Kung Fu Café
Since 2011

Bûche de Noël Entremets | Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I’ve been looking forward to Christmas so much for the last few months; a time to relax a little, catch up with some work and things I haven’t had the time to do recently, getting up late, eating lots of food, drinking copious amounts of tea, not worrying about training, and doing it all with the family in the countryside… perfect! I’ve had such a brilliant end to the year – I feel generally happy with myself as a person, the last PhD meeting I had of the year was a success and I’m finally moving forward with results that have turned out the way I had hoped, all of my family are alive and well, I’m so blessed and am loving things the way they are right now. I couldn’t ask for any more! What a better way to celebrate with the people you love than with some Christmas-y activities and food?

I also decided to make this Yule log entremets for the family, as it can be kept in the freezer, and it’s made of several different components, it’s perfect to make piece by piece over a period of a week or so, and so it’s overwhelming and doesn’t take up much time. And, once it’s put together the whole thing looks so complex! I also love Yule logs; I made one when I was in secondary school for Food Technology, and it came out so well and found it delicious! My mum and I usually don’t like chocolate cakes, as they’re usually quite dry, but I suppose the frosting and use of real chocolate makes the Yule log cake so tasty and moist!

Another reason for making French themed desserts and things is so I can be inspired more the keep up with the Open University’s beginner’s French course on which I’ve enrolled. It started in September, and because it’s only a 30-credit level 1 course, the workload is definitely easier to keep up with than the level 2 60-credit courses!

I find that I go through periods where I’ll catch up, and get ahead, then really busy periods where I don’t do any for a few weeks, but because I was ahead, I end up then being right on track. Although I don’t think this is really the optimal way to learn a language (I think little and often is way better than doing it all at once and not touching it for weeks), at least I’m keeping up with the materials. So that’s why the level 1 courses work well for me, and they run from September to September. The level 2 courses, however, such as the upper intermediate Spanish, run from February to September… so there’s twice as much work to do, which is harder, but in a shorter period of time… that just spells chaos! I struggled so much to keep up with the materials for this course that I had to split this course over two years. But either way, it was worth it. I dread to think as to what the level 3 courses are like!

If I study at least one module each year with the Open Uni, I get to keep their transitional fees, which is great, especially as I really enjoy the materials. I love learning, and doing so in my own time, but sometimes I do find that these courses, for me at least, just move at too fast a pace and I find that I need more time to immerse myself into the language and play around with the pronunciation and new material.

Another thing to boost my French-learning-motivation is that I’ve entered a science writing competition. I don’t expect that I’ll get anywhere with it, but if you don’t try then you’ll never improve with anything. I spoke about the chemistry behind patisserie and chocolate, and after having done all of my reading around the subject, I’m seriously considering going into that industry when I’m done with my studies. Maybe I can go to Paris and work as a chocolatière? Who knows?! 🙂 It’s amazing how applicable my area of science would be in this industry! One of the science communication competitions I’m thinking about entering requires talking about chemistry in health, and so I thinking of talking about the health benefits of chocolate. I’ve been learning all about the flavonoids and minerals that help to make it healthy, and so I’ve used the best quality dark chocolate I can find in this dessert (~70-80% cocoa), which totally justifies eating it! 🙂

At first I was really disappointed with this dessert; but it is the first entremets I’ve ever made, and the more I think about and look at it, the more I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I made flavoured the crème brûlée with matcha (green tea powder) to represent moss on damp logs. At first I think it looked weird but I grew to like it. The coating was supposed to be über smooth, but the sugar clumped together and made lumps. I decided to use the coating, anyway, but I’m actually quite pleased with it because it adds to its log-like appearance. I also struggled to make the inside super tight and stuffed with filling, but it worked out well in the end. I decorated it with desiccated coconut and crushed pistachios, along with homemade plain chocolate leaves and marzipan mushrooms dusted with cocoa powder. I’ve love to try making mushrooms out of meringue, but that’ll be a project for another day. Next time I’ll hopefully get better at making entremets. Perhaps I’ll make another type of Yule log next year!

