Saturday, 22 October 2016

Chocolate Fudge Cake

A historic example from my Flickr

This has become a bit of a family standard and I have never yet found the same recipe online - they're all slightly different. The cake is lovely and dense from the soured milk and intensely chocolatey because of the chocolate and cocoa powder. It's from a St Michael (as in M&S) book called something like "Chocolate", making it pretty difficult to Google.

This recipe can definitely take some abuse - we always had Flora at home and never real butter, we weren't big fans of sieving, and we would have used the microwave to melt chocolate. I don't recall if we ever made the praline (I doubt it), certainly I don't remember bothering to split the cake often, let alone to three layers! The icing I think we must have made at some point but since I learnt that ganache is super easy I usually smother it in that instead - a one-to-one weight ratio of dark chocolate to cream - though the less said about my adventures with white chocolate ganache, the better.

The quantity conversion is a bit suspect, everything's rounded to the nearest whole ounce or 25g. I've made this most successfully in grams so I'm inclined to stick with them, though I'm sure we must have followed the Imperial measures at home as that's Mum's habit.

250ml / 8floz milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
125g/4oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
125g/4oz unsalted butter or margarine
250g/8oz caster  sugar
2 eggs
300g/10oz self-raising flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tbsp cocoa powder

150ml / 1/4 pint double cream
1 quantity almond praline (from elsewhere in book - this might be a good substitute)

250g/8oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
125g/4oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz icing sugar
5 tbsp milk

  1.  Grease and line a 20cm/8" round cake tin. Mix together the milk and lemon juice. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and leave over a saucepan of gently simmering water until it has melted.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar to soften, in a large bowl. Add the eggs and beat in. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and cocoa powder into the bowl and mix well.
  3. Add half the soured milk and beat well. Stir in the melted chocolate and remaining milk and beat until smooth. Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven, 160c (325F), Gas Mark 3 for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours or until well risen and a skewer, inserted into the centre, comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.
  5. Split the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Lightly whip the cream and stir in the praline. Use to sandwich the layers of cake together. Place on a serving plate.
  6. Make the icing. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the butter and leave over a saucepan of simmering water until melted. Stir once. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add the icing sugar and milk, and beat until smooth. Leave the icing until cool enough to hold its shape.
  8. Using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake. Scatter with chocolate curls and serve dusted with icing sugar.
Serves 14-16
Prep: 45 min + cooling
Cook: 1 1/4 -  1 1/2 hours
Oven temp: 160c / 325F / GM3

Friday, 2 January 2015

Slow Cooked Brisket & Coriander Slaw

Beef & slaw in a brioche bun

This is essentially my attempt to bring Grillstock home. We may not have the ridiculous barbecue apparatus (or the weather & wood chips for operating it) but we do have a slow cooker and access to CostCo's meat section.
Our beef had a not-so-successful earlier incarnation - after 8 hours of cooking (5 low, 3 high) it was definitely done (by sight and internal temperature) but was nothing like the tender falling-apart texture I was hoping for. We had some for supper anyway and it was pretty tasty with barbecue sauce (if a little tough), but it was the extra 12 hours overnight that turned the remaining beef into what we'd hoped for all along. I can't really give guidance on cooking time but for our 2kg rolled brisket it was definitely more than 8 hours and up to 20.
Tonight we ate the soft beef with leftover slaw on Tesco brioche burger buns. N had some Jack Daniels barbecue sauce on his - I didn't think it needed it as I'd reheated it in the juices/gravy/non-icky-accurate-word so I just added slaw to mine.

Beef in a bun

Brisket recipe:
Smashed together with reckless abandon from Tom Kerridge's Pulled Beef Brisket In A Milk Bun and BBC Good Food's Pulled Firecracker Brisket

2kg rolled beef brisket, string removed, fat-side up

Under, at the bottom of the slow cooker:
olive oil, 2 red onions in thin slices, 6 cloves garlic, 2 red chillis with holes stabbed in them, splash of worcester sauce, generous splash of red wine vinegar, few drops lemon juice, star anise, dried coriander, dried marjoram, fresh-ish thyme
300ml good quality beef stock (we used a whole Knorr stock pot)

Beef raw
Beef - ready to go

On top, sprinkled and rubbed:
Smokey chipotle paste, double concentrate tomato paste
Coriander, cumin, mustard, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, black pepper, brown sugar, sweet smoked paprika, paprika. Quantities roughly as reference recipes.

