Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate and Beetroot cake

This is a great recipe I found from the Telegraph on line. Its surprisingly easy to make. I have not changed anything from the original as it was perfect as it was! Recipe by Diana Henry and photo by Yuki Sugiura.

250g (9oz) cooked beetroot (fresh not pickled!)
75g (2¾oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
125g (4½oz) butter, softened
300g (10½oz) soft light-brown sugar
3 eggs
50g (1¾oz) cocoa powder, sifted
225g (8oz) self-raising flour, sifted
¼ tsp salt

For the icing
150g (5½oz) good-quality plain chocolate, broken into small pieces
140ml (5fl oz) sour cream
5 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp crème de cassis
grated white chocolate, for decorating (optional)

Grate the beetroot quite coarsely. Put the chocolate into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and melt. Put the butter, sugar and eggs in a mixer and beat until light and pale. Add the melted chocolate then fold in the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Finally, stir in the beetroot.

Pour the batter into a greased cake tin measuring 20-23cm (8-9in) and cook in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn on to a wire rack to cool.

Put all the icing ingredients except the cassis in a bowl and set over simmering water. Allow to melt, but don’t let it get too hot. Take off the heat and add the cassis. Stir vigorously until you have a smooth, glossy mixture. Leave to cool and thicken. Spread over the cake with a palette knife, then scatter with grated white chocolate. Leave the icing to set before serving with crème fraîche.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

An old favourite. This makes a 9" pie and has no butter. It's a lower fat alternative! I found this recipe in an edition of the Canadian 'Hello' magazine.

For crust:
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafers - crushed
2 tbs water
1 tbs vegetable oil
Combine in small bowl

For filling:
1 can plus 2/3 cup low fat sweetened condensed milk
1 tbs lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 egg yolks
Beat all together untill well combined. Let sit for about 10 mins until thickened

For meringue:
3 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbs water
Beat until stiff peaks form

Pre-heat oven to 350F
Lightly coat a 9" pie pan (removable bottom is best) with non stick cooking spray.
Press the crsut mixture into the bottom and sides of pan.
Pour the filling into the crust and bake for about 20mins or until set.
Spread the meringue mixture on top, increase oven temperature to 375F and bake for 10 mins or until meringue is lightly browned.

Chill and enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grilled Pork Fillet in a yogurt marinade

This is a really tasty marinade that would also go well with chicken.The pork will be slightly crisp on the outside and succulent in the middle. Great with a salad. I believe the pork fillet is called tenderloin in the US.

2 1/4 cups plain yogurt
3 tbs olive oil
2 1/2 tbs  lemon juice
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp black pepper
2/1/2 lbs of pork fillet
1 cup  fresh mint leaves
2 tbs minced shallot

Whisk together 1 cup yogurt, 2 tbs oil, 1 tbs lemon juice, salt, and spices, then add pork and turn until coated well. Marinate at room temperature 20 minutes.

While pork is marinating, prepare grill for cooking. Use a grill pan and bring it to a medium hot setting. You can even use a barbeque but make sure the charcoal is medium hot.

While grill is heating, whisk together remaining 1 1/4 cups yogurt and 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice and salt to taste.

Remove pork from marinade (you can discard the marinade now as it won't be needed) and grill pork on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over occasionally, until just cooked through, but test to be sure that the juices are not too pink as undercooked pork can be a health hazard! Transfer pork to a platter and slice.

Toss together mint, shallot, and remaining tbs oil in a small bowl. Drizzle pork with yogurt sauce and top with mint salad.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stuffed Calamari

Calamari (squid) are one of the most succulent dishes typical of the Mediterranean. In most Mediterranean countries, such as Spain and Greece, squid is cut into rings, deep friend and served with a slice of lemon, but in Malta it is more popular to stuff them. The trick is buying the right size ( a 6" body would do) so that it is easy to stuff them. Make sure they are properly cleaned!

4 medium sized cleaned squid (calamari)
3 finely chopped onions
Garlic finely chopped
1 small can tuna - or about 300gms
300gms fresh breadcrumbs
8 large tomatoes (chopped)
200 grams olives (finely chopped)
fresh mint/basil/parsley - chopped
white wine
olive oil
1 tbs capers

Heat the oil in a large pan. Remove the head of the squid, cut in small pieces and fry. Add the onion and the garlic and fry lightly. Add the tomatoes and a glass of wine and cook gently for about 20 minutes. Take a couple of tablespoons of this sauce and add to a bowl containing the bread, the olives, the capers, the tuna and the herbs. Mix well. Fill the cleaned squid with this mixture and secure the open end with a toothpick.

Place the stuffed calamari in the pan containing the tomato sauce and simmer until cooked, for about 45 minutes. Add some water to the sauce if it starts getting too dry. The calamari are served whole or can be cut into thick rings after having slightly cooled down. The sauce is usually served on the side.

Soup Basics

What could be better than a hot bowl of soup on a winter's day?
Homemade soup is easy but there are a few basics to remember.

I always start by lightly frying and onion, some celery , a carrot and a clove of garlic. Depending on the soup, you can also add some bacon or ham.
A common  combination is called mirepoix, named for the French town in which it was supposedly first invented. It is simply a 2:1:1 ratio of diced onion, carrot and celery. (Equal amounts of celery and carrot, with twice as much onion). Mirepoix often also contains diced ham in a smaller amount

The broth you use as the liquid part is also important. You can use home made stock, white wine, or even cheat and use store bought stock.

