Sunday, 25 January 2015

Spiced Lentil, Carrot and Roasted Tomato Soup

The other day, I had the pleasure of sharing a bowl of soup with The Hedge Comber. As it was rather cold outside I fancied making something both warming and colourful. I always have split red lentils in the house, but I also happened to have carrots and tomatoes too. All were of a suitable hue I reckoned. As for flavourings I decided ginger and home-grown chilli for warmth and rosemary and thyme for aroma would hit the spot.

I also decided to roast the tomatoes for additional flavour and to give a slight smoky edge to the soup. To go with this, I made a loaf of bread using oak smoked flour, which complemented the soup well, we thought. A small grating of chocolate went into and onto the soup, but to be honest it was rather lost in the general melange and Janie was, shall we say, underwhelmed by its inclusion.

I am entering this into Vanesther's The Spice Trail over at Bangers & Mash. The chilli was quite pronounced and the ginger combined with it very nicely to give a truly warming soup. The theme is Temple Food and not only is this soup good and healthy it's the sort of thing that might be eaten in all sorts of Eastern temples - minus the roasted tomatoes perhaps!

I am also sending this off to Cooking with Herbs over at Lavender and Lovage. I used rosemary and thyme from the garden to flavour the roasting tomatoes and bay leaves in the lentils. This month's theme is The Great British Store Cupboard and as already stated, my store cupboard is permanently stocked with lentils.

Possibly for the first time ever, I find I am able to enter No Croutons Required, the longstanding salad and soup event hosted alternately by Lisa's Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes.

Lentil and tomato soup is a bit of a classic, but with the edition of carrots, I reckon it becomes suitable for Extra Veg over at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families and alternately hosted by Fuss Free Flavours.

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Spiced Lentil Carrot and Roasted Tomato Soup
A warming and colourful soup flavoured with herbs, spices and roasted tomatoes.
  • 250g split red lentils
  • 1 large carrot - scrubbed
  • 1 thumb sized chunk root ginger - peeled
  • 1 red chilli (I used half a rocoto)
  • 2 bay leaves - half wholemeal spelt, half white
  • 1 Litre water
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 onion - peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic - peeled
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • a dash tamari (or other soy sauce)
  • ½ tsp sea salt (or to taste
  • a pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon lemon juice
  • a tiny amount dark chocolate (100%)
1. Soak the lentils in either cold water overnight or in hot water for an hour (this greatly reduces cooking time). Rinse well.2. Dice the carrot, ginger and chilli and add to the lentils together with the water and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are tender.3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion and quarter the tomatoes. Place in a roasting dish with the garlic, olive oil, rosemary and thyme and roast at 200C for about 30 minutes - the onions should be showing a little charring around the edges.4. Rub the contents through a sieve to remove the skins and any twiggy bits, then add to the cooked lentils.5. Add the tamari, salt and pepper to taste, then blitz with a hand held blender until smooth.6. Stir in the lemon juice and add a grating of chocolate, then pour into bowls topping off with another light grating of chocolate.
Prep time: 25Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 large bowls

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mini Chocolate Ice Pops - We Should Cocoa #53

Chocolate Ice Popps
When Kavey suggested teaming up this month with her Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. For my birthday last year, CT gave me the most luscious chocolate book by Rick and Michael Mast. I spend a considerable amount of time salivating over the pictures in Mast Brothers chocolate: a family cookbook and planning what I'm going to make from it;  strangely not very much so far. One of the pictures I found particularly striking was the Frozen Chocolate Pops and now I had no more excuses not to make them.

Of course, I ended up adapting the recipe. Not only did I convert the recipe from cups, but as it is the middle of winter and our appetite for iced treats is limited, I scaled the recipe down considerably too and decided to make mini pops. This way you get far more chocolate too. I used cardamom sugar to give a hint of spice and a pack of Willie's 72% Venezuelan Gold for added flavour and luxury.

