Tag Archives: cocoa

Here I Come!


I will definitely eat this, at its own home. Soon. Even if it’s going to be in my kitchen. I did this years ago, and I was a bit disappointed. The form collapsed but the taste was good, so it was ok in the end. I used the recipe from ‘The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking’, 1999. Location: London.

What memories I’ve got from London! I can talk for days and not get tired. One of this memories is this cool dessert just perfect for these hot days. This dessert is very romantic for me, so I see it eaten with someone I love, or you love and love and love…

Bavarian Cream

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint, 1 1/4) cups single cream
  • 15 ml ( 1 tbsp) powdered gelatine
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 50 g (2 oz, 1/4) cup caster sugar
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint, 1 1/4) cups double cream
  • chocolate leaves and a sprinkling of cocoa powder, to decorate

Method:

  • Put the vanilla pod and single cream into a small pan. Slowly bring to the boil, then turn off the heat, cover and infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the pod – rinsed well and dried, it can be stored and used again.
  • Sprinkle the gelatine over the milk and leave to soften.
  • Lightly whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Β Bring the single cream almost to the boil again, then whisk into the egg mixture.
  • Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and cook the custard, stirring, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, add the soaked gelatine and stir until dissolved.
  • Strain the custard into a clean bowl. Cover with a piece of wet greaseproof paper, to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.
  • Whip the double cream in a bowl until it just holds soft peaks, then fold it into the cooled custard.
  • Rinse individual moulds or a 1.2 litre (2 pint, 5) cup ring or fancy mould with water. Pour in the cream mixture and chill for at least 4 hours, or until set.
  • To unmould the Bavarian cream, dip the mould right up to the rim in very hot water for about 5 seconds. Place a serving plate on top, then quickly invert the mould and remove. Decorate with chocolate leaves and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Bon appetite!

Hazelnut Rugelach


When I first made this recipe, I thought that it is the same as something that mom used to make at home. Well,  it is almost, but with a twist. Imho, I like this much better. It is slightly different but I do enjoy eating it more than anything. In my journey to try the international cuisine, I found this book “The Jewish Kitchen. Recipes and Stories from Around the World” by Clarissa Hyman, 2003 and this delicious recipe: Hazelnut Rugelach.  The result was mouth-melting. If you like cooking, try this at home, if you don’t, find someone who does and eat together. πŸ˜‰

Hazelnut Rugelach   

Makes 32 small or 16 large

Ingredients:

  • 200 g (7 oz) butter, softened
  • 200 g  (7 oz) soft cream cheese (I prefer Philadelphia but may be you prefer something else)
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 250 g (9 oz) plain flour, sifted with a pinch of salt
  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts)
  • 50 g (2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 egg white beaten with a little water ( you can use a whole egg, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind)
  • granulated sugar  (optional)

Method:

  • Cream the butter and cheese until well blended. Stir in the caster sugar, then the flour and mix until the dough begins to hold together. Gather into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180Β°C, 350Β°F.
  • Combine the nuts, brown sugar, cocoa and cinnamon and set aside.
  • Cut the dough ball in half and return  one half to the fridge while you work with the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a thin circle about 25 cm / 10 inches in diameter. If it is too sticky, flour the pastry too. The pastry may feel hard at first but it quickly softens. Use a cake tin or a plate to help cut out a neat circle. Cut the dough circle into a 16 or 8 equal pie-shaped wedges.
  • Brush the surface pf the wedges with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half the nut mixture. Cover with a piece of clingfilm and use a rolling-pin to press the filling lightly down into the dough. Remove the clingfilm and roll up each wedge from the outside, wide end towards the point, so you end up with mini croissants. Place on a lightly greased baking tray and brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with a little sugar, if wished. Repeat with the remaining dough and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool slightly the transfer to a  wire rack.

Bon appetite!

Marble Cake


When I say marble, I always remember Marble Arch in central London. This is a symbolic sign of London, but not the only one. But I like the way it stands marking the end of Hyde Park and the beginning of Oxford street, in an open area and circled by roads and cars. I would love to see it again.

