Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

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HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY, My Favourite Twins On the Planet!

April 6, 2012

I can’t believe it’s been an entire year since I did a birthday post for my premium twins, Rebecca & Beth Hackfath! Time flies waaaaaaaayyy too fast…

But here we are! My girls are 18!!!!!!!! NO ONE I care about turns 18 without me making a fuss!  So I made a few treats to show off to them since I wasn’t able to be there in person for the occasion.

I asked Becca what she considers something special and yummy. She told me about this pasta bake her mom fixes — it’s creamy and chickeny and done with tagliatelle! I was unable to source that pasta so I used fettuccini for this recipe, which is very similar to tagliatelle.

THE CHICKEN BRICK

Har!!! I followed the principles of that pasta bake but kinda went backwards. I fixed the pasta in a homemade cream sauce (built up form chicken stock and roux, and a base of sauteed onions and pancetta). Tossed everything together then stuffed it in a personal sized mold. Once it cooled, I inverted it and un-molded it to make the lovely brick shape you see here. Topped it with freshly grated mozzarella cheese and homemade Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, placed under the broiler for a couple minutes and here it is!

Now for Birthday Cake!

Becca and Beth have a sweet tooth! :p So I wanted to do something sweet but not gaggingly sweet. I wanted to combine a few flavours I know work together.

Upside Down Champagne Apple & Cherry Chocolate Cake w/ Champagne Strawberry & Mint Salad

For starters, my apple slices, maraschino cherries and (diced) strawberries all marinaded in champagne! >:))) Birthday + Special People = Champagne!!!

I  made these personal sized. Start with the basic fundamentals for any upside down cake — butter & brown sugar on the bottom (you may use Vegan butter to cut calories!). Then, I layered a central slice of apple, surrounded by maraschino cherries. In goes the chocolate cake batter! I mixed diced apples into that and use some apple juice to amp the apple taste. Bake, let cool, use a knife to follow along the edge of the cake so it slips out easily, use a plate over the top of the ramekin to help flip, invert, there’s the cake!

After the inversion, I made two glazes for drizzling — both out of powdered sugar and whole milk. For once, I didn’t use soy or coconut or almond because those flavours would have conflicted with my recipe but you may use them if you please. I made one plain white and one pink! You can see the results.

My approach to the side of the plate with the strawberry & mint salad was to go at it in a bit of an abstract art style. I think it looks quite lovely! :p What do YOU think?!

And here is an Apple Tart w/ Honey on Puff Pastry

So simple to fix and so yummy! Just cut some rectangles out of thawed puff pastry sheet. Roll it out some or use your fingers to work it out to your desired length. Brush with some butter of your choice, arrange apple slices as pictured, drizzle with  some more melted butter of your choice or a good oil, like a fruity olive oil would be perfect! Bake till golden and puffy. Drizzle with honey and dust with powdered sugar! Garnish with a mint leaf and enjoy! I made a bunch of these. :p Oh, and you can drizzle the honey BEFORE baking if you want to get that baked honey thing going. So good either way.

Beth and Becca! I know this isn’t much but I’m far away and food is one way I show people I love them. 🙂 And I love you both very much! I feel we’ve really connected over the past few years and I feel lucky to count you among my very best friends, online or otherwise. Whoever said people can’t forge meaningful relationships over the internet is full of shit. :p

I’m SO thrilled to see you both turn 18! It’s a major milestone. I remember when I turned 18… kind of. ;p ~I wish I could do it all over again. You’ll probably feel like that one day so please cherish every second of your special day, relish every moment and take every pleasure in basking in all the love that surrounds you. I hope you’ve had the best celebration possible today! As I said on Facebook, I’m blowing out some birthday candles of my own here, in your honour! My wish: That you both are eternally happy!

Your Forever-Friend,

~Charlie ♥

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HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY, SARA MARGOLIS !!!!

January 31, 2012

Sometimes, I wonder what I did in another life to deserve the cool, amazing friends I have. One such friend is Model Sara Margolis! We were chit-chatting the other day and I asked her if she had her birthday party planned yet. She said she hadn’t had one in years and I nearly fell outta my chair!

SO I THREW ONE! 😀

True to form, I cooked up a storm and aimed for special! I wanted these dishes to reflect a theme, showcase some of the stuff Sara has done, the places she has been and the whimsy in her personality.

#StuffSaraLikes = All things tropical! She’s a Vegetarian (Ovo-Lacto) so fruits and veggies are big. Sweets and sour surprises, too!

