Thursday, June 07, 2012

Ridiculous Chocolate Tart

My husband has an insane sweet tooth and is always pestering me to make him dessert.I finally relented last week - I figured we needed some chocolate solace after losing Aggie. I turned o one of the few cookbooks I have cooked more than 50% of the recipes. The cookbook is called Fresh and I was given it as a gift years ago by my old bosses. It was my cookbook before I went to culinary school and tackled many of the (simple) recipes in it while exploring new flavours and cooking techniques.

 This chocolate tart is so easy it almost feels illegal, but it is important to use really good chocolate for this - as the main ingredient, it will be all that you taste. As I was writing this, I Googled to see if the recipe is posted anywhere. It is.... on my blog. How embarrassing.... Oh well, five years later, it is still damn good.
 PS. Miss you Trevor!

Berry Chocolate Tart

4 teaspoons jam
1 prebaked chocolate tart case -- recipe follows
160 grams unsalted butter
200 grams dark chocolate
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spoon the jam into the base of the tart case and put it in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove the tart case and brush the jam over the base until it is glazed all over.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat. Beat the yolks, eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Pour the melted chocolate and Grand Marnier into the eggs and continue to beat for a minute.

Pour the chocolate filling into the tart case and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Allow to sit for at least two hours before serving.

Chocolate Tart Case

160 grams unsalted butter
185 grams all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Put all ingredients in a food processor and whiz to form a paste.If the pastry doesn't ball add a dash of cold water (i used an eighth of a cup.). Cover in plastic wrap and chill for half an hour.

Roll the pastry out as thin as possible and use it to line a ten inch tart shell. Chill until ready to use.

To bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Cover the pastry with parchment paper weighted down with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the base is dry.
recipe from Fresh, by Michele Cranston

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Goodbye Aggie

Aggie has been a constant presence on this blog over the years. Last Thursday, we unexpectedly had to say goodbye to our girl. I still cry thinking about it - purely for selfish reasons... I miss her so much. I wake up in the morning and realise she isn't crying for her breakfast. I come home from work and she isn't waiting by the door. I open the cheese and she doesn't come running. hoping for bits. You don't realise how much they are a presence in your life till they are gone.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Peppers stuffed with quinoa, black beans and kale

A friend of mine shared this recipe recently. The original is from Vegetarian Times. I adapted a few things and my 14-month old nephew went crazy for the filling. I am always looking for new and interesting ways to use quinoa, and I will be making this one again! Someone also suggested stuffing portobello mushrooms - I would be happy to eat it as is.

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Serves 8
This dish freezes well for future meals. Quinoa provides whole-grain goodness and a serving of protein.
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (½ cup)
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 2 bunches of kale, stripped from stems and finely chopped
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 3 large carrots, grated (1 ½ cups)
  • 4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed
1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in kale, sauté 2 minutes. Add drained tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.
2. Stir in black beans, quinoa, carrots, and the reserved tomato juice plus enough water to equal 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour a small amount of liquid in bottom of baking dish.
4. Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with cheese as desired. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes.