Snooker Cake – Picture Post

17 08 2010

A quick picture post of my latest cake.  Its a triple layer chocolate fudge cake &  I used rice crispie treats to make the edges of the table and covered everything in fondant.  All the table decorations are fondant too.





Anniversary post: Belfast Taste & Music Fest 2010

8 08 2010

I can’t believe a year has passed since I started this blog.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to update as often as I would like but I’m glad that I’ve continued to post when I can and it’s been great to have all my baking experiences in one place.  Now that I’ve completed my Accounting Technicians course I’m hoping to be a little more prolific this year with posting and perhaps to try some different posts.  I’m not sure yet what that will entail but I’m looking forward to trying.  

Last August my 3rd post was about The Belfast Taste & Music Fest.  The pictures were mainly mobile phone images and my summation was brief.  This year I went to the fest armed with my camera and family who were happy to wait a few minutes while I photographed the food.  Also, in true geeky fashion I had copies of the fest programme marked with every dish we wanted to try.  Our first task was to go along every stand and mark down the cost for each item so that we could work out the optimum combination of food to try. 

We visited on Sunday 7th Aug between 2pm & 6pm.  We paid £5 entrance fee each and bought 20 tokens each for £10.  My mum purchased an extra 20 tokens near the end of our visit so in total we used 80 tokens and including entrance we spent £55 altogether.  I’ve tried my best to include the token cost of each item I captured along with my review.  1 token = 50p.  We were lucky to visit a few stands that had reduced their costs as it was the last day, I suspect many would have reduced even further later into the evening as they tried to clear their stock.  The big disadvantage of this approach is that I was in the queue for the fab Yellow Door Ice Cream and the person in front of me got the last one!  

It was significantly busier than last year’s event and we were unable to find a seat so a patch of shaded grass was our only option.  We bought our food in rounds, each of us going to different stands in order to try the widest variety of food.

I’m going to do my best to include the stand, token price, picture & review of everything we tried but there were a few I may not have taken the details down correctly.

Stand: Cookstown & Ulster Pork & Bacon Forum

Dish: Guinness Marinated Baby back ribs

Tokens: 5

These were absolutely divine; the meat was cooked to perfection and simply melted off the bone.  The sauce was a wonderful smoked hickory concoction infused with Guinness, slightly spicy, a hint of tomato and other flavours that we couldn’t quite place.  It was a generous portion of 4 large ribs and was deemed the best dish of the day in terms of flavour and value.  It even included a mini portion of potato salad!  The wife has decreed that I find a recipe to recreate these asap.

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Step-by-step: Checkerboard cake

3 08 2010

There are a number of skills involved in baking and decorating cakes.  Whilst many of them just require repetition and practice some need a little more assistance.  Checkerboard cake is one of those fun cake designs that seems so much more complicated than it actually is.  I was so happy to find a few tutorials online that completely destroyed the notion that this was going to be really difficult.  I love making this cake without telling the recipient and seeing their face when they cut the first slice.  Most of the time the decoration is the only part of a cake that anyone pays any attention to so it makes a nice change to play with the interior.

One point to note.  There are kits available online to make a checkerboard cake, some have special cutters, others have lots of different baking tins.  I’m not trying to lose anyone money but I think they’re a complete waste of time and money.  The following method is simple & only requires a few cookie cutters which many bakers will already have amongst their baking paraphenalia.

1) Your cakes need to be round to get the correct effect.  I have tried something similar with square cakes and it didn’t quite work out the way I hoped it would.  I tend to stick with a simple 8 or 9 inch round cake.  Bake two plain/ vanilla cakes and two coloured or chocolate cakes.  I’ve made this previously using pink colouring to tint two of my vanilla cakes.  You basically need contrasting colours. Once cooled, level your four cakes.

2) Find two round cutters that will give you even rings when you cut into the round cakes.  The picture demonstrates this much better than I can ever explain.  I have a few sets of round cutters that increase in size so I just chose the ones that suited best.  If you don’t have suitable cutters or larger cakes try to find some crockery or household objects to cut around, as long as you are consistent in cutting each cake.

3) Once you have cut all your rings it’s time to swap them about.  Swap the middle ring from each cake with the contrasting colour.

4) Stack your cakes using alternate colours filling as you go along.

5) Decorate your cake in the normal manner.  Ensure you or the recipient of your cake cuts a wedge slice rather than across the side of the cake, to get the full effect.  Et voila, a checkerboard pattern that will amaze your friends & family.  Simples.





Cakes Galore

3 08 2010

Since I jumped back on the baking wagon after my exam imposed exile I have been swamped with cakes.  It’s a tough balancing act with work and the rest of the mundane tasks that suck up all your time outside of work.  I’ve enjoyed some of the new skills I’ve had to employ though and am relishing trying new things and look forward to the different designs I have yet to create in the coming weeks.

This is pretty much a picture post with just a quick description of the cake designs.

Check out the rest of the pics after the jump….

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The big 30 – Celebrating in style

3 08 2010

Everyone that knows me knows how food is not just fuel to me.  It is a passion.  I may not dine in the best restaurants, I may not create the most amazing savoury delicacies, I may actually be insanely fussy and not eat seafood & a wide variety of other foods BUT I love everything about eating.  I love creating something from scratch, I love tasting a new creation, I love seeing other people’s pleasure at tasting something I’ve made or even something I’ve recommended.  Obviously baking has become my biggest passion and I cannot imagine a time when it won’t be part of my life but it doesn’t stop me from loving new savoury experiences too.

When it came to my 30th birthday celebrations I knew it had to involve food.  The wife wonderfully paid for my whole day of foodie extravagance (along with lots of fab presents!) I was already planning my own birthday cake but I also wanted to try something new on my actual birthday.  I booked the wife and myself in for Afternoon Tea at The Merchant Hotel http://www.themerchanthotel.com/ For a very reasonable £14.50 you can experience the standard afternoon tea with as much tea as you can consume or for £24.50 you can add a glass of champagne.   We both went for the standard offer as I thought the champagne would be too much for me in the afternoon as we were having dinner that evening too.

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