Tag Archives: chocolate

the desiccated orange made a chocolate orange cake

an orange

Dear Reader, I have a confession to make. I had to throw out an orange. Oh, the shame. We’re not very good with fruit – we buy it, and then we don’t eat it, so this orange had languished in the bowl for quite a while, and had gone mouldy. It was accompanied by a companion orange which had not yet succumbed, and turned out to be really quite dry, still …  as we were out of cake, I did a quick Google, and adapted a recipe I found, thus:

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 180ml water
125g butter, softened (I used baking marg)
180g granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
1 orange
85g dark chocolate, chopped

(The recipe called for 200g chocolate, which would have been overpowering, I think).

Preheat the oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / gas mark 4.

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the water and set to one side. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well, then add flour and salt.

Roughly chop the whole orange into chunks by hand and then blitz in a food processor, skin and all. Add this to the cake batter along with the water and bicarbonate of soda, and stir.

Add the chocolate and stir through gentlye. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin (I used a 2lb loaf tin with a liner, and as always, blessed whoever made these available for sale, otherwise grease and flour) )and bake about an hour  until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. The recipe I adapted said 40-45 minutes, but that wasn’t nearly long enough, but check and check.

banana and *chocolate* cakes

Neither Pete nor I are especially fond of bananas in their raw form, but I bought some for the GrandToad’s visit a few days ago. He didn’t really want them either, so there were five bananas going brown in the fruit bowl. Not a problem – banana cake!

I use a basic recipe refined over the years:

200g plain flour
100g baking marg
some brown bananas, peeled (quantity is not that relevant, really 2-3 should do it)
60g sugar – anything will do; caster, granulated, brown
1.5 tsp baking powder
a slosh of vanilla extract
2 eggs

Put the lot in a food processor and blitz. Pour into a 2lb loaf tin, bake at 180C for 40 minutes, then 160C for 30. I always use a parchment loaf liner, as it makes it easier to turn out.

This is a remarkably tolerant recipe, and can take other things. Add some walnuts, or sultanas, or a splash of bourbon whisky if you’re feeding it to grownups. One of the nicest thing to add is chocolate chips – I use Bouchard, which I buy from Amazon. And last night, choc chips were deemed to be what we fancied.

So I got the tub out of the baking cupboard, and tipped some into the food processor. Except some turned out to be almost all of the 50% or so left in the tub, as they had presumably melted together into a large ball during the hot summer. Those that didn’t go into the food processor went on the floor.

I shrieked, and Pete came hurtling downstairs. He swept up the floor, while I rescued as many bits of chocolate as I could from the Magimix bowl, which was quite a few, but not really enough for the batter (which was looking severely over chocolated). Still, what could we do? I baked the cakes (I almost always make two at a time, because they freeze beautifully), and we ate a piece while it was still warm. And it was really rather nice.

And as the oven was on, we had sausages and cauliflower cheese, so as not to waste the heat.

Morrisons: a disappointment. And a blackberry cake

We try not to use big supermarkets much. My usual haunt is Aldi, but if I must go elsewhere, we generally do Morrisons. And there are some “treaty” things we get in Morrisons, so when Pete cycled off there on Saturday with trailer in tow (after the car debacle), he was going to get some.

I’m diabetic, so I have to watch what I eat, but I love the Lindt plain chocolate with sea salt, and their Intense Coconut too. And Kallo plain chocolate ricecakes are very low cal/carb, considering. So imagine mine and Pete’s disappointment when none of these three items were to be found on the shelves in the Anlaby Road store. He asked where they were, and the assistant said she assumed they’d been dropped, and was apparently surprised, because the Lindt bars were a good seller. I do wish supermarkets wouldn’t do this – three less reasons to visit Morrisons now.

I was miffed at this, so when he got back, I walked down to the big Great Satan Tesco Extra in Hull. It’s only 2km away. I really do try not to use Tesco, although we had bought diesel there that morning (always happy to knock them for a 5p/gallon discount – and before you ask, we got the voucher from a friend!). I found the chocolate easily enough, although they only had a single, solitary bar of Lindt Intense Coconut, so I wonder if that’s going to be dropped by the manufacturer …

In wandering about, I found some blackberries. *Blackberries*! Three quid a punnet, if you please, which makes me weep; we used to get pounds off the brambles on the drive at our old house [sob].

