Monday, May 13, 2019

Black Forest Cake



Rose has been interested in this recipe for a while and it turns out that the best time to make it was for her birthday! So it was an experiment and a celebration at the same time. It is from A Baker’s Life by Paul Hollywood. You can find the original recipe here.

Making this cake it struck me that, much like Tiramisu, the cake acts as a conductor to all the cream, cherries, and kirsch. Though the chocolate, of course, is a definite presence.

The cake part of this didn't work well for us. Looking around, I saw that Mary Berry's Black Forest Gateau didn't have any butter and, therefore, might not have been quite as hard as the Paul Hollywood version. Or I just didn't do a good job with his chocolate sponge. That's a definite possibility.

Be that as it may, we liked the rest of the recipe very well. So we'll be making it next time using our own Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Cake. It's easy, it's foolproof and our son-in-law who loves Black Forest Cake says that a deep chocolate flavor is his favorite here ... and it's got that flavor for sure. We'll use Mary Berry's formula of baking in two 9" cake pans and horizontally slicing them in two, resulting in four layers.

BLACK FOREST CAKE
Serves 12

For the cake
One recipe Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Cake 

Bake in two 9" cake pans, horizontally slicing them in two, resulting in four layers. (Or just use three of the 4 layers if that's how tall you want the cake.)

For the filling and topping 3 layers
(increase as needed for 4 layers)
3 tbsp kirsch
4 tbsp cherry jam
900ml (32fl oz) double cream, whipped
400g (14oz) tin pitted black cherries, drained and halved

To decorate
60g (2¼oz) dark chocolate (60-70%)
A handful of fresh cherries

To assemble, carefully cut the cake horizontally into three even layers (see tip below). Place one sponge on your serving plate and sprinkle evenly with 1½ tbsp kirsch. Spread half of the cherry jam over the sponge then apply a layer of whipped cream on top, and spread it out with a palette knife.

Scatter over half of the cherries. Place another sponge on top, sprinkle with the rest of the kirsch, then repeat the jam, cream and cherry layers. Place the last sponge on top. Load a palette knife with cream and spread it all over, covering the entire cake in a thin layer of cream.

Press finely grated chocolate around the sides and top.

Pipe rosettes of cream around the edge and sit whole cherries on them.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Bollywood Kitchen


Bollywood Kitchen
Home-Cooked Indian Meals Paired with Unforgettable Bollywood Films
You’re invited to a party where the food and entertainment are both in Technicolor. It’s “dinner and a movie” in this vibrant, beautifully photographed tour of Indian food and films.

Indian cuisine and Indian cinema share much in common – bold colors and flavors with plenty of drama. But to the uninitiated, they can seem dizzying. Let Sri Rao be your guide. As one of the only Americans working in Bollywood, Sri is an expert on Indian musical films, and as an avid cook, he’s taken his mom’s authentic, home-cooked recipes and adapted them for the modern, American kitchen.

Sri has paired each meal with one of his favorite Bollywood movies. Sri will introduce each film to you, explaining why you’ll love it, and letting you in on some juicy morsels from behind the scenes.
This is a quick read and I'm happy to say it is absolutely solid on the movies. I've seen a lot of the author's selections and they are a good representation of new and old Bollywood movies that are very accessible. He also has three supplemental movie recommendations for each major selection so that if you like a film you can explore similar ones. Those also were right on the money. His descriptions are engaging and I liked the bits of extra information he scattered throughout the book.

The recipes are a good blend of his mother's Indian home cooking, adapted for the American kitchen including Indian takes on American food, such as the Bollywood Burger and seasoned sweet potato fries. Sri grew up in America and he understands how to keep recipes authentic but not time-consuming.  I also like the fact that each movie is matched with a full meal, so you don't have to wonder what side dishes to come up with.

I made the Keema and the Chicken Rollups (street food that is like Indian chicken fajitas). Both were very good, though much hotter than I like. I'd advise cutting the cayenne in half if, like me, you don't like it hot.

The way the recipes were adapted were definitely easy although the author seems to have too generous a sense of portion size. For example, the Keema was supposed to serve 4-6 using 2 pounds of hamburger. Oy veh! We halved it and it served the three of us with leftovers for 2. So keep a judicious eye on his proportions compared to how many you want to serve.

Recommended for those wanting to dabble in Indian food and movies!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Shepherd's Pie

This is from Cooking for Friends by Gordon Ramsay. Rose is a Gordon Ramsay fan and after sampling the many recipes she's made for us, I can see why. This Shepherd's Pie is a great example. It is still a simple dish but has been elevated beyond the regular Shepherd's Pies I've tried in the past, which, to be fair, never seemed that great. This one is great and will make you and your family very happy.


Shepherd's Pie

1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1.5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 pounds baking potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons hot milk
4 tablespoons Parmesan
2 egg yolks

1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Season the ground meat with salt and pepper and fry in a thin layer of oil until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl using a slotted spoon.

2. Add more oil to the pan and stir in the onion, carrot, and garlic. Fry, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and tomato paste and stir for a couple of minutes longer. Pour in the red wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge the browned sediment. Let the wine boil until it has almost all evaporated and the pan is quite dry.

3. Pour the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Return the meat to the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and partially cover the pan. Simmer, stirring every once in a while, until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened, 30-40 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Meanwhile, cook the chunks of potatoes in boiling salted water until tender when pierced with a small knife, 15-20 minutes. Drain well, then mash with butter, hot milk, Parmesan, and egg yolks. Season to taste and set aside.

5. Pour the lamb or beef mixture into an 8 cup baking dish. Spoon the mashed potato on top. Bake until top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up around the sides, 20-25 minutes.