Blogger Wordpress Gadgets

Friday, 24 May 2013

Say Cheese


Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

I recently bought a few boxes of strawberries on my weekly jaunt to the supermarket and found, rather surprisingly, that they did actually taste like strawberries!

An odd thing to say perhaps, but I do tend to feel that fruits and vegetables grown out of season never really live up to our expectations, and often have no taste what so ever.

These particular strawberries were on offer, and in view of the fact we are still waiting for Spring to really arrive let alone Summer, I thought they may cheer everyone up a bit. So in the basket they went.

The first batch were simply washed, smothered in cream and scoffed by the Busy Bee household, and I have to confess they went down extremely well.
Therefore the second lot were reserved for a bit of fun.

I trawled through my collection of recipe books (which seems to be growing steadily at the minute, but that's another story), and came across this recipe in the trusty Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.
I have used this book many times and all the recipes have always been delicious.
I have tweaked the recipe slightly to suit the Busy Bee clan, but in essence the recipe is the same.
This particular recipe seemed to leap out at me, as it made me think of Summer, and sunnier, warmer times in the past.
Fingers crossed we will see some of that yellow stuff in the sky soon.

You will need :

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
12 large strawberries chopped into small pieces
150g  digestive biscuits crushed into crumbs

For the Cream Cheese topping you will need :
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 170c / 150c fan / Gas 3.

2.Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt (if using) until combined.

4. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer until all the ingredients are well mixed.

5. Add the egg and beat for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.

6. (Now this is where I have found the recipe benefited from a little tweaking), mix the chopped strawberries into the mixture gently and divide into the cupcake cases. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tray before lifting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the cream cheese frosting beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric whisk until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, for approximately 5 minutes.
Be careful not to over beat, as it can quickly become runny.

7. Add the vanilla frosting onto the top of each cupcake and finish with a sprinkle of the crushed digestive biscuits.

I found the cakes needed to be kept in the fridge once completed as the frosting will turn very soft and a little unpleasant when eating. The texture seemed a little off putting when they were too warm.
In the fridge they will keep for 5-6 days, but as usual, 2 days max. is the lifespan in our house.
A cup of tea was the perfect accompaniment to this little piece of heaven in a cupcake case.

I hope you enjoy baking these, and eating them even more.

Enjoy your day. 


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Full Steam Ahead

I recently had the experience of my little steam iron exploding on me during my daily hour at the ironing board.
The poor thing has seen some action over the past eighteen months
(which is pretty good going if you know my track record with irons).
I have often thought of 'treating' myself to one of these steam generator irons that I repeatedly seem to see on the shopping channels.
This usually involves a lady standing ironing for the duration of the show, and repeatedly singing the praises of this wonder product that will remove all creases in the blink of an eye, as well as cutting your ironing time by half.
I was somewhat sceptical at the latter of these two claims but anything that could remove creases that easily would be wonderful.

So, when this latest catastrophe struck, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to try one of these 'beasts' out.

After a bit of on line research with the help of the Which? website, (and asking every mortal soul that I knew which irons they had) I plumped for the philips steam generator eco boost.

 It was on offer in Argos so everything was telling me this was the deal for me - or at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I unpackaged the contraption with great intrepidaton - it certainly wasn't as heavy as I had expected but the iron itself was substantial enough to feel as if I had some good weight in my hand, and not uncomfortable to use at all.

I only had to wait a couple of minutes for the water to heat and pressure to build, during which time I was excited and a bit nervous all rolled into one.
I cautiously picked up something from the laundry basket -
I chose one of Mr. B's t-shirts  (because lets face it, his clothes are not all that important), and away I went.

A little touch of the button underneath the handle of the iron and the most amazing blast of steam was unleashed.
It was brilliant - the creases disappeared, and the feeling of immense satisfaction was quite overwhelming!
My goodness - all this excitement from an iron ?

The laundry was done it a flash, and my glasses steamed up a few times but I didn't care -
I love my new iron .

So in brief, should you ever think about investing in one of these steam generator thingamajigs, I think you will be very happy with it
( but be sure to do some research on which model is right for you first ).

Enjoy your day (and your ironing).