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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

I am writing this post on a Friday and Friday means treat food and sweet things for the weekend. I am being utterly lazy in both my recipes and my approach to writing this blog post, because these are super simple treats I have tried by two ‘celebrity chefs’ (dare I utter those words?) and I am not even re-writing the recipes, but giving you the links to them in all their glory.

Nigella's summer berry tart

The first is this fabulous summer fruit tart, by Nigella Lawson in her most recent series ‘Kitchen’ and from the book of the same name. ‘Summer is over’ I hear you cry, but yes hear me out. There are still many berries you can get your hands on at the moment to capture the last of the sunny days. Raspberries are classed as a summer fruit but in fact autumn fruiting raspberries have come into their own right now, my bushes are full of the berries so it’s an excellent excuse to make this dessert.

Also pick up blueberries and blackberries, but never strawberries that aren’t British, just go without, imports don’t taste as good.

The reason this tart so simple is because it has a no-cook biscuit base – like a cheesecake – pressed into a tart tin and chilled. It is filled with cream-cheese mixed with lemon curd. Not sounding like a culinary joy? Wait till you try it…. Adorn with berries, and leave in the fridge until you are ready.

Link here to the YouTube clip of the recipe, where you’ll even be able to enjoy the seductive lick of the spoon by Nigella herself!

Little damson and frangipane tart

Next up a perfect little dessert for any time of year from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals book. Buy good quality individual sweet pastry cases for these frangipane tarts. Fill with a jam of your choice (I used some homemade damson jam given to me, which was perfect because it was nice and tart, not too sweet like strawberry jam), plum would be good and Jamie uses raspberry. Then you make a frangipane mix, spoon on the top, bake in the oven and serve warm with crème fraiche.

As the recipe makes six tarts, and the packs of tarts tend to include six cases, the best thing to do is make all six, cook them, then freeze them. Simply re-heat from frozen another time, or defrost and enjoy cold in a lunch box. Get the recipe here

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I simply cannot convey to you quickly enough just how delicious this cake is. It is rich, smooth, soggy, gooey and moist, yet light and zesty. But it came about in an unusual way.

Delicious chocolate orange cake

Delicious chocolate orange cake

I had been having some problems with my stomach and the doctor advised that I try singling out foods in my diet that might be causing the problem. Willing to try anything and having read a lot about stomach problems and gluten intolerance I thought I’d try going a few weeks with wheat or gluten. At first I found it hugely restricting, especially when I realised I couldn’t even have a beer! But after a few days I found it enjoyable in a strange way, because from a keen cook’s point of view it forces you to push the boundaries. You can’t just say I’ll grab a sandwich or a wrap for lunch and you can’t rely on pre-made shop bought soups, sauces, cakes or biscuits so everything needs to be cooked from scratch.

Although I found my few weeks without wheat to have helped stop the bloating in the stomach I concluded it wasn’t the cause of my problems and happily reintroduced it into my diet (how did I live without crusty bread?!) But during the wheat-free weeks me and Will held a barbecue for his work mates (see post below) and I wanted to make a couple of desserts – one of which I would be able to eat despite not allowing myself gluten.

I used a recipe of Nigella’s that I had tried before for a ‘spiced chocolate cake’, which is in her Nigella Christmas book. I tinkered with the recipe to create a more summery chocolate cake, using orange instead of the spices, and it was a delight (Will told me his mates were talking about it for days after and one person has already asked for the recipe!). It also keeps really well and I was enjoying the left-overs for days after!

This is a perfect dessert for both the gluten intolerant but equally as delicious for all their friends. I urge everyone to give it a go.

Makes 10-12 slices

150g dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids)

150g soft, unsalted butter

6 large eggs

250g caster sugar

100g almonds

Zest of one large orange

4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

For the almond topping:

Juice of an half an orange

15g unsalted butter

1tbsp caster sugar

50 flaked almonds

1. Take everything you need out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (gas 4) and butter a 23cm springform cake tin.

3. Melt the chocolate and butter together on a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water and set aside to cool slightly.

4. Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and moussy. They should have at least doubled in volume or more. Gently fold in the ground almonds, the orange juice and zest, taking care not to lose any of the air in the mix.

5. Finally pour in the slightly cooled chocolate mix and stir in lightly. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, but which time the cake will be firm on top and still a little gooey underneath. It will rise right up in the oven and sink when it cools – don’t worry this should happen.

6.To make the topping put the orange juice, butter and sugar into a small non-stick frying pan and melt everything together. Let it sizzle for a minute or so until it begins to caramelise before adding the almonds. Stir everything together until the nuts start to bronze, tip the pan about every now and then to stop them sticking together. Remove and put on an oiled piece of greaseproof paper and allow to cool and go crispy.

7.Remove the outside of the cake tin, and the bottom of it if you can – I didn’t dare move mine and served it with the cake tin still on the bottom. Allow to coo fully. Scatter with the almonds and more orange zest. Serve with a dollop of whipped double cream.

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