Wednesday, 28 September 2011

PPPS. WHILE THE POWER WAS OUT I GOT ALL THESE BEAUTIFUL OFFERS FROM ALL THESE BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSITIES, ISN'T LIFE SO AMAZING?! I AM SO HAPPY.

Pedring

I am without an internet connection at the moment, but I am writing anyway. Right now, it is September 27th, 2011. I am sitting in our kitchen nook at 6:58 in the evening, and I am so overwhelmed with how beautiful life is.

Yes, I realise that is a strange statement considering how we've just been (and are currently) under an absolute barrage of rain and unfailingly strong winds - the threat of another painful storm. But hear me out.

I worked out early this morning, and on the drive from and back to our house, I saw all the damage that had blanketed the Forbes and Dasmarinas area. I know this is the absolute tip of the ice berg, just a peek at one of the luckier areas in Manila. In the Philippines. 

I was sad - the rain always fills me with this sunken emotion that I can't describe.

I laid around for an hour or two, passed out for a little nap as I always do nowadays. Then I watched a film. And another. And another. I am still watching films until now, actually. I just wanted to pause for a second and share what today has re-revealed to me.
Spending time alone is a great thing, but being transported to different places via book or film or photograph is, to me, an extension of that. I watched two films involving Greek culture; My Life In Ruins and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
I had never seen the former before, and it revived all these explosive feelings I had about being in Greece (albeit for pretty much only a few seconds of my summer) as well as all the dull, achey feelings I had repressed about not being there for long enough. As I mentioned on my twitter, I don't think I've ever felt a pull as strong to another country before. Greece was a perfectly bittersweet combination of seeing something new and magnificent with beautiful people, exploring and losing myself alone through skinny little side streets, getting spontaneously tipsy in the afternoon with a new friend and being surrounded by all these refreshingly white structures. And so much more that I cannot possibly articulate.
I haven't even begun to talk about the culture. I made friends with the waiters. I made friends with the cook. I made friends with our driver of the day. And judging by the films I watched, it would be just as easy to make friends with an entire family. They seem warm, and happy-go-lucky, and blissfuly unashamed of eating to the point of no return. At least that's what the films have told me. Who am I to believe anything less as of now?
Then I watched Before Sunrise. I had seen the film set a decade after, Before Sunset, yesterday. Yes, I know, silly girl, wrong order. But it hit home! I am a sucker for romance, and this was one of those films that I felt I was living vicariously through! It was a story of spontaneity and freedom. Danger, but also the relief that you didn't just meet some maniac and end up dead. They roamed Vienna with no real plan, and it was an elevated version of those lucky hours I spent alone in Europe when everyone else would want to shop or use the free wifi in one of many cafes.
Now, I am watching Eat Pray Love. I am not too hard to please with movies, as long as there is some overarching force of goodness in them, I'm happy. It was either I watch this or Julie & Julia, another favourite. I am at the part where she is in Rome, and has, for the first time, just ordered lunch for her entire table in Italian. You know what scene I'm talking about? Don't you feel so happy for her? Aren't you in awe at how we can share cultures so seamlessly? Don't you wish you could be her, and have the universe conspire for you to end up in Italy or France or Spain or anywhere else with a whimsically rolling language and the simplest and most real of foods?
I know I'm going to end up doing these things one day. I know I'll feel those little thrills again. I already am by just thinking about it. Life is truly beautiful. I wish everyone would realise that no matter what, as long as you have faith in it, the universe will give you everything you want. In the past weeks I've met somebody with the same belief system as me, and found out one of my friends understood as well. It felt amazing to be around people with a conscious drive to be happy no matter what.
I feel like I'm talking like a crazy person, but really, I just want you all to know that you are beautiful. The universe is beautiful. Food is beautiful. The fact that you are who knows where around the Philippines, or Asia, or the world and able to read this ramble about how beautiful life is is beautiful.

