Sunday 30 September 2012

Cake Decorating : Skylanders

A friend of mine asked me if I could do a cake and cupcakes for his nephew's birthday. He is mad for something called Skylanders. Neither my friend nor myself had any idea what that was. He had brought a couple of toys with him to give me an idea of what they wanted. It didn't look like it was going to be that difficult. Along with the cake they wanted around 30 cupcakes cupcakes. I have to admit be being thrilled at the prospect of making something like this. I did a bit of research. The toy that the cake was to be shaped like is called a portal. It lights up and changes colour. My friend asked me if there was any way that we could light up the top of the cake. I said that I was sure we could figure out away. 

It wasn't actually that hard in the end when I sat down and thought about it. My friend had strips of led lights so he wired 4 strips of those up. They, of course, wouldn't show through fondant icing so I needed to find a way to cover the lights. I remembered that you could get edible paper so thought that I might be able to get some of that to place on the top of the cake. I have attempted to use it before and it was pretty unsuccessful. I then remembered that I have some rice paper in the cupboard, the type used to make nougat. I also have a spray green colour. So I sprayed two sheets of the rice paper and used it to cover the lights. It worked really, really well. 

For the cupcakes I found something call "elements" that would make good cupcake toppers. I considered buying something but in my searching I found these which I thought would be perfect. However I didn't have enough time to purchase them and have them shipped so thought that I might be able to make something similar myself. Mine weren't as good but then it looks like they were done with an air brush and I just used paint brushes to do the colours. I was so very pleased with how they turned out though and so was my friend. The party was yesterdat and I received a message that afternoon to say that the birthday boy was so very excited by it all, especially the fact that it lit up. The battery and switch for the lights were hidden in a cupcake that I hollowed out. 

Saturday 29 September 2012

September 2012 - Chicken Paillard with prosciutto

I made the two recipes from this issue very close together. This one wasn't quite as good as the jerk pork belly but it was still good.

Chicken Paillard with Prosciutto (Bill Granger) 

1 tbsp olive oil 
4 x 170 g chicken breast fillets, cut into thirds lengthwise and flatten (I didn't flatten)
1 lemon, sliced 
20 g unsalted butter 
4 thin prosciutto slices, roughly torn
4 green onions, thinly sliced 
1 tbsp capers (these aren't in the original recipe)
300 ml chicken stock
2 tbsp creme fraiche

Heat oil in pan. Season chicken and cook in batches with lemon until cooked and browned. Set aside. 
Reduce heat and add butter cook prosciutto, onion and capers for a few minutes and then add stock. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken slightly and then stir in creme fraiche and season to taste. 

Saturday 22 September 2012

September 2012 - Jerk Pork Belly

This was great and gave me a chance to use part of my new Le Chasseur multi-function pot.

Jamie Oliver's Jerk Pork Belly

5 green onions
15 whole allspice berries 
2 cm ginger, roughly chopped
1 scotch bonnet chilli (I used bird's eye) 
3 tbsp white wine vinegar (I uses apple cider vinegar)
Grated zest & juice of 1 lime (I used 1/2 lemon)
1 bunch coriander
1/2 bunch thyme
1 - 2 tbsp grapeseed oil 
750 g pork belly, skin scored

In a food processor blitz all ingredients except oil and pork with 1 1/2 tsp each salt and ground black pepper.  Slowly add oil pulsing until you get a thick marinade.

Place pork in a snug, non-reactive dish with marinade and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 200C.  Replace plastic wrap with foil and cook pork in the oven for 75 mins or until cooked and juicy. (Mine took about 1.5 hours if not a little more)

Preheat grill until hot.  Cook pork for 10-20 mins until skin is crisp and is charring in places.  Serve with rice and coleslaw.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Mermaid cake

My friend's middle daughter wanted a mermaid cake for her birthday party this year. I was happy to fulfil her request. There were a few issues surrounding party days but in the end the cake turned out really well and the birthday girl loved it and that is what is important. 

Cake is the usual chocolate cake made in two 20 cm cake tins and filled with a chocolate cream cheese filling. Covered in butter cream with fondant decorations. The "sand" on the board is crushed biscuits.