Friday, 31 August 2012

Gino's Low fat, 280 classic Italian bruschetta

I love Gino. I own three out of his five cook books (Gino's Pasta, Buoinssimo and Gino's Pasta), and I must say that his books are a great way to make/cook/bake authentic Italian food. I am forever trying to find low fat recipes. A few days back I had a "I must eat healthy day". I handled breakfast well, 65g of cereal but was undecided what to have for lunch. I flicked through Gino's The Italian diet book and decided I could have something healthy from his anti-pasti section.
 The winning lunch was "Bruschetta classica", Classic Italian Bruschetta with tomato and basil. Whilst Gino does not provide a picture for this (which is a shame), i've made it several times before, and know that this is a delicious light lunch. A contestant from Come Dine with Me described bruschetta as "tomatoes on toast", but I beg to differ; he obviously never tried Gino's bruschetta.

Here is my classic Italian bruschetta:
Healthy Bruschetta
I marinaded the cherry tomatoes with garlic, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil for five minutes before placing on top of two slices of white bloomer.
Marinated tomatoes
Recipe for Bruschetta Classica from Gino D'Accampo's The Italian Diet.
Serves 4
1 ciabatta loaf, cut into 8 slices about 2 cm thick.
500 g small plum tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
10 fresh basil leaves (I used dried basil)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, halved.

1) Preheat a griddle pan until hot and toast the ciabataa for about 3 minutes on each side or until dark brown and crisp. Leave to cool slightly.
2) Meanwhile, quater the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Add the basil and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together and cover with a tea towel. Set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.
3) Lightly rub the garlic over the bread on both sides.
4) Place 2-3 tablespoons of the tomato mixture on top of each slice of of bread and arrange the bruschetta on a large serving plate.
5) Drizzle with any remaining juices from the bowl of tomatoes and enjoy.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Devils food cake with marshmellow frosting.

I love a good goey chocolatey birthday cake, nothing quite beats having mouthfulls of homemade chocolate cakes. One of my closest friends asked me to make her a cake for her 25th birthday. Whilst I love and enjoying making cakes, and cooking meals, it is more daunting when it is for someone else, especially for such a milestone birthday. My friend said she didn't mind what cake I made, as like me, she will try anything.
I browsed quite a few of my books, Readers Digest "Baking Bible", Lorraine Pascale's "Baking Made Easy", Nigella's "How to be a Domestic Goddess" and the Great British Bake Off "How to Bake" (series 2). I decided on making a cake from the Great British Bake Off (series 2) book, as I have set myself a challenge of cooking more recipes from this book before I buy the third series of this book.
As I am quite a fan of devil's food cake, I chose this recipe again, but instead of the normal chocolate frosting I decided on making a marshmellow frosting as this would contrast with the dark chocolate cake. The frosting didn't turn out as I quite would hoped and was runny after I placed in the fridge to cool for 45 minutes.  A quick dash to Morrisons for cake frill managed to camouflage the less than perfect application of frosting to cake. I decided on adding white chocolate drops on top of the cake, again to contrast with the dark chocolate cake.
Here is how my cake turned out:
I was unsure how the cake turned out, but once we cut into it, the cake went down a storm.
Devil's food cake 

I initially added the banner to make the cake look pretty, but after we dived in there was no need to.
Devil's food cake with cake frill and chocolate drops
Recipe for devils food cake.
For the sponge
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
175ml boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
300 g plain flour
125ml soured cream, at room temperature

For the filling and topping
 2 eggs
350 caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
125 ml cold water
2 x 20.5 cm sandwich tins greases and the base lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/ gas mark 4. Put the cocoa into a heatproof bowl and mix to a smooth liquid with the boiling water. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool.
Break up the chocolate into another heatproof bowl and set over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the hot water). Leave to melt gently. Remove the bowl from the pan. Stir the chocolate until smooth, then leave to cool.
Put the soft butter into a large mixture bowl and beat for a minute with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, then beat thoroughly for 4 to 5 minutes or until very light. Beat the eggs and vanilla with a fork until broken up, then add to the butter mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour in 3 batches, alternatively with the soured cream. Mix the cocoa liquid into the melted chocolate, then fold into the cake mixture. When thoroughly combined - no streaks visible-divide the mixture between the 2 tins and spread evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until risen and just firm, and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Run a round-blanded knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool. When cold, slice each on horizontally in half, to make 4 layers.

