Archive for the 'cakes' Category

Chocolate and raspberry brownies

chocolate and raspberry brownies

chocolate and raspberry brownies

Welcome back to me! Sorry for the silence but I have been gallivanting around the world…well, Italy in truth, AND Berlin. Wonderful city! While I was in Italy visiting my family we had a reunion where each person had to bring something to share for lunch. I decided to bake these brownies at my dad’s house -which is where I was staying (hence no picture of Tomik the cat )- as my contribution. My Italian family wasn’t familiar with brownies so I happily introduced them to these calorie laden treats for the chocoholics, much to their delight. Brownies originally come from  the States and there are many versions of them out there. I chose this one with raspberries as I think the chocolate/raspberry combo is a winning combination. Candi knows that as she had blogged in the past a Swedish cake which is rather similar (click here ). The recipe comes from the BBC online website. My only change was to shed 100 gr of sugar off the original recipe. By the way, the picture doesn’t do it justice. I should have shown you what they look like inside: lovely and gooey. Oh well! Trust me though: you will impress your friends if you make them a batch of these! :-) Continue reading ‘Chocolate and raspberry brownies’

Dundee cake

Dundee cake

Dundee cake

First of all Merry Christmas and a Happy Boxing day to you all! It’s a welcome relief from cooking and eating to write on this blog, if truth be known. Although we didn’t really overdo it in the food department, like some people do, it feels as if I have been stuck in the kitchen for the last couple of days. And I can’t say I have received a lot of help from the men in my life. Both sons when they return home for Christmas revert to the time when they were ten. Incapable of even making a cup of tea for their own mother. The irony is they can cook very well. Ah well! I guess they come home to get spoilt and I must oblige, being an Italian mamma after all. 😉 But enough chit chat. The cake I am about to blog is another classic. It’s basically a fruit cake but much lighter than your traditional Christmas cake (which I find far too heavy and rich). There are many recipes out there but when it comes to classics there is only one master for me: good old Delia. I got the recipe straight out of her web page. I slightly adapted it as I added some cranberries to the dried fruit mixture. The good thing about it is that it keeps well and, in fact, its flavour improves if eaten after a few days. Of course you don’t have to wait for Christmas to make it. In fact I think I will repeat the experiment real soon because even I liked it. Continue reading ‘Dundee cake’

Eve’s pudding

Eve's pudding

Eve’s pudding

This is another classic recipe which I baked for my brother when he came to visit us last weekend. I hadn’t made it for donkey’s years! He liked it so much he wanted to know how it’s made so here it is. As usual there are loads of different recipes out there but basically an Eve’s pudding (no idea why it is called that) consists of stewed apples at the bottom and a sponge mixture at the top. It’s simple but nice. Ideally it is served hot with either cream or custard. My recipe -slightly adapted- comes from the BBC website. Continue reading ‘Eve’s pudding’

Lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour

lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour

lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour

I had been meaning to make a lemon meringue pie for a long LONG while. It is, after all, a classic dessert here in the UK and one I really like. Inspired by one of the episodes in the Great British Bake off , I decided to have a go. Oh dear, oh dear! DISASTER! My creation would have come bottom of the pack in the Bake off competition by a mile and would have raised a few incredulous eyebrows. How Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry would have laughed!  To look at it ( see picture at the bottom) it wasn’t all that bad but once you cut into it  liquid started oozing out. ARGH! What an almighty mess! I know where I went wrong. I failed to cook the lemony custard that went inside beforehand thinking that it would solidify while cooking in the oven. WRONG! Ironically I used a Mary Berry’s recipe but clearly didn’t follow the instructions properly. Oh well! Back to the drawing board. On the plus side: it actually didn’t taste that bad and the meringue at the top was spot on, despite my reservations. At least it didn’t end up in the bin! Another thing I will do next time round: I will trim the pastry at the top AFTER I have baked it blind. I did notice that that’s what the Bake off contestants were doing but failed to learn by their examples. As a result it shrunk too much. I really didn’t do myself proud with this one. SORRY! :-( But, as the blog demands, I have to share the failures, not just the successes! Continue reading ‘Lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour’

Plum and almond cake

plum and almond cake

 plum and almond cake

A  very kind friend of mine with an orchard and a surplus of plums donated a few kilos of them to me recently. We ate quite a few of them straight out of the bag as they were so delicious, but I’ve also used some to make this lovely cake. The inspiration came from Nigel Slater , although I slightly adapted his original recipe. I didn’t add any walnuts to the mixture, for example, which he does. What is particularly nice about it is the tanginess of the plums in combination with the sweetness of the almonds. My husband took it to a fellow group of volunteers and it pretty much vanished amongst lip smacking sounds of appreciation. I’d like to add that apparently the store bought butterfly cakes that someone else brought in weren’t even touched. Home made wins every time, it would seem!…:-) Continue reading ‘Plum and almond cake’

