I decided to share this recipe for a basic omelette because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get sick of eating the same breakfasts over and over again. Toast. Porridge. Puffed rice. Granola. It just gets tedious sometimes. That’s what makes this omelette a great choice for those mornings when you’ve maybe got a bit more time on your hands and you can afford to spend some of it on making yourself a delicious breakfast for a change. Continue reading
I do not like pickled eggs. I do not understand how anyone can possibly like pickled eggs. I certainly have no intention of tasting the pickled eggs I have made. That said, my entire family loves pickled eggs. They don’t understand how I can possibly not like pickled eggs. Whenever I ask if there’s anything they’d like me to buy when I go shopping they frequently beg me to buy pickled eggs for them from the supermarket. I’m known as “the weirdo” of the family who hates pickled eggs. I freakin’ hate pickled eggs, man.
The other day I was walking home from work when my Dad stopped his car to say that he’d got me a clutch of fresh duck eggs from one of his colleagues. Never one to turn my nose up at free ingredients, particularly ones as generous as eight massive, freshly-lain duck eggs, I dutifully followed him home to collect them. Once I’d given them a wash (chickens aren’t that fussed about keeping their productions clean) I was rewarded with the sight of a bowlful of creamy, pink and blue, large eggs with striations that made them look like they’d been sculpted from marble. They were truly a thing of natural beauty.
Now I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with a recipe that would do them justice. Duck eggs are very rich, infusing a delicate and delicious intensity into cakes and biscuits with very little effort, so I knew that I didn’t want to waste them on a bake that would fail to let them shine. After some consideration I knew that a chocolate torte would be the perfect vehicle for their use because the richness of the torte would only be enhanced by the duck eggs.
A chocolate torte is a very rich, buttery and intensely chocolatey cake. It’s not made with a flour sponge like most cakes are and instead depends on the lightness of whisked eggs (and in this case a small amount of ground almonds) to provide the structure of the cake. Accordingly, the result is a slightly dense, but infinitely moreish, chocolate torte that requires only a small serving to satisfy one’s sweet tooth.
Much like pavlovas and profiteroles, this bake looks complicated and its reputation only bolsters this misconception, but trust me, this chocolate torte is really easy to make. It literally only requires you to melt your butter and dark chocolate in one jug, whisk all of your other ingredients together in another jug and then pour one into the other before whisking again and baking. You can’t really get any easier than that, can you?
This chocolate torte is a dream to both make and eat, particularly when served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of good quality ice-cream. It’s a torte that is decadent and luxurious, with a rich, fudgy, but light cake base that delivers the perfect chocolate hit to the taste buds. Try making this one soon, guys, you won’t regret it.
85g salted butter (at room temperature)
170g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
4 large hen’s eggs (or 3 duck eggs, if using)
2 tsps of instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder (for dusting the top)
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.
Line a 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Place your butter and dark chocolate in a microwavable jug and slowly melt in the microwave, stirring frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn. If you don’t have a microwave then melt it slowly by placing the jug in a pot that’s been filled with boiling water (but is not on the heat) and allowing it to melt down. (Don’t have the pot over heat though or you might melt your jug!)
Leave the melted chocolate mixture to cool slightly.
Measure all of your other ingredients into a separate jug and whisk well until thoroughly combined and airy.
Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the other jug, whisking all the while. Mix it all together and then pour into your cake tin and bake for 40-45 mins.
Check the cake is cooked by poking a skewer into the middle. It should be cooked when only a few crumbs are on the skewer when removed from the cake, but remember that it is supposed to be moist and fudgy in the middle so don’t panic too much if it’s a bit wetter than a normal cake.
Leave to cool and then dust with cocoa powder and serve with whipped cream or ice-cream (or a non-dairy alternative).
I recently made a double layer strawberry pavlova for my partner’s birthday and because you only use the whites of eggs to make pavlova meringue I was left with a bowlful of rich, golden yellow egg yolks. I’m sure you know by now that I hate throwing ingredients out if they can be put to good use so I used them to make a creamy, zesty filling for some lemon tarts.
These lemon tarts are really easy to make because their base is very similar to a cheesecake base in that it is simply made from crushed biscuits mixed with a little bit of butter and then left to set in small tart tins rather than messing about with having to make sweet shortcrust pastry cases. I made my base with gluten-free digestive biscuits, but you could use any type of biscuit really.
The lemon filling is really simple, requiring little more than adding your ingredients bit by bit into a saucepan and stirring. As long as you take your time and prepare your ingredients in advance it should turn out well. I used small tart tins that have a removable base so that the tarts would be easier to remove and I didn’t have to worry about trying to prise them out of the tins and potentially breaking the biscuit tart cases. However, you could just use a normal tart tray that’s got a small disc of greaseproof paper in it, if you prefer or you could easily just make one large tart.
I really liked these lemon tarts because the smooth, creamy, zesty filling was beautifully contrasted by the crisp, crunchy digestive biscuit base. Unlike shop-bought versions of lemon tarts, they’re not overly sweet or cloying and the beauty of making them yourself is that you could use different types of flavoured biscuit for the base, such as custard creams, bourbons, Oreos or even gingernuts. However you decide to make your own version, I’d say they’re a lovely addition to the end of a delicious meal this summer.
Ingredients for the biscuit base:
10 gluten-free digestive biscuits
50g butter (I used a non-dairy version)
Ingredients for the lemon filling:
The juice and finely grated zest of 3 lemons
300ml cold water
6 egg yolks
220g white sugar
Melt the butter in a jug in the microwave.
Break the digestive biscuits into small crumbs (I used my food processor, but you could just use a strong food bag) and stir in the melted butter.
Divide the buttery biscuit crumb into the tart tins and press it down on the bottom and sides to form the tart bases.
Leave to cool and harden in the fridge while you make the lemon filling.
To make the filling:
Place the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and stir well.
In a saucepan, use a whisk to mix the lemon juice and zest with the cornflour to make a paste.
Add the cold water and stir well.
Place the pan over a medium heat and stir until the mixture gets hot and turns thick.
Continuing to stir the mixture all the while, quickly add the egg yolk and sugar mixture and stir well until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture has become thick again.
Leave to cool slightly and then pour the lemon mixture into each of the tart cases and leave to cool.
Remove from the tart tins and serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of cream (non-dairy if you’re FODMAP friendly like me.)