Saturday, September 11, 2010

Little chocolate cakes

Hello everyone, this is going to be my last posting on this blog. I have been writing it since January 2008 and today's recipe is number 150, which seems a good number at which to conclude. It's funny to look at the list of recipes I have shared - it is a compendium of all the things I love to eat! I could quite happily just rotate through all the recipes here for the rest of my life. Of course I won't, there are always new cookbooks calling me with something different.

I decided to conclude with what would really have to be my most favourite food in the world, chocolate pudding. The recipe comes from Jill Dupleix's Simple Food, a book from which I have cooked nearly every single thing. She calls the dish cakes, but she suggests pulling them out of the oven a little bit early so that you can enjoy the luscious squidgy texture. That's how I cook these cakes and I serve them as puddings with cream, ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog and provided me with comments and feedback. It made me really happy whenever anyone told me that they had cooked something from the blog, or their family had a favourite recipe from the blog, as that was the original intention. I hope you keep returning to it and find it a useful source of delicious inspiration!

Love from Jane

Little Chocolate Cakes

Makes 12

What you need:
  • 200g dark, bitter, top quality chocolate, chopped
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Icing sugar for dusting

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. In a bowl sitting above a simmering pan of water on the stove, combine the chocolate, sugar and butter and stir as they melt into a smooth, glossy sauce.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool for five minutes.
  4. Add the ground almonds to the chocolate sauce and stir well.
  5. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one, until well mixed.
  6. Place the egg whites into a large, dry bowl and beat until stiff and peaky.
  7. Stir a large spoonful of egg white into the chocolate mix to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg white.
  8. Spoon the mix into lightly buttered large muffin moulds, or a 12 hole muffin tray lined with doubled muffin paper cases.
  9. Bake: if you want a pudding texture check at 15 minutes; if you prefer a cake effect, check at 25 minutes.
  10. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing the puddings from their moulds, and serve as you prefer.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pizza with prosciutto and ricotta

Hello everyone, I had lunch today at a place I really like called The Cook's Garden in North Turramurra, which I think I have mentioned before. I had a really simple but delicious slice of grilled bread, piled high with roasted capsicum, roasted golden beetroot, grilled haloumi and rocket. I haven't tried golden beetroot before as the traditional version doesn't appeal at all, but it was very good and seemed to have a much firmer and drier texture than the usual purple one.

This week's recipe is a favourite pizza, from a Women's Weekly book called Cooking For Friends There are so many different combinations that you can use for a pizza but this one seems to be just right every time.

Have a great week. Love from Jane xx

Pizza with prosciutto and ricotta

Serves six to eight

What you need:
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 3 x medium sized pizza bases
  • 1/2 to 1 cup tomato paste
  • 300g baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 9 slices prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 300g fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and stirred through the olive oil

What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 240C.
  2. Cut each tomato into eight wedges.
  3. Place the pizza bases on oven trays.
  4. Spread each base with a third of the tomato paste.
  5. Top each pizza with equal amounts of tomato, spinach, onion, prosciutto, basil, ricotta and pine nuts.
  6. Drizzle each pizza with equal amounts of the garlic oil.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top of each pizza is browned lightly and the base crisp.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chocolate and cranberry biscuits

Hello everyone, this week's recipe comes from one of my favourite cook books, Epicure Chocolate. These biscuits are lovely and chewy and make a nice big quantity.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Chocolate and cranberry biscuits

Makes 35-40

What you need:
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries (you could substitute raisins)
  • 1 cup chocolate bits, dark, milk or white, whichever you prefer (use good quality ones, not compounded chocolate)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and condensed milk.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour and baking soda into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the rolled oats, cranberries or raisins and chocolate bits.
  6. Place tablespoons on greased oven trays and press down with a fork.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chicken sandwiches

Hello everyone, today I went on one of Maeve O'Meara's fabulous Gourmet Safaris which was an amazing lunch at Azuma Japanese restaurant. We were entertained and informed by Maeve and a gorgeous Japanese woman called Miko, and were fed what seemed to be a never ending supply of delightfully flavoured and delicately presented morsels. We started with a tasting plate of six different items in various dressings and sauces, then progressed to the biggest bento box I have ever seen. It was so hard to decide in what order to try each section as they all looked and sounded delicious from the description we had on our special menus. I think if pressed I would plump for the wagyu beef as my favourite bite, but it was all outstanding. Dessert was home made vanilla icecream, fresh fruit and these amazing starchy dumplings, which you drowned in a black sauce, which was described as a Japanese sugar syrup and tasted like molasses. It was amazing, generous and a lot of fun. If you haven't tried a Gourmet Safari before I really recommend them and you can choose from a huge array of banquets, walking tours and even gourmet holidays!

This week's recipe is something that is very simple but when done well, with very good ingredients, is just the best. It's a recipe from Good Living, and I feel safe in saying the best chicken sandwich recipe I have ever tried.

Have a good week. Love from Jane xx

Chicken sandwiches

Serves four, easily

What you need:
  • 1 roast or BBQ chicken
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 2 sticks celery, washed and finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 large handfuls of watercress or rocket, washed and dried

What you do:

  1. Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and shred finely.
  2. Mix the chicken in a bowl with all the other ingredients except the bread and leaves.
  3. Lay out the slices of bread and spoon the chicken filling onto four slices.
  4. Top with watercress or rocket and the remaining bread slices.
  5. Cut in half and serve.