Monday, 30 May 2016

Sunken Nutella cake with Baileys Cream

I met with friends for lunch on Saturday, which as usual turned into a slighty longer meet up than planned and wine was consumed. I was in a slight panic at 5pm with 4 friends coming around for dinner and not having prepared a morsel. This is the first time I have made this cake from Olive Magazine and given the rushed circumstances it was very successful and it was very well received. It has a wonderfully squidgy consistency, and will be added to my list of gluten free cakes. My main course was a leg of lamb with lemon and oregano, with potatoes roasting around it, soaking up the butter and dare I say the fat from the lamb. I can't tell you how delicious the potatoes were. I didn't photograph it, but I'll do it again soon and post the recipe. 
I didn't make the Baileys cream do go with the cake, but I imagine that would be a great accompaniment.

Serves 10-12
butter 175g, diced plus extra for greasing
cocoa for dusting
dark chocolate 150g, broken into chunks
Nutella 200g
light muscovado sugar 150g
ground hazelnuts 125g
eggs 6, separated
hazelnuts 25g, chopped

double cream 300ml
Baileys 4 tbsp
icing sugar 1 tbsp plus extra for dusting
sea salt ¼ tsp (optional)

Heat the oven to 180ºC. Butter and lightly dust with cocoa a 22-23cm round cake tin with a springform or loose bottom, tipping out the excess. Put the chocolate, Nutella, sugar and butter in a big saucepan and melt slowly over a very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat to stir in the ground hazelnuts then egg yolks, one at a time.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then spoon a third of the whites into the chocolate mixture and mix in well to loosen it. Gently fold in the rest of the whites with a big metal spoon or spatula.

Scrape the mixture gently into the tin, scatter with the chopped hazelnuts and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top surface is crisp but doesn’t feel quite set underneath. Cool completely.

To serve, remove the cake from the tin and dust with a little cocoa plus pinches of icing sugar if you like. Put the double cream, Baileys, 1 tbsp icing sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk until thickened and just holding its shape. Cut the cake into thin slivers and serve with spoonfuls of the cream.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Bacon, egg and new potato Caesar

I kept putting this meal off this week as I thought it might not go down very well. But as I had all the ingredients for it, I decided to go ahead and make it for tea tonight. Everyone was starving early this evening apart from me. So we ended up eating ridiculously early. We'll find we start getting hungry again in a couple of hours time. Hide the chocolate biscuits and Nutella spread. Rachel is mid GCSE's and is comfort eating. I am reminding her she has a prom dress to fit in, in less than a month. Exciting times. The recipe is from the June edition of Olive Magazine, and we all loved it. 

Serves 2 
150 g baby new potatoes 
6 slices of streaky bacon 
1 romaine lettuce 
2 poached eggs 
A handful of chopped chives (fine without)

4 tablespoons of half fat crème fraîche 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
half a teaspoon of Worcester sauce
half a clove of garlic crushed 
25 g of finely grated Parmesan 
juice of half a lemon

Cook the new potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes, then drain and cool. Grill the bacon until crisp. (I fried mine)
Mix the crème fraîche, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and Parmesan with a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of water and season. Toss the potatoes and lettuce with the dressing and divide between two plates. Top with the bacon broken into pieces, an egg and a sprinkling of chives.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Hairy Dieters, Chickpea, Hot-Smoked Salmon and Pomegranate salad

Each mouthful was an explosion  of flavours, from the sweetness of the pomegranate, the freshness of the cucumber, the smokiness of the salmon and the middle eastern flavour of the harissa paste. A perfect salad to eat in the sunshine. 

Ingredients, Serves 4
1 pomegranate,
1/2 cucumber, 
400g can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1/2 medium red onion (finely sliced), 
2 ripe tomatoes (each cut into 12 chunks), 
15g fresh coriander leaves (roughly chopped), 
20g bunch flatleaf parsley (chopped), 
150g skinless, hot-smoked salmon

1 tsp runny honey,
1 tsp harissa paste, 
2 tsp lemon juice, 
1 tbsp. olive oil, 
flaked sea salt,
ground black pepper

Cut the pomegranate in half. Hold each half over a bowl and bash the back with a wooden spoon to dislodge the seeds – you may need to help some of them out with a knife or spoon. Put the seeds and any juice in a serving bowl. Peel the cucumber in long strips, leaving a little skin between each strip, then quarter lengthways and cut into 1.5cm slices.
Tip the chickpeas into the bowl, add the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, coriander and parsley and mix well. Flake the fish into chunks on top of the salad.
To make the dressing, put the honey, harissa and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk with a small metal whisk or a fork to combine. Add the olive oil, season with salt and ground black pepper and whisk until thickened. Spoon over the salad and toss lightly to serve.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Mary Berry's Tuna and Spinach Linguine

This pasta dish is full of delicious fresh flavours and was popular with everyone the other evening. My friend had cooked it for me previously from the 'Foolproof Cooking' book by Mary Berry.  It might be another cook book I'll have to invest in.  I used spring onions in place of the shallots. 

Serves 6

350g linguine
2 x 200g tins of tuna in olive oil, drained, flaked and oil reserved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tinned or bottled anchovy fillets, finely chopped
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp drained baby capers
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
225g baby spinach leaves, coarsely shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper

finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the linguine and cook according to the packet instructions, then drain.
Meanwhile, measure 2 tablespoons of oil reserved from the tuna tins into a large frying or sauté pan. Add the garlic, anchovies, shallots and chilli and fry over a high heat for 5-6 minutes until the shallots have softened. Add the capers, cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves and toss until the spinach is just wilting.
Tip the drained linguine and the flaked tuna into the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and carefully toss together until combined, adding more oil if the mixture seems too dry.
Tip into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice and grated Parmesan to serve.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Orange and almond cake

I made this cake yesterday for the first time. It's not going to be one of my favourite cakes, but if you prefer cakes not too sweet and fussy, and simple to make, this could be for you. I have posted a recipe for an almond and orange cake in the past which I would say was far nicer than this one. The recipe is from '101 cakes and bakes', GoodFood magazine. Perhaps making an orange syrup by melting orange juice and icing sugar and pouring all over the cake when warm would have given the flavours a little lift. 

Serves 12

1 medium orange
175g butter, softened
175g light muscavado sugar
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50g ground almonds
Icing sugar, for dredging

Preheat the oven to 190ºC
Butter and line the base of a 23cm/9 inch round deep cake tin. Cut the whole orange – skin, pith, flesh, the lot – into pieces. Remove any pips then whizz the orange pieces in a food processor to a finely chopped puree.

Tip the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, bicarbonate of soda and almonds into the food processor and whizz for 10 seconds until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is risen and brown. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Dredge thickly with icing sugar before serving.