Sara told me a story about a vacation of hers where she, her brother and a friend flung a coconut off a hotel balcony till it busted on the concrete below. What a way to go! I bet that coconut’s coconut-pals still talk about how he met such an untimely demise! I decided to pay homage to that coconut — Otis the Coconut! — with a signature dish I called:

Sara’s Sweet & Sour Coconut/Lime Mousse w/ Sweet & Sour Mint Phyllo Chips

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Ole Otis here is stuffed with rich and fluffy yet light and bright coconut lime mousse, topped with lime zest and toasted coconut, served with phyllo chips and garnished with mint.

The sand is pulverized wafer cookies and graham crackers. The eyes are edible, too! :p

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These phyllo chips were so fun to make. I dusted them with citric acid and colored sprinkles! That citric acid is the stuff on Sour Patch Kids candies and Sour Skittles. They were a perfect pop to the decadent mousse.

A trick to get some lime taste in the chip itself was to make lime sugar! I infused confectioner’s sugar with lime zest. I let the sugar and zest sit together for an hour. Then, as I folded the phyllo pastry, I dusted the sugar between the layers to act as a bit of an adhesive during the baking process.

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Sara’s Sandcastle Retreat Cake

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This was wild! I had never made a sandcastle cake before. BUT! Sara enjoys tropical holidays. She sports enough beach pictures to fill an impressive travelogue! Besides that, “Sara” means “PRINCESS” in Hebrew. Sooo, I went with the theme and made our Princess a beach castle she can hide away in for some R&R. I dunno about that starfish, though. How did he get on the beach resort guest list? :O Looks suspicious!

I really wanted this to look like something someone made on the beach so I forwent using things like fondant and stuck with a spatula and my hands, instead!

This is a three-tier cake for 75. The bottom tier was a traditional white vanilla cake infused with guava and lime. The middle tier was my favorite — Strawberry and Chocolate swirl! It tasted exactly like Neopolitan ice cream! The top tier was a strawberry cream bundt cake.

Frosting! The top tier was frosted in a coconut-pecan glaze that gave the “sand” an awesome wet-sand look after application. The middle and bottom tiers were frosted in lemon/lime/orange zest infused buttercream.

The sand is a mixture of pulverized vanilla wafer cookies, graham cracker cookies and these gingersnap type things I bought. Those made the darker sand where I wrote “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA”!

I also bought the candy pearls sprinkled everywhere. 🙂 ~And the candles!

The shells, starfish and misfits invading Sara’s castle are all handmade with white chocolate. Very yummy!

The towers are, of course, ice cream cones — decorated! :p

Sara’s Facebook name is “Tweetie Bird” so I had to invite Tweety to the party!

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This is how cake was served. Here is my favorite of the three: a slice of strawberry/chocolate swirl atop strawberry cream and guava/ancho chili infused chocolate drizzle, decorated with pink and lavender sugar sprinkles — and served with a quenelle of mango sorbet. On top is a red candle with a red flame, a white chocolate sea shell and one of the cookie “castle battlements.”

The sweets didn’t stop there! Considering Sara turned FIFTEEN and TAYLOR SWIFT wrote a song called FIFTEEN, it stood to reason to make some T-Swizzle inspired treats!

Taylorific Orange Infused Cheesecake w/ Raspberry Puree

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Taylor (I call her Tayters!) has said her favorite food is cheesecake. Nothing easier, more fun or yummier than that! This is an orange infused cheesecake with graham cracker crust, served on a bed of raspberry puree w/ an orange peel twirl, orange zest & mint leaf garnish. Decadent, silky, lovely!

Parmesan Dusted Sara Tots w/ Horseradish Vegenaise Dip

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TAYTER TOTS! Growing up, that was Taylor’s nickname and what I still call her. FOR THE OCCASION, though, I believe we can call these “SARA TOTS!” :p These are Yukon Gold potato “Sara Tots” dusted with Parmesan cheese and pepper, served with a luscious Vegenaise and horseradish dip. For any of you who want to cut down on the mayo, definitely go out and get some Vegenaise! It’s great and better for you!

Sarastrone Soup

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This is my traditional recipe for minestrone soup. I like fixing it vegan-style, and fully embrace the bean broth as the base of this hallmark dish. The incorporation of the shell pasta ties into Sara’s beach-themed gala, and that makes it SARASTRONE instead of minestrone!  ;p

Saravera Primavera Martini

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This was good! This is a medley of kale, watercress, baby asparagus tips, PAPAYA (omg yum), Korean garlic-chili sauce and quinoa spaghetti noodles quickly sauteed in sesame oil. Once in the martini glass, I drizzled a very clean celery/onion broth with a hint of low sodium soy sauce over it all, garnished with a scallion curl and fresh flat leaf parsley — AND PAPAYA PEPPER! NEVER throw away your papaya seeds! All you have to do is soak them, husk them, dry them and grind them! Then, you have the healthiest “pepper” you could ever hope to find!

