In honour of the Queens Diamond Jubilee this weekend, I decided to put an English spin on the classic American cupcake. Oh alright then, I actually bought a new cookbook last week and was dying to try this recipe. Congrats and all that Lizzie, but my real inspiration was The Primrose Bakery Book by Martha Smith and Lisa Thomas, and what a delightful book it is. I haven’t actually broken the news yet to The Boyfriend that I’ve bought another one (if you’re reading Boyfriend, I’ve got a new cook book. And er, have pre-ordered another one on Amazon) because the normal reaction is something along the lines of ‘oh for gods sake, not another one, I thought we had this under control now’. Like me buying cook books on a regular basis is up there with a drug addict fresh out of The Priory going to their dealer and picking up some crack. Well as Whitney Houston once said, crack is whack, and I’ve not yet seen or heard of a scientific study looking into the damaging effects of cookbooks on lungs. Please do enlighten me if you hear of one.
So as addictions go, I’m playing it safe while he works abroad for weeks on end.
Back to the cookbook: it’s ace. Full of beautiful pictures of cupcakes, layer cakes, breakfast treats and biscuits, it just makes me want to cook everything from it. I managed to settle on the rhubarb cupcakes as this isn’t something you generally see in a cupcake and I love rhubarb and feel it deserves a bit more variety than alway being plonked into a crumble (delicious as it is). The rhubarb is cut into small chunks and is stewed in water, sugar and vanilla until its falling apart, then put into a plain cake mix. The recipe states that it makes 12 cupcakes, but you could easily make about 6 more with the mixture if you wanted to as there is a lot of mix leftover. This is definitely not a criticism, as complaints go its up there with ‘I can’t close my wallet for all the £50 notes in there’. With the excess cake mix I just made bigger cupcakes and then had a grand time licking the bowl afterwards (easily the best bit about baking). Once the cupcakes were cooked and cooled, I iced them with an icing made with rhubarb juice left over from stewing the rhubarb earlier. The juice was a vibrant, pretty pink and once mixed with sugar and butter, was diluted down to the palest baby pink – gorgeous. The verdict? I love ’em. Soft cake with threads of sweet but slightly sour rhubarb, topped with a sticky, rich icing that is almost too sweet until the tang of rhubarb juice comes in, keeping the icing within very acceptable sweetness levels. Loved. Them. And they look absolutely divine, pretty and very girly.
I also cooked today a scrumptious dinner incorporating 2 recipes from Mexican Food Made Easy by Thomasina Miers. It was grilled chicken with green rice and homemade guacamole, and even though it sounds like a ‘meh’ dish, its actually seriously tasty. I left the chicken plain and decided to let the sides do the talking. The green rice is just so good, I’ve made it a few times before and it tastes so vibrant,but with coriander, onion, garlic and good vegetable stock in it, it would be more surprising if it wasn’t tasty. I could eat this by the bucketload, but I did manage to reign myself in and just have a plateful (I couldn’t find a bucket). The guacamole was also amazing. I know you can get ready made guacamole in the shops, but that wouldn’t jazz up a plain chicken breast like homemade would. Avocados aren’t exactly cheap either, but It’s worth buying them to make this recipe. The guacamole is tangy and spicy and when combined with the rice and chicken really brings the whole thing together to make a ridiculously tasty and fairly healthy dinner. Chicken and rice need never be boring again. It also looks as pretty as the pink cupcakes with the vibrant green of the rice and guacamole, although I don’t think the picture shows this very well. All in all, a very successful day of cooking with some delicious flavours.