We did 5h on low, 3h on high, 1h dinnertime fiddling, 11h on low. Then I removed the beef from the pot and pulled it apart. We stored the beef in one tupperware and the liquid in another. These went in the fridge for ~10h, then we removed the layer of congealed fat from the liquid.

For our sandwiches we reheated some beef in some of the liquid in a non-stick pan, then allowed the liquid to reduce to what would stay mostly inside a roll.

Beef in a box
Before reheating

Coriander Slaw

Coriander slaw
Image shows leftovers, not full portion - be warned!

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 0 min
Total time: 10 min

Cabbage: half a small white one
Carrot: one large
Coriander: ~35g
Lemon juice: half a lemon's worth
Paprika: 1/2 tsp
Black onion seeds (nigella): 1 tsp
Greek yoghurt:100-150ml

1. Find a decent sized bowl - we used a 1L pyrex one after the prettier one turned out to be too small
2. Slice cabbage & carrot into small ribbons, preferably using a mandolin. Grating the carrot works but the result can be a bit mushy
3. Slice the coriander finely and put it in the bowl with the carrot and cabbage
4. Sprinkle on the black onion seeds and paprika, stirring about to spread them
5. Add lemon juice and stir
6. Add yoghurt gradually and stir until everything is nicely distributed, add enough to give a thin coating

Please excuse the giant heading  - I've attempted to use standard recipe markup so that Google, Pinterest etc will recognise this as a recipe.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

White Bean & Chorizo Chilli with Cornbread (and Avocado Smush)

Golden cornbread & golden sunshine
First thing's first - this would probably be a very tasty bowlful without the chorizo and it is easy to omit. However if you are a chorizo fan I hope you will appreciate this very excellent way of cooking it - it seems to stay "juicier" (ew) and more distinct than if it were allowed to sink into the stew.
I don't know what the definition of a chilli is really but spicy stew sounded a bit clumsy so here we are. I've left the ingredients as what I used with notes, some things are definitely not vital e.g. the radish. I also had three somewhat squishy half-frozen baby plum tomatoes which went in but I don't think they made a huge difference to anything.

For the smush:
One avocado
Juice of half a lime
Small bunch of corriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped

Smash all the above together with a fork and a pinch or two of salt. Set aside.
(the lime juice should prevent the avocado from going brown if that's a concern for you)

For the cornbread:
112.5g cornmeal (I use polenta as that's what Sainsbury's has)
70g flour - I prefer cornflour in this but wheat works
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
284ml soured milk (270ml milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice) or buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 green chilli, sliced into rings (remove seeds unless you like hot)
optional sprinkling of sweetcorn

Grease a shallow ~11.5cm cake tin*.
Combine the dry ingredients in a decent sized bowl, then make a well and gradually stir in the milk followed by the beaten egg. Stir in the corn if using.

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and scatter rings of green chilli across the surface.
Bake at 230C for 25 minutes until set and golden(er) on top.

This is a bastardised version of this recipe. I made it without the onion once and didn't miss it.
I can confirm that it freezes well, just sprinkle it with water before re-ovening.
* I use an enamelled cast iron tatin dish. Using something metal here helps a crust form underneath, I've not tried ceramic but I imagine longer cooking at a lower temp might be required.

my food styling skill is all self-taught...
For the White Bean & Chorizo Chilli:

1/2 a chorizo sausage ring cut into fat slices
1 onion or few spring onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
stick of celery (I used the tiny bits from the heart as that's what I had)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 bell peppers (I used yellow & red for sweetness)
handful of radishes, sliced
large bunch coriander, divided into leaves and stalks, both chopped
1 red chilli, sliced into rings (seeds to taste)
1 tbsp chipotle chilli paste, I've used Waitrose and Discovery brands
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander
1 tbsp tomato paste
300g tin cannellini beans, drained
~50g spinach (mine was frozen) - kale would be a trendy substitution

