Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Eat: Rustic Cabbage Soup

Today's recipe comes from Wit & Whistle. It's simple to prepare and perfect for the chilly Autumn evenings.

Serves 4


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
a big pinch of salt
1/2 pound potatoes, skin on,  cut 1/4 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large yellow oinion, thinly sliced - I used shallots instead
5 cups stock - for those in the UK I used an M&S pouch
1 1/2 cups white beans, precooked or canned (drained and rinsed well) - I used cannellini beans
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch ribbons
more good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated


Warm the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and potatoes. Cover and cook until they are a bit tender and starting to brown a bit, about 5 minutes – it’s o.k. to uncover to stir a couple times. Stir in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute or two. Add the stock and the beans and bring the pot to a simmer. Stir in the cabbage and cook for a couple more minutes, until the cabbage softens up a bit. Now adjust the seasoning – getting the seasoning right is important or your soup will taste flat and uninteresting. Taste and add more salt if needed, the amount of salt you will need to add will depend on how salty your stock is.

Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a generous dusting of cheese.

I ate mine (as suggested) with buttered sourdough toast. It was delicious and very comforting after a long day at work.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Interiors: Inspiring floors

Recycled wooden pallets

Stencilled concrete

Eat: Gluten-Free Chocolate Mug Cake (in less than 5 minutes)

Day six of chocolate week. Today's recipe from ATX Gluton-free is gluton and dairy-free.

Time: Less than 5 minutes

1-2 servings


1 large microwave safe coffee mug
4 tablespoons gluten-free flour mix
4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional add-ins: pinch ground coffee, dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes


Grease a coffee mug with oil or cooking spray. Place all ingredients in mug and mix with fork to combine ingredients, but don’t over-mix. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds. The cake might look like it is overflowing from mug, but it will settle. Cooking time depends on microwave strength, but the standard is 1 minute and 30 seconds; with 3 minutes being on the higher end. Final product should be moist.

Note: If using a homemade flour blend, make sure the blend contains baking powder and salt.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Interiors: Kitchen's

Eat: Salted caramel brownie bites with salted caramel buttercream

Day six of chocolate week. Oh yeah got to share these. I'm fairly new to the salt and chocolate combo so my pinterest page has quite a few yummy recipes as I love it.

Today's recipe is from Bake It in a Cake

Makes 36 (phew)


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 c. flour
about 36 of your favorite bite-sized salted caramels

For the buttercream:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
15-20 caramels
2 T. heavy cream
2 c. powdered sugar
kosher salt


To make the brownies, melt together the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on high heat for 90 seconds. Remove it from the microwave and stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Add in the sugar, and stir until it is well combined. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and salt. Finally, stir in the flour.

Put a teaspoon of brownie batter into paper-lined mini cupcake tins. They should be about half full. Put one caramel in each tin, then cover with another teaspoon of batter so the tins are about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the brownies have set. They will give a little when you gently press your finger into the top of them, but they should not be too soft.

Allow to cool, then make the buttercream.

First, melt the caramel with the heavy cream. You can pop it in the microwave for 30 second increments, until the caramel is smooth. Allow it to cool in the fridge for a few minutes.

Whip the butter for about 30 seconds on med-high speed, so it gets fluffy. Add in about one cup of powdered sugar, and mix until it’s all combined. Once the caramel is cool to the touch, turn the mixer on medium speed and then drizzle the caramel into the frosting. If it’s too hot, it’ll melt the buttercream, so be patient.

Beat until fluffy. Then add in the other cup of powdered sugar and the salt, a 1/4 to a 1/2 t. at a time, mixing and then tasting after each addition to make sure you don’t add too much. A little goes a long way with the salt. Once it tastes the way you want it to taste, frost the cupcakes.

