I havn't had a lot of motivation to blog lately, I was on a roll last week and then it all went dry this week. Maintaining a blog and keeping it going is alot of hard work, especially when it's a food orientated one. You've got to make sure there's photos to go with the entry, then there's also the subject matter, which needs to be motivational for me to write about at the time too. I guess what I am trying to say in not so many words is, outside words of encouragement help to keep oneself going.
We were at Ryan's cousin's 30th tonight and his cousin mentioned my blog and said how much he enjoyed following it. Coming home and switching on my monitor screen made me remember his words earlier in the night which has prompted me to start writing. Starting this blog was quite a personal thing for me and I wasn't doing it for an audience or anything but I guess if I know that I'm not writing out into nothingness and people do appreciate what I do, it helps to motivate me to keep going especially when I'm at the downhill part of this rollercoaster ride.
The one person who has kept me going all these years is of course Ryan, and we celebrated our 10 year anniversary just over a month ago. We were talking to another one of his cousin's partner and when she asked how long we had been together she oooh'd and ahhh'd when we told her how long it had been. It really has been almost a lifetime, okay maybe almost half our lives considering how old we are but we really have grown up together from young immature teenagers to young adults.
The fact that we have spent 10 years together meant that we pretty much knew all of each others likes and dislikes, especially when it came to food though we are both discovering a whole new food journey together ever since we started taking more interest in food than we used to. It was no easy task though when I wanted to make/bake something to give to him as a suprise. I had so many ideas of different and interesting things I could make but in the end it came down to something very simple but yet involved all his favourite ingredients.
I decided to make a Strawberry, White Chocolate and Coconut muffin for Ryan and I was also wanting to recreate a memory I had from the past too. In my TAFE days when I was studying floristry, Ryan would sometimes come and have lunch with me in the city. There was also a little cafe nearby called Lush Bucket which Ryan and I would sometimes go to and they had the best tasting and cheap, quality food that I can remember in my life as a student. They would get so busy during lunchtime from all the TAFE/Uni students and all the local business workers too. You were lucky to be able to get a seat at the limited number of tables inside. Most of the trade was take away as a result of that.
Breakfast or morning tea breaks would see me go there for a muffin and a hot chocolate. They were no ordinary mass produced muffins though. You can tell these were home made and they had the crunchiest tops ever and I have not come across any muffins like these since my time at TAFE. They had a few rotating flavours and my favourite would have been the strawberry and coconut muffin. They were also absolutely HUGE.
I searched the web to find a recipe or some kind of secret method of getting the tops of the muffins crunchy. What I read was that you just sprinkle a bit of sugar over the top (raw, demara or granulated works best) which caramelises the crust and gives it a bit of a crunch. The recipe I used for my muffins was just adapted from this recipe at cuisine.com.au. I replaced the white sugar with brown sugar as I think it gives the muffin better texture and flavour, and of course reduce the amount of strawberries and also add in some chopped up white chocolate melts and some dessicated coconut.
As the years went by we stopped buying sentimental presents for each other though it has been a long long time where I've been given anything that's got more sentiment attached than dollar value. I knew that these desserts of mine had to resemble a heart of some sort so went out to buy some heart shaped tins. The only ones that I could find were these spring form tins which seemed a little big for my muffins but I gave them a go anyway.
The tins are just so cute, not sure what Ryan thinks though. I don't usually do this to my desserts/baked goods.
As a finishing touch a little extra dessicated coconut and of course some raw sugar crystals for the crunchy tops.
Managed to also get 9 little cupcakes with the leftover batter from the 2 larger hearts.
Do they look like hearts to you? I think I underestimated how much the batter would rise, the one on the left has a bit missing because the batter overflowed down the side of the tin and I had to pull off the encrusted bits.
Another view, just to make sure you got the image of the heart - the ultimate goal here.
Boxed up ready to give to Ryan the next morning.
The muffin is ripped apart as breakfast on our car trip into the city for our day out to celebrate our milestone. It was so gooey and spongey and crusty on top. The white chocolate melts had pretty much melted into the muffin and provided a bit of a caramel crunch every few mouthfuls. Just as good, though not as good as the ones I remember having at Lush Bucket. It is still up and running and I have great memories everytime we drive past when we're in the area though have never had the need to stop by.