We’re here!

We made it! Two nights with Grandma, three nights with my sister, one night in a dubious hotel and now, our new house. The sun is streaming in the windows, there is a tempting Salvation Army store at the end of the street (though I have banned myself from buying anything for the kitchen – at least until I recover from unpacking) and an amazing kebab-erie within walking distance for tired movers. More photos when the jobs are all done…

On the move…

Things are going to be a bit quiet around here for a few days – the movers are coming this morning and we’re going to take the slow road to our new home. Am suddenly plagued with all sorts of scary thoughts about the move. It’s not like we’re taking off on a proper island adventure in the inspiring style of Claire but it is exciting all the same.
Anyway, we’re combining moving with a bit of a road trip. I think it’ll be fish and chips for us tonight, but if you visit Alicia or Emma they’ll come up with some midweek menu inspiration. Ain’t the interweb magic?
See you all soon!

Musical Monday: Something Good Can Work

One more day to go until the movers come. List of jobs getting smaller, pile of miscellaneous things on kitchen bench getting bigger. Still time to listen to this song though – a KitchenMaid can’t dust and scrub and clean without some sort of soundtrack. What’s keeping you busy this Monday – and what are you listening to?

A lovely bunch of coconuts

Some things get lost in translation, especially in recipes. After a year in New Zealand it appears I have assimilated a little too much and am now causing a wee bit of confusion by referring to ‘coconut’ in recipes and expecting you to know what I’m talking about. So – a quick tutorial.

Desiccated coconut

The coconut referred to in the Best Ever Vegan Friendly Chocolate Cupcakes is supposed to be desiccated coconut (or ‘desecrated’ as an old flatmate once called it).

Long thread or shredded coconut

The coconut used in the super-decadent Raspberry Choc Nut Bars is what I call long thread coconut, but you may know it as shredded coconut. It’s just a longer, thinner version of ordinary desiccated coconut, kind of like its supermodel cousin, with better hair. Desiccated coconut is better in the cupcakes, but I think the long thread or shredded version works best when you need a bit more texture. Hope this helps. Happy baking!

Sweet sweet Friday: Vegan Cupcakes

I’ve been making lots of cupcakes this week – the Boy Wonder took some to work and I froze the rest for Erin the Amazing Babysitter. Erin came into our lives when I started making cupcakes for a local craft market and she became my unofficial tester. I try to have some on hand whenever she comes over, which seems especially important now that we’re leaving town. I asked her mother if we could take Erin with us and she said “No! You’re not taking your daughter and mine away from me!” Oh well. Maybe I can send them some cupcakes from our new kitchen.

Best Ever Vegan-Friendly Chocolate Cupcakes

Once upon a time I had a brief flirtation with veganism. It didn’t last (I didn’t miss meat or eggs, but a life without butter, yoghurt or ice cream? No thanks!) but I discovered lots of my favourite cake recipes were vegan-friendly anyway.
This is my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. It’s dark, moist, quick to make and freezes brilliantly. The flavour improves the day after baking (if you can resist them for 24 hours).

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup coconut
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cold coffee (or water)
3 Tbsp vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put cupcake liners in two 12-hole muffin tins.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar into a large bowl, then stir in the coconut.
Mix the wet ingredients in a jug, then pour them into the dry. Mix well. Pour the mixture in the cake tin, or divide equally between the cupcake liners (I usually get around 22 cupcakes out of it).
Bake for about 20 minutes. Leave in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.
This can also be baked in a 23cm cake tin, for about 45 minutes.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to crack a decent vegan icing – butter is just TOO important! These are fine dusted with icing sugar, but most of the time I use the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. It’s almost worth the price of the book by itself – a silky, voluptuous frosting that adds a very decadent touch. Just beat 75g very soft butter, 30g sifted cocoa and 200g icing sugar until very light and fluffy (easiest in a mixer or with an electric beater). Add 150g fridge-cold cream cheese and beat until even lighter and fluffier. Try not to eat it all before you get some on the cupcakes.
Have a sweet weekend, everyone!