Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nigellla's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Incredibly moist and delicious. My ancient camera doesn't do it any justice.
This recipe was created by Nigella to be gluten and dairy free, but not vegan. It does have eggs. If you can get farm fresh eggs, use them!

We made this cake as a family one Saturday afternoon, with my husband and daughter assisting with the various mixings. You'll see too a note about a great way for kids to help prep the cake pan.

The cake does have several steps, but the ingredient list is very simple, and the steps are easily executed too. Best of all, when done, you'll have a cake that is hard to leave alone. Nigella noted that the almond meal gives the cake more of a dinner-party pudding feel, with a "squidgy interior." If you are one who likes moist desserts, fudgy brownies, and good chocolate, you'll love this cake. We did. It only lasted two days in our home.

You will need...

2/3 cup regular olive oil (I used extra virgin), plus more for greasing
6 Tbsp good-quality unsweetened dark cocoa powder, sifted (sifting is always better, but I don't have a sifter and things went just fine. Just use a fork to smoosh all the little cocoa lumps before adding it.)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tsp best vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond meal (flour), OR 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour (if you are going gluten free, almond meal is your choice. If you are not going gluten free, almond meal is your choice... unless you are determined to have a lighter crumb cake.)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup superfine sugar (you really do want superfine sugar. It is in the baking isle.)
3 eggs

1 x 9 inch spring from cake pan (I only had a 10 inch pan, and things were fine. Just keep an eye on the bake time, though I didn't notice much difference).

What to do...

1) Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease springform pan with a little olive oil and line the base of it with parchment paper. (If you are baking with a kid, have them trace the pan and cut out the circle for you, it is good fun for them, and will give you a minute to attend to the next step.)

2) Measure and sift (or smoosh with fork) the cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water until you have a chocolatey, smooth, still runny (but only just) paste. Don't over mix! Whisk in the vanilla extract and set aside to cool a bit.
3) In a second small bowl, combine the almond meal (or regular flour) with the baking soda and salt.

4) Mix together the sugar, olive oil, and eggs and beat together vigorously until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream. (Nigella says to use a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment for this step, but I did fine with a wooden spoon.)

5) Pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in slowly add the almond meal (or regular flour) mixture. If you are using an electric mixer, be sure to turn the speed down before adding the cocoa and flour mixtures.

6) Scrape down and stir a little with a spatula, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester (you can use a thin knife) should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky crumbs clinging to it.

7) let it cool for 10 mins on a wire rack, still in its pan. Then, ease the sides of the cake with a small spatula and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely if you can (!) or eat while still warm with ice cream. Yum!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mariette's Sausage Buns (are really rich!)

I love going through cookbooks. And you have no idea how weird it is that I just wrote that.

My dad gave me a cookbook that I really wanted for Christmas. I found it while I was Christmas shopping, and immediately lusted for it. It was the picture of the "chocolate nutmeg cupcakes & glossy coffee frosting" that really did me in, but the first thing in the book I made was Mariette's Sausage Buns. The picture looked so incredibly, wholesomely rustic that they just begged to be made. So I did. I don't know if rustic usually equals incredibly buttery and rich, but these buns are both.

The recipe credit goes to Yvette Van Boven (and her mom), but the discovery that if you are going to go skiing, you should probably pack sausage buns for lunch is mine. These are not low-cal folks. There is enough meaty, buttery goodness to keep these buns from freezing solid on a cold day, and enough caloric power to blast you down the slopes of your choice.

Van Boven states that this is one of the oldest recipes she has. You should make them, don't you think?

(One last note. There is a bunch of writing coming up. Mostly things I learned making these buns. Don't be discouraged and think all the writing means they are hard to make. They are decidedly not hard.)

Be sure to see my note about crimping the ends of these yummies!
You will need...

For the Filling
2.25 lbs ground sirloin
1 egg
3 Tbsp ketchup
1/3 cup ketjap manis (This is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. I couldn't find it here, so I added a little sugar to my Braggs amino/soy sauce and called it good.)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp allspice
1 Tbsp grated nutmeg (ideally fresh, but mine wasn't)
2 Tbsp prepared mustard (I used a dijon)
handful of diced bread crumbs
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 tsp salt

To Wrap and Bake
oil or butter for greasing
1 egg, beaten
15 sheets of puff pastry, thawed... TAKE NOTE: This is an Irish recipe. Before this, I had never, ever bought frozen puff pastry before. At the store, the boxes each contained TWO sheets of pastry. I couldn't believe I was expected to buy 7+ boxes of pastry. It seemed inconceivable. And really expensive. And I wasn't going to do it. This resulted in a bit of grocery paralysis, as I already had all the other ingredients required in my basket. Finally, the price decided it for me. I would buy two boxes, four sheets total, and see what happened. What happened is I discovered that ONE U.S. pastry sheet apparently equals FOUR Irish pastry sheets. So don't buy 7+ boxes. Either make your own (which is easy as it turns out), or buy two boxes and cut each sheet into quarters.

What to do...

1) First, make the filling: Combine all filling ingredients in a big bowl and mix thoroughly. You may want to use your hands to get a good mix. For the bread crumbs, add only as much as necessary to make the filling smooth and consistent, but not too moist and definitely not sticky.

2) Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. (The original recipe states that you can alternatively grease the baking sheets. This would keep the buns from sticking, but I recommend using the parchment paper, as it will absorb a bit of the excess grease from the buns. A greased baking sheet will not...)

3) For each pastry sheet, make a "sausage" of the ground meat mixture. Fold the pastry around the mixture and press the edge firmly with your fingertips, then crimp with fork. Continue until all meat and pastry sheets are used. IMPORTANT NOTE: In Van Boven's recipe picture, the ends of the buns are not crimped. If you look at mine, you will see the ends are crimped. I crimped because there was enough pastry to do so, but I highly suggest not crimping the ends unless you are taking the buns on your ski trip. My feeling is that the end crimping held in excess grease from the meat. Without the end crimp, the grease could have drained out and been absorbed by the parchment paper. They still taste great crimped... but again, higher cal.

4) Arrange the rolls on the lined baking sheets and brush them with the egg. Bake 25 - 30 mins, until golden brown.

Yvette Van Boven suggests eating the buns with an apple & tomato chutney. I haven't made this yet, and the buns were great without it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'll come back...

Hello out there. Anyone? Anyone?

My poor lil' blog. I abandoned it. I did. And I don't even have a very good excuse. Heck, I don't even have a bad excuse.

But I do have a new cookbook that my Dad gave me for Christmas, and it is gorgeous, and perfect, and exactly the one I asked for.

Soooo... I made some stuff. And I took some pictures. And it tasted good.

I'm gearing up to post something real here.

Something real, real soon.