Recipe Included


Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs means we can make any recipe we want from any past, or present, chef we choose. I like that. It means that if there was a recipe in the past that didn’t fit a theme and you REALLY wanted to make it, or you just found a new one you really like, you can make it now. Excellent!!

So for this week’s potluck I went with Donna Hay and the Chocolate Pear Cake from my new book, FLAVOURS.

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It is exactly what it says it is – a chocolate cake topped with pear halves that have been cooked in butter and brown sugar.

    80g (2 3/4 oz) butter
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    4 small small pears, peeled, halved and cored
    CAKE:
    185g (6 oz) butter
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    3 eggs
    2 cups self-raising (self-rising) flour
    1J3 cup cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). In a skillet mix the butter brown sugar and water and heat until the butter has melted. Add the pears to the pan, cut-side down, and cook for about 2 minutes. {I cooked mine longer because they were larger and just off the tree.}
Place the pears, cut-side down, in a 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin that has been side- and base-lined with non-stick baking paper. Pour the syrup from the skillet over the pears.

CAKE:
Mix the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture and stir through.
Carefully spread the cake mixture over the pears in the cake pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and serve the cake in wedges with cream.
Serves 8-10. {Recipe is on page 116 of Flavours}

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I would advise checking the cake before the lower end of the required cooking time. Mine was a little dry. Tasty, but dry. The Hubs liked the pears. Me, not so much.

Want more potluck? Then visit us at IHCC for a buffet of goodness.

Summer is usually the season for lots and lots of salads. There is plenty of fresh veggies to add to that bowl of lettuce or greens. So, when the IHCC theme came up SALADS {and Vinegrettes} I knew there would be some good dishes to be had. As it turns out, my salad is NOT made with bunches of fresh veggies but bunches of spicy flavors and only two veggies – Savoy Cabbage and Carrots.Savoy cabbage is NOT easy to find in Podunk, USA. I thought I would have to use regular but at the FOURTH (and last) store….

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Asian Dressing:

    2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
    1 1/2 TBL soy sauce
    1 TBL oyster sauce
    1/4 tsp Tabasco hot pepper sauce
    1 tsp sugar
    2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)

Savoy Salad

    1/2 pound tender savoy cabbage leaves, with tough lower part of central ribs removed and discarded, leaves finely shredded (about 6 cups, lightly packed)
    1/2 cup julienned carrot strips

Combine the dressing ingredients in a plastic bag large enough to hold the cabbage.
Add the cabbage, toss it with the dressing, and allow the mixture to marinate for about 2 hours.
Transfer the salad and dressing to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the carrot.Recipe is from Jacques Pepin’s Table page 296

This was spicy. I think I liked it, but I’m not quite sure yet. It would be a great side with a sweet chicken dish. The heat and the sour from the salad would balance out the sweet. I made the full dressing recipe but only used about 1/4 of the cabbage. Good thing because the cabbage really soaked up the dressing.


What other salads are on the I Heart Cooking Clubs’ salad buffet? Check them out!

I had this brilliant Idea for this month’s Bundt Bakers’ SPRINKLES theme. Instead of going with a regular cake with colored sprinkles I decided to make a cheese cake ‘sprinkled’ inside with mini chocolate chips. In my head it would come out beautifully. 6 little perfect cheese cakes. Dotted with chips. Little sprinkles of cookie on the top.

    The angels would sing. The unicorns would dance.
      I would be the Belle of the Ball!

    Did. Not. Happen.

Instead I ended up with 6 stuck in the pan, partly collapsed, but great tasting, mini bundts. So much for brilliant ideas and head pictures.

    Cue the little Elves of Mischief instead!!

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What you need:

    1 cup finely chopped chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs.


    Filling
    3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    3 tablespoons all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    4 eggs
    1/4 cup whipping cream
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 300. Spray pan and sprinkle the cookie crumbs springly into 1 10 or 12 cup Bundt” Pan. {I used mini-bundt pans and it was enough for 7 small cheesecakes.}
Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla until very light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Add eggs one at a time. Mix on medium-high speed for about two minutes.
Add cream and mix well, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into prepared pans til they are about 3/4 full.
Bake at 300 for 55 to 65 minutes or until set. Cool upright in pan 30 minutes. Refrigerate 2 hours.