I also found it quite hard to make the leaves because my choice of leaf wasn’t very good. I used a variety, but it sort of goes without saying that you want a strong and sturdy leaf to support the chocolate once it’s coated, but a leaf with intricate details that will transfer to the chocolate. I couldn’t find a leaf with both of those qualities; a detailed but flimsy leaf, or a sturdy yet lacklustre leaf. Oh well! I think the shapes are what counted! 🙂

Right, I’m off not to watch a film with the family, before preparing for St. Nick’s visit, later 😉 Mince pies and carrots it is! 🙂

Bûche de Noël entremets
Adapted from: L’Atelier Vi, BBC Food, Rosa’s Yummy Yums, and How To Cook That

Element #1 ~ Dacquoise layer:
• 80g ground coconut (coconut flour)
• 50g icing sugar
• 2 tbsp plain flour
• 3 tbsp cocoa powder
• 3 x egg whites
• 50g granulated sugar

Element #2 ~ Praline Feuillete Insert:
For the feuillete:
• 100g dark chocolate
• 25g unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp Rice Krispies or Coco Pops (to replace 60g gavottes)
• 30g praline*

For the praline*:
• 10g granulated sugar
• 20g pistachio nuts, shelled and crushed

Element #3 ~ Matcha crème brûlée insert:
• 115g double cream
• 115g whole milk (I accidentally weighed somewhere between 150-160g… I wasn’t paying attention!!!)
• 1 tbsp matcha
• 1 x vanilla pod
• 4 x egg yolks
• 25g granulated sugar

Element #4 ~ Milk chocolate mousse:
• Powdered gelatine, the equivalent of 2 leaves (will say on back of packet)
• 175g milk chocolate

• 350g (1 ½ cups) double cream

• 3 x medium egg yolks

• 40g granulated sugar
• 10g honey
• 1 tbsp water

Element #5 ~ Ankou-infused chocolate ganache insert:
• 1 heaped tsp of ankou (read bean paste)
• 135g (⅔ cup less 1 tbsp) double cream

• 135g plain chocolate (>70% cocoa)
• 45g butter, softened

Element #6 ~ Dark chocolate coat:
• Powdered gelatine, the equivalent of 4 leaves (will say on back of packet)
• 120g (¼ cup) double cream
• 120g caster sugar
• 100g (¼ cup) water
• 60g cocoa powder

• a u-shaped mould
Element #1 ~ Dacquoise layer:
In a mixer, pulse the coconut flour and icing sugar briefly, just to break apart the lumps. I didn’t do this, and although I sieved the icing sugar, the lumps of coconut still remained, and thus I immediately regretted it. I recommend to do so. Although the texture was still nice and it did look as though I intentionally speckled the sponge with coconut! Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mix. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites (with an electric mixer), and gradually add in the sugar. Keep whisking until stiff peaks are formed. Pour in the coconut mixture, and fold in gently, until all is homogenised.

Preheat an oven to 175°C, and line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. Spread the egg white batter across the baking parchment, so it encompasses at least the dimensions of your mould (as this lines the bottom of the entremets when unmoulded). Bake for 20 minutes.

Element #2 ~ Praline Feuillete Insert:
For the praline:
Put the sugar in a small frying pan/saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and melt the sugar. Add in the crushed pistachios, and coat. Scoop into a ceramic bowl (or on top of non-stick baking parchment), and leave to cool.

For the feuillete:
Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain-marie, or in a saucepan over a very low heat. Add in the praline and Coco Pops/Rice Krispies, and coat everything in chocolate. Spread on non-stick parchment paper to a size slightly larger than the dimensions of what will be the base of your Yule log entremets.

Element #3 ~ Matcha crème brûlée insert:
Put the milk, cream, and matcha into a saucepan. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk and heat until just boiling (keep an eye on it!). Remove from the heat.

Whisk the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white). Pour the matcha milk mixture over the yolks, and mix well. Preheat an oven to 100°C.

Use a wet cloth to wipe the inside of your Yule log mould, and line with non-stick baking paper. Pour the mixture into the mould. Put the mould into a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the roasting pan so that it comes half way up the mould (don’t do what I did and pour a splash of water right into the crème brûlée!!!). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the edges are firm and the middle wobbles slightly when shaken/jiggled. Let cool and then place into the freezer for at least 1 hour.

The next day, I took the mould out of the freezer for 20 minutes (in a warm kitchen), and popped the crème brûlée out of the mould (still wrapped in its parchment paper). I gently wrapped it in foil and placed it back in the freezer for keeping, until I’m ready to use it.

Element #4 ~ Milk chocolate mousse:
In a large bowl, dissolve the gelatine in the minimum amount of hot (not boiling) water necessary. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the sugar, honey, and water until it starts to look syrup-y and coats the back of a spoon. In the meantime, in another bowl, beat the egg yolks (using an electric mixer) for about 5 minutes until white and frothy (this is a pâté à bombe). Drizzle the sugar syrup into the pâté à bombe slowly whilst mixing, and keep going for about another 5 minutes. It should thicken and start to froth a little. Set aside.

In another saucepan, or bain-marie, very slowly melt the chocolate with 2 tbsps of double cream. Let cool a little, then pour into the gelatine, and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff. Add half a cup to the gelatine/chocolate mixture, and mix well to temper. Then pour the pâté à bombe into the chocolate, mix well, and then pour the mixture onto the whipped cream. Fold gently until homogenised, and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Element #5 ~ Ankou-infused chocolate ganache insert:
Measure the double cream into a saucepan, and stir in the ankou until homogenised. Set aside.

Break the chocolate into a bowl and set aside.

In another saucepan, melt the sugar by spreading it evenly over the bottom on a medium-high heat, until dark amber in colour; swirl the pan, but don’t stir. Bring the cream to a boil, and then pour into the hot sugar syrup, being careful not to burn yourself if it spits.

Pour this cream-syrup mixture over the chocolate, wait for about half a minute, and then stir until smooth. Add in the butter, and use an electric mixer (I used a wooden spoon) to whip hard and fast until smooth and shiny. Make sure you whip/mix it well, otherwise you’ll have sugar lumps (which, actually, I think are quite nice!).

1. Take your crème brûlée out of the freezer.
2. Line your mould with non-stick baking paper; I used honey to stick it down to the mould.
3. Pipe a third of your mousse into the mould.
4. Place your crème brûlée on top of the mousse, and press lightly to ensconce it into the mousse.
5. Spoon (or pipe) a second third of mousse onto of the crème brûlée.
6. Cut the praline feuillete insert a little smaller than the dimensions of your mould, and lay on top of the mousse (mine, unfortunately, shattered).
7. Spoon/spread/pipe the rest of the mousse on top of the praline feuillete insert.
8. Freeze for an hour or so, so the mousse hardens.
9. Now, this is where you should make the ganache (element #5), but I did before I assembled my log… luckily my kitchen was warm! If you make this mistake, just gently reheat the ganache over the hob until it’s a consistency that you can deal with/pipe.
10. Spoon (or pipe) the ganache onto the top of the mousse, being careful not to go too far to the edges, so that when you press the dacquoise base on, the ganache won’t seep our of the sides.
11. Close the entremets with the dacquoise.
12. Freeze overnight.

Element #6 ~ Dark chocolate coat:
Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil over the hob. Turn the heat down and cook an additional 3 minutes. Let cool a little, then add the gelatine and mix well. Let cool. When the mixture is smooth and coats the back of a spoon well, it is ready.

Unmould the entremets and set on a wire rack over a baking tray. Smother the cake in the coating, wait for it to set, and return the entremets to the freezer for it to set entirely.

Decorate as desired; decorations can be pressed into the coating before it’s set, or placed on top afterwards. Place in the freezer to set.

To serve:
Transfer the entremets to the fridge no longer than 30 minutes before serving. Be careful about certain elements (i.e. decorations, chocolate coating, etc.) that may start to melt, depending on the temperature of your kitchen/room.

Overnight Matcha (抹茶)-Banana Oaty Breakfast Parfait

Yesterday a little tin of matcha arrived for me! 🙂
Blog post is here.

I’m really happy with how these photos turned out! The cranberries look like little spheres of glowing goodness; they remind me of the souls in Onimusha (so geeky, I know, but nostalgic!). I would have liked the banana to hav ebeen a little more yellow, so that’s why I tried to put a banana in (as the skin is quite yellow) but I felt as though ti crowded the photo too much and I struggle with composition even more when there are more elements (hence why all my photos are minimalistic for now!). At first I struggled with the composition, but it didn’t take long this morning to get it “right!” It’s a matter of playing around.

I think I’ve managed to find the place in my flat where the light is perfect; it’s not direct and it’s not too dark. It’s not necessarily the positioning, either, but it’s the angle that makes all the difference I find. And I think, maybe it’s because I’m right handed, that I like the light coming in from the left, because I feel as though it’s easier for me to compose my photos.

Now, I’m really going to have to resist trying to use it all to bake things and make little desserts instead of drinking it! Buuuuut, I’m going to have to try pancakes this weekend, at the very least! 🙂

Friday’s WOD:
Weighted pull ups – 5 x 5 with 2 minutes rest in between sets @ 12.75kg (more like 5 x 2!) Uh oh… I guess I have poor strength capacity, as that’s ~85% of my 1RM
Weighted ring dips – 5 x 5 with 2 minutes rest in between sets @ 12.75kg

Photo: Taken by the lovely and amazing Shelley Charlton!

Hero WOD The “Seven”
7 rounds for time of:
7 thrusters 60/40
7 knees 2 elbows
7 deadlifts 110/75
7 burpees
7 kb swings 32/20
7 pull ups

41:44 rx’d… ugh!

Overnight Matcha (抹茶)-Banana Oaty Breakfast Parfait
Serves 2

• rolled oats
• mixed dried fruit
• 1 tsp matcha
• whole milk
• 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
• 1 tbsp flax seeds
• thick yoghurt (I used coconut, although Greek or any other will work, too!)

• jam
• cinnamon
• flaked almonds (or other nuts)
• grated dark chocolate
• good quality cocoa powder
• Nutella
• toasted/desiccated coconut
• peanut (or other nut) butter

For the parfait layers:
• banana
• peach/nectarine
• juicy berries (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
• other fruits

In a 500ml mason jar, fill it about ½-¾ full with oats. Add enough milk to cover the oats, add the matcha, peanut butter, flax seeds, and about 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of the thick yoghurt. Mix well, and leave in the fridge overnight. Voilà, a delicious breakfast ready for the morning!

Then in the morning, you can eat it straight from the jar, or layer it in a cup with fruit, etc. Top with dark chocolate, almonds, cranberries, etc. 🙂

Enjoyed 08.08.2013 🙂

Black Forest (Dark Chocolate and Cherry) Individual Pavlovas

Well, I’ve just got back from Crossfit after tackling Barbara, and I’m so glad I went! I really didn’t feel like it, but you do get into after a while and just have fun! The will to continue comes. As the saying goes; don’t wait for the inspiration to come, act as though you are inspired and inspiration will soon come! I wrote a blog post about will and workouts here, and it applies to so many things in life. Will can also be cultivated through changing one’s perspective; I’ve been doing that a lot recently, and really feeling the effects in my mood and the amount of joy that entered my daily life as a result has been tremendous! But that’s for a whole other blog post! 🙂

I’m in a particularly good mood and have a lot to ramble on about, but not much time as it’s getting late and I need sleep and energy to study and train hard tomorrow! Mum wants me to post this pavlova/meringue recipe so she can make it for when nanny knocking visits next weekend, so I’m posting it 🙂

Recently, I’ve been getting back into cooking (specifically baking and trying things I would like to photograph, other than the usual stuff I eat on a daily basis like vegetables and salads – but I’ve wanted to photograph more exquisite things recently!) and photography! Since I’m at this point of revision, when I do have free time I don’t want to study Spanish/French/Japanese/German (as inspired by my recent trip to Switzerland and an upcoming trip to Frankfurt!), because I just don’t want to be writing any more things down or reading intently. I’d just rather have some fun and get creative! It’s also something I do where I can guarantee that my ego won’t pop in, as I just find it so joyous and fun to do. I also like that when I’m feeling upset, it cheers me up because I can focus on the task at hand, knowing I’ll enjoy it. If I’m feeling happy, it has the same effect. If it’s rainy, I can focus on cooking/baking/creating something delicious for people I love, and even if the weather’s nice and I’m alone or my brother’s doing his own thing in the background, I can do this quite happily and entertain myself. It’s my little thing and I love it 🙂 But again, this is all for another post!

As my mum’s a big fan of white chocolate, I gave her white chocolate and my brother, dad and I had dark chocolate. We all had a combination of blueberries and cherries, and drizzle cherry juice (from the cherries when pitted) over the meringue before serving and it was beautiful. Of course, for photography purposes I just stuck with cherries, dark chocolate and no juice, but you can see the one I ate in the most bottom right photo (it does look a little more juvenile; like the sort of thing you’d find at a kid’s party! I think the different colours make it look like sprinkles!).

I made the meringues the afternoon before, and kept them in an air tight container in the fridge. They kept their crispness for up to 3 days. They were all gone by then, do I don’t know if they would have remained crisp for any longer! So I suppose you can prepare thee meringues a couple of days in advance if you like. However, definitely don’t stack/layer them with the cream until you’re going to serve them! Not only will the cream not be stable, the meringue will go soggy. I made one at 9.45am so I could take photos last Saturday, and didn’t eat it until 4.30pm and it was a little soggy. It was still delicious, but the crunch wasn’t there; it was almost like a meringue cake, but I suppose that’s not the effect desired by most pavlova-enthusiasts.

I also made the cream at the same time as well, and it started to melt in my living room (which was rather warm) while I was taking photos. It stayed together in the fridge until 4.30pm (in a stainless steel bowl), when I served it, although it didn’t seem to have quite such a beautiful texture as when it was freshly whipped, so I personally recommend whipping the cream just before serving, too. It will only take about 5 minutes though! There are recipes online to stabilise the cream, which I think involves either a) adding sugar and gelatin and other things, or b) adding a LOT of sugar so that it turns into a sort of frosting, which I think takes the delicate creaminess away from pavlova.

The original recipe that I found online said that glossy meringues would form if you fold in 2 tsp of cornflour and 1 tsp of white wine vinegar into the stiffened egg whites. I completely forgot to do that but oh well! They were still delicious! I will have to remember next time!

Monday’s WOD @ CFP:
20 pull ups
30 press ups
40 sit ups
50 squats
3:00 mins rest in between rounds

Time after…
… round 1 = 4.04
… round 2 = 12.26 (inc. 3 mins rest)
… round 3 = 21.12 (inc. 3 mins rest)
… round 4 = 30.06 (inc. 3 mins rest)
… round 5 = 39.09 (inc. 3 mins rest)
rx’d baby 🙂 (press ups were definitely the slowest! Followed by squats and my sore hips after stretching and being aware of my awful form!)

Black Forest (Dark Chocolate and Cherry) Individual Pavlovas
Adapted from: Donal Skehan
Makes 18 meringues (9 individual pavlovas)

For the meringues:
• 250g icing sugar
• 4 x egg whites

For construction:
• 500ml whipped double cream
• ~250g pitted cherries and blueberries
• ~100g dark and white chocolate
• Juice from the pitted cherries

For the meringues:
Preheat the oven to 150°C and line baking trays (I used three!) with non-stick baking paper. Put the egg whites and sugar in a bowl, and whisk until stiff and glossy white peaks form. Use the upside-down-over-the-head test if necessary.

Spoon 18 tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets, and flatten the tops. They should keep whatever shape you give them; this is a way to tell that the peaks are stiff enough. Make sure they’re not too close together but they don’t have to be too far apart, either!

Bake for 45 minutes (I used a fan-assisted oven). Then turn off the oven, leave the door ajar, and allow to cool completely.

To construct:
Whip the double cream until stiff, and construct the pavalovas by starting off with a meringue base, spreading on cream, adding cherries, a sprinkling of chocolate, and repeat with another meringue base, etc.

Serve immediately with cherry juices and enjoy! 🙂

Constructed for my beautiful family: 03.08.2013

Banana-Coconut Tropical Ice Tart

Blog post is here.

A couple of weeks ago I made this really tasty iced banana pie, which was perfect for the hot weather – but now it’s just sitting int he freezer waiting for the next heat wave (knowing the UK, that probably won’t be for another several years…). Hopefully the weather will be nice though for the Tribal Clash at the end of August!

The sweet potato pie post photos were published on Foodgawker! Tastespotting didn’t like the composition of the photo though. I’ve only had two photos accepted by Foodgawker, but more accepted by Tastespotting. Anywho, you can always tell when your post gets accepted and is on the front page for a while; suddenly loads (the most I’ve ever had, anyway!) of hits on your blog!

The crust is exactly the same crust as for the sweet potato pie, and freezes really well. The place where I got the recipe for this originally made banana frosty cups, but I thought a tart would be a little more dinner-party-esque.

Make sure you take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before cutting with a large knife.

Banana-Coconut Tropical Ice Tart
Adapted from: Healthful Pursuit
Serves 8

For the chocolate crust:
• ¼ cup flax seed
• ¾ rolled oats
• ½ cup mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.)
• ¼ good quality, 100% cocoa powder
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the filling:
• 4 bananas
• 1 tin of coconut milk (400 ml)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the crust:
Soak the dried fruit in ½ cup water for 40 minutes. An alternative would be ½ cup of orange juice. Put the oats in a blender and blend so it’s almost like a fine flour. Blend the dried fruit until they’re a paste.

Add all of the ingredients together and mix until homogenised, then press into a 20 cm diameter silicon cake mould so that it forms a pie case.

For the filling:
Cut the bananas into slices, reserving 8, and put them into a blender, along with the coconut milk and vanilla essence. Blend until smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie base, and pop the bananas pieces on top. Decorate with other nuts, desiccated or flaked coconut, and put into the freezer until it’s set.

