February 14th, 2013
Well, at some point I had to hand over the recipe, so today I gift to you the Niknok’s bakewell tart. A straight forward, no fuss bake that is best kept that way. The pastry light and crumbly, the jam should be a layer of raspberry in my humble opinion (though cherry and blackberry work), and the frangipane, deep and fluffy.
Best served warm or cold, at anytime of day but always with a cup of tea.
January 15th, 2013
So, it is definitely January. Near freezing. Bouts of drizzly sleet. Not quite cold enough for ‘proper’ snow but cold enough to need comforting cake with your tea. My cake of choice today (always changes) would have to be a nut one. Nuts over fruit flavours at this time of year, with the exception of rhubarb, naturally.
This recipe is not the type of coffee and walnut cake Nigel Slater talks about having for his last supper. I love a butter cream but not necessarily a heavily flavoured one. The walnut comes first here, coffee second. This is a richer and dense yet light, less sugary, simpler flour less version that you can add a little frosting to but it really doesn’t need it. You can use coffee essence instead of fresh espresso, adjust depending on how ‘coffee’ you want it. You can also play around with different nuts to alter the flavours, try hazelnuts or pecans. They can be made individual cases as pictured, just take them out of the oven after about 30 mins.
Right, kettles boiled. Time for tea and my choice of cake.
November 16th, 2012
Or its correct title Reine de Saba – Queen of Sheba, as Julia Child’s named it in her The French Chef Cookbook that accompanied the show in the late 60’s.
It was a good friends birthday this week and I was informed by his lovely girlfriend that he favours a good chocolate cake so, after hours (days, weeks) trawling through recipes I opted for this celebratory beauty from the queen of bakes herself.
I have become a little obsessed with the late Julia, largely since seeing the tattoo of her on the arm of Noah from the www.thewayweate.net blog. These two New Yorkers are recreating all, yes all the recipes ever published in the American magazine series ‘Gourmet’ – over 800 issues of them. If this brilliant dedicated pair love her, then I do too.
The cake has a rich yet velvety texture, with a centre similar to a crumbly brownie but far more grand. The topping makes it all the more decadent with a think layer of dark chocolate melted with butter and either rum or coffee. Orange or bergamot flavours may add to it to. I toasted almonds to cover the outside but you can throw chocolate shavings, cocoa powder or just keep it shiny and slick.
Regardless of the finish, once you have tasted this, you’ll understand the title for Julia and the cake and then possibly the tattoo.
October 17th, 2012
Nuts. I am a sucker for nuts. Particularly the hazelnut. If I was going to describe what early autumn tastes like, it would be ‘like golden pan-roasted hazelnuts’, if I was Nigella gushing on her new show that is.
This little recipe – and it really is little – comes from a very good French friend of mine who treated me with it as a ‘must try’ when I was new to baking. It is Le Creusois from the Creuse region in France. She adapted her recipe by replacing the flour with ground almonds. Another of those simple recipes where you can count the ingredients on one hand with just butter, sugar, ground nuts and well whipped eggs. Slow baked and on low, the result is more of a torte; dense and m-word, delicate yet nutty and textured. I keep two of the yolks in mine but otherwise it’s the same.
I have made many variations of this; pistachios work with the almonds for the summer and all-almond is lovely scattered with a few raspberries. Next I may try adding a bit of cocoa or even a brown sugar with pecans for the late, darker autumn.
Now, I wonder how Nigella would describe that?
October 10th, 2012
The best thing about the little chill in the air? Chocolate takes a lot longer to melt so I get to make and scoff one of my all-time favourites without getting my fingers quite so sticky.
The chocolate tiffin. This week I had the pleasure of opening a beautiful tote bag of Fairtrade baking goodies send out as part of their brilliant Big Fair Bake Campaign. A bounty of nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolates made me immediately think of tiffin.
This is such a simple no-bake recipe that really does taste like it has taken time. You can make it as budget or as expensive as you like, with the fruits and nuts you use dictating the overall taste. In February I blogged the basic recipe but here I packed in brazils, almonds and hazelnuts for the nuts, sultanas and apricots for the fruit and broke-up homemade shortbread for the biscuit. Plus a handful of Maltesers – the chocolate melts but the honeycomb remains whole.
The result is a perfectly decadent blend of rich chewy crunchiness that warms up your insides, more so when you know you are supporting global trade that is proper, right and fair.