Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Craig's birthday - Collingwood Jersey Cake

Another colleague, Craig, celebrated his birthday yesterday. However, as he took the day off to potter around the garden, we had cake for him at work belatedly today. Craig is a supporter of the Collingwood Football Club, which for the uninitiated, plays Australian Rules Football, governed by the Australian Football League (AFL). Accordingly, I made Craig's birthday cake in the shape of a Collingwood football jersey.

The base cake was made using a recipe for Vanilla Daisy cupcakes from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook, by Jennifer Graham. (I recently participated in a demonstration cupcake decorating workshop by Jennifer, and she seems to be a truly lovely lady who deserves her success.) I put a heaped dessertspoonful of cocoa in one third of the batter to make a chocolate batter, then marbled the cake by putting alternating dollops of white and chocolate batter in my cakepan (which was a 23cm x 28 1/2cm rectangular roasting tray!) and running a knife through the batter a few times. I baked the cake for roughly 50 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius.

I created a stencil with rough measurements and used a ruler to help me cut the cake in the right places to make a jersey. Here is the cut cake pre-icing:

I ruled the details of the jersey through the cake crust lightly with a knife, and used these lines as a guide for the icing. I used bought Wilton buttercream frosting, as my previous attempts at black icing have failed. Originally, I planned to pipe the stripes using a star tip, but I worked out from my experience with the white stripes (which I did first) that I wouldn't have enough icing for this. Accordingly, I piped the outline of the stripes on with a star tip, and then smooshed the icing on each side of a stripe down towards the centre of that stripe with a pallet knife to fill it in. This ensured that I retained straight lines:

Finally, I topped the cake with a rolled fondant disc in a shape resembling the AFL logo, with Craig's name piped on it in white chocolate. The colours were created using coloured jellies which I flooded inside the chocolate outline with a piping bag.

Here is a cross-section of the finished cake:

The non-Collingwood supporters (that is, everyone except Craig) didn't seem to mind the design of the cake, and hoed in heartily. One drawback of the black icing is that it dyes your teeth an unbecoming shade of green!!!

I thought this was a really cute cake, and I surpassed my expectations with the decorating. I really wasn't sure if I could pull my idea off, but I think I did OK!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Patsy's birthday - Apple and Brown Sugar Cheesecake

One of my colleagues, Patsy, is going on leave on Tuesday for a number of weeks, and will celebrate her birthday while she is away.

To wish her bon voyage and happy birthday, I made her Dorie Greenspan's Apple and Brown Sugar Cheesecake from Baking: From My Home to Yours. This luscious cheesecake contains brown sugar, apples and cider - an irresistable combination. It also has a gingernut biscuit base, which complements the filling perfectly. I heart this cheesecake.

For the cake topper, I made a rolled fondant disc that I piped on with chocolate and jelly. My mistake was to try and stick it on top of the cake with a dollop of sour cream - this seemed to melt underneath overnight, and made the cake topper go soft.

The other tip that I have is to make sure that your foil "tent" covers the whole cheesecake - you can see a small brown bit on the side of my cheesecake where the tent appears to not quite have covered it during baking.

Tuesdays with Dorie group made this cheesecake in February, so you can find the recipe here or in Dorie's book. If you like cheesecake, I recommend this one - it's delicious.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spiced Pear Streusel Cake

For a change, I have made a cake for no reason other than that I wanted to make it. The cake in question is a Spiced Pear Streusel cake, with the recipe by Karen Martini of Mr Wolf fame (among other things) featuring in Sunday Life magazine earlier this year. I wanted to make this cake because the photo of it looked so good - all shiny, syrupy pear top. Now mine does not look as beautiful as Karen's, but it tasted pretty good.

It seemed to be popular at work too, which is good, because otherwise I could eat this cake all by myself. I think it would be perfect served warm on a cold winter's night with cream and custard; however, I served it cold for practical reasons. If you like fruity, nutty, spicy cakes with butterscotch-like topping, then you will like this cake.

To make it, you will need:


130g brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large pears, cored and cut into 12 slices


70g crushed walnuts
55g plain flour
55g brown sugar
55g softened butter
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves


110g butter, softened and cubed
150g sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 eggs
240g sour cream
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base of a 9 inch springform pan.

For the topping, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle three quarters of the mixture over the base of the prepared springform pan. Arrange the pears on top of the sugar, then sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture and dot with the butter. Wrap the base of the pan in foil and place on a baking tray. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove and cool.

