Friday, 12 June 2009

Tiramisu for a birthday dinner.

Sibling no.3 turned his first double-digit number yesterday.
As is family tradition, we are allowed to choose three courses for a birthday dinner.
He went for vietnamese spring rolls, followed by rendang, with tiramisu for dessert.
For some reason he didn't choose the crispy spring rolls (why? why would you forgeo something deep-fried?) and instead went for the fresh variety. I must admit, they taste totally amazing thanks to the great filling my mum makes.
I think it involves carrot, pork mince and some form of cabbage, as well as copious amounts of fresh grated ginger, a few cloves of garlic, red chilli, and a splash of nam pla (fish sauce). I made nuoc cham (a dipping sauce of lime juice, nam pla, sugar and red chilli) to go with them. Once constructed, they look gorgeous with the slightly translucent rice paper skin shining whitely against the plate. They were delicious with a few tiny purple basil leaves tucked inside too.

I was going to write about the rendang (a sort of curry dish popular in Malaysia. It's usually made with beef, and it's slowly cooked. Once all the liquid has evaporated, the curry paste is added and fried with the then tender meat). However, I realised it is highly un-photogenic. Like, even worse than stew . You can see what I mean by clicking here .

So we shall instead skip gaily onto dessert.
It's a bit weird to sing happy birthday whilst crowded round a tiramisu and sticking candles in it, but that's just the way we roll. Yeah.
This is the recipe I used.

The whole thing turned into quite a debacle.
I had already started making the sponge when I realised I had only 6 eggs - the recipe calls for something like 9.
Secondly, there was no sugar in the house apart from muscavado.
Thirdly, I managed to scramble my egg/sugar mixture when I left it on the heat and wandered off to do something else..

So I ended up making a few adjustments to the recipe.
I was meant to use 3 eggs + 3 yolks in the sponge, instead used only one extra yolk.
And, since I screwed up the egg mixture for the mascarpone layer, that ended up eggless.
With everyone else at work/school, I had to work out which bottle in the cupboard was rum. I naively thought it would actually say 'rum' on it (that's not too much to ask, is it?), so when I couldn't find any I instead sniffed my way through about 5 different drinks until I found the one that smelt like it would be good in this dessert. I still do not know what I put in there!
Luckily the muscavado worked - the soft dark sugar gave the dish an extra flavour not to be found in caster, and lent the mascarpone and cream a lovely colour.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool the way the eggs and sugar turned from this:

into this:

Or maybe that's just me, I'm very easily amused.


  1. That backfired. I clicked the link to the rendang picture and my husband went "Ooooo" and now he wants us to cook a bunch of your stuff and tell you about it. Only problem is, your stuff is labor intensive. I mean, I'm vair vair impressed, but not that committed. My husband says he is. We will see...

  2. Hahah! I think it looks vile!
    And rendang is reallyyyy easy, my mum's south-east asian and she doesn't make her own rendang paste! We just buy it, although I'm not sure where you would get that in the US :o
    And if you like vietnamese food, the spring rolls are really easy, although rolling them up is the hardest part. We got round it by making everyone roll their own at the table, hah.
    Thanks for reading, by the way, I really appreciate it ^-^