Spicy Peppers: Stuffed with Delight!

Well, readers, it has been a whirlwind year; please excuse the delay in updating the blog in 2013 but I do promise it’s for good reason.  With all the ponderings and pauses for reflection I’ve found here at the Practice Princess, I feel I’ve had just the time I needed to start to find my inspiration and my future calling, including launching my own business!  A new website has been underway, of which I will tell you more about in a little while… but for now I let me start by sharing with you this delightful dinner last night.  Stuffed bell peppers with spicy pork, rice, onions and chilli.  It was delicious.

I recommend ‘Mr John’s’ recipe here, although if you don’t have all the ingredients to hand you can just improvise like I did and I’m sure it will work out fine, it’s a pretty versatile recipe.  The chef does share some good techniques with regard to par-boiling your peppers, and how to use a little steam in the oven to cook to retain moisture and sweetness.  My tip: make enough filling to freeze, then when you fancy making stuffed peppers for a future dinner, you can just prepare the peppers themselves and add a little cheese on top – easy!

For observant onlookers, you may have noticed that glass of white wine in the foreground; well we’ve had reason to celebrate this week with the accomplishment of my graduation!  Yes, that is correct, after two years I finally made it, all those procrastination bakes and long essays, the piles and piles of reading.  I am so proud, pleased and delighted I fully intend to maximise the use of this new knowledge in my future enterprises.  It was most definitely a joint effort and I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of this man here – thank you, Adam!

There’s been plenty of happening in the new year.  The scenic backdrop of gorgeous snow fall in recent weather has made for some good walks and plenty of thinking time.

I love snow and the way it sound proofs everything, slows us all down and absorbs the humdrum into something peaceful and so pure…

It’s made a beautiful view as I sit here in the office during the day.

And, to come back to that little subject of new ventures – here’s a sneak peak at the new business cards.  I’m so excited to receive them as I’ve gone for something different and picked an embossed style design – the front logo is going to be raised so it has a 3D texture coming off the page.  There’s no way of knowing exactly how they’ll turn out until I see them but I’m looking forward to the final product!

If you’re interested in browsing through the full website, do visit!  With all that’s been going on, it’s inevitable that the hobby of blogging has taken a bit of a back seat, however, I must say I am as passionate as ever about the benefits of keeping this going; it’s been a theraputic way of discovering what inspires me and through doing so I’ve felt called or compelled to certain projects in life.  Starting small with inspirations has helped me discover a sense of my own purpose.

Here’s me in a little December walk I took to a bookshop near St. Paul’s cathedral in London.  Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while – despite the cold it was very rewarding, and I found just what I needed.  I was also lucky enough to encounter the lovely Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin in the first bookshop I stopped by, this lady is a real inspiration – what are the odds of us both being in the same bookshop at the same time?  I like to think that these things are meant to happen sometimes… :)   Reading and writing calms me, I think, when worries start to accumulate I realise all the lovely things I’ve accomplished and the little gifts life has given me even during difficult times.  You realise that blessings are more than abundant, when you stop to catalogue and appreciate your good fortune from time to time.  The gift of food is no exception!  Here are some delicious Christmas nibbles made by mum…

And we also had the joy of a magical moment with our best friends’ new born little boy, Joshua – the one for whom the Coconut Meringue Cupcakes were baked in anticipation of!  This was such a lovely feeling.  Although I’m not sure life has anything this monumental in store for us just yet, it is lovely to have a little experience of such cuteness and family life in the meantime!

So, in the midst of aspirations, uncertainty, change, hopes and fears this blog seems to develop into encompass all that and to help me to expand.  You may see some design changes around here in the future, as I have a few ideas in mind and some new found trade skills for when the time comes so watch this space!  While I may not blog as regularly – perhaps once a week for now – I still think it will continue to give me enjoyment and pleasure and I hope those who stop by find it does so too.  Without blogging I feel I don’t quite have a sense of ‘where to start’ – writing about anything, they say, is a great way to loosen up ideas for other things.  My mind certainly works that way; I do like a tangent!  So, here’s to February and whatever the new year brings for us all: until then, Sophie says relax!

 

Coconut Meringue Cupcakes

A little baby boy is due very soon and here was my tribute to his lovely mum, Eugina, at her recent baby shower, in the form of a sweet new little cupcake recipe!  Don’t these just look like puffy clouds of coconut meringue happiness?

Well, I was perusing through my recipes and found this concoction was too good to resist, containing a few favourite ingredients of mine.  It also gave me a reason to try out this cute little cake carousel bought for me as a present from mum!

Now, if this does not inspire you to bake 24 cupcakes and take them to a party then I don’t know what does!

It stacks the cupcakes in little individual trays of 8 and they fit neatly on top of one another, even allowing for a bit of ‘spin’ in transit.  Great what you can find in TK Maxx sometimes isn’t it?  They survived the London commute impeccably.  Now, the cupcake mixture: well, they are basically shallow little dense cake batter mixtures, almost biscuit sized and quite sweet.

You only use a dollop of teaspoon sized batter portions in each cupcake case, baked for about 20 minutes, then topped with this wonderful fluffy meringue and coconut mixture.  To be honest, it’s a bit of a fiddly recipe but an excuse to try something different and quite a nice thing to make for a party, if you have time to do something intricate one rainy afternoon.

You need to practice this recipe a few times I think, before you perfect the art of timing the crisp topping and not burning – ovens vary so much!  So treat the recipe with some trepidation / improvisation as usual, readers, until it’s tried and tested :)

I would say these were a little on the brown side – but just toasted is nice; personal taste and trial and error I guess…  I topped them with a little dash of blue icing, in honour of the awaited arrival!

Not a bad afternoon’s work hey?  As goes the motto around here: practice makes perfect… will let you know how the next batch turns out!

Coconut Meringue Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes & Bakes
Cuisine: Party Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 18-24
 

A tasty, inventive approach to the cupcake made with a delicious light meringue topping. I have only tried this recipe once, and didn’t have all the correct ingredients – it’s probably important to follow this one accurately because of the technical components! However, the results were pretty delicious. I like the fact that it uses both parts of the egg in each part of the mixture – no leftover yolks or whites, just 3 separated eggs. Enjoy! (Recipe by Cornerstones / Sandcastle Books)
Ingredients
  • For the cakes:
  • 250g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • Half teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coconut meringue:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 85g unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line 2 muffin tins with cake cases.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well in between.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the combined milk and vanilla.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared liners to half full. Bake for 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  5. Meanwhile, to make coconut meringue, use a clean electric mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until thick and glossy. Use a metal spoon to gently fold in the coconut. Spread coconut meringue over the tops of the just-cooked cupcakes.
  6. Bake case for a further 5-100 minutes until the meringue is just golden. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.