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BPAYis having a competition and you could win $3000 😀 I sure could use $3000 so I’ll show you my entry in a little bit!
What is BPAY?
BPAY is a payment method that banks use to allow you to pay bills quickly and easily without having to deal with many separate companies. For example I can now pay my water, electricity, rent, phone etc bill from internet banking through BPAY in about 10 minutes rather than the long boring task this used to be 15 years ago when you actually had to go to each place to pay. Therefore I can now spend more time filming nail art tutorials, yay!
About the competition!
Everyone loves things short and sweet. They put smiles on faces and give us a warm glow inside. So we at BPAY figured if we could take a long arduous task like queuing at the post office to pay a bill and make it a short and sweet process online, the world would be a better place. And so we did.
To enter, you need to write either:
1. A recipe
2. Give a film synopsis
3. Pen a love poem
4. Write a short fiction
BUT the catch is you need to do that all in 120 characters or less.I decided that I would write one of my favorite quick, easy, lazy fudge recipes. It takes about 5 minutes to make and is pretty much impossible to screw up! This is what I came up with…
Put butter, 1pack marshmallows+block choc in container. Nuke 30sec, cool in fridge, cut, STUFF FACE WITH FUDGE!
111 characters, oh yeah 9 characters to spare=champion!
So want to see the long version of it?
What you need:
- 1 packet of marshmallows
- 1 block of chocolate
- Some butter, around a tablespoon
- Microwave proof container
You can use margarine or real butter, I didn’t want to waste the expensive margarine so I used cheap block butter.
So cut off a slice of butter.
And stick it into the microwave safe container.
Add the marshmallows…
Break the chocolate into pieces…
Add that too!
So this is what you should have…
Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Mine is 1100w so if yours is different please adjust the time.
Use a spoon to mix it all up, the marshmallow should be liquid and sticky. Don’t worry if the rest of the ingredients are still solid because the marshmallow will melt them nice and slowly.
Mix until it looks like this:
If it gets hard before it’s combined just put back in the microwave for another 10 seconds and remix.
You want to end up with something like this…
Cool the whole thing in the fridge until it’s hard again.
Cut into squares…
So if you think you can do something awesome in under 120 words here’s how to enter…
You can enter via the BPAY competition website, SMS or by Twitter, with the best entry from each category winning $3,000. Not bad for 2 minutes worth of effort, just like paying your bills via BPAY.
1) Online, visit www.bpayshortandsweet.com.au and follow the prompts.
2) Via SMS, text your name, category and your 120 character entry to 0427 777 743
3) Via Twitter, tweet the category and your 120 character entry to @BPAYSS
Love Poem = POEM, Recipe = RECIPE, Short story = STORY, Film and Book synopsis = SYNOPSIS.Hope you enjoyed my superfast marshmallow fudge and give it a try! I only got that one piece because when I went to get some later it was all eaten *_*
Good luck in the competition!
Iced tea is my favorite Summery drink and it’s so cheap and easy to make there’s not really an excuse to spend lots of money on other drinks!
Fruity teas work the best for this, my current favorite is the T2 Strawberries and Cream. Absolutely delicious!
What you need:
- Caster sugar (I use about half a cup for this size jug because James likes it really sweet)
- Loose leaf tea
- Tea strainer-dunking-thingy-that-I-can’t-remember-the-name-of
Fill up your kettle and boil it.
Make sure to store tea in an air tight container so it lasts longer.
For the size jug I’m using I needed two of the tea dunking things with around 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of tea in each.
You shouldn’t fill them too full otherwise the tea won’t have room to move around and you won’t get a full flavour.
Once the kettle boils add the plungers and the water to the jug.
You should be able to see the colour change very soon, use your tongs to give everything a stir.
Now herein lies a very important lesson… when you go to refill your glass jug with new tea after it’s been in the fridge for days don’t pour boiling water straight into it! Glass (especially crappy glass from a $2 store) can’t take sudden temperature changes and will crack. Then you will have super hot water all over your bench which is very irritating to clean up and also then you have to have an internal debate on whether it’s worth it to catch a tram all the way to the junk store and replace the jug to continue with the tutorial… it’s not pretty, it looks something like this in fact!
