Monday, September 12, 2011

learning new skills

A year or two ago I bought some cake decorating equipment at a garage sale. My grandma has a history of beautiful cake decorating, equisite fine lacework and my parents wedding cake (in fact every wedding cake of my aunts and uncles) my dedication cake and other special events were all celebrated with cakes she had made.

Today I spent the morning with a friend from church learning and experimenting with how to use some of the equipment I had purchased. These are the piped butter icing cakes, a sunflower, a flower and a swirl. Then we played with fondant, and I made a rose and a carnation. Amy my friend has attended two short courses and then taught herself the rest, and is very inspiring. She was very impressed with the supplies I had bought... and it may have inspired her to start attending garage sales :)

I had one of the cakes for afternoon tea with a cup of earl gray, and it was very nice.

Then while I listened to a uni lecture, I made cassoulet - I have been wanting to make this since we ordered it on our honeymoon in july and it was delicious, both then and now. I roasted vegetables to go with it, and the sage, leeks, kale, potatoes and sweet potatoes were from my garden! And served with my sourdough bread... The proportion of food from the garden is steadily increasing...

I didn't find this recipe on any of the websites, but the place we went served the dish with an amazing crumb, reminded me of farofa from brasil. The chef told me it was almond meal and sage in olive oil.

My version of sage crumb
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup almond meal
1 clove garlic crushed
small bunch sage leaves finely chopped
s and p
2 tbsp olive oil

Lightly cook garlic in oil then add other ingredients, turning to coat crumb with oil and prevent burning. Ready when fragrant and lightly brown. Serve generously sprinkled over cassoulet

Speaking of the garden, yesterday I visited a gardening friend and came away with a plum tree sucker I had been wanting ever since eating the fruit of one of the other trees, a fig tree, warrigal greens, leeks, carrot seedlings, mint, currant bushes, turnips, and land cress. Everything seems to be growing well, and the bunnies are enjoying the pepino leaves she picked for them.

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