To make the filling put the egg white and sugar for the icing into a large heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Using an electric mixer, immediately whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, water and a pinch of salt. Whisk on full speed for 7 to 12 minutes until thick, glossy and  meringue- like: the mixture should hold a soft peak when the whisk is lifted.
Remove the bowl from the pan and keep on whisking for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture has cooled, turned white and very thick and is starting to stiffen up.

Slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Put a dab of fluff mixture onto the centre if a cake board and set one layer of the first cake cut side up, on it. To make sure that the dark chocolate crumbles don't  migrate to the white fluff take out a third if the mixture and cover the rest. Use the smaller portion to sandwich the layers. Then  using a clean rounded-bladed knife or icing palette knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with a very thick layer of fluff, swirling it evenly. The fluff will cover up any dips, dents, cracks or imperfections in the sponge and glue together any lose edges. Leave the cake to set overnight.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Weight watchers lamb kofta meatballs and beef keema.

I love weight watchers, a diet plan that actually works for me. Following this diet plan alongside 3x weekly 1,000 calorie work outs has enabled me to maintain my weight loss of 2.5 stone, although I still would like to lose another half a stone. I have brought two further weight watchers cook book in the last few months: Cook Smart Nice and Spicy and Cook Smart. Both books are part of an 8 cook book series (Nice and Spicy, Baking, Simply Suppers, Soups, Entertaining, Desserts, Easy Everyday and Vegetarian) which allows readers to recreate their favourite recipes whilst ensuring it is low fat and healthy .
One of my favourite healthy meals which is quick and easy to make is "the curry". I think curry sometimes gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, stodgy and calorific. But that's not the case if you use minimal oil (fry light is good alongside water for browning meats), and have some lovely low fat recipe books to hand.
One of the first recipes I cooked from my Weight Watchers Cook Smart Hot and Spicy cook book is the Lamb Kofta curry. I was intrigued how the use of lamb mince could still make the curry low fat, alongside never trying kofta meatballs before. The dish was fairly simple to make, once I turned the lamb into little meatballs and heavily seasoned. The sauce is simple to, chopped tomatoes with several spices, vegetable stock and natural yogurt.
Here is how my dish turned out:
Lamb kofta curry with pilau rice
The recipe for lamb kofta meatballs is only 331 calories per serving and 8 pro points, of course with the pilau rice the calorie content may be an additional 200 -250 calories, but overall still a low fat meal.

Another dish that I would highly recommended for a delicious low calorie, low fat hearty meal is beef keema. I tend to have my currys with chapattis, and am unsure about the calorie content for homemade chapatis, but I tell myself it is low fat! This dish has 318 calories and 33 pro points.
Beef keema and chappatis.
For all those who want to eat delicious but low fat meals, I strongly recommend this book. I believe Tesco was selling this for £3 (well it was a few months ago)
Recipe for lamb kofta curry.
Serves 4
For the meatballs
1 onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 green chillies- de seeded and chopped
2.5 cm fresh root ginger, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
350g extra lean lamb mince
50g fresh breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the curry sauce
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoon medium curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin speeds
1/2 teaspoons hot chili powder
400 g can chopped tomatoes
150 ml vegetable stock
100 g low fat natural yogurt.

(1) To make the meatballs, whizz the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and the 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander together in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the ground cumin, lamb mince, breadcrumbs and seasoning and pulse together until just mixed.
2) Shape into 20 small meatballs then chill, covered, for 30 minutes.
3) For the sauce, heat a large, lidded, non stick pan, add the oil and onion and soften the onion for 3 minutes.
4) Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds before stirring in the tomatoes and stock. Season and bring to a simmer, then gradually stir in the yogurt.
5) Slide in the chilled meatballs and gently push them down into the sauce. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to move the meatballs around. Serve garnished with chopped tomatoes.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Cold chicken and ham pie - tea time treats picnic pies.