Mix all of the streusel ingredients together in a bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers. Sprinke the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until crunchy, then remove from the oven and cool.

To make the cake, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and rum together with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Beat in the eggs , one at a time, then the sour cream. Remove the bater from the mixer, and fold through the sifted flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Finally, stir through the crumbled streusel mixture.

Pour the batter over the top of the pears in the srpingform pan, place on a baking tray, and bake for approximately one hour or until cooked through. Cool the cake in its pan for about 20 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

Ensure that you put something under the cake in the oven to catch drips, because it does drip, and you will end up with a sticky toffee-like mess to clean up if you don't. However, don't be put off by this - this cake is delicious, and well worth the extra precaution.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers - Lavash Crackers

It's Daring Bakers Reveal Day again - I can't believe how quickly it came around! This month, Shellyfish of Musings from the Fishbowl is hosting, and she has chosen a recipe which is quite different from what has gone before. We had to make lavash crackers this month, with vegan dips. There was a fair bit of scope for choice in this challenge, in that you could choose to make your crackers with or without gluten, and sweet or savoury. The dips could be whatever you fancy, as long as they were vegan.

Like city kids who think that milk comes in bottles (or cartons these days - showing my age), I thought that lavash crackers came in boxes, and had never even contemplated that you could make your own. Silly me - a quick Google search revealed that lavash is an ancient Armenian flatbread with Iranian links, and that it has been made for thousands of years. I am pretty sure that the ancient Armenians and Iranians did not pop on down to the local Safeway to pick up a box of lavash.

I decided to make my crackers with gluten, as I already had the right flour. Here is my dough post-knead and pre-rise - it's like a cute little bald head:

I was fascinated by the prospect of being able to make sweet lavash crackers, as it was a concept that I had never come across before. Accordingly, I made half the dough as sweet lavash crackers with cinnamon sugar rolled in:

and the other half savoury with poppy seeds rolled in, like I had purchased many times:

The crackers were great - crispy, crunchy and tasty, but just not enough of them. Don't discount the browner ones - they were the crunchiest, almost like thin potato crisps.

For my vegan dips, I chose to make a
sweet potato spread, a beetroot dip and a strawberry dip (consisting of half this recipe plus a 250g tub of non-dairy cream cheese to give it some body):

I was a little hesitant about how the troops at work would take to this rather unusual offering, but they loved it, and cleaned up the dips, the lavash crackers and a box of bought crackers. I was relieved, because I was swimming in an ocean of dips and had no idea what I'd do with them if I had heaps left over.

Now you will have noticed the rather unusual photographs featuring my dips, which are actually photos of photos on my work mobile phone. My troubles began when I decided to skip taking photos of my dips until they were prettily arranged in their serving bowls on a platter beside the crackers. Alas, I served them at work and forgot my digital camera, but being a resourceful chick, I took photos of the dips on my mobile phone, assuming that I would have a USB cable for the phone at home. WRONG! OK, I thought I'd splash out and buy one - unfortunately, this strange phone has a unique kind of USB cable that is so rarely required that I would have had to purchase it online from Nokia at the princely sum of AUD$65. My phone is not connectivity enabled, so my attempts to send the photos to someone else's phone to download failed. Finally, a phone shop sales guy suggested that I buy a bluetooth dongle for my computer to send the photos from my phone directly to my computer. However, for reasons that I won't explain, the purchase turned into the drama from hell, and I left the dongle in the shop with a very sour taste in my mouth. So, I apologise for the quality of the photographic evidence of my dips, but there it is - life is what happens when we are planning something else.

Thanks to Shellyfish for hosting Daring Bakers this month and for teaching me that lavash doesn't come in a box. Do check out some of the other Daring Bakers' lavash crackers by visiting the blogroll
here - it is amazing how different the same recipe can turn out in the hands of over a thousand people.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sugar High Friday - Cupcakes, The Final Chapter - Pretty in Pink Cupcakes

This month, Fanny of the sweetly delicious Foodbeam is hosting Sugar High Friday, the event created by Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess. Fanny has chosen a theme which is dear to my heart - cupcakes! Fanny's appeal is for participants to help her prove that cupcakes can be as tasty as they look and that they aren’t dead by making cupcakes with an original twist.