I hope I haven't scared you off. Instead, I hope I've shared a little bit about myself that'll maybe help you lighten your days. There's always hope and happiness as long as you will for there to be.

Love,
Demitasse

PS. I am right now eating al dente spaghetti with butter, extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, lots of chopped basil and freshly grated cheese. Simple, but I am so grateful it is. You know me!
PPS. I recommend all the films I'd mentioned above, as long as you have an open heart and mind to just be overwhelmed by the cheesiness and indulgence of it all. Let all the love and spirituality and connections and ouzo reach you.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

GE 101

I forget what GE 101 exactly stands for... General etiquette maybe, but point aside, last night I attended a GE 101 dinner at Enderun. Freshmen studying at Enderun taking the class (I think it's a requirement for all students) had a practical examination in the form of bringing a date to dinner, and acting in the most proper of ways!
People that know me would understand how thrilled I was to attend the dinner. I love manners and all that no-elbows-on-the-table mumbo jumbo. I really do. It's such a forgotten part of society - opening the door for ladies, letting them enter / exit rooms first, saying please / thank you / excuse me, not making horrific sounds while you eat. I was invited by a new friend, Paolo G. through a mutual friend and mutual understanding that he needed a date and I really really really wanted to attend an etiquette dinner (not knowing til the night itself what exactly that would entail). Everyone wins. Right? :) Right.
The school is really quite pretty. I'm gonna have to cheat and use photos found on google because on the night itself I was far too scared to bring out my own camera, considering the gravity they put on absolutely proper dining. Do not put cellphones, cameras, hand bags, etc., anything, everything on the table. Yep. And I understood why! Such a shame for a meal to be constantly interrupted by tik-tik-tek-tik-tek-tek-beep-beep-bzzzzzzzzz-bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
The room shown above (which was an extension, or room connected to their Restaurant 101) is where we were hosted in round tables of ten by a lovely Monsieur Gerald Sauvigny, a manager and instructor at the college. He came packaged with a sweet little French accent, and spoke unhurriedly. He cared about this dinner, and emphasised every unassuming importance of etiquette. He was cute.

I'll do a series of posts about this dinner, this one serving as an overall broadcast of the evening. When Paolo and I arrived, we were given a foldout card with different major landmarks (things like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Great Wall of China), each with a corresponding room around the school. We were meant to tour in a group, but Paolo was hoping by going an hour later than the starting time, we'd skip the tour... Instead they requested we just did it by ourselves anyway. Haha! Each room had students that presented different facets of the college like all their orgs (they have a glee club!) and who the top honchos were around there.

We only went to two rooms. His idea. Not mine. ;)

We had assigned tables to sit on, with a teacher or non-freshman student to act as our table host. They'd be watching the students to see if they were glaringly pigs at the table, or could do with just a touch up or two in the etiquette department. The dinner started quite late, which was disappointing. But what I enjoyed so much was that there was a powerpoint presentation that Gerald would go through before each aspect of the meal. He would outline rules and protocol for each aspect of the meal (drinks, cutlery placement etc.), as well as things like tips on how to appreciate wine.

It was a long dinner, to say the least. But I had a great time with Paolo and Stefano (another friend that studied there and was on our table), as well as the new people I'd met.

I wonder how to strategise posting about this... By course? One post on food, one post on manners? Meh, will cross that bridge when I get there.

Love,
Demitasse

PS. If you've sent me a request to follow my twitter (my username is juiceboost), please tweet me that you read my blog! Because I don't accept randoms. However I've gotten some tweets from readers before and don't mind accepting requests from those people! To the sweet girl that approached Gabe (he made me kwento just now!) at Robot last night that said she's been trying to contact me, feel free to add me on twitter this way! <3

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My Juju Cleanse

Last week, I put myself through The Juju Cleanse. It required me to drink six bottles of various juices a day, for three days. And nothing else but water and maybe mint tea. 

