Thursday, August 25, 2011


This month's We Should Cocoa challenge was to create something lovely using both rose and chocolate. Choclette really does like to keep us on our toes!!

My first thoughts were to team the rose with some white chocolate - there is something so delicate about a rose (and rose water) that I immediately thought to pair it with the subtle vanilla sweetness of some good white chocolate.  White billowy meringues, perhaps?  But then life got in the way (as it does), I was getting short on time and I needed a kid friendly, throw it all together type bake.

The kids are not great fans of white chocolate - milk chocolate gets the vote every time!  So I decided to play around with one of my stock recipes - add some rose water and see what happens!!

I had a hit and a miss - the cake was very popular, the hint of rose being very subtle, gave an extra dimension (just a little something that stopped you wolfing down a slice and encouraged you to nibble it thoughtfully), it married very well with the milk chocolate, one flavour not overpowering the other.  The icing on the other hand was not popular (even with me!!) Firstly the cake was sweet enough and did not need the extra sweet injection of the icing.  Secondly the rose and orange flavours (which I thought would be fantastic together) just didn't jell, and thirdly it was all just too much when combined.  Luckily I only iced a small section of the cake - so there was plenty of happy munching!!

Chocolate Rose Cake

200g               butter
200g               caster sugar
200g               milk chocolate
250g               self raising flour
1.5 tsp            rose water
3                    eggs, beaten.

Prepare a 24x33cm (13x10inch) tin by lining with baking parchment paper
Preheat oven to 180 C

Melt the butter and 75g of the chocolate.
Add the sugar and combine.
Gently stir in the flour.
Chop up the remaining 125g of chocolate and add to the batter.
Add the eggs, stirring gently.
Pour into the shallow tin.
Bake for 20 - 30 minutes.

Icing (though I wouldn't bother!)

100g     icing sugar, sieved
1 tsp     rosewater
orange juice to get to correct texture.



Sunday, August 21, 2011


After a long absence, and with apologies to my fellow Cake Slice Bakers, I am back for the penultimate cake from Lauren Chattman's "Cake Keeper Cakes",  this month the bakers voted for her Hungarian Coffee Cake (aka Monkey Bread) - a coffee free cake (I'm always caught!!) rich in cinnamon (well my version was anyway!) and fun to make.

I was excited to bake my first "Monkey Bread", but found this cake to taste much more like scones coated in a buttery, sweet cinnamon glaze - delicious, but not what I had expected, and not really pull-apartable!

We really enjoyed this cake on the day it was made, but it doesn't  belong in a book with "keeper" in the title as on the second day (like scones) the cake had dried out and lost it's lovely soft texture - nice but not nearly as nice as on day one.  This cake would be perfect for a coffee morning with a gang of friends - just make sure you invite enough to eat it all in one go!!!!

The recipe as I made it:

Hungarian Coffee Free Coffee Cake


1/2 cup (110g)    butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup                light brown sugar


1/2 cup               granulated sugar
3  tsp                  ground cinnamon
9 tbsp (117g)     chilled butter - actually frozen is best.
3 cups                plain flour
1 tbsp                caster sugar
1 tbsp                 baking powder
3/4 tsp                bread (bicarbonate of) soda
3/4 tsp                salt
1 cup                  buttermilk (maybe more)
1/4 cup               pecan nuts

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F
Butter and flour a non-stick bundt cake tin

Whisk the melted butter together with the light brown sugar and put to one side.
Combine the granulated sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon in a plastic bag.
Grate the frozen butter with a coarse grater.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp caster sugar in a large bowl.
Add the grated butter and combine with a spoon.
Stir in the buttermilk, adding more if necessary to combine.
Scoop up small balls of dough (slightly smaller than a golf ball) and toss in the sugar cinnamon mixture.
Layer the balls of dough in the bundt tin, scattering in the chopped pecan nuts as you go.
When all the balls of sugared dough are in the tin, pour the cooled butter and sugar mixture over them.
Bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a cake rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
Invert onto a serving plate and serve at once.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I have an admission ........ I cheated ........ but then I felt so guilty that I uncheated - I hope that Dom can forgive me - but at least I did the right thing in the end!!!

