Saturday, May 30, 2009

Things to consider when making a wedding cake.


When one offers or is asked to make a wedding cake one must first establish a few details before agreeing. No matter how close you are to the bride and groom, no matter how well you think you know them, you absolutely must ask questions. Assumptions will be the death of you.

*How many guests will there be at the wedding?


(Tip: You must ask this question at least 3 times as the number will continue to grow)

This is a very important question and unless you are a professional may greatly influence your decision to make the wedding cake. I have learned that it is wrong to assume that just because you think the bride/groom have always talked about a small wedding, that they will in fact have a small wedding
.

*What style of wedding is it going to be?

Again if you are only an amateur baker this question may help you reach a decision as to whether you are in fact the best person to be making said wedding cake. In my experience the general assumption that the bride/groom will have an informal/non conventional wedding is not the same as the bride/groom actually having an informal/ non conventional wedding.

*Are there any family members/wedding guests who are likely to make me regret choosing/offering to make the wedding cake?

This, although slightly controversial, is a vital question to have answered. I can assure you when(1 hour before the wedding) you are at the reception in a mad frenzy icing 300 cupcakes to construct a wedding tower, with time ticking away and hair as yet to be washed and legs as yet to be shaved, the last thing you need to hear is a distant voice muttering "who would ever have 'patty cakes' at a wedding, look at all these shitty little 'patty cakes'. Even when said insult eventually masquerades as a compliment: "well I had to eat my own words when I saw how those shitty little patty cakes turned into something so beautiful" you may well wish that you had let the bride and groom buy a wedding cake and that you had spent your morning relaxing.

*Do you want a a proper cake in addition to the cupcake tower?
more importantly..
*If you say no is it likely that you will ask me at the wedding if I have made another cake which you will cut into?


When you are finally at the wedding feeling as though your responsibilities are over and you can let your (unwashed)hair down and relax it is never very pleasant to have a bride/groom come and 'check' that you infact did not make a cake for them to cut into.



So all in all I did not make a cake topper, I did not know (until the weekend before) you had to cater 2-3 cupcakes per guest (you do, people will actually eat 3!!), I did not really realise how formal the wedding was, I did not really factor in baking over 300 cupcakes in a holiday rental apratment, I did not see the bridesmaid dresses for matching the 'champagne' color frosting and I did not end up washing my hair.

The thing I did do is realise is how madly in love my brother and his wife are.

I am so glad they let me be a creative part of their beautiful wedding. It was an absolutely breath-taking day and I can only hope that my 'shitty little patty cakes' did it some justice.

Congratulations Matt and Ray!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why wait ....




I don't want to wait till next year for more anzac cookies!


I got my recipe from Y after I saw her creation for Tartlette. Her Anzac tart was so inspiring I couldn't resist. By adding some extra golden syrup and 1 cup of mixed sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds, sesame seeds and whole almonds I bent the anzac day biscuit rules enough to enjoy these oatie delights any day of the year.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

bye for now.....

My dear dear friends in the blogging world.
Thank you for being so inspirational to me every time I open my laptop. Before I found this amazing blogsphere I never knew this community existed. I wish I could continue this blog with more regularity but know in reality pea & pear will be on life support for months before I can breathe life back into it. Fortunately I love my job and forgive it for taking me away from this creative outlet. I am glad that for 12 months I had this, and it was mine to play with. You are all such marvelous people and I wish wonderful and amazing things for you in 2009. Thank you for your macarons and all else you have taught me.
Take Care
Blog and juggle your hearts out.

Ali
xxxx

Sunday, December 7, 2008

If you can make a sandwich, you can make a salad.




I love to eat salad!! I could eat it all the time, and I love to make them. I think there is such freedom in making a beautiful salad, all you need is a good concept of flavours and then the world is your oyster. Sometimes I see a salad somewhere I like and I will make it again with a few tweeks. Sometimes I just go to the shop buy some ingredients and put it together. And sometimes I just go for a basic salad; one ingredient, seasoning and a kicking dressing.

These salads are so easy, they only require one extra step then a usual 'toss' salad. I know an alarming number of people who are scared of making salads. I frequently hear my friends complain that they 'can't ' make salads. But I think it just comes down to confidence with ingredients....If you know flavours well enough to know what would taste good on a sandwich then you have the basic knowledge required to make a nice salad. Think outside the box a little every now and then, learn a couple of great dressings and you're set! If you can make a sandwich you can make a salad!!!

I did not use this dressing on either of the salads but it is a good one to have in your repertoire and can add I lot to a basic salad. I rarely use an actual recipe so this is just a guide, feel free to play and adjust to your personal taste.

