re kneading it. Remember to add water slowly, kneading each time, because you may not need the full amount of water. Play it by ear, and stop adding water once you achieve a firm dough consistency that no longer sticks to your hands.
- Roll out the dough onto a well-floured surface. Place a bowl upside down in the middle of a large saucepan and cover the entire surface area with aluminium foil. Spread the rolled-out dough onto the bowl-saucepan frame so that you create a hat-like structure, with the dough creeping up the sides of the saucepan to create a nice brim for the guacamole to sit in.
- Brush the dough with a mixture of beaten egg and olive oil, to hold the shape together and give the hat a lovely golden colour in the oven.
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F until it starts to turn golden. Press the brim of the hat to check its solidity, and if you’re happy with how strong it is, remove it from the oven.
To make the guacamole, I just mashed 10 avocados, seasoned with salt and pepper, and added the juice of 3 lemons. Enjoy your taco hats!
Of all the cheeses that exist in the world, haloumi is the most proud – and the most stubborn. Unlike its gooey, easygoing counterparts, it refuses to be smeared across dry crackers, or melted in fast food sandwiches. It retains its perfect rectangular form in stubborn rigidity, sitting proudly in the farthest corner of the cold foods section, waiting to be selected only by those who can appreciate a fine cheese. It scoffs at the absence of self-control displayed by camembert, which collapses into its molten center immediately upon slicing. It turns up its nose at the hideous smell emanated by its blue cheese brothers, attributing their strong scent to their attention-seeking tendencies. It frowns upon the weakness of yellow cheeses which crumble upon slicing. Haloumi will retain its form in all circumstances, and it demands to be fried at high temperatures and served crisp and firm. If you obey its wishes, you will experience a chewy, salty taste sensation like no other, and you will understand the reason for its arrogance. I like to throw fried haloumi into a leafy green salad with baby spinach, roasted almonds, strawberries and a vinaigrette made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam and lemon juice. The sourness of the lemon, the sweetness of the balsamic and the innocuous crunch of the almonds provides a wonderful complement to the chewy, salty goodness of haloumi.
Oh also – carrot cake. I found this awesome recipe here and although I screwed up the icing on the first go, the cake turned out wonderfully!
I hope you’re all enjoying your first forays into the new year. I myself am indulging in unrealistic New Year’s resolutions involving more ambitious cakes, more creative savoury meals and monkey bread. Also cookies with greater emotional depth. My 2014 cookies were a little too two-dimensional for my liking.
Until next time!
Those two words. Just magic. If there was a spell that J.K. Rowling left out of Harry Potter, it’s salted caramel. Just hearing those words instantly conjures that insane combination of salty sweet goodness that gets hearts a-fluttering. I hear those words and I come running. So when I first tried Union Square’s Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch donuts, I decided to try to replicate them. I found a recipe for salted caramel-frosted donuts online and voila! Magic in a pan. The salted caramel frosting takes about 15 minutes to make altogether, and it’s much easier than trying to make caramel separately before adding the icing sugar. I added finely chopped glazed pecans on top for extra texture and crunch. Enjoy!
Okay, so you’re probably sick of these already, and I don’t blame you. But I swear, every time I enter that kitchen, the donut pan just stares at me so forlornly, and I know it’s dying to be used, and I can’t help it. Every damn time. So these last few times I decided to branch out from my maple ways (see last post) and try something new. Cue Homer Simpson donuts (d’oh) and Cookie Monster donuts. For no other reason than I just felt like it. Plus, isn’t edible blue fur just fun?
These were made using the same recipe as the previous post, just with 3 drops of red food colouring (and one drop of blue) to achieve that raspberry-coloured glaze. Plus a sprinkle party on top.
They look so surprised at being stuffed with cookies – I almost feel sorry for them. Until I remember that they’re cookie monsters after all, and a cookie in the mouth is probably preferable for them than a cookie placed anywhere else. The fur is made from shredded coconut, dyed blue. Those big innocent eyes are marshmallows, cut in half, and dotted with little blinkers using edible writing icing.
I hope you’re all enjoying your donut pan as much as I am (which is clearly, too much). Happy baking!