So after deciding you are too lazy to go buy a replacement jug and digging around under your bench to find a smaller one and remaking it all up to this point… leave everything to cool for around 10 minutes.
Then it’s time to add in your sugar. We like a huge amount of sugar (like probably 1/4 of a cup for the big glass jug above or 1/8th of a cup for the small pyrex one below) but the first time you make this I would suggest measuring and adding a bit at a time until you’ve got a flavour you like. Ours tastes kind of like un-set jelly XD
Now stir it all together so the sugar dissolves and remove the tea strainers. Leave it out on the bench for a couple of hours until it’s room temperature then pop in the fridge over night. The next day you will have some pretty delicious tea ready and waiting to go 😀
Do you guys have a favorite flavour of tea? I love strawberries and cream for the ice tea and at the moment my favorite hot tea is good old English Breakfast 😀
James and I have been obsessed with a TV show called Pushing Daisies. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. Well we finished the series (it was cancelled ater 2 seasons) and since seeing all of the delicious looking pies on the show (the main character owns a pie shop) I’ve had a bit of an obsession with making pies. When we first started dating I used to make apple pies all the time but then we got busy with work and it just wasn’t a priority.
But now I am a pie making machine and I’ve been trying all kinds of different flavours. So I figured I would show you how I start with the basics. I can’t remember where this recipe came from, it’s been in my recipe file for years and I think it came from a book my Grandma gave my Mum from the 1960’s. Anyway, here’s how I make apple pies!
What you need, ingredients:
- 4 apples
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- Lemon juice
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- Puff Pastry (I’m using store bought because I’m lazy but I’m sure it would taste much better with home made!)
What you need, utilities:
- Mixing bowl
- Spoon for mixing
- Measuring cups
- 4x heart shaped silicon cake tins (obviously you can do it in something else XD)
First thing will be to wash and cut up your apples, remove all the skin and chop them into fairly small pieces. Set them to the side. Preheat your oven to around 190 Degrees Celsius.
In a mixing bowl put a couple of squirts of lemon juice.
Add in the white sugar…
And the brown sugar…
And the flour ^_^
Now add the Cinnamon, I use a lot (like maybe 2 teaspoons) because James loves it. I personally can’t stand cinnamon but there are so many other flavours in this that it’s tolerable ^_^
Next add a couple of shakes of Nutmeg, maybe 1/2 as much as the Cinnamon you put in.
Mix it all together!
Add in the apple pieces and mix it again. The apples should be coated in the sugary substance. It looks dry now but once the apples sit while you make the pastry cups it will go all liquidy and sticky from the apple’s juices.
Clean your pie moulds and if you’re making pastry from scratch do that now and roll it out.
If you’re using the frozen pastry then make sure it’s thawed.
Drape it over the mould and press in to place. Pleat the sides so you can cover the base properly:
You should have something like this:
Cut off the extra leaving around 1cm around the edges and pop in the filling!
I decided to be fancy and make lattice tops. This is achieved by weaving strips of pastry together. If you’re doing this then cut a bunch of 1cm strips of pastry and start by making an X with 2.
Build it slowly by adding 2 more in each direction, this way you can weave them all very easily without disturbing too much.
Continue until the whole thing is covered…
You should get something like this:
Cut off the extra and pinch around the edges to seal it…
Repeat with the rest of them!
Ok one more pie-cam-whoring photo because I spent so damn long making them XD
Now put them into the oven! After 20 minutes check on them and make sure nothing is on fire then leave for another 20 minutes.
When you’re already hungry this seems like hours though -_-‘
Once you can see liquid boiling through the tops and the pastry is golden they are ready! Woo!
Take them out and leave them to cool for a bit. I like to cool them on the bottom too so they don’t get soggy as I don’t have a cooling rack.