I've been scouring other food blogs over the last few weeks so that I can participate in more blogging events. Having participated in quite a few Forever Nigella blog hops I discovered Lavender and Lovage blog who hosted this months Forever Nigella Fridge Raider theme. I also discovered that Lavender and Lovage, alongside another blogger What Kate Baked host a monthly blogging event called "Tea time treats" which invites bloggers to participate and share there creations of a themed Tea time treat such as afternoon tea, scones, cakes - all lovely baked goodies which are classed as a tea time treat.

This months theme is picnic pies, and I thought I would certainly have to participate in and make some form of pie which could double up as a picnic treat. I must admit I am no expert on pies, in fact the last pie I made was in December so I thought participating in the Tea time treat challenge would help me develop my pie making skills (or so I thought).  I decided to attempt to make a pie from one of my recent cook book purchases entitled "cook step by step" this is currently available from the book people for £4 (if you are as lucky as me to have the book people come around snap it up). I spotted a recipe for cold chicken and ham pie, which is is fact a pie that should be eaten cold (as in the title recipe). The pictures for the pie looked inviting and the step by step stages made the pie appear to be easy. I thought it would be more resourceful to make the chicken and ham pie and eat it hot for my evening meal, and the following day have a slice cold for lunch with some mixed salad.
Here is how a slice of the chicken and ham pie turned out :

My pie as it should be, cold and a tea time picnic treat.
My pie hot as an evening meal.

I think this is the type of pie that could be carried along to a picnic and eaten on a lovely warm summers day, especially. I certainly think pies should be made only on a weekend as it is a time consuming meal to make, although satisfying and rewarding. To make the pie I first mixed plain flour, butter, and salt into breadcrumbs.
Mixing the core ingredients. 
Once I achieved the breadcrumbs I added water and kneaded to a smooth dough.
Pastry dough.
I rested the pastry for 30 minutes and then began to work on the filling. I cut the chicken and pork chops into small chunks.
Chicken and pork cut into chunks.
I then put this mixture into my food processor and lightly minced. I then added sage, all purpose seasoning, mixed herbs and the rind of the lemon.
Minced meats
I rolled out the pastry to fit into a spring form cake tin.
rolled out pastry
I then placed the rolled out pastry into the oiled cake tin, in preparation for my filling. Meanwhile I began to boil 5 eggs, so that the hard boiled eggs could be placed around the filling mixture.
Pastry in tin.
I placed the filling in the pastry tin, and began to un peel the 5 eggs, but all 5 eggs, yes all 5 eggs were too runny (I boiled for 10 minutes) so had to make the pie without the eggs.
Filling in pie.
To make up for the loss of eggs, I rolled out pastry trimmings and turned them into stars to make myself feel better about an essential ingredient not being in the pie.
Pie before entering the oven with a chimney.
After one and a half hours baking my pie turned out, well rather interesting.
Finished pie.
The following day I had a slice of chicken and ham pie cold, which was absolutely delicious.
This is how the pie should have turned out - but we won't go there today!
I am entering this recipe to tea time treats, hopefully I will get some inspiration from fellow bloggers for their picnic pies.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Nutty flapjacks

The Great British Bake Off is back on our tv screen and I have been extremely impressed by some of the bakes that I have seen in week 1 and 2. Victoria's pie shaped hidden design cake was breath taking, Paul's technical challenge of the 8 plaited loaf was delightful and Peter's union jack cake was impressive. The new GBBO book is out in supermarkets and book stores, and boy have I been tempted to buy it. I've flicked through the cake section, proceeded to look at the bread recipes and finished of with the pie section.
But before I splurge out on yet another cookbook, I made a promise with myself that I will only by the third GBBO if I manage to bake 5 recipes from the first GBBO book. I brought the first GBBO titled "The Great British Book of Baking" in March this year when it was on sale in WH Smith for £6. So far, out of the 100 recipes I have only baked Jaswinder's passion fruit cake and a coffee and walnut cake. If I am to fulfil my promise to myself to bake 5 recipes from this book, I would have to attempt to bake a third quick and easy recipe.
To make my life easy I thought of making the Sticky Nutty flapjacks (p.61). I love anything sweet and can't actually remember when I last made flapjacks, so this seemed the perfect recipe. I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients at home, so did not have to venture to the shop.

