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May. 10th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Spicy Rose Cupcakes


With Mother's Day just around the corner it's a time for making all things pretty and elegant. The first thing that comes to mind for this occasion is roses. The rose has been used as a symbol in most societies throughout human history. And it's little wonder. It's a beautiful, and varied, flower. Qualities that make them a lovely way to say thanks this Mother's Day.



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May. 8th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Cook Book Challenge: Week 38


One thing that's delightful about this challenge is that I'm starting to run out of books. And when I say run out, I mean I've used all my regulars. I'm starting to delve into books I've shelved and have never picked up after that first flick through. This weeks book, "Cadbury Chocolate Cookbook," is one I have little memory of. Perhaps that's because there's very few pictures in the book. I'm drawn too books with mouth-watering pictures. I'm also what's called a VAKs learner: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. It's great because I have no weaknesses, but then no strengths either. I need to hear or read the instructions, I need to see how it's done, but I don't truly learn anything until I dive in and try it myself. When a recipe lacks a photo, when I can't see what the end product is supposed to look like, I feel like I'm flying blind. Or at least one third blind.



A lot of people often argue that a good cook book doesn't need pictures to be a good cook book. So I attempted to shove my picture-snobbery to one side and pick a recipe from how it sounded. There were a few recipes that sounded alright. Many I had tried before, or were just too simple for this challenge. There was a mocha bread recipe I liked, but lacked ingredients for. I'd almost given up hope of finding something I could make today when I stumbled upon on of the last recipes: the roulade. It's a thought that still intimidates me. I almost skipped that, too, when I reminded myself that that is the point of this challenge. To challenge myself. I took a deep breath and collected the necessary ingredients.

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May. 3rd, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Orange and Cinnamon Macarons


I'm addicted to making macarons lately. And I have no intention of stopping until I iron out the little creases that are the imperfections in my biscuits. As if I'm going to stop when I do finally get them perfect. Ha!


They're so addictive and so appealing to make. It's becoming and\ obsession. There are so many colours and flavours and possibilities just begging to be explored.



My major challenge at the moment is getting the biscuits all the same size. No matter how carefully I drew the circles and how carefully I piped, they'd always be different. I'd spend ages trying to match up same-sized biscuits, getting grumpy about the misshapen ones. So I thought it was time to try something new.



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May. 2nd, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Cook Book Challenge: Week 37


This week's challenge comes from one of my many Women's Weekly books simple titled 'Chocolate'. This is one of my books that has a lot of overlap with others, each of which people have gotten me as presents. They all offer something different, though, so I don't mind.



I bake from these books a lot, and some of my favourite cake recipes come from or have been adapted from these books. The part this book has that the others don't is a cookie section. It's all about the old and classic in these ones. I've been wanting to try Pinwheel Cookies, on Choc-Vanilla Spiral Cookies as they are called in this book, for a while. The challenge was the perfect excuse.

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Apr. 26th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Bite-size Brûlées


My favourite thing in the world is make bite-sized versions of food. I love catering parties and making everything tiny. An idea I've had swimming around my brain for years was tiny crème brûlées. I'd been on the hunt for ceramic Chinese soup spoons every time I entered a home wares store, but could never find any, let alone white ones. All I could ever find was plastic or metal spoons - not very oven friendly, or mouth friendly after having been near a blow torch.



So when my sister got me this amazing canapé set for my birthday, without even knowing how much I'd wanted to make this dessert, I know just how to break it in.

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Apr. 23rd, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Cook Book Challenge: Week 36


Returning to the challenge this week, I turned to my Christmas present from Cameron's mum. This is the second book from 'Great Tastes' she has bought me, and I have to confess loving both of them. The recipes range from the simple to the more complex, from those involving pantry ingredients to others requiring a stop-over at a speciality grocer. I'd been meaning to cook from this book since Christmas, but have only just got around to it now. I swear I think it's still February. None the less, it was worth the wait. I've cooked from this book thrice this week.



When it comes to weeknight meals I very quickly lose my inspiration. Cooking has begun to be a chore, particularly so when cooking for my sister who likes so little different things. When it comes to deciding what to make for dinner I can never formulate answers. Particularly not answers that involve quick, easy yet interesting solutions. This is where this book comes in. I'm determined to cook out of it as often as possible.

As for the challenge, well, that had to involve something out of the ordinary. As soon as I turned to this item, I just had to make it.

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Apr. 18th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword -- Beamos Cake


You guys might remember the Furnix Cake I made for an artist collaboration on deviantART. Well, the project was so popular it's on for a second round. When the organiser contacted me to let me know, I was only too ecstatic to be on board a second time. Any excuse to make a Zelda ckae is a very welcome one indeed.



For those of you who don't remember, the collab is called Link's Blacklist. It's a fan art project that focuses only on enemies from the video game series, The Legend of Zelda. It's that enemy-only facet that I love so much. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Link artwork as much as the next Zelda fan. But there's no shortage of them. Focusing solely on enemies generates a lot of fan art with a focus on what is often ignored. What makes this project even more special is that it's both quality-controlled and open only to a select number of artists, so every entry is one worth staring at. If you're a Zelda fan, or just love some beautiful fan art, check out the artwork so far here on Game Art HQ.


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Apr. 16th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Strawberry and Nutella Mini-Calzones


There was this one restaurant in the city my boyfriend and I used to frequent. They had gorgeous meals for cheap prices and we always had a positive experience there. Amongst our favourite meals were these delicious calzones, and enormous ones at that. They were the size of half a dinner plate and choc full of filling. The savoury calzones were delicious, but the dessert ones even more so. We'd often order the strawberry and chocolate calzone to share, because imagining we could get through one alone was madness.



Some time ago we had an event in the city so decided to go back to this place for dinner and were devastated to find it was no longer there. They have other branches around, but our experiences there were... well, we'll just say they were nothing like their city counterpart. We've missed their meals like crazy, and their strawberry calzone was definitely one on the most pined after list.

Last week, while planning the meal for the night, I had a craving for it when it finally occurred to me: It's just a calzone. How hard could it be to replicate?

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Apr. 12th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Chocolate Bubble Cake

Last Sunday was my 25th Birthday. Shh, yes, I'm getting old. As the only baker in my house, of course the cake duties fell to me. Something I love because I get to experiment with new things.



I had an idea. An idea involving chocolate bubbles. But then I decided to hang out with my friends instead and left myself only 6 hours to complete the cake. What ended up happening was one disaster quite literally flowing into the next.

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Apr. 10th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Chicken and Leek Pot Pies


Now the weather is gradually but finally getting colder, winter type meals are starting to become more common in the household. Soups, stews, curries, casseroles, roasts and pies. The sort of meals that felt far to hot and heavy to eat weeks ago are now desired to chase the chill away.



These pot pies are one of the most simple meals of the bunch. They don't require any pastry knowledge or blind baking so they're perfect for anyone intimidated by making pie crusts.

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