Mojito Cupcakes

Mojitos are a favourite cocktail in my family, especially when Mum’s lime tree is fruiting (which seems to be almost constantly!) These fresh and zingy cupcakes incorporate all the classic flavours of a mojito – lime, mint and a cheeky hint of rum. I took a batch to a Mexican fiesta night recently and they were a huge hit, as they’re just the right light dessert for when you’ve stuffed in one too many tacos.

Feel free to omit the rum to make them kid-friendly.

Ingredients (makes 12)
Cupcakes
1 cup self-raising flour
⅔ cup caster sugar
125g butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Rind of 2 limes, finely grated

Mojito Syrup
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons white rum (I use Bacardi)
Juice of 3 limes
A sprig of fresh mint leaves

Icing
90g butter
4 cups icing sugar
Leftover mojito syrup
Juice of half a lime
Rind of 1 lime, finely grated
½ tablespoon milk

Decoration
Lime slices
Mint leaves
Paper straws (cut into thirds)

Preheat oven to 200ºC (180 fan-forced) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with green patty pans.

Put all of the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among the patty pans (I know it doesn’t look like much batter, but they will rise a lot).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the mojito syrup by heating all ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat until it has thickened to a syrupy texture (about 8 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve to remove the mint leaves.

Using a skewer, poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes (about 10 per cake). Carefully dip the top of the cupcakes into the mojito syrup. Leave to soak for a few minutes and repeat.

To make the icing, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, remaining mojito syrup, lime juice, rind and milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Taste the frosting and add more lime juice as required to ensure it is tangy. Add further icing sugar to stiffen the mixture, or milk to loosen it. Transfer into a piping bag with the Wilton 1M star tip.

Pipe icing in a softserve motion on the cupcakes, starting from the outside and working your way into the centre and up.

Slice a lime into 6 thin rounds and then cut them in half again to make thin wedges. Top each cupcake with a lime wedge, straw and mint leaves. Enjoy!

Base cupcake recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess

Lime Meringue Pie

To celebrate my five year anniversary of working in the Public Service and winning an exciting new employment policy role, I decided to treat myself and buy a kitchenaid (not sponsored, I’m just a long time admirer and now proud owner!) Of course, it couldn’t be just any kitchenaid, it had to be one of their beautiful new pastel shades. I tossed up between the rose pink and ice blue, but ultimately decided on the gorgeous blue.

In order to christen it properly, I knew I had to make something with meringue to take advantage of not having to hold beaters while the eggwhites are whipping. Mum’s lime tree is absolutely chokkas at the moment, so a lime meringue pie was the obvious choice.

The pie is zesty, sweet and packed with lime flavour. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 8)
Pastry
1½ cups plain flour
3 tspns icing sugar
140g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tblspns water

Lime filling
½ cup cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup lime juice
1¼ cups water
2 tspns finely grated lime rind
3 egg yolks
50g butter
Green food colouring (if desired)

Meringue
3 egg whites
½ cup caster sugar

Method
Put flour, icing sugar, butter, yolk and water into a food processor and process until just come together. Press dough into a ball, knead gently on a floured surface until smooth; cover, refrigerate 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Grease a 24cm flan tin. After resting, roll dough on floured surface until it is large enough to line the tin. Lift pastry into tin, ease into sides and trim the edge.

Place tin on an oven tray, line pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10mins then remove baking paper and weights and bake, uncovered for a further 10 mins or until pastry case is browned lightly. Leave to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C fan-forced.

To make filling: combine corn flour and sugar in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in lime juice and water. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens (mixture should be very thick, jelly-like). Reduce heat, simmer, stirring for 30 secs. Remove from heat and quickly stir in egg yolks, butter and rind. Stir until smooth. If you wish to make the filling greener, add a few drops of food colouring. Leave until it cools to room temperature.

Once at room temperature, spread filling into pastry case.

To make meringue: beat egg whites in a medium bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved after each addition. Mixture should be smooth and glossy.

Top pie with meringue mixture (I like to make it look rustic with mounds of differing heights) and bake for 5 – 10 mins at 160°C fan-forced until browned lightly. Stand for 5 mins before serving.

Enjoy!

Adapted from ‘The Women’s Weekly’ Lemon Meringue Pie

My Famous Guacamole

It feels a bit cheeky to call this a recipe as it’s so easy and basically impossible to mess up, but it’s been my most requested ‘recipe’ among my friends and it’s about time I shared it. Adjust it to suit your palate (no two guacamoles I make are exactly the same), but here is the basis of the guacamole that features prominently at most Bills gatherings. We usually serve it with salted corn chips, but it also works well with flavoured Doritos, crackers, veggie sticks, or my sister’s weird but delicious favourite, salt and vinegar chips. Of course it is also a perfect addition to tacos, burritos and nachos.

Warning: once you make it for your friends, you will never be allowed to bring anything else to a party… ever!

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Ingredients (makes enough for 1 packet of corn chips)
2 ripe avocados
1 medium sized clove of garlic, finely diced
2 teaspoons tomato, finely chopped
3 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
Salt
Pepper
Coriander leaves, to serve
Corn chips, to serve

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Ft. Adelaide Crows scarf in the background because it’s AFL Grand Final Day!!

Cut up the avocados into small cubes and scoop into a medium sized bowl. Mash gently with a fork until mostly squashed but with some lumps (I prefer the term ‘texture’) remaining.

Dice the garlic (making the pieces as small as possible) and tomato and add to the avocado. Gently stir through with the fork.

Add in the lime juice, sweet chilli sauce and tabasco sauce (if desired). Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Taste it and add more of any of the ingredients until it’s balanced and to your liking.

Transfer into a small serving bowl, top with a couple of coriander leaves and enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Emma, my neighbour from Canberra.

And because it’s always stuck in my head, enjoy the horrendously catchy ‘Guacamole Song’ here!!

Key Lime Pie

Happy Pi Day everyone! And what an exciting one it is (3.14.15).
This pie is perfectly seasonal – being both a pie (for Pi day) and a fabulous shade of green which is appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day next week 🙂
It’s also very easy to make and a delicious way to take advantage of the abundance of limes we are lucky to have at this time of the year.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
135g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
60g caster sugar
75g butter, softened
1x 400g can sweetened condensed milk
125ml fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 eggs, separated
Green food colouring (optional)
300ml thickened cream

Method
Preheat oven to 170°C. In a shallow 20-23cm pie dish, press combined biscuit crumbs, sugar & butter into the base and up this sides, making a small rim.

In a medium bowl, whisk condensed milk with lime juice, zest and egg yolks until the mixture thickens. Add 1-2 drops of green food colouring.

In a small bowl with electric mixer on full power, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold into lime mixture.

Pour lime filling into the biscuit crust and smooth the top.

Bake the pie for 15-20 mins or until lime filling is just firm.

Cool pie in this dish and then refrigerate until chilled, approximately 3 hours.

Whip cream in a small bowl until stiff peaks form. Pipe a border of cream around the edge of the pie and top with h lime wedges if desired. Enjoy!

Adapted from Mary Berry’s ‘Key lime Pie’ in Step By Step Desserts and Confections.