You know you want the chocolate and raspberry cake…
I know, I know, it’s chocolate and raspberries again. I have no imagination. But it’s such a delicious flavour combination! This cake was made on the rather flimsy excuse of the recent Rugby World Cup. We had a tipping competition, and I promised the victor(s) their choice of cake. They wanted chocolate. Don’t we all?
Anyway, what with choir and gardening and such all weekend, I knew I wouldn’t have time to do anything more elaborate than a mudcake, but I actually find mudcakes rather boring, so I took my mudcake recipe and replaced a lot of the chocolate with raspberries. And added a lot of raspberry liqueur, because why not? And then the rotten thing wouldn’t cook through and wouldn’t cook through and wouldn’t cook through, and I still had to make dinner and crumble and cookies and wait for the cake to cool and ice it and get to bed early enough hat I could get into work early today and be there when a certain Professor returned from overseas and found out what the PhD students had done to his office in his absence (to say they decorated it for Halloween doesn’t even begin to describe the unbelievable thoroughness of said decoration. It was literally impossible to walk inside that office. Or even to enter it… And this, incidentally, is why said Professor ought to give me access to his diary. How was I to know there would be a film crew?), so eventually I declared it Cooked Enough, and pulled it out of the oven anyway.
The result is a cake that is dense and truffly and moist – it tastes like a very rich, flourless chocolate cake, with a big hit of sharp raspberry goodness. Always a winning flavour combination. However, I will try to come up with a different one next time, honest…
Your Shopping List
500 g dark chocolate + 600 g dark chocolate for the icing (I recommend Lindt 70% for this).
350 g raspberries (frozen is fine)
500 g butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup raspberry liqueur + 100 mls raspberry liqueur for the icing
300 ml cream
150 g icing sugar
Posted in cakes, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged cakes, chocolate, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, raspberries, recipes, vegetarian
Another week with very little blogging, this time because I’ve barely been home – since last Sunday, I’ve either had dinner guests or been out myself every single evening (including this evening, in fact – yay, paid singing gig!), and as a result, I’ve scarcely had time to look at the kitchen, let alone cook in it or write about it. And today, of course, was the first decent weather we’ve had on a weekend day for quite some time. I had to make the most of it. Besides, every Melbournian knows that you have to get your tomatoes in before Cup Day – so I’ve just barely made the deadline.
Behold! Tomato plants – and Cup Day isn’t until Tuesday. And yes, I know they look terribly, terribly dry – it was a very hot, sunny day, and I didn’t want to water until everything was in shade. Now, of course, it’s raining.
So today you get me nattering on about all the vegetables I hope I will have in a few months. Because pretty much all I’ve done today is garden and then sing. Tomorrow, there will be more singing, and also baking and hat-making for work purposes. But I’m hoping that next week I really will get back into the swing of blogging – I’m missing it.
Remember that evil jelly from Pericles? And how I planned to have it with berries and cream and meringues for dessert when we had people to dinner the next day?
Well, I did. And it was fabulous. Also, beautiful.
I can’t really give you an adequate recipe (though I will post the weird jelly recipe later, for the curious), but the basic composition was a layer of diced rose-scented jelly, a layer of strawberries and fresh raspberries, a layer of crushed meringue, and a layer of whipped cream mixed with yoghurt and mascarpone. And then I repeated the layers a couple of times, and topped the whole thing off with chocolate curls that I happened to have on-hand (leftover from the work wedding) and whole meringues.
It’s the sort of dessert that is only simple if you already just happen to have meringues, whipped cream, rose-scented jelly and chocolate curls on hand. But it was delicious enough that I would actually consider making all those things again, just so that I can repeat the experience – such lovely, fresh-tasting berries, with tangy cream and crisp meringue and a scent of roses throughout. Just lovely.
I woke up on Sunday morning with this recipe in my head – not, I am glad to say, being dictated by my subconscious in a dream, but more a natural progression of the fact that I hadn’t slept well and had been thinking about Shakespeare food all weekend.
I wanted to make at least one sweet dish that didn’t have eggs or nuts in it and wasn’t too obnoxiously healthy. Also, I recently tasted a rather delicious chocolate bar from The Curious Chocolatier, that was flavoured with rosemary and apricot, and I had been wanting to try this combination in a cake sometime. The recipe is based on my vegan Raspberry, Coconut and Chocolate Cupcakes, and while this one isn’t vegan, it is very easy to veganise (see variations below). It worked beautifully, especially the ganache! Glossy and rich and bittersweet and totally perfect! I have to confess though, that while I wish I could tell you the secret to lovely, shiny ganache, mine splits with distressing frequency and I have no idea why (though it definitely behaves worse on occasions when I really want it to look beautiful – but then, doesn’t everything?). This one worked perfectly, and I don’t know how that happened, either.