And that’s it! Enjoy and eat! James likes to add icecream but I don’t really like icecream so I eat them plain.
Super yummy 😀
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and do let me know if you give it a try! Would you guys like me to post other flavour variations I make too? Like with the different fruits?
Macarons… they’ve become a serious obsession now.
I blame Lolita brands for this obsession. If they didn’t keep including them in prints or in sweets deco maybe I could forget about how melt-in-your-mouth-delicious they are… maybe I could ignore the fact that they are incredibly pretty… and maybe I could stop thinking about how I desperately want one for breakfast today with a cup of tea…
And so it goes on until one day I got so frustrated I decided to make them myself. I suppose that’s in keeping with the spirit of this blog ^_^
I searched and searched for a recipe. Many were too complicated with things like measuring the temperatures in the room and comparing the humidity to get the correct amounts for different parts of the world!? Macarons are apparently the most fickle of all deserts.
Finally just as I was about to give up a friend sent me a link to Not Quite Nigella’s Recipe. It seemed easy enough but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of pistachio as I wanted James to actually eat them too. I kept searching until I found the Tasted By Two version. Seemed easy enough… and so the experimenting began! After maybe 10 batches I have modified the recipe for our kitchen/temperature/humidity/what ever other ridiculous things macarons are scared of. I am not a baking purist, I just did what worked! These techniques might not work for you but I assure you that my result was freaking awesome 😀
So here is everything I’ve learned about macarons and my modified version of the Tasted By Two Recipe:
What you need:
Ingredients for chocolate macarons with chocolate filling-
For the outside bit:
- 65 grams Almond Meal
- 80 grams Icing Sugar
- 40 grams Caster Sugar
- 1 table spoon Cocoa Powder
- 50 grams Egg White at room temperature
- Oil spray
- Pinch of salt
For the filling:
- Cooking chocolate
- Thickened cream
- Icing sugar
- Aluminum foil
- Mixing bowls
- Electric beater
- Baking trays
- Spoon etc
- Piping bag/Small plastic bag
Gather everything together 😀
Line your trays with aluminum foil. Yes in the photo I’m using baking paper… and you know what, it sucked. Every recipe I found said to use baking paper but EVERY batch that I did using baking paper failed miserably. So what I ended up using for the successful batches was aluminum foil *very* lightly sprayed with olive oil. I’ll talk more about the failed batches and how to avoid that later!
Measure out your almond meal. Having the correct weights is very important so be quite careful. Now about the almond meal… many recipes I found said that you should crush the meal even further in a food processor to make it extra fine. I don’t have a food processor so I used it straight from the pack. No problems so far.
This is how fine it was:
Do the same with your icing sugar and sift them into your bowl. Make sure there are no lumps.
Then mix them together very well and make sure the consistency is even.
Now weigh your castor sugar.
And your egg whites. Egg whites are another highly debated point of this recipe. Some say you should leave them out over night, some say leave them for a week. I made macarons with eggs right after cracking them, over night and week old… and they were all exactly the same in my opinion. I really don’t think it makes a difference. Just make sure they aren’t too cold or else they won’t froth well.
Put your egg whites into a mixing bowl.
Add a pinch of salt to them
Now using your electric mixer beat them until they become slightly frothy.
When they look like this you should start adding the castor sugar a little bit at a time…
… until it looks like this 😀 The eggs should be light fluffy and peaky.
Now this part is quite fun! You should take your mixed up icing/almond and add 1/2 of it to the egg mixture.
Mix it up carefully, don’t be over zealous otherwise it will end up like cake. Once the first half is mixed in, add the rest and repeat.
According to a lot of recipes it should form ribbons off your spoon when you’re done. XD
Now mix in your spoon of cocoa
Ok time to get ready to pipe them. You can use a proper piping bag but if you’re not keen on cleaning one you can just use a plastic bag and throw it away after ^_^
Put your mixture into the bag!
And tie a knot into the top of it.
