Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday fun - Cake & Assaggi Italiani

It was my birthday recently, and I had the most fantastic day. I am definitely not talking about the weather - it was very cold, with a biting wind and rain. No, it was a fantastic day because I spent the entire day (literally) in the company of friends.

In the morning, I went to Preston Market with my friend, Elisa, to shop for lunch. Erm ... and I might have picked up a few things here and there - for instance, I had to try a Baby Ruth bar, purely for research purposes, of course - ummm, and a truckload of dried fruit for Christmas cake and puddings, and err, some cake decorating supplies, because you can never have enough of those and ....

Back at Elisa's, closely supervised by her two pooches, Coops and Porter, Elisa made us delicious veggie tarts using the spoils from our market trip.

Next came dessert - hooray! Elisa made me a birthday cake - this is the second year in a row that someone has made me a cake, and I am as pleased as punch. The cake, pictured at the top of this post, is a White Wings white chocolate and raspberry cake, to which Elisa had added marshmallows (knowing my obsession with them).

Here's me blowing out the candles:

And here's a slice of cake - look at the lovely colour on the inside:

The afternoon comprised of chatting and watching Edward Scissorhands (which, shamefully, I had never seen from beginning to end before).

A short train trip and a quick change later, I was off to dinner at
Assaggi, an Italian restaurant in Malvern. Assaggi is run by an Italian family, and the food is excellent. (Matt Preston reviewed it here.) There is a wood-fired pizza oven in the front kitchen that you walk past on the way in. The friendly staff ushered us promptly to our upstairs table (I was a little late because of my trip back from the north), and remained friendly and upbeat throughout. Tap water is available on request, provided in large bottles, and is replaced without prompting throughout the meal. The restaurant is both BYO and licensed, so you have the best of both worlds. Corkage is $7 a bottle.

I had been to Assaggi once before with my friend Veronica, and I knew that the pizzas at Assaggi were devine. Accordingly, I knew I was going to order pizza. Here is my choice - the Delicioza, which has a crispy, thin, light as a feather crust topped with bocconcini, speck, gorgonzola and pear slices:

Although the pizza fills the plate, its light crust makes it easy for one person to tackle as a main meal.

Everyone else enjoyed their selections too - James ordered an enormous whole flounder served with beetroots which looked very impressive, the girls both ordered the gnocchi, Christian had the linguine carbonara and Tim had another type of pizza.

Despite being full, of course we ordered dessert. I ordered the berry semifreddo, which tastes every bit as good as it looks:

Assaggi has a warm, friendly atmosphere, with staff who make you feel welcome. Its authentic Italian food is wonderful, and everything on the menu sounded appealing.

Overall, it was a fun birthday. Thanks to my friends who made it that way.

Assaggi Italiani
99 Glenferrie Rd
Malvern 3143
Ph: (03) 9500 1624


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! It sounds like it truly was a great day. I especially like the pink birthday cake your friend made.

I don't think I've seen a photo of you before - it's nice to see you!

Cakelaw said...

LOL - I normally keep my mug out of it, but on this occasion thought it would be fun to post it.

Mary said...

Well, I came to see your muffins, but I got completely distracted by your birthday cake! It looks delicious, as does the semifreddo. I love anything with berries. Happy, happy birthday!

Johanna GGG said...

happy birthday - glad to hear it was a good one - I love the glorious colour of that cake and the pizza looks wonderful

SteelCityFlan said...

Happy, happy birthday! Mmmm, white chocolate, raspberries, and marshmallow? Sounds like a pretty perfect birthday cake. And Edward Scissorhands...what a great day x)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Looks like you had a wonderful birthday! And well deserved and it must have been so nice to have someone make you a cake for a change! :D

Emily said...

Happy belated birthday! It sounds like you had a wonderful day.

The semifreddo looks incredible! Such a pretty color. I love the look of that pizza, too. I would eat it all.

Ivy said...

Happy birthday dear Gaye. The cake looks beautiful and at last someone is baking a cake for you, after baking so many cakes yourself for family, friends and colleagues :)

Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

Happy birthday to you! Nice to see your face :)

I could not approve more of your pizza choice, it sounds perfect! I love the combo of gorgonzola and pear on pizza, and the addition of speck as well just tops it off perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday!!!!!!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Happy Birthday! It looks as thought you had a fantastic day! I'm dying over that cake...I could totally go for a slice...yum!

natalia said...

Ciao ! happy birthday to you ! The cake looks great and the reastarant meal fantastic ! Great day !! Auguri

Cakelaw said...

Thank you to all for your warm birthday wishes - greatly appreciated!

The Blonde Duck said...

Happy birthday! We should have had pie together!

Brenda said...

Happy belated birthday! Sounds like you had a wonderful day - food, shopping and more food!
How lovely that a friend bakes you a cake this time : )

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday!! What a great day you had.

Indie.Tea said...

The cake looks gorgeous, especially on the inside, as you said. The inside's what counts :)