Swimming pool theme birthday cake... snacks inspired, burger and ham sandwich all made from sponge and chocolate cakes. Other culprits, fondant, coffee buttercream and strawberry jam. They were all fun cakes.
Difficulty level: as hard as switching your microwave on!
Versatility: oh as versatile as a white embelished top (fill it up with whatever filling you want!)
Few years back when I used to know zilch about cooking... I'd happily spend lotsa money for take-away food, regardless of how simple the dish is... but nowadays... it takes a really big chunk of laziness for me not to try to satisfy my cravings, home made.
The other week, Alex, my eldest son asked me if he can have AED 10 for school because he wants to try "Banini" which I have to correct gazillion times as Panini. For fellow expats in the Middle East... I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
So going back to Banini, I told him I'll make one... so he can try. My kids don't get snack money ... they get snackbox from home. I grew up with snack money for school but always crave for home made munchies... and so I did the opposite for them. They can ask for snack money if they give me a good reason to say yes. Alex has a curious palate, so he only asks for money when he wants to try cafeteria food. He loves home made snacks that sometimes I have to offer him money just in case he wants to try something new from the Cafeteria and he'd refuse it. If it was me, I'd take the money and just keep it in my wallet.
So for the last seven years of his school life, he's been curious with pizza, the cheesedog, Twistos, pasta with white sauce, popcorn and now banini (he meant panini). This happened once each, very weird, their cafeteria must not have been changing selections often!
Again, going back to Panini, I made one, in a rush, yesterday. Was thinking of adding rocket leaves but sadly forgot to buy one... just made with whatever we have. He LOVED it, loved it, lurve it! Actually we all did. It's the first time I made a panini and I didn't realize how easy it is... and the possibilities are endless!
I don't have a panini press but I have a grill press that I use for indoor bbq, it was perfect... if you don't own one, Use a grill pan (just to create that beautiful marks) or a plain pan (your hungry stomach will treat it the same with or without marks) and a heavy flat object you can weigh to squeeze your bread shut... another heavy pan perhaps to perch on top? You'd scratch you head why you haven't made one before!
And so, although we are all over the moon with our newest discovery... I want Alex to continue satisfying his palate... so tomorrow I'm giving him AED 10 to taste what school cafeteria offers... and of course for him to come back and tell me my version is waaaaay waaaay better.
He gave me that verdict over pizza... and my competitions were pizza hut and dominos.... not bad mommy!
I didn't know squat about cooking few years back. Give me set of issues in the office and I'll tell you how to solve it. Hand me a recipe book and I'll throw it back at you. I was that hopeless.