Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chocolate Drizzle Cake

It's about time I get back to posting regularly. This is attempt #1. 

Since my husband started cooking almost daily with me, I have found less of a need to share.

This does not suit food blogging. The purpose is to share, Sarah. So here we go. We've got chocolate cake. It's good. It's airy. It feels like it has no calories in it. It does. Many calories. And pockets of chocolate. Pray for your hips. 
Chocolate Drizzle Cake
You'll need: 
200 grams of unsalted butter, softened
200 grams of caster sugar
80 grams of melted milk chocolate
1 tablespoon of milk
140 grams of all-purpose flour
60 grams of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 large eggs, separated
A pinch of salt
2 drops of vinegar
Begin by preheating your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Grease a 20 cm round baking tin and line it with baking paper. 
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa together and set aside. 
In a large bowl, cream your butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a stand mixer or electric beater. 
Add the egg yolks and milk and mix until combined.
Mix in the combined dry ingredients then the melted chocolate. 
Whip your egg whites in a sepatate bowl with a pinch of salt.*
Start whisking the egg whites on low speed at first to get smaller and more stable bubbles in your foam. 
Add the vinegar and continue to beat the egg whites continuously until you get stiff peaks. 
Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture carefully. Don't fold too much or you'll end up with a deflated batter. 
Pour your cake batter into the baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool then remove from the baking tin.

*Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature. Make sure your bowl and utensils are clean and oil-free. 

For the ganache:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 ½ cup of chocolate chips

To prepare the ganache, heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour in the chocolate chips. Stir until completely combined and glossy. Allow the ganache to cool before pouring over cake.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Boiled Cranberry Raisin Cake

 So I haven't updated in a long time. I have not attempted to write in as long but have continued to cook, explore and battle with my mood swings, myself. I shot the first season of a grilling show for a local cooking channel with my husband and it has aired. People every so often stop to ask us for quick recipes, for tips. They smile broadly and we smile back. We pose for pictures we'll never see after being asked if we're really married to ensure that they're not falling for some television stunt. It is awkward and while I am thankful I'm excited to be back in my space, where I can sit in mismatched clothes and eat food that will not be judged.
Today's recipe is a boiled cranberry and raisin cake - a coffee cake that doesn't take long to throw together and doesn't need much effort. You can freeze this, take it to a gathering or eat it all alone dripping excess caramel on your chin between bites. It's difficult to muck this one up. Next time I'm adding walnuts. 
Boiled Cranberry Raisin Cake
(Adapted from
You'll need:
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup of raisins
2 cups of warm water + 1 cup of cold water
50 grams of butter
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of white sugar
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Boil raisins and cranberries in 2 cups of warm water along with the butter and maple syrup for 15 minutes then remove from the heat.
Add 1 cup of cold water and the vegetable oil to the boiled raisins.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and baking
Add the raisin mixture to the flour mixture then add the beaten egg. Stir until mixed.
Pour into a large rectangular baking pan and bake for around 1 hour. Serve with homemade caramel sauce.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Zebra Cake Turned Biscotti

I seem to fall into a pattern; one that I try to come to terms with, adjust to. It starts off with a quick job that drives me to run for an amount of time on what seems like the positive energy of this world compounded. Work happens in the midst of this; success comes in bursts. Later as it ends, I become harsher, a cracked heel. It is over and in some way, I too am over and worn out. I will sleep for days, read for hours, approach my kitchen out of necessity and watch food shows out of habit but no particular interest.  
A while later, I return after my hips have stretched and I have inhaled a large but untold number of biscuits, store-bought and homemade (not our home but another maybe mother or mother in law). Then when they are all gone I become biscuit-desperate, I make my own. Only then do I realize that I missed what I do. I missed my kitchen. I missed me.    
 Zebra Biscotti
(Adapted from BBC Food)
You'll need:
butter, to grease
4 large eggs
250 grams of granulated sugar
100 ml of milk
250 ml of sunflower oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
475 grams of self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
25 grams of cocoa powder
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter a 23 cm cake tin. Crack your eggs and pour your sugar into a large mixing bowl. Pour in the milk, oil and vanilla extract and mix with a handheld electric whisk for a minute. Add 175 grams of your self-raising flour and whisk again until smooth. 

In a separate bowl, pour half of your mixture. Whisk in 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder and 175 grams of flour and set aside. In the other bowl (the first bowl), mix in the cocoa powder, 125 grams of flour and the other 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. 

In your cake tin, spoon two tablespoons of plain cake mix into the center then spoon two tablespoons of the chocolate mixture in the center and on top of the plain cake mix. Continue to do this until both cake mixes have been used up. You'll end up with alternate rings of cake mix in the tin. 

