Nutty Berry Crumble

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Strawberries – a sweet reminder that summer is in hot pursuit, blazing trails of magical colour, tan lines and garden parties in the sun. Juicy berries so potently saturated in colours that radiate life and vitality.

Strawberries are like nature’s official flagging-off to the season of long sunny days that stretch before us. But not where I live.

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Buttercream blues

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My head was spinning like the rotating paddle attachment of my stand mixer as I methodically scoured every goddamn rule in buttercream troubleshooting to explain the faintly curdled mess churning. To make matters worse, the tube of red food colouring I’d thrown in there got me somewhere half-way between Barbie pink and ridiculous pink!

This was part of a Lightning McQueen cake project for the munchkin’s birthday and I was conducting a little dry run. From the looks of things in my mixer, all I can say is Thank God I decided to do so. The cake part was a breeze – a standard yellow butter cake; the shape was a no-brainer as well with the Lightning McQueen cake mould. But when I got to the frosting part, now that’s when things started getting a bit tricky.

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Doldol – La Bete Noir

I should have been in bed hours ago. We’d put in an early night and I had already got a jumpstart on the following day’s routine. So there was a slim chance that I might be able to keep my daily promise to get some exercise in the morning. Yet, here I sit nursing the remnants of a subsiding cold, and juggling ideas on how best to introduce this slab of dense, black, sticky sweetness you see here in the pictures.

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Christmas cake, calories and `girly charm’

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This has been a great holiday season so far – relaxing and hectic with the usual line-up of family gatherings, weddings, seasonal revelry and food orgies. It was surprisingly rewarding to meet up with old friends and long lost family and, at times, to quietly observe the bees-knees of family parties pretend ignorance at not knowing you as they teetered past on high heels and low self-esteem.

I felt stunning and confident – a combination I hadn’t experienced in far too long (shocking I know!) – despite the fact that I was miles away from my goal weight. But my carefully selected wardrobe for the season sucked me in and let me out at all the right places (Slim Trinny and bonny Susannah from TLC’s What Not To Wear would have approved), so I was in no immediate danger of letting my sedentariness bulge through. The icing on the cake was when I saw how other ample-waisted women trussed themselves up in clothes that left nothing to the imagination displaying assets in ways that were too close to the unflattering truth. I was pleased as punch! (Ah! Where would we be without life’s little thrills?) So all in all, I was doing pretty darn good! Until a few unsettling comments about how unrecognisible I looked threw me clean off balance.

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Devilishly irresistible!

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It’s been more than a month since I sat down to planning this blog post with grand plans of the perfect introduction to the perfect chocolate cake and how it featured as a showstopper dessert three times in a row! But (and fingers crossed, this doesn’t become a redundant refrain to my blog beginnings) enthusiasm and creative writing were out matched by daily kitchen duties, a live-wired pre-schooler, ad hoc manicures (yes my nails are always incongruously meticulous in an otherwise uncoordinated exterior) and, the devil of all procrastination, sheer laziness.

 Then, one look at this picture triggered the memory of how every mouthful was so intensely `chocofied’ that they clean wiped away all dietary boundaries.

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Chocolate, chocolate peanut butter banana bread

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Remember those days when you’ve got a little bit of this and a little bit of that ingredient left over and a whole lot of zeal to somehow bring them all together into culinary cohesion? I found myself in exactly the same spot on one such occasion. Amped up on endorphins following a rigorous workout, I descended on my store cupboard and zeroed in on a half empty jar of peanut butter, a packet of fast disappearing  chocolate chips, an almost empty carton of cocoa and a couple of  bananas well into their prime. The mission on hand – chocolate, chocolate, peanut butter banana bread. I could just as easily say double chocolate, but where’s the fun and anticipation in that?

 

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