Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Food poll

As you might have noticed I have a new poll up looking for your ideas on which continent you think has the best food. I was originally going to ask which country had the best but there were far too many to create a decent size poll. Get voting!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Battenberg Recipe (highly recommended!

My all time favourite cake has to be the batternberg cake - it's delicious! To kick off this recipe, I'll give you a little history of the battenberg cake:
The battenberg cake was first created in honour of the marriage in 1884 between Queen Victoria's granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg - each of the 4 squares represents the four Princes!

See? It's not just delicious, it's also a blast of culture and history! Anyway, onto the recipe


150g caster sugar
150g  butter
1 vanilla pod
3 eggs
150g self raising flour
30ml milk
75g apricot jam
200g pre-rolled marzipan
pink food colouring

METHOD (difficulty: moderate)
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
Beat the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla seeds, flour and milk together until smooth. Pour half of the cake mixture into another bowl. Add a drop of pink food colouring to one of the bowls and stir.
Grease a 15cm/6in square cake tin with a thick layer of aluminium foil down the middle to divide the tin into two equal parts.
Spoon the pink cake mixture into one side of the tin and the plain mixture into the other side.
Put in to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool.
Trim the cakes to the same size, then cut them both in half lengthways.
In a pan, heat the jam with a little water until it becomes liquid.
Place one of the pink pieces of cake onto a work surface and brush one side with jam.
Lay a yellow piece next to it on the jam side and push together.
Brush the tops of both pieces with more jam.
Cut the rolled marzipan so that it's just slightly longer than the cake. Wrap it around the cake, brushing the edges with a little jam to seal them.
Trim off the excess marzipan at the ends
Leave to chill for half an hour then TUCK IN! -----------------------------------------------------------------------

I know you'll enjoy this one. I'm not sure how common Battenberg Cake is in countries like the USA but trust me, this is well worth the effort.b

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Recipe Resources

For many years I used the BBC Food domain as my default site for looking up recipes, cooking techniques and ideas for dishes along with videos. They have a great section that allows you to look up recipes from your favourite chefs. However I have recently discovered Shine from Yahoo which comes with a great section called the "cheat sheet" which offers simple and straight forward tips to prepare your food to perfection. There's also another section for those of you with food allergies that offers you the chance to prepare your favourite dishes while avoiding certain health hazards you may have.

You can search recipes by style, they offer a range of different types including:
*Low calorie
*Low preparation time
*Christmas and thanksgiving (particularly helpful - the holiday season will soon be here!)

I could go on forever, but I think you get the idea. This is a great site for finding quick, easy recipes tailored to your requirements which is particularly student friendly - yes, been there, done that, no longer do you have to eat out of a can! They of course have a wide variety of dessert recipes which come highly recommended by me!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Secret to a good Chocolate Cake

I always use unsweetened cocoa powder in my chocolate cakes. Melted solid chocolate is great for brownies, but I stopped using melted chocolate in my cakes within the first few months of baking because it's too heavy for cake. Every batch I baked with melted chocolate had a heavy, thick crust that was totally unappealing. Instead of adding melted unsweetened solid chocolate to the batter, I combine the cocoa powder with the dry ingredients. It gives me a great chocolate flavor and a rich but light, moist texture.

The commonly available unsweetened cocoa powder has 10% to 12% cocoa butter, which is alright but it also may be a little dry and dull. In my experience, there seems to be something in the chocolate liquor, the flavor-rich brown part of chocolate, that just doesn't bond with other fats as well as it does with cocoa butter. Bumping up the quantity of dairy butter isn't enough, adding cream makes the cake sticky, and vegetable oil merely coats everything in its path, making it feel moist when it's really just greasy. I've fiddled with chocolate cakes for years and still haven't found anything that works quite as well as unsweetened cocoa powder, with 22% to 24% cocoa butter.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Soft centred chocolate pudding recipe

I've found this to be one of the best dessert recipes I've come across, enjoy!


For the liquid filling
  • 150ml/5fl oz hot espresso or strong instant coffee
  • 150ml/5fl oz milk chocolate


    1. Firstly, make the liquid filling by melting the chocolate in the hot coffee and pouring into ice cube trays to about ¾ full. Freeze until required.
    2. Generously butter 8 individual souffli moulds and set aside.
    3. Melt the 66% chocolate with the butter in a bowl over hot water then remove from the heat.
    4. Beat together the yolks and sugar until light and fluffy and then combine with the melted chocolate. Sift the flour into the mixture.
    5. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks then fold into the chocolate mix and stand for approximately 1 hour. (Make in advance).
    6. Spoon some chocolate mix into the moulds to come to about ¼ full, then unmould the ice cubes and place one in the centre of each pudding. Now fill the mould up to ¾ full with more chocolate mix.
    7. Bake at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 10-12 minutes until the puddings rise. Remove and let rest for a couple of minutes then turn out onto a serving plate. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar and serve.


Friday, 27 August 2010

If food were music

I always imagined the chocolate pudding to be somewhat like a piano. Classy, elegant, takes great skill to master and provides a treat for the senses the moment you get going. When most people look at desserts they see a simple dish they will eat, enjoy and likely forget about later on in the evening. However it is important to consider all the work that went in to creating such a memorable experience for the consumer. The same could be said of music, you will listen to music, enjoy it for a brief period of time but are likely to forget it later on down the line with no consideration of all the work that went on behind the scenes to bring that experience together.

So, next time you're eating out and that delicious dessert is being brought over by the waiter, consider all the work that went on behind the scenes, all the ingredients coming together, the vigilance of the chef to make sure it comes out of the oven just in time.

Here we go!

Now I finally have this up and running, keep checking back for food tips, recipes and more!