Super Dressing
(all ingredients raw if you can get them)

10 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy/tamari
1 tsp miso paste (must be excellent high quality)( it's OK to leave it out)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey/agarve
pinch cayenne
1/2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1/4 tsp sesame oil
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients into a blender.
Adjust to personal preference.
Left over dressing will last in the fridge.

Tomato and Fig salad

3 heirloom or gourmet truss tomatoes
6 figs
meredith fetta
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup mint roughly chopped
1/2 cup coriander roughly chopped
olive oil
seasoning

Caramelize almonds by heating raw sugar and spices in a non stick pan until lightly golden. Add almonds and cook until sugar has caramelised. Turn almonds out onto silicone/baking paper.
When they have cooled down roughly chop almonds into slithers and pieces.

Thinly slice figs and tomatoes and layer onto a plate. Scatter the layer with some fetta, herbs almonds and seasoning.
Repeat until you have run out of figs and tomatoes.
Drizzle with an excellent quality olive oil.



Sweet Potato and lentil salad

1 large sweet potato
1 cup du puy lentils
1 cup mixed leaves (or plain rocket)
1/4 cup parsley roughly chopped
yogurt dressing

Season sweet potatoes and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast sweet potatoes for 30 minutes in a hot oven or until they are cooked and browned.
Cook lentils in boiling water until they are tender.
Allow all ingredients to cool.
Wash salad leaves and lightly dress in olive oil.
Layer all ingredients and dress with yogurt dressing.

Yoghurt dressing

1 cup very good quality natural Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon
1 teaspoon ground sumac

Combine all ingredients, and adjust with seasoning.



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Orange and Almond cake I forgive you!!




Orange and Almond cake has always been one of my favorites. It is everything I love about cake : moist, flavorful, delicious and light. Being that this cake is made with 300 grams of almond meal it is interesting that I would consider it to be light, but none the less I do. I love that it is gluten free also. As we all know it is always fun to pretend that something is healthy, even if it does involve said amount of ground almonds. So it is because Orange and Almond cake is in my top 5 all time favorite cakes that I forgive it for breaking my blender and making my kitchen smell like burned out electrical appliance for hours.


Of course it could be said that I should have noticed the smell of a motor burning. It could also be said that I should have realised that the smoke emanating from my blender was not steam from the oranges but rather smoke from the engine..... oopsie!! So of course my advice if you were to make this delicious and otherwise extremely easy cake, would be to use a food processor and not a blender. (Food processor is on the Christmas wish list...... blender is also)


Obviously this is a very simple and basic recipe but it it never fails and stays moist for days... if it ever lasts that long.


Orange and Almond cake
1 cup of caster sugar

2 cups almond meal
3 navel oranges
6 organic free range eggs

Boil oranges until soft. (if you are so inclined you could add some aromats eg cloves, cardamon, star anise to the water for a lightly aromatic cake)
Cut into wedges and remove all the seeds.

Process wedges (skin and all) in the food processor until they are completely pureed.
Combine eggs and sugar, fold in almond meal and orange puree.

Bake for 1 hr in an 140 d fan forced oven.

I covered mine with Greek yogurt frosting , which was delicious, but I do love it just as much with a drizzle of simple syrup.

The thing I love most about this cake is that it is moushy (realword!!!) enough to eat when I get my wisdom teeth out next week... sympathy please!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

September Daring Bakers challenge and I usually pride myself on my punctuality...




So here they are: Lavash crackers and vegan dip... the September Daring Bakers Challenge. I know, I know the whole point of DB's is to post on the same day world wide, but I am having a deadline crisis and I figure maybe better late then never.

Well regardless of whether I am forgiven or not trust me these crackers were better later then never. I absolutely loved them. We have been having some glorious weather (sprinkled with some on the not so glorious side) lately and all I have been able to think of is getting out to the park with a book and some nibblies. However a particularly long week (if you can call 38 days straight a week) prevented not just the action of the DB challenege but the event of enjoying the fruits of my labor. Well no more. The break has finally arrived and with a bit of forethought I was able to make both crackers and dip the night before. I opted for non-gluten free lavash (the challenge called for either) and a deliciously boring cumin hummus. So all I had to do to make the most of my glorious day off in the sun was grab my book, cut some veg, pack a bag and go. Oh beautiful Sydney how you reward me sometimes.

Please visit all the amazing and punctual Daring bakers blogs and websites for other dip recipes and ideas. They are a truly talented........ and punctual bunch.

Especially I have to give a belated thanks to natalie and shelly for this fabulous challenge. I will definitly be making these again, perhaps with the aid of my pasta machine to roll out some super thin crispy lavash. Next up october challenge, and then I promise by the Novemeber challenge I will be back to my usual prompt self.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A few of my favourite things......and other stuff.



Number one use for your cupcake stand when you have eaten all the cupcakes...