Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crazy Mad Hatter tea party bridal shower cake!

Wow, what a mouthful of a title! This cake was done about a month ago, and is my first proper tiered fondant cake. I spent a long time planning it out and made sure that I was organized enough to execute all my ideas properly (something I had struggled with in the past). It's funny though, sometimes you will be faced with a challenge and a totally different solution will present itself and you'll realize that it is much better! What I mean by this is originally I wanted to create a few large fondant roses to go on top of the cake, but I was having trouble creating them as my mind saw them. Instead I made a stack of small roses and leaves to give the illusion of a full potted plant, if that makes sense! I hoped to make it taller, but I have ideas as to how I can do that for next time. Every cake is a learning curve!

I'm quite surprised that I'm so pleased with this cake. As a "tortured artist" I'm never quite satisfied with my work, whether it be a cake, drawing, or a musical piece I'm composing. It's a really great feeling knowing that you accomplished what you set out to do and executed it well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Playing catch-up!

Warning: this is a very photo-heavy post! Those with dial-up beware!

I'm going to be playing food catch-up with this post. The last couple of months have been very hectic and despite the best of intentions I still haven't achieved my goal of posting more regularly. I feel as though once I get over this one big food blogging hump then we're smooth sailing!

But first, something totally unrelated to food - I cut off all of my hair.



I really wanted a change, and my hair was completely fried having dyed it blonde for 9 months straight. I got great feelings of instant gratification but now I desperately miss my ponytail! I can now pull it back into the tiniest of stubs but it will be a few months before I can fully pull it back. I will never cut my hair again! Which is a lie, as I'll probably want to do the exact same thing two years from now. Vicious cycle.

Back now to food! Ryan and I have been attempting to eat more healthy. In addition to adding raw food to our diet, we also are obsessed with rice paper wraps! So easy and so versatile.

I discovered a recipe from Happy Little Bento, and while my own version didn't turn out nearly as cute as the photo, nor did I have all of the proper ingredients amounts, it was still one of the most surprisingly delightful dishes I've ever eaten! Despite it's slop-like appearance, of course.

As some of you may have read, awhile ago I e-mailed a food stylist/specialist in Ottawa and we met and hit it off right away. I did some part-time work with her before being offered a more full-time position, and one of my projects was to pick some recipes from her website and to make them and take photos of each step. Later these will be on her blog (when I get around to doing that... oh dear...). For now though the final product pictures are here!

Egg-free and Gluten-free chicken fingers. Dipped in a honey-dijon mixture and rolled in spelt crumbs.

Tuna and asparagus salad with avocado.

Peanut butter energy balls.

I also had one week where I made a lot of cakes!

Double chocolate cheesecake

Chocolate brownie cake with caramel buttercream and pecans

Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

Vanilla cake with chocolate icing (this felt like such a grocery store cake!)

Chocolate almond dacquoise with strawberry cream and caramel

Lastly, Ryan and I had a dinner party a few weeks back for some friends from cooking school. We felt slightly rushed to get everything prepared but it turned out to be a roaring success.

Dinner party attire!

Stuffed sea trout. Recipe found at The Delicious Miss Dahl.

Vegan chocolate cake with not-so-vegan chocolate caramel ganache

More photos and stories to come! Here a teaser list for you - raw tacos, tales from the ER, homemade pizza, raw cakes, and more!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Raw Chocolate Orange Cheezecake

Oh, right, back to food! I was on Cloud Nine for a bit meeting one of my food idols, Chef Michael Smith. After that a lot of work drama occurred, and I've since resigned and will be starting my new job in about two weeks. I'm going to be doing a lot things such as recipe developing, food styling, food blogging, tweeting... the list goes on! I'm really excited about these upcoming projects. I'm also going to be able to have a semi-relaxed Summer which is much needed to help me feel grounded and generally normal again!

I made this cake about a month ago, and I got the recipe from RawMazing, which is a fantastic site that you all should check out! I don't have a dehydrator (yet... if I can find a suitable place to store it my boyfriend will give me the OK) so I've been making recipes that don't require one, such as this cheesecake.

One of the things that I noticed about it is how many cashews it required! Wow, it was a lot of nuts. And for some silly reason I felt cheated because the ingredients only yielded enough for a 6" round. Well, I should have guessed how rich it was just from the cashew content alone! Wow, one tiny sliver made me full and kept my sweet tooth satisfied. I sometimes found it too coconut-ey, because of the coconut butter, and I really just wanted to taste the cacao and orange sometimes. Perhaps next time I'll try cashew butter instead, or maybe just slightly refined coconut oil (is that still considered raw? Maybe someone could chime in with more information!) in order to reduce the coconut taste.

Being silly with my raw creation!

This may be a slightly strange observation and fascination, but I really was glad when, after having it in the fridge for awhile, that it grew mold. I always get suspicious of things that don't grow mold after being opened, so it was nice knowing that I was consuming something that was riddled with preservatives.

I had a little bit of leftover topping leftover, so I put it on my yoghurt one morning - delicious! This crust would make a lovely "granola" topping for breakfast, there's nothing bad in it.

One thing with raw desserts, especially a "cheezecake", is that you're never going to be able to replicate the texture of the original entirely, and you try all you want, but I'm fairly convinced that this is just not something that can be done. It is a dense cake (so. many. nuts), and while it has the looks of a cheesecake, it's definitely not soft, nor squishy like a regular cheesecake is. This is ok though, because the density of it makes you want to consume less, which is good, because I really believe that everything, even good things, should be eaten in moderation :). The texture was very smooth, but next time I'm going to process it more so that I can fully liquify any little bits of nut that hang around. That, or I might try straining it. All in all this was a fantastic recipe and next I'm going to try making a raw tart! Mmm.