SLP 6 – Just a bit of happiness, please

07/05
Discovering a secret garden near my room. I really do believe that it’s secret, but that doesn’t stop me of telling the world about it as the place is just too lovely to not share it with others. I want to go there again, as soon as possible!
08/05
Getting my driver’s license. I couldn’t believe that I did it! When I started to learn to drive I thought it was impossible for me to ever get my license, but now I actually did it. Wow. I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t believe it!
08/05
My brother who came by my room to have dinner together and totally treated me like a princess to celebrate getting  my driver’s license. He brought us delicious buns, cupcakes and a whoopie pie to celebrate it with, it was lovely.
09/05
Not failing a test of which I thought beforehand that I’d fail and feeling incredibly zen and peaceful in the evening while chatting with my parents on the phone, cooking in my room and almost falling asleep on my couch because everything just felt too perfect.
13/05
The look on my mother’s face when I surprised her not only with pancakes, cakes and other yummie homemade food on her birthday (and Mother’s Day on the same day!), but also with a dress of which she hadn’t expected at all to get and which she loved. I like making people happy this way, if only for that look on her face and those feelings, it means the world to me.

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Cooking: Cranberry-Chocolate Cupcakes

I always bake something the day before I have a test. If it’s a cake or cookies or whatever; I HAVE TO BAKE! It just helps me calm down and relax, which is the exact thing I need at those moments and which was yesterday as I have a test today.
Works a lot better than meditating and it’s productive too! Voilà, what more could I wish for?

When I saw we had some dried cranberries left in the pantry I decided I wanted to bake something with those in it, as I was becoming addicted to food that had blueberries in it. Blueberries, cranberries; I want to try all the berries! Have I already told you I’m a closet fan of blackberries? Herewith I don’t mean the smartphone, but the actual fruit you can eat. No? Well, now you know.
The day before yesterday I already started my search for a recipe for cranberry cupcakes and I found one in a cookbook I had gotten as a gift from my brother some time ago. It’s actually a recipe for blueberry muffins, but hey, the point was that I would use these cranberries I had found, not that I would actually leave my house to go grocery shopping! Let me be lazy, please? And because of my laziness I made another adjustment in the ingredients and didn’t use the white chocolate they’re recommending, but milk chocolate instead. No one in our home eats milk chocolate, because we’re all die-hard dark chocolate fans, so usually when we get those as a gift, we either give them away or use them for baking. These milk chocolates were actually already over due, but because Google told me that when it comes to chocolate it doesn’t matter if the package says that it’s over due as long as it’s unopened, I decided to use it anyway. In the end I had to go to the supermarket anyway because I found that I was out of whole milk. Damn it.
By the way, I’ve altered the original recipe a lot; leaving some ingredients out and adding new ingredients or altering amounts, so it’s kind of become my own recipe now, hehe.

The cookbook the original recipe is from that I’m using is Dutch and I realize that the sizes differ from the sizes that are usually used in English. This website could help you use the right amounts.

Ingredients:
These aren’t all of the ingredients as I forgot a couple when taking this picture, whoops. Luckily I didn’t forget them during baking! Why is there an apple in this picture? Who put it there? Eh?

– 200 Grams of self raising flour
– 100 Grams of brown sugar
– One little package of vanilla sugar
– 2 teaspoons of ground instant coffee
– 2 free range eggs
– 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
– 150 ml of whole milk
– 130 Grams of milk chocolate, in chips
– 100 Grams of dried cranberries
– Extra oil for greasing

Directions:
Preheat your oven on 160 C (or 325 F). Put the cupcake liners in a cupcake tin and grease them. I usually use oil and a brush for greasing, but you can use butter too if you’d like.

Sift the self raising flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and coffee in a bowl and mix them with a spoon. Make a pit in the middle.
Beat the eggs in another bowl loosely with the oil and the milk. Add this mixture to the flour and mix it shortly using a mixer. Then add the chocolate and cranberries and stir them through the mixture using a wooden or silicone spatula. When you’re finished, distribute your cake dough over the cupcake liners.
Bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes in the middle of the oven until they have a golden brown colour.

Please don’t follow my example and let your cupcakes come out this big and ugly. Just fill them up to two third and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to change the degree on your oven and pay attention to your baking time!
The black colour on my cupcake tin isn’t supposed to be there either. It was because a little of the dough was spilled when filling the liners and well, this is what you get then. No biggie, just don’t eat it.

The amount of time and on which degree you bake your cupcakes at depends on for how much you’ve filled them. I’ve filled them to the top, because I wanted to make only one batch of cake, and if you follow my example it means that the previous degrees and time I’ve just mentioned are the ones you should use. If you go for less ugly and more cute cupcakes and you choose to fill your tin only up to two thirds, preheat your oven on 180 C (or 350 F) and leave the cupcakes in it for 25 minutes. Keep checking your oven to see if they have a golden brown colour.

Bon appetite!

