What a year 2010 was! As I reflect on the year that’s just past, I can’t help but feel grateful (despite many, many stressful moments) to be where I am at this point in my life. My top five unforgettable moments this year:
1. Hong Kong in February for a girls only weekend. It was the first time in ages that we had an exclusive “girls”-cursion which included my Mom, sisters and aunt. Lots of eating, shopping and bonding. I could tell you more about what we did but what happened in Hong Kong, stays in Hong Kong…
2. Watching the birth of my nephew James – Last July I was with my sister and her husband when my nephew James was born after more than 13 hours in labour. In exchange? I was given the honour of cutting his umbilical cord (well, more like my brother-in-law was too queasy to do it) and being named his godmother.
3. Teaching my first macaron class – In August I taught my first macaron class at The Essential Ingredient. I was so worried about making sure my class ran smoothly that I actually took leave off work two days before the first class to practice, practice, and practice some more!
4. Moving homes is one of the most stressful things I did this year. Especially when the move required two trips using a ten ton truck, a month of packing, twelve hours of moving, and three days completely devoted to unpacking (we’re still unpacking bits and pieces until today). There were times when I wondered to myself “is it worth it?”… looking around now, I can say it was definitely worth it. But let me tell you, I never want to move homes again!
5. Changing Jobs – I had reached a plateau with my previous job but I was also hesitant to make the change to do something new. With the encouragement of friends and family, I finally decided it was time to move on after four years. I am extremely excited to be working with a committed and successful team when I get back to work in the new year.
So what’s instore for 2011?
I wouldn’t even want to take a guess because had someone told me this time last year that I would do any of the following: go to Hong Kong for a bonding session, be present for my nephew’s birth, teach a macaron class, move home or change job – I would have told them that they were crazy…. and to think I did all of that in the last year alone!
So whatever happens in 2011, I say bring it on. If 2010 is any indication – it’s going to be an exciting year!
While I am not one for new year’s resolutions (I’ll probably just break them all on day one), I’m hoping to eat healthier and add more veggies to my diet in 2011. This Roasted Vegetable Cake was inspired by a dish I have quite often for lunch at a bookstore cafe near where I work and Julia Child’s Vegetable Gateau which I have made before. I love how colourful this dish is because of the different layers of roasted vegetables and the dish is hearty enough because of the ricotta and eggs. Plus, it’s pretty easy to make. First vegetables are peeled, sliced and then roasted. While the vegetables are cooking, you make the custard which involved just mixing ricotta, eggs and cream cheese (you can do this by hand or a food processor/blender would come in handy). Then the vegetables are layered and then baked with the custard. You can also substitute the vegetables I’ve chosen with some of your favourites instead, for example, mushrooms, caramelized onions, broccoli and sauteed carrots.
Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year!
Roast Vegetable Cake with Ricotta Cheese
- 8 eggs
- 250 grams ricotta cheese
- 125 grams cream cheese
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste
- 50 ml olive oil for drizzling over the vegetables
- 30 grams butter to saute the spinach
- 2 large waxy potatoes, when peeled and sliced, weighing 350 grams
- 1 sweet potato, when peeled and sliced, weighing 350 grams
- 3 roasted peppers (capsicums), roasted, skin removed
- 1/2 pumpkin, when peeled and cubed, weighing 150 grams
- 150 grams baby spinach leaves
- Place the eggs, ricotta, cream cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a food processor and mix until smooth.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Peel and slice the potatoes and sweet potato, peel and cube the pumpkin and lay these on a baking tray in a single layer. Drizzle with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft enough that you can pierce through them with a fork.
- If you are roasting the peppers yourself, char each pepper over an open flame using a pair of tongs. When the peppers have blackened, place them in a large bowl and cover with clingwrap for a few minutes. Carefully peel the skin off the peppers. Otherwise, you can use store bought peppers as well.
- Heat a pan with some butter and lightly saute the spinach. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large round cake pan (mine measured 23 cm wide by 6 cm high), layer the potato slices, the sweet potato, red peppers, cubed pumpkin, and then pour over the egg mixture. Finally, add the sauteed spinach. Allow the mixture to settle for around ten minutes.
- Bake the frittata for around 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you insert this through the center of the cake.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool before slicing.