FYI, I no longer use any other pasta but the quinoa stuff! Quinoa is a real super food. The health benefits are astounding!

The Princess Sara (Cocktail)

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Can’t have a party without a cocktail!

I made two versions of this; one for the under-21s (like our birthday girl! :p ) that was just as delicious as the one for us over-21s. This cocktail is inspired by the traditional red tea from South Africa, Rooibos Tea, and fuses some tropical influences into it with crushed mint (mojito style!) and fresh mango juice — and rum! I used coconut rum. :p

Sara said one of her favorite fruits is mango so this recipe felt natural. Rooibos is SO good for you! See here. I served this in a glass that could facilitate four Lite Cubes for the neon rave effect you see pictured. All garnished with fresh mint!

So, basically, smush a mint leaf at the bottom of the glass. Removal of the deceased leaf is optional. Lite Cubes go in. Then, start building! 3 parts mango juice, 2 parts Rooibos tea, rum to fill, mint garnish. Enjoy!

SARA! I pity people who don’t know you. You have an uncanny essence & energy that lights up any room and turns any frown upside down. I’m SO thankful we met because I firmly believe that, to make the most of life, we must surround ourselves with bright, ambitious, successful people who keep the goal of living life to its fullest at the top of their to-do list — people like you. There are LOTS of people who love you — including me! — so never forget that the more you smile and the brighter you glow, the more people you’ll inspire around you, with everything you do. Just look at all the yummy treats you inspired me to make! :p

Cheers to this next round of your life! At fifteen, the party is just getting started!

Happy Birthday, Princess! ~(=^-^)= ♡♥♡♥♡♥

OH! And here’s the DJ we had! ~(=O_O)=

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And here she is after the feast! 🐱

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Recipes for all these will be posted soon on my upcoming Tumblr dedicated to my yummies. 🙂 Stay tuned!

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Café y Chocolate Pastel de Tres Leches – Celebrity Birthday Series – Manuela Tessari

September 11, 2010

September 9th, 2010, my most favourite Brazilian Fashion Model, Manuela Tessari, turned 19! So, I baked a cake! 🙂

Now, I made this with full-on ingredients as I still need to experiment with a Vegan recipe, (or at least one that is low-cal), but I know how to make this like the back of my hand the old fashioned way and I wanted to make something pretty for Manu so~ :p Ford would KILL ME if I fed her this! Secrets! Shhhhhhh!

*BTW, if anyone has tips/recipes for a Vegan Tres Leches cake, please let me know!*

This is two-layer round cake spiked with espresso & rum, adorned with fluffy whipped topping, cocoa powder & decorative chocolate sticks & discs. Everyone here really enjoyed it! I’m a bit spent to post the recipe so I’ll post some history on this sinfully delightful goodie, from Chef Dorothy Sibole at TexasCooking.com:

“So what is this cake? Pastel de Tres Leches is a butter cake sometimes flavored with vanilla. What makes it unusual is that it is soaked in a mixture of three different milk products, hence the name Tres Leches. The three milks, when combined, create just the right sweetness, density and “mouth feel” for a rich cake, making it moist but not mushy.

The idea of soaking a cake in liquid is not new. There are some traditional cakes that require a good bath in some flavoring. You know them as a Baba or a Savarin, and the Christmas favorite, Rum cake. These cakes get their traditional flavoring from being doused with an alcohol mixture. Many layer cake recipes advise you to brush your cake layers with a simple syrup solution to moisten the cake. The Pastel de Tres Leches takes this one step further, adding richness to the soaking liquid.

So how did the Tres Leches come about? It is hard to pinpoint the origin of the confection. There is dispute over where it came from. There is dispute over when it was first created. There is even dispute over what variation is the correct version of Pastel de Tres Leches. After much mind-numbing investigation, I drew two definite conclusions. One is that this cake is very popular in Latin America, especially Mexico and Nicaragua. The second is that it is soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk or heavy cream.

Going on the assumption that sweetened condensed milk has not been around for a long time, I was trying to narrow down the potential timeframe for the introduction of the recipe. Low and behold, my theory was blown out of the water. It appears that sweetened condensed milk has been around since the 1800’s. The product was originally created to preserve fresh milk. That being the case, I gave up on trying to determine when the cake was created. While the facts of its origin may be elusive, the fact of its popularity is not.”

I made some other things but I’m saving the savory recipes for a Culinary World Tour post series I have planned. Suppose this means my recipe tour, which I’ll blog here, will begin in Sao Paolo! (Peru will follow. Then, probably Mexico where my family comes from).

Happy Birthday, Manuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu~~~!!! <3 ( *^-^) ~To love! Happiness! Long life! Infinite success!

Saúde!

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