Gastronomically Terrific

July 17, 2011

Wendy’s Caring Cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:49 pm

This is a “no added sugar” diabetic recipe for fruitcake.  As I am missing a picture, it is hard to visualise this, but it doesn’t look any different to a normal fruit loaf.  We quite enjoyed it, but at the same time it wasn’t all that thrilling.  It was a lot better as a pudding (served hot with cream) than as a cake.  The texture in particular was odd, presumably the high density of dried fruit – and pineapple! leaves the cake a little rubbery (but not in a bad way!).

I’ll give the ingredients, but not a proper recipe.  You can guess the rest, its pretty obvious!  Cook covered (190 degrees) for an hour or so.

Ingredients: 425g can of crushed pineapple, with juice, 450g mixed dried fruit, 1tsp mixed spice, 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 225g self raising wholemeal flour.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “Baking, making and sharing” by Susan Over, page 18.


Angel Fruit Tartlets

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:11 pm

Hot little tarts…

With all that fruit it has to be good for you, right?

The tarts are extremely simple: just short crust pastry, with a sweetened mascarpone cheese topping (175g of the cheese, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar, and 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest).  Then a random selection of your favourite fruits sit on top.  Clearly, the only opportunity for excitement here is the topping, but this works really well, being very simple cream cheese with a very intense flavour from the orange.

I can merrily eat 3 of these in a sitting and its only British Social Reserve holding me back from a fourth.  Try them; they are tasty and easy!

Who made it: Anna.

Recipe: Cakes, Bakes, Puddings and Prayers, by Susan Over, page 8.

Potato, Fontina and rosemary tart

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 3:41 pm

This looks pretty tasty.  It’s a shame that it wasn’t very good.

Its not what you can see, but what you can't that matters here.

Alarm bells should have started ringing with the title: potato tart.  Pastry doesn’t really need more starch added to it… still, pasties have potato in and are tasty so it’s not a hopeless idea.

Where this goes very, very wrong is that the potato is not cooked at all before going in the pie: it is just sliced very thinly.  Anyone who cooks knows that this is going to be dangerous, and with an oven like ours is downright silly.  You par boil potatoes.  They need par boiling.

So although the tart above looks really rather tasty, it was basically uncooked.  We then had to microwave it to death to get the potato to cook.  The end result was still OK, but the pastry was a little tough and just not the fresh yumminess it should have been.  I like the idea of a rosemary cheese pie, but I think more varied veg would be better.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: The daily cook book, by Love Food, November 11th.

July 10, 2011

Tiramasu Cheesecake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:10 pm

This sexy little number was recommended by our friend Ella, who seems to know her cheesecakes.

Tiramasu Torte

Death by cheesecake is by far the best way to go...

Correctly baked cheesecake is perhaps the most wonderful thing in the world.  This is up there with the best, though whether it takes the top spot will depend on how much you value purity against intensity: this is like being enveloped by a rum and amaretto hug whilst Tia Maria kisses you smack on the lips.  (Don’t think about the meaning of that in Spanish.  Just don’t.)

An Amaretti biscuit base works amazingly well, adding an almondly overtone that really works.  Trust me – I was an unbeliever too.  Your cheesecake will love you for it.  The second trick is the always amazing mix of coffee, alcohol and chocolate in the marbled cheescake, which is baked into an intense perfection that you will not be able to resist.


Biscuit base: 275g amaretti biscuits, 75g unsalted butter/margarine

Cheesecake: 700g mascapone/cream cheese, 150g sugar, 3 eggs (separated), 25g plain flour, 3 tbsp dark rum, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 175g plain chocolate, 1tbsp coffee, 3 tbsp Tia Maria


Crush the biscuits in a bag or food processor, add melted butter and stir until mixed.  Press into a 9inch (23cm) cake tin and chill for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.  Beat the cheese until smooth, then add the sugar and re-beat, and then again with the egg yolks. Put half the mixture in a new bowl and add the flour, rum and vanilla.  Melt the chocolate, stir in the coffee and the Tia Maria, and add to the other half of the cheese mixture.

Beat the egg whites until gentle peaks form, then add half to each mixture and mix in gently (without beating).  Then dollop each in on to the base irregularly, using a knife to make marbled swirls on top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until gently soft in the middle.

Actually, we ever so slightly overcooked ours, with the inside perfect but the outside just a little dry.  It is safer to cook “lower in the oven” (or just at a lower temperature) and to keep it covered; it should come out sticky when you poke in a knofe (but not wet, which is how it will start).

Unlike many other cheesecakes, this is actually at its best when hot straight  from the oven.  I think its because the flavours are most intense then.  When chilled, it will taste more like cheesecake and less like alcoholic heaven, which would probably be a good thing for people who don’t like such an intense coffee flavour.

Who made it: Anna, though Dan licked everything clean.

Recipe: Good Housekeeping Cakes and Bakes (probably.. this is from memory…

Butternut Squash Risotto

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:35 pm

This is now such a regular feature in our house that we just make it up as we go along.  This qualifies as the “Summer Risotto”, being based mostly around herbs for flavour instead of spices and alcohol.

Summer Risotto

Summer Risotto with Butternut Squash and white wine

Of course you can do basically anything with risotto.  They key is getting some flavours in, here provided by mint and basil in a white wine and stock.  The next most important thing is making sure it has enough vegetables in  that you like.


1/2 Butternut squash, 1 carrot, 1/2 onion, 1/2 leek, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 pepper, 2 mushrooms, pine seeds, butter, white wine, fresh herbs.

Method (serves 2):

To make the butternut  squash, peel (1/2 a fair sized squash) and chop into chunks, drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar and bake (evenly spread) at 200 degrees for an hour. (optionally sprinkle on pine seeds after 30 mins).

Meanwhile for the risotto, fry some onion, leek and garlic in a dollop of butter.  Make 500ml of vegetable stock.  When the onion starts to go soft, add 1 small cup of rice (risotto if you have it, but actually most rice types work) and a small amount of stock, and turn down to a simmering heat.  Keep adding stock when it needs it to keep the consistency sticky but not wet.  Add the thinly sliced carrots and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the diced pepper and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms and a good guzzle of white wine, and give it an additional 10 minutes.

When the rice is cooked (which should take about 50 minutes), add a dollop of butter with a handful of two of your favourite chopped herbs (say, basil and mint). Mix and leave to “breath” for a couple of minutes.  Serve the squash on the risotto, with grated cheese on top… and a salad on the side if that floats your boat 🙂

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