Grate a few chocolate shavings over the top.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Interiors: Hallways

 via Flickr

Eat: Avocado cacao mousse

Day five of chocolate week: After all the indulgent recipes I've added this week I thought it a good idea to have something a little healthier today but no less delicious. Today's recipe is from the kitchn

Serves 4 - 6


4 ripe avocados
1/3 cup raw coconut nectar
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
fresh fruit and nuts for garnish


In the bowl of a blender or food processor, blend avocado until smooth. Add all other ingredients, blending until mixture is uniform. Chill for about 2 hours in the fridge or half an hour in the freezer. Garnish with fresh fruit or chopped nuts.

Note on the recipe:

If you want to try this recipe, but don't have the raw coconut sweetener or cacao powder on hand, agave, honey and unsweetened cocoa powder are fine-tasting substitutes.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Eat: Sea salt chocolate snaps

Day four of chocolate week. Today's recipe is from Nigel Slater.


100g/3½oz darl chocolate 
A good handful of pistachio nuts, shelled, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of flaked almonds
A big pinch of sugar
Flaked sea salt
Crystallised roses, crushed (optional – could use candied peel or just leave it out)


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Break up the chocolate and melt in a bowl over simmering water. Best left alone without stirring. When the chocolate is half-melted turn the heat off and nudge the solid parts into the melted parts, finishing it off using the residual heat.

Spread the flaked almonds out on a baking tray, and toast in the oven for two minutes. Remove the almonds from the oven, sprinkle over some sugar and return to the oven for a further minute.

When the chocolate is melted spoon little disc shapes onto the lined tray. While the chocolate is still warm, quickly scatter the almonds and pistachios over the discs. Sprinkle a little sea salt and maybe some crushed crystallised roses for colour.

Chill the tray in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, softly pry your snaps away from the paper and serve.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Interiors: Gorgeous grey's

Eat: Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Day three of chocolate week. Today's recipe is from Ming makes cupcakes


1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 heaped tbsp cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla


1 stick butter
5 heaped tbsp cocoa
1 lb icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk


In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in room temperature buttermilk. In a saucepan, melt butter and cocoa together at a low temperature. When smooth, add water. In a separate bowl, sift together sugar, flour and salt. Add cocoa mixture and egg, and mix at low speed. Add buttermilk mixture and vanilla, beat until smooth. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.

In a saucepan, melt butter at low temperature. In separate bowl, mix together cocoa and sugar. Add melted butter, vanilla and milk, beat at low speed until mixed. Frost cupcakes generously.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Eat: Homemade nutella spread

Day two of chocolate week. I came across this great recipe on the family kitchen

1 1/2 cup whole hazelnut
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup powdered milk
1 tbsp. mild-flavored honey
pinch salt
1 heaping cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, or chips
1 scant cup chopped milk chocolate, or chips
On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the nuts in a 400ºF for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and their skins begin to pop. Transfer to a tea towel, gather into a bundle and rub together to remove as much of their skins as possible. While warm, transfer to the bowl of a food processor and blend until they go from finely ground to pasty and thick, like natural peanut butter.
Meanwhile, warm the milk, powdered milk, honey and salt in a small saucepan just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat. In a glass or stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in the microwave), melt the chocolates, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Add the melted chocolate to the ground nuts and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well blended and as smooth as you can get it. Makes about 2 cups.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Eat: Caramel brownies

Hurrah. It's chocolate week.  I love chocolate and thought I share some of my favourite chocolate recipes over the next few days.

This recipe is from Annie's eats

Makes 24 plus brownies


For the brownies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups pecan, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the caramel filling:

14 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil well with butter or cooking spray. Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. (Alternatively, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.) Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread about half of the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, maintaining the oven temperature, and let cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans (if using) to a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. To make the caramel filling, combine the caramel candies and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Stir in half of the pecans. Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the bottom brownie layer. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer, taking care to pour and spread it evenly otherwise it will be difficult to spread evenly over the caramel layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and the remaining pecans on top of the final brownie layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving. (To speed cooling, chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.)

Lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the foil. Remove the foil and cut the brownies into individual squares. Store in an airtight container.

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