Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Chocolate Fudging Pudding

My chocolate pudding.

This recipe is based on the 'Chocolate Fudge Hot-Pot Pudding' from The Great Briish Bake Off- How to bake by Linda Collister. I have tweaked it and made it my own. Kind of.
This recipe serves 9.
The Sponge
190g softened unsalted butter
190g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
6 eggs
110g self-raising flour
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder
75g chocolate (the higher the percentage of cocoa solid in it, the better)
the zest of one orange
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cayenne
8 tablespoons of milk
1 glug of whisky (1 capful/ 2tbsps)
The Sauce
190g soft brown sugar
450ml boiling water
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder
Beat the butter until creamy, then add the caster sugar and vanilla extract whilst still beating.
Stop beating the mixture when the mixture appears pale and fluffy (like buttercream).
Crack the eggs into the mixture and whisk.
Add the milk, ginger, cayenne and orange zest into the mixture.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold it all in together.
Pour the mixture into a greased dish.
Add boiling water to the soft brown sugar and cocoa powder and mix until it is all dissolved.
Pour the liquid on top of the cake mixture evenly.
Chop the chocolate very finely and sprinkle over the mixture.
Put the mixture into the fridge to chill and preheat the oven to 180C.
Once the mixture has chilled foe 30 minutes, put into the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the sponge springs back when you touch it, and the sauce bubbles.
I thought this seasoning was suitably festive as the raw mixture especially smelt and tasted like a Terry's chocolate orange.
If you're planning to serve it mostly to children, I would suggest pushing marshmallows into the mixture along with white chocolate. The marshmallows will turn gooey and the chocolate will melt and give a nice contrast of colour.
Maybe use a couple less eggs as it is prone to give an eggs taste and appearance.
I am aware it all looks highly unappetising so I would suggest serving it in individual pots.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Festive spirit

Roast chickens topped with gingerbread stars

Chocolate molleux, walnut brittle, raspberry sorbet and chantilly

Chocolate molleux, walnut brittle, raspberry sorbet and chantilly
Chocolate molleux
200g dark chocolate
200g white chocolate (and a few extra pieces for gooey bits in the middle)
8 eggs
100g plain flour
300g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a tin or several ramekins.
Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and flour together.
When the chocolate and butter has melted, pour it into the egg-sugar-flour mix.
Whisk it together until thoroughly mixed.
Pour the mixture into the case and dot in some white chocolate pieces into the batter.
Either cook immediately, or put into the fridge until time to be used.
Cook the molleux in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the mixture has risen a few centimetres.
Serve hot or cold, it still tastes delicious!
If you serve straight out of the oven, this is the time when it is gooiest (gooyest?gooiyest?HELP!)
Walnut brittle
Walnut brittle is best made a few hours in advance - preferably left to set overnight- or it will turn out liquidy like mine..
120g caster sugar
30 ml water
100g walnuts
Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Melt the sugar and water over a medium heat in a saucepan.
When all the sugar has dissolved and you have a light golden syrup, set it aside in another container to cool.
Toast (not burn) the walnuts in a pan with NO oil or butter. You do not need any excess flavour, and the walnuts already contain oil.
Blitz the walnuts into a chunky powder (a bit like crumble with different sizes).
When the syrup and walnuts have considerably cooled down, mix them together and pour into the lined baking tray.
Tilt the tray to spread the mixture as thinly as possible.
Leave the walnut mixture to dry out in order to turn into walnut brittle.
When serving the walnut brittle, gently break it into shards and serve as an accompaniment to a main dessert (such as a chocolate molleux).
Tip: put hot soapy water into the saucepan as soon as you have finished with it, otherwise the syrup will be a demon to get out because it sets.
Raspberry sorbet
MAKE SEVERAL HOURS IN ADVANCE in order for the sorbet to freeze!
500g raspberries (fresh or frozen)- I use frozen as they tend to be cheaper than fresh yet all the flavour has been retained)
citrus juice (most recipes say lemon juice, but I think orange juice works well with raspberries)
150ml water (or champagne for a twist. Depends how drunk you want to make your guests...)
100g icing sugar
Make a syrup by melting the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat.
When all the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up until the sugar solution begins to boil, and then take off the heat to cool.
In another saucepan, put in the raspberries and squeeze your lemon/orange over.
Heat the raspberries until you have a juice.
When you have your juice, push through a sieve into your syrup. It's not nice to get seeds in your teeth.
Mix together and put in the freezer.
2 or 3 hours after you have put the sorbet into the freezer, get a fork and chisel bits of it off and mash it all up.
Put the sorbet back in the freezer to set.
600 ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar (more or less to taste)
tsp vanilla extract or essence or pod (NEVER FLAVOURING!)
Whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until soft peaks form.
Chill in fridge until ready to use.
Tip: chantilly is really good for using in choux and other pastries.