For this purpose, I sought inspiration from Gail Wagman's
Cupcakes Galore. If you love cupcakes, you gotta love this book - it is packed from cover to cover with easy-peasy but effective cupcake ideas in all different flavours, colours and textures. One look at Gail's profile picture and I knew that we would be good friends, at least in the baking world.

I started on my cupcakes for this event very late last night, but luckily, I had already chosen my base cupcake recipe from Cupcakes Galore - the delicious strawberry buttermilk ones dubbed by Gail as "Birthday Beauties". However, for decoration, I had to flick through the book for inspiration while the cakes were cooling. I decided to make Gail's 7 minute frosting, a fluffy marshmallowy sensation from her Yeti cupcakes, but with a twist - I dyed mine pink with cochineal, and flavoured it with rosewater essence to give it a musk taste. This tied in perfectly with the strawberry cupcakes, and when decorated with pink lollies and silver sparkly bits, ta da - Pretty in Pink cupcakes were born.

To make the cupcakes, you will need:

Dry ingredients

375g plain flour
150g sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients

240ml buttermilk
185g melted butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


175g fresh strawberries sliced into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 x 12-hole muffin tins with paper cases. Sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then pour them into the dry ingredients and beat well until just combined. Fold the fruit through carefully, then divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases, filling each case no more than 2/3 thirds full. Place the cakes into the oven and bake for aproximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove the cooked cupcakes from the oven and cool at air temperature.

For the frosting, you will need:

2 egg whites
150g sugar
60ml golden syrup
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon rosewater essence
sufficient cochineal to reach the desired shade of pink

In a large heatproof bowl, combine all of the frosting ingredients other than the rosewater essence and cochineal. Stir the ingredients in the bowl over a pan of simmering water until all of the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot. After removing the melted ingredients form the heat, beat them with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, then beat in the rosewater essence and cochineal.

This frosting tastes so good, I could easily have eaten it out of the bowl all by itself!!! As there was a fair amount of frosting left over, the temptation was definitely there.

Frost each cupcake, then decorate as desired. I used pink licorice bullets, pink sugar flowers, homemade piped pink chocolate hearts, pink sprinkles, pink conversation lollies, silver cachous and edible glitter. Here is the finished product:

Thanks to Fanny for hosting SHF this month and for choosing such a wonderful theme. You can see the roundup of fabulous and inventive cupcakes here and here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Savoury Pies - Shepherd's Pie

One of my blogging friends, Ivy of
Kopiaste, is hosting a food event called Savoury Pies. As the name suggests, to participate, you need to make and post about a savoury pie by 30 September.

For my entry, I have decided to make a savoury pie with a savoury mince filling and single mashed potato and parsnip crust - known here as shepherd's pie. My recipe is from the Australian Heart Foundation's New Classic Cookbook by Loukie Werle, so has the advantage of being a somewhat healthy pie. I added minced chickpeas (don't ask!!! I needed to get rid of them somehow) and frozen peas to the meat filling, making my version of the pie a complete meal in itself.

To make this hearty dish, you will need:


3 teaspoons canola oil
2 chopped onions
600g lean beef mince
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
a pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup red wine
pepper to taste


500g peeled and chopped parsnips
500g peeled and chopped potatoes
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
425g tin chickpeas, drained and minced (optional)


Heat the oil in a large frypan, then cook the onions in it until soft. Add the mince and cook until it has just browned, then add the chickpeas, peas, Worcestershire sauce, cloves, pepper and wine and bring to the boil. Switch back the heat to a simmer, cover the frypan with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.


Boil the potatoes and parsnips until soft. Drain them, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Mash the cooked potatoes and parsnips, then stir through the oil and pepper to taste, and enough of the reserved cooking water to make a smooth consistency.


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Put the meat in a cassserole dish sprayed lightly with cooking oil. Place the filling in the bottom and spread the potato/parsnip topping over it. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and combine with the remaining teaspoon of oil, then sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, until the top is crisp. Remove from the oven and serve.

Perhaps this is not the prettiest picture in the world, but this pie is robust and filling - just what I need after a hard day at work. I like to serve it with tomato sauce (ketchup) for extra flavour.
Thanks to Ivy for hosting the Savoury Pies event. You can find the truly astonishing variety of savoury pies in the roundup here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Minestrone Soup

One of my Sydney colleagues, Terry, recently told me about a fabulous soup that he used to buy called Dr Tickell's 12 Vegetable Soup. Terry is gutted because he doesn't seem to be able to buy it anymore, and in his words, it is "addictive". However, there is one small ray of hope in that Dr Tickell has published the recipe for the 12 vegetable minestrone version of his soup here.

