To mark the first week on KICKSTARTER!

To mark the end of our epic first week, I’ve decided to launch another competition…. This time, prepare to get involved. I mean fully submerged. & possibly a little messy too.

As you all know, I made a sour cherry pie in my video…. I shared the recipe with the idea of enticing your appetites & drawing you into my sugar cravings.

For this next challenge? Well, I’m not asking you to make my recipe. Not exactly any way. I’m inviting you all to have a look at mine & come up with your own wonderful versions of it.

What?

Yes!

You want to turn it into an open tart & make it with brown sugar? Maybe make a home-made rum & pecan ice-cream to accompany it? Make a chocolate crust? Change the shape?

Whatever you can dream up, I want to see it. I want to taste it & see how you’ve taken a starting thought & made it completely your own!

All recipes & photos should be sent to me by e-mail (popich.red@gmail.com). I will publish each & every one on my blog (www.whateversleft.org), & include a link to each recipe on my Facebook page. At the end of the campaign, I will assemble a team of trusted friends who tastebuds I admire & together we will select the best one.

The only absolute guidelines that you have to stick to is that:
1. the recipe has to remain gluten-free
2. it needs to contain sour cherries.

“What is the prize??” I hear you asking… Well, the winner will have their recipe published in the book with their name credited at the bottom of the recipe as well as in the credits section of the book. They will also receive a copy of the cookbook to go along with it so they can show off their recipe to all of their friends!

The deadline for submissions is the same as the deadline for the campaign – 22nd of September!

Happy baking everyone!!!!!

- Lauren-Nicole xxx

P.s. thank you for your continued support! Let’s get this cookbook MADE!

a little friendly competition!

Ever since we were kids, the idea of playing games has always been appealing.

In an attempt to reach the child inside of all of us, I’d like to encourage a little friendly competition for all to partake in. The winner will get a free copy of the cookbook that is currently running as a campaign on KICKSTARTER! (this of course is subject to the campaign reaching its target goal)

In order to participate, all players must upload a photo of their favourite gluten-free recipe to twitter & tag the photo with @popichred & #eatinglikeyoumeanit.

The photos will then be uploaded to the Facebook page for WhateversLeft.org. The photo with the most {LIKES} will win the prize!

Happy playing!

P.p.s. Remember to check out the campaign on KICKSTARTER & show your support!

Day 2!

I went live on Kickstarter yesterday. It was a crazy feeling full of anxiety, nervousness, a small amount of panic, & a whole heap of excitement.

I still can’t believe I’m doing this, it seems crazy but thrilling all at the same time.

I spent the first hour obsessively refreshing the page to see if there was any progress… & then eventually I calmly reminded myself to take a “chill-pill” & put my laptop away.

Within minutes there was the familiar ding on my phone to let me know an e-mail had come through. A backer. My very first!!!! I think my heart almost stopped.

….24 hours & 4 backers later, I’m starting to feel incredibly positive about it all. It’s still early & I haven’t extensively exhausted my ability to harass my social media with reminders about my project, but I still have 28 days more to go.

Oh the excitement.

Anyway, here it is in full force…… Even if all you do is share this post or send a link out to your friends, you have already done me the biggest kindness. All support is welcome & greatly appreciated!

 

Sour cherry pie… on KICKSTARTER!

There’s a sour-cherry-pie & our very own KICKSTARTER project!!!!

sour cherry pie

It’s been a very long time coming.

The idea to write a cookbook started back in the summer of 2011. Back then, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how I was going to achieve it. Mel was equally as clueless & baffled as I was. We wanted to cook though. We knew with absolute certainty that some how, we were going to make it happen. So we just started.

It took place in his grandmother’s kitchen, me with my camera in hand, him with a scribbled piece of paper in the messiest handwriting one can imagine. I used to have to chase him after it was all done just to get the recipe & write it down in a format that made sense. He’d always assure me that he would remember, but if I had let even a day go by, the whole thing was lost.

Slowly a collection of images started growing on my computer, & a bunch of notebooks were being filled to capacity. The quality wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but it was a start.