Soupe à l'oignon (onion soup)

French onion soup avec gruyère croutons

enough onions to make up 8 averaged sized onions (I used 10 red and white onions and a couple of shallots- oooh matron!)
2/3 beef stock cubes to make 1.2 litres
copious amounts of DARK beer- I used 200ml - DO NOT USE STOUT!
herbs de provence
pepper salt
bay leaf- optional
about 200g gruyère cheese
Finely slice the onions and fry in a knob of butter until browned. This can take over 30 minutes.
When the onions are nearly browned, sprinkle the herbs over the onions.
When the onions are browned, add the 1.2 litres of stock and beer to onions and simmer over a low heat for an hour. Season with pepper and salt.
About 5 minutes before you serve, slice some baguette and top with grated gruyère cheese.
Put the croutons under a preheated grill until the cheese has melted.
Serve the onion soup with a crouton or two floating on top.
You can fry the onions in oil but I would suggest you don't as it can leave unsightly globules of oil.
Be careful to not let the mixture reduce! If it does like mine did, add more water or beer.
If you use a bay leaf, put it into the soup when you are simmering the soup for an hour, and take it out prior to serving.
This recipe serves 8.
The soup keeps for about 3 days after it has been made (refridgerate if keeping for later use).

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Crispy coating

Whether you're making scotch eggs, schnizel or whatever there is a basic way to do the coating.

Coat your meat/ vegetable in flour and shake off all the excess flour.
Unless you will cook straight away, don't follow the process until you are about to cook your food.
Coat your mixture in beaten egg, and then roll in breadcrumbs.
Fry or bake. If you fry, make sure the oil is really got before you use it, because you don't want your food to be soggy and to have absorbed a lot of oil.
For those of you with a lot of time/ patience/ enthusiasm (delete as appropriate) complete all the stages again, except the rolling in flour.

Season your breadcrumbs accordingly;
Chicken- thyme, lemon zest
Prawns, dried chilli, dried garlic
Cauliflower- curry powder (it works really well!)

Try to use dry ingredients when seasoning as it works better.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Tip of the day

When you deep-fry something in batter, use ice-cold fizzy water to make the batter light and NOT claggy.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Pear frangipane

In my opinion, a frangipane tart is just a tart with cake mixture and a dash of fruit. I used pear as it was the only suitable fruit in my fridge, but plums, apricot, peaches, DEFINITELY cherries and most stone fruits work well. I don't think apples would work particularly well because they're best in a plain apple pie, apple crumble, or tarte tatin.

For the pastry
300g plain flour
150g unsalted butter (cold and diced)
125g caster sugar (recipes tend to use the same amount of butter and sugar, but you'v got a sweet filling and sweet fruit so i don't think it's necessary)
For the frangipane
4 eggs (make sure they have been left out at room temperature for at least 30mins prior to use)
110g butter (softened!)
110g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
dash of vanilla essence-optional
dash of almond essence- optional
1 tbsp plain flour

For the topping
For the pasty:
Thoroughly mix the sugar and flour, then add the butter.
Turn the mixture into a crumble by hand, or alternatively use food processor.
Add enough water for the mixture to become a dough.
Wrap the mixture in cling film, and leave to set in the fridge whilst you make the frngipane filling

Preheat the oven to 180C.

For the frangipane filling:
Cream together the sugar and softened butter.
Add the eggs in slowly and mix. Make sure the mixture does not curdle or separate.
Add the flour and ground almond to the mixture.

Roll out the pastry and cover a tart case. Prick the bottom.
Blind bake the pastry (put greaseproof paper on the pastry, and add baking beans and rice).
Cook for 20 mins in the preheated oven.

When the pastry has been in the oven for 20mins, take it out and take off the greaseproof paper and beans.
Put the frangipane filling into the tart case, top with the fruit and leave to cook for 30mins.

This dessert is best enjoyed warm with ice-cream, or cold with a glass of liqueur which matches the fruit.

Use a mixture of ground almonds and FLAKED almonds in the frangipane filling to give texture.
Use dessicated coconut in the frangipane mixture
In the pastry use any sugar except dark brown sugar as it's not sweet enough.

Friday, 9 December 2011


250g bread flour/ strong flour
dash of salt
olive oil
This is a basic guideline for bread and it serves 8 portions or 4 generous hunks.
Mix the bread flour, salt and yeast so that the dry mixture is fully combined.
Add olive oil and water until the mix becomes a dough.
I tend to use about half olive oil and half water because olive oil makes the bread moist, but too much is greasy and rich.
Leave the mixture to double in siz\e in a warm place, and then preheat the oven to 200C.
When the bread dough has risen, knead it to knock all the extra air out of it.
Place it on a baking tray in any design; I normally do it as a kind of mound.
I score the top to make the crust crusty. Adding some rock salt to the top makes a tasty addition.
If you want a glossy top, paint the top of the bread with egg.
When you put the bread in the oven, leave it on 200C for about 20 minutes, and then turn it down to about 180C. It is important for the first bit of cooking for the oven to be at a high temperature so that a nice crust forms. Then you should turn it down because you don't want to dry out the bread.
After about 40 minutes, or when the bread sounds hollow if you tap it, it is ready to come out of the oven. The bread is best eaten warm with butter generously spread on it topped with smoked ham.
There are lots of variations you can make, like adding a shot or two of whisky. The good part is that you don't have to feel guilty because the alcohol is burnt off whilst cooking.