Butter, syrup and sugar mixture.
The recipe started of with the basics, a mixture of butter, golden syrup and sugar.
Butter, syrup and sugar mixture melted.
I then heated the mixture slowly until everything was melted. I then added the "nutty" element to this flapjack and combined chocolate drops, flaked almonds and mixed fruits totalling 75g to the mixture.
I added the oats, the core ingredient, mixed everything together and placed in my lovely Spode baking tin.
Flapjacks pre bake.
I did have a picture of the flapjacks cooling, but have accidentally deleted this - woops!. I did manage to take a picture of the finished product.
Sticky nutty flapjacks.
The flapjacks tasted delicious, the flaked almonds really came through as did the mixed dried fruit. This is a simple and easy bake, one that adults and children can do (with supervision). I thoroughly enjoyed this as a tea time treat.

So three recipes baked, two more to go before I can purchase the latest Great British Bake of Book: Showstoppers.

Recipe for Sticky Nutty flapjacks.
125g unsalted butter
125g light brown muscavado sugar
2 tablespoon of golden syrup
a good pinch of salt
75g unsalted mixed nuts (almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, roughly chopped - I used mixed dried fruit, flaked almonds and chocolate drops)

a 20 cm square tin, greased with butter.

Heat the oven to 150 C/ 300 F/ Gas 2

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients. Heat gently, stirring from time to time, until the butter has melted. Remove from pan from the heat and stir in the oats and salt. Add roughly the chopped nuts. When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread it out evenly. Use the back of a spoon to gently press the mixture.

Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the flapjack, then score into 12. Leave to cool before cutting the bars.

Store in an airtight container.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Random recipes - Aromatic chicken curry.

I am a Random Recipe virgin. Yes I said it. I recently discovered Belleau Kitchen and his random recipes through another blog (Maison Cupcake) when last month Sarah @ Maison Cupcakes entered random recipes blog hop which asked readers to take pictures of their cook book collections. I was amazed about the amount of cook books some of my fellow bloggers had. Collections ranged from 30 cook books to an astonishing 600 cook books, yes 600.
I was umming and ahhing whether to participate in this months blog hop as I don't like to do anything by random and everything has to be planned out. But a few days ago Dom from Belleau kitchen joined my blog so I thought it was only right I participated in this months blog hop.
The rules of this blog hop is that (1) you take all the cook books of your shelf and shuffle them, (2) Close your eyes and chose a book at random, (3) chose a page at random and (4) cook this recipe.
I must add I did not take all my books out, but only my smaller sized books as I thought this would be easier to shuffle - this totalled around 10 cook books. I closed my eyes (was really hard to resist opening them, but I did well!) randomly selected my BBC Healthy Eats cook book. I purchased this book in March as an alternative to my Weight Watchers cook books, and offered some nice low fat, healthy meals. I flicked through the page and selected (with my eyes closed) Aromatic chicken curry.
I love Indian food so was quite pleased I randomly chose this recipe, but was initially put off the 50 minute estimated time (I like curry in a hurry).
Here is how my aromatic chicken curry turned out:
Aromatic chicken curry.
I chose to accompany my curry with low fat naan bread which made my evening meal to around 500 calories, which is fantastic!. To make this dish I first started with cutting pieces of chicken into strips.
Chicken cut into strips.