You see it was like this .... Dom over at Belleau Kitchen had challenged us to randomly choose a cookery book from the shelf/pile and then to choose a random recipe from said book and then to cook/bake it - no messing.   Wellllllllllllll, I closed my eyes and grabbed Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen" - so far, so good (I had neglected this book and was pleased to give it a go), but then I randomly chose her Marmalade Pudding Cake - yuk, I really don't like marmalade, nobody in the house eats that type of cake.  I decided it would be a total waste (I don't like marmalade), it would end up uneaten in the bin (I don't like marmalade)- I just couldn't do it (I don't like marmalade).

I closed the book, closed my eyes and fanned through the pages and came to .....Indian Roast potatoes ...... Result ...... I love potatoes (well I know stereotypes are often untrue, but I AM Irish) and I love spice ..... Happy Days, Indian Roast potatoes it was.

They were a perfect choice, you just chop up your unpeeled potatoes into cubes and toss them in a plastic bag  to which you have added oil and spices (turmeric, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, black mustard seeds, chilli powder) some garlic, lime juice and salt - toss the potatoes about until fully coated, roast for an hour and then serve with a chopped red onion as garnish.  I played about with the spices (just a bit) left out the raw onion - and they were delicious, and really popular.

BUT I just couldn't do it ..... I couldn't pretend that they were my random choice ..... I had to bite the bullet .... I just had to .... didn't I?...... I had to ..... my conscience demanded it!!!!!!!!

So Marmalade Pudding Cake it was, on the plus side it was easy to throw together, you just dump everything in the food processor, a quick whizz and it's ready to go in the oven, stress free really. 

As for the result, well - I thought it was OK. (which isn't bad as (you might not know but) I'm not that fond of marmalade!!), Brownieville Man loved it and Brownieville Physical Magician (aka my friend Amo, who gives me life saving massages) ate 5 slices in one sitting (slight exaggeration!!).  All in all - worth giving a go.

Marmalade Pudding Cake

250g           soft butter (plus some to butter the dish)
75g             caster sugar
75g             light brown muscovado sugar
150g           marmalade, plus 75g  marmalade for the glaze*
225g           plain flour
1/2 tsp        bread (bicarbonate of) soda
1 tsp           baking powder
4                 eggs
1                 orange - zested and juiced. (keep half the juice for the glaze)

* I used a jar of three fruit marmalade that I had left over from a Christmas hamper recieved the year before last!!!

Preheat oven to 180 C
Butter a 24cm sq Pyrex (or actually any) ovenproof dish

Prepare the glaze by putting 75g of marmalade and the juice of half the orange in a small pan and put to the side to heat later.
Put all the remaining ingredients into the food processor, and whizz.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish.
Bake for about 30 minutes, although could take 40 minutes.
Check it is done by inserting a piece of raw spaghetti to see if it comes out clean (if there is batter on it - it needs more time)
Heat the glaze over a medium heat, when melted, pour over the hot cake.
Serve while still warm with cream or custard.

Enjoy (if you like marmalade!!!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I promise I haven't had a blow to the head (!!) but I had a yen for some healthy, bright, crunchy food - something that yelled "summer" - a salad obviously, but not a claggy mayonnaise laden one, something much fresher.

Never one to do things by halves, I went the whole hog with this one - not even a smidgen of oil in there, but brim full of flavour - try it - you'll forgive me the virtuousness!!!

Carrot and Coriander Salad

6        organic carrots
2        handfuls of coriander
2        limes juiced

Grate the carrots - you really do need to go with organic ones, they have a much stronger flavour.
Chop the coriander stems very finely and the leaves roughly.
Combine them both, and add the lime juice to taste.
Allow flavours to combine for a half hour or so.