Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fancy Birthday Food

To celebrate my 30th, I had a few people over to celebrate with food and/or drinks. We only live in a tiny 1 bedroom place so couldn't have a large potluck or party. So I hope I haven't offended anyone by keeping it really small!

Toby and I made 4 things. We took Friday off but ended up having a bit of a disaster two days of cooking, lots of accidentally misreading recipes, throwing out things, spilling things, breaking things and I even gave myself a nasty bump on the head. We attempted to make tomato jelly by mixing arrowroot with tomato juice but it didn't quite work out texture wise, so Toby grated the jelly with a microplace grater which I think fixed the texture issues. We served it on seaweed crackers with cream cheese.

We also made some:

Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups from Wind Attack.

 For the Hummus
    * 2 Red Bell Peppers, fire roasted, skins, stems and seeds discarded
    * Juice of Two Lemons
    * ½ tsp (Smoked) Sea Salt
    * 3 cloves Garlic, Smashed
    * 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
    * 2 tsp Agave Nectar
    * 2 ½ cups Cooked Chickpeas
    * 1/3 cup Tahini
    * ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    * Cucumbers ( I think I used 5 in total)
    * Paprika
    * Chives

   1. In the food processor, blend the red peppers, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, agave nectar and salt until liquified. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
   2. Next, add the chickpeas to the food processor and blend until ground into a crumbly texture. Add the tahini and blend in until completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
   3. Add the red pepper mix back into the chickpea mix and blend to incorporate. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending for several minutes until everything is well incorporated. The hummus will not be completely smooth on account of the texture left from the pepper.
   4. Peel the cucumbers leaving stripes of skin still intact. Slice into one to two inch high pieces. Using a teaspoon, pierce down into the top of a cucumber piece at the edge of the seeds. Rotate the spoon to remove a conical shape of seeds, going down only halfway through the cucumber piece.
   5. Using a mini ice cream scoop (I just used a teaspoon), place a scoop of the hummus in the hole. Dust with paprika, and garnish with the tip of a chive.

We were really happy with how they looked and tasted although check out wind attacks, she has closer pictures. We ended up with a bit of dip leftover too.

We also made some rose and cardamon ice cream (from vegan scoop) which I didn't take a picture of and these fruit desserts. I got this recipe and idea from Sivonne, I was at a wedding and was telling her about my idea of making fancy food for my birthday and my dream to make gf vegan tuilles and she told me about this recipe which her mother made and then send me the recipe which was easy to veganise. Although my two attempts at tuilles didn't work. The first time I made a vegan version of the coconut tuiles in this recipe but they didn't stay together and cracked when I tried to put them over a rolling pin. I suspect it's because I attempted to make them too thick, I ended up breaking it into pieces and serving it with tiny bits of biscuits. I also attempted to make poh's tuiles which didn't work with g/f flour. However, I was happy with this dessert overall. A word of warning though, it's quite time consuming and has several parts. It was our first time working with fresh lemongrass and I don't think I was successful at getting enough flavour out of it. Also, we used more passionfruit in place of mango.

Pineapple and Lemongrass Soup with Tropical Fruit by Lorraine Godsmark via Sivonne.  I think the original recipe is from women weekly?

Serves 6

12 lychees, peeled, halved (I forgot to cut them in half)
1 medium mango, peeled, sliced ( I used more passionfruit)
1 passionfruit, pulp removed

Pineapple Soup
1 whole pineapple
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cup water
1 stick fresh lemon grass
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp lime rind
1 tbsp lime juice

Coconut Sorbet
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
3 1/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup milk (I used soy milk)

Coconut Tuiles
1/2 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup desiccated cocconut
2/3 cup shredded coconut
3 egg whites (I used egg replacer)
20g butter (I used nuttlex)

Pineapple Soup
  1. Preheat oven to 180c. Remove pineapple top. Place pineapple in oven tray for 2 hours until soft. Cool, peel and chop pineapple. Blend until smooth.
  2. Place sugar and 1/4 cup of water in pan, stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, boil uncovered until it become a pale caramel colour. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of water to stop the caramel from cooking further. Return the pan to heat to dissolve any firm pieces of caramel. Add syrup to the pineapple.
  3. Divide the lemon grass into 2cm lengths and bruise with back of a knife. Split the banilla bean in half and scoop out seeds. Place pineapple mixture in pan with lemon grass, lime rind and vaniulla seeds. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes, cool.
  4. Press the pineapple mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing on the lemon grass to extract it's flavour, add lime juice to taste. Refrigerate until required.
Coconut Sorbet
  1. Combine water and sugar in pan, stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Combine syrup with coconut cream and milk. Cool then place in ice cream maker.
Coconut Tuiles
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Combine sugar and coconuts in bowl, add egg whites (egg replacer) and stir until they are absorbed. Stir in the butter to obtain a paste. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.
  3. Mark 8cm circles on baking paper. Turn paper over, place on oven tray. Using dampened fingertips, pat out the tuiles mixture thinly inside circles. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes until golden.
  4. Lift from tray an drape over rolling pin before they cool. Repeat with remaining mixture.

To serve, put a few small ladles of soup into base of bowls, place scoop of coconut sorbet and fruit around and place tuile on top. (I obviously made mini versions)

Troy bought along some 'fish' cakes with a tangy tamarind sauce, these didn't last long!

Michael made some gluten free dumplings which were impressive both in taste and texture. I really wish I had more right now.

Cindy made these incredibly rich ginger chocolate cheesecakes which both Toby and I loved. Toby admitted he had quite a few and he's not really into desserts

Lisa made this hedgehog style slice

Ivan made some gluten free bread, chocolate spread (both not pictured, sorry!!!) and black bean brownies. Yes he has managed to combine protein and dessert into one successfully without compromising on taste or texture and I doubt that you would be able to guess that they had black beans in it.

Mentone Bec made these strawberries dipped in chocolate with a yummy gooey raspberry layer in between, I wish that I took a photo of the inside.

Brunswick Bec made this lovely trifle, it's been so long since I've had trifle, so good.

Craig ended up frying some tofu at house at 1am which we served with BBW sauce, fried tofu had never tasted so good.

 Danni and Jo gave me a bag of yummy purchased food which included some capscium pesto which I shared with everyone. Thanks for the food and gifts everyone, it was a stressful couple of days leading up to the event but a fun night and I felt quite spoiled!


  1. great food - and a suitably large amount of chocolate goodies. I love the idea of the cucumber with humus

    glad it worked out well in the end - I empathise with your disasters - I've had one of those weeks in the kitchen that makes me relieved when things work.

  2. how amazing does all of that look, especially the cucumber cups! i'm so sorry i was so tardy to your party and i'm totally regretting missing out on all that delicious noms!

  3. Happy birthday! Welcome to the thirties!
    Looks like you had a great party!

  4. I loved the fancy dessert cups!

    (... and the 1am fried tofu, natch.)

  5. Happy Birthday! I had my "big" one a couple years ago, so I know how that goes... but it's great when you can spend it with people you love and so much vegan food - everything looked yummy!

  6. Ooh, I love the idea of a gourmet-ish potluck. Especially with 1am fried tofu. Yum.

  7. Thanks everyone and sorry that I couldn't invite you all!