Sunday, 27 January 2013

White Cliffs of Dover


Early on a Saturday morning, we rose to attempt the journey to the White Cliffs of Dover.  To our disappointment we were awaken by heavy rain drops, and no sunshine in sight.  But then again, it is England and one must take what you get.

We hopped on the tube to Victoria Coach station, grabbed a coffee and just made the cut off time for departure.  The bus drive was only two hours, perfect timing to wake up.

Once we arrived we decided to go to the castle. It was quite a steep walk up but once we arrived on the top, it was definitely worth it.  I can only imagine how beautiful it must be on a warm sunny day but we were lucky enough to see past the grey mist and look upon France from the top of the cliffs. 


The view of the port and France on the horizon

The castle is absolutely beautiful.  It was founded in the 12th century and has been described as the "Key to England" due to its defensive significance throughout history.  It is also the largest castle in England.  

 The view down from the Castle to the Church

We had a tour through the secret wartime tunnels.  The outbreak of the Second World War saw the tunnels converted first into an air-raid shelter and later into a military centre and underground hospital.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Notting Hill is one of my favourite spots in London, and what makes it even better is Jamie Oliver's new Recipease.

Recipease is Jamie's food and kitchen shop where anyone can learn to cook and make great food. It is all about getting fabulous food on your table.  So everything that goes into the dishes are high-quality products from passionate suppliers. The shop is stocked with fresh and dry goods, anything from cans of Italian extra virgin olive oil to blue popcorn on the cob!  All the ingredients are sourced locally but also going to the right source is very important, such as getting the cured meats from family producers in Italy and feta straight from Greece.

Beautifully presented food to go meals are made fresh every day in the shop, so all you have to do is open a bottle of wine and enjoy a lovely Jamie-inspired meal at home.

Cooking lessons are available for anyone.  Whether you're a complete novice or a seasoned pro, you can pop in for a few questions, learn new skills, get inspiration and try some fantastic food.  Different classes such as Unbeatable filled pasta, Vietnamese street food or American-style chili can all be learnt at Recipease.  You can have a laugh and enjoy a glass of wine while you learn the tricks of the trade from the highly trained kitchen pros.

We popped in for a late lunch and while we enjoyed our fabulous wood oven pizza and beef burger we watched all the foodies cooking up a storm in the demo kitchen.  The menu varies from Croque madame for breakfast to a three-hour roast pork belly sandwich for lunch.  For dessert you can enjoy a light pastry or an artisan organic coffee. Great food, fresh ingredients and a foodie hub for everyone! Recipease is brilliant and definitely a "must-do"! 


Amazing lamb rack


• 1 8-bone lamb rack, untrimmed 
• 150g feta cheese
• 12 semi-dried tomatoes
• 12 black olives (go for your favourite olive varieties), pits removed 
• extra virgin olive oil
• 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 3 cloves of garlic
• a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Seasonal vegetables for roasting – whatever looks good at the greengrocer!


Preparing your lamb rack
Remove most of the fat from the back of the rack, leaving a little bit to flavour the meat as it cooks. French-trim the bones by cutting the fat out around each bone down to the meat. Scrape the bones of all sinew and fat. Cut between the bones and through the eye of the lamb, leaving 1cm of meat still attached at the bottom.

Make the stuffing
Finely chop your parsley, semi-dried tomatoes and olives and mix them together with your feta in a bowl. Add a little pepper if you need to. Put this mixture between the lamb eye meat and the bones, then fold back up. Tie tightly in about 5 places.

Prepare your veg
Cut up your veg and throw into a roasting dish. You want them to cook in the same time as the lamb. Courgettes and aubergines are great, and if you’re using root veg, make sure you cut them into pieces. 

To make your marinade
Finely chop your rosemary and garlic, mix with a little oil and rub it all over the lamb and the fat, cover and put in the fridge for 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat your oven to 190C and, while it’s getting hot, take your marinated lamb from the fridge. Leave it for 20 minutes or so until it comes to room temperature.

Put the lamb right on top of the vegetables in your roasting dish. Put into your hot oven and roast – see cooking times below.