Let me start off by saying if you are afraid you'll get hunger pangs, you probably won't. I did not experience a single one, and was kept full and actually quite excited by all the juices! The only real obstacle is the mental need for food! Food was everywhere - apparently handfuls of kind people decided that these three days were the days to send us packages of suman, empanaditas, giant servings of home-made adobo and boxes of Mary Grace pastries. They were also the three days my dad had his home business meetings that week, meaning mini breakfast or brunch or lunch or merienda buffets in our dining room. The mental aspect is a real toughie!

But I got through it! (mostly unscathed) I chose to do the level one, meaning only two green bombs, which a lot of people find the hardest to stomach since they're the most veggie concentrated. You drink each bottle (don't have to chug it, party fiends. You know who you are hihi.) about every two and a half hours, and try to have lots of water in between as well! I'd usually have it in a smaller glass so I could keep drinking for a longer time. I had to have a few bites of food here and there though (usually just one from my little brother, the only one left eating solids), or a banana just so that i wouldn't pass out from my workouts.

Below are the drinks I would have every day in order and what I thought about them!
Drink #1: The Green Bomb
Time: 7:30

Inside: celery, cucumber, coconut water, malunggay, pineapple, romaine lettuce and spinach

Juju says: "Since alkalinity is what you're after, this green juice is the way to go. This elixir of assorted green veggies loads you up with important nutrients and enzymes that our bodies desperately need to keep alive and well down to the cellular level. You've heard the term "life force"? This is all that and more!"

Demitasse says: The first time I had this was definitely a sight. I made faces akin to having to suck on the sourest of calamansis! But once I got over that first time hurdle, it started to taste better and better. It's not a taste you'd expect... At first I felt like they put soy sauce in the drink because it had this odd saltiness to it. But overall, I liked it. It wasn't my favourite, but I liked it. And with the list of ingredients, how could you go wrong? Veggies4lyf. Word.
Drink #2: Spicy Limonada
Time: 10:00

Inside: cayenne pepper, honey and lemon

Juju says: "Not just your ordinary lemonade. This version packs a little extra heat and health into every sip with cayenne pepper. This drink aims not to only swing your body pH into a more alkaline state, but to speed up your metabolism as well."

Demitasse says: Absolutely what I was looking for! I've started developing my palette to enjoy spicy foods recently, because up until a few months ago I had resigned myself to the sad acceptance that I simply could not take the heat and had to get out (not eat) of the kitchen (spicy food). This packs an amazing punch. Or fire. Whatever. This is amazing. I had to take a breather every now and then while I was drinking it, which would actually add to the burning (yes, burning) sensation in my throat but phewwffff was it thrilling. Apparently it (or something along the lines) is used in a lot of other cleanses as well.
 
Drink #3: The Red Giant
Time: 12:30

Inside: beets, carrots, ginger and pineapple

Juju says: "Rich in alkaline elements that aid in cleansing and elimination, this potent potion of beets, pineapple, carrots, and ginger is as healthy as it is delicious. Beets are remarkable good for your liver, and beet juice has been shown to increase stamina and act as an athletic performance enhancer."

Demitasse says: Yeeeeeowza, feeling the Tru Blood love up there. Sakto timing with a new episode of True Blood. This was another challenge for me. I wasn't hungry or anything, I was doing alright, but I am just not a fan of beets... They confuse me a little. And this was indeed a potent drink - very strong in flavour. But again, like the green bomb, you do get used to it, and I was able to drink it more comfortably in the passing days. I did end up liking it, but just because it was part of the overall cleanse. Shame though about it's performance enhancing qualities, because I usually work out anytime between 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning, so this just served as my post workout boost for the rest of the day I guess.
Drink #4: Alkazest
Time: 15:00

Inside: coconut water, grapefruit (could be replaced with orange if not available) and pineapple

Juju says: "This vitamin and anti-oxidant rich mix of grapefruit, pineapple, and coconut juices is a refreshing mid-afternoon picker upper. It is designed to replenish your electrolytes and boost your energy levels to help get you through the rest of the day."

