Sunday 24 June 2012

Chocolate Rum Cake - A Random Recipe

Don't particularly want to write this post but rules are rules and blog I must.

This months Random Recipe challenge over at Belleau Kitchen was to randomly choose a book and then go to the very centre of the book and cook that recipe. I did plan to randomly pick the book but then I saw this little book sat on my shelf that I had not used yet so I opted for that one instead. The book was Mary Berry's 100 Sweet Treats and Puds and the middle recipe was - Chocolate Rum cake. so far good, so on I went with the baking.

Reading the recipe it seemed a little odd and overly complicated involving separating eggs, beating the yolks with the sugar and whisking the whites and folding them into the mix but still if it makes a good cake then so be it.

It didn't.

The end result was a very flat cake that barely rose and the small amount it did rise sank back once removed the oven, even with the cake fully cooked.

The topping quantities make way to much, I still had half a bowl left over after drowning the cake.

The cake itself was incredibly dry, claggy and with a chalky texture, I don't know if this was my fault by splitting the mixture between two tins instead of one tin, can't see how it would make much difference to the overall texture.

The flavour of the rum barely came through either.

Here is the recipe if you want to give it ago, you may have better luck.

200g plain chocolate
100g cubed butter
3 large eggs separated
100g dark muscavdo sugar
50ml dark rum
75g self raising flour
50g ground almonds

Filling and icing
225g plain chocolate
100g butter, cubed

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Allow to cool slightly
Beat the eggs yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy.
Add the chocolate and rum and mix well.
Fold in the flour and almonds.
Whisk the egg whites until they turn stiff but not dry and fold into the mixture.
Pour into the tin and level the surface
Bake for 45 minutes until a skewer is removed clean. (I used two tins and reduced the baking time to 20 minutes)
Allow to cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Filling and topping
Melt the chocolate in the same way.
Add the cubed butter and stir until incorporated, use to fill and decorate the cake.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Spanish style chicken thingy

Tonight tea was the result of a rummage around to see what I could find combined with the inherent laziness a Sunday evening brings on.
I think its something to do with that irritating beeping thing looming ever closer at stupid o clock the next morning. Well with this dish you can forget all that and lose yourself dreaming of sunny Spanish weather and relaxing with a glass of vino while pretending that the lashing rain and howling winds of a British summer is mealy the crashing waves of the beach ahhhh....

With this dish you basically chuck everything in a dish and roast it, I've suggested serving it with spuds and salad but throw the spuds in the dish with everything else to save even more time and effort if you like, don't put the salad in though.

2 chicken legs or 4 thighs
1 red pepper
4 onions
4 cloves of garlic
100g ish chorizo
sprinkling of olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Peel and cut the onions into wedges.
Slice the peppers into strips
Peel and bash the garlic
Chop the chorizo into £1 sized pieces.
Throw everything into a roasting dish and drizzle with  a bit of a oil.
Wrap with foil and roast for an hour at 180C.
Remove the foil and stir the veg and chorizo so they are covered in juices.
Turn the oven up to 200C for about half an hour until the chicken skin gets brown and crispy.

Serve with spuds and a salad

Saturday 16 June 2012

Roasted Beetroot and Sour Cream Soup

I don't cook a lot with beetroot, not sure why. Its cheap, a kilo cost me £1.50 and i love the earthy sweet flavour of the stuff. I did make this stew with beetroot once but the flavour was masked slightly by everything else in there.

I spied this recipe in Sir Hugh's River Cottage Veg Everyday, a superb book which I have mentioned before and will mention again until you buy it and agree with me, and decided to give it ago.

The recipe itself is very simple it's basically scrub, roast, peel and blend. There are not many other ingredients which allows the beetroot to sing and sing it does especially after its been roasted for an hour..

The recipe calls for horseradish cream but I cannot stand horseradish and to put it on beef is a food crime so it was going nowhere near this soup, instead I opted for a good dollop of sour cream to cut through the sweetness.

Roasted Beetroot and Sour Cream Soup

1kg beetroot
2-3 sprigs of thyme
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp rapeseed/olive oil
750ml veg stock

Sour cream and thyme sprigs to serve

scrub the beetroot and place whole in a roasting dish.
Add the garlic, thyme and oil and mix around so they are well covered.
add a wineglass of water to the dish and cover tightly with foil.
roast at 200C (fan) for an hour until a skewer can be inserted without force.
Leave to cool.
Top and tail the beetroot and rub/peel the skins off. Slice and dice with a knife.
Stick into a blender with the roasting dish juices, the garlic squeezed out of it's skin and the veg stock.
Transfer to a pan and heat to required temperature, don't boil it.
Add a dollop of sour cream and a few sprigs of thyme.

Well I took one spoonful, abandoned the spoon and drank it out of the bowl so make your own judgements.


Friday 15 June 2012

Vinegar Loaf

Before you click off and go look at something else, give me a second to explain and trust me on this one.

Recently I was given a cake from the OH Grandma who from what I can gather and from the evidence of this particular cake is an excellent baker of the traditional sense. The cake was a vinegar cake, sounds appetising doesn't it? However what the cake is in fact is a fruit loaf. The vinegar refers to the raising agent inside the cake which is an old war time standard when eggs were sparse and something was required to provide volume and make the cake rise. The vinegar reacts with the warm milk and soda causing the reaction needed to make the cake rise and trust me you cannot taste the vinegar at all.

I am entering this cake into this months AlphaBakes blogger challenge, hosted by Ros from The more than occasional baker (this months host) and Caroline from Caroline Makes, in which the main ingredient, technique or name of the bake must begin with that months chosen letter which this month is V.

Recipe courtesy of the OH's Grandma
1lb Plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
3oz lard
3oz butter
8oz caster sugar
1 lb mixed dried fruit
2 tsp bicarb
1/2 pint warm milk
2 tbsp malt vinegar

Mix the flour with the spice and salt and then rub in the fats.
stir in the sugar and dried fruit
In a separate bowl add the bicarb and pour over the milk and then add the vinegar, watch it fluff up.
Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined.
Add to a lined and greased loaf tin of your choice, I decided to use 4 little ones.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160C(Fan) for about 40 minutes and a skewer comes out clean.
Serve with a brew

Soft, moist, sweet with little tiny kicks of spice, all in all a bloody good and easy to make cake with no vinegar taste before you ask.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Olympic Food Challenge

Official Olympic food and drink - McDonald's, Coca Cola, Heineken, Cadburys.

I'll pass thanks.

Instead for this, the Games of the XXX Olympiad, me and several bloggers lead by our fearless leader and creator of this challenge; Ewan Mitchell of Tonight's Menu, are going to eat our way around the world.

Each blogger has been allocated 19 countries and during the Games we have to research, cook and blog something from those 19 countries.

More information can be found at the official blog:

Here is the list of countries that I have been allocated:

Cape Verde
Cote D'Ivoire
Trinidad and Tobago

As you can see it's quite an interesting mix, some are quite easy to find a dish from others are a bit more tricky.

I plan to bake a good portion of my countries for several reasons, 1. I like to bake. 2. It gives me some breathing room in case I fall behind with 19 dishes over 19 days which is likely to happen.

If you have any suggestions to what I could cook/bake from any of the countries then feel free to let me know. All suggestions are appreciated

Mr @joolscyprien has already been kind enough to provide a recipe for Jamaican curried ox cheeks

See you at the Olympics