Cooking times 
A rough guide is 25 minutes for every 450g of meat, but it all depends on your oven. A good way to test for doneness is to give the meat a bit of a squeeze with your fingers. If it feels soft, it mean it’s rare; if it feels very firm, it’s well done. For a nice rarelamb rack, 25 to 30 minutes is a good guide.

When you’re happy with the doneness of your lamb, remove the tray from the oven. Remove the lamb from the roasting tray and put the vegetables back in the oven. Let the lamb rest on a board for 5 to 8 minutes, then carve – aim to get two bones per person. Serve with the lovely roasted vegetables.

Make a note here of how long it takes to cook your lamb, so you’ll know for next time:
Rare = 20 minutes Medium Rare = 26 minutes Medium = 30 Well Done 35-40 minutes

amazing lamb rack

Recipe provided by RECIPEASE Jamie Oliver

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Rib Room

September is always a special month in my life as it is John's birthday on the 4th! When it is time for birthday celebrations, the gift is never the problem. The head scratching is caused by the decision making of where we will be dining for the evening!

Last year we celebrated in Florence, which was pretty much the creme de la creme of all birthdays so I unfortunately had to lower my game. London is still an amazing city and so many restaurants to choose from!
After days of research, I finally decided on The Rib Room in Knightbridge. 

The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant is a very elegant and sophisticated destination for dinner and relaxed evenings in the bar. The menu showcases the best of British cuisine using fresh seasonal produce and is known for great cuts of meat and roast rib of beef.  As John is a carnivore, I thought this would be the perfect match!

We were warmly welcomed by the service staff on arrival and started off with a glass of bubbly at the bar and absorbed the relaxed and charming atmosphere.

"Famous among Knightsbridge restaurants.  The Rib Room is reborn following a makeover from interior designer Martin Brudnizke." - The Rib Room

Elegant and intimate, The Rib Room Restaurant blends tradition with contemporary design.  Located on the corner of Sloane Street and the picturesque Cadogan Place, The Rib Room serves great British Cuisine wirh a superb selection of wine and cocktails.

As we were showed to our table, the service staff presented us with menus and laid our napkins out and  received a beautiful bread basket. The wine list is presented on an Ipad and Sommelier Louise Gordon and her team will guide you towards the perfect pairing for your food.

For starters I had Corn fed Chicken salad, peas, truffle mayonnaise and John had Curried skate wing, toasted almonds, broccoli and Kenneth river crayfish. My salad was delicious, but John felt his started was too small and lacked flavour.

For main course we both had Char grilled lamb cushion, roasted celeriac puree, fresh peas and wild mushroom sauce.  It was absolutely delicious and I literally finished the jus with a swipe of the old finger!

For dessert I had the Vanilla set cream, gooseberry compote, warm lemon finaciers and John had the Fresh raspberry bakewell slice, strawberry and Pimm's jelly.  Surprisingly we got served a slice of cheesecake with a candle and everyone in the vicinity wished John a happy birthday! I had forgotten I added that to my preferences when I made the booking!

We ended our dinner with coffee and mouth watering salted caramel truffle petit fours.  
Very satisfying and a great experience!  Thank you to Chef Ian Rudge and his amazing team!

Recipe of the Month from Chef Ian Rudge:

Chilled pea and avocado soup
700g Frozen peas

2 litre Vegetable stock
4g Chopped garlic
40g Sliced shallots
2g Chilli
50m White wine
2g Mint
125g Ripe avocado (Peeled)
50g Spinach
100ml Milk
20g Crème fraiche 
1x Lime
5ml Vegetable oil
Olive oil 

  1. Sweat the garlic, chilli and shallot in a pan to soft with no colour, add the white wine and reduce to almost dry. Add vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
  2. Bring a pan of seasoned water to the boil, add the peas and boil for 1 minute. Strain and add the peas to the boiling vegetable stock, season with salt and white pepper and boil for a further 2 minutes. Add the spinach and mint leaves and remove from the heat. Now add the milk, crème fraiche and avocado.
  3. The soup is now ready for blending, blend soup to a smooth velvety consistency, and pass through a fine sieve into a container, that is sitting on a container of ice. The idea here is to bring the temperature down as quickly as possible to help in keep its green colour.
  4. Once blended refrigerate until ready for use (ideally the same day).
  5. If needed finish the soup with a little salt and lime juice to give it some slight acidity, then serve in chilled bowls with garnish - cherry tomatoes, fresh peas, peas shoots and drizzle with a little olive oil to finish.