Demitasse says: This... confused me. I recognised all the other drinks but this on my first day. Could not relate it back to alkazest. The first day that I had this, it was extreeeemely salty. No words for it. I could feel the salt in my body sucking all the water from my cells. Really. Suck. Suck. Suck. Just like that. The saltiness tamed down on the last two days though, I'm guessing something just went wrong when they made the first batch. Overall, it just tasted like salted orange juice. Which I liked, I guess. I mean... You can't not like orange juice. My tita guessed that this is where they invested their Himalayan crystal salt, as listed on their ingredients page.

Drink #5: The Green Bomb
Time: 17:30

Inside: celery, cucumber, coconut water, malunggay, pineapple, romaine lettuce and spinach

Juju says: "Since alkalinity is what you're after, this green juice is the way to go. This elixir of assorted green veggies loads you up with important nutrients and enzymes that our bodies desperately need to keep alive and well down to the cellular level. You've heard the term "life force"? This is all that and more!"

Demitasse says: I promise, it actually did get better when you drank more (and made sure not to breathe).
Drink #6: Salaba't Lemon
Time: 20:00

Inside: ginger, honey and lemon

Juju says: "This potent ginger tonic is an excellent expectorant, providing relief for those with respiratory problems. It helps improve circulation and stimulates your digestive system as well. This is a wonderful drink on ice and is also perfect warmed up as a pre-bedtime tea."

Demitasse says: I had it cold every night, and loved it! But that's really just because I somehow missed the memo that it'd be good warm as well. Hmm. Ginger is another flavour on my growing arsenal of kick-y tastes, and this drink is not shy about it. Deep breaths to be taken periodically as well, but don't get me wrong it was really delicious. Reminded me of the milder ginger teas I'd have at a Japanese bedrock spa down Jupiter Street. Don't you love it when food or drinks take you some long lost place or time? I do. This did. 

There you have it!

I did lose about 3lbs. from this cleanse, but gradually gained it all back by the end of the week. Not that I'm all too troubled about gaining it back. I work out six days a week, so I'm pretty confident it's not like I'm omgwtfkabayo exploding cause I'm binge eating or anything. Haha!

This was a good experience. My dad did it for one day, and it helped him realise how much you don't need to stuff your gob with grease and lard and breadcrumbs to have energy or be satisfied. I'm just kidding, he doesn't live for that stuff. But he does like it, as do we all (mostly). It helped him also realise that he can eat much smaller portions, as well as giving him the kickstart to doing so. Hallelujah because I have been trying to convince him to cut his portions down for the longest time.

It was exciting to go through this! And I think I'll be doing more juice cleanses on my own here at home from time to time, just to reset my system. I kinda miss it... Haha!

Love,
Demitasse

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Thought Catalog: Why People Are Endearing

I'm going to copy and paste a little article that I just read by Brandon Scott Gorrell. I'm doing this for a number of reasons: I like the way it's written, I like the message that's coming through and I can relate to a lot of words, phrases and sentences that I find key to this particular body of work. I also really like the word endearing, defined as inspiring love or affection

I think I might start posting a few of the articles I read on a semi-regular basis now. I've been considering doing this for a while, because a lot of the things that I read from this website are funny, blatant, inspiring or intriguing. Or all of those things.

I'm going to put in bold a few of those key bits that I enjoyed. I'm wondering if you guys will agree with the article or just find it silly.

On a side note, the line spacing on this blog baffles me. I have yet to understand why they're all different when I try my hardest to make them even.


***


Why People Are Endearing


People are endearing because they want to get to know each other. Rather than compete like alphas, two grown adults are curious about each other; they vie for approval and desire closeness. People want to meet other people, they want to touch, smile, discuss, interact. People are endearing because they seek each other out. Their unconscious attempts to relate, to be relevant, and be validated are childishly innocent when viewed from a certain angle – we all just want to be liked.


Similarly people are endearing when they want to be famous. While true fame is undoubtedly a nightmare, and vanity is unquestionably ugly, the root of the desire for fame is simply the need to feel accepted. Or maybe it’s just to be adored. How endearing and tragic of people to work so hard and dedicate so much of their mental capacity – to put themselves through terrible physical and emotional conditions – just to be adored, just to be accepted.
People are endearing when they get together for the purpose of being close to each other. This is otherwise known as “hanging out.” While perhaps veiled by layers of attitude, irony, and persona, the true purpose of hanging out is to bond emotionally. For this the sheer level of hanging out in which people engage is innocent and right. It’s hard to not see it as endearing.
People are endearing because they gather in large groups. Instead of staying at home with a group of friends they seek out places like bars to drink and be around people they don’t know. Instead of staying in their own back yards they go to parks to play and sit around those with whom they’re unfamiliar. Instead of listening to music in their bedrooms they go to music festivals to dance with people from other cities, states, and countries. People innocently want to be around other people, and for this they’re endearing.
People are endearing because they have traditions. Having dinner every night with a salad and a floral arrangement as a centerpiece is not necessary for life, yet people do it anyway. Cheersing before shots no longer saves us from potential poisoning, yet we cheers enthusiastically and without question. Different forms of dance do nothing for our physical livelihood, yet every culture on the planet has its own. It’s endearing that these kinds of things are the things that give people a sense of identity, place and security – that these kinds of things are what we equate with Home.
People are endearing because they’re forever seeking out happiness. All anyone wants to be is happy, however misguided our behavior might be. People have entire philosophies dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, not to mention myriad daily practices. All of this is done in the name of feeling good, and it’s difficult to find fault with such an innocent wish.

Friday, 16 September 2011

When G and I celebrate...

When G and I get together, it's almost always a celebration of some sort. From new jobs and opportunities, losing weight, working out more and getting good grades to simply being happy to see each other. We celebrate everything. 

Which is also code for eat.
We like to treat ourselves with good food and good conversation. Sharing meals is special. With new friends, old friends, family, business partners... It's just such a great way to spend your time. Haha!

When we need a delicious fix and don't know where to go, it's always a comfort to head to the Manila Polo Club. The Last Chukker has some of my favourite comfort food. Above is the Selena pizza, with onions, anchovies, shrimp etc. It. is. good. I'm a sucker for shrimp, so what more when it's covered in cheese.

They use a brick oven to bake their pizzas, and I've never gotten anything less than a perfect pizza from them.
Black seafood pasta. What I love about this black pasta is the pigment and flavour is actually in the pasta itself, and the sauce is a very simple garlic aioli with squid rings. No more inky smiles and teeth! This is really something to try, it's so understated yet so unique. As readers would already know, I'm all for simple foods that hit the spot! This falls under that category.
G's teriyaki-something-something-I-forget-what-meat bowl. I was too engrossed in our pizza and pasta orders that I didn't really pay this one much mind, but it was yummy as well. Just not something I'd go to the Last Chukker for! Their pizzas and pastas really have won me over.
Banana bread pudding for dessert. Yum. Yum yum yum. We didn't realise they'd really put bread on top of bananas, but it worked!
This is what some of our 'home' dates look like... Hahaha! Putting on a film or playing computer games with a bunch of sushi can do you no wrong!

We even celebrate things like a new episode of True Blood.

Why not celebrate everything about this life? Go for it.

On another note, these were a few of my last indulgent meals! This was right before I did my first three day Juju Cleanse... More on that soon!

Carpe diem - bring on every cheesy and happy thing life can offer!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Happy Lemon and Sango! Burger

Look familiar? Happy Lemon is part of the milk tea craze that is absolutely sweeping through Manila. As far as foodie trends have gone, I think we've moved from cupcakes to frozen yogurt to authentic gelato to milk tea. I'll admit to being a part of them all. Yum.