Before serving, take out of the freezer for 10 minutes and cut with a large kniife. Sprinkle with cocoa powder if desired. 🙂

Eaten with my bro on a hot summer’s day: 24.07.2013

Mousse au Chocolat

Chocolate mousse is one of my favourite desserts. Well, anything with copious amounts of chocolate is very high on my “most wanted dessert list.” These are quite nice; not the richest I’ve had, but for a quick and easy dessert, pretty good. :-)Mum really enjoyed her white chocolate one, and a friend who came over for dinner enjoyed the milk chocolate one, too. I didn’t fild the cream well enough into the milk chocolate mixture, so there were lumps of cream in the mousee, which I wasn’t keen on, but Dan said it was a really nice effect and he seemed to think it was done intentionally!

What made this even nicer, was that we ate is straight from the fridge after eating a really spicy chicken dish! It was the perfect way to cool down our tongues (and our noses!). 🙂

Nutella “Mug” Cake
Adapted from: BBC Good Food
Serves 4 (makes 2 x white and 2 x milk/dark chocolate mousses)

• 100g white chocolate, broken into pieces
• 100g milk/dark chocolate, broken into pieces
• 3 x large egg whites
• 50g golden caster sugar
• 100ml double cream
• 2 tbsp brandy
• icing sugar, to dust
• chocolate curls, to decorate
• amaretto biscuits, to serve

Put the eggs whites and sugar in a bowl, and whip until shiny and stiff. Melt the white chocolate and milk chocolate in separate bowls (I did mine in the microwave for simplicity).

Use different wooden spoons to fold in half the egg white mixture into each melted chocolate bowl. Fold until fully combined.

Whip the cream in the same bowl as the egg whites, and as before, fold half of the cream mixture into each of the chocolate bowls.

Pour into four individual ramekins, and chill for at least 2 hours. Dust with icing sugar, sprinkle with chocolate curls/shavings, and serve with biscuits.

Enjoy 🙂

Enjoyed: 24.06.2011

Nutella “Mug” Cake

These little desserts are really easy to make! They’re quite rich though, and difficult to tell when they’re done as the cake was so dark I couldn’t tell if it was cooked or not! I think I overcooked mine a little, but they still tasted ok! If you use a milky and smooth cocoa powder you’ll get a lighter coloured dessert. I used Green & Black’s cocoa powder and it was incredibly rich and black! If all of the ingredients were in one large mug I think it would have come out better and a little softer in the middle rather than putting it all in individual ramekins. But nevertheless, still a nice little treat. 🙂

Nutella “Mug” Cake
Adapted from: Babble
Serves 4

• 4 tbsp/75g self-raising flour
• 4 tbsp/75g sugar
• 1 x egg
• 3 tbsp/40g cocoa powder (I used Green & Black’s)
• 3 tbsp Nutella
• 3 tbsp milk
• 3 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug or a small bowl. Whisk well with a fork until smooth. Divide into 4 ramekins. Microwave on high for 1½ – 3 minutes. (Time depends on microwave wattage. Mine took 2 minutes on 700W). Top with whipped cream and a little chocolate sauce if desired.

Enjoy 🙂

Enjoyed: 18.06.2011

Roulade de Chocolat avec le Café | Chocolate Swiss Roll with Coffee (Tia Maria)

I’m ashamed to say that I made this twice: the first time it failed. But I’m so glad that I persevered, because this was B-E-A-utiful! Even dad asked for a large portion, and then went back for seconds…which is very unusual of him…

My first attempt involved halving the recipe, because I really didn’t want to have too much dessert. But because I didn’t have a small enough square pan, the roll was too thin to peel off of the baking sheet, and therefore cracked and broke with ease. I thought this would happen, but like an idiot I did it anyway. So the second time I made it I stuck to the original quantity. I think this recipe doubled would make a thicker and more stable roll, as mine completely fell apart. I used a pyrex baking dish lined with a baking paper that was about 7.5″ x 10″. Mum and dad commented that it looked really sloppyy, but I assured them it tasted great!

This recipe originally called for amaretto, but I replaced it with Tia Maria to give a sweet (not not too sweet) coffee taste to the cream. And today was Tim’s last AS level exam: Government and Politics. He thinks he did quite well, so I’m pleased for him. 🙂 At least now he can go back to school before summer knowing that his exams are behind him… and now he’s excited for driving lessons! God help us all!

