Monday 20 July 2009

15 Minute Magic - Chocolate Amaretti Torte

Moist gorgeous cake, deep chocolate glaze, almond cream and a sprinkling of Amaretti crumbs
Well, it’s been a funny sort of Summer. First before the schools broke up we had long spells of sunshine, and really, it was so horribly hot I was longing for a day trip to the North Pole, just to cool down a bit. This last weekend it’s tipped it down with rain like it was never going to stop, and it was actually cold with it. We British are rarely happy with the weather, and we do like a good moan about it. Particularly in Scoltand where 3 or 4 seasons of weather in one day is not unusual.

It’s made cooking a bit on the tricky side, who want’s light summery food when you are trying to keep the cold out of your bones, then you plan something comforting and it’s hot again. I’ve recently been re-reading Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan, and it’s lost none of it charm, just reading it can comfort. Dorie’s writing really appeals to me, because she is a very nice lady who loves to cook for her family and friends.

I’ve become and avid reader of Dorie Greenspan’s website and also David Lebovitz’s website and would recommend them both heartily. I do hope they don’t think I’m a weird internet girl who’s been at the whisky, I’m not; well I don’t think I am anyhow. My problem is I have lots of friends who like to eat, but no real foodies and it is so good to talk about food with other like minded food people - as well as cook it!
Anyhow, where I’m going with this is we had friends round at the weekend when it was wet and cold, and I cooked a roast chicken with Summery roast veg and gravy. For dessert I did the thing I almost never do. I cooked a pudding that I’ve not made before for the day. It was a Dorie recipe, but still that’s a risk I don’t usually feel happy taking, but for whatever reason I did it this time. It worked out a dream! I did 15 minute magic: Chocolate Amaretti Torte. I’ve made a couple of other ones before, one of Giada De Laurentiis’s and one of Rachel Allen’s, both of which were lovely. Dorie’s one is a flourless (if your Amaretti are flour free) and rich with almonds and chocolate. To top it off there is a chocolate glaze, followed by a gorgeous almond cream and a final flourish of Amaretti crumbs. A restaurant worthy dessert. In fact getting something this good when eating out is pretty unlikely. I’m giving it a post all to itself, because really it is so good, it deserves it!

You’ll find the recipe in Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. If you do a search for it is ‘out there’ on the internet, as it was covered by the wonderful group Tuesday’s With Dorie, I’m not linking as I don’t know any of the bloggers who posted the recipe, but do search away!

Monday 13 July 2009

More Entertaining

A glorious treat, Pistachio and Raspberry Macaroons
Here is the next batch of pictures I’ve cooked from In The Mood For Entertaining by Jo Pratt. I’m still enjoying this book a lot, and still have so many want-to-make recipes. The layout and presentation of the book is really lovely, quite calming after a trying day. Here goes, hope you enjoy.

11.Raspberry and Pistachio Macaroons
These are amazing! Little macaroons (think macarons if in the US) filled with a high quality jam and a little cream. I’ve made macaroons before, but they have been coconut filled confections. I’ve always fancied trying this type, and certainly like to eat them, but having read the trials and tribulations of many a online blogger, I became a bit scared of them. I’m glad I gave them a go though, as these were really easy and very delicious. Easily on of my very favourite recipes. There are also hazelnut macaroons in the book filled with Nutella – their time is coming. Recipe link at the foot of this post.

12.Limoncello Jellies
From the Girls’ Night In chapter. Very pretty little jellies, I thought they were too sour, although I do have an extremely sweet tooth. Hubby who doesn’t have my tooth found them sour too, maybe it was the brand of Limoncello, next time I’ll taste as I go along and add a good bit more sugar.

13.Chorizo and Manchego Tart
This was easy and very yummy, I did have the intention of making individual tarts, as in the picture in the book, but on the night I made them time was so short I just did one big one. I served them with their perfect match:

14.Broad Bean and Pepper Salad
Now this salad should have had marinated anchovies in it, but I can’t go anchovies if I can see them, so just added more peppers. Fabulous Summer salad.

