Category Archives: Oh Sweet Chocolate

The Creation Story: Android Cake

Recently, LOML entered a competition via Facebook to win a new smart phone. For me. He worked really hard to get loads and loads of votes for a funny poem he wrote about the phone. He got the most votes. But he didn’t win. ‘Technicalities’. Yes, we still have sour grapes about it.
Anyway, since then he has been obsessed  determined to win me a new phone and manages to find all sorts of giveaways and competitions.

The most recent was to win a Nexus S  by creating something geeky and edible.

We love android, and think it beats the iPhone anyday. Warning: no offence to iPhone users, but an Apple does get harmed in this photo-story…

This is the (tongue-in-cheek) story of our edible entry’s creation:


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Birthday presents. Again.

Sniff, sniff. Apologies for the blurry, pixelated banner. Grrr. I worked on it all  weekend, trying to figure out the image editing tools, and after I had finally got it looking pretty and uploaded it, I realised I’d made it too small *tearing out hair* 

I will hopefully have an improved version after next weekend. Hopefully.

—–oOo—–

I know that I am so drawing out this whole birthday thing, but I did mention previously that I was waiting for a part of my gift from LOML that still had to arrive in the post and that I would let you know about it. So at least you were warned.

And I figured that since I’m writing about birthday gifts, I might as well show you what else I got. But to make it fun (for me, anyway) it’s going to be in the form of cryptic clues. Answers on a postcard…

And before I give you the answers, I absolutely have to tell you  about my birthday treat from my friend who made the Cookie Dough Delight I went on and on and on about a while back. Yes, you guessed it – we went to Pizza Hut and had the real deal! Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. It was spectacular!!!!!!!!!! And I am embarrassed at my own attempts to recreate it without even having tasted the original. Oh well, back to the drawing board with that one. I suspect I shall have some fun trying to perfect that 🙂


The moment you’ve all been waiting for (for, like, 10 seconds). Drumroll please. The solutions to my cryptic clues:

Super gadgety Babyliss curling tongs from T. Thanks my friend!

Now I’ve just to try figure out how to get my hair looking like all those pretty pictures in the online instructions…

Pretty bead bracelet from L. Such gorgeously summery colours, love it!

A friend made it – you can buy similar accessories from her here and here.

Ampersand necklace from LOML.

I helped to choose it because I had a few requirements… small and unobtrusive (check), hand stamped silver (check), typewriter-looking font (check).

We got it from here.

I was treated so well by all my friends… phone calls and messages, cards, a gift voucher for a swanky spa, wine… lucky me!

Thank you 🙂


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Not A Spring Chicken

I am no longer in my 20’s, people!

I had a lovely day with my little family celebrating my entrance to my thirties 🙂 We’ve kept our birthdays very low-key this year because we want to save up to go on a family holiday near the end of the year when we’re (hopefully!) sleeping better at night and more able to cope with a bit of  travel with the Little Man. We’ll either be visiting friends in the south of France, or family in South Africa. Still figuring out the details, but excited either way.

Anyway, it was great having a long weekend – everyone’s in a holiday mood. In fact, in South Africa (where my family lives) there’s another public holiday tomorrow, so they’re feeling it even more!

Look what I got –  a m p e r s a n d  🙂

I haven’t decided exactly where it’ll go, or if I’ll decoupage or add anything onto it, but for now it gets pride of place with my little ‘vignette’ in the living room…

Okay *deep breath* you’re going to think I’m weird. Weirder than perhaps you already think I am. A large proportion of my 30th birthday present has been edible. ‘That’s not so bad’, I imagine you’re thinking, ‘as long as it’s something proper posh.’ Well, it’s not. It’s a bar of chocolate and a jar of peanut butter.

There, I said it. LOML is highly embarrassed that I consider that a suitable gift. But it’s what I wanted!

They’re both from SA, and the peanut butter is like nothing you can find in the shops here in the UK. The chocolate (in SA we call it a slab of chocolate – how great does that sound?? Way better than a prim and proper ‘bar of chocolate’ here!) is a layer of white chocolate on top of normal milk chocolate and it is awesomeness.

The absolute best gift was a Skype video call with my mom & dad, and my brother, sis-in-law, nephew and niece. We sent my parents a webcam as part of my birthday present 🙂 They all sang happy birthday to me, and my little 1 year old niece was clapping her hands like crazy and I got appropriately choked up…

With all the bank holidays, the rest of my present from LOML is running a bit late. I chose it so it’s not a surprise, but I’m sure I’ll pop something about it into a blog post once it’s arrived.

Hip hip hurray for birthdays 🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

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Red Velvet…

Even just typing the title got me singing Black Velvet 🙂

So… I have discovered something to top chocolate cake. I know, who would’ve thought it possible??

I found this recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes on a blog called Annie’s Eats. I copied and pasted the recipe from the blog, but have changed a couple of things, like using the word ‘icing’ instead of ‘frosting’ and adding some different measurements for some ingredients. I sometimes find the American way of listing everything in cups and tablespoons quite hard to use for certain ingredients, like butter.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
30ml/2 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

For the icing:
300g tub cream cheese
75g/5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
10ml/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups icing sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Ice cooled cupcakes as desired.

