Sunday, 25 July 2010

Right rhubarb, wrong time...

I'm excited to report that I finally found some rhubarb, but unfortunately, I was so excited to find it that I bought it without considering exactly how much time I had available to do anything with it...! But anyway, over the past few days I've managed to squeeze in a couple of batches of rhubarb-themed muffins.

First up were the rhubarb and custard muffins that have been on my wish list for ages.

I suppose I wasn't as pleased with them as I thought I'd be - probably because I'd been thinking about them for so long that I'd built them up too much! I was hoping they'd be like those M&S melt in the middle chocolate pudding things, and like in the advert, you'd stick a fork in and then the custard would run out in a perfect little trickle. That's not quite how it worked out unfortunately!

They were still pretty tasty, and I think I just need to use thicker custard next time, and put less of the muffin mix into the case before the blob of custard. With these I ended up with hardly enough mix to cover up the custard blobs! I wish I'd taken my time making them, but I was in a rush on Thursday evening. It really does seem that they were cursed - having finally managed to get some rhubarb, I then had to try 3 shops before I could get some soured cream - and then I nearly ended up lobbing the oranges through the window as the grater wouldn't grate the zest properly! So I think I need to make the next batch when I'm feeling a bit less stressed...

This evening I made rhubarb crumble cupcakes! I was really pleased with these and they were quite fun to make. Basically they are just a standard cupcake mix, with a bit of cinnamon, top with some roasted rhubarb and then sprinkle on some crumble. They were especially yummy when eaten still warm!

There's not much else to say about these other than that they are possibly my favourite thing that I've made so far! I'm making a rhubarb crumble tomorrow and then I think I'll give rhubarb a rest for a while, it seems like it's all I've been thinking about lately!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Sometimes I cook, too...

It's not a cake or a bake, but I was so proud of my Jambalaya that I wanted to share it on my blog. I made it as a 6-month anniversary meal for my boyfriend.

As well as baking, I have been trying to be more adventurous in terms of cooking in general over the past year or so. I've always been such a fussy eater, and so there were loads of things I'd never tried - which usually landed me in trouble if I went out to eat anywhere that wasn't British.

Anyway, I got this receipe for chicken & chorizo Jambalaya out of the free magazine from Asda, what a find it was! To me now (and probably most other people) this isn't remotely exotic, but a year or so ago, I probably wouldn't have touched peppers, celery or chorizo, and certainly would have left out the thyme! Thought I would share the recipe because it's so yummy and easy to make...

Serves 4
100g chorizo
500g chicken, diced
1 large red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 celery sticks, sliced
3 red/green peppers, sliced
200g white long grain rice
400ml hot chicken stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped thyme

1. Slice the chorizo and dry fry with the chicken until the fat runs out of the chorizo and the chicken is browned. Transfer to a saucepan, leaving the fat in the pan.

2. Cook the onion in the frying pan for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, celery and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, then add to the chicken & chorizo.

3. Stir in the rice and pour over the hot stock. Add the tomatoes, season and stir. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if needed.

4. Stir in the thyme and serve.

I also made a rhubarb crumble for dessert, which I was so eager to dive into that I forgot to photograph... I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping to have rhubarb left over for the rhubarb & custard muffins I've been eyeing up for a while, but I didn't have any left at all (stupid me not realising that a handful of rhubarb is barely enough for a crumble, let alone anything else)... today I've been on a rhubarb hunt again but nowhere has any, I'm starting to think these muffins just aren't meant to be!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Must do better

Argh! I hate it when life gets in the way of baking... I've just started doing some temping, and so it's a big adjustment getting back into a 9 - 5 routine when I've been used to being a student, so by the time the evenings and weekends come around, I just find myself wanting to catch up with friends or blank out in front of the laptop...

Anyway! I have been wanting to share some pictures of my second attempt at Gill/Helen's Chocolate cake, which I baked again for my boyfriend's birthday. I definitely think it went better the second time around, and I got the consistency of the frosting better, meaning I could ice the sides aswell. I'm not sure it looked that much better, since it was all a bit wonky, but nobody seemed to really care and the cake was consumed quite rapidly!

It was the first time I'd really tried to write anything on a cake, and I think my skills leave a lot to be desired! I just bought some of the chocolate writing icing and it was so difficult to get it central, all the same size, etc, and I kept thinking I was going to misspell something! Definitely need to get some practice in.

I also made a small batch of cupcakes for Father's Day which led to me brandishing the writing icing once again... I almost don't want to post a picture because it does look a bit like a child did it! But in the spirit of sharing everything, here they are...!

It's my cousin's birthday this week and so this thankfully means I'll be forced into the kitchen to bake some cupcakes for her party, otherwise I'd probably just be lazy again. I'm just going to do some standard vanilla and chocolate ones because I can't risk them going wrong! I'm really hoping I can try something new soon, as the last few things I've baked have been 'safe' things I've tried before!
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