Ok, dramatic, but it’s like the “tell”. If you don’t have a good vanilla, can anything else really be that good? There are so many ways to vary a vanilla cake and I want the best of all of them! I’m greedy like that. Plus, I know not everyone has the same idea of the perfect cupcake, so I like to have options.
You may or may not have tried my original VANILLA CUPCAKES. They are loved by many and were my favorite for some time. I still remember the batches upon batches of cupcakes I made while testing those and the fabulous friends that lined them up and tasted tested them all to help me find the best one. If you haven’t tried them, they are worth checking out.
*2 1/2 cups (325g) all – purpose flour
*2 cups (414g) sugar
*3 tsp baking powder
*1 tsp salt
*1 cup (240ml) milk
*1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*1 cup (240ml) water
*1/2 cup (112g) salted butter, room temperature
*1/2 cup (95g) shortening
*4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
*1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*(30-45ml) water or milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined. Please note that the batter will be very thin.
6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
7. Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. To make the frosting, combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
9. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of water or milk and mix until smooth.
11. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
12. Add remaining water or milk as needed and mix until smooth.
13. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes
NOTE: *If you’d prefer a more traditional vanilla cupcake you can uses butter instead of oil and other liquid.
COOKING METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
When you are staring at a cut of meat at a grocery store and you are wondering how you’re going to cook so it tastes beautiful, what’s going through your head? Is it a blank stare?
Do you know which method to apply to, say, beef short ribs? What about those cheap cuts of meat you are always tempted into buying and are subsequently disappointed by? The point is that we must know how to apply the cooking methods if we are to put that knowledge to any use.
You don’t know the feeling of control and power you have when you can close your eyes, pick up a piece of meat and know exactly how to cook it. Not only that, but you start saving some real cash too. You don’t have to buy a filet mignon to get a tender flavorful steak. All it takes is understanding how to apply the cooking methods! A true chef can make the cheapest cut of meat taste spectacular.
*2x300g beef steak
*2 tablespoons salted butter
*Salt and pepper
*For the sauce
*200g button mushroom, quartered
*One garlic clove, lightly crushed
*150ml dry sherry
*One tablespoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
*150ml beef stock or brown chicken stock (could be made with a good bouillon powder)
*2 tablespoons double cream yoghurt
*One tablespoon grain mustard
*2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
*3 tablespoons olive oil
Season the steak with salt and pepper. Melt the butter and fry steak for 4- 5 minutes on both sides or until golden brown
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the mushrooms with the garlic and thyme, stirring until softened.
Pour in 100ml sherry and cook until reduced to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook for a few seconds more. Mix in the remaining sherry and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the garlic and thyme, then mix in the crème fraiche and mustard. Pour in any juices from the steak, then add the parsley.
Serve steak with mushroom sauce.
*Can also serve steak with herb mayonnaise, pepper sauce as well as cheese sauce.
Note… these are two servings.
Quick Masala French Toast is a perfect fusion recipe, which you can make for your breakfast with no time. It is a perfect combination of toast, eggs and vegetables, which is not only healthy but also very delicious to eat.
Serve Quick Masala French Toast on its own with a cup of hot Espresso Coffee or Masala Tea for a filling scrumptious breakfast.
*3 Bread slices
*Four Whole Eggs
*Cooking oil, or butter as required
*2 tablespoons Milk
*1 tablespoon red chilli flakes
*Salt, as per your taste
*3 sprig coriander (Dhania) leaves, finely chopped
*1/4 tablespoon Black pepper powder
*1 Onion, finely chopped
*2 to 3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
To begin making the Quick Masala French Toast recipe, beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.
Add milk, beat it again and make sure that it is mixed properly. Add chilli flakes, salt and black pepper.
Once it is done, heat oil in a wide pan. Take a bread slice, dip it in the egg mixture and put it on the pan.
Spread some onion, green chilies and coriander on the top of bread and pour some egg mixture on it again.
Turn the bread and let the other side also cooked properly. Once it turns light brown in colour, take it out of the stove and it is ready to be served.
Chop a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and coat together with the eggs before preparation. Best served with a hot beverage.