Roulade de Chocolat avec Tia Maria
Adapted from: BBC Good Food
Serves 6-8

For the sponge:
• butter, for greasing
• 100g caster sugar
• 5 x eggs
• 25g self-raising flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 40g cocoa powder
• 1 tbsp vanilla essence

For the coffee cream:
• 250g mascarpone
• 100g plain choccolate
• 100g icing sugar
• 2 tbsp Tia Maria
• icing sugar, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. to decorate

Heat the oven to 180◦C. Line a tin (mine was about 7.5″ x 10″) with butter and dust with a little caster sugar.

Beat the eggs and sugar together in a mixer until pale, light and fluffy. Carefully transfer the mixture into a large bowl and sieve in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add the vanilla essence, and fold together ensuring that it’s mixed well but still light and airy.

Spread the mixture across the tin and bake for 10 minutes, so that it’s firm to touch. The flip it out, peel off the baking paper and roll up lengthways whilst warm. Leave to cool.

For the cream filling, break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave. The beat (by hand) in with the mascarpone. Sieve in the icing sugar and add the tia maria, and mix well. Pop into the fridge for about half an hour to firm up.

When the roll is cool, carefully open it, and spread the cream across it and re-roll. If it cracks a bit, that’s ok; it just adds to the beauty. Dust with cocoa powder and/or icing sugar. I reserved some cream to use as glue for whole, fresh cherries.

Bon appétit!!

Constructed 07.06.2011

Soufflé au Chocolat

I don’t think this is technically a soufflé, but it still tasted pretty damn good.

I left this soufflé in the oven for about 5 minutes longer than I should have. I was going to take it out of the oven, but something made me leave it for 5 more minute. I wish I’d taken it out when I first thought, as the inside would have been a lot gooier. But either way, the texture was really smooth and light, and was still slightly gooey in the middle! This is definitely something I can see myself making again for dessert in the future. And what’s best is that you can make them ahead, and still impress people! And, better still, they only deflated a little once taken out of the oven! Result!

Soufflé au Chocolat
Adapted from: BBC Good Food
For 5 x 2” deep, 4” diameter ramekins.

• 135g dark chocolate (I used a Galaxy bar, but the good quality Green and Black’s dark chocolate would be perfect for this!)
• 100g butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
• 4 x eggs
• 60g brown sugar
• 120g sugar
• 85g plain or self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180C. Use a pastry brush to grease the ramekins. Cut the butter into small cubes, and melt it, along with the chocolate, over a bain-marie or in the microwave.

In the meantime, use a food processor to whizz the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and fold it into the egg mixture, before folding that into the chocolate mixture.

Divide the mixture between the ramekins. These can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours if not baking at the moment. Bake for 10 minutes (a little longer if just out of the fridge); the soufflés should rise, but the insides should still be slightly runny and gooey.

Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar and lashings of double cream.

Bon Appétit!!

Baked 03.06.2011

Cherry Clafoutis

I’ve always wanted to try and make a cherry clafoutis. Well, any clafoutis, to be honest, but our fridge was stock-piled with cherries, so why not a cherry clafoutis. 🙂 It has a really lovely eggy-flavour to it, and tastes delicious served hot, cold, or at room temperature, especially with generous helpings of double cream. However, it is possible to enjoy it without cream, as it’s a very moist dessert. Icing sugar (or any old sugar!) would add some sweetness to those who have a little more of a sweet-tooth, but for those who don’t crave desserts that are overly sweet, then this is the one for you! It’s kind of like the dessert-version of a Yorkshire pudding (a popover)!

This didn’t take very long to whip up at all. I’ve been dying to make something in individual ramekins! I bought these cute little green ones a few months ago but was trying not to use them until we have moved everything into the new flat in Plymouth… but I just couldn’t resist! The most time consuming aspect of making this dessert was removing the stones from those cherries! But it was worth it thought; it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable having to bit into a stone and spit it out with every bite. We had ours at room temperature with cream; I made them beforehand. 🙂

I also made some Moroccan flat bread, which they have everywhere in Morocco, and it turned out to be just like it (which I was surprised about, because the last time I made bread it was a hard rock of something completely inedible)! I was pretty pleased, and I love fresh bread from the oven, when it’s warm and smells of yeast. 🙂

Cherry Clafoutis
Adapted from: Dalmatia Gourmande
For 4 x 2” deep, 4” diameter ramekins.

• ~20g unsalted butter
• 400g cherries, stoned
• 3 x eggs
• 60g brown sugar
• 1 tbsp vanilla essence
• 3 tbsp self-raising flour
• 90ml double cream
• 100ml milk

Remove the stalks from the cherries, wash them, and remove the stones.

