Sunday, August 24, 2008

One-pot lamb curry & cupcake decorating

Taste.com is an Australian web site which sends out a regular email with affordable, easy recipes, taken from a number of Australian food magazines. One of their recent emails contained this recipe for a one-pot lamb curry. I was particularly attracted to it because it contained mostly ingredients that I had to hand, including risoni pasta. The end result is pictured at the top of this post.

While this was a pleasant enough dish, it wasn't outstanding, and didn't pack the punch that I would have liked. However, if you have some leftover lamb that you would like to use up, this dish is a good way to do so, as it contains pantry cupboard staples like pasta, canned tomatoes, stock and curry powder. It is also simple and fuss-free to prepare, as it simply involves adding ingredients to a baking dish at three separate intervals over a one hour cooking period, then leaving it to do its own thing.

On a totally different subject, this weekend, I attended a cupcake decorating class at the William Angliss Institute of TAFE. Over 2 days, each member in our class of 11 each decorated 24 cupcakes, starting with basic techniques and working up to more difficult designs featuring piped dahlias and roses. Our teacher, Greg Williams, showed the class how to work with fondant, fudge icing, buttercream, ganache and royal icing. The class also made fudge icing from scratch, and learned certain points of cake baking theory. Our base cakes were made for us, and comprised of pre-mix sponge, traditional sponge, orange madeira and chocolate madeira cakes.

Here are the fruits of my day 1 labours:


And here are the results of day 2:


It was really a fun class. Some things worked better for me than others, and not everything that we did was to my personal taste. However, I learned some great techniques to build on the cake decorating classes that I did earlier in the year. Because some of the techniques were repeated in the cupcake class, I had the opportunity to improve on them and "clicked" on a couple of piping techniques that I didn't quite get earlier. I also was able to use my parchment piping bag skills learned in the cake decorating class to my advantage, as quite a few people had as much trouble as I did in initially learning how to make one - and we needed to make many bags for this class.

Hopefully, I will get a chance to practise and build on these techniques for future cake projects.

19 comments:

Mary said...

I love curry and yours looks delicious! And your cupcakes are so cute! I love the pigs and butterflies!

Ivy said...

Cake, they are absolutely beautiful. I love the piggy the most but all the other designs are very pretty as well. Hope you will reveal some of these techniques to us as well.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

hi
your cupcakes looks so good and colourful..beautiful visual appeal !
i might try the lamb curry but with chicken or goat but your way.

Katie said...

Cute cupcakes! I have never tried to decorate baked goods, but I think I am going to give it a try one of these days. Does it take a lot of practice?

Mochachocolata Rita said...

wow look at those cakes! how adorable! gosh, i should look for a cake decorating lesson here...my cakes are so crappy looking!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Mary - I think the butterflies were the yummiest to eat.

Hi Ivy, I loved the pig too - and he was so simple to do!

Thanks Anamika. I am sure the curry would be lovely with either of those meats.

Thanks Katie. Not really a lot of practice - once you are used to holding a piping bag, it is all systems go. Most people in the class walked in off the street and we learned basic skills first and built on them as the class progressed, and received help as needed from the teacher.

Thanks Rita - my cakes usually look pretty average too, hence my quest to learn some skills.

The Caked Crusader said...

Your cupcakes look amazing - I love the pig and the flowers you made on day 2

Dee said...

I love the little piggy, and the butterfly wings (or are my eyes playing tricks?). Looks like those cake decorating classes are really paying off!

I've always wanted to attend classes but I'm a little hesitent because I just know everyone's going to be clever little Martha Stewarts.

Tammy said...

I am so jealoud of your cupcake class - they look fabulous!

Emiline said...

Oh my goodness! I LOVE the cupcakes! They are so cute. You've got skills.

Swati said...

I loved those pretty cupcakes..they have been done extremely well...sure the class was excellent!!

Lore said...

The are so cute, I especially like the ones with faces :)

Y said...

What cute cupcakes, especially the pink pigs :)

Aparna said...

So many beautifully decorated cupcakes. They look so so good.

Rosie said...

Stunning cupcakes Cakelaw you are so talented!!

Rosie x

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Crusader - the pigs were my favourite too.

Hi Dee, not true - I am a fairly hopeless decorator (see my other cakes ;)), and my bench partnwer manages a bakery - she lost interest on the last day and made some very artistic "flower" cakes.

Thanks Tammy!

Thanks Em. No skills, just a very good teacher to guide us through on the day.

Hi Swati, it was an excellent class - would happily do it all again.

Thanks Lore :)

Hi Y, I'm with you - the pigs were so simple to make, but I like them too.

Thanks Aparna.

Thanks Rosie - I don't have talent like you, but I really enjoyed learning a few tricks.

Julesgourmond said...

I love the piggy ones the best. So cute!

Cakelaw said...

I agree Jules - they are cute, and were the easiest to make.

Psychgrad said...

Wow - amazing job! These cupcakes look professionally done. I would love to take a cupcake decorating class.