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The Mykivity

Tis the season for telling baby birthing stories…

Jurassic Jesus

Jurassic Jesus

Sit yourself down, grab a mince pie…actually lets start again… Get your ass to the kitchen, make some mince pies, now sit down with a pie and glass o’ port as we begin…

sprinkle with cocoa and icing sugar before baking and top with a gold dusted fondant leaf...delightful!

Sprinkle with cocoa and icing sugar before baking and top with a gold dusted fondant leaf…delightful!

  It was a cold, dark night when the virgin (ha!) Linda pissed on a stick.

The plastic, urine soaked rod glowed a heavenly blue as it told her “you’re going to have a baby”.

“Dave! Dave! I have been told that in 9 months we are to have a baby!”

“So November? I knew I gave you a proper good one on Valentines” proclaimed an ecstatic David.

So, later that year, Dave and Linda made the 10 minute journey across Widnes, riding on a Ford Capri.

They arrived at Highfield Hospice where the midwife told Linda she would soon be with child.

“He will be called the Baby Michael!” Announced Linda. “Michael, after some hot guy from a TV show as I’ve realised naming him Marc after Marc Bowlan may not auger well.”

But, the joyous night did not last long…

After many uncomfortable hours a midwife approached Linda to tell her “There is no room in the vagina!”.

A new light appeared in the night sky. It was the flashing of an ambulance which had come to carry Linda and the partially crowned Baby Mykie to a manager in Whiston Hospital.

Doctors bearing gifts of gas, forceps and air paid their respects to the half-born Baby and delivered him into his mothers arms via C-section.

“All hail the new Baby Michael!”

“I know he is a special baby” said Linda. “He has a pointy head and is a bit yellow!”

“That’s because he got stuck in your lady tunnel and is half Chinese” barked the slightly racist nurse.

After treatment for jaundice, Linda and David took their cone-headed prince home to Widnes.

After that delightful tale you may have gone off your pies…but if you still want a gobble, here’s our recipe for sweet short crust pastry as a variation on our previous pies.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 40g vegetable fat (trex)
  • 25g caster sugar
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • splash of milk if needed
  1. Rub fats into flour
  2. Stir through salt and sugar
  3. Cut through egg, ancillary and milk (if needed) with a butter knife until mixture comes together
  4. Press into a smooth ball, flatten and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes

This pastry is so easy to work with and rolls nice and thinly.  It has a beautiful crunch yet melts in the mouth…perfection!

This pastry is really easy to work with, it rolls crazy thin and melts in the mouth...num!

We will refrain from making comments about being rammed full of meat.

Have a very merry Christmas!!! Love Wondercat!

Logo christmas

photo 1

Pissedmas Quake

Hello hello hello…

So, like Reese’s Pieces, Turduckens and erm…Captain Planet…good shit can come from smooshing stuff together…and who doesn’t love a portmanteau???

Here at Wondercat we have been learning to quill with paper…could we combine quilling and caking??? Do we dare?

We done dared did!

So here’s this years cake, unveiled at the annual Chadong Christmas Champagne Soiree…

The cake was basically based on Delia’s cake ratios but with tropical fruits and coconut…I won’t be adding coconut again as it make the cake crumbly like Cheshire cheese.

image image (8) image (6) image (5) image (4) image (3) image (1) image (2)

The white quilling we were very happy with…the black, not so much.  The black petal paste was a bit dry so didn’t roll as nice or smoothly.

But still, quilling + cake = QUAKE! To be eaten with a spork.

Oh and why we are going down this cabbit  hole…

a few of my favourites…

Tranma

Crapkin

Brony

Minja

Woon

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!

image (7)

Wondercat Christmas: Mo Farah Mince Pies

Hello! It’s totally Christmas time!

Here at Wondercat we’ve been fabulizing the tree and decking the halls…the season has us in its tinselly grasp!
This weekend called for a bit of festive munchables, but, to be honest, we were more about the eating than the baking…time to whip up some lightening fast mincemeat and turn it into pies…so bloody scrumptious they’ll make you throw your arms wide and pull the “Farah face”!

Yes Mo, they're that good.

Yes Mo, they’re that good.