Then came the food stalls at The Meet Market once a month… & popularity started growing. Friends would insist that we should open a restaurant, but we were still set on the idea of a book, & still just as lost at where the starting line actually was.

sour cherry pie

….eventually came the blog. A place we called home & rambled at you time & time again. It was a better way to keep track. A better way to get feedback & reviews. To start building some confidence in what we were creating.

In the spring of 2013, someone suggested we start a campaign on kickstarter. We didn’t have a clue what that meant, & quickly forgot about it as we got consumed in our daily life. Again in the summer, we were reminded of it all & finally started talking about doing it seriously. Well, I started talking about doing it seriously, he wasn’t so sure, in fact, he was rather sceptical of it all. I knew that if I put it together & he could get a visual, he would be on board with it & see my vision.

Then it happened. Life changed forever & in one night, he was gone from this world. It’s strange the path that life takes. It can be unbelievably tragic, & so beautiful at the same time. The memory of it all is still as heartbreaking as it was then… & yet, even at it’s most painful, I can smile knowing that he lived his life exactly the way he wanted to. He was happy in his existence. He didn’t let anyone dictate who he was or how he should be. He went doing something that he loved, & I’m thankful for that small favour.

Life has continued in his absence, much to my shock. I’ve had to learn how to walk & talk & exist in a world where he doesn’t. I’ve had to discover who I am all over again, & learn how to smile once more. & some how, I’ve managed to find joy & beauty in the world. I’ve also discovered determination. This project is part of that discovery. This project encompasses everything that I am, & everything that I was. It shows the life I shared, as well as the new beginning I’ve had to create & discover. It is absolutely filled with love, & the desire to create stronger bonds with the people around us. Thank god for those people.

I think it’s because of the love & support I received from others, that this book is taking on the shape & form that I plan for it. It’s not just about cooking for people, it’s about making an event out of every meal. A meal that will take you time to consume, time spent with close friends & family, hopefully laughing & savouring the dishes made. I suppose for that reason, it won’t just be a collection of recipes categorised into sections, but rather several recipes grouped together to make up a dinner party, brunch, or even a picnic. You won’t have to flip through & try & guess which recipes work together, it will all be laid out. Your starter, salad, main, dessert & even a cocktail will be mapped out from start to finish in a cohesive manner, ready to make. Of course you’re allowed to flip through & pick & chose should you wish, but you won’t have to.

If you want to contribute to our kickstarter project, just click here!

Ingredients, crust:
- 160g GF oat flour
- 200g GF white flour blend
- 160g almond flour
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 30g white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- zest of 1 lemon
——————–
- 250g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg yolk, room temp
- 60g buttermilk
- 60g dark rum

Directions, crust: (make one 9″ pie, 3″ deep, or four 5″ pies, 1.5″ deep)
1. combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl & whisk to combine. Create a well in the centre & set the bowl aside.
2. in a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients & beat them together. Pour the wet mix into the well of the dry ingredients, & use a fork to slowly incorporate the two. Once the mixture becomes thick enough, you can continue to work the dough with your hands until it all comes together completely.
3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, flatten each into a disc, tightly wrap with cling film & refrigerate for two hours.

Ingredients, filling:
- 750g sour cherries, pitted
- 200g red apple, purred
- 30g lemon juice
- 200g white sugar
- 30g corn starch
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
- 30g unsalted butter, cold & cubed
—————-
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2-3 tbs of demerara sugar

