Sunday, 24 June 2012

Boston Cream Cake

This is just a very quick recipe for Boston Cream Cake. It takes very little time to prepare and is made with ingredients that we usually have in our kitchen, with the exception, perhaps, of the cake base. Here's what you need:
1 Cakebase
3 Eggs
6 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Corn starch
1/2 tbsp Butter
250ml Cream
250ml Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
Pinch of salt
110g Dark Chocolate
120ml cream
1 tsp butter Pinch of salt
 Beat eggs, sugar and corn starch in a bowl until fluffy.
 Heat up the cream, milk and butter till it just starts to boil. Turn down the heat, add the egg mixture and stir while cooking for about 1 minute. It should start to become thicker. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Let it cool down completely.
 Pour one half of the mixture over one layer of a cake base. It should be thick, and not too liquid. Don't let it go all the way out to the edges. Put another cake layer on top. Gently press it and the cream will start reaching the sides. Pour the other half of the filling over and repeat with the last layer of cake.
 To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil add the butter and pour it over the chocolate cut in smaller pieces. Let it sit for a minute, then stir until smooth. Add a pinch of salt.
Pour the ganache over the cake and spread it gently to the edges until it starts dripping over. Let it cool down completely before serving. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Pretty Good Pasta Salad

If you haven't noticed, we are entering summer and, hopefully, that means many picnics, barbecues and other outdoor eating events are awaiting. So what are you going to make to accompany all those grilled steaks and chicken? I suggest this rather decent pasta salad I whipped together. As with all salads the list of ingredients can vary totally according to your taste, but I will give you my choice plus a few hints on how to boost flavours. 
You (may) need:
500g multi-coloured pasta screws (or any other with good surface area)
2 cloves of garlic
150g of bacon
2 tbsp tomato concentrate
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes or some cayenne
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 cucumber, diced
Handful of black olives
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
Feta cheese cut in to small cubes
Handful of fresh basil
Handful of fresh chives

 Put the pasta to boil according to the package and drop two cloves of garlic with the skin into the water. Meanwhile, cut the bacon into small strips and fry until crispy. Remove from the pan, but keep the fat. When the pasta is done, rinse it under cold water and set it aside to drain and cool down. Remove the two cloves of garlic, which should by now be soft and easy to squeeze out of the skin. Crush them with the side of the blade of your kitchen knife until it becomes a paste. Add it to the rendered fat from the bacon, add the tomato paste, oregano and red pepper flakes. Fry it for a minute at medium temperature. Add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Finally, mix it in with the cooled-down pasta in a bowl.
 Half or quarter the cherry tomatoes, half the olives, cube the cucumber, chop the herbs and slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Mix it all with the feta cheese into the bowl of pasta. 
Leave the pasta covered in the fridge for at least an hour or more for all the flavours to develop and mix. It wil easily last a couple of days in the fridge. Only the cucumbers might go a bit soggy, so best add them not too long before serving. Have a great picnic.