The main ingredient would be what the soup is - chicken, vegetable, beef etc etc

I always add bouquet garni for flavour.

So the basic recipe would be:
Lightly fry the base ingredients, add the main flavour ingredient and lightly fry for a few minuites,
Add the stock and cook for as long as necessary.

You can either liquidize or leave as is (in this case the main ingredient would have to be cut up into small pieces)

For a cream soup, add the cream after you have liquidized the soup

This is just a very basic way of makin a soup so if anyone has more suggestions please let me know!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lemon Vanilla Tart

This recipe takes a longer time to make as there is some preparation - but the end result is worth it. I believe the original recipe was from a magazine called Better homes and gardens - I'm not too sure as it was given to me hand written on a rather scruffy piece of paper!

First you need to make the lemon slices:
2 lemons
1/4 cup sugar
Line a baking tray with parchment
Cut lemons into slices about 1/4 inch thick (they will be circles)
Arrange on baking tray, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 275 for about 50 mins untill  they are dry and covered with a glaze. Loosen from paper whilst still warm so that they won't stick.

Next is the pastry:
1/2 cup butter(cold)
1 14/ cups flour
1 egg yolk
Iced water
Cut butter into small pieces. Mix with flour, using fingertips till you get a breadcrumblike consistancy. Put aside.
In a bowl, mix egg yolk and 1 tbs iced water. Mix into flour mixture  bit by bit. Add some more cold water until you get a firm ball of pastry. Chill for about an hour, then roll out into a 10-11" circle

Prepare the pastry:
Pre heat oven to 450f. Put pastry into a 9" pan with a removable bottom that has been sprayed with non stick. Press pastry to sides and trim.
Line pastry with a double layer of foil and bake for 8 mins. Remove foil and bake for another 5-6 mins. Let cool. Remove from pan and place on a baking tray

The filling:
turn oven down to 350f.
2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tbs vanilla

Grate 4 tsp lemon peel
Squeeze 6 tbs of lemon juice
In a medium bowl, mix sugar and flour. Add eggs and beat on high speed for about 4 mins until light and thick.
Stir in lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla.
Pour into the ready made pastry case.
Bake for about 25 mins or until lightly browned.
Cool on a wire rack.
Top with lemon slices and sprinkle some mint for decoration

You can even garnish with roasted sliced almonds or  some whipped cream.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Let's talk about Pasta!

I haven't been doing much cooking unfortunately - too much work and too little free time. However, pasta is always a simple and easy dish to make. Here are some dos and don'ts about one of my favourite foods.


Use a large pot that holds at least 7 quarts. The lighter the pot, the better; the water will come to a boil faster than with a heavy stockpot. ALWAYS return to a boil quickly after you add the pasta.

Salt the water once it comes to a boil.  The seasoning will give the pasta an essential flavor boost. For every pound of pasta, figure on 2 tablespoons of salt and 6 quarts of water.

Stir the pasta right after you add it to the water and then occasionally throughout the cooking time to prevent clumping. I always add a tablespoon of oil - it seems to prevent the pasta sticking although I have read somewhere that there is no need to do that - force of habit I guess!

Test pasta about 1 minute before the time given on the package instructions. Dried pasta should be cooked through but still firm to the bite - al dente - .Fresh pasta will rise to the surface when it's ready. It should be chewy and have a uniform color throughout.

Don't break pasta to fit it in the pot. Let the ends stick out until the submerged sections soften, about 1 minute. Then stir to bend the pasta and push it underwater.

Don't rinse cooked pasta. It eliminates the starch that helps the sauce adhere; rinsing also cools the pasta. I only rinse the pasta when making a cold pasta salad and don't want the starch to be there.

Types of Pasta

Made semolina flour, water, and salt, dried pasta can be stored at room temperature for a long time.
Many varieties, especially those from Italy, have the flavor and consistency you would find in a trattoria. Imported pasta can usually be bought for only a few cents more than domestic pasta so keep a look out for the Italian type.
Dried pasta's firm texture means it can hold up to even the heartiest sauce.
Most shaped pasta doubles in size when cooked. One pound of dried pasta serves four people generously.

Fresh pasta is more tender than dried, due to the fresh eggs and extra water. It takes about half the time to cook.
Its delicate texture is best with light sauces made with tomatoes, cream, oil, or butter flavored with herbs.
One and a half pounds of fresh pasta serves four people generously.

Monday, January 4, 2010


This is one of my favourite recipes. Served warm with roast or mash potatoes it makes a great main meal. Served cold in a sandwich its great for someone on the go! I like using a combination of lean beef and pork - the result is more moist.The ketchup topping was something I came across here in the USA, I would usually just make a gravy!

1 tbs olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2lb lean  beef and 1/2lb  pork, ground
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs Dijon mustard
6 bacon rashers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put some oil in a nonstick skillet, and cook celery and onion for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook 1 min more. Transfer vegetables to large bowl; cool slightly.

Add beef, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, parsley,salt, and  pepper to vegetable mix; mix with hands until well combined but not overmixed. In cup, mix mustard and remaining 1/4 cup ketchup.

Shape meat mixture into a loaf  shape and place on a baking tray, covered with foil and sprayed with non stick. Cover with the bacon rashers, then with half the ketchup mixture.

Bake for 30 mins, use up the rest of the ketchup mixture and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until meat thermometer inserted in center reaches 160 degrees F.

Let meatloaf stand 10 minutes before removing from pan to set juices for easier slicing. Transfer meatloaf to platter and cut into slices to serve.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Visit We Are Chefs

All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.