Monday, 30 April 2012

DIY Sock cat! ~ E.L.

Months and months ago, when I naively believed that I will have plenty of free time, I promised S.T. that I will make a sock cat for her. For those who don't know, S.T. loves cats... she not only has her own pet cat, she takes care of all the strays in her neighbourhood too... Yes. She loves Cats.

So she bought me a pair of this cool colourful stripey socks to make the cat out of, and I never got to it till 2 weeks ago when I finally took some time off work!

I did not really know how to go about it, so I did a quick search online, and came across this really easy and great tutorial. Check it out here for the full how-to guide on making your own sock cat!

It turned out pretty awesome! Here's how our cat turned out looking!

The socks S.T. gave me were knee length, so I made its legs as long as the socks were. And gave it shiny black eyes with old buttons from my mom's collection.

So do give it a try, makes a great gift for baby showers!

Update: Check out where this sock-cat, Chester, is now! 


Friday, 6 April 2012

S.T:Belated Birthday Post - 19 Feb

 I've been meaning to post about this but haven't had a chance. My birthday was on 19 Feb and instead of a full day and night of sin and debauchery, I decided to do something equally just as fun. I decided to craft and bake. On the day before, I spent it with family, and received wonderful presents, and one of my favourites, BUTTONS!

So with my fun stash I made myself a button and charm double necklace

The flower is actually a button, a real find! For the top necklace, I drilled a hole through said button so that I could loop the pearl into it. Both necklaces are seperate so I could wear them on their own or together.

And then, if that wasn't enough, I made myself a ring too

Of course, it wouldn't be a birthday if there was no cake! This year, I decided to make a 
Creme Brulee Cupcake!

It looks ugly but its oh so yummy. For this recipe, I made everything from scracth, from the caramel sauce that goes into the batter to the creme brulee itself. It was alot of work but it was a success! Since this wasn't an order and more of an experiment, I first decided to play with my oven settings. I baked different batches at different settings and had the most interesting results:

     Left: Over-filled and over-baked.  Middle: Standard Perfection    Right: Close to perfection

The one on the left was baked at 25 mins, slightly over-filled and was baked with the fan off.
The one in the middle  which I find the most perfect) was baked at 15 mins, perfectly filled at slightly under 3/4 of the liner and baked with the fan on. The one on the right was baked at 20 mins, filled slightly under 3/4 of the liner and baked with no fan on.

 Conclusion: The Fan in the oven is important for making cakes rise and giving cupcakes that perfect dome top.

Also, the texture was fluffier, moist and less dense, which is ideal for a cupcake like this, as the creme and caramel topping add alot of heaviness and crunch already.

 So, I decided to bake the remaining batches at the ideal setting and got this:

Then of course, once cooled, you have to "core'the cupcakes, which basically means removing the centers so that you have space to fill them out

Save the centres! Use them to make rum truffles and they are absolutely delicious! I'll post about them another time. Okay, so fill the centers with creme brulee and you get this:

Here is a little video that I created: 

 The video was filmed by the Gorilla, who ran the Urbanathalon Race on my birthday. Perhaps the best thing he did was run through the finish line while holding a giant flag that said Happy Birthday. He coordinated this with his mom so that she could pass it to him once he finished the last obstacle and was on the last leg of the race. Upon seeing this, the Emcee got the whole crowd to sing to me Happy Birthday which was very, very sweet. Okay, okay, I know I'm a lucky girl.

Anyhow, I know everyone just wants the recipe. I modified it from Beantown Baker, Deliah Smith and Simply recipes. Enjoy!

Creme Brulee Cupcakes- Makes 24

Originally Adapted from Beantown Baker.
(click here for the original)

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch for the egg whites
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk 
*3 tablespoons caramel syrup( made from scratch) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius, 160 if you have your fan setting on.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.  and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add caramel syrup and vanilla.

Sift 1/3 of the flour into the batter and fold it into the batter. Fold in 1/2 of the milk. Repeat until all flour and milk have been incorporated into the batter.

Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Gently fold whites into batter.

Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

Once cooled, core the cupcakes and fill with it the Creme Brulee custard. Working quickly, create the sugar crust by sprinkling sugar and melting it down with a blow torch. serve immediately. You can keep it in the fridge but it starts to condense after two hours, which is not ideal.

Caramel Sauce:
Taken from Simply Recipes, click here for ingredients, steps and super helpful photos!
The caramel somehow tastes more like butterscotch though, and keeps really well. I used leftovers for a pound cake!

1 Cup of Sugar
6 Tbsp (85 g) butter
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

Place sugar in a heavy bottom pot. On a moderately high heat, melt the sugar until it reaches a deep amber colour. Working quickly, whisk in the butter. Once the butter has fully melted, turn the heat off. Count to three and add in the cream. At this point, the entire mixture will start to foam and bubble so be careful! Set aside to cool. Mixture will thicken.

Creme Brulee:(to be prepared a day in advance)

Adapted from Delia Smith. Click here for the original

570ml of Double Cream ( I use Milac, its THE BEST)
6 large egg yolks
4 teaspoons cornflour
a  few drops of vanilla extract

Caramel crust:
110g of granulated sugar

Mix the egg yolks, cornflour and vanilla extract together. Set aside.

Heat up the cream till it reaches boiling point. Once boiling, mix in the cream together with the egg yolk mixture, stirring all the time. Return the mixture to the pot and continue to boil, until the mixture thickens( which is very fast, within a minute or two. Take note not to overheat it, it will get lumpy. If it does, just take it off the heat and stir.

Once thickened, take it off the heat, pour it through a sieve and let it set in a bowl to cool. Cover the bowl with a clingfilm, taking note to pat it down so that it covers the surface of the custard( this prevents a skin from forming). Put it in the fridge and let it set overnight.
(you can always pour this into ramekins and just eat it with the caramel crust without the cake.)

Have fun!