Sunday, 17 April 2022

Black Widow Spider Truffles

What's more appetising, I ask you, than biting into a huge fat venomous spider? And which deadly spider is more instantly familiar than our cannibalistic friend the black widow? God they're creepy aren't they. Even looking at this photo below gives me the creepy crawlies. Anyway, I long thought it would be a fun idea to make chocolate truffles decorated to look like spiders. They'd make a nice addition to a spooky afternoon tea, a Halloween party, a children's party, or just whenever you feel like baking spooky sweets.

Black Widow with hourglass marking.
Source: Albuquerque Journal

Now I'm aware they don't look precisely like the real thing, but if you have the skills to make the red abdominal pattern more accurate to nature then by all means go ahead, just please take a photo and tag me so I can see it and be impressed. Widow spiders come in many varieties, but I think the red 'hourglass' shape is pretty easily identifiable. On real spiders it's sometimes underneath, but you can't see the underside of these truffles so that'd be a bit daft wouldn't it.










This was fairly time consuming, but the hardest part was tracing around the spider stencils and cutting them out. If you're more artistically talented than I, you might want to draw spider shapes straight onto the black card instead of printing out an image. This recipe yielded enough for about 10 of my fairly large ones, but you can make them any size you like.


Ingredients:
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1tsp cocoa
  • 1 cup icing sugar +
  • Cherries (morello, glacĂ©, etc.)
  • Rum, rum essence, or vanilla essence
  • Black fondant
  • Red fondant
For spider bases:
  • Black card stock (fairly stiff, not paper)
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
Bases Method:
  1. Print out the image at the bottom of this post.
  2. Glue image into cardboard.
  3. Cut around the image carefully to create a stencil.
  4. Hold the stencil onto the black card stock and (this part is particularly fiddly) trace around it with a pencil.
  5. Cut out your spiders! Arrange them on a plate or pretty tray.

Truffle Method:
  1. In a pot, melt together the butter and chocolate on the stove, slowly stirring til combined.
  2. Add half a cup of icing sugar, the cocoa, and the rum or vanilla essence. Stir, then add more icing sugar until the mixture is stiff and firm. 1 cup of icing sugar wasn't enough, so I added another half a cup, and a bit more cocoa for luck.
  3. Let cool til it's comfortable to handle.
  4. Using the spider stencil as a guide for how large the truffle should be, roll some mixture into a rough ball.
  5. Mush a cherry (or two) into it, then roll the mixture around in your hands until it's pleasingly round. Place on a plate, it doesn't matter if the bottom flattens.
  6. Repeat for as many truffles as you want, then put them in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
  7. Flatten out the black fondant as thinly as you can, you only want it a few millimetres thick.
  8. Lay the fondant over each truffle, and roll it in your hands until the whole truffle is covered. It doesn't matter if the underside is bare or untidy.
  9. Flatten out some red fondant, and using a sharp knife (xacto knife or non-serrated kitchen knife) carefully cut out hourglass shapes.
  10. Gently place the red hourglasses onto each truffle and pat to smoothen them down so they'll stay in place but not lose their shape.
  11. Put each truffle onto the black card spider base. Serve!

Watch the video:


Here is the image I used for my black card bases if you want to print it out and use the same:


Thank you for joining me, and if you do have a go at making these, please take a photo, share it and tag me so I can see it! Til next time! x





Thursday, 10 February 2022

Goth Baby Clothes

It's been challenging finding gothic or even just black baby clothes, for some reason there's not much demand for it? Every shop I visit is swathed in terracotta, apricot, ivory, green, brown, blue, pink, grey; neutral earthy tones with ugly patterns seem to be in for the modern baby. In New Zealand anything black tends to be All Blacks themed, the nation's beloved rugby team. So what can one get for the baby bat? There were a lot of things online that I would love to have got, but as I'm still in new Zealand, it's grossly expensive and difficult to do any online shopping here. Which really sucks.

I had many things 'favourited' on Etsy that I simply couldn't justify the shipping cost for, especially now that USPS has ceased shipping to New Zealand. But for those of you in more convenient parts of the world, I found a lot of great baby things in the following Etsy shops:

You might also look at My Baby Rocks and BlackCraft Cult. Here is the video, and below is a list with links to everything I showed you in the video where possible:


Anyway, as for what I was able to own, here are all the linkable things I showed you in the video:

Thank you for visiting, til next time!



Monday, 18 October 2021

Vote Bat for Bird of the Year

Every year, New Zealand Forest & Bird runs the native Bird of the Year contest, but this year features a special and controversial contender for the title, the Long-Tailed Bat or Pekapeka-Tou-Roa

"But it's not a bird!" I hear you cry, and to that I answer indeed, but it lives amongst birds and flies, and the point of the contest is to raise awareness around native species and their conservation. Many people don't even know our native bats exist, despite being New Zealand's only native land mammal. Our bats are critically endangered, the most vulnerable level before extinction. They're as rare as the Kakapo, winner of last year's contest, and also one of the rarest mammals in the world.

In Maori folklore, Pekapeka are associated with the mythical nocturnal bird Hokioi, which foretells death or disaster.


Photo: Colin O'Donnell (DOC)
Long-tailed bats have been in New Zealand for between 1 - 2 million years. They were common throughout the whole country in the 1800s, but were already becoming rare by 1930. Now, they number only in the hundreds. I've personally never seen one. Without a concerted preservation effort, they may be extinct within a decade. Fortunately, the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird have been working hard to protect these tiny winged treasures.


Photo: Diana Noonan (This NZ Life)
Why are they so endangered? Long-tailed bats produce only one offspring per year, which cannot fly for the first few weeks of life. They are threatened due to habitat loss caused by logging, land development, and felling of their preferred old-age roost trees. They and particularly their offspring are vulnerable to attack by predators such as possums, stoats, and cats. A single feral cat can kill an entire colony.

