June 6, 2009

Easy Chocolate Nemesis revisited

Yesterday we were invited to our friends' new holiday house at Cowes for lunch. It was my turn to take dessert, and as it was my lovely friend Pauline's birthday last week I thought I'd take some sort of cake. I decided on River Cafe's Easy Chocolate Nemesis again . Since making it then I've bought the book that features it - River Cafe Pocket Books: Puddings, Cakes and Icecreams, so here's the dead easy recipe in its original form...

Easy Chocolate Nemesis
340g 70% chocolate, broken into pieces
225g unsalted butter
5 eggs
210g caster sugar divided into 2 lots (70g + 120g)

Preheat oven to 120C. Butter a 25cm round cake tin (not springform) and line the bottom with a circle of buttered baking paper.

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Do not let the water touch the bowl. While it's melting, heat 120g of the sugar with 100ml of water in a small pan and let it boil for a minute or so until it forms a light syrup. Pour the hot syrup into the melted chocolate and cool slightly.

While it's cooling beat the eggs with the remaining 70g of sugar until quadrupled in volume. Add the chocolate to the eggs and beat slowly until combined. Pour into the prepared tin. Put a folded teatowel in the bottom of a deep baking tray and enough hot water to come 3/4 of the way up the tin. Bake for 50 minutes* or until set. Leave the cake to cool in the water before refrigerating.

Bring to room temperature before serving.
I sprinkled the cake with rose flavoured Persian fairy floss and a few rose petals, and served with a dollop of thick cream, to which I'd added a few drops of rose water. To serve, slice with a hot knife wiped clean between each cut.

* I don't have a 25 cm tin or a baking dish big enough to hold one, so I used a 23cm one. My new oven is so much quicker than any I've ever used so the smaller cake took the same time as the bigger one in the recipe despite being deeper. Another oven may take a bit longer...note that the recipe I referred to in the original post says bake a 23cm cake for an hour and a half.

Happy birthday Pauline!

October 20, 2008

hen's night cupcakes

I couldn't let V.'s hen's night last weekend go by without making cupcakes. As we were seeing "Puppetry of the Penis" it was pretty easy to decide on the decorations. I've had the penis moulds since the early 80's. There used to be a furniture shop in the next suburb that sold X-rated chocolate moulds from under the counter. How straitlaced we were back then. Stuff like this is displayed all over the place now in gift shops but was considered pretty risque then.

We had a fun night with lots of laughs. Now for the two week countdown to the wedding!

August 28, 2008

kitchen love

We've not done much house-hunting since we sold this house, mainly due to the shortage of houses on the market. Estate agents assure us this will change once spring arrives. Meanwhile I've started thinking about how much stuff I'm going to have to get rid of. When we extended the house14 years ago I designed the kitchen myself, and my intent was to make it not just functional but with as much storage space as possible. So I'm so spoiled for cupboards and drawers that some things are seldom used but kept just because I've got the space, or they're behind glass and just for show.

I have two big pantries...

plus these...

plus this...plus these...

Now I'm not sentimental about houses and am looking forward to moving and living in a new neighbourhood, but there's no doubt I'm going to miss my kitchen dreadfully.

Meanwhile for the next few months we're making the most of it while we can.

We had this for dinner the other night...snapper with spicy yogurt marinade...cooked by Georgie. It was one of Jeremy and Jane Strode's recipes from this week's Good Living. It took no time to prepare and tasted fantastic. The recipe is here.

August 27, 2008

spring risotto

I love love love broad beans. They're my absolute favourite vegetable. They have such a short season - maybe I wouldn't love them so much if they were available all year round - so we tend to have them several times a week in spring.

My new delicious turned up yesterday. Ben O'Donoghue's spring risotto starring broad beans and asparagus (my second favourite vegetable) was my obvious pick for dinner last night and it was great. Here's how I made it - I altered the method slightly as I didn't fancy peeling the broad beans raw as the recipe stated.

