Beetles! Photographing Gold & Stripes.

Hello! This is part of my Natural History Museum series – I’ve been taking photos for the beetles department (officially known as the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’)! I will be sharing my favourite images with you every week, so stay tuned!

Today I’m showcasing some stripy, golden beauties (click here for a detailed close-up). Aren’t they stunning? I love the contrast of soft metallic gold vs. glossy black stripes and swooping antennae. Have a look:

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Helena-Maratheftis-gold-stripes3Helena-Maratheftis-gold-stripes5My (accidentally) matching gold nails and black ring.Helena-Maratheftis-gold-stripes2

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Nature: Just Too Cool. When I stumble across specimens like these, I can’t help but marvel at how much style nature has. I’m a complete sucker for shiny metallics and bold stripes (in case ya hadn’t noticed), so it’s nice to know that I share the same tastes as mother nature!   Those are my hands in the photos – I happened to be wearing matching nail polish and jewellery on this particular day, which made me extra excited.

Click here to see other Beetles! posts in this series.

Illustrated Recipe: Cherry & Coconut Truffles

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Hello! This blog post is part of my illustrated recipes series. This week I felt like making peppermint patties, but when I realised I was all out of peppermint extract, I knew I had to get creative. I had recently bought a bottle of Morello Cherry Cordial and thought it would work perfectly. Of course, cherry and chocolate always makes me think of these, so I had to throw coconut into the mix as well. You can always leave the coconut out if you prefer, and you could always substitute the cherry cordial for any other flavour.

INGREDIENTS (based on this recipe)

For the cherry filling:

  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons cherry cordial
  • A few drops of red food colouring (optional – I didn’t use any)

For the coating:

  • 450g of dark chocolate (couverture is best because it melts easily)
  • 2 cups dessicated coconut

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DIRECTIONS

1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl, and stir until combined. You should end up with a firm, dough-like consistency. If the filling is too sticky or wet, simply add more icing sugar until it firms up. With your hands, roll teaspoonfuls of filling into balls, and then flatten the balls into  discs with the heel of your palm (see above picture). Lay the discs onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper, and put them into the freezer for at least half an hour. (I left mine there overnight and they were completely fine.) Make sure you don’t skip the freezer step, because this prevents the discs from falling apart when you dip them into hot, melted chocolate later on!

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2. While the filling is in the freezer, prepare your coatings. In one small bowl, melt your chocolate. You can either do this using a double boiler, or you can do it (carefully) in the microwave. Fill another small bowl with the dessicated coconut.

Helena-Maratheftis-cherry-truffles-33. Remove the discs of filling from the freezer. You will need to coat each truffle individually or you will make a giant mess if you do them all at once! Start by dropping a frozen disc of filling into the bowl of melted chocolate, so that it is completely coated. Using a tablespoon, lift it out of the chocolate and immediately drop it into the bowl containing coconut. I used a fork to flip the truffle over to make sure both sides are covered in coconut. Then place the truffle onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and wait a few hours until the coating hardens.

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Enjoy!  That’s all that’s left to do!

These are delicious and make very cute presents. They can also be stored in the fridge for several weeks.