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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

I’ve started to realise that my blog entries this year have gradually progressed from exercise based subject matter to face stuffing and todays blog is another foody one. Let’s blame the weather as we head into winter, but somebody let me know if May comes around and I’m still yattering on about food.

This is one of those cakey recipes that I keep coming back to, not because it is necessarily my favourite but people seem to demand it (yes – I’m talking about you sugar fiends at work). It’s dead simple and you can’t go too far wrong.

Ingredients
500g White chocolate
75g butter
3 eggs
175 caster sugar
175g self raising flour
175g chopped hazlenuts
1tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Raw Ingredients

Raw Ingredients

A few of observations before I go any further. Some recipes say to use unsalted butter when baking sweet things but I have rarely found that it makes much difference. If they are thinking of the health aspects then you probably want to ditch all the above ingredients apart from the flour and vanilla extract, but the results may be less satisfying. You may notice that I’m using cheapy basics white chocolate. It’s fine for this sort of recipe and it isn’t worth paying three times as much for free range organic stuff carried on foot by Umpa Lumpa all the way from the Wonka factory. The biggest improvement you can easily make is to toast off the hazlenuts under a grill to maximise their flavour but I haven’t bothered this time because I cant be arsed and I usually end up burning half of them. Anyway, let’s get on with it shall we…

Naked ingredients

Naked ingredients

Instructions

1) Grease and line a 27 x 19cm baking tin and preheat the fan oven to 180 degrees.

2) Melt the butter and 100g of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. I find this very therapeutic for some reason…

Melt stuff

Melt stuff

3) While this is going on roughly chop the hazlenuts. These are soft nuts and you don’t want to end up with powder so I lightly crush them with the flat surface of a knife to break them into large peices without creating a pile of sawdust.

4) Also roughly chop the remaining 400g of chocolate. Use the blade of the knife so that you DO get a fine residue of surplus chocolate. It is very important that you DON’T use this is in the recipe. If only there was something I could do with this wasted byproduct of the preparation process…

5) Whisk the eggs & sugar together until smoothish. Then stir in the slightly cooled butter mix and the vanilla extract.

Whisk things up

Whisk things up

6) Next sift the flour and salt into the bowl.

Sieve things in

Sieve things in

7) Chuck the chopped hazlenuts and chocolate into the bowl. I always judge there to be a little “too much” chocolate so I couple of bits end up wasted. Again, recycling suggestions welcome.

Chuck some more things in

Chuck some more things in

8 ) Fold the mixture into itself until you have a big sticky gloopy bowl of dietary doom. In truth it isn’t beautiful to look at by this stage. With some recipes at this point you are tempted to lock the doors, take the phone off the hook and sit on the kitchen floor finishing off the mixture while you wonder what to watch on TV tomorrow as you take the day off sick. This is one of those recipes where the palid sweet raw ingredients aren’t as tempting as the finished product.

Give it all a good stir

Give it all a good stir

9) Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and bung it in the oven for approx 35 minutes. You are looking for brown/golden at the edges and risen/just firm at the centre. It’s still going to taste great give or take 5 minutes but overcook it and it doesn’t look so good while undercook it and it will collapse when you try to slice it.

Squidge it into the tin

Squidge it into the tin

10) Leave to cool. No LEAVE IT! Go and do something else you impatient pig.

Cool it dude

Cool it dude

11) Slice it and store in an airtight container taking care to store it in a secret location.

Slice and consume with indecent haste

Slice and consume with indecent haste

It should keep for about 3 hours, unless you really do get sick of it. Alternatively take it to work and leave it in the kitchen where a mysterious bermuda style food triangle almost instantaneously spirits away any goodies that pass through it.

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Chilli Cornbread

On some weekends I get the baking bug and a glance out of the window at my storm swept back garden tells me today is meant for cooking. A brief stocktake of the fridge suggests Mexicana and a leaf through my ingredient splattered Good Housekeeping Baking tome points me in the direction of Chilli Cornbread…

Ingredients
1 egg
200 ml Greek yoghurt
25g butter
150g cornmeal
25g potato flour
1tbsp baking powder
1tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1 large red chilli
75g spring onions
125g canned sweetcorn (drained)
50g grated parmesan

Two questions immediately spring to mind: What is cornmeal? What is potato starch? Google tells me that cornmeal is polenta (well why didn’t you say?) and that potato flour is a thickening agent. I have polenta in the cupboard and make an executive decision that cornflour will make an adequate substitute for potato flour. As for measurements I make 3/4 quantity because I only have 150ml yoghurt. Let’s cook!

Raw Ingredients

Raw Ingredients

Instructions

1) Grease and base line a 450g baking tin with baking paper and preheat the fan oven to 170 degrees.

2) Prepare the ingredients; Melt the butter, deseed and finely chop the chilli, finely slice the spring onions.

Ready for action

Ready for action

3) In a large bowl whisk the egg until it’s frothy, then add the melted butter and the Greek yoghurt.

Mix the wet ingredients

Mix the wet ingredients

4) Add the dry ingredients and seasoning. Give it a good old mix.

Add the powdery ingredients

Add the powdery ingredients

4) Stir in the vegetables and parmesan.

Add the remaining gubbins

Add the remaining gubbins

5) Spoon the mix into the baking tin

Into the baking tin

Into the baking tin

6) Cook in the oven until you have finished watching Used Car Roadshow and then remember in panic that you left the bread in the oven some time earlier. Discover that it is cooked perfectly. Alternatively you may wish to leave it in for 45 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Out of the oven

Out of the oven

7) Devour.

Hot stuff!

Hot stuff!

Turns out this is really nice, moist, rather spicy and very different. It is great served fresh from the oven with a little butter or margarine. If you let it cool I recommend you give it a few seconds in the microwave to warm it through and release the flavours.

How long does it keep? I have no intention of finding out. Excuse me…

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Locro de papa

Thought I would share this recipe I made at the weekend because despite being barking mad and making no sense whatsoever it happens to produce a rather yummy soup. It’s called “Locro de papa”, a mexican dish which according to Babelfish translates into English as “Locro of pope”. So now you know.

Recipe courtesy of www.SeasonAndSpice.com

Ingredients
1kg floury potatoes
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1 ripe avocado
100ml milk
150 strong cheese
2 tsp annatto seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp caribe chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano

Raw ingredients

Raw ingredients

Instructions

1 ) Preparation: Slice the onion thinly, chop the garlic. Cut the avocado and potato into chunks. Have a carton of soup ready because you aren’t convinced at this stage…

Sliced and diced

Sliced and diced

2 ) Heat the annatto seeds in a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan on a low heat for a few minutes until the oil has taken on the red colour of the seeds.

Annatto seeds

Annatto seeds

3 ) Remove the seeds and retain the oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion starts to soften.

Mmmm onions

Mmmm onions

4 ) Add half the potatos plus the Cumin, pepper and oregano. Stir.

Add the spuds

Add the spuds

5 ) Pour in 800ml of water, cover and simmer until the potatoes start to fall apart.

6 ) Blend to a rough puree

Blend

Blend

7 ) Add the remaining potatoes, cover and cook again until the potatoes are soft.

8 ) Stir in the milk and half the cheese. Add salt to taste.

Add... guess what

Add... guess what

9 ) Serve and add the avocado, remaining cheese and a sprinkling of chilli flakes.

It's soup!

It's soup!

Eat and be pleasantly surprised…

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