Terry challenged me to make this soup and see for myself, so, never being able to resist a challenge, I did make it. And boy, was I pleasantly surprised! I am not the kind of girl who would normally buy vegetable soup (I am a hearty beef girl myself), but this soup was delicious!!!!! It is also very filling, so unlike many purchased canned soups, a serve with a couple of slices of bread or toast is very satisfying. Finally, it is also - OMG - healthy!!!

Here are the veges beforehand:

and in the pot in the early stages:

and the final product:

This soup is very easy to make, with the most arduous part being all of the peeling and chopping beforehand. The recipe makes stacks of soup (approximately 2.5 litres), and is the kind of thing that you can refrigerate or freeze (?) for a quick "pick me up". I'm pretty sure that my version of this soup looks nothing like the canned version, but I am very happy with it.

Thanks for the tip Terry - good luck with making your own.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Holiday eating in two states and some awards and a meme

I returned only one week ago from two weeks on vacation, and it was marvellous. I had a very relaxing time, spent with my family interstate. It was my Mum's birthday, so I spent one week with her and my brother at home in Queensland, and then took her away for a week to Perth, Western Australia, where neither of us had been before (well, I had passed through, but no more). My posts during that time were all pre-scheduled, which explains my lack of responsiveness during that time.

In case you are ever "Down Under", I thought I would share a few foodie experiences from my vacation with you.

First up, for my mother's birthday, we went to lunch at Weis Restaurant in Toowoomba. This is a famed seafood smorgasboard restaurant that many visitors to Toowoomba put on their "must do" list, along with attending The Carnival of Flowers, which is incidentally on this weekend.

Weis Restaurant turns 40 this year, so to celebrate, they have placed this enormous cake in the dessert bar (presumably not to eat, although someone had sliced into it on one side):

The Weis smorgasbord caters to all tastes, with hot food such as soup, roasts and battered fish in the hot boxes:

and of course, lots of seafood:

accompanied by salads:

and my favourite, the dessert bar:

Weis Restaurant is situated in a lovely 1930s house, and diners will be seated in one of a variety of rooms, all decorated differently. We were fortunate to be placed in a room that had a roaring open fire (it was a cold day!), adding a warm glow to the atmosphere.

In Perth, one of our first activities was to go on a wine and chocolate tour with
Swan Valley Tours into the Swan Valley, just outside Perth and a little closer than the famed Margaret River. We took the option of travelling in the morning by coach to various wineries, then returning in the afternoon via a river cruise up the Swan River. All up, we visited 4 wineries (Waters Edge, Ambrook, Jane Brook and Lancaster) and the Margaret River Chocolate Company, followed by a cruise with a fully operating complementary bar service and live music (of sorts!!), but on other tour options, you can visit up to 5 wineries, a brewery, the chocolate factory and have a nougat tasting.

It was gorgeous weather while we were there, as can be seen from this shot of Ambrook Winery:

The chocolate factory visit was rather chaotic, because it was Fathers Day when we visited, and it felt like half of Australia was packed into one shed. This meant that the visit was a "get in and get out ASAP" experience. However, I managed to escape with some booty, and although the chocolate is expensive (AUD$12 for 180g), it tastes devine.

Here is my haul for the day - a bottle of Frogmouth tawny port from Waters Edge, a bottle of Bianca Dolce from Ambrook, a beautiful Ludlow cheddar cheese from Lancasters, and a box of truffles and a bar of chocolate from the Margaret River Chocolate Company:

If you have lasted this long through my post, here is a close-up of my bar of brazil nut chocolate from the Margaret River Chocolate Company to make you drool:

and a peek in my box of truffles, which included various pralines, a cookies and cream chocolate, and truffles such as champagne, liqueur cherry, caramel and white chocolate and raspberry:

Gotta tell ya, these were good! (Although I liked the bar of chocolate the best, which you will be pleased to hear I split with my Mum).

