Saturday, 18 February 2012

Chocolate and Orange Loaf Cake

This is a Nigella recipe and I have found myself making it for the past two weekends in a row. I have gotten into the habit of making a loaf cake at the weekend and looking forward to a slither of it everyday after work.
This is a very dense cake, it's a bit gooey, but as Nigella exclaims, that's part of it's charm. And it is delicious.

150g butter
30ml golden syrup (2 tablespoons)
175g brown sugar
150 plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
25g cocoa
2 eggs
juice & zest of one orange

- Preheat the oven to 170 / gas mark 3 and grease and line your loaf tin.
- Beat the butter, sugar and golden syrup together
- Mix the dry ingredients together
- Add one spoon of the dry ingredients to the syrup, sugar and butter mix before adding one egg.
- Beat together and add the dry ingredients one spoon at a time.
- Add the second egg and beat in the remaining dry ingredients.
- Beat in the zest. Then, add the orange juice a little at a time and continue beating the mixture.
- Transfer into your loaf tin and cook for 45 mins.
- Check five minutes before it's cooked and be prepared to leave it 5 minutes longer than stated.
- Your cake tester won't come out clean but the top should be firm. Don't be too timid, this cake works well with it's relatively dry edges and gooey centre.
- Leave to cool for a while in it's tin before transferring to a wire rack.

Enjoy it's life affirming qualities on cold dark evenings in front of the television.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Winter's Night Mushrooms on Toast

Perfect for a dark night when you want something quick and delicious. This is a Nigel Slater recipe, and it is fabulous.

A generous handful or two of sliced mushrooms
Lots of olive oil
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Chopped parsley
Some good bread - sliced into thick rounds

To cook:
Fry the sliced mushrooms in lots of olive oil over a medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and good for a further 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour a little olive oil over the bread and toast under the grill.
Add the chopped parsley and season the mushrooms at the last minute.
Heap the mushrooms over bread and accompany with a glass of cold beer.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Winter's Day Muffins

These are actually Nigella's Christmas morning muffins, (with a few small alterations.) But, when it's icy outside it seems a shame to bypass Cinnamon and cranberries just because it's not Christmas; these cosy flavours which are still very much needed at this time of year!

250g Plain Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Grating of nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 Orange
125ml full fat milk
75ml vegetable oil
1 egg
175g dried cranberries
A little demerara sugar for the top

1. Preheat the oven to 200 / gas mark 6. Line a baking sheet with muffin cases
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the zest of the orange last.
3. Squeeze the orange juice into a measuring jug and add the milk until it comes up to the 200ml mark. Add the egg, and oil and whisk. Add this to the dry ingredients and fold in (you may need a little more milk, a wet, lumpy batter is what you want.)
4. Fold in the cranberries.
5. Transfer the mixture to the muffin cases, sprinkle over the demerara and bake in the oven for about 20mins.