Date & nut cake


DSC_0515Oh this cake. I could sing songs, write sonnets and do a bit of dance and tell you how unbelievably heavenly this cake was. Instead I’m just going to do a bit of unhinged prose and explain with all the emphasis at my disposal about the fabulousness that is this Date & nut cake.  It’s appearance as humble as it might seem is most beguiling and hides the delectable reality of this exquisite cake.

You might be tempted to write off this cake at the merest first glance as any old fruit cake, but one bite and you’d be lost. You’d be lost and in a labyrinthine maze of cake heaven realize with each chewy/crunch/crumbly/flavoursome bite that this cake is indeed one of the most tasteful, scrumptious cake ever to have floated out of your oven.

It’s the orchestra of soft sweet dates contrasting with nut crunch and underlined with a medley of sublime spice flavours that makes this cake an addictive must.

DSC_0486 copyit’s a date & nut cake, so it has dates and nuts and milk, sugar, egg, flour, butter, vanilla extract, clove powder (ground cloves), orange zest, cinnamon, baking powder, crushed pepper.

 

DSC_0487start by adding baking powder to the flour and mixing it thoroughly. Keep it aside.

 

DSC_0488As with most cake recipes this one starts with creaming the butter and sugar in a bowl. Make sure the butter is at room temperature. Mine was not 😩

 

DSC_0490beat or cream the butter, add in the sugar

 

DSC_0491add the orange zest

 

DSC_0492beat until it sort of looks like this, or you can do a better job if the butter is room temperature.

 

DSC_0493crack in an egg

 

DSC_0495splash in some vanilla

 

DSC_0496and beat again until well mixed. My batter looks a bit curdled and that’s because I didn’t use room temperature butter. It’s too cold here for anything to be room temperature..but this curdling won’t matter..and you’ll see.

 

DSC_0497add in the flour

 

DSC_0498followed by spices..cinnamon, ground cloves

 

DSC_0499crushed black pepper

 

DSC_0501mix a bit and add milk

 

DSC_0503followed by chopped dates

 

DSC_0504chopped nuts

 

DSC_0506and mix until just barely mixed. Do Not overmix the batter.

 

DSC_0508scrape batter into a baking tin of choice. I’ve lined mine with some baking paper.

 

DSC_0509smoothen the top and bake at 180°C for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out completely clean

 

DSC_0522let it cool. Slice and enjoy!

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Ingredients

Dates: 170g (1 overflowing cup)

Nuts: 130g (1 cup). I used a mix of pecans and walnuts, but you can use whatever is easily available.

Sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

Flour: 120g (1 cup)

Butter: 100g (1/2 cup)

Milk: 50 mls (1/4cup)

Eggs: 1

Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

baking powder: 1.5 tsp

Orange zest: 1 tbsp

black pepper (crushed): 1/4 tsp

Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp

crushed cloves: 1/4 tsp

——————–

Recipe instructions: Chop the dates and soak in 1 cup of hot water to soften them and keep aside.

Add the baking powder into the flour and mix well and keep aside.

Cream the room temperature butter with the sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy. Crack in the egg, add vanilla extract and beat for another minute until well combined. Add in the flour, followed by spices. Mix roughly and add in the milk until just mixed.

Drain the dates and add into the batter, followed by nuts and do not over mix the batter.

Scrape the batter into a well greased baking tin and bake at 180°C for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out completely clean.

Let cool before slicing.

Enjoy!

 

 

Venetian carrot cake


 

DSC_1379In case anyone was wondering about my exile and the painfully invisible void I’d left in the world of food blogs, then let me tell you, it was only temporary..and though I might not be back with a bang, I am back with a gluten free (gasp) venetian carrot cake, the credit for which as much as I’d like to take isn’t mine to take at all but Nigella Lawson’s, and it’s her recipe I’ve adapted to make this unbelievable sphere (albeit sort of flat) of damp richness.

This is a carrot cake and it’s unapologetically..umm carroty? and absolutely gluten free, which is to say it does not require any flour, and as hipster as it sounds, we can take some solace in that it’s not vegan..though I promise nothing. On days of rage, I’ve been known to torture myself with vegan food stuff. But that’s another story for another torture chamber, because right now let’s marvel in the blistering warmth of this buff coloured cake, which sings to your soul and pleases your senses with such luxurious notes, that you’re left wondering whether you should eat this cake or marry it.

DSC_1328 copy

So without further ado, we’ve the ingredients. Sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract, beaten eggs, almond meal, shredded carrots, pine nuts, lemon, lemon zest, raisins and rum (not pictured)

Just because a cake’s got almond meal which sometimes you don’t readily get at your grocery store, does not mean you put off baking this amber coloured love disc. You’ve only to blitz almonds to get almond meal you know. It’s rocket science, but you can get around to it.

DSC_1331before we get started, put the raisins in with the rum and bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 3 minutes, after which turn off your heat and let the raisins plump up and cool.

 

DSC_1333 into a bowl of choice, add olive oil and sugar

 

DSC_1335and beat it for at least a couple of minutes. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable activity, I assure you.

 

DSC_1336beat until you’ve incorporated the sugar with the oil

 

DSC_1341mix in the eggs

 

DSC_1339followed closely by vanilla extract

 

DSC_1347and the zest

 

DSC_1348and lemon juice

 

DSC_1343mix well, until you’ve a summery ripple of golden ooze that speaks radiance in shiny ribbons.

