I’ve got Belgian chocolate feeling lonely in the cupboard and Gaby has requested chocolate cake. Time to pay in the kitchen.
There is a great series out of Australia called The Gourmet Farmer, by Matthew Evans.
I used crème fraîche instead of sour cream and used a 20cm springform cake tin, because that is the closest size I could find in the kitchen. The dark chocolate was a Belgian dark chocolate with 54% cocoa.
A Very Good, Very Chocolaty Chocolate Cake
125g butter, softened
150g brown sugar (soft)
1 tsp vanilla extract (use the good stuff, it makes a difference)
100g dark chocolate, melted (at least 50% cocoa)
100g sour cream
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
100g self-raising flour
125g almond meal
100mls whipping cream
250g chocolate, broken into small bits (at least 50% cocoa)
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 22cm springform cake tin or similar.
Cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at time. If the mix looks a bit curdled, don’t worry, it isn’t; it’ll come back together when we add the flour, if not before. Beat in the chocolate, then the sour cream until just combined. Fold in the sifted cocoa and flour and then the almond meal. Scrape into the cake tin and smooth the top a bit. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Ice with the ganache (see below).
Heat the cream in a small saucepan and when it comes to the boil, whisk in the chocolate, returning to the heat if necessary to melt it. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Allow to set just enough to be able to spread over the cake.
Who doesn’t love cookies?
I love shortbread and these delicious shortbread cookies from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook are definitely worth baking.
The whole house will fill with the wonderful aroma of freshly ground cardamom.
If you do not yet have the book, I encourage you to get a copy in your hands and start cooking from it. If you don’t have the book, you can still make these cookies by following the recipe for Pistachio and Cardamom Shortbread Biscuits over at Chilli and Mint.
For this batch of bread, I used organic unbleached stone ground white flour instead of high grade (bread) flour. The boules browned slightly quicker than when using standard high grade flour.
I had some Champagne ham that I picked up at the store this morning and used a bit to make a sandwich for lunch: Ham and cheese on sourdough with homemade mayonnaise.
Time for more pastry!
Yesterday I made a quantity of salted pastry and let it rest in the fridge overnight. Today, I rolled out the pastry and lined 8 tart rings, then let them rest in the fridge for 30 minutes whilst the oven heated to 190C.
After 20 minutes in the oven, I pulled off the beads and brushed the inside of the pastry cases with egg wash, then baked them for an additional 8 minutes.
I made a simple chocolate ganache filling by melting equal portions by weight of Belgian chocolate in simmering cream. These look good enough to eat.
I have some cream left over. I think I will serve these topped with whipped cream. Oh, that reminds me… I spotted clotted cream at the store the other day – need to pick up a pottle, I think.
I have already been thinking of what pastry to bake next. I suppose you will just have to wait for it.
I put my sourdough culture into deep freeze in January, whilst we went on holiday to East Cape. I restarted the culture about a three weeks ago and baked a few pizzas with it last week. It was time to bake some bread.
Yesterday, I mixed up a batch of Tartine sourdough, formed two boules, and left them to retard in the fridge overnight. This morning, I baked off the boules. The weather was a bit rough last night and I was not sure we would still have power in the morning, but the power stayed on and I was able to bake two boules early this morning without interruption.
Fresh from the oven. Quick, grab a bread knife!
There’s nothing quite like the hot, steamy, almost custardy texture of a slice of home made sourdough bread fresh out of the oven. It needs no adornment; but, if you must, a slathering of Lewis Road Creamery Premium New Zealand Butter goes down a treat!
It’s been a while since I last made pizza, as I put my sourdough starter into deep freeze in January. It’s been a long time. Too long.
I mixed up a batch of pizza dough this morning. I usually let the dough cold ferment for at least three days before I make a pizza, but it’s been so long I couldn’t wait…
Pizza Margherita: Chopped tomato, Fior Di Latte, Basil, and a Well Deserved Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.