Talking about marble, what I am to put here now it is a recipe that it is well-known in Romania and it is somehow different from the way others do it. But, in my humble opinion ;), this recipe is better, even if it takes longer but the result is worth it. Trust me! I have eaten it in my godson’s house. His mother made it and I asked for the recipe. Since then, I haven’t tried out other marble cakes but this one is the best.

Marble Cake

Ingredients:

  • 10 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 tbsp oil
  • 1 – 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugared vanilla or vanillin sugar
  • butter
  • honey
  • icing sugar

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 170Β°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites with sugar and vanilla sugar in a big bowl until stiff.
  • Beat the yolks with the oil in a smaller bowl.
  • Pour the yolks and fold gently with the whites until mixed.
  • Sieve in the mixture a cup of flour and fold again until mixed.
  • Divide the cake batter and put 1/3 of it in another bowl. Combine the cocoa with this 1/3 and fold carefully.
  • Sieve the flour in the white batter and fold again until mixed then add the walnuts.
  • Brush 2 loaves pan with melted butter to lightly grease or choose 2 foil bread loaves for a quicker baking. If you have a non-stick loaf pan, you don’t need to use butter at all, or do as I do: use non – stick baking paper to line the loaves and pour the mixture directly. Once it is cooked, you just take out of the loaves the marble cakes and discard the paper. Easy, peasy!
  • Pour the white mixture and then the cocoa one. Use a spoon to gently swirl the batters together to create a marble effect. Tap the base of the pan on a flat surface to smooth the surface.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 50- 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside in pan for 5 minutes. Brush the top with honey or sieve some icing sugar
  • Turn onto a cake rack to cool completely and cut into slices. Serve.

Bon appetite!

Feeling Blue?


Blue

To be or not to be…

As we all know, a little chocolate now and then makes us happy. Very happy. Especially when we are heartbroken. But as they say, forget love, I’d rather fall into chocolate. :)) I wish!;) No, I’d rather fall into chocolate and Love. For the moment let’s talk about chocolate. Not any chocolate but something special. A chocolate cake full of this aphrodisiac.

I found this recipe a few years ago in a supermarket in Constanta in “BBC Good Food” magazine. In pictures it didn’t look extraordinary. But the look can be deceiving, as we all know. I read the ingredients and then it clicked. This cake had 7 chocolates in it! Imagine that! 7! I searched Google at home at that time to see if I could find something similar. But I couldn’t. There were only cakes with 3-5 chocolates mostly. That was different.

Because of this I decided to make the cake on a special day. It was almost 2 years ago, probably on Christmas, Easter, my name day or my birthday. Or mom’s. Who cares! I made it and it was an instant hit from the beginning. It was sooooo delicious, you can’t imagine. Feeling the chocolate melting in your mouth, the smell, sensations that can’t be described. I just felt happy. Thinking now of it, makes me happy again. πŸ™‚

For a tastier and why not, funnier description of this simple cake with 7 chocolates try my choice. Because my choice of cake is made with plain chocolate only, of at least 70% cocoa. Yes, you already know that, but bear with me. I was more generous with the cream and chocolate. I would never put only 250 g of chocolate in something but go for 300 g. I know, you agree with me here.

Chocolate Cake

Serves 12

Ready in 1 hr 30 minutes, plus cooling

Ingredients:

  • 250 g flour/ self raising flour
  • 1 baking soda package (in case you don’t find self raising, mix flour with baking soda)
  • 250 g unrefined soft brown sugar (if you don’t have it in your kitchen, choose the white one)
  • 50 g cocoa
  • 250-300 g plain chocolate
  • 250 g butter (again, 80-82% fat if you don’t mind, because I do)
  • 4 eggs

For the cream:

  • 400 g plain or milk chocolate (please, please, please, plain)
  • 300 ml pot single cream (my choice is full-fat)
  • 25 g butter
  • 100-200 icing sugar
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Method:

