Chocolate and beetroot cake sounds like such a bad idea, but it really isn’t. It turns out I own several recipes for it, in fact, though they use tinned beetroot, which doesn’t sound like a winning strategy to me. Also, they all used at least three eggs, which was no good, because my Beatrice is allergic to eggs and it would be terrible if she couldn’t eat her own cake. Nevertheless, being rather enamoured of the Beatrice / Beetroot pun, and also being in possession of quite a lot of beetroot, I was determined to make some kind of beetroot and chocolate cake, so I went hunting online to see what I could see.
Where’s The Beef had a rather tempting choc-beet cake on their site, with equal amounts of chocolate and beetroot, and only two eggs in it. It was also dairy free, which is basically an invitation to veganise something, if you ask me. It also had ground almonds, another allergen that I needed to avoid, and coffee, which is not my cup of tea, if you’ll pardon the pun, so I had a bit of scope for change (though I will definitely be making their almondy and eggy version sometime, minus the coffee, because I suspect the texture would be fabulous).
What I wound up with was a very dense, rich, moist chocolatey cake in which you really cannot taste the beetroot at all. The texture is fascinating – moist to the point of muddiness, and the whole thing is incredibly rich. It’s the most chocolatey cake I’ve ever tasted, which is interesting, because I’ve definitely made cakes with more chocolate in them. It’s rather brownie-like in personality, actually.
But you should really try it for yourself.
Your Shopping List
180 g beetroot (about 1 largeish beetroot – any colour, mine was stripey)
200 g very dark chocolate – 80% cocoa is great here
170 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup (if you want to be super clever, use the 1/3 cup measure for the oil, then the apple sauce, then the maple syrup – 2 tablespoons is 1/6 cup, so just eyeball it and fill it about halfway. The oil will stop the sauce and syrup from sticking)
1/2 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
pinch of salt
85 g cocoa, as dark as you can get
1/4 cup hot water
(optional: I don’t actually like pecans, but something tells me that half a cup of chopped pecans stirred in at the last minute would be fabulous here)
Posted in baking, cakes, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged apple sauce, beetroot, big cakes, chocolate, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, low GI, nut-free, recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Not much blogging out of me this week, because I have a friend staying in my spare room (the one where the computer is), so I’ve been too busy doing friend catching-up stuff to write much. Also, it’s rude to sit there typing when someone is trying to sleep…
But I had to post briefly about my new knives, because they are sharp and awesome and the other reason I don’t want to type much is that I’m doing a very fine job of slicing up my fingers with them. This is not the fault of the knives – I’m just not used to having ones which will cut things as soon as look at them (my old knives were pacifists, and some of them had conscientious objections to cutting vegetables. Or anything, really. Though not, apparently, to cutting me.), so I have all these bad, bad, knife habits, and as a result all our meals this week are very high in protein. But they are lovely, lovely knives, and it is wonderful (when I am not indulging in accidental acts of self-harm) to be able to slice through something just using the pressure of my fingertips, not my whole arm from the shoulder.
Reflecting on that particular image, I can’t help suspecting I’m lucky I still have all my fingers. And arms.
(Oh, they are Scanpan knives, if anyone is interested. So far, I really do recommend them – they are beautifully weighted, and slice like a dream.)
In other culinary news, we are doing Much Ado About Nothing tomorrow, so I’m cooking like a maniac, again. Continue reading
This recipe is adapted from a Claudia Roden recipe (which I think turns up in different forms in several of her books). It’s fairly heavily adapted, actually. For one thing, my version is vegan, though yours doesn’t have to be. For another thing, she claims that this amount serves 30 – 40 people, but I’ve fed this cake to hungry scientists and believe me, 30 people barely got through half of it, largely because it is very rich. I usually halve the recipe and still wind up taking the recipe to work.
