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Pear and cardamom cake for Petra

Excuse my absence. I don’t know what I’ve been doing. Oh yes I do! Potty training Kitty. I won’t go into it, but there’s been a lot of washing, scrubbing, mopping etc. I’m like Hercules trying to clean the Aegean stables!! Only I am better at accessorising. I like to team skinny black jeans and my new Adelphe diamond-slice ring with eau de toddlerpiss.

But look it’s nearly Christmas and though I loathe Christmas recipe pull-outs at this time of year – so confusing, so distracting – I thought I would recycle this cake that I made for my Grazia column (she said casually) and show it to you here, in case you don’t read Grazia and you’re looking for a mildly spiced cake to serve at some party or other.

And say Merry Christmas to you all! But, especially, to a girl called Petra I once knew a long time ago. A friend of a friend. I bumped into her husband the other day at a party, who I never recognise because he keeps changing his spectacles. At the moment he is wearing some intimidating horn-rimmed pair. “Petra reads your blog,” he said. “I’m sorry I don’t, I…” he floundered. It’s alright, I said. You’re not my demographic.

Anyway Petra is absolutely terrific, but she wasn’t at the party because she was working! At Christmas!! But I think she is a lawyer and so just works and occasionally, blinking at the daylight, leaves her office to eat a sandwich and breathe some non-recycled air.

(My favourite story about lawyers, by the way, was when I emailed my friend Jamie, who is a commercial barrister, on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday about something – I wanted to email while I remembered what it was – and I joked “As it’s a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday Jamie, I expected a swift response as you will, obviously, be at work.” And he fucking was!)

The thing I remember most about Petra was at a dinner party I said I liked her necklace, some really beautiful magnificent choker-y thing with all manner of swizzles and sparkles on it. “It was my grandmother’s,” she said. “There’s an extra bit you can fit on it,” she said, describing a hook and eye in the air with her hands, “that makes it even bigger.”I just stared at her, boggling at the poshness of it all – I thought she was going to say she got it at Accessorize.

Thinking about Petra made me a bit sad. There are all these people, I think, old friends, who read this blog but I don’t see them or speak to them. Then it turns out they’ve been there all the time. It’s possibly best this way, when I think about it. If we were together they would just have to sit there while I rattled on and on just talking about myself and telling boring stories that start off about one thing and then turn into something else and then I suddenly stare out of the window and shout “Oh look there’s that fucking massive parakeet on the bird feeder again!!!” At least if you read this blog you can get up and go and make yourself a cup of tea or something. Get a bit of chocolate to sustain yourself until the pay-off.

And while you’re at it make this cake why don’t you.

This is a very classy cake because of the addition of cardamom, that most people are too scared to use in sweet baking because they don’t want a cake that tastes like curry. But it doesn’t taste like curry, it’s very nice. It’s like something they would make on Bake Off.

But it is absolutely huge, so only make this if you have a lot of people coming round.

Pear and Cardamom cake from The Ethicurean cookbook
Serves about 20, genuinely

315g salted butter at room temperature
315g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
5 eggs (!!!) lightly beaten
315g ground almonds
50g plain flour
1tbsp ground cardamom
1ripe pear (I used tinned pears, which worked very well)
70g dark chocolate

Heat the oven to 170C. Line the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment

1 Beat the butter and sugar together for about five minutes, or until pale and sort of fluffy.

2 Add all the dry ingredients and mix on slow until just combined. Remove the bowl from the machine and fold the mixture a few times with a spatula.

3 Turn it into the tin, level the top then place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20  minutes.

4 Slice your pear thinly and break the chocolate into pieces. 

5 Remove the cake from the oven. It will still be liquid. Press the chocolate pieces into the mix across the entire cake. Lay the pear slices on top of the cake and then sprinkle the cake with some sugar, for caramelisation and a bit of crunch. 

6 Put back in the oven. The recipe said for another 40 mins but mine took another 60 mins for a skewer to come out clean. All ovens are different, alas, which is why baking is such a fucking bore. 

Eat with creme fraiche, I’d say. While wearing a really amazing necklace. 



Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

by Pam on November 11, 2013

We had friends coming over for dinner to celebrate a birthday. The birthday girl wanted something with chocolate for dessert. I found a brownie mix in the pantry and some caramel sauce. I decided to make mini brownie bites topped off with some caramel and sea salt. They were fantastic! The key is, to top the brownie with caramel and salt RIGHT BEFORE you serve them so the brownie bites don’t get soggy. They were a big hit with the birthday girl and the rest of us too. Quick, simple, and decadent – you can’t beat that!

Preheat the oven 20 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners into the mini muffin tray.

Prepare the brownie mix per instructions.  Pour batter evenly into mini cupcake tray liners.

Place into the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the tester inserted into the center of a brownie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Cool completely. The top of the brownie bites should have sunk in. If not, use the back of a spoon to press into the center of the brownie to make a well. Once you are ready to serve the brownie bites, spoon a bit of caramel sauce into the well of each brownie bite. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, to taste. Serve immediately.



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Salted Caramel Brownie Bites




Yield: 24

Prep Time: 10 min.

Cook Time: 13-15 min.



Ingredients:

Brownie mix, made per instructions
Caramel sauce, to taste
Sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven 20 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners into the mini muffin tray.

Prepare the brownie mix per instructions. Pour batter evenly into mini cupcake tray liners.

Place into the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the tester inserted into the center of a brownie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Cool completely. The top of the brownie bites should have sunk in. If not, use the back of a spoon to press into the center of the brownie to make a well. Once you are ready to serve the brownie bites, spoon a bit of caramel sauce into the well of each brownie bite. Sprinkle the top with sea salt, to taste. Serve immediately.



Recipe and photos by For the Love of Cooking

References

  1. ^ Print Recipe (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  2. ^ Save to ZipList Recipe Box (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)

Simple Chicken Thighs with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes?A one pot meal! and A Butterball Coupon Giveaway!

Simple Chicken Thighs with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes…A one pot meal! and A Butterball Coupon Giveaway!

by Pam on November 7, 2013

This was honestly one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. Maybe because it was comforting on a cold rainy day. Maybe it was because I cooked it all in one pot and barely had any dishes to do. Maybe because simple food really is the best food. Whatever the reason, I will be making this meal again and again. This was a simple, no fuss, no muss, delicious meal! I love that.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large OVEN PROOF Dutch oven over medium high heat. Remove any excess fat from the thighs then season both sides with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and garlic powder, to taste. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the hot pan. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown. Carefully, tilt the pan and remove all the oil (this will make the dish healthier and also will prevent the veggies and chicken from being greasy). Once all the oil is gone from the pan, flip the chicken over and move over to one side of the pan. Add the asparagus and grape tomatoes to the other side of the pan then season lightly with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place into the oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until chicken has cooked through.

Remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy.



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Simple Chicken Thighs with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes – A one pot meal






Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
15-20 asparagus spears, wooden ends removed
1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large OVEN PROOF Dutch oven over medium high heat. Remove any excess fat from the thighs then season both sides with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and garlic powder, to taste. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the hot pan. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown. Carefully, tilt the pan and remove all the oil (this will make the dish healthier and also will prevent the veggies and chicken from being greasy). Once all the oil is gone from the pan, flip the chicken over and move over to one side of the pan. Add the asparagus and grape tomatoes to the other side of the pan then season lightly with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place into the oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until chicken has cooked through.

Remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy.



Recipe and photos by For the Love of Cooking.net

 

BUTTERBALL COUPON GIVEAWAY:

The generous people at Butterball[3] have offered two $20.00 checks, one each for two of my lucky readers, to help with purchasing your turkey and items to complete your holiday meal. The Butterbal[4]l site is full of delicious recipes to help with your Thanksgiving meal. Be sure to checkout their Facebook[5] page for ideas too. All you need to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post.

The giveaway is open until Sunday, November 10, 2013 @ 7:30 p.m. This giveaway is open to USA residents only. Be sure to include an e-mail address with your comment. Winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Sunday night. I will email the winners and if the winners do not respond within 48 hours, new winners will be chosen.

Good luck!!!

 

 

 

References

  1. ^ Print Recipe (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  2. ^ Save to ZipList Recipe Box (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  3. ^ Butterball (www.butterball.com)
  4. ^ Butterbal (www.butterball.com)
  5. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)