Chocolate Chestnut Cake (GF) – step by step

FeaturedChocolate Chestnut Cake (GF) – step by step

This is a delicious cake, and whats more it’s gluten free, but so good everyone will like it. Some people may find it hard to get hold of chestnut flour – sometimes you can buy it online, or in those shops where they sell everything by the scoop.  Alternatively if you have an Italian deli near you they will probably stock it. I keep mine in the freezer so it doesn’t go stale. If you can’t get it you can make the recipe without flour, just use less milk, or add a bit of cornflour instead.

Ingredients.

200 gms 70% chocolate

200 gms cultured unsalted butter

200 gms chestnut puree (available in cans)

70ml milk

50 gms chestnut flour

3 eggs ( approx 92 gms egg whites, if your eggs are small you may need four)

110 gms caster sugar

Method

In a large steel bowl over a pan of simmering hot water, melt chocolate and butter together. Do not let the water reach the underneath of the bowl.

In a separate pan warm the milk , chestnut puree and chestnut flour together and mix until smooth.The puree I use is very stiff. If it is not as stiff, use less milk.

When the chocolate mix is melted take off heat and add in the chestnut puree mix.

Mix the egg yolks with the caster sugar. Stir this into the chocolate mixture.

Beat the eggwhites until they form stiff peaks. Egg whites beat better in a copper bowl, if you happen to have one. You can clean them using lemon juice.

Line the base of a 20 cm tin with baking paper. Do this by smoothing the baking paper over the base and tucking it through the edge, then pull it tight. Trim off the edges.

Butter the sides of the tin.

Pour the mix into the cake tin.

Bake at 150 C ( fan) for 45 – 50 minutes until a skewer is clean when  you insert it into the cake and pull it out.  Allow to cool on a rack, then remove from the tin.

Decorate with poached pears, strawberries and/or raspberries, and sprinkle with sieved icing sugar.

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Boeuf Bourgignon – Step by Step

 

OK this doesn’t qualify as baking but we can’t live by bread alone. So it was a cold night, I had some friends coming round, and what better to cook for them than the very traditional French dish, Boeuf Bourgignon, using beef and veggies bought at the local Canberra and Region Farmers’ Market.

Ingredients:

1kg stewing steak, chopped into pieces.

1 cup of lardons ( or bacon shopped up small)

Olive oil ( 2-3 tablespoons)

1 bottle of red wine (not expensive, but not bad quality either.)

7 or 8 pickling onions or shallots ( if you can’t get these just cut ordinary onions into quarters)

About 15 small mushrooms

2 or three carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Mirepoix: 2-3 carrots, 2-3 sticks celery, 1 onion. A mirepoix is a mix of finely chopped vegetables that is a flavour basis in French (and Italian cooking).

1 bayleaf (2 if fresh) fresh parsley, thyme, marjoram.

4 tablespoons plain flour

Pepper and salt

Method

Mirepoix : If you have time you can finely chop the mirepoix vegetables. Alternatively, chop them in a kitchen whizzer, which makes them very fine, but I like this as it is a way of thickening the sauce.

Fry the lardons and the mirepoix in some olive oil, stirring frequently. Do not let them burn.

Take a thin plastic bag and put the flour in. Season with pepper ( not salt, as this can toughen the meat. Add the salt at the end of cooking)

Put the meat into the plastic bag and shake madly. This will cover the meat with a fine coating of flour and thicken the sauce. You may have to do it in two lots.

Take the mirepoix out of the frying pan and set aside for later.

Put some more olive oil in the pan and heat. Add the meat in two batches, and brown.

Turn the heat up and pour the entire bottle of wine in. Wait until it bubbles up, them turn down the heat, add the mirepoix, the peeled onions, additional carrots if you are using them and the mushrooms.

Notes on veggies. I always add more vegetables than traditional recipes allow as it makes the meat go further, and because I like vegetables.

Either put entire stew into a slow cooker for about 5 hours or if you haven’t got a slow cooker, put in a casserole, in the oven and cook slowly for about two hours at 160 C, until the meat is tender. How long it will take is dependant on the kind of beef you buy.

(Slow cookers are a wonderful gadget, quite cheap, and it means you can go out, leave the food cooking for several hours, and come home to a wonderful smell as though someone else had cooked dinner!)

Serve with steamed green beans of broccoli, and celeriac mash. (see recipe)

Wholemeal sourdough with orange juice

Wholemeal

Wholemeal loaf – totally delicious!

This loaf was based on one by Dan Lepard, then adapted by Hereford chef and cafe owner Bill Sewell in his terrific book Bill’s Kitchen, and then I adapted it slightly.

I uses orange juice in this loaf – Vitamin C has often been used by bakers to help rise a loaf, especially when you have dense flour like wholemeal. The additional yeast also helps boost the loaf. The advantage of using it is that you don’t have to let it rise over night – I plan to make another version solely with sourdough starter, which will take much longer!

Ingredients

425 ml tepid water

50 ml fresh orange juice

100 gm of sourdough starter

475 gm wholemeal flour

100gm strong white flour 10gm salt

7g sachet of instant yeast

Timeline: ( you can start anytime, but I find a timeline helps so that you know if you have enough time to make bread. I sometimes make this loaf at night, so if you start at 7pm you would have a loaf by 10.15, just in time for a bedtime snack!)

8am: Put all the ingredients in a big bowl and mix with your hands or a large spoon. Leave for five minutes

8.05 am: Knead very briefly, just stretching the dough a bit. Leave for 5 mins

8.10 am: Repeat

8.15 am: Repeat and leave for 10 minutes

8.25 am: Tip the dough onto you work surface, and fold your bread in the middle to make a ball. Cut into two balls with a dough scraper, one large ball and one small ball. Roll balls into  a sausage with the seam underneath and tuck into two well oiled tins. Leave to rise for between 45- 90 minutes

10.00 am approx ( when the bread is risen). Put pizza stone into oven. Put metal baking tray on the shelf underneath. Preheat fan oven to 220 C . Boil kettle.  When you put the bread in oven pour  boiling water into the metal tray to create steam. Cook bread for 30 minutes for the smaller loaf, 40 minutes for the larger one. Tap on the bottom, if they sound hollow they are done.

10.40 am: Take bread out of oven, ( check if ready) and put on rack to cool.

11.15 am: ( approx)  Slice a piece of the loaf and enjoy.