Risotto Primavera (serves 4-6)

120g unsalted butter

1 white onion, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 cups (400g) carnaroli rice (I used arborio)

1 cup (250ml) dry white wine

5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup (80g) frozen peas

1 cup (120g) podded fresh broad beans, cooked and peeled

2L chicken stock, kept at a simmer

1/2 bunch asparagus (I used a whole bunch) thinly sliced at an angle - tips intact

1 cup (80g) grated parmesan

4 T mascarpone ( I omitted this)

1 T finely shredded mint leaves

Cook the broad beans in boiling water for a minute or two, drain, peel when cool enough to handle and set aside. Cook the asparagus slices in the simmering stock for a couple of minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Melt 80g of the butter in a wide pan over med heat. Cook the onion and celery, stirring, for 10 mins or until softened, adding the garlic for the final minute. Add the rice and stir for a further minute to coat the grains. Add the wine and cook, stirring, for 3 mins until absorbed. Add a ladleful of hot stock, stirring until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add stock, a ladleful at a time, gently stirring and making sure each is absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is al dente. This will take 20-25 minutes (you may not need all the stock). Add the last ladleful of stock, turn off the heat, and gently stir in the remaining butter, parmesan, peas, beans and asparagus. Cover and let stand for 10 mins. Serve topped with mascarpone and mint.

August 25, 2008

goat's cheese and spinach souffle

I made this for dinner last night. I've got a bit of a thing for savoury souffles and have been dying to make it since I cut the recipe out of a Gourmet Traveller mag. It was great, but maybe not quite as good as these twice-baked ones and a bit more time-consuming. Last night's recipe is here. It was also sinfully rich...so much for the last month's gym-work and healthy eating. Check out all the high-fat dairy ingredients!......

I might try putting some spinach in the twice-baked ones next time.

August 24, 2008

best healthy muffins so far

Over coffee-after-the-gym the other morning Corry brought out a new mag to show us- BBC Australian Good Food. I hadn't seen it in the supermarket but a quick look through made me interested enough to buy it. As if I needed any more food mags. It looks quite similar to delicious, and features some well-known chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Kylie Kwong. But unlike delicious, whose recipes are featured on taste.com.au , I couldn't find any of the recipes online.

There was a nice-looking and fairly healthy-sounding carrot and walnut cake recipe featured, so I tried it out (tho' I made muffins). They were terrific - really soft with a great flavour - and probably the nicest of the healthy muffins I've made lately. I modified the recipe a bit, substituting buttermilk for the full-fat milk soured with lemon juice, and CSR Smart for the sugar. I didn't make the cream cheese frosting either but they really didn't need it and neither do my hips. Here's my version :

Carrot & Walnut Cakes (makes 15)

1/2 cup (80g) sultanas

juice of an orange

2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk (or milk soured with 2 t lemon juice)

2 cups (320g) wholemeal SR flour

1 t bicarb

1 t mixed spice

160g CSR Smart or 1 1/2 cups (330g) raw sugar

1/2 cup (50g) walnuts, chopped

3 medium carrots, grated

1 granny smith apple, peeled, grated

grated rind of 1 lemon

1/2 cup (125ml) rice bran oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 15 holes of 2 x muffin tins with paper cases and spray lightly with non-stick spray.

Combine sultanas and orange juice in a small bowl and let stand for 10 mins.

Combine buttermilk, oil and lightly beaten eggs in a separate bowl.

Sift flour, bicarb, spice and 1/4 t salt in a large bowl and return husks from sifter to bowl. Stir in CSR Smart, carrots, apple, lemon rind and sultana mixture. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in chopped walnuts.

Spoon into paper cases and bake for 20 mins. or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

If making one big cake, use a greased and lined 25cm springform tin and bake for 50-55 mins.

August 22, 2008

chickpea & tuna patties

A Sydney friend sends me the Good Living section out of Sydney Morning Herald on a Tuesday. I prefer it to Epicure in the Melbourne Age - there are more recipes and the articles are better, though some are a bit irrelevant when we don't live in Sydney. Jeremy and Jane Strode - co-owners of Bistrode in Surry Hills - have a weekly column. These chickpea and tuna patties were one of their recipe's from this week and they were delicious. I reckon they taste even better than the ones I usually make with mashed potato, with the added bonus that they're much quicker to make. The recipe is here. I made the slight alteration of rolling the patties in cornflake crumbs before frying for a bit of crunch.