19 April 2009

What are Chokos & What was wrong with the cupcakes?

Welcome back to a segment we call
"Givinya de Answers"
- the part of the blog where I sit here Givinya de Answers to de Questions you have asked.

You asked:

1. What are Chokos?

I'm glad you asked.

I was going to launch into an explanation, but decided to find a proper reference to them instead. Wikipedia doesn't have an entry for the choko (pron. 'choe-koe'). This should tell you something.

Dictionary.com doesn't have an entry for them either. This should also tell you something.

Reference.com says that 'choko' is another word for 'chayote.' I have never heard the word 'chayote.' This should also tell you something. It defines 'chayote' as 'a green vegetable of the gourd family. It is bland when eaten raw, but better when cooked.' For your convenience, I have put the understatement in blue and the outright lie in purple.

Heading back to Wikipedia, I found the entry for 'chayote' to have an obvious error. The sections labelled 'Culinary and medicinal uses' and 'Myths', whilst well-known in themselves, had suffered a switching of their headings. The entry could also have done with a detailed account of how Australian kids have traditionally used chokos, including the suggestions I mentioned in my comment on the choko post, e.g., throwing them at people and sticking them in people's exhaust pipes.

While doing a prac in a nursing home in the third year of my training, I learned that elderly people love eating cooked choko. It was the green vegetable of their generation. They just don't like the green veggies of our generation, and prefer choko to veggies like broccoli and asian greens.

But the truth is Chokos are not nice to eat. And this is why the sign was an impossibility - either you take chokos, or you enjoy life.

2. What was wrong with the cupcakes?

Again, I'm glad you asked.

I'd just moved in to my new home, and therefore decided to follow a tried-and-proven secret cupcake recipe that proved a massive success at Sonny Ma-Jiminy's party. It's called 'using a packet mix.' I have never in my life had such glowing compliments on my baking as I received for Sonny's cupcakes and also his butter cake with jam and chantilly cream.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy creating food from scratch (baking less than main meals though) but those people at the packet mix place put something magical into their packets that make it much nicer than any recipe you'll find in a crusty ole cookbook. Don't tell anyone. I am convinced that the road to hell is paved with empty cake-mix packets.


My new oven runs a bit hot and the tops of the cupcakes were blackened while the insides were crumbly and dry. Seven out of the twelve were salvageable. The icing didn't stick onto them well, and ended up with crumbs all through it. Nevermind, stick some decorations on top and with sparklers, nobody will notice. I will re-post a picture of Sonny Ma-Jiminy's cupcakes here, and pretend that Smoochy Girl's looked the same.

That's called denial.

Now for the piece de resistance - a lovely moist butter cake, iced and with sparklers. Yeah right. The middle, which usually flops, rose to the point where it achieved twice the altitude of the sides. This cake, for unknown reasons, was shaped more like the Pyramid of Giza than the hatbox shape I was after. I sliced the top off with a bread knife and froze it a little so I wouldn't scuff up crumbs into the icing as I was spreading it on.

I used up all my icing sugar making the icing. I decided to make it a pale shade of mauve to contrast with the little pink cupcakes. One drop of red and one drop of blue made it a ghastly vibrant shade of bubblegum. I checked and realised it needed three drops of red to one drop of blue, but as I was putting two more drops of red in, three drops glooped out and the whole lot went a bilious shade of reddish bubblegum. No way on earth I was going to serve that up, not with my Mum and my MIL there. The road to hell is paved with artificial colours.

Very secretly, lest I suffer the wrath of a mother who would estimate the cost of the wasted icing sugar and insist I save it and put it to 'some other use' (the road to hell is paved with wastage) I let the lot go down the sink and reluctantly opened the icing that came with the packet mix, hoping it didn't have that awful plasticky packet-mix-icing smell to it. I made it up. It turned a ghastly shade of yellow and was so oily I couldn't spread it properly. I secretly put the whole cake in the little fridge in the garage and it sits there now, wondering what went wrong.

I myself am wondering how a grown woman who can cook can stuff up two packet mixes.

I was determined to be a gracious hostess and not let anyone know that there were plans beyond sandwiches and seven dry cupcakes with crumbs in the icing. The sparklers were lit, Happy Birthday was sung and my father got panicky about the noxious fumes he could smell coming from the sparklers. He insisted we further open already-open windows and take the children outside lest they die or something.

I forbore to point out that the delicate pink icing was now covered with a black soot that was sure to kill us all, took kids & cakes outside, and tried to work out why when I invited eight children two of whom require gluten-free food, I only provided seven non-gluten-free cupcakes.

I then proceeded to forget to serve up the jelly I'd made the night before, and the guests were none the wiser.

Let's hope the road to hell is not paved with culinary disasters.


♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

You are just so brilliantly intelligent, clever, witty, and all the positive, glowing things that can be said!!!

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

I too made cupcakes from a packet mix this week. The tops for some reason were all sticky and so I got crumbs through the icing just as you described - my solution was to dip the icing in hundreds and thousands which worked fine until the icing dripped off the edges taking the hundreds and thousands with it. The whole thing was very uncool. Perhaps it was just the week for packet mixes to go wrong - maybe they are on strike? re-negotiating their collective agreements? or maybe it is the change of season - the cooler weather playing havoc with the oven density?

Sassy Britches said...

I think that with all that stuff paving the road to hell, it's a pretty long road. Best to shorten the journey by just turning around and going the other way. I bet you'd be a bit more welcome there anyway. :P

Crazy Sister said...

Supernatural paving seems to take up a lot of your thought processes.

New oven. Blech. Give yourself a few months, and come up with a derogatory nickname to yell at it.

Stranded in Stepford said...

You made me laugh! I needed that :)