This cake isn’t as tricky as it looks, but I’m warning you now that the central section *is* tricky – your filo sausages will not want to coil tightly around themselves without breaking. Fortunately, once you get past the middle few coils, the outer ones help to hold them in place, and the cinnamon and icing sugar will cover all the breaks anyway…
Your Shopping List
1.5 kg ground almonds (I find this works well with half almond meal, half whole almonds processed into coarse crumbs)
1 kg caster sugar (this tells you all you need to know about the glycemic index of this recipe)
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
150 ml rosewater
100 ml orange blossom water
500 g filo pastry (refrigerated, not frozen. This would be a nightmare with de-frosted frozen pastry)
olive oil spray
(optional: 2 egg yolks for glazing, but since I never remember this, I can promise you it works without)
icing sugar and extra cinnamon for decoration
Posted in dairy-free, desserts, egg-free, pastry, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged almonds, biscuits pastries and slices, cinnamon, dairy-free, egg-free, filo pastry, orange flower water, recipes, rosewater, vegan, vegetarian
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Andrew says that seven pumpkins is not a parade. I say it is a parade. In fact, I say, it’s a pumpkin *army*. The little ones are the infantry, of course… Also, how about that strange, mushroom-shaped one? Apparently it … Continue reading
My office has started spontaneously generating chocolate.
It’s not that I don’t bring in my fair share of both chocolate and baked goodies, but the chocolates are definitely taking on a life of their own. The Divisional Chocolate drawer now has a number of regular donors, and random chocolatey gifts appear on my desk on a regular basis. Cake, biscuits and donuts find their way back from meetings to the desk beside my printer. Basically, my office is a pretty safe bet for the hungry scientist, and on afternoons when I stay back a little, the procession of people with the six o’clock sugar bug is fairly constant.
(Do I even need to mention that I rather like this?)
My brother has a kumquat tree. It’s quite an enthusiastic tree – apparently it bears fruit all year round, relentlessly. Since kumquats are not, on the whole, a fruit you can just eat off the tree, he has been looking for things to do with them – and perhaps even more for people to give them to. In particular, he’s bored with sweet kumquat recipes.
I have, in fact, made excellent kumquat pectin jellies in the past, but this was basically a labour of insanity, because zesting enough kumquats to make a batch of jelly is extraordinary fiddly and time-consuming. Thus, I too was interested in a savoury use for kumquats (particularly given my brother’s increasingly pressing offers of kumquats by the tonne).
Anyway, at some point in the dim distant past, I remember seeing a recipe for kumquats preserved in the manner of Moroccan preserved lemons, and being of an enquiring disposition (and in possession of a kilo of kumquats), I decided to give the idea a try. Of course, the recipe is long gone from my browser’s memory (particularly given that I now have an entirely different computer), but I had Stephanie Alexander’s preserved lemon recipe to guide me, so I boldly sallied forth into the world of briney citrus.
So, will my kumquats be a tremendous success? A hideous failure? A curiosity? Only time will tell…
Your Shopping List
850 g kumquats (like you need to buy them. If you have them, you have them, and if you don’t, the supermarket won’t be much help to you)
200 g salt (yes, I mean 200 g)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
1-2 teaspoons fennel seed
a piece of ginger root about the size of your thumb
Posted in dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, low glycemic index, Middle-Eastern, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged cinnamon, dairy-free, egg-free, fennel, ginger, gluten-free, kumquats, low fructose, low GI, nut-free, recipes, salt, side dishes, vegan, vegetarian
I’m hoping to do a more entertaining post later today, but in the meantime, I strongly recommend you all go and read this post by Not Quite Nigella about Food Banks and waste in the food industry.
Here’s a little taste of it:
…have you noticed that in the last few years, those long watermelons with the black pips from our childhood have disappeared and there are now only those round, seedless watermelons? That’s because the stores say that consumers don’t want watermelons with seeds anymore and the same goes for grapes. The long seeded watermelons still have to be grown because these are the male watermelons while the rounded ones are females. “A crying shame” Lou says “I like the taste of the long ones better” and everyone nods in agreement. They can’t sell them and they are ready at an earlier time than the round seedless watermelons so they just stay in the field unpicked.
I must admit, my penchant for buying weirdly shaped and or coloured vegetables at the Farmer’s Market is aesthetic rather than political, and of course I’ve been vaguely aware that supermarket fruit and veg is more uniform and assumed there was wastage… but to simply throw away half a crop because of (unproven) concerns that the customer might not like dealing with the seeds? That’s far beyond my imaginings. I really am shocked by this.
Go read the full article – I think it’s something we should all be aware of.
As for me, I’m wondering if there is any action I can take beyond continuing my allegiance to Farmers’ Markets. Thoughts, anyone?
