Sunday, March 30, 2014

#5 The Elvis, Obama, Calypso and Taxes

I can blame not writing this post on many factors.

Factor 1: Nuclear Summits.   Who can use that as an excuse and really get away with it?  Me, so nerh!  The following conversations actually happened, because lets face it, fuck all else was decided.

Factor 2: Taxes. The end.

Reason 3:  I had other shit to do.  It takes a shockingly long time to write one of these and put together all the photos, so bitches, be grateful.  Also we have just finished making the Maltz, and I am still tripping out over that.  FYI,  I promise not to leave it two weeks to write about it.

So here it is now, the condensed version.

Step 1:  So, we candied some bacon.  It was and is a thing of beauty.
Candy all the bacon, all the time!

Step 2: We danced and goofed around a bit.  No real shock here.
"Thank you very much."

Step 3: We made some banana cupcakes.

Get a Puerto Rican to do her best Cthulhu impression. Oh and more boobs.

Step 4: We ate some candied bacon, and made some interesting faces. 

Awwww yisss.
Step 5: We made some artsy shots of food, busted out some more Elvis moves and licked a few spoons.  Oh and Li, clamped a peg to her nipple.  I'm not totally sure why this happened, but we have a photo of it.

We also seem to have a photo of broken eggs.  Again, I am not sure why, but enjoy.

Insert a bacon stealing toddler who also doubles as out camera man, for an cute interlude.

Oh, and a splendid cleavage shot.

Step 6: Next up, introduce our "new" vintage stand mixer.  He is almost 50 years 
old and can handle his business. He is also very loud.  

This is Woody.  He is like the deaf old man who lives next door and yells at you to get off his lawn.  

 Step 7: Strangled the Puerto Rican. (This step is actually in the book and vitally important.)

For no other reason than she deserves it.

Pause for some calypso dancing with the aid of Harry Belefonte. 

Step 8: Made another batch of French buttercream frosting.  "Nailed it."  Peanut butter is added.  Hmmm.

Step 9: Took photos with fancy food settings on stupidly expensive cameras were utilised 
to capture the glory of The Elvis

Step 10: Social media'd the shit out of it.  Well as much as one can when one has a piss poor Blackberry. 
Li, handle your bid'ness.

Step 11: Ate cupcakes and made more silly faces.  

Step 12: Get awesome friends to make awesome videos. The end.

Sorry for the rush job, but like everyone else out there, we have a life too.  "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building." *drops mic*

Thursday, March 13, 2014

#4 The Iona, A shiny happy master piece.

Created and named after the wacky character from the John Hughes classic Pretty in Pink, this cupcake, in my opinion, is nothing like her.  She is bonkers in all the right ways, totally out there and un-apologetic. Actually I take it back.  It's totally like her.

Fav Pretty in Pink quote:

Duckie: You know what an older woman does for me? 
Iona: Changes your diapers? 
Duckie: Touché. 

I say no more.

Who in their right mind puts blue cheese into a cupcake?  I fucking love cheese.  All cheese.  In fact my worst nightmare is to be told I was lactose intolerant and would have to forgo all things dairy.  Kill me now *shudders dramatically*.  The Robicelli's too have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with coagulated milk, (sounds sexy huh?) and I can totally get on board with this.  CHEESE ALL THE THINGS!  Seriously though, to take a cheese board, and make a cupcake out of it? this is some dark magic peeps.   Pear and olive oil cupcake; Sounds innocent enough, though I was worried the olive oil might taste odd.  Blue cheese butter cream frosting; To be fair you had me at cheese.  Candied walnuts; Come on!  Port reduction; A gift from the Gods.  This cupcake is so damn refined it's like an episode of Downton Abbey (disclaimer: Li and I have never actually watched this so I am going on assumptions.)  It requires an extended pinky finger and monocle.

Li: Yeah, we classed up this joint. FOR A CHANGE. 

So with out further ado lets get started.  We packed up all our shit and went on the road this week.  Well down the road anyway to the magician responsible for making our videos and photos, and the other part of the Trifecta of Awesome: Friedal.  She's had her kitchen remodelled and it needed to be put through it's paces.  That, and my husband was sick of the sight of us.

A beautiful day for baking cupcakes.  Stolen supermarket baskets a go-go.
We launched into action.  Well Li did, I sat and did what all Brits do.  I had a cup of tea.  The Empire was built on cups of tea don't you know?  Aaaaaand I open the floor to the Colonial to get all sarkey.

Things were done and I watched.  To be fair she was all over the God damn place.  Her tits level was set at Labrador puppy.  There was just not enough room for the four of us.

Li: The Girls have their own post code. True story.

I will take a moment to mention the ridiculously small sieve we had to use.  I didn't bring mine as I assumed there would be one in house.  It was like a modest tea strainer.  Friedel, take yourself off to the Foodie shame cave immediately.

She is so fucking irritating when she is all happy and perky.
Yummy battery things started happening.  Thrown in were some arty foodie shots.

