Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Beaded Easter Eggs

It is neither Easter nor the International Egg day (there is indeed a day like that, it is the second Friday of October every year), then why an Easter egg post? I need to complete 20 posts in 2012, that's the only reason. I am too lazy to do something new and post and the few things in my draft will take more effort to complete. One another topic I wanted to write about is just too serious for a day on which the world is supposed to end. So what is better than writing about something I have done ages back.
This must be the easiest thing you can do with beads and the final output is pretty. May be that's why I ended up making 3 otherwise it is very difficult for me to do the same thing twice. I am in a mood to assume that someone out there is actually going to do this. So I am writing this as instructions for you to do it.

How to make beaded Easter eggs
Cast of characters
You would need egg shells, seed beads, nylon thread, glue and a very thin needle.

Step 1: Do this step as and when you use the eggs, either for baking that cake or for the egg bhurji.
Make 2 holes at the 2 ends of the egg shell and get the egg out by blowing at one end. I just don't remember what I used for making the holes, but you are resourceful enough. Put the egg shell(s) in soap solution and clean thoroughly. Leave aside for drying for a couple of days.
Step 2: Create long strings of seed beads by stringing the beads into a nylon thread. I actually made a bead threader for this out of a plastic container and a broken peace of plastic rod from a hanger (see it in the cast picture). In this put the beads in the plastic container, dip the needle into it and use the plastic rod to rotate it like a top. The beads will get stringed into the needle 7-8 at a time. The only problem is if there are beads with too small a hole which doesn't go through the needle, then you have to take the beads off and discard and continue.
Step3: Apply glue on top of the dried egg shell and start pasting the bead thread. Getting the start correct is a little difficult, persevere there after that it is easy. Keep applying the glue and winding the bead thread till the whole egg is covered. Keep aside for drying for a few days.
Mine are all plain single coloured ones. Many variations are possible and your imagination is the limit.

After all the world didn't end today; I really do not know whether it is a good thing or bad.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sprinkles: yellow, white and pink

When my chocolate bar got over, I went to 'Bakers Needs' for a refill and found a bottle filled with really colourful sprinkles up in the front of the shop. I was tempted to get some and I could imagine how it would look on top a cake with snow white icing. Hm, does it really matter that I have never even once done any icing on any of the cakes I have ever baked. I can still imagine and do have plans.
After I have made my own colour from beetroot, I decided to try my hands on making some sprinkles too. I could think about 3 colours; the pink I have made, white by keeping it plain and yellow by adding some turmeric (though it turned peach instead), may be some brown too with some coffee or cocoa powder. When I did it I made the first 3 and one darker version of pink by adding a little extra beet paste. I was pretty disappointed with the pink I got from the colour I made from beetroot, it just dint match the colour I had in my head.
When I went about searching for instructions, everywhere I encountered the same 5 ingredients - powdered sugar, egg white, essence, colour and salt. The instructions looked easy like a breeze but doing it turned out to be something altogether different. First the one egg white looked too little for 1 cup of sugar powder. But when I mixed it together it was indeed enough or may be a little too much as the paste became a little runny. I was worried that the lines will run into each other after I piped them out, it did a little.

By the time I finished piping the dark pink the white was already looking dried on top, anyway I left it to dry for 24 hours as instructed. After that when I started taking the sprinkles off the paper, the only one which would come off is the peach one, none of the others would. I had to roll the whole paper and dump it inside the dust bin.

I couldn't give up on my sprinkles just like that. So after a few days I tried the beet colour again, this time it became purple. The piping bag felt so constipated, I got a wrist pain once I finished piping. Then I figured that my powdered sugar is not fine enough and made another set with glucose and kept it white. This time instead of piping them out on butter paper I piped them onto lightly greased steel plate and rubbed them off from the plate when it was dry.

The final results were not that bad, though the whole thing turned out to be an adventure I was not prepared for. I started imagining yellow, white and pink and ended up with peach, white and purple. Anyway they have gone inside the fridge in an airtight bottle till I decide on what to do with it.
The natural colours are so lame. I would have loved to get some real bright colours in there. I hope I will be able to find some non carcinogenic colours which I can trust and then I will make some real good looking sprinkles soon.
Now the next question is where am I going to do with it? May be it is time for the checkerboard cake with snow white icing and sprinkles on top.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Colour me pink

I love food, but I don't like food which looks too coloured as alarms start ringing in my head the moment I see the colour. When we go out to restaurants where they serve coloured food I make sure that I specify not to add any colour while I place the order itself. So I am too scared to use colour in my cooking as well, as I keep hearing about the carcinogenic chemicals in the colours. So when I see a recipe with colour in it, I usually skip the colour and end up with something inferior to the expected result. The colour does matter.
So I decided to make some colour of my own and the first thing came to my mind was beetroot. Next time I went out shopping, I got myself half a kg of beetroot. Then it sat in the fridge for quite some days. One day I took it out and then it sat at my kitchen counter for days enough to make them sprout.

When I showed the sprouted beets to Shyam, he wanted to plant them in the garden.

I gave him the sprouts and peeled and cut the beets into cubes which I fed into my food processor.

My ancient processor took almost 10 minutes to get a paste out of it. I filtered the paste to get the juice out. I got a cup of juice from the 3 beets.

I can't add that directly to any recipe without altering the water content in the recipe, which matters quite a bit when it comes to baking. So I heated the juice to get as much water out as possible. I reduced the juice  to 1/4th cup, but then I started seeing black marks at the back of the spoon and got a little worried that I might get all the pink pigment in the beet juice to turn black by boiling it too much.

Then I decided to dry it the way I do with certain other stuff (like sweetened ginger mush left over from making ginger lemon syrup), shove it into the fridge uncovered. There it sat for a week as I traveled for a few days and when I was back I got something I could call a paste. I decided to store that in the same vessel as moving it would mean losses and after seeing the amount of colour paste I got from my half a kg of beet I dint want to lose any.

In the meanwhile the beet sprouts which Shyam has planted have grown to a nice size.

The idea was to use this colour and make something before I write up this blog. But I don't know when I will end up doing that and I just don't feel like waiting. I have a few ideas in my head, like making some sprinkles with the colour and also a checkerboard cake. But thinking about the effort involved, I just don't feel like starting either of them. Let it be for tomorrow.

In case you feel adventurous enough to try this, do wear gloves while handling the beets especially if you are looking forward to attending that party in the evening, as they stain very badly. Wear an apron too as I do not know what will happen to beet stain on clothes. I dint wear one, but I couldn't figure out what happens to beet stain luckily and very uncharacteristically for me, as I dint stain my clothes. Use steel vessels as the staining part is true for  porcelain or plastic vessels too, not just clothes.
In case you do it let me know of the results and also what you did with the colour.