Your Shopping List
75 ml cream
two small sprigs of fresh rosemary
85 ml apricot nectar
150 g dark chocolate (preferably Lindt 70% cooking chocolate)
200 ml milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
2/3 cup caster sugar
40 ml olive oil
125 g tinned apricots, pureed, or 125g dried apricots soaked in hot water for an hour, drained, and pureed, or 125 ml apricot nectar
apricot essence or apricot schnapps (optional, but a good idea if you go the nectar option – the flavour isn’t that strong)
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda
2 tablespoons of apricot jam, or thereabouts.
Posted in cakes, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged apricots, cakes, chocolate, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, recipes, rosemary, vegan, vegetarian
Yeah, I drastically overcatered.
Savouries. Most of them. The pastries haven’t all made it onto the table yet…
Just desserts. But not the sfoof, which I initially forgot to put on the table.
This gallery contains 1 photos.
I have asparagus! I have asparagus! I have lovely, lovely, green, gorgeous asparagus! Indeed, I have so much asparagus that I can barely fit it in the fridge (especially with all the Shakespeare food) – I’ve packed my largest tupperware … Continue reading
There are a lot of posts I need to write. I need to write the gargantuan photographic post about Pericles (NB: There was definitely enough food.). I need to write about going to the market and finally – finally! – getting asparagus (and in such large quantities I’m having difficulty fitting it all in my fridge). I need to write up the recipe I randomly invented at 6:00 this morning when I should have been sleeping, and had to get up early to make even though I assure you there was already quite enough food. I even need to write about the new exciting cookbook I got last week that is filling me with joy.
But it’s still obscenely hot and humid and stuffy, and I’ve only just got dinner underway (pasta bake involving leftover marinated artichokes and sun dried tomatoes, feta dip, eggplant dip, leeks, tomatoes and – surprise! – asparagus), and I’m not sure I can face that much writing tonight.
But you will get a sneak preview of just one of the things I cooked, because it looks like it escaped from a Dr Who episode (probably one from the 1970s), and amused us all no end.
We’re doing Pericles tomorrow, which is basically Shakespeare’s Ancient World Road Trip play, complete with Deus Ex Machina, riddles about incest (and really, you’d think that any self-respecting Evil Overlord would realise that if you are sleeping with your daughter, you probably shouldn’t ask all her prospective suitors to solve a riddle whose answer is “The King is sleeping with his daughter”), people dying and being miraculously revived, people disappearing and being miraculously united, and (my personal favourite) the heroine so virtuous that when she is sold to a brothel she converts all the patrons to virtue and chastity.
You can see why it was a hit in its time…
Anyway, since Pericles spends the play wandering all around Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and I think North Africa (shedding allegedly dead loved ones at every port), I decided that tomorrow should be a Middle Eastern feast. With a few random non Middle-Eastern bits in deference to various allergies and one or two puns I couldn’t resist, though this play didn’t give me too much scope for that (I’m waiting for another line like ‘them that do make trifles of their eyes’ – let me tell you, I had a blast catering that one. And Titus Andronicus had a certain macabre charm in the catering – anyone for pie?).
The menu – for ten, though I strongly suspect I will be making a lot of scientists very happy on Monday… Continue reading
We’re doing Pericles tomorrow, which means I am cooking like a maniac to prepare a middle-eastern themed feast, and my head is full of lists of things to make, things to decorate, things that need to be set out, things that need to be soaked, things that need to be rolled in pastry and baked, and things that need to be written down into lists so that I don’t forget to do them…
Also, I am beginning to fear that I am actually making far too much food, a statement that should strike fear into the heart of anyone who has seen the amount of food I produce when I think there might not be enough…
Anyway, I just invented these sweetmeats which are easy and delicious and should surely have been invented by someone much cleverer than me already, but just in case they haven’t, I’m writing them down before I forget. The orange flower water is a stroke of genius, if I say so myself – to me, it always has a faint hint of apricot, and a faint hint of orange, too, as well as its perfumed scent, and it really works here to unite the ingredients.
Your Shopping List
350 g Turkish dried apricots (the soft kind)
150 g glacé orange slices
1 tsp orange flower water
icing sugar to dust
Posted in confectionery, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low glycemic index, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged apricots, confectionery and sweetmeats, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low GI, nut-free, orange flower water, oranges, raw food, recipes, vegan, vegetarian