Sunday, 26 August 2012

Chocolate, Coffee and Almond Truffle Cake

Do you want a dessert that is incredibly easy to make? Impressive enough to serve at a dinner party? Unbelievably delicious? And packed full of calories?

Okay, I'm not exactly selling it with that last sentence. But this dessert qualifies for each and every one of them, including the last, and is all the more delicious for it. It takes hardly any time to make, no cooking, can be made in advance and served to eager guests to end the dinner in style. Just remember to go for a run the next day...

Chocolate, Coffee and Almond Truffle Cake
Serves 8-10

300g 70%-80% chocolate
700ml double cream
100ml milk
4 tsp instant coffee or a measure of espresso
50g caster sugar (double the quantity if you prefer your chocolate less bitter)
100g blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

1 - Prepare a 20" spring-form cake tin by lightly oiling it and lining it with cling film.
2 - Heat up the milk then stir in the coffee and sugar.
3 - Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl over a pan of hot water (bain marie). Heat gently until melted.
4 - Whip the cream until it just begins to thicken and slightly stiffen.
5 - Fold the melted chocolate into the double cream followed by the milk until thoroughly combined.
6 - Tip the almonds into the cake tin to cover the base. Spoon over the chocolate and cream then gently tap onto a work surface to remove any air bubbles.
7 - Place into a fridge for a couple of hours. When ready to serve, simply invert onto a plate and remove the cling film. Serve with a spoon of Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. The cake will keep, covered in a fridge, for 3 days.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Cod and Lentil Masala

In these days of watching what I eat, I'm turning more to low fat proteins and using less oil in my cooking.

The most important aspect to me as a food lover and cook is to ensure that the food never lacks in flavour. So far so good, especially with this flavour packed curry; a myriad of flavours from sweet tomato, nutty cumin and the aniseed of fennel seed which pairs so well with fish.

I've used chunky cod in this curry (or masala, which basically means a mixture of spices). Cod holds its shape well but any firm fish will do. Look for ling, pollack, whiting or even salmon and trout. Enjoy, health and food lovers.

Cod and Lentil Masala
Serves 4

1 red onion
A thumb size piece of ginger
5 garlic cloves
1 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1 tsp each of fennel seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala
1 tbsp tomato purée
500g tomato pasata
100g brown lentils, cooked
300g cod, cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper to taste

1 - Either finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger or blitz in a food processor to form a paste.
2 - Heat up the oil in a non stick pan and add the paste. Cook, stirring, until it begins to caramelise.
3 - Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Finally, add the pasata and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and thickened.
4 - Add the fish and lentils. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Taste for seasoning, you may want more chilli. It should be sweet, spicy and aromatic.