Two nut chocolate torte August 29, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in desserts.
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P’s mother is allergic to gluten, so there aren’t that many cakes that she can eat. P and I had been watching Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef and decided that we would make this when we were going over for dinner one night. She asked for the recipe, although I think she was slightly horrified at the amount of butter, eggs and chocolate that went into it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, if you are going to be unhealthy, do it with something that tastes great. This cake, with ~116% of your daily fat intake per slice, is a pretty delicious way to do it.
Two nut chocolate torte (from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef)
- 150g almonds
- 150g walnuts
- 300g dark chocolate
- 1 tsp cocoa power
- 250g butter
- 100gm caster sugar
- 6 eggs (separated)
- Preheat the oven to 190C and line the base of a buttered tin with baking paper.
- Finely grind up nuts in a food processor. Add cocoa and 200gm of the chocolate and whiz until chocolate is ground up (approximately 30 sec). Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating between each addition. Mix together with chocolate mixture.
- Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.
- Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
- Pour into prepared pan. Chop the remaining chocolate into pieces and press these into the mixture, covering them over to form chocolate chips.
- Bake for about an hour. The cake is cooked when a skewer comes out fairly clean.
- When cooled, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with icecream and strawberries.
That said, I think that the amount of butter and chocolate in this could be easily reduced without sacrificing much of the taste. The nuts mean that the cake does not dry out and so probably doesn’t need so much butter in it. Perhaps next time someone has a birthday I’ll try it.
Carrot cupcakes August 26, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in cupcakes.
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My best friend is having a champagne and cupcakes 21st and I volunteered to make the cupcakes. These were a weekend experiment to try and prevent any disasters on the day. I had never made carrot cake before, which is odd when I think about it. Or maybe not so odd, seeing as when little sister discovered these were carrot she put her cupcake down and said ‘I just cleaned my teeth’. Subtle.
Since these cupcakes have to be finger food I thought a small size would be better. These were made in mini muffin pans and can be eaten in 1-2 mouthfuls. I kept the icing minimal because I don’t really like those cakes that have a tower of icing about the same height as the actual cake. They are also a bit small for a really strong cream cheese flavour so I used 50-50 Philadelphia/butter. I topped them off with a small piece of grated carrot that I had soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.
Carrot cupcakes (adapted from Womens Weekly ‘cupcakes by colour’)
- 1 cup peanut oil (the recipe says vegetable but I ran out)
- 1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups firmly packed coarsely grated carrot
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 1/4 cups self raising flour (sifted)
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line mini muffin pans with little patty pans. I did some big as well because otherwise it makes a lot of mini cakes.
- Beat oil, sugar and eggs together in small bowl with electric mixer until thick and foamy.
- Transfer mixture to food processor, add carrot and walnut and blend until they are the desired size.
- Transfer mixture to larger bowl and mix in sifted ingredients.
- Fill the cases about 1/2 to 2/3 full. The cakes rise so take care not to overfill the patty pans.
- Bake about 15 minutes.
It might seem annoying to keep transferring bowls but I found the carrot and walnut was too chunky for a little cake if it didn’t get blended in. I guess for a larger cake it wouldn’t matter so much. The cakes keep quite well, they were still nice the next day and the day after.
Potato and Leek soup August 23, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in healthy, soups.
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P and I went out for dinner the other night and rather ambitiously ordered the degustation. It was good because I got to try things I ordinarily wouldn’t have ordered (even if there was more food than I knew what to do with). One of these things was potato and leek soup. We don’t eat a lot of soup, except perhaps pumpkin but after this I decided we were missing out. This soup is a healthier recreation of the one we had. It was hard to imitate the flavour of about 2 cups of cream and copious amounts of butter while still keeping it heart friendly, so I didn’t really try. The end result was still creamy and tasty without being (too) unhealthy. After all, if you are going to blow your health regime you may as well do it on something more exciting than soup. Like cake.
Potato and Leek soup
- 1 brown onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 leeks (green removed, white chopped)
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 6 potatoes (peeled and chopped into quarters)
- 2.5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tin evaporated milk
- Chopped parsley
- Fry up onion and leeks in 2 tbsp olive oil until they begin to soften (5+ minutes)
- Add garlic, salt, pepper and cumin and continue frying for a few more minutes.
- Add vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Add potato and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover.
- When vegetables have softened, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.