 

DSC_1344tip in the now cooled swollen raisins along with any rum that’s it’s been standing in.

 

DSC_1349finally the almond meal

 

DSC_1350and the grated carrots

 

DSC_1354mix well, until everything’s incorporated and there’re no dry pockets.

 

DSC_1356scrape the mixture into a prepared cake tin. This is a springform pan

DSC_1330prepared simply means you’ve oiled the sides and the bottom and stuck a wax/butter/parchment paper on the base and oiled it as well.

DSC_1357now, with the careless abandon of abundance, strew the top with pine nuts

 

DSC_1358liberally or not..entirely up to you and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. As long as it’s sticky and not runny, you’re good.

 

DSC_1360once done, let it cool before you devour..always a good practice.

 

DSC_1383and behold! the answer to dreary winter months, the saviour of one too many dinnerless nights..or just a sponge to wipe your tears, while you wallow in the dull ache of loneliness in your bed. A cake of such splendour and sumptuous depths that you’d kick yourself for sharing it. It’ll light you up on the inside, and how can it not?

_________________

Ingredients

 

  • carrots-2 medium  (about 200g)

  • pine nuts -3 tbsp
  • raisins-75g (1/2 cup)

  • rum- 60ml

  • sugar- 150g (3/4cup)

  • olive oil (regular)- 125ml (1/2 cup)

  • eggs-3
  • vanilla extract- 1 tsp

  • almond meal- 250g (2.5 cup)

  • lemon- 1/2 (zest and juice)

______________________________________________

Preparation

In a saucepan bring to a boil the rum and raisins and let simmer gently. Turn off the heat and let them stand and cool.  Grate the carrots and absorb any excess liquid with a kitchen towel.

Into a bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until well mixed. add in the eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and the now cooled rum and raisins, and mix well. Finally fold in the almond meal and grated carrots.

Scrape into a prepared cake tin, and cover the top with pine nuts. Bake 180°C for 40 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. As long as it’s sticky and not runny, you’re good. Let it rest for at lest ten minutes before removing it from its cake pan. Let it cool completely and enjoy

DSC_1370

 

 

 

Blueberry muffin crumble cake


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Are you seeing this? are you feeling it? Behold the rocket science behind making a muffin batter, only to make a cake instead, and top it all off with a crumble. gasp!

Before I begin with the alchemy of innovation and the complicated discoveries of pouring a muffin batter into a cake pan, let me just tell you about the divinity of this blueberry muffin crumble cake.

The rustic golden top, splattered with the ooze of violent violet of tart sweet blueberries, has known to make grown men weep. It’s guaranteed to make a painter out of the most banal harsh hearts, and turn your cold cemented soul into a benevolent rasp of tenderness. It doesn’t masquerade as a sinful dessert, but rather bleeds of such hearty compassion, that you’d want nothing better than to cry your woes to this plate of cake, and promise to turn over a new leaf. It’s seriously that good!…Also it takes no more than mere moments to conjure up this holiness.

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totally basic ingredients involving sugar, oil, lemon zest, baking soda, baking powder, salt, blueberries (obviously), yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, flour and crumble toppings that include flour, sugar & butter.

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so let’s just begin with the crumble topping and that’s one less thing to bother about. So, flour in a bowl

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and sugar

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and butter

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and mix with a fork

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until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Now refrigerate this and forget about it for a bit.

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now because this is a muffin cake, we go the basic dry ingredient+wet ingredients way. So this is our wet ingredients bit..lol wet! in a separate clean bowl, crack and egg.

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beat it with some vanilla

DSC_1456

add in the yogurt

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and the oil.

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and mix/beat/whip until it forms a real nice smooth batter..real smooth.

DSC_1460

now for the dry ingredients. In a separate larger bowl, add in the flour.

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and the sugar

DSC_1467

DSC_1466 DSC_1464

and the baking soda, baking powder and salt. and phew!

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in with the lemon zest

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and the blueberries that hardly ever look blue, but whatever!

DSC_1472

and mix! yes sir.

DSC_1477

mix until everything is..umm..mixed. That is to say the blueberries are coated with the flour mixture and all ingredients are evenly dispersed.

DSC_1478

dump in the wet ingredients..you remember..that egg, oil and yogurt batter

DSC_1480

and now you get a mixing..but remember DO NOT OVERMIX!

DSC_1483

mix only until it has just come together..just barely come together..

DSC_1485

scrape the muffin batter into a cake tin/pan/dish. make sure you’ve oiled it first. Even out the top as best as you can

DSC_1487

and sprinkle on the crumble topping that has been resting in the fridge

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like so..bake in a preheated oven at 190ÂșC for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Can you see the gorgeously golden cracked crumble top?

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see???

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see..sigh! flecked dangerously vivid with blueberries, this muffin cake is a joy to bake and a wonder to eat. Serve just as is, or with ice cream or cream or custard or tears.


Ingredients

egg: 1 large

yogurt: 240 mls (1 cup)

vegetable oil: 80 mls (1/3 cup)

flour: 250g (2 cups)

sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

baking powder: 1 1/2 tsp

baking soda: 1/4tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

lemon zest: 1 tsp

blueberries: 320g (about 1 1/4 cup)


for the crumble topping

sugar: 50g (1/4 cup)

butter: 30g (2 heaped tablespoons)

flour: 70g (1/2 cup)


 Blueberry muffin crumble cake: make the crumble topping by mixing in the flour and sugar and using a fork cut in the cold butter, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. you can do this using just your finger tips as well.

wet ingredients: In a large bowl mix together egg, vanilla extract, yogurt and oil.

dry ingredients: In a separate bowl mix in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and blueberries. Mix until the blueberries are well coated with flour and all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Now gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and do not over mix. The batter will be a bit thick, but desirably so. Scrape into a well greased baking dish and even out the top as best as you can.

Sprinkle the crumble topping thickly and bake at 190ÂșC for about 25-30 minutes in a pre heated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Almost – fudge gateau


DSC_1109

 

 

In case you ever wondered what gateway to heaven was really made of, then please look no further. The gateway to heaven or even the stairway to one was/is most definitely made of this dense, moist disc of chocolate bliss. I’d love to say that this was something that came out of my kitchen in a moment of godlike inspiration, but sadly it isn’t. This is a recipe I adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s book (baking, from my home to yours), and the moment I made it I knew this would be that moment of magical sin, when I’d plunge headlong into this shiny matt dome of chocolate and wish for no rescue.

The real reason I’d made this cake was because I was in a celebratory mode, as I’d just become a part of this fantastic website put together by a bunch of serious food lovers called Gastronazi.com and that I was doing metaphysical somersaults and driving myself into a food frenzy would be a serious understatement. This website is exactly what it sounds like, and puts not only well researched, well thought food related articles but also comes up with excellent how to videos and recipes that you always thought belonged in a pricey French kitchen. So do check put this website and know more about how to kick it up a notch or two in your home kitchen.

Coming back to this gateau, here’s all you need.

DSC_1062 copy

sugar, good quality dark chocolate, eggs separated, flour, butter and salt.

DSC_1064start with prepping your springform pan by buttering the sides and bottom

DSC_1066lining with a parchment paper

DSC_1067buttering that as well

DSC_1068sprinkle in some flour to coat the entire pan and shake off the excess

DSC_1070something like this

DSC_1072add the butter to your chocolate and melt either using a double boiler or nuking in the microwave

DSC_1074this is what you should end up with. stir it all together to form a chocolate pool, then dive in and forget the world, or just continue making the cake.

DSC_1076to this add sugar

DSC_1077stir well to mix as well as you can

DSC_1078add in the egg yolks, one at a time and stir until all’s well combined.

DSC_1080add in the flour and mix well

DSC_1081to make it look like this.

DSC_1082in a separate, very clean bowl we have to whip up the egg whites to form firm peaks, they should be glossy and not dry

DSC_1083so add a pinch of salt to the egg whites

DSC_1085and whip like a maniac, until they kinda look like this

DSC_1086now the part where you exercise caution. First fold in about a third of the egg white mixture into the batter, to lighten it a bit. I generally do this step by cut and fold method too. Very gently fold in the egg whites to form a part of the batter. I do this by scraping the bottom of the batter and bringing it to the top of the egg whites and keep repeating this step 4-5 times until the egg whites become a part of the batter.

DSC_1087once you’ve lightened the batter, fold in the rest of the egg whites using the same method.

DSC_1088and the batter should look something like this.

DSC_1089scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the sides just a bit to even the batter (I always use foil on my tray because my springform pan can be slightly dyslexic). Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes.  thin knife inserted will come slightly smeared with chocolate when its done.

DSC_1090the cake when done looks something like this. Let it rest for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. If you think the cake is sticking to the edges, just run a blunt knife around the edges and it will come out easily. The way we’ve buttered and floured the pan, it might be almost impossible to stick.

Let the cake cool completely before glazing it.

DSC_1092for the glaze we need heavy cream, dark chocolate and honey

DSC_1097start by heating the chocolate on low flame until it’s just nearly boiling but not boiling. Turn off the heat and add in the chocolate and let them sit without stirring for a couple of minutes.

DSC_1098after a few minutes, stir together to combine

DSC_1099add in the honey and stir again. Wait for a few minutes until it’s just cool because it has to be pourable, for you to do

DSC_1103this. Yes! slather that cake with that glaze baby..ooh yeah.

DSC_1116cut yourself a piece and watch yourself melt into a pool of luxurious indulgence

Ingredients

Eggs- 5 (separated)

bittersweet chocolate- 250g

sugar- 150g (1 cup)

butter- 70g (5 tbsp)

flour-50g (1/3cup)

salt- pinch

For the glaze

Dark chocolate-100g

heavy cream- 90 mls (about 1/2 cup)

Honey- 2 tsp

Baking instructions

Butter a sprinform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust with flour to ensure the pan is evenly coated on all sides and shake off the excess.

Melt the chocolate and butter and mix in sugar, then add in the egg yolks, one at a time and mix well. Add flour and mix to form a smooth batter.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whip to form firm peaks. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and fold in to lighten, then gently fold the rest of the egg whites, cautiously. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle a bit to even out. Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes. A thin knife inserted will come slightly smeared with chocolate when its done.

Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Once out of the pan and let it cool completely.

