Category Archives: honey

Tiramisini from “Nigellissima”

Tiramisu-(6327)A few posts back, I have shown a couple of photos from my attempts at replicating some of Nigella’s cake and pudding recipes from her new book Nigellissima. Here I will tell you how I did it and what equipment I used. It didn’t take much adjusting because I have found that Nigella’s recipes are quite adaptable, even when it comes to baking. Obviously the Tiramisini, which are really individually portioned Tiramisù, are not baked. This makes them even more appealing: not only are they very easy to make, but also they are perfect for when you have friends or family over for supper because there’s no mess when it comes to serving. Less cleaning, less stress. The photo for this recipe in Nigellissima has them in small but elegant martini glasses (serving suggestion indicates quantities for 4, volume for each glass 125ml). I’m afraid I don’t have martini glasses so I served them in ramekins. Please note that this is *not* a good idea for when taking pictures! For this disappointing result see my photo. This doesn’t say anything about the photographer though, so please J – relax.

Tiramisu-(6329)

Anyhow, you really don’t need any complicated kitchen gadget for this. A whisk and bam, job done. What I changed is the quantity of Savoiardi. (Apparently in France they are called boudoirs. In the UK you can also find them by that name, bar the s. Fascinating.) I found that one biscuit wasn’t enough for the coffee mixture to be totally absorbed, and even though the taste was great I made a note to use one and a half to two for next time. The rest is magic. What everyone will suggest here is not to give this dessert to anyone with either a weak immune system, children, or pregnant ladies because of the raw egg. However you can get pasteurised egg whites these days even from the supermarket. Trust the lovely Nigella to make the steps uncomplicated with a guarantee of good results. The chapter Sweet Things makes the book worth having. You will need:

  • 100ml espresso
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (15ml each)*
  • 4 Savoiardi biscuits (I would definitely use a bit more.)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons honey*
  • 2 tablespoons red vermouth (Nigella uses Marsala but I didn’t have any. Used vermouth instead and it worked well.)
  • 1 teaspoon good cocoa powder (*not* drinking chocolate please!!)
  1. Brew the espresso, tip it into a jug, add the coffee liqueur and set it aside to cool completely. (For hot climates plunge it into a small ice bath or else it would take forever!)
  2. Break the Savoiardi into small chunks and divide them into four ramekins or four small martini glasses. Pour the coffee mixture over them, making sure that all the liquid is absorbed into the biscuits to form a soft base.
  3. In a small bowl whisk the egg whites until you get soft peaks and set these to one side. In a medium bowl tip in the mascarpone and add the honey. Using the same whisk that you used to beat the egg whites, mix the mascarpone and honey together. Then add the vermouth or Marsala slowly.
  4. Now fold the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture one third at a time, and spoon this over all four of the ramekins/servings. Place in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve sprinkle over the cocoa powder.

Yum yum. Thank you Nigella!

Rob x

Chocolate and Honey Cake.

Chocolate-Cake-(5260)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I didn’t bake much lately. Sometimes I lack inspiration and recipes. When I said that to J he gave me this I-can’t-believe-you’re-saying-this-and-what-about-all-those-recipe-books-you-have look! I can’t blame him. Recently a friend of mine, who wants to learn how to bake, asked me for a list of books (she said maybe a list of up to ten books will suffice for now) with a variety of easy recipes for her to try. Of course I sent her much more than that, even though I specified which ones I consider best. You see, recipe books come in various kinds, and they come and go, because some are just fads. And others are just repetitive – plain and simple. Some cooks who have published a gazillion books, copy and paste from their own books, so when you think about it, they could have just come up with a bumper book and leave it at that! Even my favourite people have done that. It’s inevitable and it happens not only in cooking.

I find that some ingredients don’t let you be creative. This could be because I’m no chef. I just love cooking and baking, and you could say that not being extra mega imaginative is ok for someone like me. I’ll tell you one thing: when you’re a food blogger this won’t do. The good thing with us is that we can blog about food in general, without necessarily giving recipes. My readers, who are extremely supportive, don’t seem to be bothered too much whenever I just rave or rant about something in particular, and I’m so thankful about that! They are really generous. But once in a while they do ask me for a pudding or two or some cake ideas.

So once again, what I am giving you here is a chocolate cake. I’m never tired of chocolate, or cake for that matter! It’s very moist and luscious, but not that rich which is what we need sometimes. It has honey in it so it’s not for everyone, but I love this cake especially after a light meal, where you think you’ll be good because you’ve just ate something healthy, but then just give in and say “oh well, I’ve been really good, but now I’ll be really bad!” I saw this in Nigella Feast, made the cake with a little tweaks but didn’t make the frosting as instructed, not because it wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t like the idea of a honey frosting. I love honey but too much makes my teeth squeak! So I made a simple icing out of chocolate, which you can find here. (You could also try her cola icing; believe me it doesn’t taste like cola at all so it will do for this cake too.) I did half the quantity though and it worked well. I am always stuck when I have extra, and making less means not having to bake something else. Here it is:

  • 100g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 275g light brown sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125ml runny honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon good quality cocoa powder
  • 250ml boiling water
  1. Make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Place the chocolate chunks into a small bowl and melt by putting this over simmering water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bowl. When the chocolate is completely melted set it aside to cool. (Please note that this water has nothing to do with the boiling water listed in the ingredients. It is extra.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4, and line and grease a springform cake tin (preferably a 23cm one).
  4. Place the sugar and softened butter into a large bowl and whisk the ingredients well until they become white in colour and creamy in texture. Add the honey.
  5. Tip in the first egg and a tablespoonful of flour and beat into the mixture, and do the same with the second egg. This will avoid any curdling in the batter. Fold in the melted chocolate, the remainder of the flour and two teaspoonfuls of baking powder. Sieve in the cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Then add the boiling water and beat the mixture once more. Your batter should be completely smooth.
  6. Tip in the batter into the prepared cake tin and check it after 40 minutes. If the cake is browning too quickly from the top, cover this with a piece of kitchen foil. Check it again after 20 minutes. When the cake is ready remove from the oven and leave it to cool on a rack, still in the tin. Remove the springform and when it’s cool enough for you to handle, place a clean hand on the top of the cake, turn it over, remove the base and place it on a cake stand. Frost it if you like and how you like.

Don’t let the many steps frighten you. It’s easy I promise you. This is what I will bake during my birthday week. I love this and so will you! For my birthday, which is today, I’m off to Guildford for a special treat at Raymond Blanc’s bakery and get myself some lovely macaroons! I’m off….

Rob x