Mo Farah Mince Pies

Pretty shot huh? We were simultaneously holding the plate in front of the tree and photographing...life behind the curtain ain't so glamorous!

Pretty shot huh? We were simultaneously holding the plate in front of the tree and photographing…life behind the curtain ain’t so glamorous!

Mincemeat

equal weights of:

  • Dried fruits of various kinds-Plump raisins? A sour cherry perhaps? Christmas craisins? How about some candied peel? Throw caution to the wind, live on the edge, do it for Baby Jesus!
  • Cooking apples-peeled and chopped into little bits…not the cores, dumbass!

quarter weight of:

  • Brown sugar
  • Ginger beer
  • Butter
  • Almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Brandy, or some other delightful booze
  • Lemon zest
  • Orange zest

So, the equation for mincemeat is as follows (food algebra, brain food):
(4x(fruit+apple)+x(sugar+beer+butter+almonds)+spice+zest+booze)-bakers scoffing privileges

Just call me (P)Einstein! *We know, we know, total cracker joke right? Speaking of cracker jokes we heard THE BEST today…ready for this??! “How does King Wenceslas’ like his pizza?” We’ll pop the answer at the bottom of the post…worth every second of scrolling, we promise you!*

Back to the mince meat…

  • Just throw everything in a big ol’ pan (except the brandy and nuts) and boil away until the apples have turned mushy.
  • Let it cool for a while then stir in the almonds and as much booze as you can without making it a big sloppy mess…we got a good few glugs in let me tell you! *we had also been drinking the booze so were dancing around in just our pants singing Nicky Minaj…sometimes life calls for a semi-nekkid Minaj moment*.
  • Throw it into sterilised jars or as we did, a big lock ‘n’ lock tub and store it in the fridge.

Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter-cut into cubes
  • couple of tbsp of lemon juice
  • pinch o’ salt
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • Rub butter into flour and salt until breadcrumby
  • Cut in lemon juice and vanilla extract with a butter knife until it starts to come together…and a bit of water if needed but not too much…if it’s a big wet mess then you have fooked it up.
  • Bring it together into a ball, squish it flat, wrap in cling-film and whack in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. *We used this time to go at the mincemeat with a spoon*
IMG_0402

Roll out pastry to 2mm…get a Joseph and Joseph adjustable rolling pin http://www.josephjoseph.com/kitchen-tools/adjustable-rolling-pin as they are AWESOME! Cut out little frilly circles just a little bigger than the pie holes *pie hole *sniggers**

Use some sort of blunt poking device...a little rolling pin, a spatula handle, a dildo... to push the circles down.

Use some sort of blunt poking device…a little rolling pin, a spatula handle, a dildo… to push the circles down.

Mince them up!

Mince them up!

Cut stars the size of the pie holes out of the pastry scraps...DON'T RE-ROLL...it'll taste like shit!

Cut stars the size of the pie holes out of the pastry scraps…DON’T RE-ROLL…it’ll taste like shit!

Plop on a star...oh and I know I totally need a manicure so pipe down Judgey McJudgerson!

Plop on a star…oh and I know I totally need a manicure so pipe down Judgey McJudgerson!

  • Bake at 175C for 20 minutes until the mincemeat is bubbling and the oven stink o’ Christmas.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

These pies are tiny, hardly a pie at all. They are actually closer to mini tarts but who has a mince tart? It would be like renaming the iPad mini the iPhone big. Any who, they are a perfect little morsel for a mouthful of Christmas cheer; like Mo Farah and gold medals you can have them all! *Mo probably didn’t eat his gold medals with a glass of wine watching Strictly…but maybe he did? Who knows?*
That’s right kids, go on! Eat all the pies…then bake more and eat them too!

It’s Christmas time!!!!

The moody ambience of a fragrance ad..."Smell like dessert, drive the chubby kids wild...Pie the new fragrance from Wondercat."

The moody ambience of a fragrance ad…”Smell like dessert, drive the chubby kids wild…Pie the new fragrance from Wondercat.”

Oh yeah, the joke…”Deep pan, crisp and even!” We laughed until snot shot from our nose…It doesn’t take much to tickle a Wondercat.