Bake in your oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool. Once cool, have a slice then place the cake onto a chopping board. Cut the cake into thick straight slices and arrange the soft cake, one side down, onto a baking sheet. Bake for around 15 minutes in a 190 degree Celsius preheated oven until they reach a light golden color. Transfer the biscotti onto a wire rack and cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Winter Stubbornness + Radishes

There is a lady that does not bore me. We have not met but she fills my Twitter timeline with paleolithic love along with her must-do-more-with-his-food-photography husband.   

So what happens when you like people but cannot seem to work around your schedule (or your lazy butt) to meet them? You ask them to guest post, to fill your little online space with energy that you may not have, that may vicariously revitalize you. So here's Rehaam and Amr - she does the writing, he takes the shots.  You do the reading and the cooking. Fair deal.  

Photo credit: Amr Adel Amin, April 2013.
It happens every year and every year we're: Egypt has no spring. We go from cold to khamaseen to beads-of-sweat-down-your-back heat. Flowers bloom right before they're singed in 40 Celsius heat. We know this. So why is it that when Egypt propelled itself straight from bitingly cold mornings to muggy, dusty ones and then propelled its way right back again did my heart fill with dread? Was my precious winter coming to an end so soon? But I hadn't yet had my fill of broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, strawberries, green leafy anythings…

Truth be told, we'd been eating salads almost every day since last summer. We'd burned out on blanched broccoli and roasted carrots and turned to spinach salads and salsas. Despite the liters of chicken stock in my freezer, I hadn't made a single winter soup. Despite seeing broccoli every time I perused the isles of the grocery store, I hadn't actually bought it once. Despite having eaten sweet potatoes almost daily last winter, I can count exactly two I've eaten this year, one of which was from the side of the road. Save your angry waving fists and head shaking, I know I've done wrong.

So I panicked. I bought strawberries like they were going out of season, literally, and froze them. I picked up broccoli and ate it three times in a row. I washed, ate and froze a total of three cauliflower heads larger than my sink would even fit. I had to do something more, I thought, to hold on to the last remaining trickles of winter. And while at the grocery store in my manic vegetation spree, I saw these bright red, perfectly round plump radishes poking out from a crate of greens. I have to buy these, I thought. I don't even like radishes but I'm going to buy them. And I did.

When I took them home, however, I was at a loss as to what I'd do to them. Radishes rarely made an appearance at my family dinner tables despite my mother's penchant for them in fattoush. Chopping them up into a salad was entirely too summery and their bitter heat wasn't my favorite in salad anyway. So I turned to my go-to cooking method for getting myself to eat vegetables I don't like: roasting.

I plucked up a bunch of leeks, pulled out some salmon from the freezer and decided I'd make a meal entirely in the oven. Never mind that it was actually pretty hot that day. Never mind that my husband's face puckered up in distaste when he slipped a slice of radish into his mouth. Never mind anything. "Those aren't going to be any good roasted, they're awful," said my husband. "You can eat all the leeks, I'll eat all the radishes." I was warming up our (already warm) house with roasted vegetables whether anyone liked it or not.

Forty-five minutes later, I had little crispy nuggets of radishes, melt-in-your-mouth sweet leeks and perfectly pink salmon. And a very warm house.

Almost burning his fingers right on the roasting pan while popping a radish into his mouth my husband said, "These are actually really good." They were good. That bitter heat was replaced with a sweetness that had a bite, and they went from crunchy to golden and crisp edges encasing soft flesh.

"All right I'll have some radishes," said Amr.

"Maybe. If you turn on the air conditioner first."

Roasted Radishes
Serves 2-4

6-8 medium-sized radishes, washed, dried and sliced into same-sized wedges
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tbs white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F and line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil or parchment paper (I think parchment makes for a crispier vegetable). In a bowl, toss together your ingredients until the radishes are shiny. Place radishes onto your pan and shake to distribute them in one layer. Roast for 15 minutes then rotate the pan and toss your radishes. Repeat. You may need to do this one more time until your radishes are almost translucent and brown around the edges.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quick Fix: Mushrooms on Toast

This is not a fancy recipe. It does not require much effort and takes little time to make. Comfort food that puts me right back in my mom's living room in the early 90s, that makes me want to dig my teeth into mediocre toast. This is breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

Scallion Cream Mushrooms on Toast
You'll need:
150 grams of button mushrooms, quartered
35 grams of scallions, sliced
100 ml of light cream
1/4 of a large lemon's zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of chopped parsley
A good drizzle of olive oil
2 slices of toasted bread (Use good bread if you have some.)
Cook the mushrooms over high heat to retain their moisture. Don't stir much at first to give them color. Once their color begins to change, add the scallions and toss. Cook for around 30 seconds. Pour in the cream and turn down the heat. Immediately after pouring the cream, add your lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Add some chopped parsley if you'd like. Give it all a quick stir and turn off your heat. Pile over toasted bread while hot.    

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