Now cut off the corner with a pair of scissors and pipe circles onto your tray.
Apparently some people will actually draw circles onto the baking paper to make sure they are completely perfectly shaped… I don’t really think that is necessary. If I wanted perfection I would go and buy them, I like he idea of mine being a little individual ^_^
Ok! So we’ve done the hard part! You should take your tray and bang it on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Then leave the macarons on the counter for 1 hour to settle. While they are settling let’s talk about some other variations!
James doesn’t like chocolate much either so he asked for some blueberry flavored ones.
I used tinned blueberries, crushed them and added to the mixture just before piping.
This is easy enough, you just need to add slightly more of the dry ingredients to counter the wet of the blueberries. If you’ve made a couple of batches you should be able to roughly guess at what the correct consistency should be.
My absolute FAVORITE flavor is green tea with pistachio filling. OMG this is seriously awesome. All you need to do is add 1/2 a teaspoon of matcha powder to the mixture instead of your chocolate powder. I’m using one from Tea2 but any will work.
They all look so pretty!
When you come back to the macarons the icing should have formed a very slight shell, you should be able to touch the top without getting your finger wet. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius. When the oven is ready you can put in the tray and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you should be able to see the little crinkly bottom feet, if not something has gone wrong! Cook for another 4 minutes and then allow them to cool on the bench.
This is a picture of the first time I tried to make them, they weren’t very pretty but you can see the little crinkly feet I’m talking about…
Leave the macarons to cool while we make the filling.Basically all that is involved in that is melting chocolate in the microwave, adding a little cream, butter and a little icing sugar so it doesn’t go solid again. Very delicious. Be sure to taste it along the way 😉
The pistachio variation on this is basically crushed pistachios with butter and icing sugar to make a delicious paste:
Now it’s time to remove the macarons from the tray and turn them over… the bottoms should look like this:
Below is a good example of failed bottoms. The reason this didn’t work is because they weren’t cooked long enough so the insides were liquidy. They stuck to the (stupid) baking paper and collapsed when being removed. Still tasted good though.
Take a half and spread some filling on, pop another half on top and you’re done 😀
And here are the delicious green tea ones:
So there you have it! No longer will I be a slave to sweets deco and brand prints! Next time I crave macarons I’ll bloody well make some! 😀 Mine may not be the prettiest ever made but they tasted damn good and nobody complained so I’m happy!
Hope you all enjoyed the adventure as much as I enjoyed eating all of the failed and successful batches of macarons!
This is my guide to baking an epic cake.
Yes it’s seriously epic! Those of you with dial up might want to not continue because there are around 50 photos! Trust me though, it’s totally worth it because the end result is both pretty and delicious!
So here’s roughly what you need for epic cake:
-3 standard cake mix bags (I know cheating :P) If you are in Australia get the Home Brand butter cake because it is AWESOME and it’s only 60c per bag. -Eggs -Milk -Butter Milk -Fondant icing -Ingredients for royal icing (check this recipe it’s great) -Milo (or just plain old chocolate powder if you’re not in Aus) -Red and green food dye
Gather your ingredients.
Preheat your oven following the instructions on your packet mix.
Now it’s time to make the cake mix 😀 Depending on your cake mix the ingredients might be different but this is how I do it… Packet mix in the bowl!
This cake requires 3 different layers, 2 of plain butter cake and 1 of my version of red velvet cake. We’ll make the red velvet version first.
Add an egg! Eggs look so gross XD
Add in the butter milk, you should use however much milk the packet mix says to, mine said 3/4 of a cup. For the other layers you should use plain milk.
Mix it all together
And then beat it to death! It should be nice and fluffy ^_^
Once it’s fluffy add 3 table spoons of Milo and beat it in.
Now add some red food colouring, this is why it’s called red velvet cake and it makes for a really pretty effect when it’s finished.
Pour it out into your cake tin, I use a silicone one because it’s easy to get the cake out of.
Put it in the oven until it’s cooked all through 😀
Turn it out onto a rack to cool and make the other 2 layers.