Photos provided by The Rib Room Restaurant and Bar

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Peggy Porschen Cakes

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything, but I can promise that I am back and I have a lot to tell!
I arrived in London at the end of July and I have been having a blast ever since. It has been great to experience the London 2012 Olympics and the English summer and I kid you not, I had sun scars to prove it.
This time round it isn't just all pleasure, but now I am here to further my career.
 I came with a goal and that goal was... 

Peggy Porschen

Peggy Porschen is a leading bespoke cake company based in Belgravia, London. Founded in 2003, the company is headed by award-winning cake designer and Creative Director Peggy Porschen and her husband Bryn Morrow, Managing Director. Together with her talented team of pastry chefs and sugar-craft artists, Peggy is passionate about creating edible works of art for special occasions including weddings, christenings, baby showers, birthday parties and corporate events.
Renowned for irresistibly pretty and elegant designs that are not only visually stunning but also taste delicious, Peggy has acquired an enviable client list including many celebrities, Royals and members of high society. Her cookies and cakes have graced many A-list events such as the 2011 wedding of Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, Elton John’s White Tie & Tiara Ball, Stella McCartney’s wedding, Sir Anthony Hopkins’ 70th birthday, Damien Hirst’s auction at Sotheby’s and parties for Sting and Trudie Styler, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, all of which make her a highly sought after name on the party-planning circuit.

The Parlour serves freshly baked cupcakes, cookies and layer cakes and also offers a selection of Peggy's own blend teas, inspired by flavours found in her kitchen. The Parlour is also home to Peggy's Bridal Boutique, available to clients by appointment only.

"Peggy's cake was beautiful. The perfect wedding cake! It was so delicious, there wasn't a crumb left..." 
- Kate Moss and Jamie Hince

January 2011 marked the opening of Peggy’s first Cake Academy. London’s first cookery school entirely dedicated to baking, cake decorating and sugar craft which is located opposite the Parlour in Belgravia. Following unprecedented demand for her past master classes, Peggy has personally created a comprehensive year-round curriculum with project-based and technique-lead courses and classes to suit a variety of proficiency levels, from those wishing to complete the professional diploma and kick start a career in cakes, to those looking for a fun and enriching day out.

To my amazement Peggy Porschen was advertising a vacancy for a pastry chef/baker for their parlour. I sent my CV and waited in anticipation.  I went to the Parlour in the same week and treated myself to a delicious Strawberry and Champagne Cupcake and a lovely cup of coffee. The staff were so friendly and Peggy's husband gave me a raspberry macaron, on the house. I felt at home and getting this job would truly be a dream-come-true. 
The next day I got an email from Peggy saying that she would love to meet me. We scheduled an interview the next Wednesday morning.  I was rather nervous, yet so excited to meet Peggy in person. It went very well and we scheduled a kitchen trial for the Friday. 
I went in early Friday morning and met all the girls in the kitchen. I started off with icing all the various cupcakes, my hands were so warm and shaky it melted the butter cream. I was so nervous and couldn't pull myself together.  I layered orange cakes with marmalade and chocolate ganache, baked chocolate chip cupcakes, made banana and cream cheese icing and decorated jam biscuits.  All this sounds so simple, but for some reason, I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I left that day with a dark grey cloud hanging over my shoulders. I definitely didn't give it my best and failed my opportunity to work for the best company in the trade.   

I had made peace with the fact that I would have to start applying for other jobs. "At least I tried", I told myself.
A week later that dark cloud had vanished and the sun was blazing over me...Peggy emailed me to say that I got the job and they would be delighted for me to accept the offer!!!!

