Food

This is where my recipes will go, and other ideas or resources which relate to beautiful, joyful nourishment ~

THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
Decidedly NOT low in calories, but my sister just called and asked me to send her this family favourite. Courtesy of our truly grand Grandmother, Nancy Buckham, and quoted directly from her fabulous, extensive cookbook, "Chez Moi." This really is the best chocolate cake recipe I've ever tried; I always return to it disappointed by others that just don't make the cut! Please read the whole recipe before you begin - I know from experience that things turn out very differently when you don't...

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A strange title for any cake, but this seems to be the name given to this marvelous, rich, moist cake whenever I was asked to make it over the years; especially by my children! It is particularly dark, and remains fresh for at least a week, should it last that long! 

This recipe was given to my mother by my godmother when I was a child, and we have been forever grateful.

1/2 cup boiling water
2 ounces bitter chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sour milk
1 large egg

Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Add the sugar, then the flour sifted with the baking soda. Blend well.


Add the sour milk and blend again. Drop the whole egg into the mixture and beat well. Pour the batter into a buttered and paper-lined 8 inch by 8 inch cake pan.


Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour, or until the edges leave the sides of the pan and the top springs back to the touch. Cool the cake in the pan.


When the cake is cool, remove the paper from the bottom of the cake and place the cake on a plate, rounded surface upper-most. Frost the cake with the following butter icing. 

1/3 cup soft butter
2-3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Milk to mix
1 ounce bitter chocolate, melted


Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a deep bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric beater, gradually adding just enough milk to produce a creamy mass. Frost the cake, forming small peaks with a teaspoon. Dribble the chocolate in a splatter effect [Sam calls this the "Pollock job"] over the cake. 


Serves 8 or my three children! 


Note: To sour the milk, add a good teaspoon of white vinegar to a scant 1/4 cup of milk before starting to make the cake. It will sour almost immediately.
 
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ROASTED TOMATO GOODNESS

I am really just not sure there's anything better than roasted tomatoes. 
This is the inspiration recipe, but I find skinning the tomatoes isn't necessary. You can omit the garlic if you like, and sprinkle the tiniest amount of sugar (as if it were salt) on top of each one...I eat these straight off the pan, no crusty bread required. TRY IT, IT WILL MAKE YOUR WEEK!  

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes

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HOT and SOUR SOUP
This is my own creation and I have written it out according to memory. The amounts are approximate so you may need to tweak it/try it a few times to get it just right. I LOVE hot and sour soup (not the gross, slimy kind some Chinese restaurants have - this is a cleaner, more Indonesian sort) and it's low in calories.

*Chicken broth (I used two of the Campbell's low sodium tetra boxes; about 2.5 L? but homemade stock is always best)
*Five spice asian seasoning (you can get this almost anywhere)
*Chili Garlic sauce (mine is called "Tuong ot toi Viet-nam")
*Sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce (Ketjap Manis)
*Light peanut sauce
*Low sodium soy sauce (or Bragg's)
*Cilantro
*Garlic
*Two large limes
*Mushrooms
*Carrots
*Green onions
*Bean sprouts
*Broccoli
*Baby corn
*Water Chestnuts
*Your choice of protein (my favourite is prawns but it would work well with firm tofu, chicken, pork or beef)


All I did was sautee the mushrooms and carrots, sliced thinly, until they were soft (I use cooking spray to reduce calories but you can use a little oil if you want). In the last minute I added the finely minced garlic so it wouldn't burn. Then, I added the chicken broth and everything except the sprouts and green onions. Obviously I cut the broccoli into florets as well.

While keeping on medium-high heat to cook the vegetables, I added my seasonings. The juice from both limes, a good tablespoon or two of chili garlic sauce, a few generous sploshes of the Indonesian and low sodium soy sauces, at least a tablespoon of the five spice powder, and probably about 1/8 cup of the light peanut sauce. You could probably just use a tablespoon or two of peanut butter if you didn't have sauce on hand. This ingredient adds a few calories but there are so few anywhere else in the recipe that I don't worry about it.

At the last minute, I added the prawns, sprouts and sliced green onions, served it into large bowls with large spoons and chopsticks, and garnished it all up with some chopped cilantro and a slice of lime. YUM.
The key is to balance the sweet and sour flavours. The lime and the Indonesian soy sauce are important for this reason. You need just enough heat too so don't skimp on the chili garlic sauce. If you use chicken, pork or beef make sure you cook it separately first.

