Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Roasted root vegetables with a killer dressing and Caponata with a twist

I thought I'd share my two favourite vegetarian recipes.  These are both by Yotam Ottolenghi who performs alchemy with vegetables.  In fact a miracle came to pass.  My partner who has hated aubergine all his life is now a fan!

These two recipes have become a staple on my weekly menus, they're both quick and easy to prepare and can be eaten on their own or as a side dish.  I never cease to be amazed at how a wonderful dressing, or the addition of spices, can turn a humble vegetable from boring to a party in the mouth.

Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with a killer dressing - recipe here.

Caponata with a twist - recipe here.  The twist is the addition of harissa paste.  I however, used harissa spice which works brilliantly. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Passionfruit cake with passionfruit glaze

 I have a passion for passionfruit aka granadilla aka passiflora ligulalis.  To me the taste is pure nostalgia.  Growing up in South Africa, we had a vine which used to produce so much fruit that I used to pluck them, cut them in half and squich the contents straight into my mouth.  My Mum used to make a wonderful granadilla cake, which consists of flavouring the sponge with the pulp and then adding the pulp and seeds to buttercream icing.

I had no idea that they are native to the Andes Mountains between Bolivia, Venezuela and Colombia. It grows as far south as northern Argentina and as far north as Mexico. Outside of its native range it grows in the tropical mountains of Africa and Australia, and is now common in local markets of Papua New Guinea, where it is known as 'sugar fruit'.

The taste and aroma of a ripe passionfruit is like no other.  A tonsil tickling sourness mixed with an almost indescribable tropical-ness.  They are also mega-healthy for you containing vitamins A, C, and K, phosphorous, iron and calcium.

Spring has been so grey, wet and rainy this year that summer feels like it's simply never going to get here.  So I decided to cheer myself up with a little bit of sunshine on a plate by making a passionfruit cake.

Be warned this cake is seriously passionfruity -  you'll need the pulp of 8 passionfruit.  In the UK, ASDA supermarkets nearly always have a great deal of 3 for £1.

 To make this cake follow my foolproof sponge cake recipe here and add the sieved pulp of 3 passionfruit to the mixture near the end.

To make the butter cream icing [in the middle of the cake]  follow the recipe at the end of the sponge cake recipe and to this add the sieved pulp of  3 passionfruit.

To make the glaze mix [on the top of the cake] mix together the pulp of 2 passionfruit with enough sieved icing sugar to make a sticky glaze and pour it over the cake.  If you fancy having some seeds in the pulp to add interest then push the seeds around in the sieve with a metal spoon until they look nice and shiny and then add them to the glaze.

My cake looked a little plain, so I rooted around in my goodie draw and found some left over lemon and organge jellies and added them on top

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Easter 2012 - Easter nests, Easter Cake and a great Easter Dessert

I'll let these photos of Easter baking 2012 speak for themselves:

These very more-ish little treats were made by mixing together melted dark chocolate, melted milk chocolate [equal amounts], rice crispies, toasted coconut, butter and syrup.  I kind of guessed the amounts.  I topped them with tiny mini eggs, mini eggs, toasted coconut and hundreds and thousands.

Lemon sponge cake with lemon curd buttercream icing.  Decorated with edible rice paper daisies and mini-eggs

For this cake I used my trusty Victoria Sponge Recipe. Adding lemon zest to the cake and two large tablespoons of lemon curd to the butter cream icing.  I also added some yellow food colouring to the icing to give it a lovely pastel yellow colour.

Lemon Meringue Roulade filled with fresh cream, fresh raspberries and lemon cured - recipe here