I feel so relieved! My exams are over. So is my stress. I can continue writing here, without thinking that I have an exam tomorrow or I have to learn for one. So I add today the recipe I put some weeks ago in Romanian. This is the English recipe of mousaka, the Greek type . But this one comes with a twist: it has Gruyère cheese in it. I loved it the moment I put my eyes on it, as it has cheese and aubergines, one of my favorite vegetables. Plus, it is traditional to make with aubergines, not potatoes. I have made mousaka with potatoes some years ago just to see how it tasted, but I didn’t like it. My fave is this one. If you are lucky to have this book: Josceline Dimbley “Marvellous Meals with Mince” – 1982, than you can just skip this.
What I like about this recipe is that it has exotic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, that add a special flavour and fragrance to the dish.
Mousaka with Gruyère Cheese
- 550-675 g (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb) aubergines (approx. 3)
- lemon juice
- 2 onions
- 25 g (1 oz) butter (80-82 unsalted butter, if you find)
- 450 g (1 lb) lamb mince (you can add half lamb and half beef mince if you like)
- 1 tsp (5 ml spoon) ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 6 tbsp water
- a good handful of parsley, chopped
- 200 g (8 oz) Gruyère cheese, sliced thinly (the original recipe states 100 g, but my experience has shown me that it is not enough, plus I love cheese, so there is never enough for me)
- salt and pepper
For the topping:
- 50 g (2 oz) butter
- 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
- 450 ml (3/4 pint) milk
- a little grated nutmeg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp single cream
- salt and black pepper
- Peel the aubergines, slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch (5 mm – 1cm) rounds and immediately smear with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Then rub all over with salt and leave in a colander in the sink for half an hour, to drain away the bitter juices. I can tell you that there won’t be much or no bitter juices.
- Peel and chop the onions. To do this I have discovered in London the excellent Alligator Onion Cutter. I hate cutting onion so I have purchased one there. I saw it in Selfridge and other stores. It is worth it having one, believe me. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat until softened. Add the minced lamb and fry over a rather higher heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon until it is separated and sealed. Stir in the ground cinnamon and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Then stir in the tomato purée and water and bubble until the water is absorbed. Turn of the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil and empty the aubergine slices into it. Cover the pan and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- In a 2 1/2 – 3 pint (1,4 – 1,7 litre) ovenproof dish (a glass one shows tha layers attractively) make layers of aubergine slices, mince mixture and Gruyère cheese, starting and ending with a layer of aubergine.
- To make the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Stir in the milk, gradually at first. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and then bubble gently, still stirring, for about 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and black pepper add a little grated nutmeg. What a lovely flavour!Remove from the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and gradually add the white sauce, stirring in thoroughly. If the sauce is al all lumpy, whisk until smooth and then pour on tp of the aubergine and meat layers.
- Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until a rich golden brown on top.
Posted in Beef, Dishes, English, F word, Greek, Lamb
Tagged aubergine, beef mince, black pepper, butter, cinnamon, egg yolk, flour, greek food, greek recipe, Gruyere cheese, Josceline Dimbley, Josceline Dimbley Marvellous Meals with Mince, lamb mince, lemon juice, Marvellous Meals with Mince, milk, minced meat recipe, mousaka, mousaka recipe, Mousaka with Gruyère Cheese recipe, mousaka with Gruyere cheese, nutmeg, onion, parsley, salt, single cream, tomato puree
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. 🙂
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.
Ready in 1 hr 30 minutes, plus cooling
- 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
- Heat the oven to 160°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.
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.
Posted in Chocolate addictive, Desserts, English, English, F word
Tagged baking soda, brown sugar, butter, cake, cake recipe, cake tin, chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate cake recipe, cocoa, cream, dark chocolate, egg, flour, icing sugar, Olive Magazine, plain chocolate, self raising flour, single cream, unrefined soft brown sugar