Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rhubarb Cake

Make this when you have friends coming over, or else you will eat almost the whole thing yourself and feel sick to your stomach and to your soul.

Lunar Rhubarb Cake

As for all cakes, let the butter, egg and buttermilk come to room temperature before making the batter. Set the oven rack is in the centre of the oven, and preheat just in time to put the cake in the oven.

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk

2 cups (500 mL) chopped rhubarb (1/2-inch/1.25 cm pieces)

Lunar Topping

1 cup (250 mL) firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tsp (10 mL)  ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, softened

. Line 13- x-9-inch (3.5 L) metal cake pan with parchment paper or butter thoroughly but lightly. Set aside.

. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well mixed and fairly smooth. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.

. Set aside 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the flour. In a separate large bowl, whisk together remaining flour, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of these dry ingredients and 2 of buttermilk.

. Toss rhubarb with remaining flour. Spoon over the batter and fold in. Scrape into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Lunar Topping: In bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. With a fork or pastry blender, work butter into the sugar mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.

. Bake in the centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until the lunar topping is pitted and crusty and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on rack.

. Makes about 16 servings.

Tip: While you can cover and store the cake for up to 2 days at room temperature, it is best made and served the same day.

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Vegetable Jalfrezi (Curry)

c/o Jamie Oliver, this recipe yields a boatload of DELICIOUS curry that seems to taste better and better each time you reheat the (many!) leftovers from the freezer.

ingredients

• 1 medium onion
• 1 fresh red chili
• a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
• 2 cloves of garlic
• a small bunch of fresh coriander
• 2 red peppers
• 1 cauliflower
• 3 ripe tomatoes
• 1 small butternut squash
• 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
• peanut or vegetable oil
• a pat of butter
• ½ a 283g jar of Patak’s jalfrezi curry paste or my jalfrezi paste (see below)
• 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
• 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 lemons
• 200g natural yoghurt

method

The great thing about this curry is the slightly sweet and sour flavor from the peppers. Do experiment with other combinations of vegetables such as courgettes, aubergines or potatoes once you’ve mastered this version – bigger, chunkier veggies need longer cooking times, so add them at the start, and delicate veggies like peas and spinach need only minutes, so they can go in right at the end. This will serve 8 people – just halve the recipe if your pan isn’t large enough, or else freeze any leftovers.

To prepare your curry:
1. Peel, halve and roughly chop your onion. Finely slice the chilli. Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers. Break the green leaves off the cauliflower and discard. Break the cauliflower into florets and roughly chop the stem. Quarter the tomatoes. Carefully halve the butternut squash, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Slice the squash into inch-size wedges, leaving the peel on but removing any thick skin, then roughly chop into smaller pieces. Drain the chickpeas.

To cook your curry:
2. Put a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat and add a couple of lugs of oil and the butter.
3. Add the onions, chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander stalks and cook for 10 minutes, until softened and golden. Add the peppers, butternut squash, drained chickpeas and jalfrezi curry paste. Stir well to coat everything with the paste. Add the cauliflower, the fresh and tinned tomatoes and the vinegar. Fill 1 tin with water, pour into the pan and stir again.
4. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on.
5. Check the curry after 30 minutes and, if it still looks a bit wet after this time, leave the lid off for the rest of the remaining 15 minutes. When the veg are tender, taste and add salt and pepper – please season carefully – and a squeeze of lemon juice

To serve your curry:
6. Delicious with poppadums or my Light and fluffy rice recipe, and with a few spoonfuls of natural yoghurt, a sprinkle of coriander leaves and a few lemon wedges for squeezing over.

To make your own jalfrezi curry paste:
2 cloves of garlic a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1 fresh green chili a small bunch of fresh coriander

1. First peel the garlic and ginger.
2. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the spices for toasting to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat.
3. Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and whiz to a powder. Either way, when you’ve ground them whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

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Fresh Southwest-ish Salad

Calling this salad Southwest is probably a lie, but it IS fresh, and I love it.

Ingredients:

tomatoes

red onions

yellow pepper

jalapeno peppers (optional)

cilantro

black beans

avocado

lime

lettuce (butter lettuce is best, but iceberg also works)

cheddar cheese (optional)

 

Dice tomatoes, onions, peppers. Add black beans and cilantro leaves (to taste). Squeeze lime juice over top; refrigerate this mix for about an hour to let the flavours blend.

Wash and tear lettuce, make a bed of it on your plate.

Spoon tomato mix over lettuce.

Slice up avocado, put on top. Same with cheese.

Eat!

 

Seriously, this is delicious. I ate it every day last week. The cheese is probably the least necessary thing, but if you have to do without the avocado that also works (but it might be sad, because avocado is the best). Enjoy!

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Blueberry Flax Hot Cereal

So, I got this new cookbook (Quinoa 365) and I’m kind of in love with it. I anticipate I will be posting many more recipes from it in the future, but for now, here is a fun alternative/addition to the morning breakfast oatmeal routine!

“This wholesome, hot breakfast cereal has the perfect combination of flavour and nutrients. You can substitute old-fashioned rolled oats for the quick-cooking oats: just add them to the mixture after seven minutes of cooking time. This recipe can easily be made in double or triple quantities.”

2/3 cup (160 ml) water
3 tbsp (45 ml) quinoa
2 tbsp (30 ml) quick-cooking rolled oats
1-2 tsp (5-10 ml) maple syrup, honey or brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp (7.5ml) flax (ground or whole seeds)
2 tbsp (30 ml) blueberries, fresh or frozen
milk, half and half cream or vanilla yogurt (optional)

Place the water and quinoa in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cover. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the oats, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the oats are tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the honey and flax. Fold in the blueberries and top with milk, cream or vanilla yogurt (if using). Serve immediately.

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Black Forest Brownie Cake

I made this for Matt for his birthday. It was delicious, and surprisingly light (given, you know, that it’s a brownie cake). By “light,” I don’t mean “good for you,” but recall my comment about deliciousness. Anyways, I snatched it from the wonderful world of MarthaStewart.com.

Note: I could not find cherries this time of year, so I used fresh strawberries instead of the cherry sauce.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • 13 tablespoons butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for pan
  • 6 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 large eggs, 3 separated, 1 whole
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 pound fresh Bing cherries
  • 7 tablespoons kirsch, or to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Butter and sugar an 8-inch springform pan, and set aside.
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces, and place in a double boiler or heat-proof bowl with the butter. Place over a pan of barely simmering water, and stir occasionally until completely melted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Place 3 yolks, whole egg, salt, and 2/3 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high until thick and pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  4. Wash mixer bowl and whisk; add the 6 egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar to the clean bowl. Whisk until mixture is stiff and shiny, about 4 minutes.
  5. Pour chocolate mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, and fold together. Gently fold in egg-white mixture until just combined. Pour into prepared pan, and bake until cake has risen quite high and top has begun to crack, about 1 hour 10 minutes. The center of cake should be set but not at all dry. Allow to cool completely on rack, then remove sides of pan.
  6. Cut each cherry in half by running the tip of a paring knife around each, starting at the stem. Gently twist cherries to separate halves, and carefully remove pits. Place cherries and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in medium skillet set over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and cherries release their juice, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add kirsch, and transfer carefully back to heat. Allow to cook until liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  7. In a medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks. Serve chocolate cake with warm cherry mixture and a dollop of whipped cream.

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