I still can't believe that I got the job! I am one lucky girl. Let the baking begin!!!!

Enjoying a cup of coffee at the parlour

Saturday, 7 July 2012

V8: 8 Layers of Vanilla

V8: 8 Layers of Vanilla

I have recently been trying to perfect the cake challenges on Masterchef. I was in seek of a new challenge after I made the Passion Hazelnut Gateau, and decided to attempt Adriano Zumbo's V8 Cake from the finale week of Masterchef Australia. The cake takes its name from 8 different vanilla layers, each component presented texturally different.

I downloaded the 5 page recipe and stared at it with admiration and confusion. I studied the methods and drew up my ingredient list. There are a few items such as, titanium dioxide, gellan and miroir glaze, which I could not get hold of, also the reason for why my V8 is not as white as Adriano's cake. I also added a slight feminine touch with a silver bow and decided to replace the chocolate tiles with a solid chocolate border! 

The 8 layers of Vanilla "deliciousness" consists of White chocolate Vanilla glaze, Vanilla creme Chantilly, Vanilla water gel, Vanilla Macaron, Vanilla Creme Brulee, Vanilla Chiffon cake, Vanilla ganache, Vanilla and Almond crush and Vanilla dacquoise.

My tips…
The recipe calls for a lot of vanilla pods so I halved the amounts due to costs. 
I made my own Miroir Glaze and Almond praline. I have added my recipes at the end of the page. 
The amounts for the Vanilla syrup can be quartered and the amounts for the Brown sugar crumble can be halved.
I would suggest another 2 gelatine leaves to be added to the Chantilly cream (mine was too runny) as well as to the Vanilla glaze. Especially if you are making the cake on a hot day.
I did not use Titanium dioxide, so my cake had a more "natural" look, which is perfect for the home baker.
I replaced the gellan with 2 gelatine leaves in the Vanilla water gel.
I replaced the feuillitine with crushed corn flakes in the Vanilla almond crunch.
The ingredients are rather pricy so be aware of that before you attempt this piece of art!

Good Luck!!!

