Category Archives: Almonds

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (gluten-free)

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8397)If you are one of those readers who likes to scour this blog for ideas you would know that I have already posted a photo of this simple beauty, sans recipe when I got Nigellissima to review. For all the criticism the book received, there are still valid recipes to be made from it and this particular one gets full marks from me. Incidentally recipes from Nigellissima are the most popular here. Since then, I have made this cake countless times without really thinking that it was gluten-free. Yes. It’s that good. So without thinking, when people were asking me for GF recipes I was stupidly stuck, actually stating that my Lime and Coconut Cake was my first ever recipe of the sort! I am Absentmindedness personified. I know it…and now you do too. I am rectifying this mistake by revisting the recipe, I made the cake again (there’s no cheating here) and took fresh pics, some better than others, and watch out because there will be more recipes of this kind hopefully very soon. Btw, just on a personal note, this is my 200th post on Chorizo & Thyme. I humbly thank you for your readership and friendship. Cheers to you!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8391)

  • 50g good quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150g ground almonds*
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 150ml regular olive oil
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs

Grease a 22cm round cake tin** and line the bottom with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 170ºC/Gas mark 3.

Into a jug or bowl, sift the cocoa powder and whisk in the boiling water until you get a runny, albeit smooth, just pasty mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract and leave this to one side to let this mixture cool a little.

Mix together the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl tip in the sugar, olive oil and eggs and whisk or beat these with an electric beater until you have a pale yellow cream, light in texture.

While whisking, pour in the slightly cooled cocoa mixture. As soon as the mix turns evenly brown, slowly fold in the almond mix.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for around 45 minutes, until the centre of the cake looks a little damp and the sides are set, detached inwards from the tin itself.

Let the cake cool for a little while in the baking tin. Place on a cake dish and sprinkle away with icing sugar. It will approximately give you 12 slices.

This cake is light, soft and gooey, and very quick to make, with minimum fuss. My kind of recipe. Perfect with an espresso, or still warm with ice cream.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8396)

*Nigella suggests substituting the ground almonds with 125g of flour for less crumb in the cake. I have tried this and it certainly works for the whole amount, half that or even with just a few grams. Of course don’t do this if you want the whole thing to be gluten-free. Personally I like almonds so these days I keep it as is. It would be useful, and I will do this soon, to try a similar recipe recently sent to me by a friend of mine. It calls for dark melted chocolate, instead of cocoa powder. With this she told me that toasted hazelnuts work well too. I will post something on this in the next few weeks.

**You can also use a springform cake tin but to be honest I’m not a big fan. I use them when I have to. For this recipe you don’t. So don’t worry and work with what you have. Adjust timings according to your oven and size of whatever round tin you usually use.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Revisited (8400)

All that remains to be said is…Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012.)

Rhubarb Triangles

Rhubarb Triangles (7496)I have long been an admirer of Deb Perelman, a.k.a. Smitten Kitchen. What a name ha? Smitten Kitchen…That’s such a great name for a food blog. Let me tell you, I have long been smitten, but to be honest I also have been procrastinating on buying the cookbook, until earlier this year. I tried some of the recipes during the warmest of weeks, which on one hand was a huge mistake (I become a mess when trying new recipes and reviewing books) but on the other I just couldn’t wait for it to arrive. I was skipping for joy. Really.

For the first recipe I went all out for strawberries. I love the stuff so there was no doubt whatsoever about this one, and those fools were good. They took too much time to prepare, and spending a hot afternoon in the kitchen is always going to be a faff, at least for me, but they were worth the time and effort. *That* I will definitely say. The second recipe you will find here is Deb’s Rhubarb Triangles. It also intrigued me because these are on the cover, and you know me and book covers. We have a thing. They look like and are in fact, mini jam tarts, the dough being her take on shortcrust pastry, but with almonds. (There are lots of photos in this post, so be aware!)

Rhubarb Triangles (7532)I know that rhubarb is not in season right now, but there photos have been in my files begging me to publish them, and it’s a special one for me too – here’s my first attempt at baking with rhubarb. I used to pass by the rack every time I visited the market, but this recipe has helped me to overcome the fear! Sounds a little dramatic, and it is, but that’s how edgy I get with new ingredients! On to the recipe, which will give a yield of about 25 mini cookies. Before you start, please be aware that you will have way too much filling, but I used whatever remained poured over vanilla ice-cream. A real treat.

Rhubarb Triangles (7502)Rhubarb Triangles (7508)For the filling:

  • 900g rhubarb stalks
  • 130g caster sugar

Rhubarb Triangles (7507)For the dough:

  • 50g ground almonds
  • 250g plain flour
  • 65g caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 115g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

To prepare the rhubarb for the filling, wash the lot and trim the ends, and cut into 1cm cubes. Tip these into a large saucepan with the sugar and cook for around 15 minutes, covered on low heat. Now, on medium heat, remove the cover from the pan and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring once in a while, until the fruit begins to break down. Remove the mixture from the heat, pour it into a shallow and let it cool well.

In a large bowl, add the ground almonds, flour, caster sugar and salt, and mix. Using your thumb and forefingers, lightly work the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like small breadcrumbs. Add the egg and almond extract. Combine the lot with your hands till you have a dough. Wrap this in clingfilm and place in the fridge for a good 30 minutes.