Strawberry tiramisu

strawberry tiramisu

strawberry tiramisu

Dear friends, I am still reeling after the results of the Brexit referendum. I can’t help feeling extremely sad and disappointed at the result. So to cheer myself up I’ve experimented in the kitchen with a summer version of the classic tiramisu. This dessert couldn’t be more appropriate as  “tirami su” in Italian means: pull me up, which is exactly what I need right now!  I  already blogged the classic recipe over two years ago ( see here). Yes, two years! Incredible how times fly. As strawberries are now in season, and you can hope to buy some that will actually TASTE of strawberries, I recommend you try this recipe. It’s simple, it’s light (albeit not from a calories point of view :-( ), it’s different. I’ve already made it three times in the past few weeks and each time it met with 100% approval from my guests. I found the recipe on line on an Italian blog called Le ricette della nonna (= grandma’s recipes). There are several versions floating in cyberspace, a few involving making some sort of custard. But not this one. What are you waiting for? Get your mascarpone and your savoiardi and have a go! Your friends will thank you for it… Continue reading ‘Strawberry tiramisu’

Polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans

polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans

polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans

I’ll start by confessing I didn’t make this cake. Technically my husband made it, although, to be fair, he was largely executing orders with me standing over his shoulder. The reason why we made this cake together was that he had promised his colleagues at work he would bring a cake in made with his own fair hands. We had ricotta in the fridge as well as the most gorgeous Palestinians dates. Bingo! I found this recipe on the Delia Smith’s blog.  I wasn’t sure about it at first as it has no eggs in it. Also when it first came out of the oven after the recommended 1 hour and three quarters I thought I had overcooked it. However I needn’t have worried. I really liked it, and so, apparently, did my husband’s colleagues. So success all around. And in truth: how could Delia be wrong? Impossible! This is a cake I’ll definitely make again. Continue reading ‘Polenta and ricotta cake with dates and pecans’

Victoria sponge cake

Victoria sponge cake

                       Victoria sponge cake

Hello everyone and sorry for the disappearing act but I fell victim to the most vicious flu I have ever had in my life. Loads of my students had it and I have got to admit I wasn’t overly sympathetic with them…until I got it myself, of course! It took me nearly 3 weeks to feel human again! Next year: vaccine here I come. But enough of my state of health. What I am blogging today is a classic of English baking: A Victoria sandwich cake, which is basically a plain sponge cake filled with buttercream and raspberry or strawberry jam.  Every tea room will have one on sale. It is that common. And yet I had never actually made one until just over a week ago when my husband, who is very partial to it, kindly requested one on his birthday. How could I refuse? Plus it is not a particularly difficult cake to make. The only “complication” is that you have to bake two cakes of the same diameter. I have got to say I really enjoyed it. In truth I prefer more simple types of cakes. The recipe is taken from Felicity Cloake’ s Guardian column . Continue reading ‘Victoria sponge cake’

A simple carrot cake

a simple carrot cake

                        a simple carrot cake

Hello again. Here is the carrot cake I made for the Amnestea event which I promised to blog. Much simpler than my previous 2012 version (see here). There must exist hundreds of different carrot cake recipes out there and I reckon I am entitled to blog a different one every four years, aren’t I? 😉  I had never made this particular one before but I must say I thought it was very good. The recipe is an adapted one I found, would you believe, on the sachet of the Italian baking powder Pane degli angeli.  The sultanas and the spices weren’t in the original recipe, for example. Anyway, here it is. Much nicer than its burnt sister. And Tomik the cat is much happier too! Continue reading ‘A simple carrot cake’

Torta allo sciroppo d’arancia e mandorle ricoperta di cioccolato (se si vuole)

DSC_0147E adesso sembra una competizione! Da settimane avevo lì in bacheca la bozza di questa torta da postare e adesso Lucina ne posta una simile!!! Ma diversa! Dunque se volete provare un confronto, una variazione sul tema torta d’arance e mandorle. Ecco qui la seconda, una sua versione mediorientale e cioccolatata per di più (ma si può benissimo evitare la glassa al cioccolato). L’ho tratta dal bellissimo libro di Ottolenghi-Tamimi Jerusalem, scritto  da un ebreo e un arabo che celebrano la cucina della loro città e le loro tradizioni comuni. Nel libro la torta è pensata per le clementine, ma è detto che si può fare con quello di arancia, cosa che ho fatto, riproponendomi di provare anche la versione clementina. Dicono che si conserva a lungo (se coperta), ma noi l’abbiamo finita subito. L’idea di imbevere una torta con uno sciroppo mi è sempre piaciuta moltissimo.

NB. A proposito di tradizione ebree, musulmane e cristiane, anche la cottura a bagnomaria (usata per la glasse) le ricorda. Maria la Profetessa (per la leggenda Miriam la sorella di Mosè ed Aronne) era una dotta alchimista vissuta tra il primo e il terzo secolo dopo Cristo che inventò quel metodo di cottura per i suoi esperimenti (Balneum Mariae). Siamo un po’ tutte alchimiste (o streghe) quando cuciniamo!

Continue reading ‘Torta allo sciroppo d’arancia e mandorle ricoperta di cioccolato (se si vuole)’