Chocolate Fudge Cake

This past weekend was one of those weekends that are just a little bit too crazy. Adrian was organising a Regional Youth Rally at Church and with a friday night program the evening before we didn’t end up getting into bed until 2am Saturday morning. The rally was fantastic but needless to say I wasn’t surprised to find Adrian dead to the world when I called him to lunch at about 2pm that afternoon!

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It’s weekends like these that require some very necessary self medication in the form of sugar and chocolate. What better way to give a much needed boost to my worn out Pastor husband than a delicious fudgey chocolate cake and this fudgey chocolate cake is unapolagetically opulent. Its a very simple recipe and within the hour our serotonin levels had peaked with the sugary goodness. What better way to relax on a Sabbath afternoon then with a steaming hot cuppa and deliciously decadent choccy cake.

The best part is enjoying the leftovers now with a nice little cup of tea.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
(adapted from Women’s Weekly Classic Cakes)

Ingredients:
250g Dark Chocolate
125g Butter
150g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 and line a lamington tin (20x30cm) with baking paper.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
3. Combine chocolate mixture in remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium until smooth and changed colour.
4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to stand for 5.

Just what you need on a cool winters arvo…

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Curry Lentil Soup

It’s one of those cold wintery nights, the ones that call for a pair of ugg boots, a snuggly blanket and a steamy hot bowl of soup.

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There’s also something very therapeutic about making soup, the monotony of chopping vegetables, the satisfaction of throwing a whole mix of things into one big pot and then sitting back as it bubbles away into a delicious muddle of curry, lentils and all things wonderful.

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How?
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
Glug of oil

Fry the onion, garlic and oil until just starting to soften.

1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Add the different flavours and fry them off.

1 large carrot, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced

Stir through the veggies.

800g can tomatoes
6 cups water
1 cup red lentils

Put a bamix to the canned tomatoes then add to the pot with the water and lentils.
Bring it all to the boil, then let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until veggies and lentils are soft.
Blend until smooth and add salt to taste.
Serve with sour cream and coriander.

Simple. Warm. Delicious!

Silverbeet & Ricotta Ravioli & Rolls

As a kid my mum used to grow enormous amounts of Silverbeet during the winter time… I hated Silverbeet with a passion, it seemed like the colder it got, the wilder it grew and the more we would eat…

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As the weather gets cooler so the Silverbeet gets cheaper and I live to eat in season because seasonal eating means cheap eats! So i decided to give Silverbeet a second chance and I’m glad i did! Must be a little older and wiser… I love the way that Silverbeet has a meatier texture than spinach… It carries a bit more bite through the cooking process and bring out a deeper flavour if seasoned well… So I decided to mix it with some ricotta and give it a burl as a ravioli filling…

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Take two big bunches of Silverbeet and trim out the white stalky bit… Wash it thoroughly, slice it thinly then toss in a pan with a finely diced onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and a good slosh of oil… Season with salt and pepper to taste and a little nutmeg… Silverbeet is cooked when it is wilted but still bright in colour… Drain the excess water, pressing down to ensure the Silverbeet is quite dry…

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Stir it through 300g of full milk ricotta… because I saved so much on the Silverbeet I was able to splurge a little on some beautiful ricotta… Give it a taste and season if needed… Be careful not to eat too much… For a quick and easy ravioli I used egg wonton wrappers… Fill them quite full… About 1 heaped tbsp… Then fold diagonally, sealing with a little water , and pull the corners together at the front sealing with a little extra water…

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I served it with a bottle sauce cause I was a bit strapped for time but anything rich and tomatoey would be delicious! The verdict… I don’t rate the wonton wrappers.. They went a little thin and sloppy for my liking but good if you’re strapped for time!

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The two bunches of Silverbeet make a load of filling for just two serves of ravioli so I added some grated cheddar to the mix and rolled them up in some of that beautiful careme full butter puff pastry… *drool* and I must say they were delicious! We had some for dinner last night and froze the rest… Can’t wait to pop those babies in the oven!

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Happy Baking!

Brioche French Toast

I couldn’t help myself when I saw those massive loaves of beautiful golden and light brioche at the checkout… I have a major soft spot for frenchy baked goods and I decided to splurge.. After enjoying slices for breakfast with a hot coffee there was still half a loaf that needed to be “dealt” with.. I decided on some French toast… I’d had brioche French toast at Circa, a great little breakfast spot in Parramatta and fell in love so I thought I’d try my own version…

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It’s quite simple really! Whisk together 2 eggs with 4 tablespoons of milk and 1 tablespoon of castor sugar… This will make enough for 4 slices… Perfect for 1 though more sensible for two…
Melt a good knob of butter in a non stick pan and when it begins to bubble, on quite a high heat, dip the slices of brioche in the eggy mixture and fry until brown on either side…

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Meanwhile combine some castor sugar with a good deal of cinnamon and as the toast comes out of the pan coat in the cinnamon sugar… *drools*

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I topped with fresh strawberries but you could do a myriad of toppings… Apples and walnuts in caramel sauce… A berry compote with ricotta… Maple syrup, pecans and bananas… Poached rhubarb, mascarpone and pistachios…

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Or my personal favourite… Peanut butter, fresh peaches, maple syrup and whipped cream!
I think I may just go make myself another batch…
Happy baking!

