Category Archives: Recipe

3-booze cupcakes

Another win for the Smitten Kitchen!  You probably know I’m a big fan of cooking with booze, so I’ve been wanting to try these for months.  They’re a lot of effort, but well worth it, I promise!

Bailey's, whiskey, and Guinness, oh my!

The cake is made with Guinness and sour cream, and is incredibly moist.  They’re then filled with a chocolate and whiskey (or other poison of your choice) ganache, and iced with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting.

I almost had a disaster when I split the ganache quite badly, but the internet helped me rescue it. Seriously, what did people do before Google?  Apparently the temperature of the ganache is key because it has to emulsify (the fat in the chocolate has to mix with the water in the cream, more details here). Mine was too hot, so I saved it by putting the bowl over another bowl filled with ice water and continuing to stir.  I think the result was more truffle-like than a ganache should be, but my test subjects all really enjoyed the extra-chocolatey surprise in the middle.

If you’re in the mood for a booze-tastic dessert, the recipe is here.

– Anna


“Tastes like Mexico”

I made a  lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce from the Smitten Kitchen yesterday, and it met with good reviews from my test subjects.  It apparently “tastes like Mexico, in a good way”.  Maybe I should pair it with Corona next time I make it.  I’ll be repeating this one for sure…it takes no time, it’s lovely and moist, and the blackberry sauce really elevates it.

– Anna

Lost loves

It’s heartbreaking when you lose something you love, right? In this case, when they discontinued Flipz, the chocolate covered pretzels that were sold in the UK until sometime around 2000 if memory serves. I remember when that little blue bag was the highlight of my day (sad, I know…) and how it just disappeared, without reason, one day. No explanation, no phone call, it was just gone.

This is a real case of Good + good= supergood (unlike some previous examples I could mention) and no other combination of salty and sweet (sorry, bacon and maple syrup just not the same) I think works as well.

I have seriously pondered melting dark chocolate and dip salty pretzels into it, to see if I could recreate flipz somehow (especially as I imagine it would be even better with plain or dark chocolate).  Anyways, flipz – gone but not forgotten!

– Stef

Speaking of ruining soups…

It’s not just our recipe-following German blogger who is struggling with stray ingredients. I made a family staple on Sunday, Thai-ish curried coconut soup, and completely ruined it. As followers of my chaotic cooking well know, I’m a big fan of throwing random things in a pot and seeing what happens.

So what happens when you splash a bit of fish sauce into the pot? Nothing good.

If you don’t believe me and try it yourself, a squeeze of lemon mostly rolls back the damage. Next time I’ll follow Stef’s lead and only experiment with pickoutable ingredients. Is it just me, or does a squeeze of lemon cover a multitude of sins?


A good soup ruined

….by the evil coriander, and at some stage I will have to dedicate a blog post to the evilness of coriander. But for now let me briefly revisit previous cooking dilemma. In aforementioned edition of Good Food I found a recipe for red lentil and chickpea soup. Considering the fact that it continues to be one of the coldest winters I have experienced in this lovely country (13years, I’ve been here.. and counting) I felt the need for warming comfort food and thought I should give it a go.

Great soup, destroyed by coriander

Like the good German that I am I went off and got all the ingredients: red lentils (140g), 1 red onion, can of chopped tomatoes, some cumin (and chili flakes if you’re so inclined), half a tin of chickpeas and , hey, what a surprise, stupid coriander. I really should have known better but there was a comment by someone who said how much the coriander helped the taste blabla. Now see, if you can’t cook and lack confidence in combining things, never mind herbs and tastes, you simply stick to the recipes, dumb I know, but you can take the girl out of Germany, but not Germany …you get the gist.

So, you dry-fry chili with cumin, then add oil, chopped onion and cook for 5min. Stir in lentils, 850ml of vegetable stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15min and get out your stick blender in the mean time.  Once lentils etc are soft, blend into a rough puree and lastly add chickpeas. Stir in chopped coriander.

All filled with glee at my first grown up soup and the first vegetarian dish without aubergine in about a week or two, I was all chuffed. Until I had my first spoon of really yummy, warming and filing soup- RUINED by the coriander. Imagine eating something nice, flavoursome chickpea-lentil thing and suddenly you have a bar of soup on your spoon, that’s pretty much how it felt. So I took a fork and fished out the chopped coriander again. A fun way to spend half an hour, no doubt, but lesson has been learned, coriander needs to be avoided under all circumstances (soup really was good though!)

– Stef


From flickr user longhorndave under Creative Commons licence

I feel slightly bad posting about these because I’m not sure you can get them in London.  But if you find yourself in Argentina, keep an eye out for Havanna Alfajores – they’re a thick layer of dulce de leche sandwiched between two very fluffy, cake-like cookies, covered in dark chocolate.  Seriously good.  I suspect the rest of the ones I was given are not long for this world.

– Anna

Purple and Round

And what else would I be talking about than my continued favourite veg – the aubergine! I still had one left and it cried out for its favourite friend, round and red in this case, the much-beloved (unless you’re Eve) tomato. So thanks to the a very useful edition of Good Food magazine, that had loads of good recipes in it (Mar 2010 edition) I tried out Melanzane alla parmigiana aka aubergine roasted with tomatoes and other stuff from a book called “Market Kitchen Cookbook“.

So, you need an aubergine cut in thick slices, 1 garlic close, 500g tomato passata, some basil and 100g grated Parmesan (I used less and it was still fine). Easy enough, I like recipes with a short list of ingredients.

You’re supposed to press your aubergine slices for up to 2hr, needless to say I didn’t – I mean who has the time? I pressed them for about 30min in the end. But if you feel the need, salt each aubergine slice and put them between chopping board weighed down with something heavy. Meanwhile get your tomato sauce going. Fry some garlic and add the passata, let that simmer down for up to 45min with a bit of salt and pepper.

Rinse your aubergine slices and dry them off, then briefly fry them on each side in some olive oil, just so they are nicely browned. Then assemble into ovenproof dish (and heat oven at about 200C), aubergine slices first, then pour over reduced tomato sauce. Chuck the basil on top and lastly scatter over the parmesan on top. Into oven for about 20min. Really really really liked it and made a nice vegetarian main.

So that’s my second post involving aubergine, tomato and cheese- two is not enough, I will strive to find more varieties…aubergine…aubergine (singing this to the tune of Edelweiss, totally works)

– Stef