This recipe started off with me deciding that what I really needed in life was a nice, chewy, oaty biscuit with chocolate and dried cherries and almonds in it. I didn’t have a recipe for that, but I did have one for a choc-chip slab biscuit that looked fairly promising. It didn’t have any eggs in it, so I thought it might be fun to make it vegan, but I didn’t have any vegan margarine (and vegan margarine is sort of cheating anyway), but I did have coconut butter (and I’ve just realised I had almond butter which would have been awesome! Drat!), so I thought I’d use some of that instead. But not 220g worth, because that’s insane. So I added some canola oil. Then, of course, the recipe needed oats, so I added some of those. And then I discovered that you really can’t cream coconut butter, so I was going to need a leavening agent. And then the mix was too dry, but adding agave nectar would just have been far too cute and also too sweet, so I added the leftover applesauce from the ginger cake…
… by which point the recipe had precisely three ingredients in common with the original – flour, chocolate and vanilla – and vanilla was the only one in the same quantity.
It’s not as though I started off trying to follow the recipe, you understand, but it still boggles me a bit that I can change all the quantities and most of the ingredients in a recipe without blinking, but can’t actually write a cake or biscuit recipe from scratch. I need some sort of template to stomp all over with no subtlety whatsoever, or I’m lost.
Anyway, I seem to have created a vaguely Anzac-biscuity slice with a decidedly coconuty background and lots of goodies in it. It’s rather pleasing, if I say so myself, and would be even better with a glass of milk. Though a bit crumbly – you might want to replace some of the brown sugar with golden syrup to make it hold together a little more.
Your Shopping List
120 g coconut oil (sometimes called coconut butter)
80 ml canola oil
200 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
100 g rolled oats
100 g apple sauce
50 g almond meal
200 g flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
150 g dark chocolate, chopped
100 g cherries
100 g roasted almonds, optional
Posted in baking, biscuits, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged almond meal, almonds, biscuits pastries and slices, cherries, chocolate, coconut oil, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, oats, recipes, vegan, vegetarian
(First post on my new computer, finding new programs and functionalities as I go… let’s hope for the best…)
We had friends to dinner tonight, and I thought it would be nice to make David Lebovitz’s fresh ginger cake and serve it with Nigella Lawson’s Ruby Red Quinces. (Which it was, but I’m going to be bouncing off the walls on a sugar high for the next twelve hours. Whee!) I haven’t done any vegan baking for a while, and Lebovitz’s cake is already dairy-free and only contains two eggs, so I thought it would be a good candidate for veganising (veganisation? veganifying? evegangelising?).
Definitely one of my better ideas, and it’s nice to see the whole ‘swap eggs out for apple sauce’ method working well in practice (I’ve had mixed success with this approach in the past).
Your Shopping List
150g of really fresh ginger root (you want the stuff that is still tender and pinkish in colour, not the really dried up kind, because it will be a nightmare to chop)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup treacle (if you measure this after the canola oil, it won’t stick to your measuring cup)
1/2 cup apple sauce (home made or a bought version that really is mostly apples)
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper (yes, pepper)
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
2 tsp bicarb of soda
Posted in baking, cakes, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged big cakes, cinnamon, dairy-free, egg-free, ginger, nut-free, treacle, vegan, vegetarian
I have embarked on the sanity-killing project of re-organising all my recipe indexes on this blog. As you will see, if you click on the Recipes page above, there are now a lot of sub-pages based on what kind of food you might be wanting to cook. This is because there were enough recipes in the original index to make scrolling down to find things an absolute pain in the neck.
So far, this has eaten a day and a half of my life, and I am only halfway through the process (I’m planning a separate set of sub-pages organised by dietary requirement, but I’m a bit scared about how long it’s going to take). So if you are wondering what has happened to the usual cheery recipes and random foodie bits and pieces around here, Organisation has happened, and I expect to be committed somewhere peaceful for my own good any minute now.
Just for fun, though, I’ve also created a new page called Feasts and Fancies, which collects together all my Shakespeare feasts and all my wedding cakes and other celebration cakes (or at least, all the ones that are on this blog – at some point, I will go back and retro-actively add all my Shakespeare feasts from my pre-blogging days, just so that they are all in the same place).
In conclusion, my apologies for the lack of new material on this blog for the time being. I can only offer as compensation the prospect that my old material will shortly be much easier to find…
Posted in admin
Tagged admin, index