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 123: 4 Month Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to me!  I have now been a vegetarian for four months!

The Silly Asparagus has been far too busy to blog over the past week — apologies for my absence.  I have been eating out a lot over the past ten days.  I will now share three of my outings with you…

I have been to Nando’s twice in my life.  You can read all about my first experience here: http://wp.me/p21TV4-2i.  I have little to add to my initial views of the place.  I had the bean burger with mash again.  However, I did try something new: halloumi.  I hadn’t tried halloumi before, but veggies seem to get very excited about the rubbery cheese. I really enjoyed it, unfortunately my skin did not.  Eating certain cheeses causes my skin to breakout.  Cheese triangles are the biggest culprit — this is most unfortunate, because I adore them.

It was a week of seconds, as I made my second trip to another restaurant: Crazy Bear, in Beaconsfield (http://crazybeargroup.co.uk/beaconsfield/).  Crazy Bear has four restaurants: English, Thai, Italian and Japanese (opening in May).  The Silly Asparagus ate at the Thai restaurant.  Crazy Bear offers a set ten or twelve course menu.  A majority of the dishes contain meat, but can be altered to be suitable for vegetarians.  However, courses are put on the table and shared.  As the only vegetarian out of eight diners, it was inconvenient to ask for vegetarian dishes.  Thus, I ate a lot of rice and crackers!  I would not recommend Crazy Bear for vegetarians, if you are dining with a lot of carnivores.  If you are only eating with a few others though, it would be quite easy for Crazy Bear to fill your veggie needs.  For Thai-loving carnivores, Crazy Bear is a a delight.  I do not feel disappointed at what I ate — before turning veggie, the only Thai I ate was chicken satay.  I would not have gone anywhere near venison or the black cod that they had to offer. Dessert arrived, beautifully presented.  I’m not certain as to what it was, it resembled a panna cotta / cheesecake / jelly.  I was instantly suspicious of the creamy pud.  The chef confirmed my suspicions: ‘not suitable for vegetarians’.  After four months, I am getting good at spotting non-veggie food.  I was given sorbet instead.  MY GOODNESS, the sorbet was a mango, lychee, strawberry-infused heaven!

My final food adventure for today’s blog took place in Windsor.  After taking a look around the mighty Windsor castle, it was time for lunch.  Papa, Mother and Baby Asparagus ate at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (http://www.gbk.co.uk/).  I hadn’t heard of the place before, but there are at least 60 in England.  I had a very yummy bean burger with super skinny fries (oh, the irony!).  My meal was delicious.  I do feel that it that it was over-priced though. Everything is an extra, including the chips and sauces!

“You can see the best sights in the world, but the eating is the best part of the day”.  Father Asparagus, Windsor, 2012.

With Love,

The Chubby Asparagus