Thursday, 5 March 2015

Reasons To Be Grateful: February

Some things that I've felt grateful for in February: 

  • The kindness of friends. How I got lucky enough to have such an awesome group of people around me, whose out-and-out goodness never fails to amaze and humble me, I'll never know. (Okay, soppy monologue over, sorry, sorry). 
  • Very large cups of tea. Like, VERY large. Pug head large.
  • This song, which I've probably listened to once a day (conservative estimate). SHAKE. IT. OFF.
  • This whole album, which bought back memories. Hot damn No Doubt were good.
  • My body, for making me realise maybe I shouldn't be so hard on it after all. For showing me it can hold plank positions in super heated yoga studios, power through before-work spin classes, steal a couple of points from someone much better at squash than me. Good on you, body.
  • The 5 year anniversary of the lovely book club I attend (this one, in case you're wondering). Which makes me feel both old and happy at the same time.
  • Hot water bottles. Our warming rubbery buddies.  
  • Being grown up enough to take a second chance when it was offered. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Motivational Monday #4

The Holstee Manifesto makes me smile every time I read it. Even if I'm in a meh mood, I find I can't get to the end of it without feeling at least a little pumped. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion. Amen. 

If you need a bit more Holstee Manifesto in your life, you can buy it as a poster or simply download for free as a background for your desktop/phone/tablet. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes with a Jammy Centre

A good friend of mine had a birthday recently and - as I am a strong believer that every birthday should feature lashings of cake - I decided it was utterly, completely, 110% necessary to whip up something sweet and pretty. I landed on the idea of coconut cupcakes with a tasty secret - little jammy raspberry centres. It's not difficult to give your cupcakes a surprise middle, and it's a real crowd pleaser move. I'm happy to say they went down a treat.*

Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes with a Jammy Centre 

To make a large batch of cupcakes (around 18)

Weigh 4 large eggs in their shells, then use the same amount of:
 - plain flour
 - caster sugar
 - unsalted butter, room temperature
50g dessicated coconut
3 level tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
good raspberry jam (a few tbsps)
optional: pink food colouring, to desired strength

For topping

100g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g icing sugar
50g dessicated coconut
optional: coloured sprinkles

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC/160oC fan assisted.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar (i.e. mix the hell out of them until well-combined and light in colour).
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time. Each time you add an egg, add a spoonful of the flour mixture as well (to stop the mixture curdling).
  5. With the last egg, add in the vanilla extract (and food colouring if using). Mix until combined, but don't go to town on it. Over working a batter can make your cakes tough.
  6. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown and springy to the touch. Transfer cakes to baking rack to cool. 
  7. When cooled, using an apple corer and a twisting motion, remove about an inch of the middle of a cupcake. Cut this piece in half and discard the bottom half (into your mouth). Spoon a small amount of jam into the hole, and pop the little cake stopper back in. Repeat with each cupcake.
  8. To make the buttercream, beat together the butter and icing sugar well. Like, real well. Use a knife to apply the buttercream to the cupcakes. 
  9. Pour some dessicated coconut on a plate (and mix in some coloured sprinkles if you're using them). Press the top of each cupcake into the coconut, rolling around to cover all of the buttercream.  
  10. Eat your pretty pretty coconutty cupcakes. 

*Author's note: I don't think any of my IRL friends really read this blog, but just in case - Duncan 'coconut tastes like shit' Palmer - this one's for you.

More cupcake recipes:

Amaretto Sour Cupcakes
Lemon Poppy Seed Drizzle Cupcakes
Zesty Lemon Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Motivational Monday #3

Keeping it sweet and simple for this week's Motivational Monday. Ron Swanson has spoken many wise words, but perhaps none wiser than these:

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."

You can buy this frankly charming print as a digital download from the Printable Quirks etsy shop and (assuming you're the lucky kind of so-and-so who owns a printer) have this inspirational quote up on your wall almost instantly! How good is that? Motivation post-haste!

Image source: Printable Quirks
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