Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's hot out there!

It is crazy hot outside.

The haze is gone for now, so I really shouldn't be complaining.
But it is HOT.


So here are 5 ways I recommend staying cool, and sane:

1) Walk around with ice packs in your shirt
This works, I'm not kidding. The only problem - the weirdest looking wet patches, which confines this idea to people who work from home. Or a cave. Or in permanent darkness.

2) Build a nice little igloo and never step outside
Theoretically a good idea, but your food will soon run out. Plus you'll have to take a course on How To Build Igloos first. A little more commitment than I'd care to make in this heat.

3) Put your bedsheets in the fridge
This one's not from me, it came from Lifehacker. You pop your sheets into a bag, leave them in the freezer/fridge, viola - nice cool bed linen for some sweet dreams. The cold is very temporary though, which makes this too-much-work-for-very-little-rewards.

4) Run away
North pole, Estonia, Russia, Canada - take your pick. You just have to be able to afford the ticket. And like to eat pickled or smoked food all the time. And love skiing.

5) My fave - load up on fruits
This is probably the only sensible idea on the list. 
Hey, I bake - don't claim to be a rocket scientist :)

Vitamin C is a fantastic way to build up immunity. 
You'll need it in this insane heat, help your body fight the soaring temperatures and not fall ill.

As I said earlier, I bake. 
So of course there must be a way to infuse fruits + desserts.

These are guaranteed ways to have your cake (or vit C in this case), and eat it!


FRUITY MILKSHAKE
Two best things about making milkshakes: they're SO easy to do, and use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. 

So many, many variations you can have, and you don't really need a recipe, really. Ok, but it does help with estimating proportions, so here's a quick recipe from TwoPeasAndTheirPod.

All you need is good quality vanilla ice-cream, strawberriesmilk and a blender - super easy. Blitz till smooth, and it's ready to go!

Top L: Upp the indulgence, add velvety Nutella for a chocolatey treat. Chocolate cheers all hearts and makes the world a better place ;)
Bottom L: Everything tastes way more fun in a cute cup or adorable bowl. Truth. 
R: Use up those super-ripe bananas, throw them in and viola - you got yourself a potassium-packed shake, so good especially as an after-exercise boost.


CHIFFON CAKE WITH FRUITS AND CREAM

I love the light, bouncy texture of chiffoncakes, it goes fantastically with fruits. 

So wonderfully summery.

And though I'm usually not a fan of cream, with this cake it acts as a rich, moist blanket bringing the chiffon and fruits together in a merry mouthful. 

For a superb chiffon, try Martha Stewart's fail-safe recipe. It's pretty good as is, I've just cut the sugar to 1 1/3 cup for a lighter taste. I didn't have cream of tartar on hand so I replaced with same amount of white vinegar, which worked as well in stabalizing the egg whites when whipping. 



The lovely dark specks from the vanilla bean gradually break up as the egg whites build volume, giving the cake its aroma and depth.


L: The cold heavy cream needs to hold up to peaks, that's when it's ready. Since this is a smaller 7" round cake (Martha's is a 9.5" tube), 1 cup is sufficient to fill and top the cake.
R: Don't skip this step. Letting the strawberries stew in a bit of lemon juice and sugar lessens the sour bite. Unless you're using super sweet Japanese berries, in which case you should definitely use them as is.

Vitamin C - dotting the world with antioxidants, one berry at a time!


DEEP CHOCOLATE GANACHE CAKE WITH FRUITS

Much as I like light chiffony cakes, my true love lies with deep, dark chocolate

Like an unyielding siren, it calls out to me. 
I find it extremely hard to say no to chocolate.

I may need help.

But I digress.

So of course, I have to make a fruity chocolate cake.












Martha Stewart has a solidly inky dark torte that you can use to build this cake on, so good for special occasion oomph. But if it's something lighter you're after, Bakerella does a mean everyday chocolate cake version. 

Keep hydrated, eat lots of fruit (on cake!) and stay healthy!