For the chocolate glaze: heat the cream to a point when it’s just about boiling, don’t let it come to a boil. Add in the chocolate to the saucepan and let it sit without stirring for a couple of minutes. Stir the mixture after a couple of minutes until smooth and add the honey and keep mixing until it’s shiny. Let it cool a bit before pouting over the cake. Let the glaze set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cutting into the cake.

DSC_1108enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Onion focaccia


DSC_0384As a lover of all things carbohydrate and more specifically bread, flavourful focaccia is probably among the top five things I want to be seen dead with. There’s an almost borderline obscene love that I treasure for this bread. I mean honestly, it’s flat, chic, flavoured, reeking of olive oil and begs to be torn mercilessly into choicest shards, to be shovelled into your mouth with absolutely no regrets.

This to me works as an appetizer, a full meal, a snack, a towel to wipe my tears, a snug bed that doesn’t judge me, a mop for gravies, a lover, a husband…..

This blog already has a garlic basil focaccia recipe, and the premises for this wonder are no different. Onion somehow lends a sublime sweetness and when it’s caramelized dark with crispy edges, it makes this bread go places…Basically my kitchen to my bed where I spend all night fighting my body image issues with this lovely bread.

So here it is.

DSC_0334nregular bread stuff; flower, olive oil, warm water,  yeast, salt, sugar, dried rosemary and sliced onions. I’m using dried rosemary because I have no fresh ones available, but if you do please go ahead and up the quantity a bit.

DSC_0335let’s get bread making first. Sugar into warm water

DSC_0336followed by yeast. followed by a ten minute wait to let the yeast foam up.

DSC_0339in the meantime dump your flour in a big bowl

DSC_0340followed by salt

DSC_0341and a blurry picture of rosemary

DSC_0342followed by the foamy water.

DSC_0344and our star of this show.. the studly extra virgin olive oil ( about half of the total quantity), that shies from rough handling. Knead to make a smooth dough.

DSC_0345something like this. I kneaded the dough for at least 10 minutes, but in case you have a mixer of sorts go ahead and make your work easier, only you won’t love this bread as much.

DSC_0347We have to let the bread rest to puff up and become more bread like. So back into the bowl smeared lovingly with some more olive oil. Cover well and let it rest for at least an hour or until the bread has doubled in size. Mine almost took two hours. It’s cold here.

DSC_0348in the meantime, let’s get cracking with the onions. a frying pan on medium heat and a tablespoon of regular olive oil, just to get the onions sweating.

DSC_0351in with the onions.

DSC_0352slick well with oil

DSC_0353a pinch of salt, just to get them nice and soft

DSC_0355Now we’re talking. This is after about five minutes of cooking. They’re perfect like this but I like them a bit more caramelized.

DSC_0356something like this.

DSC_0357Reserve until the dough is ready.

DSC_0359which might look something like this. It’s aromatic and gorgeously flecked with rosemary. Punch it down and knead for a minute.

DSC_0361some more olive oil on your baking tray

DSC_0363to have the kneaded dough sit on.

DSC_0364Now to turn this bread dough into focaccia. Flatten it down

DSC_0365like so, without making it too thin. Spread some more olive oil and..

DSC_0367give it that characteristic focaccia dimpled look, by simply pushing in your fingers deep to make pretty little dents and have the oil pool in them. so pretty!

DSC_0368like so. If at this stage you feel that there isn’t enough oil on top and that it looks dry, just pour in some more. This looked perfect, so onions now.

DSC_0369like so. Make sure to push them in, or else they won’t stick.

DSC_0370cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

DSC_0371Now for some wonderful smattering of crunchy sea salt, for what is focaccia without a smear of sea salt?

DSC_0373It’s risen a bit more after the second rising, and you’ve to simply sprinkle the salt on top and bake at 200℃ for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the onions caramelized to a devious crispy dark

DSC_0375like so,  but wait!

DSC_0377some more extra virgin olive oil for the top to gleam and glow.

DSC_0382apply to face. This bread is a breeze to make and a delight to eat. Dunk in more olive oil, or sauce of your choice and make a meal of it.

Ingredients

Bread flour: 300g (around 2 cups)

Warm water: 200ml ( a little less than a cup)

Yeast: 1 teaspoon

Sugar: 1 tablespoon

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Rosemary: 3/4th teaspoon

Extra virgin olive oil: 80ml (1/4 cup)

Onion: 1 medium sliced thin

sea salt: 1 teaspoon

Preparation Instructions: Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water and leave for 10 minutes to activate and foam.

In a large bowl mix flour, rosemary and salt. Once the yeast water has foamed, add into the mix along with half the quantity of extra virgin olive oil. Knead to form a smooth dough (if the dough is too dry add more water, if it’s sticky add some flour) and let it rise for at least an hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Cook onions on medium flame in some regular olive oil until soft and translucent. Reserve.

Once the dough has risen, knead it for another two minutes and flatten out on a well oiled tray (use a tablespoon of the remaining oil), making dimples with your fingers and add some more oil to the top.

Spread the cooked onions on the top evenly and push them in so they stick. Wrap and let rest and rise for another 45 minutes.

After the second rising sprinkle top with some sea salt and bake at 200℃ for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Brush the remainder of the olive oil on top and let it rest for at least ten minutes before you dig in.

DSC_0387Enjoy!

