Saturday, May 30, 2015

Raspberry Ricotta Cake

Before I went on holidays, I had a massive container of ricotta cheese to use up.  I came up with some recipes that I felt so so about after a Google search, but the Eureka moment came when I read about a raspberry ricotta cake on The Amateur Gourmet.  It looked devine and just what I wanted to make.

The recipe is Bon Appetit's Raspberry Ricotta Cake.  I followed the recipe to a T save for adding an extra quarter cup of raspberries on top (because I didn't have any).

It turned out to be a beautiful cake - moist, light and with tang from the raspberries.

It was delightful served warm with icecream for dessert:

It was also good on its own served at room temperature next day.  Loved this cake - I'd make it again.

Friday, May 29, 2015

FFWD - Celebration Week #1: The AHA Moment - Lamb Tagine with Apricots

This week for French Fridays with Dorie, we have to choose your favorite, loved the most, best recipe in FFWD to share this week and explain why, and share our top 5 favorites.

There are many recipes in Around My French Table that I really loved.  When I went back through my FFWD posts to make a list of the recipes that I liked the most, I noticed that a recurring theme was Dorie's meat and fruit combinations - chicken tagine with sweet potato and prunes, duck with kumquats and pork with mango and lychees.  Accordingly, it made sense to me that I would choose one of these meat and fruit dishes as my AHA! moment.  It was hard to pick one dish over another, but I landed on Dorie's Lamb Tagine with Apricots.

This tagine pairs meat with fruit in a classic sweet and savoury combination, and jazzes it all up with a mix of spices.  My experience is that the tagine tastes best next day, when the flavours have had time to develop and meld.
I have made tagines before Dorie's, but not all of them hit the mark.  This one is particularly good, and tastes fabulous with Dorie's cardamom rice pilaf, or ordinary brown rice.
In addition to the Lamb Tagine with Apricots, five of my other favourite dishes from AMFT are:
To see  what the other Doristas regarded as their AHA! moment from AMFT, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TWD - Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake

For Tuesday with Dorie (Baking Chez Moi) this week, our recipe is Rhubarb Upside Down Brown Sugar Cake.

This cake was simple to make, amd took just over an hour, including preparation.  My baking time was more like 40 minutes than the 20 minutes stated by Dorie. I started making the cake batter while the rhubarb was stewing in its juices so that I could streamline the process (as you do when you start baking at 9pm).

The resulting cake was beautiful, light and moist with a caramel flavour from the brown sugar, and the tangy rhubarb topping worked a treat as a contrast to the sponge.  I used raspberry jam as a glaze and that worked fine too.

To see what the other TWD bakers thought of this cake, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Totally Unicorn Beetroot Cake for 8th Blogiversary

Wow, I can hardly believe it - I have been blogging in this space for 8 years today.  My blog started with modest aspirations - I just wanted to chronicle what I cooked.  I had been a "lurker" for a couple of years beforehand after discovering food blogs through a newspaper article on cupcakes.  The first blogs that I read were Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit and 52 Cupcakes by the Cupcake Queen.It all grew from there.

After I while, I figured that there was no reason why I couldn't start my own blog.  The beginnings of this blog were humble, and it still is - I keep it because I enjoy chronicling my food adventures, and since joining various cooking groups online, it has also become a social activity for me.

To celebrate the 8th birthday of this blog, I have made Poh Ling Yeow's Totally Unicorn Beetroot Cake which I saw on her charming show, Poh &Co:

What is not to love about this cake - chocolate, beetroot, cream cheese, cream and more chocolate:

My cake batter probably wasn't quite right as it was so thick, I pressed it into the pan rather than poured it, but no matter - the cake seemed to turn out alright in the end, and any dryness was more than compensated for by the cream cheese filling and ganache.
Poh's ganache recipe worked out really well - you could apply it straight away without it running all over the place.
In case you wondering about the name of this cake, it comes from the  name of a heavy metal band in which Poh's brother-in-law, Mikey, is the drummer - Poh makes this cake for the band whenever they stay with her.  
If you fancy a chocolate cake with a difference, then the Totally Unicorn Beetroot Cake is definitely worth a go.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Plum Jam

I recently made some plum jam using yellow plums.

To make jam, the general rule is one part fruit to one part sugar.  In this case, I also added the juice of a lemon to up the pectin content (which helps the jam to set).  I removed the plum stones but left the skins on to give some texture to the jam.

Once you have your fruit, sugar and lemon juice (if using) in a saucepan, you bring it all to a rolling boil and continue to boil until it thickens sufficiently that when you place a drop of it on a plate that has been in the freezer and run your finger through it, it wrinkles and a gap remains where your finger had been.  If the jam runs back into the gap and doesn't wrinkle, it is not ready yet, so you have to keep boiling it.

Once the jam is ready, pour it into jars that have been sterilised (by placing in the oven for 1 minutes or by boiling in a pot of water) and seal.

Making a jam is a great way to use up surplus fruit, or to preserve a slice of summer for the winter months ahead.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Coconut Cream Cake

I hate wasting ingredients, and I find that Google is my friend when I am looking for ways to use up odds and ends of perishable ingredients.

Recently, I found myself with the best part of a can of coconut cream to use up.  Turning to trusty Google, I found this recipe for coconut cream cake by Anne Thornton.

It is quite a decadent cake, being a double decker glory, so instead of coating the whole cake in icing, as suggested by Anne, I just filled the middle of the cake and iced the top with the cream cheese frosting:

This cake is beautifully moist and very coconutty in flavour.  I would definitely make it again.

Friday, May 22, 2015

FFWD - Last recipe - Chicken in a Pot – the Garlic and Lemon Version

Well folks, it's been a wild ride, but here we are - the last one.  We are up to the very last recipe in Around My French Table - Chicken in a Pot - the Garlic and Lemon Version.  This is the cover recipe, so it is fitting that it is the last recipe that we make. The recipe has been posted online here.

You can see pretty easily from the photos what comprises Chicken in a Pot - roast chicken and vegetables with broth steamed in a pot in the oven, with a basic dough used to seal in the steam.  The vegetables are the classic combination of carrots, onions and celery, with sweet potatoes and whole garlic cloves thrown in for luck.  The broth is comprised of chicken stock, white wine and herbs.

The dish is served with bread on the side - for soaking up the broth, of course!!! 

There is nothing not to like here - who doesn't like roast chicken?  It was an easy to dish to make - not much chopping, and the chicken and vegetables being browned before going into the oven to give them some colour and flavour.

For the last time on our almost five year journey, go visit the LYL section of the FFWD website to see what the other Doristas thought of Dorie's Chicken in a Pot – the Garlic and Lemon Version.

However, don't despair - we are partying on for another four weeks to reminisce about the highlights of our Around My French Table odyssey.  Join us for the fun!