RandomBacon & MargarineFlowers

Food, general thoughts, food…

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Whoopie Pies, the reality

I made my Whoopie pies. Not having the experience of growing up with them, I was unsure of how to proceed or of what to expect from the recipe. I decided to just go with what the recipe told me (something I rarely do) and proceeded to make the biggest Whoopie pies in the universe.

Now, maybe they are supposed to be this big but it doesn’t suit me. Next time instead of making the suggested 8 I think I will go for more like 12 or even 16. If I am going to stick with 8 then I think I need to flatten them before baking, something the recipe didn’t suggest, maybe they just assumed I knew?

Anyway, the kids will be arriving soon and I am sure the vastness of the cake/biscuit that they will be faced with will be of no consequence to them. In fact it will probably be a cause for rejoicing. Next time they will be wracked with disappointment but I will make up for it by offering seconds.

Whoopie Pies
Makes 8 Individual Desserts

For Cakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg

For Filling
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla

Make Cakes:
Preheat oven to 180C.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 5cm apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.

Make Filling:
Beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Assemble Pies:
Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.


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Just me dinner

Last nights dinner was one of those, grab what is on hand and make something out of it affairs.
Husband is away so it is just me and the cat. The cat, incidentally, does not like prawns. I know this because I found a package of prawns in the deep freeze that were on their way to being past the use by date. Husband also does not like prawns so I figured it was now or never.

Tomato Chilli Prawns

Serves 2 (I had it for lunch today too)

1 red onion sliced
1 tsp butter
1 tsp Italian herbs
1 tsp (or to taste) chili sauce (I had some Nando’s HOT peri peri sauce)
420g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp Vegeta vegetable stock powder (it’s very salty so I often use it to season)
500g bag prawns

In a saucepan saute the onion in the butter until tender. Add everything but the prawns.
Heat until bubbling. Add prawns and cook until pink and succulent.

I served my with a toasted English muffin because I am incredibly lazy, and it was just me,  but it would be nice with rice or even pasta.

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I am making Whoopie…of the pie variety

How excited am I? I have just purchased my first jar of ‘Fluff’!

Now this may seem a rather banal thing to many of you but in Australia marshmallow fluff in a jar is not something you really see often. It did hit the shops a few years back and then disappeared again before I managed to find a use for it. Yesterday I went looking for it because I had heard it was back and because I have a song stuck in my head.

Yes, I do.

‘Makin’ Whoopee’ is an old song from about 1928.
On a side note, this is when my Nan was 8 years old.
Now where I get a 1920’s song from I don’t know but it naturally got me thinking ‘Whoopie Pies’, as you do… I have never had or made Whoopie Pies before, but of course being fascinated by all things food, an affliction nurtured by way too much exposure to TLC and the Food Channel, I have heard about and seen them.
They are an American treat that has yet to catch on here, although you do see more of them around lately. I do however have a couple of recipes for them because the internet recipe community has no geographical boundaries.

That is one thing I love about the internet. I no longer have cook books in my house (except a couple that used to belong to my Mother and have sentimental value) just a vast database of recipes from everywhere and for everything. My husband is originally from South Africa and I like to surprise him with a taste of home occasionally which is so very easy to do with the internet.

So this weekend I will try my hand at Whoopie Pies, I have the kids again this weekend and I have a feeling that it won’t take too much persuasion to get them to polish of a batch or two.

Meanwhile I will drift around the house, practicing my dance steps, humming ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ to myself. Heavens know the cat is traumatized enough already, maybe I should go back to the supermarket and do it instead…

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Today I gave my cat a cotton ball.

This wasn’t well thought out to begin with, not many things are with my cat as he generally just ‘takes’ stuff (like business cards which he adores) before I get any say in anything. Today, though, I was making a cup of tea and suddenly thought ‘that is what the cat needs, a cotton ball’. Before I put my milk in the cup, I had fetched him one and handed it over.

Before I had taken my first sip there was bits of soggy cotton ball all over the carpet and a fair amount stuck in the wood rasp he calls a tongue. It was a short lived experiment, once he realised it wasn’t trying to run off anywhere he lost interest quickly but it did afford him a little entertainment for a short while.

