Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Chocolate Orange Cake

Word can't describe how lovely this cake actually is, light, moist, decadent, everyone who tried it raved. I made this cake on the Brisbane Exhibition Show day during my prolific afternoon of baking and cooking, referred to in the next post.

Inspired by Niki's gorgeous cake combined with the fact that I had just purchased Nigella Lawson's Feast the day before made my baking this cake a fate accomplii.

I decided to take to work to treat my colleagues and they expressed their appreciation prolifically, so it will be more cake for them another day.

I decided to use Niki's lovely ganache to the top and everyone who tried it said they couldn't imagine the cake without it. I will have to make sure that next time, I let the ganache cool some more before applying to the cake. I will leave you to discover the recipe for the ganache on Niki's blog but I will add the recipe for the cake here for posterity:

1 large navel orange (approx 400g)
6 eggs
1 heaped tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g ground salmonds
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa
orange peel for decoration if wanted

Preheat the oven to 180c. Butter and line a 20cm springform tin.

Put the whole orange in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft. Drain and, when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips. Then pulp everything- pith, peel and all - in a food processor.

Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarb of soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but still slightly knobbly with the flecks of pureed orange.

Pour into the tin and bake for an hour by which time the cake tester should come out clean. Check after 45minutes in case you need to cover with foil to prevent the cake burning before it is cooked through or it may just need less than an hour depending on the oven.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin, on a cooling rack.

Make ganache as per Niki's recipe however make sure you leave to cool and thicken. I put mine on prematurely and lost quite a bit of ganache as it spilled onto the plate when still runny.

Zest some orange peel and decorate.

Flourless chocolate and orange cake.

Cranberry, white chocolate and pecan cookies

I had a very prolific Wednesday afternoon in the kitchen last week during our public holiday for the Brisbane Exhibition. I made sushi, minted pea soup, butter chicken, a flourless chocolate and orange cake (see above) and two batches of these cookies.

I was inspired to cook after purchasing Nigella Lawson's Feast from the ABC Shop for the price of $40. God I love a bargain.

First up I had to make these cookies as up until now I have only been making Bill Granger's Chocolate Chip Cookies which are fantastic but I really need to stretch my repartoire.

These biscuits are lovely, smooth white chocolate, brown sugar for the chewy caramelisation and then cruncy pecans and piquant craisins a great combination.

As usual I made a double batch and then promptly gave lots away. I also didn't do the resting in the fridge I just forgot so I don't think it will make any difference if you do or don't. I made sure most of my biscuits were pale golden as I don't like the white chocolate to be burnt or the cookies to be too hard.

Elliot enjoyed helping me by cutting the chocolate, pecans and craisins. I was taking photographs he then tried to get into every one, of course because I asked him to step aside at first, his feelings were hurt, so by the time I invited him to participate he had spat the dummy and this photograph is the result.

Cranberry and White chocolate Cookies
140g flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt 75g rolled oats
125g soft unsalted butter
75g dark sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
75g dried cranberries
50g pecans roughly chopped
140g white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180c

Measure out flour, baking powder and rolled oats into a bowl.

Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat together until creamy then beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture and then fold in the cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips or white chocolate, chopped into small dice. Set the bowl of biscuit dough in the fridge for 10 –15 minutes.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball with your hands, and then place them on a lined or greased baking tray, and squish the dough balls down with a fork. Cook for 15 minutes, when ready, the cookies will be tinged a pale gold, but be too soft to lift immediately off the tray, so leave the tray on a cool surface and let them harden for 5 minutes. Remove with a spatula or whatever to cool fully on a wire rack.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Cheesy Mac

Macaroni Cheese

To me the most wonderful comfort food involves pasta and cheese and pork i.e. pasta carbonara would have to be my all-time favourite but macaroni cheese would have to be close for uncomplicated food served hot and fast.

I used a recipe from the wonderful Delicious magazine as made by Jill Dupleix:

300g macaroni or other short pasta
2 thick slices (250g) leg ham, chopped
2 tbs dried breadcrumbs
1 tbs grated parmesan

50g unsalted butter
1/3 cup (50g)plain flour
600ml milk, heated
1 cup (75g) parmesan
1 cup (75g) grated guyere or cheddar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp paprika

Preheat the over to 200c
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water till al dente and drain.

Melt butter over low heat and sprinkle with the flour and sir well with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add half the milk, stirring well, until the sauce thickens. Gradually add remaining milk, stirring until thick but still runny. Stir for a further minute, then add the cheeses, mustard, paprika, sea salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes, adding a little more milk or water if too thick. Stir in ham.

Arrange a layer of pasta in the base of four individual 2 cup (500ml) buttered ovenproof dishes (or 1 large 30cm x 20cm dish), then spoon on plenty of sauce, more pasta, then more sauce. Stir gently then scatter tops with the bread crumbs and paremsan. Bake for 30minutes until bubbling and brown.

Fresh Tuna, prawns, avocado on brown sushi rice.

I simply cannot resist the lure of lovely fresh red tuna. While out grocery shopping I found it and as soon as I saw it started to think of making some sushi maki as soon as I returned home. Alas, once home I realised that I should have bought some nori as well so I had to invent this dish instead.

I used brown rice which doesn't have the requisite starch that you need for making sushi maki so it was probably a good idea to have it in a bowl. There really isn't much of a recipe as such for this dish. I simply boiled the brown rice and when it was ready I added some sweetened vinegar and tossed through. I use white vinegar about 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. I didn't make that much rice probably only a cup full as sushi rice does not keep.

I cut some of the most perfect looking avocado and peeled some of the prawns I brought home from shopping as well. I mixed some tamari and wasabi and drizzled it over my concoction and I would have to say it satisfied my desire for a sushi like dish. I have since rectified my mistake of not having any nori at hand and took a trip to China town last week, and purchased 50 sheets for $5.00 so I can have sushi whenever I like.

I can't wait to get back to China town I need to have a closer look at some of the many sauces they have in stock and want to buy some coconut vinegar - I need to know how to use it too and I am looking forward to finding out.

About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.