In the end, I did a sort of experiment – made a basic upside down batter, laid the blackberries on the bottom of the cake tin, and poured the batter over it. It was absolutely lovely, although I should probably have made some sort of coulis or something. We just had it with cream

Blackberry cake

batter:
300g caster sugar
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g marg or butter
about 2 tbsp milk

some blackberries

22cm springform cake tin, greased and the bottom lined with parchment.  Although you could use any tin that size.

Preheat the oven to 180C Gas 4.

Line the bottom of the tin with the blackberries.

Now, you can do this like I do – I just put all the batter ingredients in the Magimix other than the milk and whizz it up. Or you cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and flour and baking powder bit by bit, stir in the vanilla essence, then the milk. Up to you entirely.

The milk I leave to the end because you want a sort of dropping consistency, and it’s better to add it bit by bit.

Pour the mix over the blackberries, bake for 45 minutes-ish. The blackberries all rise through the cake. It’s lovely.

Leave it to cool for about half an hour, then turn onto a plate. It made eight quite generous portions, and I don’t know how well it would keep. So we sent half of it over to some friends that Pete was visiting last night, and they seemed to like it too!

a sort of goulash

goulash-ishWe had friends coming for supper on Sunday evening – lovely, as I love cooking for people, and don’t do nearly enough of it since we moved! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to cook, but I went to the butcher and bought some beautiful lean pork, and there was a big bag of mixed peppers in the fridge, so that was a start. I wanted to use some beans too, to pad it out, so found some dried butter beans on the pantry shelf on Saturday morning, stuck them in to soak, then cooked them in the slow cooker overnight.

I started off by deseeding and slicing thinly four peppers, red and yellow, and a huge spanish onion, and cooking them down in some olive oil. I added some cumin seeds and a splash of honey and some garlic, and it was heading towards Middle Eastern. Then in went some paprika, and we were off with goulash. More paprika followed, some fennel seeds, some caraway and then a jar of roasted peppers, sliced up. These give a lovely depth to a dish, and when cooked in the slow cooker, they sort of melt into the sauce. A carton of chopped tomatoes, some rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and seasoning, and the sauce was done.

This all went in the slow cooker (now devoid of its butter beans), and I diced and browned the pork, hurled it in the cooker, and then we just left it completely alone apart from the odd stir for about seven hours. The butter beans must have been very old – I know they accompanied us from Somerset – because they needed another 40 minutes on the boil, so they were added a bit later.

The dish was gorgeous – it made six servings, and four have gone in the freezer, as unfortunately our friends had to cry off due to illness.

supper 5 sept 2010We followed it with Molten chocolate cakes with raspberries and cream. There’s two of them left too. <parp>.

chocolate overload

For a few years, we have received a monthly box from the Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club. They are beautiful chocolates – rich and intense, and so not to be scoffed in a sitting, but rather savoured over several days.

But somehow we fell out of the habit of eating them, and had two unopened boxes sitting under the coffee table. This weekend I changed the order to deliver one box every 12 weeks, and last night we decided to open a box.

We had one large and two small chocs each, and I couldn’t sleep for chocolate overload; this morning I feel as though I have a hangover, which is deeply unfair, as I have cut my alcohol intake by about 80% recently, and haven’t had a drink since (I think) Monday evening, when I had one glass of wine.

And so we will have to ration ourselves to one an evening, which is quite difficult – because although the after effects are severe, the *consumption* is very enjoyable.

vodka chocolate chillis

I saw this on LJ, and thought of Sasha.

Make a slit in the side of the chilli and remove membrane and seeds. Then you marinate them in vodka for 12 hours+. Then you pipe a mixture of white chocolate, vodka and freshly ground black pepper into the cavities, chill, and finally dip in dark (60%+) chocolate.

The combination of chocolate, pepper, vodka and chilli works remarkably well, but its still difficult to eat more than one of them. The green chillis especially were scary and eating them brought tears to the eyes and profanities to the lips.