Saturday, 16 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
25g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa
75g unsalted butter, softened
50g finely ground pecans
1 egg yolk
For the filling
300ml double cream
25g malt extract, corn or golden syrup
50g soft dark brown sugar
350g dark chocolate, chopped
75g unsalted butter, chopped
50ml bourbon whiskey
Carrot Cake With Pecans And Orange Butter Cream
What You Need
- 175ml sunflower oil, plus more for greasing
- 60g pecan nuts, chopped
- 200g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g carrot, finely grated
- Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
- 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
For the buttercream
- 40g pecan nuts, chopped
- 80g unsalted butter
- 60g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 150g unsalted cream cheese
- Juice of 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3. Oil a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin and line the base with non-stick baking parchment.
- Scatter the pecans - both for cake and buttercream - on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5–10 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully so they don’t burn, then measure out, separate and set aside the amounts needed for the cake and buttercream.
- Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl. In an electric mixer - or in another large mixing bowl with a handheld electric whisk – slowly beat together the oil and sugar for a minute or so until smooth, then gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Using a large spoon, gently fold in the carrot, zest, pecan nuts and coconut then, finally, the flour mixture.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to become completely cold.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and maple syrup until really light and fluffy (this could take 5 minutes). In another bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth, then fold it into the butter mixture. Finally, add the orange juice. Spread over the top of the cake and scatter with the pecan nuts.
Next up I made a batch of my Morrocan Chicken. I first made this recipe to get rid of a bag of dried apricots in the cupboard. It's an easy one pot dish that can keep for a couple of days.
1 x pack of chicken legs and thighs
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
75g semi dried apricots
1 x tin chickpeas
1 x red onion
Moroccan spice paste
(This time I added carrots left over from the carrot cake)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon paprika
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
glug of olive oil
Firstly, score the chicken and rub the paste in well. Cover and marinade in the fridge for as long as you have, even overnight
Dice the onion and cook slowly in the pan so they caramelize slightly and add the chicken on a high heat to brown.
Add the chopped tomatoes, apricots, chickpeas and cover. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour.
Serve with sweet potatoes or cous cous and sprinkle on some flaked almonds.
What you need
250ml Guinness (just over half a can!)
250g unsalted butter, cubed
100g good quality plain chocolate (at least 70%)
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot plain yoghurt
2 free range eggs
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
for the topping
300g full fat cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
- Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, and heat until the butter has melted, at which time you should stir in the chocolate, cocoa and sugar.
- Beat the yoghurt with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the chocolatey, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
- Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake. (I left our one overnight to cool.)
- To make the topping whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Separately whip the cream until it just begins to thicken but still holds it shape. Pour the cream to the cream cheese mix and beat again until combined and reaches a spreadable consistency.
I was so pleased with how this cake turned out, moist, sticky and rich. What I like most is that it's not overly chocolaty, and the Guinness tang is not over powering either, making it a nice alternative to your average chocolate cake.
And that's not where the Guinness fun stops!
Next up, I was deciding on a food based gift for my Ma for Mother's Day. Without too much thought I decided to look up an old Anthony Worrall Thompson recipe for Steak and Guinness Pie (with black pudding).
This recipe is meant to serve 4-6, but I would say it serves 4 but only if your rocking a good side side aswell.
What you need
1.5kg (3lbs ½oz) chuck steak, cut in pieces
40g (1½oz) seasoned flour
55g (2oz) dripping or lard
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsps sea salt
3 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp soft thyme leaves
7 garlic cloves, peeled
125 (4oz) soft dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp of good olive oil
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
18 stoned prunes
1x440ml can of Guinness
1 block of shop-bought puff pastry
2 egg yolks for glazing
- Brown the meat all over in hot dripping and set aside to cool.
- In a food processor, blend together the peppercorns, salt, oregano, thyme, garlic and sugar until you have a fine paste. If it appears too dry, add a little water.
- Coat the beef all over with the paste, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat from time to time.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ gas 2. In a heavy casserole dish, heat the butter and oil until foaming, add the onions and fry them until they take on a little colour. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine.
- Add the beef and any marinade in the dish.
- Add the sage, prunes and Guinness, stir to combine and bring to the boil, cover and put in the oven for 2½-3 hours.
- Remove from the oven.
- Place the mixture in a pie dish then cover with puff pastry, glaze with the egg and decorate. Bake in a 180°C/ 350°F/gas 4 oven for 40-50 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and the filling is hot.
I skipped the last part of the recipe and gave the pie to my Ma ready to glaze with an egg and pop in the oven and eat at home.
I served this with a Stilton champ firstly because I thought the sharp creamy flavour of the Stilton would complement the sticky sweet muscavado and prune based gravy in the pie, and secondly I added spring onions to the mash to keep to the Irish theme.