Adriano Zumbo V8 Cake

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 100g blanched almonds
  • Sugar spheres, to serve
Vanilla crème chantilly
  • 4g gold strength gelatine leaves
  • 590g thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 24g cold water
  • Toasted vanilla brulee
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 250g thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Vanilla water gel
  • 250g water
  • 38g caster sugar
  • 1.5g gellan
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
Vanilla glaze
  • 9.5g gelatine leaves
  • 60g cold water
  • 40g glucose liquid
  • 35g water
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 400g thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 150g miroir glaze (specialty cold-application patisserie glaze)
  • 7.5g titanium dioxide (white colourant, powdered)
Vanilla ganache
  • 300g white couverture chocolate
  • 185g thickened cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 95g unsalted butter, softened
Brown sugar crumble
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g dark brown sugar
  • 50g almond meal
  • ¼ scraped vanilla bean
Vanilla macaron
  • 53g egg whites
  • 50g pure icing sugar
  • 150g TPT (equal parts sifted almond meal and sifted pure icing sugar)
  • ½ scraped vanilla bean
Vanilla dacquoise
  • 60g egg whites
  • 43g caster sugar
  • 65g almond meal
  • 40g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla chiffon cake
  • 17.5g plain flour
  • 1 roasted and finely ground vanilla bean
  • 1.25 (21g) egg yolks
  • 5g dark brown sugar
  • 17.5g water
  • 15g canola oil
  • 45g egg whites
  • 22.5g caster sugar
  • 2.5g rice flour
Vanilla almond crunch
  • 45g milk couverture chocolate
  • 90g almond praline paste
  • 90g pure almond paste
  • 18g unsalted butter
  • 45g brown sugar crumble
  • 45g pailette feuillitine (crunchy wheat flakes)
  • 18g toasted diced almonds
  • 1 roasted and finely ground vanilla bean
  • 2g sea salt
  • ¼ scraped vanilla bean
Vanilla syrup
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 250g water
  • ½ vanilla bean, split
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
White chocolate flower and tiles
  • 500g white couverture chocolate, grated or finely chopped
  • 5g titanium dioxide
Please note – you will need precision scales. The vanilla crème chantilly, vanilla glaze, brown sugar crumble, and vanilla syrup can all be made ahead of time.
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. To make the roasted vanilla beans, place 2 vanilla beans in oven until burnt and charcoal in texture. Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Cover and set aside.
  3. To make the pure almond paste, place 100g blanched almonds on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until deep golden. Grind to a coarse paste. Cover and set aside.
  4. To make the vanilla crème chantilly, cut gelatine into small squares, soak in the cold water. Place cream, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to 70-80°C, and then stir through the gelatine and water mixture until dissolved. Place in a container, cover the surface with cling wrap and place in the fridge.
  5. For the toasted vanilla brulee, mix yolks and sugar in a bowl by hand with a whisk until just combined. Add cream and vanilla bean to a small saucepan and bring to the boil, pour a little over the eggs while stirring, then add the remaining liquid including vanilla bean. Puree with a hand blender until smooth and pour into a shallow baking tray about 25 x 38cm. Place into the oven and cook until just set,  about 10 minutes, then increase oven to 200°C and bake until it forms a golden brown crust,  about 5 minutes. It should look slightly split when removed from the oven. Scrape mixture into a thermomix, blender, or small food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside in a small bowl, covering the surface of the brulee with cling wrap so it doesn’t form a skin. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
  6. To make the vanilla water gel, place a lined 18cm square cake tin in the fridge to chill. Boil all ingredients in saucepan whilst whisking until dissolved and mixture starts to thicken. To test if set, drop about a teaspoon of liquid into a metal bowl, it should thicken slightly. It will thicken on cooling. To speed up cooling, pour into a metal bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Pour into chilled cake tin and place in the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes. Remove from mould and keep gel in freezer.
  7. For the vanilla glaze, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until softened. Drain, squeezing out any excess water.  Boil glucose, water and sugar until 165°C, brushing around the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water as you go. Do not allow caramel to take on any colour. In another saucepan, bring cream and vanilla seeds to boil and then add to the sugar syrup. Mix through, then allow to cool to 70°C and add softened gelatine, stirring well. Add miroir glaze and titanium dioxide and blend well. Strain, then freeze until set. Reheat to 35°C when glazing the cake.
  8. For the vanilla ganache, place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. Cover closely with cling wrap and set aside until needed.
  9. To make the brown sugar crumble, place all ingredients in an electric mixer and beat mix until dough forms. ‘Grate’ through  a cooling rack with a lined baking tray sitting underneath to catch the crumble then bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden.
  10. To make the vanilla macaron, draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. Using an electric mixer or hand beaters, whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add pure icing sugar, checking it has dissolved in between additions until you have stiff glossy peaks. Stir through TPT with vanilla seeds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square. Let a skin form and then bake for 10 minutes at 160°C until golden. Remove from oven, slide baking paper off tray and place on kitchen bench. Increase oven temperature to 180°C.
  11. To make the vanilla dacquoise, draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add caster sugar, beating until you have stiff glossy peaks.  Mix almond meal with icing sugar, vanilla seeds and extract, gently fold through egg whites. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square.  Dust with icing sugar, let sit 2 minutes then dust again. Bake at 180°C 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, slide baking paper off tray and place on kitchen bench. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.
  12. To make the vanilla chiffon cake, draw an 18cm square on a piece of baking paper placed on a baking tray. Mix flour, roasted vanilla bean powder, egg yolks, brown sugar, water and oil in a bowl until combined. Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form then slowly add the sugar and rice flour, beating until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Fold the meringue through the batter gently. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm nozzle. Pipe into the pencilled frame using a continuous snaking motion to fill the entire square.  Bake in the oven set at 160°C until golden, about 15 minutes.
  13. To make the vanilla almond crunch, melt milk chocolate, add almond praline and the pure almond paste and mix well. Melt butter and take to nut brown (noissette) stage. Add crumble and fueilletine flakes and mix through praline mixture, then fold through burnt butter, followed by toasted almonds, crushed vanilla beans, sea salt and scraped vanilla seeds.  Smooth a 5mm layer over vanilla dacquoise and set aside.
  14. To make the vanilla syrup, bring all ingredients to the boil, then allow to cool
  15. To make the white chocolate tiles and flower, bring 5cm of water in a medium saucepan to the boil, turn off the heat and sit a metal bowl with 300g of the chocolate over the water. Stir until just melted then remove bowl to the bench and add about 100g more chocolate to bring the temperature down. Stir vigorously until the chocolate has melted, if the chocolate does not feel cold to the touch, add the remaining 100g chocolate to bring down the temperature. Add titanium dioxide and mix well. Keep stirring well to remove all lumps. If the chocolate mixture feels cold to the touch, spread a small, thin layer onto a small piece of baking paper. Set aside for about 3-4 minutes, it will start to harden if it is tempered correctly. If the chocolate becomes too thick and the temperature is too low, gently reheat the mixture in the bowl set over the saucepan of steaming water, but it still needs to be cold.
  16. When the chocolate is tempered, to make the flower, spread a thin layer, about 2-3mm thick on 2 pieces of acetate (30 x 40cm) using a large palette knife. Once the chocolate has almost set, on one sheet of acetate carefully mark 3 strips lengthways on the strips, about 7-9cm-wide. Mark thin triangles in each strip. These form the flower petals. Place a piece of baking paper over the top, and wrap around a rolling pin or similar cylinder and allow to completely harden.
  17. On the other sheet use a ruler to mark out 4 ½ cm squares. Place a piece of baking paper over the    top and invert onto a board or clean work surface to completely harden.