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Recipe adapted from Bundt Classics page 78

While I used the recipe in the book, you could use your favorite cheese cake recipe and just add in some mini chocolate chips.


Here are this month’s “Sprinkles” Bundts:

BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Well, that’s NOT what Pepin calls it but that is exactly what this quick dish is. We were challenged this week at IHCC to come up with a dish that was fast – 30 minutes or less. Simple and ready for the table is perfect for this time of the year so when I came across this recipe for Coquillettes au Gruyere(aka Pasta Shells with Swiss Cheese) I figured it would be perfect.

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And it was! Creamy. And different than our every day mac and cheese.

    8 cups water
    10 ounces medium-size pasta shells, preferably imported
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh
    1 cup (loosely packed) freshly grated swiss cheese (3 ounces), preferable Gruyere

Cook pasta until tender (about 15 minutes)
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking liquid, and set aside.
Drain the pasta in a colander.
Put the cooking water into a stainless steel bowl large enough to mix the pasta and the rest of the ingredients in. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Add in the pasta and chives tossing to mix well and then add in the cheese.
Serve immediately.

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I loved the mix of the Gruyere and the chives in this simple and quick side. It came together in 26 minutes. FAST!! Just as requested!

The original recipe came from Jacques Pepin’s Table page 338.

How fast were the other’s dishes? Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs

Here in the Deep South the Figs are ripe. And there are plenty of them with all the rain we have had these last couple of months. I usually pick them and give them to my neighbor but I found this easy recipe for a Fig Cake so decided to give it a try before I gave them away. I have to admit I am NOT a fig lover. I just don’t care for them. I did try one again this year but still not my thing. Different thing, though to put them in a cake – with pecans.

I was just about to make muffins instead of cupcakes and then I remembered this month’s Bundt Bakers’ Theme – Fruits and Nuts. Let’s see. Figs. Pecans. Yep – that qualifies. So back in the pantry went the cupcake pan and out came the bundt pan. Close shave!!

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For the Cake:

    2 cups AP flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar {I used 1/2 cup sugar. 1 cup Stevia in the Raw and 1 large Dash plain stevia}
    1 cup buttermilk
    3 eggs
    1 cup oil
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup chopped figs
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.
Sift the flour, salt, soda, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add oil and beat until well blended. Add the eggs, figs, nuts, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix well
Grease and SUGAR your bundt pan. {I used a small one and made 4 muffins as well.} and pour in batter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
For the Glaze:

    1 cup sugar
    1 stick butter
    1 Tbl corn syrup
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk. 1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 3 minutes
Pour over cake while still warm.

What a great, sweet cake. The figs basically melted into the cake and the pecans added just the right amount of crunch. I used the glaze but I also sprinkled powdered sugar over the cake.

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This one is definitely in the cake rotation. Hope the fig tree lives a long, long time.

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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

BundtBakers

The Mystery Box this month for IHCC was challenging. Very Challenging. I mean:

    Chicken
    Seaweed Interesting!
    Sesame Seeds
    Parsley
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Pasta
    Mango
    Brown Sugar
    Zucchini
    Mint

One could go with an Asian Flair.

    A Sweet Treat.
      Or a Pasta.

I took the easy way out – PASTA! But easy wasn’t really EASY!! Because then I had to actually find a recipe with at least THREE of the ingredients which is what the CHALLENGE is all about. At least three ingredients in a recipe from one of our past or present chef.

    Jacques Pepin
    Nigella Lawson
    Mark Bittman
    Giada de Laurentiis
    Jamie Oliver
    Tessa Kiros
    Rick Bayless
    Madjur Jaffrey
    Yotam Ottolenghi
    Donna Hay
    Nigel Slater
    Diana Henry

I was thinking Italian so I was thinking Giada de Laurentiis and after about an hour of cookbook and internet research found this recipe. Four Ingredients!!

