Hello Everyone and Happy Halloween! I have a simple Halloween dessert idea that will definitely compliment your halloween-themed party! It requires no cooking/skill, only a bit of patience and effort needed really. The only thing you might not have handy at the moment is a brain mould! I purchased this brain mould 2 years ago for a project that I did for an Objects class and it was basically sitting in a box called “Kitchen Stuff” since I started moving here and there. I decided to take it out today (or more like yesterday in preparation for today) to make a Jelly Brain dessert for Marissa’s Halloween Party, which by the time this will be uploaded just happened, or happened yesterday night. I’m really looking forward to this party as this will be the first time, since primary school maybe, that I’ll be dressing up AND going to a Halloween party. I even made my own zombie costume!
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 6 HOURS| SERVES 8-10
1.35L boiling water
3 packs lime flavoured jelly crystals
Dark green food colouring, optional
Black writing icing
Add the jelly crystals into a large bowl of boiling water (follow packet instructions, this required 450ml of boiling water per packet). Stir until all the crystals have dissolved. If needed, add a few drops of green food colouring (or however much you want) to give it a deeper colour. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside to cool down completely as this will affect the outcome of your jelly brain! If your mixture is too hot, or even lukewarm, it will melt the writing icing straightaway.
Outline the veins on the brain mould with the black writing icing. Place the outlined mould into the freezer to let it set. It is important that you place it in the freezer so that it will be able to hold its shape when pouring the jelly mixture into the mould.
Place the mould into a bowl (this will allow the brain mould to stand upright while pouring the jelly mixture into it as well as when placed in the fridge during the setting process), and slowly and gently pour the jelly mixture into the mould from the sides. This will ensure that your veins will not run due to the pressure from the pouring. Cover the mould with cling wrap and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours or ideally overnight before serving. Braaaaaaaaains!!!
Don’t be afraid to mix up the colours a little bit. When I made them 2 years ago, I used red writing icing to outline the veins and a pineapple(?) flavoured jelly. I also did one part water to two parts evaporated milk to make it look like a real-ish human brain! Also, if you want to make it more for the adults, add tequila, vodka, or any other alcoholic beverage that you fancy.
Hello Everyone! So from yesterday’s a post, I mentioned that I had a tea and scones party. I decided to hold one when I made strawberry jam a few days ago. I wanted to have some scones with them, but I didn’t want to eat everything for myself – and so I decided to share the love! It was an afternoon/night of fun and laughter, and meeting new people over homemade goodness. When I say meeting new people, I mean my friends from different places (uni, housemates, etc.) meeting my other friends, and becoming mutual friends.
I decided to go with very basic scones because I wanted the berry-flavoured jams and lemon curd to shine. The original recipe for these basic scones can be found at Taste. When baking them, the kitchen and hallway filled with amazing buttery aromas. You could tell that these were going to be really tasty; crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I think we (my friend Jialing & I; we made two batches so she worked on one while I worked on the other) may have underestimated how high the scones would rise so some rose a bit too much and collapsed – but still tasty nonetheless. This recipe is for one batch, which should make about 16 scones (probably only 10-12 if you made them too big like we did :P)
PREP TIME 15 MINS| COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS| MAKES 16 SCONES
3 cups self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
80g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup milk
Only 3 basic must-have pantry ingredients! How convenient!
Preheat oven to 200C.
Sift the self-raising flour into a large bowl and add the cubed butter. Rub the butter into flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb texture.
Make a well in the centre and add the milk. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until the mixture forms a soft dough. If the mixture is a bit dry and crumbly, add more milk if required. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth (don’t knead the dough too much though or your scones will be quite tough).
Pat the dough into a 2cm-thick round, and using a circular cutter (about a 5cm diameter, or to whatever size/shape you want), cut out rounds. Press the dough together and cut out the remaining rounds.
Place scones onto a tray lined with baking paper, 1cm apart from each other. Lightly sprinkle the tops with a little flour and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen. Serve warm with cream, assorted jams, and lemon curd (for the cream, we just bought a tub of thickened cream and whisked it until it thickened to a spreadable consistency).
Yesterday (30th April) was the 10-year anniversary of the iconic and always quotable click flick Mean Girls. I cannot even begin my obsession over this movie (okay, I’m not that obsessed, I just love it so much that I can quote it all day long). Leading up to this day, I planned a Mean Girls themed party and since its anniversary fell on a Wednesday, we had to bring in a pink dish to share, and of course wear pink as to quote Karen Smith, “On Wednesdays we wear pink”. If you want to skip ahead to the recipe, scroll down, otherwise enjoy reading about my DIY Mean Girls shirt:
I was initially going to buy a shirt off eBay but it was a bit too expensive – well that was one of the reasons, the other reasons were the font not being right, not the right shade of pink, etc. Yes, the designer in me kicked in. And then I thought, yeah I’m a designer, why not I just make my own t-shirt? And so I did! I bought a pink tank top from Esprit and can I just say what a snatch! Originally priced at $14.95 and was down to $7.95 – and then a further 50% off from that price! With the help of my lovely friend Tara who does textiles as one of her majors for her degree, she taught me how to screen print using the photo-emulsion technique. Yeap, making my own screen printed shirt was the way to go, literally costed me less than $5 but a bit of time and effort. At least it was something that I am happy with and it turned out so great! “YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!”
So for the pink dish that I made to share with everyone, I made Beetroot Gnocchi. I’ve never made gnocchi before so I was a bit nervous as I didn’t want to screw up and have nothing for my guests to eat, but as always, beginner’s luck was on my side once again. They turned out really well and I would like to say that they taste really good (and I’m sure they do), I’m just not a very big fan of beetroot. It’s just something about the taste of it that I can’t really put my finger on. But as I said, I’m sure they would be so fetch for beetroot lovers.
PREP TIME 30 MINS| COOKING TIME 30 MINS| SERVES 5-6
For the beetroot purée
1 bunch beetroot, cleaned and scrubbed (if the greens are still attached, cut them off, wash them, and reserve them for another use such as for salads)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
For the beetroot gnocchi dough
3/4 cup roasted beetroot purée
2 cups plain flour, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Juice and zest of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 250C. Place the beets in a large piece of aluminium foil. Coat the beets with the olive oil and sprinkle rosemary leaves over. Feel free to use plenty of olive oil as we will then use the beet-infused oil to dress the gnocchi. Fold the foil over and crimp the sides closed. This helps keep the beets moist, and also contains all the juices. Place in the oven and roast until tender. Smaller beets take about 25 minutes while larger and older beets can take up to an hour. You can check its tenderness by piercing a fork through them. Once done, remove the beets from the oven and set aside so that it is cool enough to handle. Once cool, you can use your fingers to to rub off the their peels. Transfer the beet-infused oil into a small bowl and reserve for later.
Cut the beets into chunks and place them into a blender. Blend until smooth. Take 3/4 cup of the beet purée and place it into a medium bowl. If you have any extra puréed beets, place them into a container and refrigerate. You can use them for other dishes. Stir in the ricotta and parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Then mix in 1 & 1/2 cups of flour (the dough can be made a day ahead, just keep it refridgerated).
Place the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in a bowl. Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour. Scoop the dough into rounds and transfer to the bowl with flour. Then with the tinges of a fork, press down into the dough and then transfer to baking sheet.
Working in batches, cook the gnocchi in a large pot of simmering salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes or until when the gnocchi starts to float to the surface. Cook the gnocchi for a further 1 & 1/2 minutes longer. Then, using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a serving dish. Drizzle with the beet-infused oil and top with lemon zest, a few squeezes of lemon juice and fresh rosemary leaves.