And I got some cute photos 🙂

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I’m a bad foodie :(

I have a confession. I know this makes me a bad ‘foodie’. I know this is terribly nonconformist of me. I have tried to conform, I really have, but I just can’t, it just isn’t right but…

I don’t like coriander leaves.

There I said it, it’s out there for everyone to recoil in horror from.

Coriander leaves, they are the flavour of the moment, they are in everything, used as an ingredient, and more often than not, dressing, replacing the ubiquitous parsley sprig. As they seem to be prevalent in almost everything these days I have tried my very best to like them but to me they smell and taste like old sweat socks and are best described as ‘yucky’. I must be missing something; there must be a taste mutation that I evidently do not possess that enables people to like, nay, rave about, this unpleasant, overly fragrant herb. If ever I try a recipe that contains coriander leaves you may rest assured that they are swiftly substituted with parsley and/or ground coriander. The flavour may not be the same as the writer intended but it will be infinitely more palatable to me.

For now I apologize for my palatal naivety and hope that if I reproduce something here that should have previously contained coriander leaves that those of you with more sophisticated palates will still be able to enjoy it.


Paperwork and Catnip

I still have that migraine, they last, on average, about 3 days so I can expect another day or 2 out of it yet, joyous abandon.

My cat is being very attentive, by that I mean he is meowing for attention, tearing up my paperwork faster than I can file it. Walking about on my desk and randomly biting me, batting my pens off the desk, knocking over my water bottle perilously close to my keyboard, stretching using my leg as an anchoring point for his claws. In general he is being a nuisance.
I’d like to think it is because he senses my pain and wants to help, really I know he is just bored. He used to be an outside cat but I have had to confine him inside (he has an outside run but it isn’t the same as being free and roaming the neighbourhood). He was injured not so long ago, in a cat fight, and had to have extensive surgery to save his life. That and the fact that the laws are changing here to confine cats to their owner’s properties have prompted my decision to keep him at home. I feel it is the responsible thing to do. He feels that I am torturing him unnecessarily.

I have planted him a garden of catnip, catmint, lemon grass and cat grass and bought him a fountain. He ignores it studiously.

I have just been outside with him and picked him a bunch of catnip (he will eat it only if I pick it for him) in hopes that it will distract him from my desk long enough to finish the bookwork I need to do this morning.

I have never laughed as much as when I first gave him fresh catnip. He had never evidenced any interest in the dried or spray on variety but the fresh stuff set him off in a big way. My normally elegant (yet destructive) cat started to pant and drool and wriggle around on the ground in his own dribble, by the time he had totally crushed, chewed and mangled the small leaf of catnip he was wet and bedraggled and totally in ecstasy. Then he went nuts. Screamed around the house at mac 9 bouncing off furniture and people like the ball in a pinball table. His eyes were huge and his brain was obviously completely shut down. Then he went to sleep. Just like that. Lights out.

Since then the effect of catnip is somewhat diminished, he actually just eats it, climbs his cat tower, I give him a snack and then he goes to sleep up there.

Today he saw a bird outside after his catnip which made him cry a little so I coaxed him up onto his tower with his snack and he is laying there now, relaxed but staring at me. Sending me guilt messages, making me feel bad about locking him away from all that should rightly be his.

It’s for his own good.
I will not feel bad.
I will not be guilted by my cat.
I have paperwork to do.


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Balinese Style Chicken Wings

On Sunday evening I took some chicken wings out of the freezer and we baked them in the oven. It was the first time I’d tried this particular marinade, the wings came out golden and succulent. Definitely worth a try!

Balinese Style Chicken Wings
Serves  4

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbls brown sugar
2 tsp olive oil
12 chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded

Combine garlic, chilli, onion, turmeric and sea salt. Place into a bowl and stir in brown sugar and olive oil. Toss chicken wings with marinade. Marinate for at least an hour (mine went straight in the freezer and then were thawed when needed)
Preheat oven to 200C.
Spread wings onto baking tray.
Bake in preheated oven, turning once, until browned, about 30 minutes.