Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Real Bargain

At long last we have bought a dining room table (yes, and chairs!). When we were first living together Hubby and I were in housing supplied by our workplace which came semi-furnished. Basically everything was provided except a bed. For the first few years we had no need to buy furniture then when we bought our first house and moved back 'home' we bought some stuff and gratefully accepted various cast-off and hand-me-down bits from family members. One of the hand-me-downs was hubby's Grandpa's original 1920's art deco dining table and chairs. It wasn't in great condition but it was gorgeous and, more importantly at the time, it meant we had somewhere to eat our meals. When we moved house the table went with us but when we decided to head up here we thought that the table probably wouldn't cope with the heat, humidity and air-con so handed it back to Hubby's parents (aka Grandma and Grandpa). Upon moving to Red Dirt we initially ate all our meals at the kitchen bench - we'd bought the stools from home and they fitted quite nicely but the bench was very small and trying to prepare, serve and eat all in the same tiny space grew a little tiresome (okay, I nearly went stark, raving mad LOL) so we borrowed a table and chairs from Hubby's work and kept our eyes peeled for an affordable suite that we liked, would fit into the relatively small dining area of this house and wouldn't look out of place when we eventually go home. We trawled through garage sales (man, they have some good ones up here!), checked out all the sales and specials at the furniture stores and kept coming up empty. Then... yesterday I lucked out. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Grandma and I ducked out to a couple of garage sales before the 'boys' went crabbing and found this.












This is my new dining suite. It has a few dings and scratches but nothing too obvious. Not a bad buy for $200! Hubby was well impressed with my bargain buy and even better, it fits in the dining area! Yes, the towels are where the kids sit - not particularly classy, I admit, but easy to clean up after a meal.




Last night's dessert was a success. It was light and sweet and everyone enjoyed it. I'll be making this one again. Probably fairly soon! I made a few changes to the original recipe, mainly because I couldn't get it to work. The original filling involved ricotta, honey and the liqueur-ed strawberries but I ended up with a big gloppy mess that was never going to set or stay on the cake so I ended up using cream, thus the name change.




(Not Entirely) Guilt-Free Chocolate Cake
originally from delicious, October 2003





Cooking spray to grease
4 eggs, separated
150g golden caster sugar (I used normal caster sugar)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
225g almond meal (only had 200g)
1 teaspoon baking powder
300ml carton whipping cream
500g small strawberries
1/4 cup strawberry liqueur
icing sugar, to dust



Hull and chop half the strawberries place in a bowl with strawberry liqueur. Stir through gently and set aside to soak.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Grease three 20cm sandwich (sponge) pans with cooking spray and line the bases with baking paper. Beat the eggwhites until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Fold the eggwhites into the yolk mixture, then fold in the cocoa, almond meal and baking powder. Divide between the 3 pans and bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture has just started to shrink away from the sides of the pans. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Whip the cream. Drain strawberries and fold gently through the whipped cream.
Place one cake on a serving platter, spread with half the cream, then place another cake on top. Spread with remaining cream, then finally add the remaining cake. Halve the remaining strawberries and place on top of the cake. Dust generously with icing sugar.



3 comments:

Chantalle said...

I always knew ricotta was a poor substitute for cream!:)

Melody said...

What a buy! Terrific dining table, I can see why hubby was impressed... Your cake too looks delicious!!! Care to send some east over to me?

Red Dirt Mummy said...

LOL Chantalle. There is no real substitute for cream!

Thanks Melody. I'm not sure the cake would last the trip but anytime you want to drop by for some just let me know! :)