 

Double chocolate chunk cookies


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This isn’t the first chocolate chip/chunk cookie post on this blog, and most certainly not the last. But before you roll your eyes and dismiss these sweet little discs of joy, at least stare at them for a while, and notice that there are two kinds of demonic babies in there. I meant dark chocolate and white chocolate; a pairing made in gluttonous heaven of sweet sin.

These golden halos of chewy rapture are sweet, rich, and sometimes responsible for stealthily increasing your waistline..but that’s a different story for a boring day. Make a big batch and freeze some for later I say.

These need no heavy machinery, or special equipments or even muscle power. The ingredients are few and it takes moments to conjure these lovers

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just butter (softened to room temperature), dark brown sugar, white sugar, flour, an egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, and of course chocolate chunks both dark and white. Feel free to use chocolate chips instead (only they won’t be as awesome)

DSC_0983add the softened butter to a bowl of choice. Ahem! notice my gorgeous new pink spatula?

DSC_0984rain in the white sugar

DSC_0985and the brown sugar and simply beat it together. It shouldn’t take long if the butter is nicely soft.

DSC_0987a minute of creaming together and it comes to look like this.

DSC_0996crack in the egg

DSC_0997splash in the vanilla

DSC_0998and beat again, until it looks something like this.

DSC_0990in a separate bowl, add in the flour and salt

DSC_0991and the baking soda

DSC_0992and mix to combine

DSC_1000and stir it into the butter sugar mixture.

DSC_1001mix until it just about comes together.

DSC_1002clatter in the chunks..the white

DSC_1003and the dark,  and mix until just barely there. Do not over-mix the cookie dough. Please!

DSC_1004this is how it comes together. Now cover with a cling film and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

DSC_1006in the meantime, line your baking tray with parchment or butter paper, ignore that this is full of creases.

DSC_1007after 45 minutes, we’re ready to bake. It’s easiest with an ice cream scoop.

DSC_1008like so

DSC_1009like so.. bake at 180℃ for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just start to slightly brown

DSC_1011tadaa!! do not attempt to transfer the hot cookies immediately onto a cooling rack, they will all too easily tear. let them rest for at least 2-3 minutes.

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and finally this!

Dunk into milk, crumble over ice cream or just apply to face as is, they’re fantastic either way..and..and oh so gorgeous. The sides are slightly crispy, the center chewy, the chocolate chunks absolutely blowing these darlings into another dimension.

Ingredients

butter:  110g

white sugar: 70g (about 1/3rd cup)

brown sugar: 80g (a little less than 1/4 cup)

egg: 1

vanilla: 1 tsp

flour: 150g (1 and 1/4 cup)

baking soda: 1/2 tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa): 70g (1/2 cup)

white chocolate : 70g (1/2 cup)

Preparation instructions:

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) into a separate bowl and set aside.

In a clean bowl, add in the softened butter and the sugar and cream until they’re light and fluffy. Crack in the egg and add in the vanilla extract and beat again for about a minute.

Add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Tumble in the chocolate chunks and stir again until all chunks are just incorporated into the mixture.

Cover with a cling film and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30-45 minutes.

layer your baking tray with parchment paper, and using an ice cream scoop place them at least an inch apart, since these cookies will spread.

bake at 180℃ for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just start to slightly brown.

Let them rest for a few minutes before you transfer them to cool on a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and they should disappear by the end of day.

DSC_1024now you seriously gotta make these. Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate chip cookie bars


DSC_0878So here it is, the most luscious enemy you’d want to feast on. Chocolate chip cookie turned into bars; so now not only do you get to eat a cookie, you get to eat it in a crispy thick slab of voluptuous bar. It’s rich, moist and crunchy, loaded with chocolate.. in all it’s an orgy of scrumptious exquisiteness. You might die eating it, but oh! what a happy death will it be. I do not recommend making a lot of these, because sweet and rich as they are, they’re also too easy to eat, and while your mouth might say no, your soul will want it all. I promise!

What’s more, it’s tinted ever so lightly with salted peanuts, and this sinful pairing of sweet and salt will definitely bring all the boys to the yard. So let’s get cracking!

DSC_0828nbasic chocolate chip cookie ingredients: butter, flour, vanilla, chocolate chips, salted peanuts, egg, salt ,baking soda,light brown sugar, regular white sugar.

DSC_0830no heavy machinery needed. A friendly steel bowl and wooden spoon will do the trick.

DSC_0831cream the butter for about a minute. it’d help a lot if your butter is at room temperature.

DSC_0832in with the sugars..the white

DSC_0833and the brown.

DSC_0834beat it again till it takes on a fluffy appearance or looks something likes this. You needn’t worry about going wrong. it’s a forgiving recipe.

DSC_0835pour in the vanilla.

DSC_0836crack in the egg

DSC_0837and beat again.

DSC_0838dump in the dry ingredients. This is flour, salt and baking soda.

DSC_0839mix it all in till it just comes together.

DSC_0840finally the salted peanuts

DSC_0841….and the chocolate chunks.

DSC_0842mix until well combined and keep aside for a minute.

DSC_0844prepare your cake tin. I lined it with aluminium foil and buttered it generously.

DSC_0846pour it in, or rather gloop it in and level the top using back of a spoon and bake at 180°C for 35 minutes, or until the top is crisp and burnished and cracking brown.

DSC_0851like so! beautifully brown and crunchy looking. Let it rest and cool completely.