Preheat the oven to 180◦C.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork/whisk with the sugar and vanilla essence. Add the milk and cream. Sieve in the flour and mix well until homogenous.

Divide some of the cherries in the bottom of each ramekin, and pour the batter equally into each ramekin. Top off with the rest of the cherries.

Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. If you don’t want them to rise, use all-purpose flour and bake at a lower temperature for a longer time. But personally, I quite like it when they rise. Either way, they sink quite a bit once cooled.

Serve hot, lukewarm, or cold with lashings of double cream.

Bon Appétit!!

Summer Berry Pudding | Rounding Up A Delicious Meal

This summer berry pudding was what I rustled up for afters, and was a part of the anniversary meal that I cooked for my parents. Seeing as I was quite new to cooking, I was a little afraid that it wouldn’t come out particularly well. However, I astounded myself, and my family, and it tasted really nice, and it’s incredibly simple to make!

It did stick together, and kept its shape rather well! But had I have left it in the fridge for longer (as with the banoffee pie), it would have kept its shape better. But unfortunately I didn’t have enough time for that. It still tasted of summer though. 🙂

Hmm, a few berries on top would have made it look less plain for the camera…oopppss.

And finally, please don’t be daunted by the length of this recipe. It’s one of those really very simple but impressive looking dishes, and can also be prepared the day before for a fuss-free pudding.

Summer berry pudding
Source: BBC Good Food
Serves 8, easily

• ~1-1.25kg mixed berries and currants. It’s up to you how you mix and match (strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, etc.)
• 175g golden caster sugar
• 7-9 slices of bread

Pop the sugar in a pan with 3-4 tbsp water, and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Be patient! You have to make sure there is not grittiness when you stir with your wooden spoon.
Then boil for 1 minute, and tip in the fruits (except the strawberries).
Cook for about 4 minutes, over a gentle simmer, stirring gently, also. Make sure the fruit isn’t all broken, but softened, with lots of juice!
Then, sieve the fruit, so that the juices are sieved into a large bowl.

Line a large bowl (or however big you want your pudding to be!) with cling film/plastic wrap. Don’t worry if it overlaps, as this just helps you to safely remove the pudding later.
Then, cut all of the crusts off of your bread, and cut two slices into four triangles and four slices into eight rectangles. Leave the rest whole.

Then, dip the whole piece of bread into the juice (make sure you only just cover it in juice to make it coloured, otherwise you may run out!), and squidge this into the bottom of the lined bowl.
Now, dip the rest of the pieces into the juice also, and arrange them inside of the bowl so that they fit together nicely. Even if they overlap, that’s ok, just squidge them together and make sure there are no holes.

Now, tip in the fruit (including the strawberries). If you like, you can cover the bottom of the pudding with bread, also. I did, as I felt that it gave my pudding a little more sturdiness. If there’s any leftover juice, keep it, as you can serve it with cream, and drizzle it on top.

Pop a piece of cling film over the top, then a plate with something with a tin of beans or whatever (to weigh it down), and chill for at least 6 hours, or even overnight. I didn’t let mine chill for long enough (due to time restrictions). But it still tasted great. 🙂

When it’s ready to serve, remove the top layer of cling film and put a serving plate upside-down on top of the bowl, and then flip the bowl (with the plate) over. Use the cling film to help ease the pudding out.

Serve with the remaining juice, any extra fruits you may have, and lashings of cream. 😀

Why not make individual puddings in little ramekins? I’m sure they’ll be easier to hold their shape!

To make a spiced apple berry pudding, you can used fruit load instead of plain bread. Also, instead of berries, you could use 2 or 3 large cooking apples (peeled and cored). Just cooked these for about 5 minutes until softened in the sugar water before adding 800-900g of berries, and continuing with the recipe. Don’t forget the 1tsp of all spice to pop into the berry mix, and you can also use currants! Serve with left over juice, cream, or vanilla ice cream.

For an apricot berry brioche pudding with a lovely French twist you could use a brioche loaf instead.
Add 3 tbsp crème de cassis or framboise to the sugar in the pan (instead of water). Gently simmer about 650g halved and stoned apricots in the syrup for 5 mins, then add about 650g mixed berries, and cook for a few minutes more.
Line the basin with cling film as before then layer up the fruit and juice-soaked slices of brioche from loaf, rather than lining the sides with it. Wrap and weight down the pudding as before, and serve with cream or ice cream.