This Week

IMG_0974Happy New Year to everyone! I have so much coming up this month and I jet off on the 21st, follow me on instagram – Rachie_TLC to follow my travels, as well as 365 days of photos. My new years resolutions are simple and stuff I had started prior to the new year anyway – Take more pictures, walk more (I already walk about an hour most days, but I love it so much I want to do more – good walking trails in LA, San Fran, Chicago, Boston and New York would be so much appreciated) and make more dinner for friends. This is how the last week of 2012 looked. Much Love.

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1. Listened – Flume, 2. Drank – Moet to ring in the new year, complete with lively debate (read drunken) on the pronunciation of the word. Soft T?, 3. Surfed – Atlas Obscura, 4. Ate – Breakfast 5. Made – Chilli Gingerbread.

Five for Monday

Sometimes it definitely seems like I can bake only under pressure. Sunday I had all the time in the world and I set out to make a fairly simple creation “Exploding Strawberry Cheesecake”, the issue came with a non-bake cheesecake… Martha Stewart you failed me. It didn’t set at all, in any way, shape or form. It was barely a custard. I froze it and salvaged what I could but it was no way photogenic. Still delicious, but no.
I used the base from the exploding chocolate tart with the shortbread that I made a week or so ago (I froze the shortbread to keep it)

This is whats getting me through ’til friday: Continue reading

Strawberry and Champagne Financiers

Strawberries and champagne scream early British summer to me. Wimbledon, the early sun, 99’s, the softest grass you ever did lay your head upon and bright, long days filled with the scent of ripe strawberries are constantly in my dreams; not that I like Wimbledon. Things just always seemed a tad more civilised whilst it was on. The grunting annoys me. Continue reading

Blood Orange and Almond Upside Down Cake

My favourite thing to do in the warmer months is eat breakfast outside, and I know right now you are thinking “Why are you telling me this?” or “How did I get here?”, but it makes a difference!
It makes eating an event, and less of a rush to getting out of the door. Hanging with the birds and rays of sun on the back of my neck is what blue skies are all about. Plus you get all of the scents of summer; hazy breezes, floral scents and my fruit is always somewhat amplified by the warmth.Eating with your nose is important, it aids with the getting-full-feeling, makes you more aware of what you are eating and it makes you happy. Some of my best memories are those of eating fruits in summer (If I could marry fruit I really would, for real). Holidays in Cyprus eating the best fresh cherries, seeing how far we could spit the pits, fresh strawberries from my grandparents back-garden (my love of strawberries is well documented on my recipes page) and my gorgeous friend Abby’s blood orange tree at her parents house (with the cutest dog ever; love you Snowy!). That last memory holds so true in my head whenever I eat Blood oranges (pretty much constantly for the three or four weeks they in season). This cake is warmth, remnants of winter and spring all in one.

Blood Orange and Almond Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes one 9 inch cake
For the Topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 blood oranges thinly sliced
For the Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
130gr Plain Flour
30gr Almond Meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
2/3 cup plain yoghurt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven.  Tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter.  Once sides are coated, sprinkle the sugar over the melted butter and lay the oranges flat in the still warm pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg, vanilla extract and ginger.  Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed while adding the yoghurt.  Beat until the batter just comes together.  Batter will be pretty thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.

Spoon batter over the oranges and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate.

The thigh gap and other worries

This particular post is aimed at your nether regions. A bit lower. Yeah there. The thigh gap, feature of every girl-sunbathing-on-beach-photo ever. Apparently it’s the new toned upper arm.
I have no proof of this.
Actually that’s my own personal nemesis.

I’m going to admit that I worry about the thigh gap far more than normal. But it seems that the level of normal is higher than I first thought; so I thought it was apt for me to share other things that I worry about on par with the thigh gap. Thus helping me feel better and you! Because they are all teeny tiny worries; for example, please note that ‘the current asylum seeker laws’ is not on the list and neither is ‘Marriage Equality; both of which are real issues, worth spending some time on.

The teeny-tiny-worries list:
Are all my friends hanging out without me?
Should it be this uncomfortable to watch any period related ad with Nick?
Why is my dog so judgmental?
How can you get skinnier knees?
How much cake is too much?

There, it’s like group therapy, but free. What are your tiny worries?

This song always helps:

I talk about diets in this post; too much stress when you could go shopping instead.

Part 2 of Blood Orange Love is coming up super-duper soon. As well as a very special post.

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Blood Orange Love

Guys I don’t mean to alarm you, but it’s blood orange time. And I’ve already made two blood orange dishes; as well as eating it with my daily yoghurt and porridge.
Blood oranges are easily my favourite fruit, the fact they signal the end of winter is purely a bonus. and oh gosh that smell. Like raspberries and oranges got together and made babies. Wait is that weird?

Is anyone else stressed out that I finish university in 3 months? I think my head is stressed; it’s doing that whole, pretend it’s not there and it might go away. Except applying it to the whole university situation. Stationery shopping must be the answer. A new notebook will fix everything.

This is the first of my blood orange uses, blood orange buttercream.
Air light and a perfect contrast for rich chocolate cake.

Blood Orange Curd – from Sel et Sucré 

Ingredients:

  • About 175 ml of blood orange juice (from 4 blood oranges)
  • 1 Tbsp blood orange zest (from 2 blood oranges)
  • 113 gr granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 114 gr butter, sliced into 8 pieces

Method:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together everything except the butter.

Gently heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens considerably (enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon), about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter.

Strain through a metal sieve, and let cool to room temperature. The curd will thicken slightly as it cools. I strained twice, you will get a smoother texture; which is super important since you are adding it to frosting.

Serve cold or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator; this curd should stay good for about two weeks.

Sweetapolita Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

575 grams unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
600 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-1/2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
pinch or two of salt
few drops pink gel colour

Method

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Butter will become very pale & creamy.

Add remaining ingredients and mix on low-speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. I added 3 tablespoons of the orange curd at this stage brought up to around room temperature. Do this one tablespoon at a time and fully incorporate before you add the next.

Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy. If you want all of your frosting (for filling and frosting cake) pink, then add a drop of pink gel colour and mix again, adding one drop at a time until desired pink shade is achieved. If you want just the outside of the cake pink, you will fill the cake layers first, and then colour the remaining frosting pink.

Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency), but keeps well once frosted.I used the chocolate cake recipe from Miettes cookbook which I posted about here.The chocolate is compliments of the Foodie Pen Pal scheme; amazing dark chocolate from the Margaret River in WA, post soon!