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May the cake be with you (or rather in you)

2 Jul

A little while back now, my lovely friend Blair turned 21. Now Blair is slightly obsessed with Star Wars (I certainly don’t blame her….what’s not to love!), and so when she requested a birthday cake, we decided a Star Wars themed one was in order. It certainly fit with her party theme of 80’s movies.

Let me introduce you to Blair…isn’t she pretty! (this is one of my favourite photos of her….I didn’t take…I think she may have)

To claim that I designed this cake (or rather cupcakes) would be rather a large lie, I found a picture of the same cake on a google image search (I’m slightly in love with google image searches…particularly after I stubbled across one of my own macaron photos on there – it made me feel proud). I still don’t know who’s original design it is, but this is the photo I looked at.

I made a carrot cake base for the cupcakes and used a dollop of cream cheese icing to secure the fondant icing character toppers (that took an age to make!).

And here are some photos….I was rather pleased with the results!

(The following photos are compliments of my lovely friend Marita).

If anyone could be so kind as to identify the character on the left next to Darth Vadar it would be most appreciated. I made the cake and knew who everyone was except that one!

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A Little More Regarding the Prepartion

6 Feb

After carefully documenting and posting the prepartation of the panna cotta for my Dad’s 50th party, I thought photos from the other desserts I made would provide plenty of fodder for future posts. Not the case.  As obsessive as I get about taking photos, I somehow managed to take very few of both the cooking and the final products. Consequently, I’ve felt very little motivation to come and post about it all.

But here I am, and I’ll make what I can out of the few photos I do have…I do hope it’s not too boring.

I made mini cheesecakes again and found that the overall process was made exceptionally easy by the help of my wonderful new(ish) food processor. There’s just something so delightful about crushing biscuits to smithereens in a matter of seconds. Last time I made them (when I was making around 80+) I had to crush the biscuits in layers of ziplock bags with a rolling pin. Sure it was fun for the first few seconds, but you certainly get over it in a hurry.

Apart from the cheesecakes, I also made individual chocolate mousses which were served with whipped cream, little fishies and segments of Terry’s chocolate orange. If you’re wondering what on earth little fishies are, they’re simply those mandarin segments you get in a can. While we were decorating the the mousses, my lovely sister Bec informed me that she’d read on a blog somewhere that they were called ‘little fishies’, ever since I haven’t been able to get the name out of my head…I find it slightly cute, somewhat creepy and altogether rather amusing.

This is one of the only pictures I took that has anything to do with the chocolate mousse…so here it is.

Some time in the not-too-distant future I intend to make chocolate mousse and use Terry’s Chocolate Orange melted as a substitute for the normal dark chocolate…I imagine it will taste quite amazing (because Terry’s Chocolate Orange is amazing, not because I made it).

That is all.

Panna cotta = cooked cream

29 Jan

Apparently in Italian panna cotta simply means ‘cooked cream’ … rather uninspiring really, luckily it sounds good in Italian.

Although boring in its translation, at least when it’s made in Australia it tastes no less amazing (Well actually…1. I don’t know this for fact as I’ve never actually been to Italy. 2. As it is an Italian dessert it probably is made better in its home country. 3. What food isn’t going to taste better in Italy…I mean…it’s Italy!).

Regardless, it does taste wonderfully good (given a good recipe of course).

Since studying to be a pastry chef at William Angliss Institute, one of my most favourite recipes (that is very easy, and very doable at home) that we’ve made in class has been a coconut panna cotta with a pineapple and banana confit. So when deciding what to cook for my Dad’s 50th party (which is tomorrow night), I simpy had to make it (minus the confit as we opted for the low fuss option of serving it with berries).

And here is the recipe… (as I’m taking this straight from my TAFE recipe book, it serves around 20 (non-greedy) people)

1200ml cream

400ml milk

200gm desiccated coconut

250gm caster sugar

11 leaves of gelatine (no one on the internet seems to agree on the conversion from gelatin leaves to powder, but go with just over a gram per leaf)

320ml coconut milk

80ml Malibu rum (If you don’t have this, just use extra coconut milk)

Instructions

– Toast the coconut (but not in the toaster…hehe), either do it on the stove top in a saucpan or on a baking tray in the oven. Toast it till it’s a golden brown colour (it will smell amazing).

– Add the coconut, sugar, cream and milk into a saucpan and bring to the boil (stir a little).

– Remove it from the heat. Strain about a cup of liquid into a large bowl and whisk in the gelatin (if you’re using gelatin leaves make sure you soak them in cold water first). Allow the rest of the mixture to sit in the saucepan for around 20 minutes to infuse the coconut flavour.

– Strain the rest of the mixture into the gelatin mix and combine.

– Add the Malibu and the coconut milk and mix.

– Allow the mixture to cool and then pour into moulds (the best molds to use are dariole molds because then the panna cotta can be removed from the mold and sit freely on a plate…but I sadly don’t own any so I just used little plastic cups. I’ve also used glass wine glasses before and they looked quite lovely in them)

– Refridgerate till set (they’ll probably take at the very least, 3 hours to set)

– They taste best served with fruit of some description.

When we made it for the William Angliss Bistro, we served it with a pineapple and banana confit (which is amazing) and deep fried wontons coated in cinnamon sugar…lovely.

Here’s the recipe for the confit.

100gm caster sugar

30ml water

300gm pineapple (chopped a similar size to the banana rounds)

1/2 vanilla bean

300gm banana (chopped into circles)

– Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar, increase the heat a little and bring to the boil (don’t stir, but brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization).

– Cook the sugar till it is light caramel in colour and add the vanilla bean.

– Add the pineapple and cook over heat till it becomes a bit translucent.

– After adding the pineapple the sugar mix might become all crystallized…don’t worry, keep stirring it will eventually go away.

– Remove from heat and add the banana…stir.

– Cool mixture and serve it with the panna cotta.

ENJOY