Leek and Asparagus Quiche – Sundays with Joy

There is no doubt about it.  I have a new favourite cookbook.  Move over hummingbird bakery.  Stand aside Delia.  Joy The Baker is in town.  You can find her book here and, if you haven’t already, check out her blog.

I have poured over the recipes on Joy’s blog for a few years now, always loving her simple ideas and delicious recipes.  Everything she makes always seems to fit with just what I am craving that week and her recipes have always produced great results for me.  So needless to say when Joy released her cookbook I just had to order one!  And boy am I glad I did.  100 recipes of pure gorgeousness with cute little stories and introductions just like on her blog!

Front Cover Joy The Baker Cookbook

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I Have Been Condemned {reasons for cookies}

I am not a bad person.

At least I really try not to be.

I recycle.  I pay taxes.  I don’t park in disabled parking spaces.

I do not belittle the beliefs of others.

I try to be kind and loving to all that I meet.

I resist urges to tell people what I think they need to hear, or tell them how horrible I think they have been.

Yet all of this has apparently gone unnoticed by ‘him’ upstairs.

It isn’t often I am approached by total strangers.  When I do I try to be courteous even if I am in a rush and they are looking for donations.

On this occasion I was not in a rush.  I was idly strolling through the street on my way to my favorite deli to pick up some scrummy bread and cheese for that days lunch.  Suddenly a man appears.

“Do you believe?” he announces in more of a statement than a question

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Oreo Cuppies {If you like it then you should have put a cookie on it }

Everywhere I go these days people are putting cookies in cupcakes and sandwiching things in cookies and making sandwiches out of cookies and  generally using cookies in awesome new ways that you never thought would work (or wanted to do but didn’t want to look like a food junkie) so I thought I would join the fad!

And that is the great thing about this blog – I can show you all the food junkie things I do and no-one is there to tell me not to, or ask me how many calories are in that!

I just show you and you (who are you by the way – is anyone reading?), you fabulous web-world people, read and hopefully enjoy and maybe, if I am super lucky, go on to make it share it with your friends and family and share the joy of cooking.  That’s all I want really!

So for this recipe that I have been bigging up in my mind I made my standard cupcake recipe from the Hummmingbird Bakery cookbook aka my bible and popped a cookie in the bottom (but only on half – just to be safe!)

I have to say most of my baking is done at night – being a night owl and also its better than watching tv (anyone else addicted to the vampire diaries? I have a secret thing for Damon

– don’t tell anyone but I so think Elena should be with him) and so here I am at 10pm writing up the recipe as the little cuppies grow and prosper in the oven.

So here you have it one recipe, two cupcakes (well 18 really), two icings (frostings if you will) and a very simple way to show someone you love them.  As I am trying to be super good and not eat tons and tons of junk food, at least half of these will probably be given away to my seminar group and friends.  I love giving cuppies away!

These cupcakes are the simplest and most effective ones I have ever made – dry ingredients wizzed up with butter to look like sand, then slowly add the liquid ingredients and BAM excellent cupcakes every time.  They are moist, and rich, light yet with a dense chocolate flavor.  Couple this with light creamy chocolate frosting or a thick cookie frosting and you are on for a winner!

These cupcakes are my fail-safe, go-to, ready in no time, absolute fave!

These are the cupcakes that prompted my lecturer to open up and tell our class why his nephew called him marshmallow man (and a weird seminar was had by all).

This time when shared again the lecturer told us why he thought he should go hunting (another strange Tuesday night!)

Have I bigged them up enough? Do you want the recipe now?

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Ode to Mothers (Especially Mine)

It is Mothers Day today and I am feeling like the worst daughter in the world.

Because of the timing of this holiday I hardly ever get to spend it with my mum anymore – you see her birthday is on the 10th of March and so (that being last weekend) since being at university and living the other side of the country, it isn’t so easy to just pop home anymore – especially two weekends in a row (if only money did grow on trees!).

Last weekend it was really lovely to be home and spend time with the family.  Mum and I had a great weekend doing girly things (mostly cake related) and we went to the Squires Kitchen exhibition on her actual birthday.  It was aces! (and yes we probably spent too much money!)

Here is the birthday cake I made her

Plain Sponge with Lemon Butter Cream and Homemade Strawberry Jam Filling

And also there were chocolate cuppies involved!

Chocolate Cupcake with Rich Chocolate Buttercream

{please excuse the hand – I have old lady hands – but I was about to eat it and thought you might want to see! recipes to come soon}

This time of year is really brilliant for my mum to have a birthday.  This is because, not only are there loads of mum-themed gifts around but also its spring time and the brilliant colours and flowers of spring are my mum’s fave too! Win Win!

So why you ask am I feeling like a bad daughter?

Maybe it my own guilt about things in general but mostly because I forgot to post her card until yesterday 😦 boo me!

So in an attempt to make up for it a bit,

Here is just a few of the reasons why my mum is so very awesome:

  • She taught me to cook/bake
  • She does jager bombs with us
  • She always knows when im upset and just what to say
  • She is the nicest person I know
  • She is adorable when she swears
  • She plays ring of fire with us
  • She has a huge heart
  • She is never mean (even if someone deserves it)
  • She is the person you can always count on no matter what

While the list is practically infinite this will suffice for today!

This is my Wonderful Mum and I

(I am the Bungle from rainbow – I was fundraising!)

Take some time today to tell your mum just how much you love her and how brilliant she is

Mum you are a superstar, my inspiration and the best mum a daughter could ever ask for

To Sprinkle or not to Sprinkle – that is the question!

For a while now I have been baking and blogging and part of that is my addiction to blog surfing and facebook page surfing.  From my many (many, many,) hours of ‘research’ I have one looming question: “What Matters Most – Taste or Presentation?” 

For me the question has a definite answer – Taste every time – but from my research of testing recipes on friends, family, colleagues and innocent bystanders it seems that the more elaborate the decorations, and the more frills a cake (and most definitely a cupcake) has adoring it, the less people enjoy it. 

The research I have done shows that when presented with a choice, 9/10 people choose the swirly butter cream topped cupcake over the fondant topped one.  Also that given a choice of plain, simple decoration of a layered cake with a mere (while extremely thick) butter cream coating, or a cake covered in fondant with sugar paste decorations and glitter and sparkles galore – the choice was again clear in favor of simplicity.  [It should also be noted that those who did choose the fondant covered cakes were also likely to say such things as “it looks too pretty to eat” or for the more elaborate designs “there doesn’t look like much cake in there!” (this was in reference to cakes made in a ‘scene’)]

The second part of this question would be the age old question that frightens all new cupcake bakers – to Sprinkle or not to Sprinkle?  Personally there is nothing that ruins a gorgeous creamy, butter cream topped cupcake, with wonderful fluffy sponge, than a hard and crunchy topping that tastes a little like the accidental chewing of the toy inside a kinder egg (of course only a fool would do such a thing when biting scrummy chocolate eggs – but it happens to the best of us!) 

So I pose the question to you blog world, Taste or Presentation?

Would you rather be presented on your birthday with a gorgeous looking, fabulously decorated, elaborate designed cake/cupcakes, OR would you rather something that looked a little ‘homey’ and yet tasted like an explosion of flavors working together to make your taste buds tingle with delight?