Finally, my Pilates instructor, Dom, had recommended the
Indiana Restaurant, right on the beach front in Cottesloe, so I persuaded my Mum to try it (although she finds fine dining pricing a shocking extravagance):

The fantastic thing about this restaurant is the waterfront views afforded while you are dining:

The interior of the restaurant is decorated in the style of an imperial British Indian residence:

To give you a feel for what you will get for your buck, here is a photograph of my meal, being chicken breast marinated with garlic, lemon and truffle, honey roasted parsnip, and sauteed chorizo, mushroom and fetta:

I hope you enjoyed sharing these experiences with me.

Still with me? I was recently honoured with a number of awards, the first being the Brillante Weblog award:

I received this award twice - once from Susan of
Food Baby, a new blogging friend, and once from Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy. Both girls have fantastic blogs with lovely recipes - if you haven't visited them yet, I highly recommend that you do.

The purpose of this award is as follows:

Brilliant Weblog is a prize given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogosphere.

The rules of this award are:

1. when you receive the award, post about it on your blog,
2. name the blogger who gave you the award,
3. award the diamonds to seven other bloggers,
4. link to them in your post and
5. let them know that you are passing this fab award onto them

I am giving this award to the following bloggers, in no particular order:

Emiline of
Sugar Plum, who is currently having a ball in NYC;

The Caked Crusader
, creator of delicious cakes and the CAFTAs;

Margaret of
Kitchen Delights, where you can find more yummy cakes;

Ivy of
Kopiaste, a dear blogging friend and queen of Greek cuisine;

Arfi of
Homemades, who creates wonderful dishes from her lovely New Zealand garden;

Vicious Ange
, an Aussie blogger who inspired me to start my own blog with her lovely recipes; and

Swati of
Swati's Sugarcraft, who will take your breath away with her gorgeous cake designs.

I have also been tagged for the Magic Lamp of Luck meme by Swati of Swati's Sugarcraft (some time ago - sorry for the delay Swati!!), and by Rosie of Rosie Bakes a Peace of Cake. So what is this all about? Well, here goes:

The mighty
Genie King and the beautiful Genie Princess from the magical Land of Faraway are back! Upon escaping the clutches of their Evil Master after being held captive for 1000 years, the magical genies have been busy flying on their Magical Flying Carpet, granting wishes and spreading love throughout the blogosphere.And now, the genies are back with a special gift for everyone! Behold the sacred, Magic Lamp of Luck! With this magic lamp, your blog will enjoy much good luck and fortune, warding off all things evil lurking around in the blogosphere.

We would like to share this magic lamp with you so please pass on the Magic Lamp of Luck to those in need of some good luck. Remember, do not be greedy or unkind, evil or vengeful and good luck & fortune will always be with you! Join us on another exciting magical adventure as we spread goodwill and good luck to one and all!

The rules are:

1. Add your site(s) to the list once you have received the Magic Lamp of Luck. 2. Pass on the Magic Lamp of Luck to as many people as you like. After all, everyone needs some good luck! 3. Leave a comment
HERE once you’ve passed on the Magic Lamp of Luck. Once the Genie King and Genie Princess have visited your site to make sure your links are complete and proper, you will then be added to the Master List. 4. To ensure everyone receives equal link benefit, please UPDATE your list regularly!

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I am passing the Magic Lamp onto Mary of
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Whew! You've made it to the end - thanks for hanging in there!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy birthday to me - Peach Melba Cake

It had to happen sometime - it is my turn for a birthday today, so I made myself this triple layer Peach Melba Cake, consisting of a cream cake filled with peach mousse and topped with raspberry cream, from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. If you love baking, do consider buying this book - it is magnificent, and most of the cakes are super easy (even though they are sometimes timne-consuming because of the number of steps involved). It is the best cake book that I own, and I have quite a few.

I loved the look of the Peach Melba cake - especially with the addition of edible glitter on top! The peach and raspberry flavours (especially the peach mousse) were also fabulous, but I wasn't so excited about the base cake. All three layers sank after being unmoulded (even though I let them cool for a fair while in the tin), and the taste was OK, but in my view, nothing exciting. It is not a diet cake - it has nearly a litre of cream in it, but hey, birthdays are special occasions, so my view is: go for it!

To make a Peach Melba cake, you will need:

Cream Cake

1 3/4 cups cake flour
3 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pouring cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons buttermilk

Peach Syrup

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup peach liqueur (I used brandy mixed with peach juice)

Peach Mousse

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons peach liqueur (I used brandy mixed with peach juice)
450g peeled and stoned peaches, sliced (I used drained, canned peaches)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 cup pouring cream

Raspberry Cream

350g frozen raspberries, thawed (including juice)
1 cup pouring cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater

For the cake

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line 3 x 8 inch round cake tins.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside.