DSC_0859cut into bars and apply to face.

Ingredients:

flour: 130 g (1 cup)

salt: 1/2 teaspoon

baking soda: 3/4 teaspoon

butter: 110 g

white granulated sugar: 100 g (1/2 cup)

light brown sugar: 70 g (1/3 cup)

vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

egg: 1 large

bittersweet chocolate: 60 g

dark chocolate : 60 g (or use any combination you want)

salted peanuts: 20 g (3 tablespoons)

Preparation instructions: cream room temperature butter until light and airy. add in the sugars and beat again until fluffy. add the vanilla extract and egg and beat again for about a minute.

Add in the dry ingredients except chocolates and peanuts and mix well together. Finally ad in the peanuts and chocolates and mix until just combined.

Prepare a cake tin of choice preferably square and line with a buttered aluminium foil. scoop in the cookie dough and even out the top to make it flat. Bake at  180°C for 35 minutes or until the top looks crisp and the batter has risen a bit.

Let cool completely before slicing into bars.

This recipe is not only easy to put together but also all too easy to devour as I already mentioned. So instead of making some mere cookies, glitz it a bit and turn into bars.

DSC_0865enjoy!!

Chocolate mocha marbled bundt


DSC_0827I’m sorry if this sounds like a mouthful, but calling this magnificence a mere cake, would be like calling the ‘Taj Mahal’ a mere tomb. Did I go too far? It doesn’t matter, because what really matters is this cake, its refined elegance, sophisticated marbling and luxurious taste.

One bite and you’re in bundt heaven. Superb taste, beautiful crumb and criminally fun to put together.

This is the kind of cake (gasp! dies) that you could serve for dessert with a scoop of ice cream, or with coffee, cut into sort of thin slices, as I did.

In fact I had made it for a big party I had in my house, and served it as a post dinner accompaniment to coffee, since most of my Chinese friends are not very big on desserts, but Coffee! they love, and as I keep getting requested to make my regular vanilla cake, I decided change it a bit and turn it into something more exotic.

DSC_0747mnothing too strenuous. Just good quality dark chocolate, instant coffee granules, salt, baking powder, butter, strong cooled coffee (the real deal not instant coffee this time),eggs, vanilla extract (I’m using my own,DIY) , flour, almond meal (grind some almonds in a grinder, jeez), sugar and milk.

DSC_0750ok, this is my bundt pan, fairly basic, fairly average, fairly good! We need to prepare this and yes you can use any other regular baking pan except it won’t be as exquisite.

DSC_0751first we need to prepare this pan so that our cake comes out in one perfect shape. brush with some melted butter.

DSC_0752paint it well, all the nooks, the crevices

DSC_0753all the walls.

DSC_0754sprinkle in a bit of flour. We’re taking precautions and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that my love.

DSC_0756move around the pan in all directions so the flour sticks to the butter. Move that real well. turn it up, turn it down, turn it round and round and round, or just make sure it’s coated well

DSC_0758like so…. now forget about it for a while.

DSC_0761take a big bowl and dump in your flour

DSC_0765and almond meal

DSC_0766and salt

DSC_0767and baking powder…and phew!

DSC_0768mix it well and forget about it for a while.

DSC_0769in a separate bowl too sizes too small add some butter to the chocolate

DSC_0772then the coffee granules (the instant kind)

DSC_0773then your strong brewed coffee, the real kind

DSC_0775melt in a microwave in 30 second bursts, or melt in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. I shifted mine into a bigger bowl because things were getting pretty cramped. Now forget this for a while.

DSC_0778in a separate bowl, add the sugar to the butter which should be soft btw.

DSC_0780and beat together for a couple of minutes until they’re kinda fluffy.

DSC_0781add in the eggs one by one, beating briefly after each addition.

DSC_0783Once all the eggs are beaten in, you will end up with something like this.

DSC_0785add in your vanilla and beat for another half a minute or so.

DSC_0786now add your flour mixture and milk alternately. The flour mixture should be added in three stages and the milk in two, and the beginning and ending should be with the flour mixture. Got it? ok beat in 1/3rd of the flour mixture.

DSC_0787then half of the milk, then 1/3rd of the flour mixture, then rest of the milk and finally  last of the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. This alternating stage is important so that you don’t end up over beating the batter.

DSC_0788the mixture will look like so, specked with almond meal. Do not over beat the batter at any stage or your cake will be tough and you’d hate it and blame me.

DSC_0789now bring back your chocolate mocha pool of sin.

DSC_0790Take a little less than half of the vanilla batter

DSC_0791and add it into this chocolate coffee pool of love and mix together very briefly

DSC_0793to get this.

DSC_0795now bring back your bundt pan and do this

DSC_0796then this, basically alternate between the batters

DSC_0797to form this

DSC_0798then take a tooth pick or a knife or in my case and offset spatula and swirl it lightly in the batter. Don’t Jackson Pollock this! You need to be gentle about it or the marble pattern will be all kinds of evil. But of course it’s your cake and you do what you want!

DSC_0799so mine looked something like this. Bake at 180℃ for about an hour

DSC_0801to get this! Let it cool in the pan for a while

DSC_0802and with all that greasing and flouring, it will come out like a song! Look at this! oh my, oh dear, oh wow! Carry this triumphantly to a table full of people, and see how quickly they whip out their phones to instagram this baby!!