I then seasoned the chicken with chilli powder, corriander, garlic granules, all purpose seasoning and garam masala. The recipe didn't state to season but I think seasoning is the key to every single dish, especially Indian food.
Marinated chicken.
As much as I love Indian food I never actually made a korma before, I am more of a jalfrezi or rogan josh type of girl. I brought Pataks korma paste and added low fat natural yoghurt, added salt and stirred away.
Korma pasta and yogurt mixture.
Overall this recipe was a light fragrant curry, I think it could have done with some extra spice, but I tried to stick to the recipe as much as possible. For those that are on a diet plan or trying to lose weight, I recommend this book, lots of lovely recipes which is easy on the heart and waist line.
Fantastic book
Apologies for the lighting. 
I was so pleased with choosing a low fat curry I decided to treat myself to my favourite Indian sweets........

Have a look at the other fellow bloggers entries on random recipes:

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Low fat skinny tarts

I decided last month that I was going to embark on a low calorie, low fat, low carb diet (I thought this whilst I was stuffing my face with chocolate). I planned my Sunday desserts and decided at least 2/4 desserts must be relatively harmless calorie wise. I'm not a big fan of Weight Watchers desserts recipes and the only other low fat book I have that doesn't have all fruits for desserts, Gino D'accampo I diet didn't appeal to me either. I remembered Lorraine Pascale did a recipe for skinny tarts in Baking made easy, and as she is still skinny after consuming her high calorie feasts, she can't be wrong. The recipe can be found here Recipe for skinny tart.

The tarts were nice, easy to make and looked pretty. The only negative about these skinny tarts, is that they weren't enough to keep my sweet tooth satisfied. I made her "I can't believe you made that cake" the following week (last Sunday)..... pictures to follow.


Filetto al pepe con patate al forno and Rigatoni al Ragu Bianco

I love Gino D'acampo, he's amazing (and really good looking), and have been watching him over the last few years cooking up fantastic Italian food. I brought three of his books last year (The I diet, Buonissisimo and Pasta) with the hope of recreating authentic Italian food, similar to the food that I have eaten when I was in Italy. I have cooked several recipes from Buonissimo and the I diet, but not so much from his Pasta book (well I have only brought the pasta book in the Autumn). I prefer Gino's Buonissimo as the Italian food in this book is rich, tastes fantastic and filling, whereas the recipes in the I diet always leaves me hungry ..........
Here are my favourite three dishes from Buonissimo, filletto al pepe con patate (steak and chips) and Rigatoni al Ragu (rigatoni in white sauce) and Italian toad in the hole. 
Steak and chips
Pasta with white ragu
Italian toad in the hole
I remember WH Smith selling this book for £5 and think it makes an excellent addition to a cookbook collection. Here is the recipe for filletto al pepe con patate (Serves 2)
For the oven chips
2 Baking potatoes scrubbed and cut into chunky chips
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, un peeled and slightly crushed.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper

For the steak
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 fillet steaks, about 150g each
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 knobs of butter
2 tablespoons of Brandy (I skipped this ingredient)
2 tablespoons dry white wine (I skipped this ingredient)
50 ml of beef stock
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained
70 ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 220c/450f/gas mark 8
Place the potatoes, rosemary and garlic on a large non-stick baking tray. Drizzle over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes until the chips are cooked through and crisp. Check and turn occasionally.
Meanwhile, rub the coarsely ground black pepper all over the steaks.
Heat the oil with the knob of butter in a medium frying pan. As soon as the butter stop foaming, add the steaks. Cook for 4 minutes on each side for a medium steak, or for 3 minutes if you like it rare. Transfer the steaks to a warm place, season with salt and set aside in a warm place for 3 minutes.
Pour the excess fat from the pan then add the brandy. Using a match or lighter, flame the alcohol. Allow the alcohol to burn off, then stir the pan, scraping the meat juices off the bottom of the pan. Pour the white wine and reduce by half.
Add the stock and continue to cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is well reduced.
Stir in the peppercorns, the cream and the remaining butter. Cook for a further 2 minutes stirring continuously.
Pile the chips in the middle of two serving plates and top each one with the fillet steak. Pour over the sauce and serve immediately with a glass of dry red wine.



