Today's random recipe is Pistachio, Lime and Cardamom cupcakes, otherwise known as PLCs. This is my all-time favourite cupcake recipe and a guaranteed winner every time. Bake these and you will have people rubbing up against you like crazy kitties.

For the base you will need:

140g shelled, unsalted pistachios
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
150g chopped, softened butter
185g SR flour
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
125 g natural yoghurt

For the topping you will need:
juice of 1 lime
250g plain yoghurt
1 tbsp honey

This is what you do:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C. Line about 18 holes of your cupcake tin with paper cases.

2. Put the pistachios and ground cardamom in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are chopped up.

3. Remove the nutty mixture and put in a bowl. Add the butter, flour and sugar and mix until crumbly. Then add the eggs and yoghurt and combine.

4. Spoon the lovely batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes. Put on a rack to cool.

5. Once the cupcakes have cooled, drizzle some lime juice over each cupcake.

6. Mix together the natural yoghurt and honey until smooth.

7. Put a dollop of the yoghurt mixture onto each cupcake. If you like, you can sprinkle crushed pistachios on top of each cupcake, just to give them that extra-delicious nuttiness.

This recipe comes from an amazing cupcake cookbook called Cupcakes: a fine selection of sweet treats (Murdoch Books). It's my cupcake Bible.
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And now for a random story about pistachios. OK, so one day my hubby and I were having brekky at an amazing roadside dumpling place in Urumqi, which is in north-west China. If you want to track this dumpling place down, all I can remember (apart from the awe-inspiring dumplings) was that it was huddled in the shadow of the Urumqi Holiday Inn, which, coincidentally, was also overshadowing the cockroach-infested fire-trap of a hotel we'd picked out for ourselves.

Anyway, while we were stuffing these most incredible dumplings down our throats, we managed to make the acquaintance of an Australian travel guide writer who was sitting next to us. So we got talking and he ended up telling us about his latest find, which he'd only discovered the day before. "The best ice-cream in the whole world,' were his words as he scribbled some directions on the back of a paper napkin.

A couple of bus rides across the city later and there we were, standing out the front of a tiny little hole-in-the-wall ice-cream parlour. Inside (which consisted of two tiny adjoining living rooms) were crammed lots of Uighurs from all walks of life - grandmas, grandkids, young lovers, hipsters and the odd businessmen - all wolfing down ice-cream served in petite glass jars.

We weaved our way through this mass of Islamic ice-cream-eating humanity to the counter, whereupon I asked the assistant in very bad Mandarin what flavours were on offer. He looked at me like I was mad. "Only one,' he said, "and that is pistachio."

An ice-cream parlour with only one flavour? Granted, it is the best flavour in the world, but still...only one flavour? That's pretty random.

But I digress. Back to cupcakes. It's time for the taste test.
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Obscenely good, even if I do say so myself.

The next day...

And now to reveal this week's random recipient. Before I found him, though, I approached an older couple and ran the spiel past them. The lady smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said in what sounded like a northern English accent: 'Bless your heart, but not today, love." Meanwhile, her partner was shaking his head, with a look on his face that said "You're well overdue for your medication, aren't you?"

Anyway, after that, I rallied my resolve and approached a bloke sitting on a park bench on the council lawns. I gave him the same spiel and he said he'd be happy to accept my random cupcake gift. So here's Sean, my fourth random recipient!
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Sean seemed like a good bloke to me. He even invited me to sit down for a chat and never once gave the impression that he thought I was loop-dee-loo for my random act of cupcake. Good on you, Sean. I appreciate that.

Anyway, so the scoop on Sean is that he's from Sydney but currently travelling around Oz with his partner and two kids. They've been to Tassie and travelled up through South Australia, taking in Coober Pedy and its numerous flies along the way. Anyway, after a rest stop in the Alice, Sean and his tribe are off to Queensland, hoping to get to the far north by winter. If you're reading this, Sean, I hope you liked the cupcake and that you and your family continue to have an awesome road trip.

Well, that's all from me for now. Until next week, may one and all keep enjoying the randomness that is life.
Chris Schwarz
23/3/2010 16:19:18

I'm salivating already! Hope you're enjoying your day off.

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Kylie ( Seans wife )
23/3/2010 19:37:26

Hey Alex.
Hubby just arrived back at the caravan and very reluctantly had to share his cupcake with all of us!!! It was really yummo - especially the icing.
It's great to see people like yourself trying to cheer up the world and make everyones day a little brighter.
Good luck on your venture.
Thanks Kylie, Sean, Emily and Lilly

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Vesna Tomic
24/3/2010 02:51:20

So - was it really the best ice-cream in the world?
:-/

Reply
Chris Schwarz
26/3/2010 19:16:46

Cool recipe, it almost makes me want to cook again-I love pistachio and the yoghurt icing is yummy. Oh, and thanks for the extra one, too-I'll be haunting the internet waiting for your next post from now on.

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William Young in China
31/3/2010 22:07:22

Cool recipe,and i my mouth is watering now. This also reminds me of your fruit salad, that was yummy and nice.
Ok, we can keep in touch in later, hope you can come to CHINA.
William

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