  1. To assemble the cake, in a 20cm acetate-lined straight-sided cake tin spread a 5-10mm layer of Chantilly crème around base and sides of tin. Chill in freezer until firm. Lay vanilla gel at the base of the tin and smear with a tiny amount of brulee so that macaron layer will stick to the gel. Lay macaron layer over brulee smear. Cover macaron layer with an even 5mm of brulee. Place chiffon cake over brulee layer. Brush chiffon cake with a little vanilla syrup. Spread a 5mm layer of ganache over chiffon cake. Invert the dacquoise/crunch layers so the vanilla almond crunch layer is sandwiched next to the ganache and the dacquoise is facing up. The dacquoise will become the base of the cake.
  2. Fill in any gaps with Chantilly cream, then place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes until firm.  Place a large piece of cling wrap on the bench and place a cooling rack on top. Remove the cake from the chiller and invert onto the cooling rack. Heat sides of cake tin gently with a blow torch to help release the mould from the cake. Remove any acetate. Smooth top and sides if necessary with a palette knife. Pouring generously and using a palette knife, spread the vanilla glaze evenly over the top and sides, completely covering the surface. Using a large palette knife transfer the cake to a cake stand and place the chocolate tiles around the cake.
  3. To assemble the flower spread a small amount of melted tempered chocolate onto a small piece of baking paper and use this as a base to stick the petals, starting in the centre, working outwards to create a flower. Using choco-cool will help ‘fix’ the petals in place and firm up the chocolate base. Place chocolate flower on top of the cake and decorate the top of the cake with a few sugar spheres.a

Miroir Glaze
2 gelatine leaves
220g water
60g caster sugar
30g glucose

Place the gelatine leaves into cold water to soak for 5 minutes. Heat the water, caster sugar and glucose in a small saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and let it cool to 70°C. Squeeze excess water from gelatine leaves, place in saucepan and stir until dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool slightly before storing in the fridge.

Almond Praline
50g caster sugar
60g blanched slivered almonds

Roast the almonds slightly in a hot pan. Heat the sugar on high, until caramel forms. Pour over the roasted almonds. Allow to cool, then blend in a food processor. 

If you are fond of vanilla then this is definitely your type of cake. I must admit, I had empathy with the Ausies and also felt like it was 8 layers of hell!!! 
On the other hand, it was truly worth the 2 days spent in the kitchen because this might be one of the best cakes I have ever eaten! 

Another brilliant delicacy!