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Daily Archives: May 9, 2013

Chocolate and Raspberry Vacherin 

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I  love meringue  – making it and eating it of course. I cook all versions of egg white and sugar creations from pavlovas to vacherins, dacquoises and plain old meringues.

A vacherin is two discs of meringue sandwiched together with cream and a yummy filling. Chocolate flavoured meringue and cream and raspberries go so well together.

INGREDIENTS

4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 heaped tbs cocoa or to taste
100gms dark chocolate
250mls cream, whipped
300gms frozen raspberries
1 tbs icing sugar

METHOD

Defrost raspberries with icing sugar.
Drain off excess liquid.
Blitz chocolate in food processor until the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 150degrees C (non fan forced).
Place a sheet of baking paper on each of 2 baking trays.
Roughly mark out a circle on each  – about the diameter of a dinner plate.
Spray lightly with non-stick spray.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff.
Gradually beat in sugar, continue beating until very stiff.
Stir in vanilla and vinegar, then stir in cocoa and chopped chocolate.
Spoon onto paper circles.
Place baking trays in centre of oven.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Turn oven off, leave in oven with door ajar for further hour.

When meringues are completely cool, carefully remove from baking paper.
Place 1 meringue with flat side facing up on a plate.
Spoon cream onto meringue, then raspberries.
Place second meringue on top, flat side down.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Decorate with chocolate shavings or fresh berries as desired.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

 IMG_5931I’m currently researching lemon cakes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! I love any cakes with lemon or yoghurt or white chocolate or sour cream and that incorporate a lemon syrup.

I’ve made Jamie Oliver’s Greek Semolina cake and the always wonderful Le Pirate’s Lemon White Chocolate cake recently, both with my own Quirky tweaks.

And I have been making Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern orange cake for many years. So I made a cake which incorporated the Claudia Roden idea of cooking the whole fruit, with a yoghurt and oil based cake. Lemon drizzle syrup and a passionfruit icing gave a tangy sweetness.

Cook’s note: I have found with this cake and previous versions that you need to drench the cake with lemon syrup to make sure it’s very moist. Maybe I need to adjust my flour quantities or my cooking times? I would welcome some thoughts!

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 24 cm spring form tin and line the base with baking paper.

Place the lemon in a saucepan with water and boil gently till soft- about 1 hour. When cooked, leave to cool, then blitz in a food processor until pureed.
Place the caster sugar in the food processor, blitz until well combined.  Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Stir in the yoghurt, followed by the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin. It will be quite loose.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in the tin, and then turn out onto a rack.

Lemon Syrup

Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.

Pierce the cake all over with a skewer. While the cake is still warm, drizzle the lemon sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in.

Passionfruit Icing

Place 1 cup icing sugar in a bowl with 2 passionfruit. Mix carefully to make a smooth, flowing icing. Ice the cake, allowing the icing to flow over the sides of the cake.

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins, Pomegranate Couscous and Avocado Salad

Since I acquired and first used my beautiful crimson red tagine, featured in the post on Rozelle Village Markets, I have been very keen to give it a proper Road Test.

A working dinner with old friends allowed me to to give it the Top Gear treatment, and it passed with flying colours.

Pre-dinner nibbles  – toasted flatbread with rocket pesto, and tomato and green olive dip.

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The Top Gear team provided the production values. Jeremy photographed the Event,  Richard the director gave creative advice and James brought some curious items from his Man Lab to enhance the theatricality of the Event. The Stig was notable for his absence. Perhaps he doesn’t like lamb…

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Tagine of Lamb Shoulder with Apricots and Raisins

Ingredients
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon chilli powder or sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon tagine spice (Essential Ingredient make a fabulous blend)
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
1 kg diced lamb shoulder
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

Method

Combine spices and salt in a large bowl.  I prefer to grind my own in mortar and pestle. Add the oil, rind and half the juice and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well coated in the paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or longer.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Put the lamb mixture into a tagine or heavy bottomed casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried apricot roughly chopped and raisins. Cook, covered for a further 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.
Tap half a pomegranate over the tagine to release the jewel like seeds, and scatter with a sprinkling of pistachio kernels. 

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Pomegranate Couscous

Cook your favourite couscous recipe – mine has lots of oil and butter to enrich it  – and serve with the seeds of the other pomegranate half scattered as artistically as the slippery seeds will allow!

Avocado Salad

A selection of your favourite salad greens  – on this occasion mine were rocket and baby cos lettuce – with baby Shepard avocados, and a great dressing.  Lindeman’s E.V. Olive Oil and Raspberry Vinegar worked well.

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