Friday, 21 January 2011

Moda Bake Shop Progressive Dinner

Welcome to my place, and the next stop on the Moda Bake Shop Progressive dinner! Awww, you've brought me flowers ... AND champagne! Wow, you know where your bread is buttered!
I have donned my favourite little black silk dress and my favourite perfume, which apparently makes me feel lighthearted and radiant - perfect! I have ditched the stilettos - it is my place after all!

The children have been excitedly waiting all day for your arrival - they love company!
The obvious advantage of having you at my place for dinner is that I get to concoct my perfect dinner party!

Where's my Sweetness? Excuse me Sweetness, could you fix some music. Had better make the music homegrown tonight: some Powderfinger, The Whitlams, The Waifs, a bit of Silverchair, Washington and definitely some Thirsty Merc … let’s get this party started!

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First things first – I have to tell you why exactly we are gathered here. You may know that I have several free patterns posted at Moda Bake Shop. Well, in 2010 I had the exciting privilege to be one of several Bake Shop chefs invited to contribute to the very first Moda Bakeshop book. And now the book’s release is just around the corner!
Called ‘Fresh Fabric Treats’ it promises to be a wonderful collection of projects to make from Moda’s precut fabrics. The book is due for release in May 2011.
In lieu of the contributors being able to get together for a celebration bash, Lissa Alexander of Moda, in true inclusive Bake Shop style, has organised a virtual progressive dinner for absolutely everyone – AND THAT’S HOW YOU’RE HERE!

I am hoping that AmandaJean at Crazy Mom Quilts has tempted your taste buds already. Since you are now in Australia, and visiting mid-summer, I thought we would start with some antipasto, followed by some great summer salads, and …

rolled chicken with bacon and camembert

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups fresh white breadcrumbs
100g camembert, chopped
1/3 cup fresh herbs (chives or tarragon or sage or your favourite), roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 rashers bacon, rind removed
4 large chicken breast fillets

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking dish with baking paper. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Add the breadcrumbs, camembert and herbs. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper,

Lay out a large sheet of baking paper on a flat surface. Arrange bacon rashers in a slightly overlapping pattern to form a rectangle on the baking paper. Arrange the chicken fillets, 2 inches in from the edge of the bacon. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture onto the chicken. Using the baking paper to help you and starting from a short edge, roll the bacon, enclosing the chicken and filling to form a roll. Transfer roll to prepared baking tray. Bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hours or until cooked through. Equally delicious served hot or cold.

While that’s in the oven, we can chat. The devastating Queensland floods will surely dominate conversation initially. We can talk religion, or even politics if you like? Or perhaps talk of today’s results in the Australian Open Tennis
or the demise of Australian Cricket?
Simply insert witty, but intelligent and meaningful banter here!

But I am guessing at some point we will most likely get around to talking fabric, huh? And being a Moda party, the pros and cons of various precuts will be debated (surely!) … my favourite precut? … tough to choose, but at the moment I am favouring the 10” x 10” layer cakes. I feel they are the most versatile cuts. They can do everything a charm pack can do, but four times over. I can still cut them into 2.5” strips like a jelly roll if I want. And they are big enough to cut for most quilt blocks you can think of.

But quite frankly, I’m not fussy - I think all Moda’s precuts are brilliant. They are just a wonderful, cost efficient way to get a delicious taste of a full range of fabrics.
In keeping with a Bake Shop theme, I like to keep my precuts stashed on a cupcake stand, and in an old enamel cake tin that belonged to my Grandma.

Moda has generously offered up prizes at each of the progressive dinner host blogs. Leave a comment on this post for the chance to win a copy of ‘Fresh Fabric Treats’, hot off the press, and a Moda layer cake, fresh from the oven! I would be very excited to hear where in the world you are visiting from, and what you would love to talk about over dinner.

The winner will be drawn at the end of our progressive dinner on 26th January. The prize will be available to the winner in late April or early May when the book is available.

Are you ready for dessert yet? Two of my all time favourite desserts are the quintessentially Australian pavlova and the velvety smooth, presumably French crème brulee. Since pavlova uses egg whites, and brulee uses egg yolks, it seemed only sensible to make both at once, and give you a choice!

Bloom’s two egg formula
Here is how to make 2 crème brulees and 6 mini pavlovas from 2 eggs!

2 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 135 degrees Celsius (fan-forced). Separate two eggs. Place whites and yolks into separate small mixing bowls.
For pavlovas:
pinch salt
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Whip egg whites and salt with an electric beater until soft peaks form. While still beating, gradually add sugar. Continue beating until glossy and stiff. Add vinegar and vanilla. Mix well. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spoon meringue into 6 portions onto baking tray and spread into circles with a spatula.
For brulees:
2 egg yolks
30 g caster sugar
120mL cream        
80mL milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar, extra

Whisk together the yolks and sugar until well combined. Pour the cream and milk into a small saucepan. Add vanilla. Bring to boiling point and remove from heat. Slowly pour onto the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Strain into a jug. Place two ramekins in a baking dish. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, then pour hot water into the baking dish to come about half way up the sides of the brulees.
Bake pavlovas and brulees for 40 minutes, or until the custard of the brulees is just set and pavlovas are firm and crisp on outside. Remove brulees and cool. Turn off oven, open door, and leave pavlovas in oven to cool.

Serve the pavlovas with whipped cream and summer berries.

Before serving the brulees, sprinkle sugar over the top and place under very hot grill for about 1 minute (or use a kitchen blowtorch) until caramelised and golden.

Now, the evening is not complete until I introduce you to your next host: the lovely and lively Vanessa Christenson over at V and Co. I have followed Vanessa’s blog for years now. She has great style, a brilliant eye for decorating, particularly on a budget, and can always be relied upon to create the most original and gorgeous of projects. She also has a brilliant sense of humour and is the most wonderful story teller. Many a belly laugh can be had over at her blog. Please be sure to visit her next and say hello.

And now, for the ultimate dessert?!

Every reader who visits each of the hosts on our Progressive Dinner and leaves a comment will go into the draw to win the ultimate prize from Moda: a copy of ‘Fresh Fabric Treats’ and an amazing fabric bundle consisting of one of each of the different sizes of precuts. Yes, you read correctly! One of each: a fat quarter bundle, a fat eighth bundle, a jelly roll, a layer cake and a charm pack. This bundle retails at well over $200 retail.

The winner will be drawn at the end of our progressive dinner on 26th January. The prize will be available to the winner in late April or early May when the book is available.

You can find a complete listing of all your most amiable dinner hosts here. Please be sure to show up on their doorstep, and enjoy the feasts and prizes they have to offer! And leave a comment for each host for your chance to win the major prize.

It has been delightful to have your company for dinner! Before you go, I will pour you one last champagne and we'll sit for just a moment and enjoy this from US-born, Australian-raised John Butler. Peace to you and please come again soon. Bloom x
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