Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Food of Love: My Beloved's Birthday Dinner

Hey Humble Readers...

Well, we are home from our trip, and it was a great time.  I loved the time away, and I loved coming home.  I'll tell you all about our adventures tomorrow. 

Today's post is dedicated to food po.rn.  :)

Every special occasion, even if we go out to a restaurant for dinner, I ensure that I make a special dinner for us to enjoy at home together as a family.  Putting together the menu is always fun... I look for things that are outside our normal rotation, things that maybe require a little bit more effort or a few luxury ingredients. 

This year, for my Beloved's birthday dinner, I started looking for ideas about a month ago.  I wanted it to be different.  Maybe something I hadn't made in a long time, or ever, for my Beloved. 

First, I found the cake... but you'll have to wait for more on that. 

Then, I found one of the sides.  Prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  I don't know why, but asparagus is always a special occasion food in my mind.  And of course, prosciutto is just a treat.  I wrapped about half of a bunch of asparagus, and then roasted them in the oven laid on top of the rest of the bunch, so that any drippings would flavour the rest.  Turned out very well. 

After I decided on the side, I started thinking Italian.  And then, I started thinking, braciola... super thin steak stuffed with whatever, rolled and braised in a tomato sauce.  I used to make it for my parents a long time ago, but I don't think I've ever made it for my Beloved. 
My Beloved's plate.  He practically licked it clean.
I bought inside round steaks, already sliced and pounded thin (my grocery store calls them rouladen).  I toasted off some pine nuts, and then some panko breadcrumbs.  Then I sautéed up some onions and spinach, and combined all of them together.  Then I spread the stuffing out on the steaks, rolled and tied them (with kitchen string).  I browned them off in a pan before transferring them to the slow cooker.  Then I made my favourite tomato sauce and poured that over the top.  I cooked it on high for two hours in the slow cooker, but ideally, I would have preferred to do it on low for four.  Served it up with some whole wheat spaghetti and lots of the tomato sauce.  The only thing I forgot to add was basil. 

And then there was the cake...
Doesn't look very pretty. 
Ginny 'helped', which of course meant that ingredients ended up all over the place.  Here's the original recipe I found.  I am going to state right up front, mine did NOT turn out as pretty as hers did.  I think I used a lot more of the filling between each layer than she did. 

Here is my Chocolate Irish Coffee Crepe Cake. 
Twenty-three layers!
Where the original recipe called for amaretto, I used Bailey's.  I also added a couple of teaspoons of instant espresso powder into the whipped cream. 
My Beloved's piece, with a  couple of the truffles.
Basically, it was crepe, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, crepe, chocolate ganache, whipped cream... over and over and over.  Twenty-three times.  It was a lot of work, and as I said, mine didn't turn out very pretty.  I was able to make a few truffles out of the left over ganache to use for decoration.  One big added bonus of this cake was that I didn't have to turn on the oven.  Oh, and I used lactose-free whipping cream (no carbs!!!) and that worked out just fine. 

Overall, I'm pleased with how it all turned out.  It was enjoyed by my Beloved and Ginny... I really liked it too.  (Pip was being a stinker and not wanting to eat tonight, so no cake for him.) 
Ginny, post-cake.  She's covered in chocolate. 
What's your favourite special occasion meal?


  1. That looks amazing, all of it. I am a huge fan of prosciutto and asparagus but have never had them together. I'm pretty sure that if I ever had the patience to make that cake that it would look nowhere near as perfect as the original. But taste is all the really matters anyway :)

  2. OMG, that cake is amazing and I don't think I would ever make it because it looks like it would take hours. Major props to you for that. I am also a huge fan of prosciutto and asparagus, and I'm not sure if I've ever had them together. Around here, you can't get asparagus out of season except in major grocery stores, so I usually only eat it fresh from the farmers market in the spring. For my husband, I usually make a dish that's local to his part of Italy called strangula preivi (that's in dialect, and I'm not sure it's spelled right), which is a type of large spinach gnocchi with a tomato-porcini sauce. I can send you my grandmother-in-law's recipe if you are interested!

  3. I may have just drooled all over my keyboard...

  4. Wow that looks so good! I love food so much. LOL. the cake looks heavenly, and really I always say that the uglier the cake looks the better it tastes. :) But that steak is what's killing me. Mmmm. I LOVE a good steak!!!

  5. That cake looks absolute nom nom nom!

    I hope your Beloved loved his birthday meal. More than that I hope he knows how lucky he is to have a wife like you, who is so incredibly thoughtful.

    And you will find me standing outside your door someday, pretty hungry.

  6. Ummmmm, yum! I'm coming over for dinner! And that cake?! Must've taken you forever. Looks delish!


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