Brussel Sprout Pasta…

Just a little something I made for dinner this evening..: it’s the Queens birthday this weekend so the in laws have come to visit… I recently bought some brussel sprouts from the local green grocer and was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to cook them up because they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea…

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However, travelling home from a particularly wet jaunt in the city this arvo I was delighted to learn that the father in law shares my adoration of the humble brussel so it was decided, much to my own delight to try out a brusselly pasta dish… This one came from a little inspiration and the top of my head…

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Sauté your brussels in a little oil until they turn that beautiful bright greens colour… Crush in a couple of cloves of garlic and keep at a low heat until the sprouts are tender and delicious… Toss in some cooked fettucini, don’t drain it too much or it will end up a little dry..

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Then toss through with a generous helping of pure cream, a handful of toasted almonds and a good, decent, plentiful grating of Parmesan…

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Nutritional note: brussel sprouts are a super cheap, winter vege that has 102% of your daily in take of vitamin c per 100g.. Great for keeping the winter colds at bay!

Bavarian Apple Pancake

It’s one of those cold, wet and foggy kind of mornings which I love! Perfect for baking something sweet and delicious.

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You take some granny smith apples, which happen to be so cheap and seasonal right now. Chop them up and toss them through some cinnamon and granulated sugar. They are totally yummy just like that…

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Mix up your batter, and heat some butter in a heavy based pan, needs to be suitable for the oven as well…

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Mmmm… Butter! I bought some fancy pants Danish butter this week and was so excited to use it with this buttery pancake… Well worth it I say! Pour
In the batter and sprinkle the apples over the top. Allow the base to cook for 5 mins then pop it in a super hot oven for 10 minutes. It will look nice and brown by now and the butter will have started to bubble around the edges *drool* now dot some more of that delicious fancy butter over the top and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

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Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, it will brown a little more but mor importantly will puff up into a deliciously light and subtlety eggy pancake…
Caution: make sure you don’t grab the handle without a tea towel… A very painful learning curve!

Happy Baking!

A mushroom in the mail…

Not too many people would be too excited to receive a mushroom in the mail… Last Wednesday (yes it would have been last Wednesday if I hadn’t been so slack but unfortunately it was months ago now…) I was sitting innocently enough at my computer doing some work when I hear a knock at the door… Now that’s not at all unusual because we often get deliveries of different sorts for other members of the household… So when the DHL man handed me a large box with Mrs Lyndelle Peterson on the front I got quite excited! Tearing the packaging to pieces I found a bottle of oil… hmmm, how unusual, who would send me a bottle of oil? Turning it over I quickly realised that this wasn’t any type of oil… this was truffle oil… I started salivating instantly… Curious to find out where this little bundle had come from I peeled of the invoice and took a look… much to the terror of my husband who quickly tried to pull me away… but alas it was too late! I had already read the rest of the invoice… “1st Grade Truffle to follow”… I then continued to throw my hands up in the air in sheer joy smacking my husband square across the face… After seeing to his wounds I then continued to do a little victory dance around the kitchen… A TRUFFLE! I later learnt the truth… my ever so generous brother law (cudos to Brendan Peterson) who had just been for a visit had ordered the truffle in the hope that we would be able to taste it’s culinary delights together but unfortunately it arrived 2 days after he had already returned to Adelaide… bummer… but I didn’t stay sad for long you see I had a very expensive fungi to prep and cook and I new just the recipe…

Black Truffle Agnalotti with A Mushroom Broth by Jaques Reymond

So this was going to be THE truffle dish… if everyone remembers when Borders had their big closing down sales it was probably the time when we all could actually afford the books that they sold… I managed to flog of $200 worth of books for about $50 and amongst them was the coveted Cuisine de Temps by Jacque Reymond, a book I’d been drooling over for many an hour sitting in the Borders Gloria Jeans and now I owned it and also had a reason to cook form it’s exorbitant recipes…

This recipe is actually surprisingly simply and if you feel like indulging I encourage you to splurge on a truffle just to experience the taste… A few days after the oil had arrived a man in a TNT refrigerated truck pulled up with what looked like an organ donor container.. I gladly signed for it and pulled apart the mini eski to reveal not one but TWO delightful little black rocks… the smell was intoxicating and it instantly filled the house… after oohing an aaahing for a few minutes I forced myself to put them aside and focus on work… but eventually the day came when I had some time to cook them up! Basically the recipe involves roasting some potatoes, pushing them through a fine seize and adding onion sauted in cream, some hazelnut oil, some olive oil and half of one back truffle diced… throw in a bit of parsley, salt and pepper and you have a heady little filling for a bit of agnolotti…

BUT even better than the pasta would perhaps be the simplest truffle dish of all! See truffles are so pungent that they permeate absolutely everything they come in contact with (you should smell Paul’s fridge…) which is a very good thing because it means you can get maximum truffle flavour from very little effort! So before our truffle was all used up I put it into the egg carton… yes… the egg carton, along with about 4 eggs.. left it over night, cooked them up in the morning and had some delightful truffled eggs.

The verdict? That’s one tick of the bucket list… I suggest you add cooking with truffle to yours…