Friday, 17 August 2012

Steak au Bernaise

As stated in previous posts I purchased Nigella's How to Eat, her first cook book published in 1998. There are 300 recipes included in this book and it is split into 9 chapters " Basics, Cooking in Advance, One and Two, Fast Food, Weekend Lunch, Dinner, Low Fat and Feeding Babies and Small Children". I have only so far made Greek Chicken and Pork Loin with roasted vegetables. Although this book is very useful the lack of pictures can make sometimes choosing a recipe from this book.
A few days ago I defrosted some sirloin steak but fancied a different sauce to go alongside my steak. In the chapter "One and Two" a recipe is provided for steak Bernaise - i've never made or tried a Bernaise sauce but with most of Nigella's recipes I thought it would be easy to tackle. I lightly seasoned my steak with peppered seasoning, and began to peel and cut 2 potatoes to make homemade chips and seasoned with paprika, pepper, salt and garlic.
The Bernaise sauce was quick, although from other pictures on the net, I doubt it turned out as well as it could. After all, I'm not the best at making sauces from scratch.
Here is my steak and chips:
 Steak and chips with the Bearnaise sauce.

Steak and chips before the added sauce.
I'm unsure whether I will make this sauce again as mine turned out a bit too watery and I much preferred steak au pouvire. I will share the recipe for the Bearnise sauce as I'm sure there are others who will appreciate Nigella's recipe for Berarnise sauce...... so here it goes.

1-2 shallots, chopped finely (to yield 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, and their stalks chopped roughly and bruised.
1 tablespoon chervil, chopped.
2 tablespoon wine or tarragon vinegar.
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
200g unsalted butter, soft cut into 1 cm.
juice of 1/4 - 1/2 lemon.

Put the shallot, tarragon stalks, 1 tablespoon each of the chopped tarragon and chervill leaves, the vinegar, wine and peppercorns in a heavy-based saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Don't move from the stove: this doesn't take long. Equally you can use 4 tablespoon of vinegar and omit the wine.
Press the reduced liquid through a sieve or tea strainer and leave to cool. Put egg yolks and water in a bowl. Set over a pan of water which has come to a simmer. Add the reduced and strained liquid and whisk well. Keep whisking, as you add the butter, cube by cube, until it is all absorbed. Taste, season as you wish and add lemon juice as you wish. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of fresh tarragon as you're about to serve it.

Enjoy x


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Nigella's Devils Food Cake

I am a lover of chocolate and cake, so merging the two to make a devil's food cake for a cake sale whilst on placement seemed a fantastic idea. I was unsure whether to make the Great British Bake Off's devils food cake (p.43) or Nigella's devil's food cake (Kitchen p.253-254). I decided to make Nigella's version of the cake as 1) she had a picture of how it should look in her book and 2) she cooked this cake in one of her kitchen tv series, so I could see how it was made step by step and 3) all of her recipes have turned out delicious.
I found this cake really easy to make, and even easier to decorate. I will definitely make again. 
This is how the cake turned out ....... I added some silver balls, to show the contrast between the dark chocolate and silver chocolate balls.
Devil's food cake.
Cake sale - my cake is top right.
My dark luscious cake in a cake sale that was held at my placement. My cake sold fast, unfortunately I did not get a slice but theres always next time.
I've made quite a few of Nigella's chocolate cakes (Old fashioned chocolate cake, chocolate Guinness cake, malteser cake - all from Feasts), and will say this is one of the easiest and is great for dark chocolate lovers. The recipe can be found here: Devil's food cake.
I have made some amendments to the recipe in Kitchen. I used 150g of dark chocolate and 150 g of milk chocolate instead of the 300g suggested. 

I am entering this cake to Forever Nigella, organised by Maison Cupcake one of the best food blogs in the United Kingdom and guest hosted this month by Lavender and Lodges a lovely blog which focuses on using fresh ingredients and seasonal foods.  The theme of this months Forever Nigella is "Kitchen Raids", I am sure a lovely chocolate cake would be perfect to raid at night when feeling peckish. 


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Frosted Lime, Coconut and Strawberry Cake.

