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    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Birthday Party, Music and Rapid Pasta

    It was our grand son Joseph’s birthday yesterday?
    7 years old.. Where did that time go.

    He had a party with his friends at a Clip and Climb centre.
    Here he is on his vertical leap
    They had a ball.

    Sunday was the family birthday lunch.
    Joseph has just started learning the piano.
    He is so pleased with himself and is showing real talent and what’s even better enthusiasm.
    So of course there was a theme for his birthday.
    Helen, his Mother made an excellent piano cake.
    Joseph is allergic to eggs so Helen has many recipes for egg-less cakes.

    This Chocolate Eggless Cake was really moist.

    3 cups flour
    ½ cup cocoa
    3 tsp baking powder
    1 ½ cups sugar (brown or white)
    3 tablespoons golden syrup
    2 cups milk
    200g butter
    2 tsp baking soda


    100g butter
    1/3 cup cocoa
    250g icing sugar
    1tsp vanilla
    milk to mix

    Heat oven to 180 deg C.
    Grease and flour a 23cm spring form tin.
    Into a large bowl sift flour, baking powder and cocoa,
    add the sugar.
    Melt butter and golden syrup together.
    Add one cup of the milk.
    Warm the other 1 cup of milk slightly and dissolve the baking soda in it.
    Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
    Add the milk and baking soda and mix until smooth (The mixture will be quite runny).

    Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes.
    Icing: Melt the butter, add icing sugar, cocoa and vanilla essence.
    Add milk in small amounts until icing is thick, smooth and spreadable.

    Ice cake when cooled

    I wrote Joseph a story of the Musical History of his Grandparents and Father.

    Dale with his brother and parents circa 1956
    Yours truly circa 1958Dan recording his own composition circa 1975
    Dan (left) performing at the Devomnport Wine and Food Festival February 2008

    Joseph watching his Dad in the band.
    This project was great fun.
    Mind you getting my husband to recollect his early days took a bit of work.
    It was much easier writing my “memoirs.”
    And of course Dan’s was only 20 or so years ago so that is reasonably fresh.

    Anyway it was all good fun and I’m sure Joseph will enjoy it eventually.
    The weather is starting to pack in so Dan, our son, made Gumbo for lunch.
    I hunted through my recipe books to find some corn bread to accompany the Gumbo.
    but in the end I had to resort to the net.

    After quite a time researching available recipes
    finally The Food Network Site came up with the goods.
    Mrs. Garten “The Barefoot Contessa” has an excellent recipe.
    It contained jalapeno and cheese, but I thought it was too flavourful for this lunch.
    It would take away the focus from the Gumbo.

    But I will make it… it looks sensational.
    Winter is on the way. I’m sure I will find an occasion!
    Tyler Florence also contributed at least 2 excellent recipes

    Then I found Paula Deen’s recipe and that was perfect .
    Unfortunately photos of the cornbread didn’t turn out very well (again not my fault this time)Here’s the Gumbo.

    There is a recipe on this post

    So to Paula Deen’s Cornbread
    I made a few changes
    This really worked.

    1 ¼ cups cornmeal
    1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

    ¾ cup self-rising flour

    1 teaspoon sugar

    ½ teaspoon dried marjoram

    ½ teaspoon dried thyme

    ¼ teaspoon celery salt
    ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    Shake of chili flakes
    Sea salt
    2 eggs, beaten 1 ½ cups milk 6 tablespoons butter, melted

    Preheat oven to 210C
    Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
    Combine eggs, milk and butter in a separate bowl, and add to the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened.
    Pour batter into a lightly greased 9-inch pan.
    Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

    It’s a rotten day and we can’t see the harbour for the rain
    and all the trees are swaying quite drastically.

    I thought a little pasta lunch would suffice.
    Who would want to go out in that weather.
    Anything that could be made from the stores.
    Just like being on the boat
    I had some hot smoked salmon in the freezer
    This couldn’t be simpler. From start to plate about 12 minutes max
    Almost as quick as making a sandwich.

    Hot Smoked Salmon Penne

    200 gms penne pasta cooked to manufacturer’s instructions.

    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 chili finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic finely chopped

    100 gms hot smoked salmon flaked
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    1 spring onion finely chopped
    Juice ½ lemon

    While the pasta is cooking
    Gently heat chili and garlic
    As soon as pasta is cooked
    Drain, reserve a little water
    Add to pan
    Add salmon, chopped herbs and a couple of tablespoons of pasta water.
    Add lemon juice

    Light and Tasty

    Perfect for lunch.


    michelle @ TNS said...

    okay, that cake is too cute. i would have *loved* that as a kid.

    So Simple said...

    Doesn't it look good Michelle very easy as well. Clever mother.

    Anali said...

    Hi Gilli! Love the piano cake and the pictures! What a great idea to show your musical history too. Belated Happy Birthday to Joseph! : )

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    katiez said...

    What a cute cake - and I love the musical history... Joseph looks like he was having a pretty good time, as well ;-))

    So Simple said...

    Anali and Katie I think he will get more enjoyment from the history when a bit older.
    Just had both kids to stay for a week. It's been great fun.

    Arfi Binsted said...

    Happy birthday, Joseph! I should try this recipe for Sarah, Gilli. That looks delicious! I haven't been baking for 2 weeks now. I have to fix my oven, the door is somehow was swung open when the last time I baked. Sad but true.