the long awaited cake

It took a while- both to make, and then to muster the motivation to write it down.

Winter has been a slow drag, dangling around our ankles. By the time I’ve got home, the odd episode of America’s next top model has often served as more of a temptation than blogland.

What can I say- Tyra’s fierce.

But there was an oasis of escape. The generosity of friends led to a short segue up the F3 to Avoca beach.

There’s not a lot that’s better than stepping straight off off a blue balustraded balcony onto cold sand, with the fizzing surf just beyond.

There was time in the swim with the new long-board for the Hungry One and plenty of time in the kitchen for those not quite brave enough to squeeze into a steamer.

I now know much better, but a severe dose of produce-separation-anxiety led to a Supermarket Sweep style dash around Fratelli Fresh and Macro before hightailing it over the bridge and then onwards and upwards.

The important bits and pieces? Sadly not the frozen chickens and bulk disposable nappies that always won in the good old days.

Instead; porcini mushrooms, organic chicken stock, a huge hunk of regianno, beurre bosc pears and Maggie Beer’s fabulous burnt quince jam ice cream.

And that was just for Friday night’s dinner for three; mixed mushroom risotto, with the porcini infusing the chicken stock, and red wine poached pears with the aforementioned very grown up ice cream.

There was pizza dough made first thing in the morning, but we couldn’t wait to have it for lunch. So here comes the breakfast pizza. It’s not quite as ingenious as Kazbah’s breakfast tagines but it’s not quite as seedy as a breakfast burrito. It’s a fresh pizza base with tomato sugo, caramellised onions, sauteed mushrooms, grilled bacon, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini- and an egg. I say an egg, because on the second pizza, the second egg became the proverbial straw that broke. Here it was the heft that heaved its way through the half-cooked base’s skerrick of structural integrity.

Topped with shredded basil and rocket and a squeeze of lemon and eaten with your fingers, while staring past the sand, it’s the perfect start to a Saturday. Especially when the night before’s shiraz is still sloshing around your synapses.

Saturday night saw a larger crowd. There was a perfect country roast lamb, but the city girls couldn’t help but zhuushj it up by putting the left over red wine pear poaching liquid in the gravy.

In the spirit of using everything up the remaining pizza dough was squashed into well oiled muffin pans, stuffed with a paste of roast garlic and rosemary and roasted until golden and puffy- not quite bread, not quite yorkshire puds, but just the thing to soak up the red wine helped sauce and the red wine making us sauced.

Then we came to dessert and the Hungry One’s long promised black forrest extravaganza.

The important elements, he was keen to tell me before dashing out for another splash in the surf were; flavour and texture. If there’s a mix of both, he’d be well happy.

So at the end of the night we found ourselves looking down at a very rich deviation from a Queen of Sheba cakewith cherry liqueur taking the place of coffee. Very little flour, almond meal and a bounty of eggs, butter and Lindt cherry intense chocolate helped it along.

To one side was a milk chocolate mousse. To the other a marscapone mousse, made simply by mixing sweetened, stiff egg whites through marscapone, with some vanilla sugar.

Over the top of both were defrosted sour cherries, helped with a little kirsch. Crumbled over the top of all were some chocolate coconut biscuits- for that last, all important little bit of ‘crunch’.

There was very little left on the Hungry One’s plate at the end of the night.

But by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around there was still a little left over chocolate cake. Friday night’s left over risotto had become arancini, rolled in the left over semolina from the pizza dough and there was rose and champagne still languishing in the fridge.

I’d discovered that George’s fruit barn in Terrigal- a magical cornucopia of delights with more than enough produce to assuage any kind of yuppie gourmet seperation anxiety, including Morpeth bread, binnorie labna, frozen patzisi, and even the ‘good yogurt’- a must for any Monday morning.

The Hungry One had looked at the local real estate ads and dreamed.

We could see dolphins from the balcony.

Needless to say; it was very hard to leave. The only thing that helped was when the rain, then hail started to come down.

On the way back we kept ourselves amused by entertaining one thought; when oh when will we be lucky enough to return?

And what in heavens will we cook…

  1. I can’t believe you went to the fruit barn.

    The Pal and I have a time-honoured tradition whereby he waits in the car listening to his podcasts while I do a mad dash around Yuppie Heaven. So yummy, and a huge box rarely costs over $40! Glad you had such a nice time x

  2. soon tors! i hope! especially if we get to perfect the breaky pizza again!

  3. Yay! The cake got baked!

    Seems you’ve found your cooking mojo again – it all looks and sounds delicious.

    Hands up for going on holiday with Tors!

    And I agree, Tyra’s so fierce.

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