Hope it goes well!  

GIADA'S ORANGECELLO
I added some split vanilla pods to the orange peels and marinated it all for five days. I also added them to the simple syrup while cooking, after I had strained the vodka. Put in pretty jars and keep in the freezer until it's time to give them away. Oh, and use good vodka. It will make a difference.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/orangecello-recipe/index.html


GIADA'S SEMI FREDO STRACCIATELLA
I made this for my family a week ago and it was TO DIE FOR. Easy to make and so, so yummy.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/stracciatella-semifreddo-recipe/index.html


HOMEMADE PANCAKE MIX
Nigella Lawson, with adaptations a moi.

4 cups flour (I use 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 whole wheat flours)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tsp salt (I use 1/2)
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons roasted milled flax meal
Ground cinnammon, nutmeg, cloves to taste
Orange or lemon zest to taste - pop into a warm oven in a little dish for a minute or two just to dry them out and release the oil a little, then add to mix.
A heaping 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
Roasted crushed nuts if you like them

To make: for 1 cup of mix add 1 cup of milk and 1 egg (I actually use more like 1 and 1/2 cups of milk, as I like pancakes thinner), frozen blueberries if you have them.
Also important: add a tablespoon or so of melted butter to your batter, mixing thoroughly. This will help prevent burning.
Cook on a medium-low skillet with cooking spray or a little melted butter.  

A really nice gift: you can triple the recipe and fill big clamp jars with the stuff. Make some pretty labels and copies of the recipe and affiix with ribbon or twine. Give with a nice bottle of maple or homemade syrup and a box of grapefruit or oranges. It's kind of a lovely hostess gift if given a few days before Christmas/your actual holiday, when all those family breakfasts start to happen...

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CHICKEN PICATTA
Suzanne Somers

serves 2

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil¼ cup white wine
2 tbsp. capers juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp. butter

Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. Place each breast flat on a chopping block. With your knife parallel to the chopping block, slice the breast in half through the middle to make it half as thick. Place each slice between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until¼-inch thick. Season each breast with salt and pepper.

To a skillet over high heat, add the olive oil and as many of the chicken breasts as will fit in the pan without overlapping. Brown for 2 minutes on each side, then set aside in a warm oven.
To make the sauce, reheat the skillet over medium heat. Add the wine and reduce for 2 minutes or so, stirring constantly to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the capers and the lemon juice. Remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve

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EGGS BAKED IN TOMATOES AND RED PEPPERSSuzanne Somers
serves 2
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 28 oz. can of plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 eggs
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Heat a 10-inch saute pan on medium heat. Add the oil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer 30-40 minutes.

Creating small wells in the tomato mixture, break the eggs into the tomatoes. Cover with a lid and cook until whites have set but yolks are still runny. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve immediately.

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LEMON CLOUD CAKE (Gourmet Magazine)
This was passed along by my stepmother and apparently is just like one my grandmother used to make for my Dad when he was a kid! It is so yummy, and not too heavy.

  • 2 large lemons
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350�F.

Finely grate 1 tablespoon zest from lemons, then squeeze 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons juice.

Whisk together flour, salt, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together yolks, milk, zest, and juice in a small bowl and add to flour mixture, whisking until just combined.

Beat whites in another large bowl with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Whisk about one fourth of whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly (batter will be thin).

Pour into a buttered 1 1/2-quart ceramic gratin or other shallow baking dish and bake in a hot water bath (see Tips, page 156) until puffed and golden, 45 to 50 minutes.

Transfer to a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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OATMEAL COOKIES
A favourite of my Dad's and another one from my stepmother. These are addictive but you only have to make a few at a time - you can always stick the batter tube in the freezer after slicing off what you want!

3 c. rolled oats
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening, melted (I use butter)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. boiling water

Mix all together, oats, brown sugar, flour and salt. Add shortening
and vanilla.

Dissolve soda in boiling water and mix into first mixture.

Form dough into long roll in wax paper and store in fridge for a few
hours, or overnight.

Slice and bake at 400 for 8 - 10 minutes.