Okay so the title of this blog post is deceptive because while these might look like chocolate truffles they are in fact a virtuous (and vegan) chocolate truffle impersonator. Rahul was vastly unimpressed by them but I am completely hooked on both the taste and the knowledge that they're low GI and full of other good bits and pieces. I offer a disclaimer - only consider making these treats if you are a tahini loving closet hippy!
Ingredients 10 organic dried apricots 1/4 cup raw organic honey 1/4 cup tahini paste 1/2 cup dutch process organic cocoa 1/4 cup LSA mix
Method Run the dried apricots through the food processor until they are diced up nice and small, and then add the honey, tahini and cocoa. Blend until the mixture resembles lumpy garden soil! Roll small balls of the chocolate mixture in the palm of your hand, and then dip them in the LSA mix. Refrigerate for half an hour and then eat at your leisure. The 'truffles' will keep in the fridge for 3 -4 days.
This is Nigella Lawson's Nutella Cake. Looks good. Which is why I thought it would be a perfect 29th birthday celebration cake for little old me.
This is Rahul's Nutella Cake.
Now call me biased, but I think it's pretty darn perfect, possibly even better than Nigella's because the hazelnuts aren't roasted to the point of being black and charred. Plus Rahul was forced to work with a less than even amateur stylist taking photos as she rushed out the door at 7.12am. Plus it was Rahul's first attempt at baking. Ever.
Okay so I haven't tried the finished product just yet, it being only 6.27pm on birthday night. But the batter was amazing. And I couldn't wait to show off Rahul's newly discovered talent!
I loved making this cake. And I loved feeding it to people who had no idea quite how pretty it would be when it was cut. I first read about the 12 layer cake when Bakerella made a fourteen layer version for Valentines Day and I've been waiting for the opportunity to make it ever since.
The recipe was a typical vanilla buttercake spread between 12 cake tins and each baked layer resembled a thick pancake. The 'pancakes' then had to be stacked and layered with a heavily indulgent chocolate syrup made of cocoa, butter and evaporated milk amongst other things. It got very messy as layers tended to slide all over the place. Yes, that is a ruler in the picture. It was a very handy way of ensuring that the layers stacked evenly.
The completed stack was pretty impressive and according to the recipe could have been served as it was. I decided to add an extra layer of chocolate buttercream icing as Bakerella did in her fourteen layer version, reasoning that half the delight of the cake would be the surprised look on people's faces as I cut it.
It was beautiful! Although this poorly lit photograph doesn't quite do it justice. The problem with photographing food as it's cut and served is that hungry eaters prioritise their eating over my blog and so the quality of my photography seriously suffers!
I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the cake because frankly the amount of butter, evaporated milk and sugar in the recipe made me wonder if I would immediately go into a diabetic coma after a single bite. The vanilla layers were beautifully moist and the chocolate syrup between the layers was delicious and slightly reminiscent of Hershey's Chocolate Sauce. I'd definitely recommend this recipe to anyone with a sweet tooth.
* Confession time. My cake only had eleven layers. Oops. According to the recipe I should have put a 'scant cup' in each pan. Obviously my cups weren't quite 'scant' enough.
One thing. I want to eat everything described in this post. Warm brioche with a salted caramel base? Yes please. Anyway, I'll leave Bookverme to tell you more about it...
Before we went away to London and France for five weeks I spent hours on the net finding THE places to eat and exactly what local specialties I shouldn't miss. Emma sent me a series of web addresses for patisseries around Paris, which I duly noted down. I sat up until late in the night to be first in line when River Cafe bookings opened in London and even managed to get my French up to a level where I could speak with the staff in restaurants - none of which had email - to make our bookings.
And eat we did, at the glorious River Cafe (strawberry Bellinis, Scottish langoustines, spring lamb with broad beans and mint, zabaglione icecream), at Chez Dumonet - Josephine (duck liver pate, beef bourgignon, Grand Marnier souffle and a bottle of something incredible), and lovely salted caramel icecream from Berthillon on the Isle St Louis in Paris. But life is full of surprises and it was the food that we didn't expect at places we'd never heard of that was the most memorable.
All over France we stumbled on gorgeous food experiences, not only in little restaurants but also in markets. We ate buttery grilled sole on the quayside in Normandy, roasted guinea fowl in a back street restaurant in a village out of Dijon, kouig aman out of a shop window in Dinan (that's a rich brioche with a warm salted caramel base), spicy home made dried sausages from market stalls all over the country and strawberries dripping in juice with a flavour so intense that I felt it couldn't be real. But the very best thing on the whole trip was this blueberry tart, made by a farmer's wife and sold in great warm chunks from her blueberry stall at the bio markets in Strasbourg. She served it straight from a portable oven and it had a sort of warm gooey sweet syrupy business at the bottom of the tart. I had wolfed down half of it before I even remembered to photograph it. Heaven.
I thought I'd died and gone to heaven just looking at these photos. I had asked Bookverme to write a guest post about her food adventures in London and Paris which I will post tomorrow, but in the interim I thought you'd enjoy her beautiful photos of some amazing patisserie creations. All of which I would like to sample right now.
Stay tuned for Bookverme's description of her fine dining in London and Paris tomorrow!