On holiday!

If you're wondering why the blog has been a little quiet of late, don't worry, I've not lost interest in food (far from it, really) - am currently doing a lot of travelling, trying to make full use of my last summer as a student.

I'm stocking up on those food stories and I'm looking forward to sharing them soon!

Rootbeer Tiramisu Cake

The little brother turned 15 last weekend (okay, maybe not so little anymore) and I told him that he could have whatever cake he wanted for his birthday. A Rootbeer Tiramisu cake, that's what he decided he absolutely had to have - I suppose boys will be boys.

I had heard of a beeramisu (thanks to an episode of Australian Masterchef) but ROOT-beer tiramisu seemed just a little too strange in my book. Still, I'd promised him he could have whatever his almost-15-year-old heart desired so the rootbeer cake it was.

Adapted from Mitch's Rootbeer Tiramisu

250 g soft cheese (cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
1 packet ladies fingers
1 can root beer
grated chocolate

In a large bowl, mix soft cheese, vanilla and brown sugar - mix well.
In another bowl, whip egg yolk until stiff peaks form.
Fold egg white into the soft cheese mixture.
Cover the bottom and sides of a 9 inch, square cake tin with a layer of ladies fingers.
Pour some rootbeer onto the layer on the bottom of the tin until the ladies fingers become soft.
Spread a layer of cheese mixture on top of the layer of ladies fingers.
Sprinkle a generous amount of grated chocolate onto the cheese mixture.
Add another layer of ladies fingers and repeat the process.
Pop into the fridge and leave in there overnight.

The original recipe called for whipped cream but after a little bit of a disaster involving the whipped cream (trying to whip cream in the middle of the day in Malaysia is not a good idea), we decided to do away with the cream, take a chance, and just go with only the cream cheese.

All fears about the strangeness of the flavour combinations were put to rest as soon as the rootbeer hit the sponge fingers. There's a slight fizzing before the delicious aroma hits you - and you know that you've got something good to look forward to. Once you let the fridge work its magic, the sponge fingers turn into a soft, light, rootbeer-tinged sponge cake which seems to go just perfectly with the cream cheese.

I'd say the experiment was a success - this recipe is definitely a keeper (the quirkiness is a bit of a crowd pleaser too).

Judging from the big smile on the birthday boys face, I'm willing to bet that he was more than happy with the outcome too.

Wahaca Canary Wharf

Masterchef was one of the few things that kept me sane during the exam season - it was an escape of sorts, a reminder that there was life outside the numbers and formulae. I discovered Wahaca last summer, way before I had begun seeking solace in those episodes of Masterchef. Back then, it didn't mean very much to me that Wahaca belonged to Thomasina Miers, winner of Masterchef UK 2005. I did however, understand the phrase "slow-cooked-pork" and really, that was all I needed to know about the place.

Wahaca (Canary Wharf)
Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square,
Canary Wharf, London,
E14 5FW

Vibrant. That was the first thing that came to mind on my first visit to the Canary Wharf outlet. The interior is simultaneously colourful and laidback - smaller tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows that sport beaded "curtains" and a section with larger, higher tables that are reminsicent of a school tuckshop.

The Slow-cooked Pork Burrito, the dish that got me there in the first place. It came highly recommended by a fellow summer intern and she was spot on with her recommendation. It's a hugely satisfying meal, one I'd highly recommend myself. If you're more of a beef person, the British Steak Burrito is an excellent alternative - it's always a hit with the boys.

For the fickle minded, there's the Wahaca Selection, smaller portions of a variety of their favourites to share.

Black Bean Tostadas

Pork Pibil Tacos

Chicken Tinga Tacos

The Canary Wharf outlet also has a bar area on the second floor, a small, cozy area offering some impressive views of Canary Wharf. It's a great place for an after work (or after dinner) cocktail with friends, especially in the summer when the weather is kind enough to let you to take your drink out to the open-air balcony. The place serves up some pretty good tequila-based cocktails - the hibiscus inspired ones are always a crowd pleaser though if you're looking for something a little more exciting, give the tamarind margharita a go.

Prices are decent, considering the location and the fact that it's got some Masterchef novelty attached to it - definitely worth a visit.