Ok, this is me again, not the recipe.

Helpful stuff:

* The author recommends using vanilla flavouring (colourless) for the icing rather than vanilla essence for a nicer colour and texture. I did, and I liked it 🙂

*I piped the icing on top using a ziploc bag with a little snip in one bottom corner. It’s not exactly pro-looking, but it was something different to just slathering the icing on top with a knife or spoon. I don’t think I’m ready to actually go out and buy piping bags and fancy schmancy piping tips.

*I decorated with mini mini marshmallows (yip, that’s what the box called them) on some, hundreds & thousands on some, and cherries on the rest. I thought they looked cute, and carried on the pinky-red theme of the cakes.

*I decided to do some research into how full you’re supposed to fill cupcake liners… apparently 2/3 is the accepted amount. Based on some other cupcake advice I found at the same time, I used a 1/4C measure (not completely filled) to pour the batter into the cake liners so that each had the same amount of batter. I’ve always just guessed in the past, and used a couple of normal spoons. This way took out the guess work, was quicker and less messy. Hurray!

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Tea for 2 or 3 or 4…

Yesterday I mentioned some spectacular food that a friend had made. The dessert was particularly awesome, and since dessert in general is my favourite food, that is what I am going to focus on for now.

My friends had recently been to Pizza Hut and shared their Hot Cookie Dough Dessert. And then decided they had to share the cookie dough love by recreating this treat for me. Big smile 🙂

OH. MY. HAT. It was awesome! It is basically a gigantic choc-chip cookie, eaten straight out of the dish. My friend also added marshmallows. A rocky road choc chip cookie piece of gorgeousness.

So I then did my best to recreate the dish myself. And here’s what I found (after googling and taste-testing):

Lizzie’s Cookie Dough Delight – A Dessert For Sharing

If you think the name’s a mouthful, you should actually try eating it.

Ok, that was lame. Sorry. Here goes:

2 and 1/2 cups flour (plain/cake)

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarb (baking soda)

170g/ 3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

250 – 300g chocolate chips

Marshmallows if you’d like them.

1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C/350 deg F.

2. Stir flour, salt and bicarb together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended.

4. Stir the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then add choc chips (and marshmallows).

5. Spread evenly in an oven dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. The top should be golden, but adjust cooking time to your preference when it comes to how soft and doughy it is inside.

Serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.


*I used El Cheapo cooking chocolate of all three sorts, broken into pieces, instead of traditional chocolate chips.

*I kept some chocolate aside and melted it down to drizzle over as a sauce once baked.

*I am admitting that actually I used too much chocolate. This is a momentous occasion – I did not think that was possible.

*Eating it straight out of the dish adds to the decadence of the dessert, but feel free to scoop out into bowls before topping with ice cream.

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Very Eeeeeeezy Chocolate Cake

A quick and easy tray bake chocolate cake. Just in time for the weekend!

*Preheat oven to 180 degC.

*You need: A big bowl, a big (measuring) jug, a roasting dish (greased/baking paper)

Mix dry ingredients together in a big bowl:

3 cups plain/cake flour

4 teaspns baking powder

1 teaspn bicarb

80ml/5 heaped tablespns cocoa

pinch salt

2 cups sugar

Mix wet ingredients together in a jug:

500ml boiling water

250ml oil

50ml white vinegar

10ml vanilla essence

Mix wet and dry ingredients together in the big bowl. Pour into roasting dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

Simple.

This half (The Dark Side): Peppermint Crisp

and dark chocolate flakes

This half: m&m’s and white chocolate drops

 

 

Chocolate obsessed?

Who, me?

 

Aside: I think Peppermint Crisp looks like kryptonite.  Saffa’s, don’t you agree??

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Berrrrrrrownies!

At long last – the promised brownie recipe 🙂

Preheat oven to 140 deg C

Melt 110g butter (I use real butter, not margarine, melted in a bowl in the microwave)
Stir in 2 cups of white sugar, then 3 beaten eggs.

Sift (if you really want to!) and add:
1 and 1/2 cups plain/cake flour
9 Tablespoons cocoa
Generous pinch salt

Mix well and add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
Stir together, spread on a baking tray (greased or lined with baking paper).

Bake:
1. 15-20 minutes at 140 deg C
2. 10-15 minutes at 100 deg C

Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.
They are deeeeeelish eaten still hot, or served warm as a dessert with strawberries and ice cream. They keep well in an airtight container, if they last that long.

*Baking times: I go for the middle ground when it comes to the baking times – 18 minutes at the hotter temperature, then 12 minutes at the cooler temperature. I also sometimes leave the tray in the oven for a while after I’ve turned it off… as the oven cools, it leaves the top with a thin, flaky crust while the insides remain nice and soft. But often I just can’t wait that long and take them out as soon as possible!

And please remember, every oven is different, so you may want to experiment a little with the timings.

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