Saturday, 2 February 2008

Superbowl snacks

Excitement is mounting in our house in anticipation of the Superbowl. Almost all of it is coming from The Scientist, who is an NFL fan of auld, and was a pretty good kicker/quarterback/wide receiver himself at university (represented the GB students several years running, doncherknow?). In fact, what the hell – he was lauded as the best kicker in the student league one year - this is my blog, and if I can’t kvell here, where can I? I can watch it if I pretend it’s rugby, but am completely confused by the fact that you can hit people who don’t have the ball and spend half the time watching decoy plays while the action is going on somewhere else on the pitch. Also, it’s screened pretty late in the evening over here, so I tend to wilt fairly early (a game only lasts an hour, but is interrupted so frequently by changes of personnel that that it can take three hours to watch). But I’m not allowed to compare the spangliness of the pants the players wear to good old rugby kit, or The Scientist will get upset. Or the fact that Americans say ‘dee-fence’ instead of ‘defence’. I’d just like to add that my joint-favourite brother-in-law is a Yank and I’m sure rugby is just as weird if you’re not used to it.

The Scientist taking a punt (thanks to Roger Stacey for the photo!)

The Superbowl is obviously as much of a social event in the US as rugby and football finals are here, and that means snacks. Beer and snacks, to be precise. The Scientist is pretty adamant about the need for chips’n’dips, but I spy some room for a baking option as well. I was pondering what to make when I read an entry on Cupcake Project’s blog for superbowl cupcakes. They were so perfect that I realised my quest had ended.

Please allow me to digress very briefly to mention the purpose of Cupcake Project. It is written by possibly the best friend in the world – a lady who not only volunteered to make the cupcakes for her friends’ wedding; not only made about a million different options for them to try over the course of a year; not only then made a million of the selected ones for the day itself; but ALSO then agreed to do the whole thing again (including trials) for some other friends! I remove my hat to you, Cupcake Project. I think this is a magnificent thing, and I enjoy marvelling over the combinations you come up with.

There, that’s what I think about that. This time, Cupcake Project had come up with a classic: beer and cheese cupcakes. I have to admit that I think this combination in a cupcake sounds fairly revolting, but it’s such a brilliantly twisted take on the salty snack theme that I was strangely taken by it. The original actually had bacon in it as well but that was at least two steps too far for a Jewish vegetarian. The Scientist is an a-religious omnivore but he didn’t get a choice in this. He gets to choice Superbowl dinner anyway, and so we're having hot dogs and refried beans J. I made the cupcakes today, and was really pleased with the results. The cakes themselves were deliciously light and moist - the influence of the beer, perhaps? - and the cream cheese topping delightfully smooth and cool. I baulked at more cheese in the icing as it was so nice as it was, so it's not quite as Cupcake Project intended, but still a top snack. I made a half a batch which did a very good 9 cupcakes (and the one in the photo is a funny shape because my cupcake liners were a little bit bigger than a standard UK fairy cake tin!)

I was particularly pleased with the decoration as my icings have never been up to much in the past. This icing was nice and thick and easy to spread, with none of the pooling and sliding off I've had with other versions. I cut out the shape of the Patriots logo in coloured ready-made icing, and made the little footballs as Cupcake Project had - decorated chocolate-covered almonds. We are staunch supporters of the Patriots in this house, The Scientist because he admires their record-breaking unbeaten record this season, and me because I misread the team's title very late one previous Superbowl night and thought they were the New England Parrots, which I liked. A heart-warming Superbowl fact: cat teams beat bird teams on average. Lucky for the Parrots that they're playing Giants this year.

So, we are ready: hot dogs, ketchup, chips'n'dips, Parrot cupcakes (coffee, Pepsi Max.....). Fortunately I'm not lecturing until Tuesday! Fellow Superbowl watchers, though, a word of warning... So, be careful, and enjoy (and hello to Huw and Don!)


Stef said...

Aww. Thank you so much! I'm so touched and so excited that you liked the cupcakes. They look so adorable!! I'm lucky to have some great friends that I know would do anything for me too.

Lysy said...

That was Cupcake Project lady!!! I am so excited (and relieved that the cakes passed expert muster)!

LisaRene said...

You are a daring women to make "beer cheddar" cupcakes. I'm glad they were a success!

I'm not a big fan of football but do watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. I know that sounds odd but the advertisers get extremely creative and produce very entertaining commercials to run during the game. Every year the commercials get better and better, with the advertisers trying to out-do each other.

Ironically, I have chosen to prepare a version of Welsh Rarebit during the game made with English cheddar, English mustard and a stout beer. I'm certain you are the reason for my choice in snack, since chatting with you I have England on my mind.

You may already follow the blogs "Food and Spice" and "Tinned Tomatoes". The two are joining up for a vegetarian roundup called "No Croutons Required". You can get more information on either of their blogs;

I'm going to participate and I thought you might be interested as well.

Lysy said...

The Scientist is always sad that we don't get the special commercials over here - let us know if they're any good! I hope you enjoy the Welsh rarebit. Strangely, I've never made a proper rarebit with beer. I will try it if there's any beer left after the Superbowl! It's very sweet that you're thinking of England, anyway.

I hadn't seen that blog event, but it looks great - thanks!