Try something different … Brussels Sprouts

I decided to set myself a challenge for May to cook recipes using ingredients that I don’t normally cook with. I like pretty much all vegetables, but I do know that there are some I gravitate towards, particularly in the kitchen, so I’ve drawn up a list of some fruit and veg that I want to experiment with this month.

Try something different ... Colour Notes

The first recipe I’m posting uses Brussels Sprouts and is based on a recipe in Thomasina Mier’s Book ‘Home Cook’. The original recipe uses Rosetta sprouts and anchovies.

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Sprout, marscapone and pine nut pasta (serves 2)

200g pasta
50g pine nuts
200g finely shredded Brussels Sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
A generous pinch of chilli flakes
The needles from one Rosemary sprig, finely chopped
75ml white wine
50g marscapone
30g finely grated vegetarian Parmesan
Zest of half a lemon

1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water.

2. While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they develop a golden brown colour and then set to one side.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary. After 1 minute, add the finely shredded Brussels Sprouts and stir well to combine. Pour in the wine and cook over a medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the marscapone cheese, vegetarian Parmesan cheese and lemon zest.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain well and mix into the sauce, adding half of the toasted pine nuts. Stir well to coat the pasta in the sauce. Serve with the remaining pine nuts sprinkled on top, also no with extra vegetarian Parmesan, if desired.

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Cake it to the limit 🎂

I’ve been a baking machine over the last few weeks. We had a wedding in the family, and the bride and groom asked guests to bring cakes for a ‘cake-off’ and I made this toffee apple cake.

 

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There was also an event at work  where we were asked to provide cakes. I made this lemon and almond cake, which went down a storm and tasted fabulous, but was a little crumbly when trying to cut into slices.

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My final contribution was a chocolate mint marble cake.

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Chocolate Mint Marble Cake

175g butter at room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Peppermint extract
Green food colouring

Glacé icing
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
75g chocolate mint bubble-style chocolate bar

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a deep 20cm baking tin with baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time.

3. Add the flour and baking powder and gently mix in. Divide the mixture into two. For the mint mixture, stir in a few drops of peppermint essence and the green food colouring. For the chocolate mixture, blend the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Stir well into a smooth paste. Thoroughly fold this into the cake mixture.

4. Add the two sets of mixture to the tin in a random fashion to make the marble effect. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Ensure the cake is cooked through and is well risen before removing from the oven. Allow to cool. Remove the baking parchment from around the cake.

5. Once the cake is completely cold, you ice the cake. To make the glacé icing, mix the icing sugar, cocoa and 1 tablespoon of hot water thoroughly to make a smooth paste. Pour over the top of the cake. Crumble the bubbly mint chocolate bar and use to decorate the top of the cake, covering the icing.

(I forgot to take a picture of the cake when sliced to show you the inside, but it’s definitely worth the effort for the fun effect.)

Let them eat cake

I’m really proud of myself for sticking with the ‘Blog Everyday in September’ challenge so far. It’s not been easy, but I’ve enjoyed pushing myself. Today’s theme was Holiday Essentials, which is another subject that doesn’t fit easily with a cooking blog. I haven’t cooked anything exciting today to tell you about either, so I’m going to share some cake recipes I’ve enjoyed over previous months. (And of course eating cake when on holiday is on my essential list of things to do!)

Raspberry and lemon polenta cake

Amaretto cake from The Clandestine Cake Club cookbook

Spiced Sweet Potato Cake

They are all delicious and I’ll be making them all again.