Tag Archives: recipe

Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Soup

This is the first recipe for the month of December, the end of a very eventful and busy year…and it’s cold. Well, not as cold as parts of continental Europe – it was a balmy 18°C today on this little island – but the temperature does go down a bit as soon as the sun goes down. This, to me, means snuggling on the sofa, cosy throws, candles, Christmas lights (something of an obsession of mine), binge-watching episodes of The Crown, roasts, baking and bowls of soup with warm, crusty herb bread.

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Pudina (a.k.a. Il-pudina ta’ Mari)

Maltese Pudina (0635)Having just returned home from a routine dentist appointment, I thought there was no better time to complete today’s post! This has been sitting around here since last Friday but I couldn’t complete it in time. Today, after having recuperated some much-needed sleep throughout the night, I can say that it’s the first time in a month I feel rested. The sciatica pain is slowly dying down and telling you that I am relieved is definitely an understatement. Cheers to that.

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Lemon Sherbet Cake

Lemon Sherbert Cake (0121)

Writing about some of my favourite cake recipes at the end of every April has become a sort of tradition here on C&T. It’s my birthday later on in the week so it’s kind of themed, at least for me! It started a few month after the birth of this blog, when people started asking me about the cake or cakes (because yes, there were times when I made more than one) I usually make for the day. I try to vary as much as possible, but I can happily say that more often than not there’s always a copious amount of chocolate involved.

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Aubergine Chermoula

Aubergine Chermoula (9562)

Thank goodness and everything or anyone you and I might believe in, Christmas came and went without a hitch. I promised myself I wouldn’t worry too much about it but in reality J and I spent the best part of the week before feeling sick about the whole thing. At one point I even thought I had some sort of stomach ulcer. Part of it was my fault I’m sure – but looking back I cannot see what was all the fuss about the cooking, since I spent two days prepping everything beforehand. But you see, it was not all about the cooking. Anyhoooo, everything turned out just fine.

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A Christmas Treat: The Easiest Chocolate Brownies

The Easiest Chocolate Brownies (9969)

After much deliberation I’ve decided that the last recipe for 2014 will be one of the best I’ve tried this year. When I say the best I mean it in every sense of the word, including the easiest. I make this recipe again and again and it turns out good every time without fail. I also like to make it when I’m in a rush, or before I head off to someone’s house for lunch or dinner. Or when celebrating 4 years of C&T! Time flies, but I’m stating the obvious there.

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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.)

Marble Cake

Marble Cake (7892)I’m a wuss when it comes to trying new things. Yep with an emphasis on the p. *stops for a pause* I have been wanting to try this recipe for weeks, but somehow it moved towards the back of my to-do list as other bakes took over. The reasons are many, not worth mentioning. Some might not even make sense, but there is one that does. Paul Hollywood…master baker…The Great British Bake Off…those piercing blue eyes telling you off for a disappointing cake…and Mary Berry’s eyes of course! Phew! Now it’s not as if Mary and Paul were in my kitchen watching my every move, but their books with their lovely faces looking out at me sure make it seem like it sometimes! (See photo below!) And this is Paul’s recipe, so really there’s no pressure. (Don’t you feel tense while watching GGBO?!)

How to Bake (7886)Seriously though (as if I wasn’t earlier) Mr. Hollywood’s marble cake is quite straightforward, easy and fun to make, and home baking should be fun. Lots of people ask me which book of his to get, assuming they cannot get all of them. For me, there’s no hesitation: definitely How to Bake. It is an all-rounder.

Marble Cake (7879)Marble Cake (7882)Marble Cake (7883)As usual I urge you to read the steps before you start. Don’t just read as you bake. I am trying to improve. Seriously.

  •  200g butter, unsalted and softened
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 40ml milk*
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • Some icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven at 180ºC (fan 170ºC) and line a tin loaf with a baking paper.

Put the butter, 180g of the caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and beat together until the mixture turns light and airy. Then beat the eggs in, one by one. Sift the flour plus baking powder over the mixture, and add 2 teaspoons of the milk, folding it slowly. Tip two-thirds of the mixture into the lined loaf tin.

Sift the cocoa powder over what remains of the mixture and fold this in with the remainder of the sugar, that is 20g and the rest of the milk. (The recipe calls for full-fat milk*; I have made this with semi-skimmed and it worked well too.)

Slowly spoon this chocolate mixture over the vanilla one in the tin.

Now comes the forming-of-the-marble-bit (as I like to call it). Take a fork and run this through the batter. Go for it, do it slowly but don’t be afraid of it.

Bake for around 55 to 70 minutes. It will be done when a skewer or knife comes out clean. Leave it to cool for a while in the tin, then on to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before dusting it with icing sugar.

Marble Cake (7894)Such a great treat for a tea party. If you don’t like tea (like me) try it with a milky hot chocolate, on the couch with a good book. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood, Bloomsbury, 2012.)