Li  eats eat cake batter and look sultry,  I look like I'm about to go down on it.
Batter and good smells happening on one side, I got on with far more important things.  Booze.  Port to be more precise.  I had secured a small bottle of ruby yumminess and started on with the reduction.

In my defence, there was dripping down the side of the bottle and this shit was too nice to waste even a drop.
 You have all done it so don't turn your nose up at me.

We Bougie! (I recently had to have this explained to me.  I am not "down with the kids")
When ever I have tried this before (and to be fair it is with red wine) it has always tasted sour.  This was amazing.  I reduced the shit out of it, and still thought it was very thin, but when it cooled I realised that I may have over reduced a wee bit as when it cooled it was a wee bit to thick.  A few spoons of boiling water fixed that though.  It was like raspberry, utterly delicious.  I also made the (wrong) executive decision to only do a cup full.  We need to drink and there wouldn't have been enough for three glasses.  I also thought it would make to much.  I was wrong.  DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE! More on that later.

Li: Solution? Buy more Port! You’re welcome. 

These went into the oven.

These came out.  

Humpy cupcakes.

Li: The name of my Meatloaf cover band.

I interrupt this post to show you what happens whilst waiting for cupcakes to bake.

Tally Ho!  Chocks Away! What What!
Once more we headed of to Heart Attackville.  Population, anyone who eats this frosting.

Slice up all of the butter.  Seriously, with a cheese slicer, slice it, and I mean all of it.  Drool at the yummy blue cheese, (we used Gorgonzola and it was a triumph) the throw in a freshly woken and grumpy toddler. (not mine this time) Well all right don't throw him in as he was mad enough as it was, but cupcakes changed that quick smart. Make awesome frosting.  Celebrate in the appropriate Sleazy Bakeshop manner!

Tits bump.
Once more we had nailed it.  There is a saying in Dutch that literally translates as "its so delicious it's like angels pissing on my tongue"  I shit you not.  This is a thing here.  The weird sayings, not the pissing on tongues. Well that may be too, but I am not a part of this club.  Stop talking Zoe.  Anyway, it was that good.

Li: Oranje Boven, bitches! There isn’t a Dutch saying that DOESN’T crack me up. I love you, The Netherlands. 

Nuts were candied with........butter and sugar.  What else? (Giggidy nuts) yes I am twelve.

Then, onto the good stuff.  I may or may not have had a bit too much fun doing this.

I now refer you back to the afore mentioned port reduction regret.  I wish I had made more of it.  I thought I was saving money, (ok this is lie, we just wanted to drink it, it was delicious) but oh how I wanted to drown them in this shit.  This egregious error will not happen again.

Li: “Alsof er een engeltje over je tong pist.” Seriously. Use that phrase in your daily life.   

I am running out of superlatives at this point so I will just say they are "the tits."  Here they are folks, you be the judge. 

All the elements of this cupcake are fantastic, truly a work of art, but combined they are master piece.  I would go so far as to say Biblical!

On a final note, I want to thank Friedel.  She takes our pictures, lets us trash her kitchen, feeds us at the end of the day, and got so giddy about day time drinking.  I love Canadians, they are so cute.  Anyway you put it, she is amazing, and also responsible for the video you are about to watch.  Thank you Missy, we couldn't do it without you.

Li: Awesome Friedel is awesome!

So are you ready?  Enjoy the happiness as it really was that kind of a day.

Next up:  #5:  The Elvis.  Banana cupcake, peanut butter frosting and candied bacon.  The stuff of legends!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

#3 The car bomb. Sigourney Weaver vs Olivia Newton John.

Let me start this tale with a story about two women, a road trip, a cupcake and words beginning with X. What has this to do with with the car bomb?  Let me tell you.  The reason I fell in love with this cookbook is the little comic strip on how to make frosting.  Who does that?  Allison Robicelli that's who.  A guy with a Kid Rock "wife beater" and Rocky IV references sold me.  Then flipping to the previous page and being intimidated about all the things that could, and regularly do go wrong with French butter cream frosting.

Li: This shit is like the Mount Everest of frosting.

Now, first let me explain that apparently this is impossible to pull off with out a stand mixer.  Do I have one of those? Nope.  Can I afford one of those? Nope.  Well we whore ourselves out to anyone that will give us one? Abso-fucking-lutely

Li: Ain't too proud to beg.

A friend kindly loaned us hers for the weekend.  It arrived by Terminator delivery, (I shit you not - Just goes to show they are portable if you have a friendly Canadian and a backpack.) and I was smitten.  I felt like Smegel and his "prescious".  Li even wanted to lick it.  Never the less we had one.  No more excuses. It was GO TIME.

Li: You lick it you own it right?

This table full of crap also doubles as my desk, drawing table, knitting stash and sometimes we eat here.

I now address you to things beginning with X.  What the fuck is Xantham?  Didn't Sigourney Weaver kick its arse in Alien?