This is how I made:

Mini Chocolate Ice Pops

  • Heated 125ml milk in a pan with 30g cardamom sugar (golden caster sugar) and a rounded tsp of cocoa powder. 
  • Stirred until the sugar had dissolved and the milk was hot.
  • Removed from the heat and added 25g of chopped dark chocolate - (G&B 70%). Left for a couple of minutes to melt, then stirred until smooth.
  • Poured into 6 mini chocolate pop moulds - there was actually enough to make about 20, but I used the remainder for another iced treat I shall blog about soon.
  • Popped into the freezer for a couple of hours or so.
  • Melted 40g of dark chocolate (Willie's Cacao Venezuelan Gold 72%) in a small pan over hot water.
  • As soon as it had melted, removed from the heat and aded a further 15g of chocolate. Left for a couple of minutes, then stirred until smooth.
  • Removed the cake pops from their moulds and spooned the melted chocolate over them to cover. This ended up being rather messy. I was unable to get a smooth finish as the chocolate froze on impact and I managed to get chocolate over pretty much everything.
  • Put them back in the freezer until ready to eat.

Chocolate Ice Lollies
What can I say? They may have looked a little strange, not to say messy and a couple of them fell off because I was too impatient to wait for them to freeze properly, but they were delicious. When it came down to it, we would both have been happy to have a freezer full of them. The ice lolly part itself was better than anything I've ever bought and the iced chocolate enrobing it was wonderful. The combination of rich and slightly bitter chocolate contrasted well with the sweet icy but velvety contents.

You still have three more days to enter We Should BSFIC with your icy chocolate treats. Just link your post to this month's We Should Cocoa and Kavey's BSFIC post - you'll find full instructions on both.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Malted Chocolate Bundt Cake

I am so enamoured of both the look, texture and taste of my bundt cakes, that I reckon the recipe used must have become my signature bake. It always looks stunning, it can be marbled for extra effect or left plain and the flavourings are endless. When I was recently asked to make a birthday cake, a bundt immediately sprang to mind; I'm just surprised I haven't used it for one before. Perhaps because it's winter, Horlicks was also on my mind, or perhaps it's just that I'm very keen on malty flavours.

Scroll down to the bottom to get the recipe.

A little of the batter made its way into a mini version. It is important, I feel, for a cook to try their wares. As always with this cake, the texture was good. It was moist but firm and sliced well. It's the kind of cake you want to eat too much of and have to restrain yourself. Luckily for us we didn't have much to restrain ourselves from. Alternating bursts of malty and chocolate flavours assailed our tastebuds in the nicest way - try one get one free.

I am sending this off to a number of weekly events:

Bake of the Week over at Casa Costello

Cook Blog Share over at SuperGolden Bakes

Recipe of the Week over at A Mummy Too

print recipe

Malted Chocolate Bundt Cake
A beautifully textured and delicious bundt cake flavoured with chocolate and Horlicks. The cake is swirled with two differently flavoured and coloured batters giving additional interest when the cake is cut.
  • 240g unsalted butter
  • 260g golden caster sugar (I used vanilla flavoured sugar)
  • 4 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 230g flour - half wholemeal spelt, half white
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 heaped tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 rounded tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 rounded tsp mesquite powder
  • 2 rounded tbsp Horlicks
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g caster sugar ( I used vanilla flavoured sugar)
  • 50ml water
  • 70g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 16 Maltesers
1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs, one by one, adding a little of the flour if necessary to prevent curdling.2. Sieve in the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and bicarb and stir until just combined.3. Gently stir in the yogurt and water.4. Spoon half the mixture into a separate bowl. Add the Horlicks and vanilla extract to one bowl and the cocoa powder and mesquite to the other. Stir until just combined.5. Spoon heaps of alternating batter into a greased bundt mould or tin. Bake at 180℃ for about 45 minutes or until the cake is well risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.8. Put the 50 ml of water and 50g of sugar in a pan and place on a low heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Leave the chocolate to melt for a few minutes then stir. Add the butter and stir until smooth.9. Place the cooled cake onto a serving plate. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the cake and decorate with the Maltesers and edible gold dust.
Prep time: 45Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 modest slices


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