Tuesday, January 15, 2013

MOP, A to Z Challenge,

St. Mary'sYesterday morning we were up at 5 a.m. to get Matt to the hospital early in order to have an operation to tighten the skin of his eye. I do NOT like getting up so early, but when you have to take blood sugar readings, eat breakfast, etc. etc. no help for it. The hospital we went to was St. Mary’s and I don’t think we have ever been in there except into the emergency dept. a couple of times, but never into the main hospital. Funnily enough, that’s the same place, even the same area, I have to go to on Friday but at 11:45 not 7:30. They call it Minor Out Patient, or MOP. Thought it was funny. The volunteer realised I didn’t walk very well so got me a wheel chair. Nice of him. Talking of which, the volunteer came to us with the hand sanitizer and squirted our hands instead of leaving it to our own discretion. A precaution against flu I imagine, they don’t want an epidemic here. Trouble is, I find that stuff dries my hands up so I had to add hand cream a little while later.

Yesterday, lots of blogs announcing the 2013 A to Z Challenge and listing the team A2Z-2013-BADGE-001of 13 who will be the hosts this year. Last year I did A2Z recipes and am planning to do the same thing this year. I found that rather fun searching for recipes which fitted some of the more obscure letters, X being one. I write a blog every day so don’t find it too difficult, but some bloggers only post one or two a week so they really find it a challenge to write a blog every day (except Sunday) for a whole month. I ‘met’ quite a few bloggers last year and hope to meet more this year although I find it difficult to keep up with all the posts throughout the year. How Alex Cavanaugh manages to visit so many blogs plus read and answer the very many comments he gets on his own blog I could never imagine. He must spend 24 hours on his computer. I am glad he does though, he is one of my most regular commenters.

Here’s a nice recipe for one’s waistline. It looks pretty scrumptious to me though. Some people don’t like coconut, but I do.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Coconut Frosting

Source: Fine Cooking - Issue 37

Serves sixteen  (tiny eaters perhaps?)

Click here to find out more!Baking the layers at 300 degrees F keeps the cake exceptionally moist. Serve it at room temperature; the coconut softens when refrigerated.
INGREDIENTSSour Cream Chocolate cake w coconut
For the Cake:
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
6 oz. (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz. (3 cups) cake flour
3 cups sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Frosting:
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 to 2 teaspoons coconut extract (or to taste)
1 lb. unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened (but not at all melted)
4 cups large shaved coconut (fresh or desiccated), toasted

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans with kitchen parchment and set them aside (there's no need to grease the pans). Put the cocoa powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Add the butter and sour cream and blend on low speed until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to cool for a minute if still very hot, and then add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients a little at a time to the butter mixture, scraping down the sides once or twice. Increase the speed to medium and blend for another 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until the center of the cake feels firm and the cake just barely begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 50 minutes to 1 hour (begin checking after 45 minutes). Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and coconut milk. Stir to combine and then bring to a boil. As the mixture heats, begin whipping the eggs on high speed. Boil the coconut milk and sugar until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Remove the mixture from the heat. Stop the mixer and pour a small amount of the syrup into the egg yolks. Quickly beat on high again. Repeat twice more until all the syrup is incorporated. (You can also add the sugar syrup in a steady stream with the mixer on, but be careful not to let it hit the beater or the syrup will be flung to the sides of the bowl where it will harden.) Continue beating until the mixture is cool. Add the coconut extract. With the mixer on medium speed, begin beating in the butter 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time. When the butter is completely incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat another 1 minutes.
Use the frosting right away to fill and frost the cooled cake or cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. (Bring chilled buttercream to room temperature before using, beating briefly to smooth it, if necessary.) Pat on a generous coating of the shaved toasted coconut over the sides and top and, if you like, between the layers.

Have a great day


  1. Hi Jo - hope Matt's eye op is successful - and I too hate early starts! The A - Z team is wonderful ... and I'm looking forward to the Challenge once again ..

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Morning Hilary. It will take a while, right now he has a black eye and its still weeping. Not the first time he's had this done, probably will have to be done again in a few years time.

      Me too

  2. Nice when you can give such a positive feedback about a hospital. Our recent experiences with MIL's visits to a London hospital following her fall in September have been pretty grim and David has just fired off a long letter of complaint regarding the last visit (Thursday) - its has been acknowledged so just waiting to read their response.

    A blogpost a day is some undertaking ... I aim for 3 or 4 a week (but fall behind when away from England) so admire those who can keep up the pace. I do look at lots of posts but don't always have the time to leave comments but I really get a bit peeved with some Bloggers who seem to think its a one-way street and never comments on anybody else's posts .... I've 'unfollowed' a few Blogs for that very reason over the past couple of years!

    1. Funny, I had heard from family that hospitals were much improved. Sorry your MIL's wasn't good. We have 3 hospitals here and St. Mary's is the best.

      Yes I have come across bloggers who don't comment. Not many thankfully. I just enjoy blethering I guess LOL.

  3. Clones and lots of them!
    And I blog from work, which helps.
    I think we met during last year's Challenge, didn't we?

    1. You must have lots of clones, I don't work and wouldn't be able to cope with everything you do.

      Yes we did.