Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Chocolate Meringue Cake

Okay, I underestimated the ‘working blogger’ and I overestimated my capabilities as a human being, it seems I was born lazy.  
Mum and I have been scrolling through range cookers from Argos, to replace our clumsy, tepid oven. Ours is a baker’s nightmare - it’s so inaccurate that even oven thermometers are confused by it. Sponge cakes come out with domed tops or they barely rise, and beating butter and sugar until the mixer's on the verge of combustion or a new bag of flour doesn’t always work. Most of the layered cakes on here were lucky escapes (face palm). 

Homemade meringue has always made me feel a bit uneasy because it always comes out just a bit too eggy to stomach. But last week I had a thought, what if I add meringue on top of a cake, purposefully over-baking it by baking the meringue for as long as the dense chocolate cake that will be at the bottom? Perhaps the secret to abolishing the raw egg aftertaste was to over-bake it. It seems, my incompetent oven could finally be put to good use.

By the time the cake is such that a skewer inserted won't be all gooey from the mucus of an egg, you’re left with a crunchy and weightless meringue topping. There’s nothing marshmallow-y about this one, but if that’s what you’re after (and I’m not judging) top the cake with meringue 20 minutes in to the cake’s baking time. 
Chocolate Meringue Cake

Ingredients

Chocolate cake
200g dark chocolate
300g unsalted butter, softened
300g light brown sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp coffee extract
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate swirl meringue
4 egg whites
225g golden caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
30g cocoa powder

Cream filling
300ml cream
Pinch of salt
Cream of tarter
A few pomegranate seeds

Lasts for three days if covered. 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 180 C and line two 6” round cake tins with baking paper.

Start by whisking the egg whites until froth appears, then slowly add in the sugar whilst whisking. Keep whisking until white and glossy, then add the cornflour and mix to combine. Spoon two heaped tablespoons into a small bowl and sift over the cocoa, then whisk vigourously to combine – don’t worry if the mixture deflates. Set both bowls aside and make the cakes.

Melt dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water and set aside to cool. Cream the butter and sugar with a whisk or beater until a light shade of yellow. Whilst beating, slowly pour in the eggs. If the mixture curdles add a tablespoon of the flour, then add the rest of the eggs. Fold in the dry ingredients and equally divide the mixture among the pans. Pour in the melted chocolate and stir through until there are no white streaks. Spoon the white meringue over the tops of each raw cake, using the spoon to roughly level the tops. Spoon small blobs of the chocolate meringue all over then take a cocktail stick and swirl both meringues together.

Bake for 40/50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle is a little damp. The tops will crack in the middle as they bake and then collapse slightly when cooling. Whip the cream with the salt and tartar until soft peaks, and then sandwich the cakes together with the cream and pomegranate seeds.

I was contacted by Argos to talk ovens. I grew up with this brand, and we use them to buy many, many things (thank god for the store card). 

Love Em 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Malteser Doughnuts Recipe

Aloha! This week I'm bringing doughnuts over to Destination Femme... But they're not any ol' nuts, oh no...
This doughnut is the breakfast of champions, inspired by Justin Gellatly's basic dough recipe, there is enriched dough, cream, chocolate and it’s all deep fried in fat for an extra kick of flavour. Another round of indulgence is met when the whole thing gets bathed in sugar and malt powder. I’m not suggesting you eat this regularly, but if you feel like eating one more granola bar made with what is essentially sawdust is going to tip you over the edge, a day spent in the kitchen baking these doughnuts might help!

Click here for the Malteser Doughnuts recipe.
Love Em xx

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Buttery Cornbread

I’ve wanted to share this recipe for cornbread since August. I’ve already been in talks with my sister about making it as a side for this year’s American inspired Christmas dinner (this cornbread is the sole reason why Christmas will be American this year).  Also, sorry for mentioning Christmas. 

Buuutttt, I am glad we’re finally in the season of comfort food. This thick and buttery cornbread can be served savoury or sweet. My first batch was served with spicy jerk chicken and citrusy avocado salsa. My second batch had less sugar, so I chose to drizzle the bread with acacia honey and dried corn flowers from this little spice shop in London’s Borough Market. Adding corn flowers to a cornbread is possibly the corniest thing I’ve ever done. 