Directions, filling:
1. pre-heat the oven to 250C
2. combine all the ingredients together & mix well, set aside.
3. butter a 9″ (or four 5″ pie plates) pie plate & set aside.
4. lightly dust your work surface with oat flour, remove one of the discs of cold dough from the fridge, un-wrap & roll it out into a circle a little bigger than your pie plate. Gently lift the dough from the counter, & line your pie plate with it. If the dough tares a little, don’t worry, you can gently manipulate it & press it back together to seal any holes.
5. pour in the pie filling you made. Take the cubed butter & sprinkle it over the top of the filling.
6. remove the second disc of dough from the fridge, once again dust your work surface with flour & roll the dough out to the size of your pie plate.
7. slice the dough into strips about 1 to 2cm wide. One by one, place the strips on top of your pie in a lattice formation.
8. trim the edges of the dough around the pie plate & press the sides down with a fork for a decorative pattern. Brush the crust lightly with the beaten egg, & sprinkle with demerara sugar.
9. (for a 9″ pie) cover your pie with a sheet of aluminium foil & place your pie in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 250C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C & continue to bake for another hour & a half to two hours, or until the filling starts to bubble up & over the edges.
9. (for 5″ pies) cover your pie with a sheet of aluminium foil & place your pie in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 250C. Reduce the oven temperature to 175C & continue to bake for another hour & 10 minutes, or until the filling starts to bubble up & over the edges.
10. once done, remove your pie from the oven & allow to cool completely before cutting.

Tips & tricks:
*** if you line the bottom of your oven with aluminium foil before you start, it will be much easier to clean afterwards. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to scrape off burnt sugar before, but trust me, it’s no picnic.
*** if you don’t allow the pie to cool completely, the sugar won’t set & the pie will run & fall apart instead of coming out in nice clean slices.

for the healing body

The last three weeks have been an adventure to say the very least….

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how clumsy I am… wish I could say I wasn’t, but as my mother has been fond of saying over the years “you’re an accident waiting to happen, just like your daddy!”. What can I say, she’s right.

Unfortunately for me, this time I’ve really gone & made a mess. Suffice to say, I managed to fracture & dislocate my metatarsals (in layman’s terms, I’ve broken my foot) as well as tear all my ligaments. One surgery & three screws later, I am slowly but surly on my way to becoming RoboCop.

It has been rough, more than rough, & being confined to my bed & couch for three weeks have been testing my sanity. Still, every day, there is a small but noticeable mark of improvement. Thank god for the small favours. I have another month in crutches before I’m allowed to try & walk, & three more months before the surgeon goes back in to remove the hardware.

Still, it could be worse. Just have to remember to be patient & take it one step at a time.

There is good news to all of this. A recipe in fact….

A friend of mine is a nutritionist, & after extensive complaining to her that the pain meds I’m on give me incredibly freaky dreams, but that coming off of them is absolutely not an option, she shared with me some advice on what I could eat that would make it all better.

Now, I’m a big believer in healing my body through food. Over the years it’s been very clear to me that what I eat has the ability to affect my mood, complexion & general health. So going a step further to think that I can ease some of my symptoms  through a smoothie, really isn’t a far reach for me. Two days & two smoothies later, I can honestly say that I have given up my afternoon dose of painkillers & anti-inflamitories & not experienced anything more than a slight discomfort. Let me assure you, this was previously not possible before. Not unless you wanted me to be reduced to the sobbing tears of an infant.

So here it is… for anyone in discomfort who would like to try an alternative to over-the-counter drugs… here is the smoothie that has made my afternoons bearable once again.

Ingredients:
1 cup – pineapple (good for inflammation)
1 large stalk – celery (a natural painkiller)
1in cube – fresh ginger (again, for the inflammation)
1/3 cup – full fat yogurt (good for digestion)
1 tbs – flaxseed (intestinal health)
1 tbs – honey (to sweeten it)

Directions:
1. place it all in your blender & turn it on for several minutes. I let mine run for a while to make sure there aren’t any chunks, the last thing I want is to be chewing on a piece of celery. Once done, drink it immediately. 

Some of you might be cringing at the idea of drinking celery. I did. The truth is, that the pineapple & honey sweeten it so much that you don’t even notice, & the ginger adds a wonderfully spicy kick. It’s really quite delicious.

Personally, I highly recommend this to anyone & everyone, whether you’re sore from your exercise routine. In pain from an injury. Or just want a healthy snack.

Try it & let me know how it goes.

xxx

a little unconventional..

gluten free wedding cake

I can’t express how much I love wedding cakes. Especially when I get to do something a little unconventional….

This was my very first attempt at doing a drip effect on a cake… It wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for, but it’s come out looking pretty cool. With each new cake & design though, I find myself learning something completely new.

