Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Nigella Nutella Cake

On the last day of the Yoga Yatra retreat it was Anne's Birthday. I made double the recipe of Nigellas Nutella Cake. I love this cake, I used to make it for Dannii Minogue when she was on X Factor as its gluten free and because of the nutella, there's no sugar needed.
My mum's best friend Vanessa bought me this cake stand a good ten years ago, it doesn't get out much as it can overshadow most cakes but it suited this occasion wonderfully. She is no longer with us and we all miss her terribly so something like this perfectly reminds us of her jolly personality.I LOVE this cake.
6 large eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
125g soft unsalted butter
400g Nutella (1 large jar)
1 tablespoon Frangelico, rum or water
100g ground hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate, melted
23cm Springform tin, greased and lined
100g hazelnuts (peeled weight)
125ml double cream
1 tablespoon Frangelico, rum or water
125g dark chocolate
Serves: 8 -12
1.Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico (or whatever you're using), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts.
2.Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time.
3.Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake's beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack.
4.Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upwards and the nuts are golden-brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so that they don't burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. 5.Transfer to a plate and let cool. This is imperative: if they go on the ganache while hot, it'll turn oily. (Believe me, I speak from experience.)
6.In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the cream, liqueur or water and chopped chocolate, and heat gently. Once the chocolate's melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake. Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it will be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece.
7.Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts. If you have used Frangelico, put shot glasses on the table and serve it with the cake.

I made Hokey Pokey

or Cinder toffee or honeycomb or whatever you like to call it, but what with it being halloween and bonfine night season, let's call it hokey pokey, it sounds more exciting! I'm going to dip what is left (from a little private binging) into milk chocolate. Isn't it beautiful though...I remember cooking this when I was little out of a wizards cookbook. 

Monday, 17 October 2011


From the seaweed butter to the Russian tea cups and crazy decor, Sketch isn't going to be a forgettable lunch experience. Greeted with such warm welcome, we were led up a wide, dark staircase before huge, heavy doors to were flung open and the splendour of the dining room was flooded with daylight. The attention to detail here is something the team at Sketch must be proud of, not only in the food but small things like having a small table by your chair to pop your bag on, the most attentive staff and the toilets, well, they are worth a trip here alone. So, the set lunch started with a glass of champagne and six little starters, which all had their own talking point. The real excitement for me was the main. I would go as far to say that the chicken and marinaded aubergine is one of the most wonderful things I have ever eaten. I imagine they cook it sous vide style and god knows what they do to the aubergines but it was a dish I was sad to finish and will return for, no doubt.
Salted seaweed butter
Foie Gras, Pickled cherries, chocolate, pane Carasau
Sea bream carpaccio, samphire, oil emulsified with passionfruit, cucumber and radish.
Poached quail egg, watercress puree, pickled girolles and brioche
Tomato and strawberry soup with a cucumber sorbet
Warm Mackerel tartar, crustace Bisque, Black ink Gnocchi, sauteed squid
Roast cornfield Chicken, walnuts and pecan nuts, marinated aubergine, crunchy onions with cider vinegar and herbs bouillon
I'm not sure what this crazy dessert was, it was unashamedly flamboyant and reminded me of something Mr Blobby might have eaten! On top of the mousse sat a sphere of nougat meringue encasing a scoop of tart raspberry sorbet, what fun.
Three courses including coffee and petit fours £35.00 or 48.00 including half mineral water and half wine.
If you are in to your interior design, a walk around the whole of Sketch is really exciting. What astonished me was that the lamps were pretty ugly and the carpet reminded me of an airport lounge but put it all together and it works, tremendously. The chairs are heavy, soft and comfortable. The cutlery and the champ buckets were gorgeous.  Look up and you'll see a beautiful oculus in the celing and projector screens with the faint impression of faces. There's plenty here to keep your eyes busy and mind amused. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Spicy white miso soup with prawn and chicken quenelles

Nick has hooked me up with some more classes with Reiko and I am counting down the days. Until then, here's the most wonderful and really quite simple and quick dish. You need a food processor and a saucepan. That really is about it. 
100g uncooked prawns
100g chicken breast
2tbsp chopped spring onion
1 egg white beaten
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
1/2 tsp chilli paste or finely chopped fresh chilli
1 1/2 litre of dashi stock
3 tbsp white miso
Handful of spinach or watercress leaves
1.Peel and devein the prawns, rinse.
2.Cut the chicken breast into chunks.
3.Chop spring onion and grate ginger.
4.Put the chicken and prawns into a food processor, once minced mix in the ginger, onions and salt. 
5.Heat the stock and bring to a boil. Using two spoons, make quenelles of the mince and drop into the stock.
6.Turn down to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes until the quenelles come to the surface.
7. In a small bowl, mix the miso and the chilli, dilute with a little of the stock and then return to the pan and mix. 
8. Add the leaves and turn off the heat , add the chilli and serve.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Benedict Bars

No bar beats a homemade bar, ever. These appeal to all generations, full of nostalgia and gorgeousness. They taste good warm out the tin and cold out the fridge. I made them with blueberry jam but raspberry works well and looks a bit prettier.
Adapted recipe from Baker & Spice
150g unsalted butter 
100g plain flour
130g self raising flour
4 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

-Line a a 24 x 20cm loose bottom tin with foil and lightly spray or grease with butter. 
-dice the butter straight from the fridge into a mixing bowl and leave to soften for 30 minutes; sift the flour, cornflour, and baking powder on top, then add the sugar, salt, and vanilla; rub together between your fingertips until the mixtures becomes doughy, you can do this in a kitchenaid.
-press into the prepared tin with your fingers or knuckles and then pop in a preheated oven 180C for 10-15 minutes until golden. It will puff up a bit but then settle down again.

100g unsalted butter
60g caster sugar
1 t vanilla extract
200g flaked almonds
3 tbsp cream
raspberry or blueberry jam

- put butter, sugar, vanilla, almonds, and cream in a small saucepan over low heat, and warm until the butter melts; remove from heat and allow to cool
-spread a layer of jam on top of the shortbread and then spoon the melted butter mixture over top; bake for 25 to 30 minutes and then allow to cool on a rack; chill in the fridge for at least one hour to make cutting easier 
Go on.. make them!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Coffee cake

 I have been a bit off the radar this week as I have been cooking for this wonderful group of girls in Spain at my family's place for a yoga retreat. They were from YogaYatra http://www.yogayatra.nl Yes, yoga girls eat cake, two a day infact and I have promised them that I will put up a few recipes. We will start with the coffee cake as it is easy peasy.
I cooked this in a bundt cake tin but you can do it in a normal cake tin no prob, just add 5-10 mins cooking time.
1 tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in a tbsp of hot water
4 eggs
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
225g unsalted butter, softened
1 small handful of walnuts chopped
For the icing-
150g soft butter
200g icing sugar
1 tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in a tbsp of hot water
Walnuts for decoration
Whisk butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in a roomy bowl. Now add the eggs one at a time, whilst whisking. Now add the flour, sifting as you go and the coffee.
Scrape the bowl into a lined and buttered bundt cake tin and cook at 180C for 30 minutes or until risen and browned on top.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
You will need to wait at least an hour before icing the cake.
To make the icing, whisk the butter until white and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Then sift in the icing sugar and coffee.
Either pipe or spread with a knife before sprinkling the walnuts over the top.