DSC_0807marbled pattern in my cake.

Ingredients

Flour: 350g

Almond meal: 70g

baking powder: 1 teaspoon

salt: 1/2 teaspoon

butter: 210g + 2 tablespoons

dark chocolate: 90g

strong coffee: 60mls(1/4 cup)

instant coffee: 1 teaspoon

sugar: 230 g

eggs: 4

vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon

milk: 250mls (1 cup)

Baking instructions:  butter the bundt pan and dust with flour to coat completely and shake off the excess flour. Keep aside

Mix together the flour, almond, salt and baking powder.

combine the chocolate, 2 tablespoons of butter, instant coffee and coffee and melt in a microwave. I did in 30 second burst mixing after each, until nicely melted and combined.You can also melt in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. Microwave is just easier and less fussy.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. beat in the vanilla extract. add the flour mixture in 3 portions and the milk in 2, so the beginning and ending should be with flour mixture. Beat only until just combined.

Add a little less than half the vanilla batter into the melted chocolate coffee and mix.

Start layering these 2 batters into the bundt pan as you wish. You can alternate them as I did, or even layer them separately with chocolate layer sandwiched in between vanilla.. Once done you can take a knife or a tooth pick and gently swirl it through the batter.

Bake at 180℃ for about 60 minutes. You might want to increase the time depending on your oven. Just keep checking by inserting a tooth pick, if it comes out clean, the cake is baked.

Once done let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes. Unmoulding would be very easy if you’ve greased and floured the pan well.

This cake will be your pride and joy and the centre piece of your party table.

DSC_0827enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Orange torte (gluten free)


DSC_0660I was dying to make something citrusy, something with a bright yellow colour, something that would remind me of sunshine and fill the house with summer smells of freshness.

I love desserts that have a citrus note to them and this torte was no exception. This sunny disc of luscious flavours is a gluten-free torte which I adapted from Stephanie Jaworski of joyofbaking.com . she has such a wonderful collection of fabulous recipes and it’s all explained in such perfect details that it’d be impossible to go wrong, and this torte was no exception. I came across her clemetine torte and knew that I had to make it.

I just want to emphasize on the luxuriousness of this cake and that it’s one of the best things to come out of my kitchen. It’s pure tasteporn..I mean it.

DSC_0622cSince this is an orange torte you need oranges, almond flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract (I used a vanilla bean), sugar and eggs.

Before I start, I’d like to mention that these oranges need a good boiling because you want these golden beauties soft, soft, soft. I boiled these oranges a day in advance, and boiled them for about 1 hour until they were soft. Let them cool and store in fridge to use next day.

Also a word on almond flour/meal- please don’t get put off or think ‘meh this needs almond meal, who’s got that’? well I didn’t. I simply made it at home by blitzing almonds in a grinder until it resembled flour. It took me about 2 minutes. You can do it and you should, because this cake is extraordinarily delicious and moist and dense and orangey and you’d probably go to hell if you didn’t try this recipe.

ok moving on..

DSC_0623take a clean blender or food processor

DSC_0624throw in your oranges

DSC_0625crack in the eggs in the most clumsy fashion

DSC_0626add in the vanilla (I’m using a vanilla bean, but please use good vanilla extract if you want, I just happen to have a truckloads of these beans)

DSC_0627Once it’s all in

DSC_0628blitz to mix. It will turn into a golden pond of citrus love in a matter of seconds.

DSC_0629admire your handiwork and realize it resembles a milkshake and that you’re lactose intolerant..shed a few tears and get back to work.

DSC_0630in a separate large clean bowl.

DSC_0631dump in your almond flour/meal (whatever you call it)

DSC_0632add the sugar

DSC_0634in with the baking powder

DSC_0635don’t forget the salt

DSC_0638it’s all heaped in. good!

DSC_0639mix using a wire whisk. It’s just easier

DSC_0640mix well like so. I put a spoonful in my mouth and it tasted great already.

DSC_0641Now tip in your orange+egg+vanilla mixture

DSC_0643mix until it all comes together. Don’t be too vigorous.

DSC_0644let that rest a bit and prep the pan. Take a springfoam pan and using its base as guide, cut out a round piece of parchment paper. It’s not geometry, you needn’t be precise. (Again, don’t be put off by this step. It takes a mere minute and it’s important for the cake)

DSC_0645take a bit of melted butter and spread on the base of the tin.

DSC_0646like so.

DSC_0647this enables the parchment to stick better. Flatten it out well so that there are no air bubbles.

DSC_0649Brush the sides as well. I took an extra precaution and lined the base with aluminum foil to prevent any leakages. I have trust issues with this pan, and in return it doesn’t love me back.

DSC_0650Tip in your batter. Tap it a bit and bake @ 190℃

DSC_0652take it out after and hour. Check with toothpick in case it comes out clean and LET IT COOL COMPLETELY! I’m sorry for yelling but this how I yelled at the man who kept trying to eat it.

DSC_0660once completely cooled, very carefully and gently remove the base pan and peel off the parchment paper. Just be a little cautious. It’s a wonderfully moist cake so don’t be too heavy-handed with it.

DSC_0674cut yourself a piece and fall in love.

Note: this cake tastes best after a couple of days of making, and for best results you have to let it be undisturbed overnight.