Or was Olivia Newton John singing about it in an absurd amount of ass chaffing, camel toe inducing, Lycra-fest' whilst on Roller skates.

Seriously, who the hell can pull this shit off?  (The frosting not the camel-toe roller skating)  Well us actually as it goes.  We made a small expedition to the Dutch equivalent to cash and carry (Costco to you Yanks) for supplies. This was a logistical cluster fuck of the highest order, as we got what can only be affectionately called navigationally embarrassed.  

Blame lies squarely on Harry Belafonte with his shaking and his coconuts.  Don't ask.

Li: Seriously don't.

We found the store!  Cue the chorus of Angels.  We also managed to find the xerox.  Unfortunately, this bastard was fucking enormous and cost €40.

Li: For €40 that shit better clean the house.  It doesn't. Fuck.

 Being fully invested in this project we took the plunge.  We got home and found out via Twitter (thank you @robicelli) that xenon is only needed if you live in humid climates and we had apparently bought enough to bind every bottom in an S&M club!

Li: The safe word is "spatchcock."

Onwards and upwards.  The xenopus would be returned and we would be €40 richer again.

Sunday morning dawns to me cracking open an eye and groaning.  I am hung over like a son of a bitch and smelling of alcohol and bad decisions.  Li, who is not afflicted with this condition, rocks up all bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I want to punch her in the throat.

This is Li looking all smug and chipper and my back as I lean over and try not to sob.
The 7 P's were completed the day before and we mise-en-place'd the bollocks out of it.  Well Li mainly did, I sat in the foetal position on the floor and tried not to throw up and/or wait for the sweat release of death. Which ever came first.  Joining us this fine and vomitus day was our friend Friedel.  She of the backpack toting KitchenAid.  Friedel would be taking photos and (joyously) recording this on video.  Mother of God!

We take our chocolate very seriously in my kitchen

God damn this chocolate is amazing.
There may have been a few mis-read quantities of which I take full and drunken responsibility.  The first batch turned out ok, and as there were a few more of us we decided to make a second batch.  I was not involved in said second batch and this is how we discovered that I was suffering from a brief case of alcohol induced dyslexia. That shit still tasted good, but the second batch was (I am loath to admit) better.

Li: Too much cocoa.

A brief interlude to parent the Monkey as she woke up.
Next up Whiskey Ganache.  Jamesons was not available so we used this.  This shit is strong!

At this point I would like to say that I was feeling slightly better.  This would be a lie.  Hair of the dog? Surely this would fix me.  Nope, wrong again.  Lets just leave it at that.  It looked and smelled amazing.

This stuff is magic.

Cup cakes ganache'd.

Li: We ganach'd the shit out of it.  Yeah it's a verb now.

Kitchen cleaned, we could put it off no more.  French buttercream frosting was going down!  A shit load (still an actual unit of measure) egg yolks and the KitchenAid got to beating.  There was a brief paddle vs beater incident but my goodness never have such pretty satiny ribbons of eggy majesticness.  (OMG shut up)

Li: Satiny Ribbons. This is gonna be  the name of my Tori Amos cover band.

At this juncture I am now getting 3rd degree burns from holding a thermometer in boiling sugar.  Li was making butter nuggets.  It was like a mountain of yellow rabbit poo.  There was enough butter there to clog an elephant's heart.

Thermometer turned (eventually) over to the right setting, things progressed slightly quicker.  Temperature was finally achieved!

Li: That shit took foreva!  Easy for her to say as it wasn't her hand that was melting into the boiling lava.

With great trepidation, I slowly poured the scalding molten sugar into the satiny ribbons.  I nearly passed out from holding my breath and from Li's tits trying to knock me out of the way with their puppy like enthusiasm.

It was working.

Picture the scene:

Li: Its not gonna do the thing

Zoe: Its gonna do the thing,

Li: Its not gonna do the thing.

Zoe: Holy shit it is doing the thing!

Li: We are Gods amongst men!

This has been edited somewhat as it did go on for a while.  Upshot:  It did the thing.  The EC butter mountain, which is now being painstakingly added slither by slither and we nailed it.  Faces were made that, frankly, were un-lady like.  Fuck it we totally made this frosting our bitch.

Minds were blown, chests were bumped, jigs were danced and shit got real.

At this point there was a veritable crowd gathered.  This has to be the most anticipated and well documented cupcake in the history of baking.

They are so pretty.

Even Monkey got in on the action.  To be fair I did lick off the ganashe off.  (In the spirit
of good parenting.)  Also her frosting was sans Bailey's.  She didn't seem to care.

Happy happy joy joy.

Now if you have made it this far, here is your reward.  We even had a video made.  Three mins of your time, and you will laugh your ass off.  The music is pretty damn great too. 

Li: Hold on to your butts, because next cupcake is the The Iona – pear cupcake with blue cheese frosting (yep, you read that right), candied walnuts and a port wine drizzle. I may have to put a pinkie out while we bake it.