Day 126: Pat-a-cake…

Over the weekend, The Silly Asparagus finally spent longer than five minutes in the kitchen. Before you get excited, I did not cook a vegetarian banquet.  Instead, I baked around 40 cupcakes for the birthday of Uncle Asparagus.  The cupcakes turned out well.  I did not take a lot of photos of them though, as I feel they could have been decorated better.  I definitely found some cute candles though…

Cupcakes are one of the most simple things to bake, and they are definitely still having a moment.  Until I went to university, I thought it was impossible to make a bad one.  I was wrong.  During my time in halls, people would make cakes and leave lovely signs that read ‘EAT ME’.  These signs should have said: ‘DO NOT EAT’, or ‘EAT AT YOUR OWN RISK’. These darling cakes will not go wrong if you follow my recipe:

To make 12 cakes, you will need:    

115g Unsalted butter                                                                                                         115g Caster sugar (sifted)                                                                                                 115g Self-raising flour                                                                                                              2 eggs (make sure they are free-range)                                                                                  2 teaspoons Vanilla extract                                                                                            Splash of milk

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350) Gas 4.
  • Once butter has softened, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl, until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and milk.
  • Spoon the mixture into cake cases.
  • Bake in the preheated oven, for around 15minutes.
  • Allow cakes to cool before decorating them.

For the vanilla buttercream:

85g unsalted butter (at room temperature)                                                                       225g icing sugar (sifted)                                                                                                          1 tablespoon milk                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract                                                                                                 Food colouring of your choice                                                                                       Choice of decoration, e.g. sprinkles

  • Put the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy.
  • Gradually beat in the sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add drops of food colouring until you have reached the desired colour.
  • Mix well.
  • Swirl the icing on top of the cupcakes, or pipe it on.
  • Decorate.

Unfortunately, this recipe is not suitable for vegans or those watching their waistlines.  If you are looking for a British touch to add to your cupcakes, I would recommend these paper cases (from Sainsbury’s).

If you prefer to buy your cakes, visit Candy Cakes (http://www.candycakes.com/).  There are four Candy Cakes outlets in London, and their flagship is in Windsor.  If you can’t get to one of their bakeries, they deliver to anywhere in London.  Their cakes are delicious and their window displays aren’t too shabby either:

As a lot of Candy Cakes have sweets on the top, make sure you check which ones are suitable for veggies!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s visual feast.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

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Day 7: You’re having a giraffe!

Sunday seemed like the perfect day for an asparagus adventure.  After going to see Arthur 3D at the cinema, it was time for lunch.  Eating at restaurants can either be an enjoyable experience for me, or a very, very miserable one — a lot depends on my then-relationship with food.  I didn’t hold out much hope for today — as well as being a seven-day old vegetarian, I am also being a fusspot when it comes to counting calories, carbs and naughty fats.  This is where I allow you to say, “Get a salad, eat it, shut-up”.  The trouble is ladies and gents, I hate loathe lettuce.  Lettuce sits on the ‘cannot eat’ shelf, alongside cucumber, melon and a few other things.  The watery texture is so unpleasant.

This is where I stop moaning.  The food gods answered my prayers with…

I had never been to Giraffe before, but I will definitely return.  I began with a delicious and nutritious smoothie.  The ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ contains pineapple, passion fruit, mango, banana, pomegranate juice and a giraffe’s head.  So far, so good.

It was judgement day, the meals had arrived.  ‘Mr. Carnivore’ boyfriend opened his steak-sandwich with slight disappointment.  You had to search for the steak beneath mounds of onions, tomatoes and lettuce (see, I told you that lettuce was the devil!).  I, on the other hand, was overwhelmed with yummy grub.  Drumroll please, as I introduce to you the Vegetarian Brunch…

Mr. Carnivore dealt with the bread and the mushrooms (another texture that gives me shivers).  I have never met an avocado before, but he has an odd squishy texture too, which unfortunately means we can not possibly be friends.  At least I was a good asparagus and tried it though.  Every thing else was ridiculously scrummy.  I recommend Giraffe to you all!  It was busy, but service came promptly and with a smile!  I can’t complain about their reasonable prices either.

I left a very happy customer.

Oh, and look!  The rather darling giraffe somehow found its way in to my bag and all the way home ;).

Have a happy Monday,

with love,

the asparagus and her very cheeky giraffe.

PS: Arthur is a very funny film for those looking for some festive cheer.