Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Cherry-Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes, 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess', Nigella Lawson

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Two wonderful things have happened recently (in addition to buying the house!), and I’m a very lucky and happy bunny. I was bought a Kitchen Aid, and I was also bought Nigella’s ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’ book. So I’m re-finding my baking mojo. One of the loveliest things I’ve made recently are out of the Nigella’s book (buy it here – it’s ace) – Cherry-Chocolate Cupcakes. Easy to make, easy to eat! They’re a bit like a reverse cupcake, in that the cake itself is quite sweet, but this is perfectly offset by quite a bitter icing.

You’ll notice a sneaky third score below. Guest judge, Chris, who was given the honour of Paul finally sharing my baking with someone other than himself!

KB 9/10. PR 9/10. CF 8.5/10

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes (makes 12)

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 300g morello cherry jam (get a good quality one, but if it’s a bit of a sweeter, cheaper version, reduce the sugar in the batter mix a little)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 150g self raising flour

12 bun muffin tin and papers

For the icing:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 12 natural-coloured glace cherries

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4

Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the cherry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.

Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

When the cupcakes are cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk, by hand or electronically, till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a cherry in the centre of each.

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Mocha Chocolate Mousse (with Irish Whiskey)

Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey, What Katie Ate

Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey, What Katie Ate

Not so long ago I was in a homeware shop that had a LOT of cookery books on sale. And whilst I know you’re not supposed to, I totally judge books by their cover. This lovely looking book was buried in the pile and then as soon as I read the title I knew that it was fate – the book is ‘What Katie Ate’! Flicking through it in the shop I then noticed every single page I landed on contained a recipe I really wanted to cook. So, there it is. Fate was sealed. Book was in the trolley before you could say ‘seriously, another one’. The book really is lovely (available to buy here and her website is here) and I’ve been looking forward to trying some things out. I started with her Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey and the reason I put the last bit in brackets in the post title is because I chose to switch out whiskey for rum (which the recipe does suggest). I love whiskey, but Paul isn’t keen so I went with the alternative.

This mousse was lovely – nice and light and the mocha flavouring was a good touch. I did end up using practically every bowl I owned though, as you need to create a bain marie and use it with two different mixes. And then have another bowl with iced water and a final one to whisk the egg whites in. But otherwise, pretty straightforward to make and really good to eat!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Mocha Chocolate Mousse with Irish Whiskey (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 170g good quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp good quality instant coffee granules, mixed with 2 tbsp hot water
  • 4 free-range eggs, separated
  • 150g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
  • 2 tbsp Irish Whiskey (or dark rum)
  • Pinch fine salt
  • Whipped cream, to serve

Method:

Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a gentle simmer, and melt the chocolate, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan but doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside. Keep the water simmering away.

Place a few handfuls of ice into a large bowl and half-fill with water. Set aside nearby.

In another heatproof bowl that fits over the saucepan of simmering water (and will sit inside the bowl of ice water), add the egg yolks, caster sugar, whiskey/rum and 1 tablespoon cold water. Using a balloon whisk or hand-held electric beaters, whisk for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens, becomes paler and has a similar consistency to runny mayonnaise. Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the bowl of iced water. Continue to whisk for a further few minutes until the mixture thickens and cools slightly, being careful that no water gets into the mixture. Add the chocolate mixture to the beaten eggs and stir to combine.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until just stiff and frothy. Add the extra tablespoon of caster sugar and beat again until just glossy.

Using a large mixing spoon, add one spoonful of egg whites to the chocolate mix and fold in gently. Gradually fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to overmix.

Transfer the mousse to a jug, then pour into individual serving jars or glasses. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours before serving. Top with a thick layer of whipped cream to serve.


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Salted Caramel Shortbread

Salted Caramel Shortbread, Olive Magazine February 2014

Salted Caramel Shortbread, Olive Magazine February 2014

It’s been a while since my last post, and I actually have a very good reason. Reidbury Kitchen has officially relocated! We have finally bought our first house and have spent the last few months preparing to move, actually moving and then trying to make it a home (this place needs work)! But I know that it’s definitely home now as, yesterday, I decided to bake! I’ve popped the new Reidbury Kitchen’s cherry, so to speak. This kitchen is small (the master plan is to eventually convert the garage into a shiny, new kitchen), so I thought it might be a challenge. However it is soooo much bigger than the kitchen I’ve left, and it even has a door. A DOOR! It’s not part of the lounge! Meaning that I can enjoy listening to my own music, and Paul doesn’t have to turn the TV up every time I boil the kettle or use the food processor. Perfection!

Anyway, onto the recipe. I’ve decided to laugh in the face of the January health kick. Sod detoxing – I’m retoxing. And as soon as I saw this recipe for Salted Caramel Shortbread in the latest edition of Olive Magazine I knew we had a strong contender. I’ve never made shortbread so I was interested to see how it would play out, but I reckon this has to be one of the easiest things I’ve ever made and definitely the tastiest! The salted caramel that runs through the centre of these shortbreads really cuts through the sweetness, so don’t shy away from a good sprinkling of sea salt at the caramel-making stage. It will balance out nicely.

Finally, tracking down rice flour might be a challenge. Having checked all probable aisles in Waitrose (ooh, fancy), I still couldn’t find it. Turned out it is kept in the gluten free section – thought I’d share the knowledge.

You owe it to yourself to give these a try. They really are delightful!

KB rating 10/10. PR rating 9.5/10

Salted Caramel Shortbread (makes 20)

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Salt flakes, for decoration

For the caramel:

  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • Salt flakes

Method:

To make the caramel, heat the sugar in an even layer in a frying pan until it melts and then starts to bubble golden brown. Swirl the pan if you need to keep the melting and browning even (it’s worth taking this off the heat earlier than you think as it can go from golden to dark brown very quickly. And dark brown is pretty much burnt). Add a good sized pinch of salt flakes and tip the caramel onto an oiled baking sheet set on a wooden board. Cool and then break into chips with a rolling pin.

Whizz the butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Add all the flours and a pinch of salt and whizz to form a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, pat out gently and sprinkle with the caramel chips. Fold in half and then transfer to a 20cm x 30cm (or similar) tin and push into an even layer. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, mark into fingers with a knife (you should get about 20 decent sized pieces) and then cool completely. Cut along the marked lines into pieces.

Heat the chocolate in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of water or microwave until it starts to melt, stir until smooth and take it off the heat. Lay the shortbreads next to each other with a tiny gap between them on a cooling rack and spoon over the chocolate in strips. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with some salt flakes and then leave to set.