  • Heat the oven to 160Β°C/ fan 140 C/ gas 3. Line a 20cm x 20 square cake tin. I use at home my round 26 cm diameter cake tin.
  • Mix the flour, sugar and cocoa together in a bowl. Melt the chocolate (don’t touch it!) and the butter together with 200 ml water in a pan and then beat this along with the eggs into the dry mixture. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. It may crack a little on top but this will be covered by the icing. Cool.
  • To make the icing, melt the chocolate (I said to keep your fingers out of this!) with the cream and butter until smooth and then cool to a spreadable consistency, beat in enough icing sugar to make the icing opaque and stiff.
  • Slice the cake horizontally into 2 or 3 layers and spread some icing (yummy) between each layer. Ice the outside of the cake in a thick even layer and smooth the icing down as much as possible, don’t worry about the top too much. I worry, I want it to be smooth on top too.
  • Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.

Bon appetite!

Blessed those who have tried this out!

PS: while searching this recipe on the net one day, years after, I discovered that it was no longer on the BBC Good Food site. So I turned myself into a detective. And guess what? I looked closely on the printed recipe I had since 2009 and there it was: “Recipe from olive magazine, September 2007.” While you find it here too, the original is from that site and I must add this. I am glad that everybody can access it too, from different sources.

Lift Me Up (Tiramisu)


Yesterday I posted the recipe in Romanian and I’ve decided that today I would post it in English. But it is not to be my first post for today, because I’ve had the nice surprise to read it on my nice colleague’s blog about my blog. Check this out, but only if you know Romanian:

http://mariuszarnescu.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/sweet-nothings-by-elena-granzulea/

Back to my tried and tested recipe, I have to add that it is not just any Tiramisu, it is a very special, exquisite one made by Heston Blumenthal. If you check Wikipedia you will find very interesting things about him.

Here is the recipe, taken from “The Sunday Times” some years ago. My intention is to make it again for this Easter and here is the proof.

Tiramisu

The key element here is the chopped chocolate – choose a good-quality one that you really want to eat.

Serves 4 (but you will probably want it all for yourself)

  • 75-100 g good-quality chocolate (my fav is one with at least 70% cocoa) (you can always add more chocolate, like 2 bars or as my blue flower would say, a box πŸ™‚ )
  • 50 g unrefined caster sugar or just brown or plain sugar if you can’t find caster
  • 235-250 ml double cream, chilled
  • 265 g mascarpone
  • 300 ml black coffee, cold and fairly strong
  • 4 tbsp (or to taste) Marsala or amaretto (if you don’t have any, any liqueur will do as long as you think it goes with the taste of Tiramisu) (optional)
  • 125 sponge fingers
  • cocoa powder

Method:

  • Chop the chocolate with a knife, or if you prefer, you can grate it, then leave it in a cool place. I prefer grating it (it is quicker) or use the food processor.
  • Dissolve the sugar in 100 ml of the double cream over a gentle heat, then set aside to cool. Lightly whip the remaining cream over a gentle heat, then set aside to cool. Lightly whip the remaining cream in a cold bowl and set aside.
  • Work the mascarpone with a spoon until it has loosened up a little, then carefully incorporate the whipped cream and the cooled sweetened cream. Add 4 tbsp of the coffee to taste – more if you prefer. It is important to add enough to get the flavour you want, but not so much that is loosens the mix.
  • Pour the rest of the coffee and the alcohol, if using, into a flat-bottomed bowl large enough to lay the fingers in. Place a few fingers in the coffee mix and turn over a few times – they need to be soaked. Place on a plate and repeat until all fingers are done. If necessary, make more coffee.
  • Once soaked, place enough fingers in the bottom of a serving bowl to form a single layer. Spread a third of the cream mixture over them and smooth out, then sprinkle with some cocoa powder and a third of chocolate. Repeat until all the cream is used up. You should have three layers of cream and three of the cocoa-chocolate mix.
  • Place in the fridge for a couple of hours. Just before serving, generously dust with cocoa powder.

Bon appetite!

PS: don’t eat it all at once, indulge for a couple of hours, SAVOUR it!