Whip the cream and vanilla essence with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks until soft peaks form.

Combine the dry ingredients with the cream mixture by hand in three lots, then mix in the buttermilk.

Pour one third of the batter into each prepared cake tin, and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool the cakes in tins for 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool. (I unmoulded one cake at 10 minutes and it sunk; I let the others cool in the tin before unmoulding, and they also sank - I am not sure why, because the cakes were cooked.)

For the syrup

Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil; simmer until the syrup is reduced to 1/2 cup in volume. Remove the syrup from the stove and stir through the liqueur.

For the mousse

Pu the peaches, sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the peaches are soft, then put the mixture in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Reserve one cup of the peach puree for garnish, and put the rest into a mixing bowl.

Soak the gelatin in the peach liqueur for about 5 minutes in a microwavable bowl, then microwave the mixture for aorund 10 seconds, and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir the gelatin into the peach puree in the mixing bowl.

Whip the cream until stiff, then fold into the gelatin/puree mixture.

Stage 1 - Cake assembly

Put one of the cake layers on a cardboard cake board. Brush it with 1/4 cup of the peach syrup.
Spread half of the mousse onto the cake layer, and place another cake layer on top of the mousse. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of peach syrup and the remaining mousse. Place the last cake layer on top, and brush with the remaining syrup. Cover the cake and refrigerate until the mousse has set (~1 hour).

For the raspberry cream

Put the raspberries and juice into a small saucepan and cook on the stovetop, squashing the berries with the back of a spoon, until they have released all of their juices. Remove the berries from the heat and process into a puree in a blender or food processor, then strain the puree to remove the seeds.

Mix 1/3 cup of the puree with the sugar and rosewater in a bowl. Mix the remaining puree with sugar to taste and reserve for garnish.

Whip the cream until stiff, then fold into the raspberry and sugar mixture.

Stage 2 - Cake assembly

Remove the set cake from the fridge, and frost all over with the raspberry cream. Reserve a small amount of raspberry cream to pipe decorations of your choice on the cake.

Serve the cake with small spoonfuls of peach and raspberry purees decorating the plate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blog Party #38 - 3rd Birthday Bash - Apricot & pistachio tartlets and peach bellini

Stephanie's Blog Party over at Dispensing Happiness turns 3 this month. September is also the month in which Stephanie celebrates her birthday (as do I!), so Stephanie has asked us to bring fun and fabulous finger food and beverages to her Birthday Bash.

I have decided to bring apricot and pistachio tartlets - puff pastry tart shells, filled with an apricot half, brushed with maple syrup and cinnamon, and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. These are my mini versions of the apricot and pistachio tart recipe from Australian Good Taste that can be found here.

I am a huge fan of bubbly, so I am bringing along peach bellinis to Steph's bash - a cinch to make, they contain 15ml of peach juice, topped up with sparkling wine or champagne. Delicious and very smooth!

Happy birthday to Stephanie and Blog Party!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

SGCC's Blogiversary Bash - Salmon Tartlets

Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy turns one on 17th September, and to celebrate, Susan, the author of SGCC, is holding a blogiversary bash and invited us all along. As soon as I saw the glass of bubbly, I knew I was coming along - I can't resist a glass of bubbly. To come to this rockin' cocktail party, you only need to bring your favourite food or drink recipe - simple.

My entry is sailing close to the deadline because I have been away on holidays for the last two weeks, but I have returned and scraped in by the bell with a twist on one of my favourite cocktail party foods - salmon blinis. Instead of blinis, I have made salmon tartlets, from a recipe in Kitchen Classics - Celebration (Murdoch Books, 2006).

These are so delicious - each consists of a pre-baked puff pastry disc topped by a tangy cream cheese spread, a strip of smoked salmon and a sprig of dill. They are also dead easy to make, yet look and taste impressive. Just purchase ready made puff pastry, cut out circles using a biscuit cutter, bake in the oven until golden, then cool.

To make the cream cheese spread, mix together 250g cream cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and spread on top of the cooled puff pastry discs. Fold a strip of smoked salmon on top of the cream cheese, then top with a sprig of dill.

Happy blogiversary Susan - I hope that you enjoy these tasty little tartlets.