Chocoberry and cheesecake

Spincop and Banjo have a baby on the way and I volunteered to make a cake for the shower. Initially my plan was to make cup cakes, then Spincop decided that was her area of expertise. So I went with a chocolate cake instead.

Chocoberry Layer Cake


For the cake
100g dark chocolate
250g butter
125g sugar cup
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla
200g cup SR flour
50g cocoa
125ml cup buttermilk

For the filling
150g frozen raspberries
100ml orange juice
125g cream cheese
150ml cream
125g icing sugar

Ganache and extra raspberries to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius. Grease a 20 cm cake pan and line the base with baking paper. Melt the chocolate. Stir through half the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Cream the remaining butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla, then the melted chocolate. Beat well to incorporate lots of air. Sift together the flour and cocoa. Add one third to the batter and mix well. Follow with half the buttermilk. Alternate adding the remainder of the flour and milk. Place in the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean - around 1 hour. Cool in the pan before turning out.

Meanwhile place the berries and orange juice in a saucepan. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar and bring to the boil. Cook until the berries are in a thick syrup. Whip the cream and stir through the icing sugar. Beat the cream cheese until soft, adding the berry mixture a little at a time. Combine with the cream and chill until needed.

Slice the cooled cake into two layers. If the cake cracks, "glue" the pieces together using ganache. Spread the raspberry cheesecake mix over the base of the cake, then place the other layer on top. Decorate with ganache and sprinkle with additional raspberries, or serve with extra cream and berries.

Fishy fishy fishy fish!

No photo of this meal - it was so delicious we ate it before I had time to get the camera out! I'll definitely be making it again, though, so will probably get around to adding a picture later.

Generally speaking, I use cook books for inspiration, rather than always religiously following recipes. So nine times out of ten, if I'm cooking something from a tradition outside my own, it's probably not going to be all that authentic. Still, if the end result is something yum, I'm not all that concerned about how close to the original it is.

Last night's dinner was based on a recipe for sole with coconut and ginger. With a distinct lack of sole in the house, I substituted flathead, and mixed a few other things around to match what was in the fridge. For the original recipe, try The Brazilian Kitchen, which is where I got my inspiration.

Flathead with coconut and ginger


For the topping:
1 tbspn olive oil
1 green capsicum, seeded and chopped
1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the sauce
1 tbspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbspn ginger, minced or grated
1 red onion, chopped
100 ml lime juice (around 3 limes)
300 ml vegetable stock
270 ml coconut milk

200g flathead fillets
1/4 cup flour
2 tbspn butter
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the capsicum and onion. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside. In another pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until the onion is translucent. Add the lime juice and reduce by around half. Add the stock and bring to the boil before adding the coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened and reduced. Dredge the fish in seasoned flour. Heat the butter in a large pan. Cook the fish until it is golden on each side. To serve, sprinkle the capsicum mix on top of the fish then spoon over sauce. Serve with arrox loco or ensalata palmito.

Berry surprising

We recently signed up at Costco and, amongst other things, managed to snag some bargain frozen berries on our first trip out there. I have a feeling most of them will end up in smoothies and sorbets, but the first thing I did with them was to make this cake. I imagine apples, pears or firm stone fruit would probably make a similarly delicious cake, but with the frozen berries you don't need to do any preparations, which is always a bonus.


Berry surprise cake


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen berries

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 20 cm sandwich pan. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly to combine. Place the vanilla in the milk. Add a third of the flour and mix well. Follow with half the milk, mixing thoroughly. Continue adding the flour and milk alternately, until all combined. Place half the batter in the prepared tin and sprinkle with berries. To with remaining batter, and smooth to cover all the berries. Bake at 180 until golden brown, around 30 - 35 minutes, then reduce heat to 150 and continue cooking until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before turning out. Top with white chocolate and citrus ganache or citrus butter cream icing.

Sticky rice dessert

Years ago I lived in a small town that had a tiny Thai restaurant. It was my first experience of Thai food, and to be honest, it was so long ago, I can't remember if it was authentic or more Westernized. Still, it set me on my way to absolutely loving Thai food.

One dish that stood out as particularly yum was their sticky rice, served as a dessert. This afternoon I suddenly felt like trying to recreate it. This is my version. Super sweet, very creamy and definitely bad for you. I'm sure it could be modified to be lower in fat, but if you don't have to, why would you?

Sticky rice


1 cup glutinous rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 tspn coconut essence
2 - 3 bananas

Method

Combine rice, coconut milk, coconut cream, sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until most of the water is gone, leaving a thick and creamy mixture surrounding softened rice. Remove for heat. Add the coconut essence and stir well. Mash the bananas and stir through the rice. Serve hot or cold.

For variations, try adding a tspn of cinnamon and replacing the coconut essence with vanilla. Replace the banana with apple or sultanas. Or add 1/2 - 1 tspn ground cardamon and forego the fruit altogether.
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