- Pour in the evaporated milk and leave to simmer until the correct consistency.
- Correct seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with chopped parsley.
I pureed the soup until it was very smooth because I wanted a very liquid consistency. I also pureed it again the next day while I was reheating it because it thickens overnight. I used pink skinned potatoes.
Chicken sausage with lentils August 13, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in healthy, savoury.
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I feel a bit like all I write about are recipes from Gourmet Traveller, but at least I get good value out of the one magazine. I’m not actually a fan of lentils, but after reading an article in New Scientist about good foods to eat I thought I should give them a try. And they were actually quite nice. Well, my sister hated them but I don’t really consider her as a litmus test for whether something is edible or not. She ate the sausage, so that’s something. I used sausages made from coarse minced chicken breast with pine nuts and herbs. I think that made a difference, I’m not sure it would taste so nice with ordinary sausages. I also soaked the lentils in cold water for a few hours before using them to soften them up.
Chicken Sausage with French Lentils
- 3 rashes bacon (chopped)
- 2 small carrots, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1.5 cups lentils
- 1tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf sprig
- 6 chicken sausages
- Handful of coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
- Cover the lentils with about an inch of water and leave to soak for 2 hours
- Fry up the bacon, vegetables and garlic with olive oil until the vegetables start to soften (5-10 minutes)
- Add vinegar, then wine, then stock, lentils, mustard and herbs.
- Reduce the heat to medium, cover and stir occasionally until lentils have softened (about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile fry up sausages until browned and cooked through.
- Add chopped sausages and parsley to lentils and serve.
Lamington cupcakes August 10, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in cupcakes.
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I had been wanting to try this for a while and I finally got the opportunity. Lamingtons remind me of my grandparents and childhood birthdays. They aren’t something I ever buy because they just don’t live up to my memories of them. Anyway this sponge worked well for cupcakes because it didn’t sink after I took them out of the oven. Whether it was because the egg is slightly cooked before everything is mixed in or maybe I just cooked them for too long, but I was happy with the result. The cake is a little drier than I would have liked but luckily the cream mostly counteracts that.
Lamington cupcakes (adapted from Gourmet Traveller website)
- 4 eggs
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g plain flour
- 15g butter (melted)
- Preheat oven to 190C.
- Whisk eggs and sugar over a bowl of simmering water until they are warm (about 5 minutes). I used an electric whisk to get it really fluffy.
- Transfer to an electric mixer with whisk attachment and whisk on high speed for about 10 minutes
- Sift flour over egg mixture in batches and mix in with a metal spoon, trying not to disrupt too much air from the eggs. Fold through melted butter before folding in the last of the flour.
- Fill patty pans 2/3 full of mixture. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure they do not burn.
- Makes about 12 large cupcakes.
- Mix together 2 cups of icing sugar, 2 tablespoons dark cocoa, 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of hot water to make a thick paste. Continue adding water a little at a time until it is the correct consistency (thick but runny)
- Dip tops of cakes into icing and then dip into coconut. Leave to set (I left them overnight).
- Cut out tops of cake out, pipe in whipped cream then replace tops.
Spring cupcakes August 3, 2009Posted by croissantandbagel in cupcakes.
Tags: cupcakes, sweets
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My sister asked me to make some ‘normal food’. I suspect she misses the days where all I ever made was chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and sprinkles. She had also given me a packet of only yellow crispy M&Ms and I thought that was too good an opportunity to waste. How often can you buy packets with only one colour? I thought everyone in my family could do with a reminder that it is almost spring. Well, in a little over a month, but I am counting down. I hate winter.
The cakes are just plain vanilla cupcakes with plain vanilla buttercream icing, decorated with mini marshmallows that I cut in half. I don’t think you can get more ‘normal’ than vanilla! The vanilla cake was one I sort of made up as I went. They tasted nice and moist but they were not particularly attractive without icing. They sank a bit as I took them out of the oven leaving a flat surface with a peak in the middle- very odd looking. The only handy thing about this was that I could chop the peaks off and give them to Dad and P to eat so that they left the actual cakes alone until I was finished.
- 125g cubed butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 1/4 cup self raising flour
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 190C
- Beat butter until soft (if it is at room temperature this only takes a second) and then gradually add sugar. Beat until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each. Add the vanilla and salt.
- Add about a third of the flour, then the milk. Keep adding small amounts alternatively.
- Fill patty pans about 2/3 full.