Monday, 24 August 2009

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cup Cakes with Cocoa Whipped Cream

Ingredients:• 175g (6oz) plain flour • 200g (7oz) granulated sugar • 8 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder • 2 tsp baking powder • 1/4 tsp crushed chillies • 1 tsp cinnamon • 1/4 tsp sea salt, ground • 125ml (4fl oz) milk • 4 tbs oil • 250ml boiling water • 300ml (1/2 pint) double cream • 50g (2oz) icing sugar • 1 vanilla pod


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease 8 ramekins with oil, then add a little flour to each one, shake to coat the inside of the ramekin, then discard the flour. This prevents the cakes from sticking.

3. Mix the flour, 125g (5oz) granulated sugar, 4 tbs cocoa powder, baking powder, crushed chillies, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

4. Stir in the milk and oil, the batter will be stiff.

5. Spoon evenly into the prepared ramekins. Mix the remaining granulated sugar and 2 tbs cocoa powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in each ramekin. Spoon 2 tbs boiling water into each cup, do not stir.

6. Bake in the oven, on a pre-heated baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until the top is dry to the touch. Cool slightly before serving.

7. Meanwhile, beat the double cream and icing sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 tbs cocoa powder and the seeds from the vanilla pod, beat until stiff peaks form.

8. Serve the cup cakes with a dollop of cocoa whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. These are also great of cooked in coffee cups and served on a saucer. Ensure that you use coffee cups that are oven-proof. Serves 8

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Portuguese Peri-Peri Chicken

... or Piri-Piri Chicken, or Frango Piri-Piri, or Frango à Cafreal are all basically the same dish: chicken, marinated in a hot chile pepper marinade, then grilled. Spicy-hot Frango Piri-Piri is now so popular in Portugal that it is regarded as a Portuguese dish. (I like mine so hot that my eyes water) The most basic piri-piri marinade recipe calls for just oil, cayenne pepper or minced fresh hot chile pepper, and salt. Many piri-piri recipes add an acidic liquid (usually lemon or lime juice, or vinegar, or possibly wine or liquor) which adds a tang and tenderizes the chicken. I prefer to use lime juice.

1 chicken; whole or in large pieces

  • olive oil
  • lime or lemon juice
  • fresh hot chile peppers, minced
  • garlic, minced
  • parsley, chopped
  • salt
Rub the chicken all over with your marinade (inside and out if using a whole chicken). Allow the chicken to marinate for at least an hour, overnight if possible. Save any remaining marinade.

Cook the chicken on an outdoor grill or broil it in the oven. As it cooks, turn the chicken and baste it with the remaining marinade, making sure the marinade is completely cooked after the last basting. Remove the chicken from the grill or roasting pan with a clean fork (not one that came into contact with the uncooked marinade). Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Mini Lime Pies with Glazed Berries

From Gourmet August 2006
The texture spectrum of these pies is just as bold as their appearance: A crisp, flaky layered crust gives way to lush, creamy lime curd and juicy glazed berries.
Makes 6 servings.
For lime curd:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
For pastry rounds:
Pastry dough for a single-crust pie
3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
For glazed berries:
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 cups mixed raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries
Special equipment: 2 large (17- by 12-inch) baking sheets; parchment paper; a 3-inch round cookie cutter; a small blowtorch
Make lime curd: Whisk together eggs, sugar, and lime juice in a 2-quart heavy saucepan until combined. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of the whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Stir in zest, then chill, covered, at least 1 hour.
Make pastry rounds: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.Roll out dough into a 15-inch round (pastry will be thin) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Cut out 18 rounds with cookie cutter and arrange 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheet. Prick each round several times with a fork, then cover rounds with another sheet of parchment and weight with second baking sheet.Bake until rounds are pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove top baking sheet and parchment and transfer rounds to racks to cool.Sprinkle each round evenly with 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar and carefully caramelize with a blowtorch (sugar burns easily).
Make glazed fruit and assemble desserts: Boil confectioners sugar, water, and lime juice in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.Remove from heat and add berries, gently tossing to coat. (There will be just enough to glaze berries; they will give off a small amount of juice as they cool.)Cool berries 5 minutes.Put 1 tablespoon of curd on each of 6 plates. Stack 3 rounds on each plate, layering rounds with some of curd and glazed berries, then drizzle plates with some syrup.
Cooks' notes:•Lime curd can be chilled up to 3 days ahead. •Pastry rounds can be baked and caramelized 1 day ahead, then cooled and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Sheri's Berries

I first saw these yummy treats years ago when the company I worked for sent gift boxes to our executive clients. A step-by-step recipe makes it easy to make these dressed-up, tasty berries in your own kitchen!

Dark & White Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies

I saw Rachel Allen make these on TV today and they look delicious! I can't wait to make them for dessert at my next dinner party!

(Makes 25 squares)
200g (7oz) dark chocolate, chopped
150g (5oz) butter
225g (8oz) caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g (5oz) plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
225g (8oz) white chocolate buttons
125g (41/2oz) raspberries, plus a few extra to decorate

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. Line a 20cm (8in) square deep baking tin with greaseproof paper and grease the base and sides.
2 In a large bowl sitting over simmering water (also known as a bain marie), melt the dark chocolate and butter. Stir in the sugar and then gradually add the eggs. Add the sifted flour and baking powder followed by 125g (41/2oz) of the white chocolate and finally the raspberries.
3 Spread the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 35–45 minutes or until just firm on top. Remove from the oven and let sit in the tin for another 30 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
4 Melt the remaining white chocolate in a bowl sitting over simmering water. Stack the brownies on a plate or cake tray and when the chocolate is ready pour it over the top of the brownies. Decorate with a few fresh raspberries and watch your friends gasp with excitement.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Juicy Pork Shoulder with Lime

Doing the weekly shop at Sainsbury's yesterday, I did something unusual. I bought a pork shoulder joint. I have never cooked anything like this before and I didn't even have a recipe in mind. I have been searching the net for ideas to give this piggy a bit of latin kick. Here is a recipe using one of my favourite flavours - Lime!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 pork loin roast, boneless, about 3 to 4 pounds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine olive oil and lime juice. Rinse roast and pat dry. Put in a shallow bowl with the olive oil and lime juice mixture; turn to coat the roast on all sides. Combine the remaining seasonings and rub the roast all over. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, if desired.
Place in a lightly oiled roasting pan and roast at 180° for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a fruity salsa, fresh tomatillo salsa, or pico de gallo. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Ensaimadas (Majorcan Buns)

Micky and I had these for breakfast when in Pollensa on our "Babymoon". A Majorcan favorite, ensaimadas are warm, yeast-based cakes fashioned into round, coiled shapes. Although delicious, these cakes are time-consuming to prepare, because the dough must be allowed to rise several times.

4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup milk, warmed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups plain flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
175g butter, softened
Sugar for dusting
Disolve the yeast in the warmed milk and set aside. Combine the sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually add the flour and warm milk mixture. Blend thoroughly. Add the eggs and olive oil, mix well, and knead until soft and well-blended. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in volume.

Knead the dough again, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as possible over a floured surface. Brush the entire surface of the dough with softened butter. Start rolling the dough, bit by bit, from one side to the other (as if you were rolling up a poster). When the dough has been rolled up, allow it to rest for 1 hour.

After the dough has risen, coil it loosely, so that it resembles a snail shell. Transfer the coil to a greased baking sheet. Cover with an extremely large inverted bowl or bucket, large enough to ensure that the dough will not stick to the bowl's surface when it rises. Allow the dough to rise for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Bake the dough coil for around 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown. Brush the surface with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.
To serve, cut into slices.