Bats roost during the day in the hollows of native trees, under peeling bark, in tree stumps, in caves, or fractures in rocky bluffs. They are insectivores, enjoying mosquitoes, midges, moths, beetles, and other nocturnal flying insects. They weigh about 10g and are only the size of your thumb with a wingspan of about 25cm. Their echolocation is at such a low frequency that some people can hear it. They're social creatures, living in groups of 20-60.

In the contest, you can pick your five favourite birds in order, so by all means pick your other favourites as runners up, but I do urge you to give your top vote to the dear bat this year to help give them the attention they deserve and very much need. Voting begins on October 18th and closes on Halloween October 31st. Vote bat, and raise awareness of this critically endangered (and very cute) native creature to help keep them around. This year, trade feathers for fur and beaks for cute fanged snoots. Spread the word: vote bat for Bird of the Year. CAST YOUR VOTE HERE.

Other ways you can help:







Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Penta-Pretzels DIY

 I had this idea for ages, ever since being in Germany and eating so very many delicious Brezeln, and wondering if I could make them a different shape. Over there you can buy them unbaked and frozen in the supermarket in big boxes to bake at home, and I'd thought about just thawing those out and reshaping them. But no, that would be cheating, and it turns out they're exceedingly easy to make, and this recipe tastes exactly like the authentic thing. I didn't take this exact recipe from anywhere in particular, but rather watched a bunch of videos in German and read several different German recipes to get the gist of how they're made. These are awesome for picnics or parties. You can use a different amount of dough to make them larger or smaller to your liking. You can of course use this recipe to make pretzels in the traditional shape, but because we're weird, let's make them pentacle shaped.

Video:


Ingredients/Zutaten:

  • 3 1/2 cups (500g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) warm water
  • 1 Tbsp dry active yeast or a cube of fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 25-50g butter
  • 3 Tbsp baking soda

Method/Zubereitung:
  1. Put flour into a large mixing bowl (or bread machine if you're lazy like me) and make a little well in the centre.
  2. Into the well pour your warm water. You can also use slightly warm milk instead of water. 
  3. Sprinkle the yeast onto the water (or crumble if using fresh yeast), then add the sugar. Give it a wee stir.
  4. Having ideally let it soften first, add the butter.
  5. Knead the dough until well mixed. Leave the dough to rise for about 20 minutes, it should hopefully double in size.
  6. Divide the dough into about eight equal pieces, but this will depend on how big you want your pretzels to be.
  7. Between your hands, roll the dough out into very long, thin sausages. The part for the ring should be thicker, but the star part shouldn't be much thicker than a pencil.
  8. Make a ring and twist the ends together. Carefully lay the thinner sausage over the ring in the shape of a five-pointed star. Pinch the corners and mush the dough carefully into the ring to ensure a good shape and a good stick.
  9. Be careful here! Boil a litre of water in a pot. Add three tablespoons of baking soda to the hot water, and turn down the heat so it stays hot but not boiling. If you are making a big batch, remember to use three tablespoons of baking soda per every litre of hot water. 
  10. Gently place each pretzel into the water, and leave it there for 30-60 seconds. Make sure the whole thing gets wet. This process is what gives the pretzel its lovely brown exterior. With a slotted spoon or similar, lift the pretzel from the water and place it on a baking tray.
  11. While wet, sprinkle thick chunky salt on. You can use other toppings too if you really want.
  12. Preheat oven to 180˚C (360˚F) and once heated, bake your pretzels for 20-25 minutes. They should be brown and properly baked. 
  13. Best enjoyed warm and fresh, but they'll keep for a day. Guten Appetit!

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Makeup, Music, Gore - Favourites!

 Hi! It's been ages since last I did a 'favourites' vid, just mentioning a few holy grails from across the board. Watch the video, and below is a list of everything I mentioned, with links if I could find them. Enjoy :3 



Here's the stuff I mentioned if you wanna go have a look:

Thanks for watching, see you next time!

Saturday, 4 September 2021

BIG Korean Skincare + Beauty Review

Phew! I fell down the Korean skincare rabbit hole and I can't get out. But that's ok 'cause I don't want to. Here's a review of lots of products that I've been trying over the last few months, plus a few cute things I haven't opened up yet! Korea seems to be very strict on what is allowed in skincare products, and there are online resources to check the safety of all ingredients. I used to have a "less is more" approach to skincare, but since discovering and going fully into Korean skincare, I've resolutely switched to "more is more" and my skin has never been happier. Maybe it's a bit excessive, but I've really been enjoying it, and a lot of people I know swear by it too. Watch the video, then below is a list of everything I showed you, separated by brand. 

Tony Moly:

CosRX:
Some By Mi:

G9Skin:

BadSkin:

Etude House:

Others: 

See you next time!

Friday, 25 September 2020

Korean Skincare Haul

Hi! I was so looking forward to this parcel arriving that I wanted to share my excitement with you when it finally came. Wanting to try a 10 step Korean skincare routine, I picked up everything I couldn't find locally from a most excellent and highly-recommended website Jolse. I had originally ordered a bunch of stuff from another site, Stylevana, but unfortunately they don't ship to New Zealand or to PO Boxes, so I had to cancel the order and get a refund. I also had a good look through YesStyle but couldn't find everything I wanted. Fortunately, I discovered Jolse which was probably even better. Join me opening a box of carefully chosen skincare products from Korea! Links to everything under the video!

 Here are links to the items I showed you:

Bonus:
Going to make a video after a full month of using a full Korean skin care routine every day and see how it went! Until then, thanks for joining me, cheery-bye! x