Rhubarb Triangles Dough (7513)When the rhubarb compote and dough are cold, flour your workspace, place the dough onto it, flour the top of the dough, and gently roll it out to a rough 3mm thickness. Cut out 7cm circles. Fold the edges and pinch them together to get three sides, and pinch the ends to get corners. The dough remains very crumbly, even cold, so be careful.

Rhubarb Triangles Dough (7517)Rhubarb Triangles (7518)Using a teaspoon measure, pour the fruit compote into the middle of the pastry triangle. Repeat this step until you use all the dough. As you go along, place each one on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Rhubarb Triangles (7524)Rhubarb Triangles (7522)Before baking you could place each tray with the little tarts in the freezer, to help them keep the shape. Unfortunately my freezer is the size of a drawer so I couldn’t afford doing this. Don’t worry too much though. Just preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden. Some will open, but I didn’t mind at all! When they are done, put them on a wire rack to cool.

Rhubarb Triangles (7529)Rhubarb Triangles from Smitten Kitchen (7533)They will keep for 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature and a bit longer if stored in the fridge, which is where I kept them. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman, Square Peg, 2012.)

Savoury cake variation

Picnic Cake with Dates 2 (7100)Happy Monday! This post will be a short one (I will be back later in the week) but I wanted to post a new pic I should really have published together with Ms. Khoo’s recipe. The picture may seem the same to you, and perhaps to me, however the savoury cake you see here was made with ground almonds (I simply added them to the flour but you could substitute say around 100g from the original flour quantity), walnuts and dates. These reminded me of home. You can read the post before this one for the ingredients. The cake turned out to be a little crumblier than the original one, which is noticable in the way the cubed sausages fall to the side, but tasted just as good, if not a little sweeter. R xx

Coffee and Almond Cake

Almond Cake Cooking for Friends (6508)

I had no idea what to write about today, but whilst browsing and processing some photos this morning I came across these pictures and wondered why I haven’t posted them before. This is a recipe that – at first – has left me indifferent. Eventually it did grow on me. You see, with baking, as with everything in life I guess, one must be ready to adjust and work with what one has. It’s very easy to buy loads of equipment/gadgets, only to be used once for one particular bake, then set aside and left unused for the rest of one’s life. I would buy a whole catering shop if I could, and in many ways, I try to limit what I buy (J would slightly disagree, but he’s a patient man, bless him); I must admit I still find it hard to resist that extra springform pan, or that lovely bundt tin with the gorgeous pattern – like those in the books!

Almond Cake Cooking for Friends (6502)

I found the recipe for this cake in Cooking for Friends. (I have found a good compromise when it comes to recipe books: I buy them from Used sections, online or otherwise, as long as they are in good condition.) Skipping the majority of chapters, I went straight to the puddings and chocolates, as one usually does! You will find this as Coffee and almond crunch cake, but I opted to remove the “crunch” bit because the cake tin I used was too large and the crunch mixture didn’t hold on the top. So instead of purchasing another tin I used what I had. The topping didn’t work for me, but that didn’t stop me from making the actual cake, which is delicious. Here’s what I did.

  • 170g unsalted butter, softened
  • 170g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 4 tablespoons espresso, left to cool
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • icing sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 150ºC/Gas mark 2 (fan oven). Grease the base and sides of a 20-23 cm cake tin, preferably deep with a removable base.

In a large bowl beat the softened butter and sugar together until they turn light and airy. Then beat the eggs, one by one until just combined in the mixture, followed by the almond essence.

Gently fold in the ground almonds and half of the espresso.

Next sift the flour and baking powder, and using a spatula or a large stainless steel spoon fold these into the wet cake mixture. Add the rest of the coffee and be careful not to overmix the batter.

Tip the whole lot into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Almond Cake Cooking for Friends (6507)

This is a very light cake – really nice for the spring and summer months. Serve with ice-cream and/or some summer berries. (I am thinking that this recipe would also make lovely cupcakes or fairy cakes. Baking time will differ but I would say 10 to 15 minutes at 170ºC.) Enjoy!

Rob x

(This recipe is adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Cooking for Friends, HarperCollins, 2008.)

Mini Macarons

Luxemburgerli-(6548)

When we travel I tend to stay away from shopping in general; one exception though is food of course. (Another exception is tea towels, but that’s not a given either, and yes, it’s kitsch.) We have not travelled much lately but J has been to Zurich for a couple of days. I knew he would get some kind of liqueur with him but I never expected him to return with these little dainty babies. It’s true to say that the best gifts are the unexpected ones and this box of goodies was a nice surprise from Sprüngli.

Luxemburgerli-(6537)

I never had macarons before, let alone teeny tiny ones like these. Delicious. They came in a pink box, with one little note of instruction, something along the lines of: to be eaten as soon as you see them, my interpretation of course, or best when fresh. And as I *almost always* do as I am told, we devoured them, in a matter of days…*a few days* but  we certainly didn’t want the box to finish. Next time I’m in Zurich, I now know what to get. And, like a dog with treats, I salivate when I think about them.

As I haven’t yet attempted to make them myself (I have to someday) I am happy just to eat them, for now.

Enjoy the pics.

Rob x