15 March 2012

Happy Birthday, Mr President...

It's our dog's 1st birthday today, so I made him a cake.  I realise that might sound crazy, and I could try and convince you I did it purely for Harry's benefit (7 years old, so you know, doing it for the kids), but I don't think anyone would buy that.  But hey, why not - it's his birthday, so oughtn't he have a cake?  So, if you've a pet and want to raise the eyebrows of those around you (make sure they don't have men in white coats on speed dial), here's a way to wish 'em Happy Birthday! 

1/2 dog roll (I'm sure it'd be fine for cats too)
strips of rawhide
rawhide stick
dog chocolates
peanut butter
  1. Cut the dogroll in half, then halve that again.  Place the flat-top and -bottom piece on a plate. 
  2. Spread some peanut butter on the rawhide straps (broken into pieces no higher than the bottom half of the cake) and stick onto piece of dog roll on plate.  They don't stick that well, but will stay put long enough for you to finish cake.  The peanut butter is good for dog's coat, but better check if making for a feline. 
  3. Place some globs of peanut butter on flat-top of dog roll, just for that extra goodness!
  4. Place rounded half of dog roll on top of peanut butter.  Put candle (rawhide stick) into top.  Press dog chocs into top half of cake - they have a tendancy to pop out, so press 'em in hard, and don't worry about covering the whole thing. 
  5. Voila - joyeux anniversaire chien! 

08 March 2012

Never-fail fruit cake

Being informed that the recipe you are being given is 'never fail' is rather daunting. But it also serves to awaken the fighter within - the scent of a challenge...

Penny, KB's aunt, gave me this a couple of weekends ago. It's apparantly foolproof. I don't know if it's 100% foolproof, but it's certainly not hard. My cake didn't turn out exactly as Penny's did (combination of addin ginger to the original recipe and forgetting to cover with foil for good 30 minutes!), but I think it came out pretty damn well. Not a failure, that's for sure.

3 eggs
400g mixed fruit
100g crystalised ginger, chopped
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash almond essence

1. Boil fruit, drain.
2. Whip eggs.
3. Place fruit and ginger in large mixing bowl, add eggs and sugar and beat.
4. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
5. Pour into greased 20cm springform tin, cover with foil and bake at 180 degrees for an hour or so.

NB: Penny cooks her cake for about an hour and ten minutes. Mine took a good hour and a half. Just keep checking it, if going over an hour.

07 March 2012

Let's hear it for the rainbow tour!, it's been an incredible success...

Okay, so these tasty little morsels have nothing whatsoever to do with Argentina, Eva Peron or her 1947 European Tour, but they're just so delightfully colourful that Lloyd-Webber's song sprang to mind. 

We were at Whangamata a couple of weeks ago and Emma was busy in the kitchen, chopping, cutting, slicing and dicing.  When I inquired as to what she was doing, I was told she was preparing 'summer rolls' - little Thai-style rice paper spring rolls.  They were so fresh and light, the platter was empty within minutes of its arrival on the table outside.  So good, they were, that KB and I made them again the following night...

rice paper - comes in packets like wraps, found in asian section of supy
finely chopped red onion, capsicum, red cabbage, lettuce
shaved carrot (use vege peeler)
coriander and mint
garlic, finely diced
  1. Prepare veges, set aside in bowls ready for assembly. 
  2. Saute prawns in butter and garlic.
  3. If preparing rolls on kitchen bench, have warm water running.  Otherwise keep a dinner plate filled with warm water alongside (keep replacing the water, it needs to be warm).  Wet both sides of rice paper wrap, place on assembly surface. 
  4. Load up the wrap with your fillings (don't overload though, or you won't be able to roll it!) - we started with lettuce, then on from there. 
  5. Roll bottom up over fillings, then top, side and roll to last side.  Place on serving platter and repeat, repeat, repeat. 
For the dipping sauce mix together: (keep tasting, to get how you like it)

soy sauce
fish sauce
sesame oil
sweet chilli sauce
lemon juice
finely chopped coriander

NB: Obviously you can use whatever fillings you like, or have to hand - try chicken, salmon, or perhaps even slices of cream cheese.  Apologies for the photo of the finished product - they got eaten so fast, the only one left was the slightly bung-looking first attempt.