Thursday, 27 September 2012

Batman Rainbow Cake

My brother-in-law had a small request for his 20th birthday: he came across a rainbow batman shaped cake on the internet and wanted one... so I made one (actually two but you never count the first failure... or at least I'm not going to in this case!)

You can use any cake mixture you like. I used a simple vanilla butter cake recipe six times, each batch with a different colour. Make sure you have sturdy sheet pans that don't buckle in the heat of the oven. My first try this happened and resulted in lop-sided layers and was not good. You'll need plenty of colouring in each batch to make the colours really vibrant. Don't over mix the cake mixture otherwise they'll be tough and rubbery. I layered each sheet with strained warm apricot jam as they came out of the oven, one at a time. I didn't wait for each layer to be cool, instead, i just flipped each onto the previous. After you have all the layers ready, you can begin shaping your cake, or leave it as one big piece, it's up to you.

After cutting into your desired shape, transfer the cake carefully to a cooling rack and cover the entire cake in ganache or buttercream and leave to set. Then, carefully transfer the finished cake to your serving  plate. It looks cool on a yellow background, but since I couldn't find one in time, I flipped over a clean baking sheet, covered in tin foil and presented it on that.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Yoghurt and chestnut cream / Yaourt à la crème de marron

My newest favourite thing to have as dessert (either after lunch or dinner) is vanilla yoghurt with chestnut cream. I won't claim that I make either from scratch myself, but you could if you wanted to. Likewise, if you're a yoghurt-for-breakfast kind of person then go for it.

I use Activia probiotic vanilla yoghurt in single-serving tubs (since large family-sized tubs of vanilla yoghurt don't exist here in France) and crème de marrons from Bonne Maman. If not available where you are, you might be able to get tins of chestnut cream in specialty world foods section in your supermarket. Otherwise, it's not a stretch to make your own.

It's as simple as this:

Spoon in a generous blob of chestnut cream into a dish of your choice (not too much, it can be a bit sickly in large quantities) and top with plain (natural) or vanilla yoghurt. Done.

To eat: you can either mix, swirl or dig, as your tastes will guide you. I, myself, am a bit of a mixer-swirler but to each-their-own.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Brother-in-law's birthday canapés

Forgive the slightly out of focus photos, but here is a snap shot of what I've been up to lately... It was my brother-in-law's 20th birthday and we were gathering for a small family get together before his main  birthday bash this weekend. Instead of ripping open packets of frozen fingerfood, I decided to go all out and make it more special. The Frenchman had the day off, so he was able to keep the Little Sausage amused and out of the way so I could get it done.

And here are the results.

The mini burgers were the hit of the show, and cupcakes followed for dessert and present opening, of course!

Homemade salmon sushi rolls

Mini cheeseburgers

Smoked salmon and tzatziki on blinis

Hoisin BBQ duck lettuce cups

Homemade salmon nigiri

Monday, 3 September 2012

Saturday, 1 September 2012

September Photo A Day - Day 1: You, Now [Me, Now]

Me, now (enjoying my favourite 'Pickled Tink' cocktail 
at the Hard Rock Café, Paris, on a rare night out sans-baby)