Milk and Chocolate Biscuits: Delicious all year round (we are very lazy)

Hey Kids!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!  We hope you got some nice things from Santa (who must have been terribly uncomfortable this year as the weather was so clement…Red fur trousers in the heat must amount to a substantial amount of crotch sweat);

The bakery is now the proud owner of a Baby Gaggia Espresso Machine so no excuses for us not getting our lazy arses in gear and posting in a reasonable amount of time.  So, yeah, we are only just posting our Christmas biscuits due to the jolly, joy, joy of drinking, eating, socialising, eating, snacking, munching, sleeping, watching Goonies…but it’s not like we get paid for this or anything so deal with our dallying.

on Dasher, on Dancer, on Hob-Nob and Linzer!

What were we saying? *distracted by a Lindor Reindeer* Oh, Christmas biscuits…sooooo, our main gripe about the Christmas biscuit, and don’t get us wrong, we love traditions and cracking out the old standards each year, but come on folks, a little imagination…we like sugar but we’re only an iced vanilla biscuit away from the diabetes.

So we went for something a little different…and they were awesome!

the forest of num numsFrom this angle I guess these are girl reindeer

We thought we’d play with different textures and flavours in the same cookies but try and keep each separate and distinct.  What we came up with was a vanilla shortbread type bikkie containing milk crumbs (oh, milk crumbs BTW=delicious!!! More than delicious, they are a eat-the-batch-and-have-to-make-more-then-eat-half-of-that-batch-and-make-yet-another level of delicious) topped with a layer of really deep, dark chocolate sort of shortcrust pastry type biscuit.  You get the soft buttery, milky bottom layer with the crunch and cocoa intensity from the top…marvellous!

check out the layerage

We made Christmas trees rolling the base to 6mm and topping with 2mm thickness of the chocolate layer; this gave a great balance of the two.  The milk layer was a soothing back massage, the chocolate, a cheeky slap on the ass.

We dusted in gold and added a little squiggle of green for some tree-y-ness ( and because as much as we love chocolate, food the colour of post-Guinness bowel movements doesn’t get us reaching for the biscuit tin).

you can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

What to do with the pile of doughs left over?! (apart from eat them raw, don’t judge, raw cookie dough is a food group of it’s own); we squished then into a single marble dough and made reindeers!

almost too cute to eat...

 

the herd has been thinned...

a delicious ecosystem

So here’s to a great 2012 and another year of baking experiments!

Herman – thank you for being a friend…

Travelled down the road and back again;  Your heart is true, your a pal and a confidant. And if you through a party;  Invited everyone you ever knew; You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say thank you for being a friend!!!

Sorry, we went to a bad place…this isn’t a Golden Girls post, it’s about German, Herman Friendship Cake…picture it, Sicily, 1912 (We’ll stop now, promise!)

Well, forgive me. But my arthritis is playing me up. My social security check was late. And I realized today I haven't showered with a man in twenty-two years!

Right…picture it, Christmas party, Altrincham, last weekend…Granny Dot gave us a Baby Herman!  If you haven’t heard of Herman he is a version of Amish Friendship Breadthat is currently having a bit of a revival.  It is basically an edible chain letter that we here at Wondercat predict will be the Zombie/Bacon/Angry Birds of 2012.

Herman - the cupcake/macaroon/Kim Kardashian of next year...

 

The easiest way to explain things is to show you the instructions:

Herman

Herman is a friendship cake which you cannot buy but can give away. Herman is alive and grows slowly but surely because of a yeasting process. It takes 10 days before you can eat him.
DO NOT put in the fridge as he grows at room temperature. You do not need a lid, just cover the bowl with a tea towel.
DAY 1:  Today Herman is given to you. Congratulations, you must have a friend. Pour him into a big bow so      
he can grow.
DAY 2:  Stir Herman 2 or 3 times each day using a wooden spoon. You can leave the spoon in the bowl.
DAY 3:  Stir Herman and talk to him.
DAY 4:  Herman is hungry! You must feed him with – 
              200ml of milk
              200g of self raising flour
              250g of sugar
DAY 5:  Stir Herman
DAY 6:  Stir Herman. He really appreciates your visits.
DAY 7:  Stir Herman.
DAY 8:  Stir Herman. Are you still talking to him?
DAY 9:  Herman is hungry again! Feed him as Day 4.
              Having been fed, he now needs to be split into equal little Hermans. Give away 4 of the little 
              Hermans and a copy of these instructions.
DAY 10: Your remaining little Herman is absolutely starving after all that!
              This time feed him with – 
              150g of Self raising flour
              150g of Sugar
              3 Eggs
              2 tsp of cinnamon*
              1 tsp of baking powder
              100g of fine chopped nuts or mixed fruit*
              2 Grated Apples*
              100ml of oil (corn or sunflower)
* = optional
Herman would now like to go to a hot resort, the oven will do. Preheat it to 170 degrees Celsius (which is between 3 and 4 on a gas mark oven). With everything mixed, pour him into a 7” cake tin. Leave him at the resort for about an hour. After all this care, attention and nurturing … eat him!!!

after the trip to the resort...little bit of a tan, smothered in after-sun lotion...this is too twee even for us.

You can pretty much whack anything in him at the end.  Carrot instead of apple? Bit of chocolate? Whatever random crap you have lying around? We went for chocolate (cocoa), candied peel, dried cranberries, sultanas, cinnamon, vanilla, fresh and ground ginger.
It felt a little awful eating the little guy we’d nurtured for the last week or so (we actually cheated and skipped a few days), but hey ho…it was his delicious destiny.

crumbled a bit when cut...tis what happens when you can't wait for Herman to cool down...boy smelt goooood!

Herman, it turns out, is just a milky sourdough starter.  After doing a little bit of research on sourdough it appears you can make your own starter!  Grown from natural yeasts hanging around it will improve and develop with age and you can keep a starter for centuries!
So, a little bit of organic malted flour and some orange juice and we have a new addition to the Bakery…MISS GLORIA BUBBLES IS ALIVE AND FROTHING!  We are going to let her gain some strength over the next few weeks, then we are taking her out for a test drive!!!!  If anyone fancies baking with Gloria Bubbles I’m more than happy to send out baby Glorias!

Happy Holidays!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We are definitely on-board with the festive here at the bakery!

put some records on while I pour...

This weekend was time for our annual Winter Soirée; a time to catch up with friends and family and be merry! Tis the season after all!

This year we changed things up a bit.  Gone were the glazed ham, roast turkey and salmon…bring on the Bolly and canapés!  Of course, there were a few regulars…

The Chadong Christmas Cake and Mykie’s Mince Pies!

I do enjoy a table full of sweetness!

The Chadong Christmas Cake is the highlight of the baking calendar for us.  Not only do we try and improve on the taste of the cake each year but we also have a great time planning the décor!  The Cake is the centrepiece, the fruity glue that holds the evening together…it must be perfection (or as close as we can get given the restraints of time, resource and sanity).

run, run Rudolph!

This year we totally revamped the fruit cake which is usually just a Delia with a twist or two.  This year we wanted something different; something that still screamed fruit cake but lighter, fresher, and more appealing to the “fruit cake haters”.

The Fruit Cake Nativity

  • Mary: Dried Apricots
  • Wise Men: Dried Mango/Pineapple/Papaya
  • Baby Jesus: Maraschino Cherries
  • Angel Gabriel: Candied Mixed Peel
  • Joseph: Sultanas
  • Donkey: Pistachio Nuts
  • Shepherds: Lemoncello, Calvados, Apricot Brandy
  • Inn-Keeper: Honey

   As you can see, we made some big changes!  The cake batter was made with golden caster sugar a heap of vanilla and spiced with just a touch of cinnamon and a generous helping of ground ginger…light honey frivolity replaced dark treacly depth.

The design for this year was “Snow Stripe”; we wanted to create something rigid in design but with the Wondercat signature piping detail.  Over all it turned out OK.  There are a few areas that aren’t as surgically precise as we would of hoped for but in the time we allowed for decorating we will settle for good over great.

never such a blizzard before?

So, how was this mountain of blue hues received?  Pretty well!