I have been scouring the net for the perfect summer cake, one which would in-cooperate English strawberries. Although I have quite a collection of cookbooks, I wanted a fresh recipe, something new, something inspiring. I scoured the BBC Good Food and the Daily Mail's website for a perfect summer inspired recipe. What caught my eye for this recipe is the combination of lime - (love), coconut (love) and strawberries (love love love) so this cake quickly came a must bake recipe.
I thought I would share the end result first and show a step-by-step account of what and how I made the cake.
Here is a slice of the lovely cake:

This is quite simply a basic sponge cake with added lime, and for some reason my sponge cake turns out well but sometimes my chocolate cake turns out crumbly. This is my sponge mixture - it was hard not to eat the mixture.

I forgot to take pictures of the sponge as they were cooling, but here is a picture of a layer of cake covered with cream cheese frosting.

I've been baking quite a few cakes with cream cheese and I like, a nice change to butter cream.

This is the end result of the cake, the recipe suggested that the dessicated coconut should be toasted, but I really didn't have the time or effort or patience to do this, so I just sprinkled over the cake. I halved the strawberries and placed firmly on top. Maybe next time if I was to make this cake again, I would perhaps add some berries to go alongside the strawberries.
The recipe for the cake can be found here: Frosted lime, coconut and strawberry cake

I am sharing this recipe to Love Cake over at Jibber Jabber UK, hosted by Ness. This month's theme is Step into Spring, fresh flavours inspired by this season. As my cake contains strawberries which is now appearing in the shop, I am more than happy to share in this challenge.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Gorgeous Lemon Cream Cake

My last day on placement was a few weeks ago, and I felt it would be nice to bring in a lovely homemade cake. When I purchase a new cookbook I promptly write a "to bake and to cook" list, and this cake, the Gorgeous Lemon cream cake was quickly on my to bake list. The Great British Bake Off have some fabulous bakes, and to all my fellow beginner bakers, it is The book to buy. 
I have only made a Genoise cake once (Mojito cake), and this turned out to be delish, so had high hoped for this cake. I learnt a good trick from a fellow colleague on placement, which is bake a cake then freeze as the cake is easier to cut into two if it's defrosting. This was ideal as I did not have a whole entire evening to bake and assemble so I made the cake 5 days before I shared with my colleagues, then froze the cake straight away.

Here is the results of my Italian Genoise cake:

I couldn't help but try a tiny slice to make sure the cake was ok - it was beautiful.


Recipe for cake (Makes 1 large cake)

For the sponge
6 large eggs, at room temperature
175g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
175g plain flour

For the lemon syrup 
100g caster sugar
2 large unwaxed lemons

For the filling
250 ml double cream, well chilled
2 tablespoons caster sugar
500g lemon curd
400g ricotta

To finish
50 flaxed almonds
2 tablespoon lemon curd.

2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Brea the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk using an electric mixer until frothy, then whisk in the sugar. Continue whisking on high speed for about 5 minutes or until very thick and pale in colour and the whisk leaves a ribbon-like trail. The mixture will massively increase in volume.

Stir one-third of the flour onto the mixture and carefully fold in with a large metal spoon. Repeat to add the remaining flour in 2 batches, folding until there are no visible streaks for flour. Divide the mixture between the tins and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until well risen to the tops of the tins, a good golden brown and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges. Cover a wire rack with a sheet of baking paper and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. Carefully turn out the sponges onto the paper and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup. Put the sugar and 100ml water into a small pan. Grate the zest from 1 lemon and add. Carefully peel the zest from the second lemon and cut into fine shreds; cover and set aside for decoration. Halve both lemons and squeeze the juice. Add 3 tablespoons to juice to the pan. Heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes to make a light syrup. Leave to cool.

To make the lemon cream filling, whip the cream until thick. Add the sugar and whip until soft peaks form. Stir the lemon curd gently, then mix one third of it with the ricotta. When thoroughly combined, fold this into the whipped cream to make a very smooth, thick mixture. Cover and chill for at least 30 minute but no more than an hour.

When ready to assemble the cake, slice each sponge in half horizontally to make 4 thin layers. If necessary trim the sponges to neaten. Set one layer cut surface up, on a serving plate. Brush or spoon one-quater of the lemon syrup over the sponge and leave to soak in for a couple of minutes.

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