December 21, 2008

Stephanie's (and Elizabeth David's) Chocolate Cake

I double this recipe and use a bigger tin!

125g good cooking chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp brandy
1 tbs black coffee
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
3 eggs, separated
icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Butter and line an 18cm baking tin - springform is best.

Combine the chocolate, brandy and coffee in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir when melted and add the butter and sugar. Mix very well. Add the ground almonds and mix well. Lightly beat the egg yolks, take the bowl off the heat, and mix in. Beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff. Fold one tablespoon of the whites into the chocolate mix to loosen it up. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Goop into the tin and bake for 40 minutes or so. It will be crusty on the top, but fudgy in the middle. Cool completely and serve dusted with icing sugar.

Famous Light as a Feather Gnocchi

6 large pontiac potatoes (or desiree) peeled and quartered
2 large free range eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until they are tender. Drain well and mash throughly - or pass through a ricer or food mill for extra lump-free ness! Allow to cool. Add the beaten eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix lightly with your hands - but not too much - we need the gnocchi to be feathery light, remember?!

Put on a big pot of fresh salted water to boil.

On a floured surface, roll handfuls of the mixture into long sausage shapes. Cut into two cm pieces and toss in flour to prevent the gnocchi sticking to one another. Once you've made about ten - drop them into the boiling water. When they float, they are cooked! Keep warm (with a drizzle of olive oil) in a big bowl covered with foil until you've cooked them all. Drizzle some more oil on them to stop them sticking to each other - or drop them straight into a bubbling pot of your chosen sauce!

Zen's Mum's Braised Pork Belly

1kg Pork Belly
200ml Plum Sauce
100ml Oyster Sauce
50g Crushed Garlic
500ml Chicken Stock
500ml Orange Juice
5 pieces Star Anise
3 Dried Chillis

Mix all ingredients except Pork Belly in a deep saucepan.
Place the Pork in this mixture.
Bring to the boil and simmer for two to three hours
When tender, take out and set aside.
Strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan and reduce by half.
Serve with steamed rice and chinese broccoli!

December 15, 2008

Herbs and Spices... What Goes With What?!

Beans (dried) — cumin, cayenne, chili, parsley, pepper, sage, savory, thyme

Beef — basil, bay, chili, cilantro, curry, cumin, garlic, marjoram, mustard, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme

Breads — anise, basil, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, lemon peel, orange peel, oregano, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme

Cheese — basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chili, chives, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, horseradish, lemon peel, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, tarragon, thyme

Chicken — allspice, basil, bay, cinnamon, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mustard, paprika, rosemary, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme,

Corn — chili, curry, dill, marjoram, parsley, savory, thyme

Eggs — basil, chervil, chili, chives, curry, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, sage, tarragon, thyme

Fish — anise, basil, bay, cayenne, celery seed, chives, curry, dill fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon peel, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, saffron, sage, savory, tarragon, marjoram

Fruits — allspice, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mint

Lamb — basil, bay, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, dill, garlic, marjoram, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme

Potatoes — basil, caraway, celery seed, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, marjoram, oregano, paprika, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, tarragon, thyme

Salad Dressings — basil, celery seed, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, thyme

Salads — basil, caraway, chives, dill, garlic, lemon peel, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme

Soups — basil, bay, chervil, chili, chives, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, marjoram, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme

Sweets — allspice, angelica, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, ginger, lemon peel, mace, nutmeg, mint, orange peel, rosemary

Tomatoes — basil, bay, celery seed, cinnamon, chili, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory, tarragon, thyme

Complimentary Herbs

Bouquet Garnis — basil, bay, oregano, parsley
Herbal — basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme
Hot — chili peppers, cilantro, cumin, garlic
Pungent — celery, chili peppers, cumin, curry, ginger, black pepper
Spicy — cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, star anise
Sweet — allspice, anise, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg