Monday, March 8, 2010

The beauty of birthdays and baked delights

How sweet it is to be surrounded by friends who can cook! There's nothing like biting into something baked for you to brighten your day, as I found out while celebrating my birthday last month. So here's my promised low-down on all the delicious offerings that were piled on my plate.

Above is a photo of the melt-in-your mouth white chocolate mud cupcakes from the kitchen of the talented Stacie who I reckon knew how to cook from the time she was in utero. She's a dab hand in the kitchen and often makes things without a recipe. She says it's because she is hopeless with recipes. I say it's because she doesn't need them, a sure sign of a culinery talent.

The white chocolate mud cake recipe can be found on The pink icing made from the recipe is to die for but the chocolate icing from a supermarket tube added the personal touch.

Stacie also made some roti rolls inspired by a ladies' night out at Jack's Satay Bar in Moonee Ponds (recommended for fresh, tasty Malaysian). We had all enjoyed the marinated chicken fillets, cucumber and tomatoes wrapped roti bread and served with spicy peanut dipping sauce so Stacie set about re-creating them. Here's how she did it.

To make the spicy peanut dipping sauce, blend the following ingredients until smooth:

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped

For the chicken, marinate chicken strips overnight in:

1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger and chili

Bake in moderate oven until cooked through (20 to 30 minutes).

The roti wraps were purchased from the freezer section of Stacie's local grocer. To assemble, fry the wraps and then place thinly sliced cucumber, tomato and cooked chicken in the centre before rolling them up and cutting in half. Yum.

My darling work mates presented a smorgasboard of home-bakes delights to get me through a birthday at work. Unfortunately, I didn't take photos. Corky's spendid carrot, almond and orange cake based on a Stephanie Alexander recipe will be made again, all going well, and copious photos taken for your salivating pleasure. As seen above, I have re-created Rozzie's chocolate and roasted hazelnut slice because she let it out that it contains 'cheats caramel' from a tin and is quick and easy to make if you ignore the instruction to rub the skins off the roasted nuts. Our resident office cooking advisor tells us it's not necessary. Very good news but making a batch was bad news for me, or at least my hips. It seemed to call 'eat me' from the Tupperware container. Whoever thought of the hazelnut and chocolate combo should be knighted. So should people who bake things with hazelnuts even though they don't eat them! Again, the recipe can be found here on the trusty It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Step 1: Cook the base
Step 2: Spread with Top N Fill caramel

Step 3: Top with hazelnuts and chocolate

Step 4: Offer a slice to everyone you know to save yourself from eating every last crumb!

Finally, here is a photo of the Botanical hamper we ate at my surprise birthday outing to see a Midsummer Night's Dream plus a list of the contents.

Starlight hamper

French Baguette with French Butter
Confit Duck Terrine with Pear Chutney
Proscuitto San Danielle
Cured and Honey Poached Pork neck with Pickled White Cabbage
Marinated Olives and Pickles
Fresh raspberries and strawberries with Volhohna chocolate dipping sauce

The Botanical
169 Domain Road, South Yarra VIC 3141
03 9820 7888

Merci à mes amis magnifiques. Bon appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Friends who bake are the best :)
    Beautiful blog by the way. I look forward to following your posts. Can't believe I haven't been to Jack's Satay Bar. That's in my neighbourhood!




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