The other two layers should not have milo, food colouring or butter milk in them. They should just be plain old butter cake following the directions.
If your cake breaks when you turn it out, just use some icing and glue it back together 🙂
Once your 3 layers have all cooled down it’s time to cut the tops off them. The reason you cut the top off is so you can get a nice flat cake and it doesn’t look like a gigantic lump on top ^_^ It’s much easier to ice a flat cake! So get a knife and poke it in the side towards the middle and start working your way around. Keep going until you’ve done the full circle. Use the knife to lift the top off (and eat it because by now you’ve spent forever staring at cakes bloody baking and you’re probably hungry).
Once you have 3 flat layers get some icing (I’m using Betty Crocker) and cover the top of the red layer/
Once it’s covered use the plate you had it on to flip it onto one of the plain layers.
Cover the top of the red one again and flip the last layer on to it. This is what you should end up with!
Cover the entire thing with icing ^_^
One for the cake, one for the cook!
Now get your fondant icing and roll it on the bench top. If it’s too hard pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds, if it’s too sticky dust it with icing sugar. Once you’ve rolled it out, drape it over the whole cake. It should end up something like this… You can see that I’ve repaired a crack by putting water on my finger and rubbing it. It’s going to be covered in icing so no one will ever notice!
Now it’s time to decorate! Make some royal icing in the colour of your choice, mine is pink! Put it into a piping bag and start decorating! Ok mine isn’t very even but this was my first time using a piping bag so it’s ok!
I tried to make it very decorative, there is a big heart on top, scalloping on the outside and lots of little bumpy bits. Whatever you do as long as you put effort in everyone will enjoy it!
Now put it in the fridge to cool and it’s time to learn how to make icing roses 😀 Grab some fondant icing and colour it pink with food dye. You do this by putting a tiny amount on and kneading it until it’s pink. Make sure to do this on a surface that you can clean easily, food dye will stick to EVERYTHING. Maybe wear gloves, look at my hands, they’re all red XD
So let’s start making a rose! Pinch off a little bit of icing and roll it in a ball.
With your finger squish one side of the ball…
Pick it up and roll the squished end in on itself like the photo below. You should make a bunch more squished balls, these are the petals.
Roll the second petal onto the first but on the opposite side like below:
Keep making petals and placing them around the part you’ve already made. You should over lap the next petal slightly with the one you’ve just done.
As you go you should use your finger to push the petals out a bit.
Once you think you have enough petals roll the bottom of the rose together with your fingers so it’s a bit rounded.
Make a bunch of them 😀 This is what you should end up with!
Now bring out your cake from the fridge. Mix up a bit of royal icing and colour it green.
I put a bunch of green icing in the middle of the heart and placed the flowers on top.
I make a lot of flowers in different sizes so….
…I can shape them into a heart too!
Yay! Finished 😀
NOM NOM NOM!
I think the flowers really make the cake… and they are delicious too ^_^
And the best bit… When you cut it open it looks even prettier!
How pretty is it? And the red velvet is delicious!
Now serve with thickened cream…
So there you have it, it’s delicious! What do you guys think? What’s your favorite type of cake? Let me know if you make your own epic cake!
I hope you’re all ready for a no fuss mochi recipe!
Ok first off let me say that there are a bajillion photos ahead so if you’re on dial up this may not be the post for you… Now without further ado let me present….
Cooking with Violet and Susie!
Today on the Cooking with Violet and Susie show we will be preparing Mochi which will then be made into Strawberry Daifuku (also known as the yummiest thing on earth).
