Yesterday was my birthday so to celebrate I took the day off work to cook up a dinner feast for my family. Yes, I know that seems strange, but I actually find it really relaxing and fun! So what did I cook? Some delicious sliders and rollers accompanied by coleslaw, flat fries, oven-baked onion rings and some delicious homemade ranch dipping sauce. They were all based on recipes from the awesome Aussie cook book ‘Sliders and Rollers: mini burgers and hot dogs’ by David Cowie. Oh and I made my own birthday cake too – an impressive Bombe Alaska.

 I used mini Panini rolls which I found up the supermarket for the sliders. I then filled them with small homemade beef patties, lettuce, tomato, cheese, tomato sauce, caramelised onions (made from the middle parts of the onion not used for the rings) and then secured a pickle on top with a toothpick.

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For the rollers, I used dinner rolls which I filled with pork shoulder that had been slow cooked in a homemade barbeque sauce, a lovely apple cider and whole egg mayonnaise coleslaw and some crisp pork crackling for an additional textural element.

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The onion rings where crumbed and seasoned with cajun spices before baking and the flat fries were sliced thinly with a mandolin before being crisped up under the grill. The ranch sauce was a great accompaniment to the fries and onion rings, but also delicious on the sliders, too.

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It was without doubt an epic feast with lots of left overs, but we all somehow managed to make room for dessert. This is the first time I’ve made or even tried a Bombe Alaska and I can tell you it certainly won’t be the last. This easy-to-make cake epitomises what desserts should be about: fun, indulgent and show-stopping. Based on some recipes I found on the web, here is my version:

Bombe Alaska

Serves 12
• A tub of chocolate ice cream (or whatever your favourite flavour is)
• A tub of caramel swirl ice cream (or whatever your other favourite flavour is)
• A store bought sponge cake
• 6 egg whites
• 1 and ¼ cup of sugar
• Cling wrap
• Oil
• A kitchen blow torch (can be found at kitchen stores – I bought mine for $15 from Victoria’s basement. Note that most of them do not come with gas so you will also need to pick up some butane lighter refill gas which you should be able to find from a supermarket of hardware store)
• A dome shaped pudding tin

1. Grease the cake tin with oil then line with cling wrap ensuring there is enough excess over the edges to help pull out your cake later on.
2. Allow the ice cream to soften and then firmly spoon it into the cake tin. Be as creative as you like, layering the different flavours (keep in mind how awesome it will look when it is cut open). You could even scatter frozen berries, crushed biscuits or chocolates through the ice cream.

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3. Once the cake tin is full of the ice cream, with a bread knife, slice the cake lengthways so you have a piece about 3cm in height. Place this on top of the ice cream. Fill in any gaps with more pieces of cake cut to shape.

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4. Press down firmly, then cover with cling wrap and pop it into the freezer to firm.
5. Just before serving, whisk the 6 egg whites until they form soft peaks.
6. Then, spoon in a table spoon of sugar and continue whisking until it is dissolved. 
7. Continue doing this until all the sugar has been mixed in and the mixture is a thick and glossy meringue.
8. Take out the ice cream cake from the freezer and slide it onto a plate.

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9. Remove the cling wrap and then spread on all the meringue mixture with a spatula.

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10. Use the blow torch to lightly toast the meringue.

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This delightful dessert is an explosion of sweet textures and super simple to throw together. Steps 1 to 4 can be done days in advance, so all you have to do before serving is whip up the meringue, spread it over the cake and then let everyone have a go at torching the cake – no need for candles! Another awesome thing about this cake is that the left overs will freeze keeping their texture, including the soft, delicate meringue! It also serves heaps of people, however, if you wanted to make it for a smaller crowd, you could always make individual Bombe Alaska’s in mugs or small bowls - just remember to make less of then meringue mixture. This retro ice cream cake is most definitely the bomb.