It managed to retain the essence of a good Chrimbo Cake but really was zippier, lighter and brighter.  The tropical fruits and cherries    punctuated each mouthful brilliantly giving something more interesting than the traditional homogeneous treacly fudge of a classic cake.  This cake converted two “fruit cake haters” to total cake-munchers but the biggest compliment came from Moogi Leong; she rang the next day to say she really enjoyed the cake and that Grandma Glover (R.I.P.) would have loved it as she also wasn’t a fan of the traditional fruit cake so always had Dundee Cake at Christmas.  This had Mykie in floods when he hung up the phone…we are keeping this recipe (which I will post, promise) and dedicating it to the late, great Betty Glover!

a cake for my Grandma...*sheds a little tear*

The mince pies we made using the Cranberry Mincemeat of the previous post but once again we gave things a shake!  In place of the ground almonds in the sweet shortcrust pastry, we used THIS to give a richer, more nutty texture and taste.  It added a slightly wholemeal feel which contrasted nicely against the sweet cranberry and citrus tang of the filling…yummers!

If only really snowflakes came with pies attached...

The evening was a blast!  Wonderful to see everyone and ramp up the Christmas spirit!

Santa Baby, stick a fruit cake under the tree...

Not long to go now folks…Santa’s coming!!!!  Raise a glass to friends and family both living and departed and celebrate!!!!

 

Wondercat 2: Back in the habit

Sista Mary Wondercat!

So after a few weeks of not being able to look at a cake, bat an eyelid at a biscuit or glance at a gateaux we are back in the baking habit…oh happy day!!

We’ve been trying to rev ourselves up for a while but after two weeks channelling Takeru Kobayashi in China and thus returning looking like a giant cha siu baothe Violet Beauregarde of the Far East if you will, we have steered clear of the kitchen.

But we’re back! Christmas has cracked us!  After our traditional “Grand Opening to Christmas”-a trip to Fortnum and Mason for high tea in St James’s and a rampage through their decadent decorations (seriously, rampage…last year I managed to totally decimate a display of baubles…why didn’t I learn from classic cartoon slapstick and not take a bauble from the bottom of the pile!?); a freshly filled decanter of Pedro Ximenez and finally the erecting of the festive foliage…we could hold back no longer…

anyone for tree and cake?

Chadong Panettone and Mykie’s Mincemeat

I’m not adding recipes as the panettone is a work in progress and the mincemeat is just a revamp of Nigella’s Cranberry Studded Mincemeat with a few tweaks.

So, panettone…bit of a disaster for a few reasons…

  1. I didn’t have a recipe I liked
  2. I decided to freestyle and make my own
  3. I used a tin that was too big
  4. I baked it totally wrong

all cake slices should be based on the right angle at Christmas

Apart from that it was fucking marvellous!

The thing about panettone is that it is basically a delicious interbreeding of a yeast bread dough and a rich fruity sponge batter…you make both then have sexytimes in the Kitchenaid.  We didn’t have enough yeast in the house but hey-ho it’ll all be fine…it wasn’t fine.  As we were winging the recipe we had to take a stab in the dark with the baking…we went for “bake like a cake” (low and longer) rather than “bake like bread” (hot and quick)…I think I chose wrong.  The balls up in the baking and choosing a tin far, far to large (I had far too much confidence in the dough being a grower not a shower) we ended up with a dense low-slung cake thing.  Taste-wise it was total Christmas-sexy-good but texturally it was edible brewers droop…back to the drawing board!

dumpy yet delightful

The mincemeat as we admitted, is basically Nigella’s, but we prefer a few sharper notes running through so use a nice Amontillado sherry instead of ruby port, add some mixed peel, and use a zippy Calvados in place of brandy…oh, and we use a heap more dried cranberries!!!!!!

trust the label...

So Christmas is here! Fragrance adverts are taking over the TV and there is tinsel everywhere (except our house, let’s be real people, we are not tinsel people)…(for some reason we’ve started calling it tinzel…well, tiiiinnnnzzzzzzeeelllll…it’s hilariously homo…try it, you won’t go back)

Fudge-packer: a fragrance for men: from Wondercat Bakery

the word "reindeer" totally left my brain; we wanted to say "raisin/raisindeer" but knew it was not the right word...oh the joys of old age.

Three cheers for the return of the holiday season and the return of baked goods from The Wondercat Bakery!

Happy Holidays!