Here is what you will need: -1 microwave safe bowl -1/2 cup of white sugar -1 cup Mochiko (glutinous rice flour) plus extra for dusting (please note that one cup=250ml) -2/3 cup of water -1 punnet of strawberries (or your filling of choice) -1 chopping board -1 very sharp knife -1 spoon -Optional: anko to cover the strawberries in. Not used in this recipe but a delicious variation.Please make sure to buy GLUTINOUS rice flour, it is not the same thing as rice flour. Don’t even bother to try to substitute plain rice flour or you’ll end up with a disgusting floury mess. Also useful to have is a gullible friend who you can trick into doing most of the work. I call mine Susie. Another key ingredient is a boyfriend with a camera so you don’t get flour all over your nice camera. Silly photos optional. First get all of your ingredients together and wash the strawberries. Get your friend to take care of the boring task of cutting the tops off the strawberries. If you have small strawberries you should use one per Daifuku, if your strawberries are larger cut them in half. This recipe will make around 10-14 Daifuku. Measure out 1 cup of mochiko (glutinous rice flour) and dump it in the microwave safe bowl. Also add 1/2 a cup of sugar to the bowl. While you do something more fun (like getting 2/3rds of a cup of water) make your human slave… I mean good friend… mix the flour and sugar together very well. Now add a little bit of water and mix it around with a spoon. Don’t add all the water yet. It should look like this: I’m sure your arm will be tired from all that manual labour so get your friend to add the rest of the water and mix it up into a runny kind of paste. Kind of the consistancy of honey. /> If she doesn’t do it fast enough make sure to beat her into submission with whatever kitchen appliance is handy… When there are no lumps pop the mixture into the microwave for 2 minutes. Times will vary d
epending on your microwave, mine is 1200watts. You should also leave it to cool for a minute or so or else you might burn yourself. This is a good time for your boyfriend to think of more artistic or flattering ways to photograph you. Dancing is also a good way to pass the time.
When you finally get back to your dough you may be slightly confused because it looks so gross and weird. Don’t panic. Spread some mochiko on the cutting board. Now mix up the dough with your spoon into a giant sticky ball. I can’t think of any way to describe it other than big sticky mess. Be very careful because it will be hot, the mochi retains heat very well. Roll the dough out onto the cutting board. Use the spoon to roll it around until the whole thing is coated in flour. The flour will help it be cool enough to touch, don’t be fooled though the inside is still hot and will burn you. Cut a corner of the mochi (dough) off, it should be just enough to cover your strawberry. Pull it out so it’s kind of a flat triangle. Take a strawberry and stick it in the middle, the following few pictures show me covering it and making it into a ball. style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 400px; height: 311px;” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_axNtgCrpfKM/Sm1qoeY0F5I/AAAAAAAABIQ/9pc1WMBsWUg/s400/DSC_0132_090723_232.jpg” alt=”” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5363059974852581266″ border=”0″ />Pinch the mochi closed and roll it in the flour so it’s not sticky. Taadaa strawberry daifuku! Make sure not to let Susie have any yet, she has to make her own! This section is titled “HOW NOT TO MAKE DAIFUKU”… or what James and Susie did. DON’T- Get the knife stuck in the mochi… DON’T- Get your fingers stuck to the mochi… OCCASSIONALLY- Laugh at your friend for getting her fingers stuck to the mochi… Especially as she desperately wipes her hands on the cutting board to try and get it off… DON’T- Try to colour the mochi with food dye after it’s been cooked in the microwave, this should only be done while it’s still a liquid! ESPECIALLY don’t just pour food dye over the top of it… this is asking for trouble.DO- enjoy having to clean up the food colouring you spilled everywhere. Totally worth it right? Now you should make many more! Use up the rest of the mochi! Taadaa! Again, take as much time to cam whore as possible, cooking is an achievement and d eserves to be recorded! Also make sure to send any beggers away empty handed. I mean you did all the work right? Why should they get any? See we’re still friends, promise! Not eat your delicious creation! Enjoy how warm the sugary outside is against the tart cold strawberry. Have a good Iron Chef style judging moment, you could even write a haiku if the mood takes you. Just try not to choke… I hope you enjoyed our tutorial! It was all very tongue in cheek in case my sarcasm didn’t quite translate over the internet… You should all make you own, I want to see your results! Hope you enjoyed the mochi recipe!