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    Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I knew it would be good!!

    1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) {I used a Whole Wheat Penne}
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
    1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 cup shredded mozzarella
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup bread crumbs {I found some whole Wheat Panko – worked greatt.}
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked and the onions are tender.
Mix the chicken in with the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, salt and pepper.Stir to combine.
Pour the pasta/chicken mix in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on to the pasta mixture.
Dot the top with small bits of butter.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.{Original Recipe}

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Okay. This was good. But not great. It needed to be more…well, more Italian. I would have liked it more if there had been more seasonings. Maybe some oregano. Even some Italian seasoning. I would also add more cheese to the dish and a little more liquid. It wasn’t real dry but it was borderline. We liked it enough to make it again but with more seasoning.

Ready for more Mystery. Check out the I Heart Cooking Clubs website and see the rest of the Challenge dishes.

I am an Air Force Brat! And proud of it! From the time I was 3 ’til I was 18 we never lived in one place longer than 6 – 10 months at a time. We did stay in one house for two years and it felt very odd. Wonderful, but odd!

During all that time we lived most of my childhood somewhere in Germany or England. And during that time we traveled everywhere we could: Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Scotland. And everywhere we went we tried new foods. Many of them completely new to us. The bread and Sausages of German. Bangers and Mash. Treacle Tart. I even remember trying tongue (once ONLY!!) and my Dad had Steak Tartar. We’ve had eels, seaweed, squid in it’s own juice (BLACK!), lamb, goat. Nothing escaped us! I was just a child for most of it but I do recall numerous delicious, and not so delicious, dishes. It wasn’t until I was grown, married, retired (and learning to actually cook) that I thought back to those days and wanted to replicate some of those meals. Usually Indian. Because I remember visiting Veraswami’s in London several times. I know they have changed since the 1950s but many of their menu items are still the same. Like

    ROGAN JOSH

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    2 1 inch cubes fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    8 cloves garlic, peeled
    1 1/2 cups) water
    10 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 lb lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
    10 cardamom pods
    2 bay leaves
    6 cloves
    10 peppercorns
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    4 teaspoons bright red paprika mixed with 1/4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    6 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1/4 teaspoon garam masala
    Freshly ground black pepper

Put the ginger, garlic, and 4 tablespoons water into the container of an electric blender. Blend well until you have a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat cubes in several batches and set to one side. Put the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color This just takes a few
seconds.
Add in the onions then stir and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown color. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika-cayenne mix, and salt. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the fried meat cubes and juices. Stir for 30 seconds.
Add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir and fry for about 30 seconds or until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt a tablespoon at a time as before. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add 275 ml (1’/4 cups) water if you are cooking lamb and 425 ml (2 cups) water if you are cooking beef. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pot. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour for lamb and 2 hours for beef, or until the meat is
tender. (It could be baked, covered, in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for the
same length of time or until tender.)
Every 10 minutes or so, give the meat a good stir. When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and boil away some of the liquid. You should end up with tender meat in a thick, reddish brown sauce.
Spoon off the fat.
Sprinkle garam masala and black pepper over the meat before you serve and mix them in.

I served this over Basmati rice.

I am sure it isn’t as good as Veraswamy’s but as far as memories go, it brought back quite a few. I had a chance to go back in 2000 but you know what they say about best laid plans. One day. Until then I will dream of the little bowls of delicate licorice tidbits, the fragile crystal glasses (one of which I broke), the colorful regalia worn by the doorman and the wait staff.

I am pretty sure this recipe is from Madjur Jaffrey, but I’m not sure.


Let’s Lunch is a Twitter Based group. Please check out other Let’s Lunchers’ dishes from their travels below. And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch

Betty-Ann‘s Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler Cocktail at Asian in America

Linda‘s Hawaiian Island Panzanella (Bread Salad) with Sea Asparagus at Spicebox Travels

Lisa‘s Moroccan B’Stillas at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Cheryl’s Sardinian Seadas at Cheryl Lu Lien Tan

Annabelle’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip at Glass of Fancy

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