15.Blackberry and Lemon Curd Fool
I managed to get some local blackberries, and made them into this fool. Top rate fool, with sweetness, fruity-ness and zing from the lemon curd. There is a bit of cassis in there too, just to up the berry flavour, which is does admirably. These pink puddings should have been garnished with fresh berries, which I duly kept aside from pureeing, then we ate them the next day when I realised I’d forgotten about them, oops sorry about that…

16. Fruity Flapjacks
I made these with Missy for Daddy for Father’s Day. Easy to make and very fruity indeed. Just the thing to make with a little one: as long as you do the chopping and hot bits. Did Daddy like them? He did indeed =)

17. Pasta with Pesto, Saffron, Feta and Beetroot Topping
We had this one Friday night. Good pasta, I couldn’t go the Feta warmed through (which is odd as I love feta cold). The beetroot topping was knockout, a really inspired touch by Jo. I’m making this one again for us, still with the Feta for Hubby, I’ll probably go for a milky Buffalo Mozarella for mine.

18.Marinated Steak with 19. Asian Coleslaw and 20. Chilli Chips
The beef part of this should be Chateaubriand, I used steak as had some to use from the freezer. The chilli chips were lovely as was in Asian coleslaw, a peanut butter, rice vinegar and Fish Sauce spiked slaw – which I’ve made a few times now.

21. Passion Fruit and Lime Cheesecakes with Coconut Crumbs
These individual puddings were the recommended finale to the steak dinner above. They were really very good indeed, just the right balance of rich cream, cream cheese, sugar, tangy passion fruit and lime. The coconut crumbs were just that, not set like a cheesecake base, and easily contained by the glass ramekin.
For the link to the Pistachio and Raspberry Macaroons click here.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

The Sweet Life In Paris

The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz. This is another book that I pre-ordered months before publication. A new David book – how could I not?! It’s not a recipe book like his others. That isn’t to say there aren’t recipes in there, but it’s more a look at Parisians, Paris and the life of an American pastry chef in Paris, and how he has survived the good the bad and the unusual – with recipes included. Any readers of David’s fantastic blog will know he is capable of extremely witty writing and, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) fabulous recipes.
The reason this one hasn’t appeared on here before is that I was attempting to keep it for a trip we have planned, and it’s the perfect holiday book for (1) a foodie (2) a lover of Paris or (3) fan of David’s recipes / writing. Any one would be a good enough reason to buy it, I’m all three, so there was no question about it. I love Paris, it is one my favourite cities to visit, and being a thinker I have often wondered what it’s like for the resident non-Parisien, living there but not on holiday. What are the apartments like, the food, the codes of conduct? I would have certainly realised it would be different, but how different? You’ll have to read it for yourself to see. I hope I don’t frustrate you here dear reader, but I don’t want to spoil the read for anyone, just give an insight.
So after a day of making Ice Creams from his last book The Perfect Scoop I picked up the Sweet Life In Paris on my way top bed one night and started reading long into the night. Just before I put it down I flipped through to the recipe index at the back….chicken tagine with apricots and almonds…fig-olive tapenade….dulce de leche brownies. DULCE DE LECHE BROWNIES if ever a recipe title lured me in that was it, and the next day I made them. None of the brownie chocolate character was lost, but neither was the dulce de leche a perfect treat of a brownie.
Now I thought I was through with trying new brownie recipes, really I did, I thought I had all occassions covered on the brownie front. A Martha Stewart one for everyday, a Maida Heatter one for a tropical hit, two of Dorie Greenspan’s: minty ones for my minty obsession and French ones for dinner parties. Well, these new one’s have a place too either as a with tea/ coffee on their own or with a little cream and strawberries for dessert. Real Wows either way.
Here is the link for the recipe from David’s website.