May 3, 2009

a birthday celebration

It's just a number but a lot...50 of them : ) The centerpiece for my husband's recent 50th birthday celebration was the white chocolate cream cake or torte I baked for him, shown above. He's not a chocolate fan but he will not say no to white chocolate. As for me, I like all kinds of chocolate especially the extra dark ones. I got the recipe from the Land O'Lakes website while browsing and looking for cake ideas so this was the first time I made it. I had no idea how it would turn out. I must say it was complicated to make, but it was pretty good. The only problem I had was I couldn't stop eating it : ) We had a simple and quiet dinner at home. Below are pictures of the rest of the birthday dinner.

A slice of the heavenly torte served with blackberries and strawberries (shown above). The fresh fruits worked great with the rich cake. Instead of the raspberry filling suggested in the recipe, I added finely ground hazelnuts to the whipped cream that went in between the layers. The ground hazelnuts actually provided a good balance to the sweetness of the cake icing.

We had Thai springrolls for appetizers which were served with the side salad (shown above). I prefer making these Thai springroll version with more vegetables and vermicelli noodles mixed in the mixture. The filling was fully cooked and cooled before rolling in the wrappers. For the dip, I just used the bottled springroll dip which are available in most Asian grocery stores. Pan-fry the springrolls in about an inch high of canola oil and turn them over as they brown.
I also cooked pasta carbonara (above) with homemade spaghetti noodles which I made earlier in the day. Crispy bacon made it tasty and the peas gave the dish a bright contrasting color. As soon as the spaghetti was cooked and quickly drained, they were transferred to a serving dish and tossed with a mixture of beaten eggs and cream. Make sure that the noodles are steaming hot to cook the beaten eggs while tossing. Grated parmesan cheese was sprinkled on top right before serving. A very easy but flavorful pasta dish, one of our favorites.

For an additional treat, I decided to bake some anise-flavored Italian cookies, called anisette, one of my husband's favorites. They're very quick to whip up and great for last minute potluck or party ideas. The multi-colored sprinkles add a festive touch. I made these last Christmas with red and green sprinkles instead. They're very adaptable to different occasions and events.

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