Here for example, I had to make the cake ahead of time in order to get the baking out of the way since it’s very time consuming. You see, I work around 9 hours a day, six days a week… that doesn’t leave me much free time to make wedding cakes on the side. So, I was advised by a friend who works for a very well known bakery that cakes can be baked, iced & frozen ahead of time, & as long as they are thawed out in the fridge, absolutely no harm will come to them. I decided to take the advice & give it a try. Unfortunately for me, the cake was still somewhat frozen when I started the decoration.

You might not think a frozen cake is a big deal, but let me assure you, it’s super cold temperature means it was attracting a lot of condensation. This ensured that the fondant always stayed wet & sticky, & it started to also cause the royal icing to dissolve. When I had originally done the drip, I had painted it a solid metallic gold with a hint of green… of course, as the royal icing began to melt, it started to show cracks through the metallic coating which revealed the orange colour of the royal icing underneath. Lucky for me, it came out to be a pretty neat effect. However, it also meant that the drip pattern also continued to grown & expand throughout the process.

Still, I was allowed to paint the base of the cake a gorgeous burgundy red & that made me happy. I thought about dying the fondant first, but decided that a solid colour may make the cake look tacky… so, I went with the painted effect which gave it some depth & texture.

The top two layers of the cake were pistachio cake, with strawberry puree brushed onto the cake, & a cream cheese filling…. the bottom layer was a bitter chocolate cake, with a caramel filling, & dark chocolate ganache on the outside.

Let me just say this… having gotten to eat the cake, I can honestly say it was just as good as if it had been baked fresh. I am so thankful to my friend & her advice because it gave me enough time to do the decoration without getting stressed. Note to self in future though… allow the cake to thoroughly defrost before starting on the decoration!!!

I hope you like it!

tips & tricks…..

It’s inevitable….

Every time I find myself elbow deep in buttercream, & fighting with air pockets & a level cake under my fondant…. I’m constantly swearing like a drunken sailor under my breath. My dog usually has this bewildered expression on his face as he looks at me like I’ve just escaped from the loony bin. Thank god he can’t actually speak, he’d tell everyone just how crazy I actually am.

….He may even be tempted to tell people about how when I roll out fondant, I can usually be found on top of my dinning table, marble rolling pin in hand, using the vast majority of my body weight to push that miraculous fondant out to the desired width it needs to be.

Yea… he has some stories.

Of course, now that I have two cakes under my belt for this month, now would be when I find this wonderful little video….

All I can say is, I have another wedding cake coming up for the end of the month. I’ve been given a free pass to decorate it however I please & I can assure you… I’m going with the tackiest colour combination possible & I fully intend to make it work!

As for the last two cakes? Well, since I sent them in pieces to an island & left final assembly up to my wonderful friends over at Chilli Catering, I’m still waiting to hear back on whether or not the photographers were able to take a photo. All I have is instagram pictures taken at about 05:00am, & they aren’t really worth the pixel space. I’ll show them to you any way…

983735_10152314857910208_5457920861935720817_n 10428541_10152296730380208_7428360946088126215_n

 

Both cakes look incredibly similar (in my defence… the wedding parties chose the flowers & colour combinations so there wasn’t much I could do about that).

Happy summer everyone!

rambling again

I failed at cheesecake.

It’s been a long time since I’ve baked a cheesecake & of course I attempted to dream bigger than I should have. Not that I’m incapable of dreaming big, but cheesecakes take a certain amount of fineness & I’m a touch out of practice.

Let’s add to the equation that my oven is currently on the fritz. If I turn it up to 160C, it won’t reach hotter than 100C. If I turn it up to 250C… well, it will waver between 150C & 170C. Not exactly a good foot to get off on when it comes to needing precision.

& I over-beat the filling.

Never over beat a cheesecake filling.

I’ve decided to try again. I’ve currently got another batch of pate sucree in the fridge… the electrician has just been round to fix the oven, & I’ve decided to first beat the eggs & then gently fold them into the lightly whipped cream cheese. This could also be wrong. I could also be looking at another failed cheesecake. I won’t know until I make it down to the shops to by more cream cheese & heavy cream.

