Bill Granger

Old-Fashioned Tomboy Cake

16 August 2012

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I recently offered to help out at a kid’s birthday party and somehow ended up with the task of making the actual birthday cake. My first thought was to make Nigella Lawson’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, a simple two-tiered chocolate cake covered in a thick, chocolate frosting with maybe some (shop-bought) sugar flowers for decoration. Simple. I had made this cake many times before and knew it to be a very reliable recipe.

But as ran my eyes across my sprawling bookshelf of cookbooks, the Miette cookbook caught my eye and, before I could think about it reasonably, I sent a link to my friend to see if she approved of the Tomboy Cake, to which she replied that it was the most beautiful cake she had ever seen. And so I had unwittingly set myself an almost impossibly high challenge and wondered over the coming days how I was going to avoid disappointing the birthday girl.

The Tomboy Cake is comprised “simply” of three tiers of chocolate sponge, separated by a piped layer of raspberry buttercream, and elegantly adorned with an understated rose in the centre of the cake. It is called a “Tomboy Cake” because the sides of the cake are left bare and unfrosted, and thereby does not appear as feminine as it would if the whole cake were to be covered in pink frosting. It is a stunning cake to look at and equally deceptive in the level of skill required to achieve such a simple look.

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Chicken Curry Puffs

11 June 2012 36 comments
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A visit to most Chinese restaurants will reveal curry puffs on the appetiser menu and I am always a sucker for anything wrapped in pastry. I could sometimes quite happily forego the main dish and just sit down to a huge serving of curry puffs, but afraid of any negative reaction this could elicit in […]

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Happy Australia Day! Lamingtons …

26 January 2012 23 comments
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Happy Australia Day! Although lamingtons have an iconic status in Australia and are enjoyed throughout the year, it seems rather fitting to make lamingtons for Australia Day. Lamingtons are quite popular at bake sales, and anyone growing up in Australia will know of the lamington drives, a fundraising event (usually in schools) where lamingtons would be sold by the […]

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Sweetcorn Soup

2 November 2011 17 comments
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Don’t look too closely at this photo. No, really! A close inspection of this soup might not be so pleasant on the eyes, nor the tummy … Having had a rather intense week at work, I have been resorting to Bill’s Everyday Asian when I haven’t been reaching for the telephone to order (another) pizza […]

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Vietnamese Pork Chops

28 October 2011 6 comments
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Here is another fabulous short-cut recipe from Bill Granger’s new book, Bill’s Everyday Asian. The Vietnamese have a popular dish called sườn nướng where the main component is a pork chop which is typically marinated with garlic, lemongrass and fish sauce. The pork is either grilled or pan-fried until it is golden in colour and caramelised, and served […]

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Chicken Curry Soup

18 October 2011 8 comments
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One of my all-time favourite Vietnamese dishes is chicken curry with sweet potato. My mum makes this dish using a whole chicken which is first marinated in a special mixture of Vietnamese curry powder and other seasoning, and then slowly simmered on the stove with an array of aromatics until the chicken is tender and […]

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