Saturday, January 22, 2011

Treasure Chest Birthday Cake

A whole new world opened up to me today as I attempted my first themed party cake. Now I know why people pay big dollars for perfect looking cakes! I thought I would have a go at something simple like a Pirates Treasure Chest. What could be easier than icing 2 square cakes?

Well for starters I discovered you need to crumb coat icing on in a thin layer first then let that set then revive your icing to put a smooth coating on then thin it out more and apply a final layer. YAWN YAWN YAWN! Oh and don't forget not to slop icing on the platter. Then there is the finishing touches which at 9pm at night was tedious.

Stage 1 - 2 chocolate loaf cakes trimmed to make a Treasure chest. To build the "chest" slice off the rounded top from one of the choc loaves then make a triangle wedge and ice it onto the "flattened" loaf as seen in the loaf pictured on the right. Then sandwich the other loaf on top by "gluing" with icing.

Stage 2 - crumb coat a thing layer of icing all over, let this set in the fridge then put on final icing coats ( I did 3 coats in total refridgerating in between)

Finally - pile on the lollies to hide your stuff ups!

But I am really pleased with the result and the Pirate candle is perfect on top. I can't wait to see Oscar's face when this comes out at his party tomorrow!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

RECIPE - Moroccan Lamb Salad

Balmy summer days on the deck call for BBQ style salads. My sister in law whipped this up when she came over to stay last year and I think i can recall the recipe but here is my version. Megsy - let me know what I forgot!

MOROCCAN LAMB SALAD (serves 6 or 4 very hungry people)
1kg of lamb back straps or lean lamb shoulder cuts
bag of baby spinach & rocket leaves
Moroccan spice mix
1 med red oinion
1 red capsicum
2 thinly sliced kumara
1/4 c Parmesan cheese - shaved
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
drizzle of olive oil & balsamic vinegar
ground rock salt & pepper

Bake the kumara slices at 200C for about 15-20 mins until golden brown. Roll the lamb back straps in Moroccan Spice mix then sear on the BBQ 5 mins each side making sure its slightly pink in the middle. Slice the lamb. Dice the onion & capsicum and lightly fry in olive oil. Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over a lowish heat.
Layer the salad in this order on a large flat platter - spinach and rocket leaves, roasted kumara, sliced lamb, onion & caps mix, drizzled oil & vinegar then top with Parmesan & pine nuts. Toss before serving with Turkish bread or warmed pitas.

Eat in the sunshine on your deck with a glass of wine. Or 2.