Credits: I used the cookbook ‘Chocolade’ by Elizabeth Ferretti for the recipe. © 2004 Top That! Publishing plc.

Have a Mellow Morning!

Usually I have to buy this coffee for 2 euro’s and 40 cents at the Douwe Egberts Cafe at our faculty, which I find quite expensive. Then what to do? Just not drink it and keep dreaming about Mellow Morning? Are you kidding me?? If it’s too expensive to buy, then I’ll just make it on my own! It’s not even that ‘special’ in my opinion, so I don’t quite understand the high price at that cafe. My homemade tastes better anyway, so there.

Ingredients:

  • 250 ml soy milk. Normally ‘Mellow Morning’ is made with regular cow milk, but since I’m lactose intolerant I use soy milk instead.
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Directions:

  • Heat the milk in a mug in a microwave or in a pan on a stove. Soy milk has a lower heating point than regular cow milk so don’t lose sight of it if it’s your first time heating it. Stop heating it as soon as it starts to boil. You may have to remove a layer of cream that has arisen on the milk.
  • Add the instant coffee and the honey.
  • Stir
  • Have a taste of royal bliss and enjoy your homemade Mellow Morning!

Disclaimer: I wish I’d been the one who had made this lovely latte art, but sadly the credits go to the barista at Doppio, a coffee cafe that’s close to our faculty that I sometimes visit with friends. I had this white chocolate cappuccino some time ago and though I don’t always see the barista adding latte art into coffee he does do it always when I order some. A new way of flirting perhaps? Well, it works for me!

How to: Make chocolate

Like I alreay told you in my previous post, I also attended a chocolate workshop at Tsunacon.
Here you can see in 8 simple steps how to make three cute bonbons.

The goal was to make one heartshaped bonbon filled with caramel and two cubeshaped bonbons filled with ganache.

Step 1:
Melt the chocolate
At the workshop they used a chocolate fondue to melt chocolate, but you can also use a boiling pan for the same purpose. If you use a pan, you can better use two of them: One filled with water and as soon as it’s just below the boiling point you can put another pan with the chocolate inside it. They have special pans for this, but I usually just use two pans when I’m melting chocolate, because I don’t have that special pan and it works fine like this too. When melting the chocolate you first melt two-third of it before you add the other one-third.

Step 2:
Cast the melted chocolate into a heartshaped mold


Now you have some time to wait for this chocolate to harden, so in the mean time you can work on the other two bonbons.

Step 3:
Make the ganache and slice it in cubes
They had already made it for us and only told us you had to use whipped cream and chocolate to make it. Uh, ok, but I don’t think that much will help you making it, therefore I’ve found you this recipe in which they explain you how to make the ganache. I haven’t tried it out yet, so I don’t know if it’s a good one.

Step 4:
Dip the chocolate ganache in melted chocolate and wait for it to harden
Step 5:
Cast the chocolate out of the heartshaped mold
You’re supposed to let the chocolate only for a minute or so in the mold, therefore keep track of time while you’re busy dipping your ganache into the melted chocolate! If you wait too long, the chocolate layer around your caramel filling will be too thick. Now you’ll have to wait for this chocolate layer to harden.

Step 6:
Fill the heartshaped mold with a caramel filling
We also didn’t make the caramel ourselves, so I got you this recipe you can try out.
Of course you can also just buy the caramel in stores, but wouldn’t you rather make everything yourself? While you’re at it anyway, why not?
Step 7:
Fill up the rest of the heartshaped mold with melted chocolate and let the chocolate harden

Step 8:
Wrap the bonbons up cutely
Now you can let you creativity flow! Just wrap them up however you like. Maybe you want use a box to put them in? Or a transparent packing? Everything is possible! The use of ribbons is always a plus!

The bottom two packets of bonbons were made by me and the upper two were made by my friend. I gave the bonbon on the left, the heartshaped one, to my father and the bonbons on the right, the ganache coated with chocolate, to my mother for Valentine’s Day. They both loved it!

Food Diary: 17th of February, 2012

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! *Clap* *Clap*

Food:
– One half of a whole-wheat mini-baguette with fatless cumin cheese
– Two slices of whole-wheat bread with ham and fatless cumin cheese
– One currant bun
– Rice with cabbage and masala lambs meat. I’ve an Indian background; Eating rice and meat with masala, that’s what I do!
– Two puffed rice cakes
– A slice of whole-wheat bread with fatless cumin cheese

Drinks:
– One mug of coffee with a dash of regular milk and a sweetener
– A cup of hot chocolate. I got this one from my favorite free coffee machine.
– Three mugs of açai green tea

Because we’re getting visitors this weekend I just spent some hours in the kitchen making a chocolate cake and agar agar, which is a sort of  coconut pudding. Maybe you know the dessert ‘lapis’? You can compare it to that. It’s delicious! I want to eat it, but unfortunately I’ll have to wait for it to harden in the fridge.
I could eat it for breakfast tomorrow morning though…