Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Us!!

For those of you who don't know, today is Love, Shoes and Cupcakes first birthday, yep one whole year. It doesn't feel like that long hey! Things have certainly changed in that time though...
- My shoe collection has increased ten-fold (and evolved into a love of tights too)
- Both OH and I have started new jobs and made significant changes in our lives
- We were getting married, then two weeks before the big day we decided to postpone which was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but now we are six months out from our wedding date and you know what, this time it just feels right, it's really going to happen and I couldn't be more excited, we even booked our mini-moon last night and we are about to book our honeymoon to Europe!
- As for the cooking, it's grown from a love of cupcakes and basic baking to a love of all things cooking, I've made things I never thought I could and I still love nothing more then an afternoon in the kitchen :)

So in honour of this milestone last night, Mum and Dad came up for dinner and this is how we celebrated...

Roast Tomato and Lentil Soup with Homemade Foccacia....

This foccacia recipe has been haunting me for ages! I have desperately wanted to try it, but just wasn't sure if I could pull it off, but well last night was the night and it was better then I expected. The herbs and sea salt on the top gave it so much flavour and it was crispy on the outside, but light and fluffy in the middle, just perfect :) Wanna try it for yourself? Here's how...


2 cups plain flour
7g dried yeast
2tbspns of olive oil
2 tspns rock salt
2 tbspns parmesan
2 tspns pizza herbs

Grease a 20cm x 30cm slice tin.

Combine the flour, yeast, parmesan and half of the salt in a bowl.

Make a well in the centre and add 1 cup of warm water and oil. Stir until a soft sticky dough forms.

Knead the dough (in the bowl should be fine) for around 5-7 mins or until the dough springs back when pressed.

Press the dough into the prepared pan and cover with cling wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.

Waiting waiting waiting.....pre-heat your oven to 180C....wait some more...

Remove the plastic wrap from dough. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar or olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and herbs.

Bake for 15 mins then reduce temperature to 160C. Bake for a further 10 -15 mins or until top is golden and sounds hollow when tapped.

And for dessert, we had the grand finale (I even had a candle!!) The Double Decker Icecream Pudding!!

Now what to make for this occasion has been a point of contention for me for some time, it had to be something special, something celebratory, something different, something I hadn't made before, something easy yet impressive....this long list of criteria led to me sitting on the floor last Friday, surrounded by every recipe book I own....and after much page turning, huffing, puffing, foot stamping and general tantrum throwing, I settled on a combination of several recipes with my own twists thrown in. (I have to give OH a big shout out here for putting up with me during the decision making process!!)

And you know what? It was so easy!!

Double Decker Icecream Pudding

1.25L of light vanilla icecream
1 cup of store brought or homemade vanilla custard (I made some at home)
10-15 mini vanilla meringues (crushed)
16 choc ripple biscuits (leave 8 whole and roughly crush the remaining 8)
Peppermint essence
Green and pink food colouring
250g of fresh strawberries (hulled and diced)
2 tbspns strawberry jam
Ice Magic

Line a large mixing bowl (with steep sides) or a large pudding steamer with cling wrap.

In a large bowl, combine the vanilla icecream with the custard, meringues and crushed biscuits.

Place half of the mixture in a seperate bowl.

Add 2 drops peppermint essence and 2-3 drops green food colouring to one bowl. Combine. Spoon the mixture into your prepared bowl and place in the freezer.

Cook the strawberries and the jam in the microwave or on the stove top for 4-5 mins or until they have cooked down. You want them to be mushy, but you still want some strawberry chunks too!

Stir the strawberries and 2 drops of pink food colouring through the remaining icecream. Place the bowl in the freezer.

After 2-3 hours the mint layer should be set enough to pour your strawberry mixture over the top. Place back in the freezer for an hour.

Layer your remaining chocolate biscuits over the strawberry icecream to form a 'base' for your pudding. Place back in the freezer overnight.

When you are ready to serve the pudding, place a large plate over the bowl and flip upside down. The pudding should come out of the bowl easy enough. Remove the bowl and peel the cling wrap from the pudding.

Pour ice magic over the top and leave for a minute or two to set.

Serve and enjoy!!

I was really happy with the way this came out, it looked fantastic, it tasted great and I couldn't think of a better way to end our first twelve months!

So thank you to OH, Mum and Dad for putting up with my cooking madness and thank you to all of you for sharing the ride - I can't wait to see what the next year has in store!!

Em x

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