The sweetcorn season may have just ended, but as the kernels are fried in a pool of butter, using the frozen variety is just as good. To be fair, I only used fresh because they were on offer in the supermarket – who would pass up 4 husks for a pound?! 
Buttery Cornbread

Ingredients 

200g unsalted butter
450g fresh or frozen sweetcorn 
80g double cream 
50g milk
45g brown sugar 
2 eggs 
200g plain flour 
130g fine cornmeal/polenta
1 tsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda 

Recipe


Preheat oven to 190°C and butter and flour a 23cm round cake tin or one 1lb loaf tin. Add the butter to a large shallow saucepan on medium heat and once it’s turned to liquid add the corn. Leave to sizzle in the butter until the corn has browned slightly and the butter has only just scorched the bottom of the pan. It might be easier to do this in two batches to make sure all of the corn cooks through.  Scrape the entire pan into a food processor and blitz until it looks grainy but still has a creamy texture. Add the milk and cream and blitz again until the batter is loose and has cooled down a little. Add the eggs and blitz, and then do the same with the sugar. Transfer the corn batter to a large bowl, pour the rest of the dry ingredients in and fold through using a wooden spoon. The batter will be thick. Once the flour is as folded through as it will go, give it a good beating with the wooden spoon until all of the flour is evenly incorporated. Pour the batter into the tin and smooth the top with the back of a metal spoon. Bake for 35/40 minutes, the cornbread is cooked when the surface has a slight sheen and is smooth to the touch and a skewer inserted shows a moist (but not wet) crumb. 

Love Em xx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

No Churn Tahini Ice Cream with Mulberry Molasses


It’s been a long and unexpected break from blogging. One that, lets be honest, I should have wrote about before making the rude exit.  I’ve learned that real-life panic settles in roughly two months after finishing all of the studying it’s possible to do in the UK before exhausting your loan options. 

My pre 9-5 panic made me avoid blogging (that, and a bit of laziness). So I’ve got oodles of admiration for the women whose blogs I read (and have grown friendships with), the ones who have impressive careers and beautiful blogs as well as recipes that make you wish you could live forever just so you can carry on eating (cringe, but so true).  
My family were the route cause of these tahini ice cream “half” sandwiches. Being away from blogging has meant extra time to dip flatbreads in mixtures of mulberry molasses and tahini, and then finally giving up and placing the jars on the table for potential (frequently occurring) top ups.

The sweet pungency of Mulberry is softened with tahini paste, as its stirred, the whole thing comes together as a fruity, nutty, runny sauce called Pekmez. Just as the ripples in Halva are made with mulberry molasses, so too is the topping for these tahini ice creams – it’s a good way to keep the flavours distinct, and it’s good for eliminating one or the other, if the sight/sound of one freaks you out a bit.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pecan Chocolate Chip Blondies

I purchase an irrelevant (read, near invisible) quantity of flour made from ground nuts or dehydrated coconut. I also find it really difficult to substitute grainy sugar for agave syrup in recipes and come out the other end with risen and delicious goods. A few weeks ago I bought chia seeds and soaked them in almond milk overnight with a bit of sweetened coconut - in the morning I was close to throwing up.  

I’m not busting the balls of healthy eating though, a few weeks ago I posted a recipe for ice cream made of dairy free milk sweetened with a natural liquid sugar and filled with the chewy, somewhat inedible remnants of steeped cocoa nibs. When it comes to putting these ingredients in the oven so that they meld together to produce something physically and sensually similar to a brownie filled with refined sugar and cocoa butter, sorry, white chocolate, I seriously struggle. And yet, dairy ruins my bowels but coffee is dishwater without cow's milk.
Even though I cant bake with flax seed, I have an obsession with Whole Foods, which is massively inconvenient because I live in the annoying bit of London where the closest you’ll get to Whole Foods is Holland and Barrett. A few weeks ago I was taken on a tour of London’s flagship Whole Foods store in Kensington, it had three floors and the moment I walked in I could have sworn I was in a huge retail park in a remote bit of land somewhere in New England. 
After the tour I peered over their chief baker Angela’s shoulder for an hour whilst she iced cakes in that classic, slightly retro decorative way you’d find on sheet cakes that only exist in America/Australia (why?). We spoke endlessly about the pastry at Whole Foods, (whilst I was excited, she was probably cringing) and surprisingly, she tells me that their healthier alternatives are the least popular sellers in the store, apart from the chia seed pudding (god knows why). This little snippet of information stays with me until later, when my lovely tour guide and the woman I moan to about the lack of Whole Foods in my part of town, tells me how people often misinterpret the company as only selling health foods when in fact they're all about selling quality organic food. 

My point is, you don't have to be a health conscious hipster, or have diet restrictions, or be a hipster pretending to have diet restrictions, to enjoy Whole Foods. The wheat flour selection is just...just... Yes. 
So I've made these incredibly indulgent, almost-too-buttery blondies to celebrate dairy, wheat and too much sugar, even though it gives me a bad stomach because a) I'm stupid and b) the health alternatives at Whole Foods don't sell in smaller numbers for no reason (in London, that is). 
* I was not paid to write this. I approached Whole Foods myself and asked to bombard their kitchen and write about them, cos I love it.

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