Heat deep pan nice & hot and fry the chorizo slices until they're browning on both sides and have oozed a fair amount of orange fat. Scoop them out and set aside. Now turn the heat down a little and add the onion, garlic, celery, and seeds and allow to soften. Add the peppers, radish, coriander stems, chilli, and chilli paste. Allow all this to soften up until you have a fairly smushy panful with the peppers retaining their structure. Stir in the cinnamon and coriander. Then the tomato paste and beans. Allow all this to cook down for a good while before adding the spinach.
Towards the end incorporate the corriander leaves and the chorizo slices. Make sure this all gets nice and hot together.
Serve the chilli in a pasta bowl with a edge of cornbread and a good splat of the avocado smush.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

ABC Cake

I can't remember where I found the recipe this is based on but I'm fairly sure it was one I found while trying to use up an enormous glut of courgettes. My Mum grows courgettes and apples so from August until the damn things die off we're inundated with them. Now I live away from my parents the effect on me is lessened but I still get the occasional vegetable delivery.

ABC stands for Apple-Banana-Coconut, which is the version I made for Ceilidh & Warwick's party but this recipe is pretty adaptable:
- I've used courgettes, apples, and carrots individually and in mixtures and they all worked fine.
- Walnuts are the classic choice of nuts but coconut works surprisingly well
- Dried cranberries or other fruit make for a sweeter & more exciting cake
- It's quite easy to turn this vegan as the only non-vegan ingredient is the eggs. I've made it several times successfully using flax eggs - one egg = 1tbsp ground flax (golden linseed) + 3tbsp water.
- I usually use brown sugar for the flavour
- C&W version had ~1/2tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, & ginger instead of the 1tsp of cinnamon

ABC Cake

in progress

Cook time: 55-65 min

Vegetable oil: 5tbsp
Sugar: 125g
Eggs: 2
Flour: 250g
Bicarbonate of soda: 1tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon: 1tsp
Bananas, mashed: 2 whole / 150g
Apple, grated: 120g
Nuts: 50g
Dessicated coconut: 25g (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180c / 350F / Gas Mark 4
2. Grease and/or line (with greaseproof paper) a 900g /  2lb metal loaf tin
3. Mix oil & sugar, add eggs & beat
4. In another bowl, mix flour, bicarb, salt, & cinnamon
5. Add dry mixture to wet, alternating with mashed banana
6. Stir in grated apple & nuts, add coconut (if using), and mix thoroughly.
7. Transfer to the prepared tin and bake for 55-65 minutes, check a knife inserted comes out clean, then leave to cool in the tin for at least ten minutes before turning out

Please excuse the giant heading  - I've attempted to use standard recipe markup so that Google, Pinterest etc will recognise this as a recipe.


This is go-to brownie recipe. I picked it out originally as the amounts of butter & sugar are slightly less horrendous than other brownie recipes. If you cook these for the recommended time they'll come out squishy, but cook a bit longer and the result will be cakier. These can also be made in small cake format - bake them as you would fairy cakes and check for done-ness earlier. I often use chunks of chocolate or dried fruit (cranberries especially) instead of nuts. I also go heavy on the cocoa as it really does help the flavour. I've had good results using dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and a mixture of both.


Adapted from a recipe from Coconut & Lime

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 50 min

Butter: 4oz/112g
Dark chocolate: 8oz/225g
Cocoa powder: 1oz/30g
Plain flour: 3/4 cup/90g
Nuts: 3oz/85g
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Baking powder: 1/2 tsp
Golden caster sugar: 3/4 cup/170g
Eggs: 2
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp

1. Pre-heat oven to 180c / 350F / Gas Mark 4
2. Grease or line (with greaseproof paper) a 9"/22.5cm square tin or equivalent
3. Melt butter, chocolate, & cocoa together (don't microwave the cocoa if using a microwave)
4. Mix flour, nuts, salt, & baking powder together
5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until frothy
6. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, stirring as you go
7. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined
8. Splodge into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. The top should form a crispy shell and a knife inserted should come out clean.

Please excuse the giant heading  - I've attempted to use standard recipe markup so that Google, Pinterest etc will recognise this as a recipe.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

St Nicks Market

Long time no post, I've been using Tumblr for my photoblogging needs. It's seductively simple to post a photo from my Flickr on there. Sorry Blogger.
This is cross-posted from there, it's a collection of photos of one of my favourite places in Bristol, St Nicholas Markets.

Covered Market
At The Sourdough Café
Vegan Special Pie!
Coffee & Postcards