Sunday, October 28, 2018

Flamingo Costume being busy but still on trend

I think the problem with blogging is that we all become perfectionists.

We want that photo. That perfectly perfect win pintrest totally insta worthy photo that looks like it was styled for a magazine.

But when I look back at why I started the blog it was to keep a log of my baking and along the way of my life and my family and recently there has been a hole.

Not a hole in our lives. Well maybe in part of mine, but I guess that's another different story and I'm currently making an effort to be unbusy to fill that hole with things that are important for me instead of always being so 'busy' I don't have time for me.

But luckily there has not been a hole in my family and what we do together. We still do stuff but I don't always have the time to stop and get that picture perfect moment because we have been living those moments.

This flamingo costume is a perfect example. I've wanted to post it here for a little while and I felt I needed some great pictures. But it's already almost Halloween and I've decided it's now or never so I'm just using my phone pictures from the day.

Anyhoo this costume came about because it was Sweet's last book week this year and we decided to be on trend and dress as a flamingo. I think I've mentioned here before I'm not always such a great planner which is why I have to make my own cakes and costumes. Plus as a rule we don't really buy costumes for book week.

We love book week click here for link to previous book week costumes

So we used a pinata. Yup a pinata with the bottom cut open stuck on Sweet's head and for the record this is not even close to the most embarrassing book week costume my kids have worn. We picked up the pinata from Variety 1 discount store Springwood.

I actually think it's kinda awesome and if you are careful with the pinata you can totally reuse it for a party.

The rest of the costume is just a pink boa, pettiskirt which the girls have had since Bubble was about 5 and a pink jacket with a little pink face paint and glitter.

Our book was Flora and the Flamingo which is a sweet picture book with a lovely message about friendship and communication.

Anyway I am thinking this opens up a whole stack of easy to make costumes............Remember when we made that swan pinanta.

Linda Vandermeer McCubbin is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the Children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the USA in 2011 the book is still available at Amazon and many online bookstores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original ideas, photography and recipes Linda Vandermeer McCubbin please do not reuse without permission.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ruby Rosewater Macarons

So it's here......the 4th chocolate Ruby Chocolate or RB1 Callebaut has been released in Australia and it's pink.

PINK I tell you.

Yup all it took to bring me back from blogging hiatus is pink chocolate.

Now I know there has been a little bit of instahype surrounding RB1 in Australia and who can really blame anyone. Pink chocolate is always instaworthy.

But does it live up to the hype?

Hiya ruby chocolate. 
Teacup, cutlery and tea strainer all Cristina Rae

To try it out I had a little bit of a taste test with my friend and her daughter a few nights ago. I did up a plate with some Callebaut white, dark, RB1 and some Lindt milk.

Truth is no one picked the Ruby as their favourite on the night but to be fair I had just had Indian food delivered before hand and I don't think we started off with the clearest palate.

So I've just tried it again and it's not bad and I think maybe it's even pretty good. Kinda not what I expected at first but it is growing on me. As described it is fruity and it has the lovely Callebaut texture that makes that brand my go to for white and dark chocolate.

To celebrate this new chocolate I've been in my kitchen creating and decided to start of with macarons 'cause they are kinda my thing.

Picture from my instagram feed

The shells are are a plain french almond macaron and the filling is a whipped ruby chocolate ganache buttercream with a touch of rose. Due to whipping the ganache and the addition of butter and sugar the RB1 chocolate flavour which is not overly robust does not really shine through as much as it could.  If you want the full ruby chocolate flavour experience I recommend making a regular ganache (ratio 3 parts chocolate 1 part cream).

I've decorated mine with a little bit of piped ganache, a strawberry crisp (which is like a strawberry whopper) and a gold soft pearl.

If you don't have any ruby chocolate handy you can substitute white chocolate and they would still be just as lovely.

Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin is a blogger, baker and author of the Children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in 2011 the book is still available online.

Ruby Rosewater Macarons (makes approx 30 filled macarons)

Fill the shells with the filling (included after recipe for shells) at least 1 day before you serve to get the correct consistency. Store in an airtight container in fridge and then bring to room temperature about 30 minutes prior to serving.

190 gram (6 5/8 oz)almond meal (almond flour)
190 gram pure icing sugar (6 5/8 oz powdered sugar)
190 gram granulated sugar (6 5/8 oz) 
48 grams water (1 5/8 oz)
140 gram egg whites aged split into 2 lots of 70grams each (5 oz split into 2 lots of 2 1/2oz each)*
pink food colour ice (I use gel type food color like Wilton)

*ageing egg whites refers to separating the yolks from whites and then leaving the whites to age for a few days. This can be done on the counter if your countries climate permits or in the fridge, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and then pop a few holes in the top. Alternately you can pop fresh egg whites in the microwave on high for 10 seconds or so - I used the microwave method in this batch pictured. 

1. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together and pulse a few times in food processor to make almond meal finer. Do not over process as the meal can become oily. Sieve into a large bowl. Add colour and 70g (2 1/2 ounce) of the egg whites to the sugar/almond mixture but don’t mix in.

2. Place remaining 70g (2 1/2 ounce) of egg whites in bowl of mixer fitted with the whisk.

3. Pop granulated sugar and water into saucepan stir to combine and cook without stirring to 118C (245 F). Brush down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water as required to avoid the sugar crystallizing. Once the mixture reaches 115C (240 F) start mixing the egg whites on high. Make sure you have a pouring shield on your mixer, when the sugar syrup reaches 118C (245 F)remove from heat and immediately pour in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl continuing to whisk on high.

4. Continue to whisk the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is only a little warm to touch, around 50C (120 F).

5. Add meringue mixture to almond mixture and using a large spatula fold the mixture together until it starts to shine and forms a ribbon that disappears back into the mixture after about 20 seconds.

6. Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or just cut the end of a disposable piping bag, that's what I do) and pipe in lines onto parchment lined baking sheets. To make the macarons as even as possible I apply a constant slow pressure to the piping bag and count a few numbers like up to 3 for each one. 

7. Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the macarons have formed a skin so that the macaron mixture does not stick to your finger when gently touched. If the weather is humid this step may take longer up to 2 hours. I pop on the aircon if it's humid at my house.

8. Meanwhile preheat oven to 140C (285 F)#. Once ready bake the macaroons for around 13 to 15 minutes depending on size, it may take longer, all ovens are different. If they are baked and you gently push on the side the tops will not move, if the tops do move do bake for another minute or 2. Also they should not be browned if they are reduce the heat for the next batch or bake for less time.

9. Once baked remove the baking trays and immediately slide off the macarons and the parchment onto the work surface and let cool completely before removing the shells.

10. Once cooled match disks into like sizes and sandwich together using the ganache.

# The recipe stipulates 140 C however my new house and kitchen I used the fan forced option at 130C (265 F) and it worked out lovely. 

Ruby rose whipped ganache buttercream
I used a Wilton Closed Star Tip 31 to pipe and decorate

240g (8 1/2 oz) RB1 chocolate (Callebaut Ruby Chocolate)
80g (2 3/4 oz)cream
50g (1 3/4 oz which is just under 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 Tbsp rose water (or to taste)
generous pinch salt flakes

Heat cream and add to chocolate, allow to sit a few minutes and then gently whisk until smooth. Cool until nearly set.

Add ganache and remaining ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until light and fluffy.

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.