my blueberry birthday

blueberry birthday cake with a light cream cheese filling

This is my birthday cake.

I am absolutely, 100%, not ashamed to say that I baked my very own cake.

Mel’s been making fun of me since last week. He keeps telling me that a person absolutely should not be making their own cake. He might be right.

I on the other hand absolutely insist that it’s not a birthday unless there is cake. Which presents me with a problem. There are no gluten-free bakeries on the island, & other peoples ovens make me nervous. I want a reaction-free cake. Then there’s the problem that Mel’s no baker. Which leaves me with my one & only options of….. You guessed it… ME!

I had wanted a cherry & amaretto cake since I’m absolutely addicted to the combination at the moment…. but I’m a moron & forgot that cherries were out of season. Didn’t want chocolate. I feel like all I ever do it use chocolate. Carrot cake I’ve made countless times. So, what else? Banana? No, Eirini doesn’t like banana. Vanilla? Too boring. Fruity. But not peach.

Lucky for me, I love the colour purple & always have blueberries in my freezer. Problem solved. Blueberry cake for Lauren.

Don’t make fun. I put my age on it too. Yeah, I’m a bit of a strange one. Enjoy the recipe!!!

As for me, I special ordered the harvest moon tonight & it should be arriving here in an hour. How’s that for a birthday present!

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Vango turns 40!

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Haaaaaaaave you met Vango?

No?

Vangelis happens to be the Co-Head of the happy little catering company known as Chili Catering. The very same company I’ve been working for, for the last 2+ weeks. With him, I also work with Eirini, you know, that wonderful girl I made the strawberry & mint macarons with & also did a series of trials before arriving at the idea of a roulade with.

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

It’s a fabulous team. There’s also Costas, he can come across as a little grumpy & be hard to know, but once you crack through, he’s pretty fantastic too.

Back to Vangelis….

Did you know he’s turning 40 today? That’s quite impressive if you ask me. He’s been persistent that he wants nothing to do with a birthday cake…

Eirini & I don’t care one little bit what he wants. We’re going against his wishes & whipping him up one any way. Why should he get to deny us the joy of making a cake just because he’s said so?

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Since he’s quite the Chef & very imaginative with flavors, I’ve decided to do a cake that will be layered…. • hazelnut • hazelnut & milk chocolate • hazelnut & dark chocolate •
Then, in between each of these delicious layers, there will be a wonderfully light, basil whipped cream.

layers of hazelnut & chocolate sponge cake filled with a purple basil whipped cream... gluten free

It’s heaven.

Even more heavenly, the design.

More often than not, I finish a cake & I’m sorely disappointed with it. Not that it isn’t good, it’s just, I always tell myself “I can do so much better”. Not to brag or anything, but I am so ridiculously pleased with myself over this cake that there is no bringing me down. Not today. Can’t wait to show him what Eirini & I did!!!

Did I mention that I lovingly crystalized each & every basil leaf myself? From purple basil plants growing in my garden which I actually grew all by myself from seed?!?! Oh yea, every single part of the process.

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divine italian tiramisu, all dressed up

a lovely italian tiramisu, with the added little bonus of having complately gluten-free chocolate lady fingersI have several confessions to make….

I procrastinate. Like, big time.

Do you want to know when I first started fantasizing about making a tiramisu?

….. SIX years ago!

That’s right, six years ago I was sitting at Pasta Brioni having dinner with my sister Amyra, & when it came time for dessert, I turned into a melted puddle of desire over the tiramisu. I swear, every mouthful was followed by an “mmmmmmmm”, & “ooooh, that’s so gooooooood”.

I’ve always loved food, what can I say.

I scoured the internet & obsessed over recipes, & proceeded to do that for nearly six years.

Every time I make a list of dishes/desserts I want to make for the site, tiramisu makes the list every single time. And every single time, I don’t make it.

In fact, the only reason I made it now was because we had a catering event last night for a romantic dinner, & since I wanted to do something classic, I opted to do this.

See? Now do you understand me when I say I procrastinate?

Want to hear something even worse?

… when Mel & I went to Italy two years ago, we drove all over Florence in search of the perfect restaurants with amazing views. Do you know that not once, in the entire week that we were there, did I ever eat tiramisu.

I was in Italy! The very same country where the dessert originated. A dessert that I adore, & I didn’t even try it!

It’s shameful. A little embarrassing too. I can’t turn back the clock & undo what I did though, I’m going to have to live with this shame for the rest of my life. Shame shame shame.

At least now I can finally cross tiramisu off of my list. It may have taken 6 years, but it was an utter & total success. Not to mention I added my own little twist by making gluten-free chocolate lady fingers for it. I can officially say that the whole thing was made from scratch, & that, my friends, is something to be proud of.

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balsamic-glazed black cherry tart

balsamic glazed black cherry tart, completely gluten-free

I’ve been back in the kitchen recipe testing. Not so much for the blog, but because Eirini & I (the girl I made the strawberry & mint macarons with) are trying to come up with dessert proposals for a few upcoming events.

She came over to the house the other day so that we could make a mess in the kitchen & figure a few things out. Prior to her arrival, I found myself wondering around the green grocers picking up fruit & asking it to speak to me for inspiration. Finally, I settled on peaches, apples & black cherries.

Good thing I got the cherries too! As soon as I showed them to Mel, he picked them up & started going on & on about caramelizing them in balsamic vinegar & honey….

My mouth was watering. Not to mention I was overcome with joy since as you may or may not have noticed, but it’s been a little while since he’s participated in anything other than eating when it comes to the site.

I let him have his way & complete artistic license to do his own thing. I managed to contribute by whipping up a batch of pâte sucrée to turn into tart shells & also a chantilly cream to fill them with.

There they sat, ready & waiting whilst I watched him prepare all his ingredients & put a huge knob of butter into the pan.

I love it when he cooks.

Is it wrong of me to say that I love him especially when he cooks? Cause I do. Not to mention I’m a tad envious as he has this raw talent for it.

I’m afraid that in todays post, the picture just doesn’t do the dish justice. It’s a shame really, but I only had a limited opportunity to photograph it & in that time, I was lacking all inspiration.

I wont deny you the recipe however. If you make it & take a better picture, show me… I’ll amend the image above & link it back to your site with a glorious, glowing review of your beautiful work.

….happy weekend everyone!

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matcha macarons

matcha green tea macarons with a dark chocolate ganache

I’m not obsessed I’m not obsessed I’m not obsessed I’m not obsessed.

Ok, I’m obsessed.

Well, maybe that’s only a half truth.

I mentioned yesterday that macarons are on the menu for Hotel Ploes. It’s because of that reason that I created these ones. The hotel is trying to design packaging for the Italian cookies since we’re going to be selling them in boxes. Due to that, I have an extremely good excuse for posting up another macaron recipe.

There will be lots of recipes going up for these as it so happens since I’ll constantly be changing them up to keep things interesting & “fresh”.

Today’s recipe was inspired by the contents in my fridge. The last of my matcha green tea powder was hiding in the back & it was about time it was put to some good use.

I changed it up a bit though. To date, I’ve been flavoring the filling of the macarons. Today, I decided to flavor the macaron shell instead.

See, I can keep things interesting.

I’ll whip up another batch for the hotel in a week once the new packaging is in & show off what these little beauties look like when they’re ready to go.

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