I need to get back into the spirit of baking. I’ve been finding excuses constantly. My favourite excuse is that I hate to put up posts without pictures, & I just don’t have the time to set up my home studio again from scratch. It would appear that I left all my studio equipment in Syros in my hasty leave & it just needs to be done from the beginning.

I use work as an excuse too. Working six days a week, 17:00 till 01:30… I don’t wake up till 12:00… so I tell myself I just don’t have the energy, time or lighting to do it correctly.

All of these are excuses. Deep down I just want to get back to creating. I need it like I need to breathe.

There’s a certain fear that comes with getting back up on the horse. Metaphorically speaking of course. Enough excuses. iPhone pictures will suffice in the absence of a studio… just as long as I’m creating again.

NY cheesecake first. I swear, tomorrow I’ll make it to the shops to by the missing ingredients. Should have it ready by Friday. Maybe even take the excess to work to sweeten the mood & ensure I don’t eat too much of it.

I miss this. Even if it is just a ramble.

the sesame seed bagel

gluten-free Sesame seed bagels

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have absolutely no modesty when it comes to this creation. After all, it’s not only the flavour, but the appearance which makes it such a winning thing.

I’ve heard some great reviews out there about gluten free bagels from the people who know what they are talking about. I’m always a little disheartened by the images though. Sure, they may taste like a bagel, & have the general shape of a bagel, but somehow the final result always looks unkempt & there’s a note from the author about how tricky the dough is to work with.

With what I’ve done here, not only does it have the soft, chewy texture that a bagel should, but it actually LOOKS just like a proper sesame seed bagel. & to add to my boasting, I can say that the dough was a charm to work with.

Unfortunately, you’re going to hate me with what I’ll say next, & for that I apologise… I’m not sharing the recipe. At least not yet. It’s such a winner that I want to save it for a surprise in the cook book I plan to publish.

Please, try not to loathe me too much. I assure you it will be well worth the wait.

the egg trick

It’s one of those lazy Sunday afternoons spent lying on the couch. The kind where I sleepily rolled out of bed in the morning & wandered down to the park to enjoy a coffee in the sunshine. Also the kind where I baked an over indulgent chocolate cake & sat with the tin in one hand & a spoon in the other… yes, I may have eaten the whole thing.

It’s the kind of Sunday where I’m partly curious how much sugar & butter may be floating around my blood stream, & the other half of me is accepting the feeling of fullness in my belly with a sly smile on my face.

It’s just one of those lazy Sundays.

IMG_2892

There may have also been a fresh banana & some strawberries cut up on top of the cake as an afterthought… the perfect touch to that rich, moist, bitter chocolate sponge. An added compliment to the vanilla cream & milky chocolate ganache.

Do I regret it? Of course not. It was good for my soul.

So, whilst I sit here like the fat cat who devoured the canary, I scroll through my pinterest, my Facebook, & all associated social media I may subscribe to & I just happened to come across this video. A neat little trick on separating egg yolks. Thought I might share it & maybe recant my story about the mishap during my baking…

Last night, whilst I was putting together the sponge batter for the chocolate cake, I decided to be somewhat lazy & just crack my eggs straight into the bowl of my already running stand mixer…. Being the butter fingers that I am of course, I managed to drop the first egg, shell included, straight into the bowl & watched as it was smashed to smithereens & dispersed amongst the cocoa & butter. Horrified, I attempted to salvage what little shell I could before eventually waving the white flag. It did cross my mind to start from scratch, but then again, I’d just used the last of the butter & my good Valrhona cocoa.

“Well shit (pardon my language). F*** it, I’m the only one eating it…..” & with a shrug of my shoulders I continued, hoping that the motion of my balloon whisk on high speed would eventually pulverise it into oblivion & I could just learn to appreciate the extra calcium.

On occasion durring consumption, there was an added *crunch* to my mouthful… but I wasn’t trying to win any awards.

Lesson learned. First crack eggs, then add to batter.

Any way, enjoy the video. Maybe incorporate it into your baking routine. Or just snicker at my story. Either way, I hope your sunday is as lazy as mine xxx