For me, the thing that puts me off milk tea is just how damn confusing the menu is. I think that's just me though, a lot of my friends seem to get along fine. But with all of these mix and matchables, different add ins like pearls, jelly, nata de coco, the fruit teas, and yakult teas and now rock salt and cheese teas... I'm a simple girl, and this is just too overwhelming!
I remember drinking milk tea when I was younger, and only having two options. There was the English-y milk tea I'd eagerly have at my friend Andrea's house, involving a fresh, hot cup of really dark Earl Grey diluted with milk, or the hilarious powdered milk tea we'd buy in China town in the depths of Manila. I relished in these, they were like treats to little me. (well actually, they still are)
How could you possibly choose... I strangely find this so much more confusing than choosing from large restaurant menus. They're all so similar, yet... So different. You get me?
Cheeky thing.
How are there so many people working in such a tiny space?
We ordered three drinks: milk tea with black pearl sago, green tea with rock salt and cheese and roasted cocoa milk tea.
The first few sips of the green tea with rock salt and cheese were heavenly. You know how you kinda buy carrot cake to get heaps of cream cheese icing in your mouth and the carrots just kinda come along with it? (I do love a good carrot cake though, don't get me wrong.) That's what this drink is like to me. Then the cream cheese foam or whatever started to make way for the 'green tea' and ay kabayo, I could not have been more surprised with the flavour. G described it as tea that lolas drink. I found it a very unpleasant contrast to the cheese! I think I'll be getting other flavours with rock salt and cheese next time instead.

G's was just kind of a cold hot chocolate I think... The cocoa one. And I much prefer the taste and pearls of the standard milk tea (or usually I order the royal milk tea) of places like Serenitea or Teazzle. The pearls we had seemed smaller and I didn't like the texture. Not as much fun to shoot through a straw or chew.

It's such a cute store though.
We hit Sango! for a bite afterwards. Below is an insight into how I like to eat. I really really enjoy eating my meals with popcorn. Is that weird? I got a rice burger, asked for a bowl, a spoon and a fork and mixed it all up. It's how I roll. Hahaha!

I also got some Calpis for G to try. It's a drink my mom introduced me to when I was much younger, kind of like a Japanese yakult. It's amazing. Please order a glass next time you walk past, or decide to eat here. I used to buy Calpis by the (huge) bottle at Rustan's, but I haven't seen any in the longest time.
We went shopping too. Then pretended we were supermodels.
Werk it.
Mwah!

Happy Lemon
Archaeology, 2nd Floor, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Centre
Lopez Drive, Barangay Poblacion
Makati City, Metro Manila


Sango! The Burger Master
Ground Floor, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Centre
Lopez Drive, Barangay Poblacion
Makati City, Metro Manila
+63 2 556 3182

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Mini Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

I feel terrible that I haven't been posting lately, but I've just been trying to catch up with life. Time moves so much faster when you get older! I remember lazing around forever when I was 8 years old. Now, in a blink of an eye, I'm done with high school and most of my friends have moved to different countries for university! I've been working on the rest of my university applications this week, as well as trying to return to my old fitness habits.

My body is aching so pleasantly right now. I did Plana FORMA two days in a row and will be back tomorrow morning. G joined me for one session. How sweet of him!

Anyway, here is a recipe for some comfort cupcakes that G and I whipped up the other week. I remember always eating banana bread as a child, and this is a jazzed up portable mini version!
Flour.
White and brown sugar.
Baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk this in with your flour.
I've started buying butter in sticks instead of the big two stick pack. Small difference, but it has made my cooking / baking relatively neater since a lot of recipes call for one stick measurements. Hmm. Food for thought.
Quail eggs.