Ingredients

Oranges : 450g (boiled until soft, best to do a day in advance)

Eggs: 6

vanilla extract : 1 teaspoon or vanilla bean.

Almond flour/meal : 250 g (if you can’t buy it, then grind the same wight of almonds until it resembles flour)

Sugar: 230 g

baking powder: 1 teaspoon

salt: a small pinch

How to: In a blender or food processor, blend in the oranges, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl mix in the almond flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Pour in the batter and mix well.

Line your springfoam tin with parchment paper after greasing the base and sides. To prevent leakages line the outside base with aluminium foil.

Pour in the batter and bake at 190℃ for 45-60 minutes. Check with toothpick to see if it’s baked. Mine took one whole hour.

Note: Around the 40 minute mark I covered the top with aluminum foil as it was getting a little brown.

DSC_0672Here’s another delicious picture. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Baked potato fries


DSC_0929

Potatoes!! Is there anything as comforting, as loving, as selfless, as versatile, as sexy, as sensuous as potatoes?? No, the answer is no!! Potatoes love you back they understand your feelings, they believe in giving and they care.

Sadly with modern times now, these beautiful spuds of love have been maligned as fattening food.. gasp! people are told to steer clear of them if they want to lose weight.. I say, what rot?? It’s not true. Potatoes aren’t bad for you, you’re bad for potatoes. Who thought of loading them with MSG and packing them into airy bags? you did! who thought of over salting them to the point of oblivion?? you did!! So please do not blame these humble vegetables for making you fat. Blame yourselves. Fried food WILL fatten you, it does not take a rocket scientist to know that, but when you bake these beauteous vegetables with the right amount of love, they love you back.

Case in point are these baked fries. They require no effort but give you all the love you need these winter months. Not only do they satisfy your spud cravings but they also don’t make you feel bad about it.

So for those moments of anguish when only a potato will do, bake these fries and get caught in the rapturous greed of smug satisfaction.

DSC_08521Just potatoes, garlic, olive oil (any oil really), mixed italian seasoning, paprika and sea salt.

DSC_0854before you start, line your baking sheet with foil.

DSC_0855wash and peel your potatoes. Remove any eyes and anything weird you don’t like seeing on your fries. You can keep the skin on the potatoes if you wish, just wash and scrub them really well.

DSC_0858Since my potatoes were not exactly equal in size, I cut mine to make three roughly equal sized potatoes. You don’t have to do this if your vegetables are symmetrically proportional.

DSC_0861I cut each potato segment into three, because I don’t exactly like very skinny fries, but if you do, please go ahead and make them as thin as you like.

DSC_0862So many potatoes.

DSC_0866I cut each segment in three’s.

DSC_0869I had almost equal sized fries, those which were a bit thick I cut them to size. Nobody messes with the size okay!

DSC_0870Into a pot of cold water to rinse away the starch. Let these be for a while now.

DSC_0871Now about their massage oil. Peel your cloves of garlic and mince them fairly well or chop, whatever you prefer.

DSC_0872add the seasoning mix. I’m using dry simply because It’s too cold and I have no fresh herbs left, but if you wish you could as easily use them fresh. Dried is just easier. These mixed Italian seasonings are pretty nifty.

DSC_0875in with the paprika. As little or as much as you like.

DSC_0876a glug of oil. This is about a tablespoon, but you could use more, you could use less.

DSC_0879stir with a spoon of choice until all is well combined.

DSC_0880Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or cloth of your choice.

DSC_0882give them a good pat. You want them completely dry.

DSC_0883tumble onto your lined baking sheet

DSC_0885make sure there isn’t a single wet spot. (snigger)

DSC_0887pour over the massage oil and this gets a little messy because you need to use your hands to evenly coat them

DSC_0888like so. Make sure the oil is distributed evenly and that every piece is well bathed.

DSC_0889sprinkle on the salt and into the oven at 200℃ for 35-40 minutes.

DSC_0906this is what they looked after 30 minutes of baking and the kitchen was smelling so divine. Garlic infused herbal incense. I was mesmerized and hungry.

DSC_0914

like this at 38 minutes of baking, and I turned on the broiler for about 2 minutes because I was getting impatient and I love it when they turn golden and crisp on the top.

DSC_0924like so!!

How were they? what can I say? see for yourself. They were beautiful, they were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I gave them a final sprinkling of salt before I served them.

DSC_0929A flask of masala tea and potato fries.. what more can I ask this winter?

Ingredients

Potatoes (as many as you want)

Garlic- 2 to 3 cloves

Italian seasoning – 1 teaspoon

Paprika – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt)

Olive oil/any vegetable oil – 1 to 2 tablespoon

RECIPE: Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Wash and peel your potatoes and cut each into 3 segments and each segment into two or three fries, depending on how thick or thin you want them. Soak them into a bowl of cold water to remove excess starch.

Into a separate bowl, mince your garlic, add in the Italian seasoning, paprika and oil and mix well.

Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly.

Tip them on your aluminium lined baking tray and pour over the prepared oil mixture and coat every fry with the mixture, making sure they’re all evenly coated.

bake at 200℃ for 35-40 minutes until deeply golden. Depending on your oven the baking time will vary. In some ovens it might take longer in some lesser, so keep an eye.

Enjoy!!