Monthly Archives: March 2015

Monday Lifelines

From “The little book of insults”. About America.

It is absurd to say that there are neither ruins nor curiosities in America when they have their mothers and their accents. Oscar Wilde

America is a country that doesn’t know where it is going, but is determined to set a speed record getting there. Peter Lawrence

It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it. Mark Twain

America is the only nation in history which, miraculously, has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization. George Clémenceau

SATURDAY COOKING: RICH CHOCOLATE CAKE

My friend Bec sent me this recipe. It’s from Belinda Jeffery. It’s gluten-free, but not calorie free! So if you are after a mega chocolate hit to feed a big crowd, this RICH CHOCOLATE CAKE ticks all the boxes. Plus it’s very easy to make, no eggs to beat separately, just basically chuck everything in a bowl. The cake weighs a ton, the flavour of the pecans is very nice and you can really taste the brandy. I will try it again with Grand Marnier or Cointreau. If you don’t have pecans handy, use almonds. But I suggest you use whole roasted almonds that you whizz yourself, rather than almond meal. There is a nice crunch that way.

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250g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate ( I used 70% Lindt dark chocolate)
85g Dutch cocoa (normal cocoa is ok)
200g roasted pecans
6 eggs
1 ½ cups (330g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) brandy or cognac
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 23cm springform tin or a normal cake tin (that’s what I did). Line base with baking paper and coat sides with almond meal (to make it gluten-free).
  2. Roast pecans if not done already and cool a little bit. Blitz them in a food processor until finely chopped. Stop the machine every so often to check them so they don’t become oily and turn into a paste. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until it’s melted too. Then take off the heat and add cocoa, stirring until mixture is smooth and thick. Set aside to cool a little.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar with a balloon whisk until just blended. Whisk in warm chocolate mixture until well combined. Mix in brandy and vanilla essence. Finally stir in grounded pecans. The batter looks loose and sloppy.
  5. Pour batter into the cake tin. Bake at 180°C for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set but the middle 15cm or so of the cake is still a bit wobbly when you gently shake the tin.
  6. Cool completely in the tin. Once cool, turn out. Chill in the fridge. It will keep for 1 week.
  7. Eat!

Very delicious but very rich!

Monday Lifelines

From Kaz Cooke’s “The little book of household madness”.

Polish your television roof aerial, install storm windows, sand the outdoor furniture and carve your own kitchen bench from soapstone.

Fashion your own stylish millinery from used ice-cream containers, gaffer tape and some garden hose. All you need is pinking shears, imagination and quite a lot of heavy drugs.

Write your own trivia game. Why do dessert forks have that little nick in them? What are the first 14 stanzas of Clancy of the Overflow? What are the planning regulations governing the siting of nuclear power stations in your area?

Take up sculpting in bronze, margarine and yogurt.

SATURDAY COOKING: ALEVROPITA (Greek feta pie) and CHUNKY CAPSICUM DIP

I have been catching up with summer cookbooks reading and found those 2 recipes which I think would work well together.
First, from Feast magazine “Celebrate summer cookbook”,  ALEVROPITA, ” a specialty of Epirus in Northern Greece. Essentially a doughy flatbread topped with feta and flavoured with oregano, it requires minimal ingredients and is easy to prepare, making it perfect for a picnic.”
You will need a 27cm × 23cm ovenproof dish for this recipe.

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300g (2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp dried Greek oregano leaves (sold on branches from selected delis)
Extra dried Greek oregano sprigs, to scatter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
160ml cold water
250g Greek feta

Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 180C. Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl, then stir in oregano and 1 tsp salt. Make a well in the centre and add eggs, 80ml (1/3 cup) oil, milk and cold water. Using a whisk, stir to combine then beat until mixture becomes a smooth, thick batter.
    2. Drizzle remaining 1 tbs oil over base of a 27cm × 23cm ovenproof dish and pour batter over the top. Crumble feta over batter and then scatter over oregano sprigs. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Cut into pieces and serve still warm, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
    3. Eat!

I used a glass dish (23cm × 30 cm). It makes a thin bread. And I used dried oregano leaves because I didn’t have any dried Greek oregano sprigs.
Nice taste, easy to make and I will freeze it. You could serve it plain but it would be nice with a selection of dips. It serves 6.

The other recipe, CHUNKY CAPSICUM DIP, comes from The Australian Women’s Weekly “Christmas and holiday entertaining” cookbook.

150g drained marinated roasted red capsicum
150g unsalted dry-roasted cashews
1/4 cup (20g) finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Blend or process ingredients until well combined, but not completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Eat!

Make sure you use fresh cashews (otherwise it will give an old taste to the dip) and add salt and pepper. And I added about 300g extra capsicum. To me, the original quantity was not enough.
I also added Sriracha sauce to the dip (hot chilli sauce) to make it more tasty for me. I got about 2 × 230ml jars of dip. Keep refrigerated.
So, morning tea today was greek feta pie and dip. Yummy!