No, no, no. Chicken eggs.
Cream together your butter and sugars until light and fluffy. I love how in baking things should be light and fluffy. As life should be as well.
Mush some bananas. Leave some nice chunks in there too if it tickles your tastes. Should be good.
That's G being a dear and helping out. On another note, I hate that cutting board. I loath it. One thing I am very excited about for the future is buying my own pretty, most likely wooden, cutting board(s) when I move to university / my own place.
Add an egg into the butter and sugar bowl, then mix just until fully incorporated.
Then do the same for egg #2.
Here are some pretty big players joining the game: vanilla extract and the bananas.
Mix that up as well.
Alternately mix in your flour and buttermilk in five additions, starting and ending with the flour. I'm not sure why you should start and end with the flour, but the recipe I based this off said so! So I did so.
Tada. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 up and get your batches in the oven for 13-15 minutes. My mini cupcake tins made about 70 teensy cupcakes.
Now start your chocolate ganache and peanut butter buttercream frosting. Mouthful, isn't it? Let me just say that the peanut butter buttercream frosting recipe we used made something so deliciously light and fluffy, it didn't even feel sinful eating some straight from the mixing bowl.
This is a bain Marie or double boiler. The bowl is placed on top of the boiling water to use that heat to melt / cook whatever is in it. This method will prevent the chocolate from splitting etc. Read the wiki page. Hah! I did...
Hi dogs, where are you off to?
Badoomp-tsss. I added some cinnamon too... I just can't help myself when I bake! Cinnamon makes everything better...
See the edges gradually melting? Yeah, baby, yeah! I had a bit of a spaz when calculating how much ganache to make, and this was way more than double what I needed. But I think that's just cause I used mini cupcakes. But seriously... It was a lot of ganache.
So smooooooooooooth, it was tempting to pick up a slice of bread and just spread this on right then and there.

At the same time, G was working on the buttercream.
Beat together peanut butter and butter.
Add confectioner's sugar, salt then beat until combined. Then mix in some vanilla extract and heavy cream, whipping until light and fluffy. Key words to live by.
Look at that! Angelic.
At first I tried to do this with the ganache...
But I found that quite ugly. It'd leave a rim of chocolate around the cupcake liner as well.
So I decided to just use a teaspoon and dollop them on, giving a few pats to flatten it out. See the difference? Not cute vs. cute.
Here's the peanut butter buttercream frosting in a piping bag with a twist at the top!
I'm an amateur baker. Don't judge my uneven frosting skills. At least I'm trying really hard!
Some ugly cupcakes left on the baking tray, some pretty cupcakes put into my new cupcake carrier! :) happy happy happy. I hope you try this combo out! It's really yummy. I found the cupcake a bit too dry, but you don't notice that much once all the other elements are on.

I'll post the recipe here as well later on. I want to go play the Sims 3. I have... important stuff to handle for a while! **update: recipe below!**

Bisous,
Demitasse

Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from The Pastry Affair to make cupcakes
Makes about 70 mini cupcakes or one 9x13" cake

For the cake:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used more...)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the chocolate glaze / ganache:
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter (note that this is a lot for mini cupcakes, but will probably suit a cake just fine if you go in that direction)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C and grease your baking pans or line your cupcake tins.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in one bowl.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in the bananas and vanilla extract.

Alternately add and beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour.

Pour batter evenly between prepared baking pans or 3/4 full into your cupcake tins. Bake for 35-40 minutes for a cake or 13-15 minutes for mini cupcakes, or until golden. Check if a toothpick comes out clean from the centre before the time is over to check, just in case.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from the cake pan. Cool completely before frosting.

In a bain Marie, melt together the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Glaze will be thick. Remove from heat and frost cake / cupcakes before it hardens.

The Most Epic, Mind-blowing Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting. Ever.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened (see what I mean about buying butter in sticks being convenient?)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Beat butter and peanut butter until smooth (say about 20 seconds).

Add confectioner's sugar and salt. Beat a little more, scraping the bowl periodically, until it's all combined.

Add in the vanilla extract and heavy cream, then whip until light and fluffy (about 2-4 minutes).