Showing posts from May, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cake

This recipe is my adaptation of one from an American cookery book called ' Mom's 100 Best Cakes' by Annette Bley. To be honest, most of the cakes in the book don't appeal to me as they're too fussy and complicated, but I've made this one a few times, usually in a plain springform tin; but my lovely dil gave me a tin which had a tube insert a while ago, so I thought I'd try it out. There seems to be a lot of ingredients, but it's not difficult to make, tho' it is a bit more effort than a chocolate sponge. The original recipe was of course in cups, hence the strange amounts. It's quite a big cake, so one to make for an occasion [and not if you're on a diet!]. Preheat oven 160C/gas3 Grease a 23cm/9" springform tin or tube pan, and line the base with baking paper. Dust inside of tin with flour and shake out excess. 2 tspn instant coffee granules 2 tsps vanilla extract 1/4 tspn hot water 330g plain flour 30g sr flour 40g + 1 tbs

Asparagus Tart

I'm making the most of the British asparagus season [hence the clafoutis in my previous post] so decided to make a tart. I wanted the asparagus to be the main feature, so no tomatoes nor other veg. Creme fraiche and eggs makes a good savoury custard, so that's what I used. To add some flavour I chopped up a spring onion [oh, I did say no other veg, but these aren't a strong flavour] and it needed some kind of herb, so I used some finely chopped thyme. I made some shortcrust pastry for the case. So, for the pastry: Put 200g plain flour and 120g butter in the food processor and blitz to breadcrumbs, then add 1 medium beaten egg mixed with 1 dspn water. Put it in the fridge in a polybag for 30 mins, then roll it out into a 20cm loose-bottomed flan tin. There was some pastry left over, so I put it in the freezer. I think this amount of pastry would be just right for a 22-23 cm tin, but I don't have one.  Bake the pastry blind, plus baking beans, in oven preheated  to 1

Asparagus and Tomato Clafoutis

And now for something completely different! I don't usually post anything savoury on here, but this was so tasty that I wanted to share it. I posted a recipe not long ago for a clafoutis, which we love. Looking through some old French cookery magazines of recipes for summer [making the most of the sun!] I found this recipe for a savoury version. Local asparagus will soon be gone, so this is a different way of making the most of it. 100g asparagus 10 cherry tomatoes 20cl of whole milk 25cl of single cream 2 eggs 4 tbspn plain flour salt and pepper Preheat oven 180C/gas4 4 ramekins or an oven-proof dish about 20cm. If you're using ramekins, cut the asparagus into 2 or 3 pieces, then wash and dry the tomatoes. In a bowl mix the eggs, milk and cream, season, then fold in the flour and beat with a whisk till it's all combined. Put the asparagus and tomatoes in the bottom of a greased ovenproof dish, or if using ramekins, as I did, put a couple of pieces

Walnut and Courgette cake

Another one of my favourite loaf cakes. This one's another quite healthy cake, as it uses wholemeal flour, sunflower oil and nuts. It came about because in France we always had a glut of courgettes and were finding ways to use them up. The recipe came from a neighbour who had the same problem! I suppose this is a bit of nostalgia too, as we don't have room to grow courgettes in our small garden, so the ones I used were lurking in the veg drawer. 3 eggs 90g light muscovado sugar 125ml sunflower oil 250g wholewheat flour 1 tspn baking powder 1 tspn bicarb. of soda 1 tspn cinnamon 1 tspn allspice 150g grated courgettes 125g chopped walnuts 60g sunflower seeds Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas4 Grease and base line a 900g loaf tin. Beat eggs and sugar together and gradually add oil. Sift flour into another bowl and add the baking powder, bicarb, spices and nuts. Add the grated courgettes and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones

French 'Flan'

One of my favourite French desserts, which you find in most French Patisserie shops and supermarkets, is a 'flan'. It's like our custard tart but with flour added to the custard mixture, which makes it more solid, just like a set custard. I've never made one, but browsing on the web I found a few recipes. Apparently, French pastry chefs use a 'Flan' powder. Some recipes used sweet shortcrust pastry, others puff pastry, but the method was usually the same. Some added seeds from a vanilla pod, others vanilla extract. I decided to make some sweet shortcrust pastry  - these ingredients make 250g of pastry. 125g plain flour 80g cold butter cut into cubes 25ml milk pinch salt 10g caster sugar 1 small egg yolk Put the butter and flour onto a working surface and rub the butter in till it's fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk, then add the salt and sugar and dissolve them in the milk with your fingertips. Add the egg yolk and

Walnut and Orange Cake

This is a nice easy, healthy cake made using a food processor. I love Claudia Roden's orange cake with whole cooked oranges, but this recipe uses a whole orange, chopped up and not cooked. We're trying to eat less and lose a bit of weight. I know eating any cake won't help, but at least this one has oil instead of butter and  is a healthier option [or IS it? I'm confused by all the research on butter, oils and fats] You need a thin skinned orange, a navel if possible, as it has little bitter pith and no seeds - I found some in my local supermarket which were fine. They were sold singly, not in a net. preheat oven 180C/gas4 grease and base line a 20cm springform cake tin So, cut 1 orange into quarters and take out any core and pips. Put it in a food processor with 220g of caster sugar, 100 ml olive oil and 2 eggs, then whizz it up till the orange is finely chopped. Add 135g plain wholemeal flour with 2 tspns of baking powder and 100g ground walnuts and whizz a