Monthly Archives: October 2012

Truffle shuffle: goonie eat me a lot of chocolate

You know those ads that are like “DO YOU WANT TO LOSE 12KGS IN THREE MINUTES?” “THIS MAN GREW BACK HIS HAIR AFTER GOING COMPLETELY BALD!” “DO YOU WANT TO MAKE LOVE FOR LONGER?” I don’t know if it is just me but those monstrosities send an instant message to my brain that says “Everything here is a lie. Get out while you can.” In saying that I want to tell you that the complete opposite is true when it comes to the below message:

I have a recipe for you that will take 10 mins to make, cost less than $15 and will make people like you. If this people already like you, they will like you more than they did before.

I approve this message. In fact, I wrote this message so of course I approve it. It is a common misbelief that making tasty food takes ages, is difficult and is expensive. You can be the cheapest, most time-poor and inexperienced cook for miles around and make great food. This blog is here to tell you to not believe the myth. If this particular post doesn’t convince you that anyone can cook, and cook well, then I have truly failed in that mission.

Without much further ado…

Mexican truffles (adapted from http://www.channel5.com/shows/mexican-food-made-simple/recipes/chilli-chocolate-truffles)
500g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
200g chocolate (at least 40% cocoa solids if you can find it, but I used 30% and it was fine)
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
2 allspice berries
10 cloves
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
425ml double cream/thickened cream
30g butter
50g cocoa powder (for dusting)

Grease a baking tin (approx. 30cm by 12cm) with vegetable oil and line with glad wrap
Break the chocolate into small chunks to make it easier to melt
Grind the spices and chillies with a pestle and mortar and heat with the double cream in a heavy-bottomed pan
Once very warm but not boiling, add to the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and stir till combined
Stir in the butter
Pour the mixture into the tin, ensuring it is flat and has filled the corners, and freeze for 1 hour
Turn the frozen chocolate out onto a chopping board and cut into cubes, tossing them in cocoa powder as you go so they don’t stick together

These store for ages in the fridge or freezer and make great presents

If you melt the chocolate with cream that is too hot, the chocolate will split. If this happens you might be able to save it by stirring a few tablespoons of cold cream into the melted chocolate. If the chocolate does not melt straight away (which is more often my problem), suspend the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water until it melts enough to combine.

 

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Hot soup: Summer in the city

As a person living in a large, wealthy city who is in good health and gets paid enough to live comfortably, problems can be difficult to come by. That is why you’ve got to jump on things and complain abut them as much as possible when they do come along. Why is public transport so slow? Why is it raining the weekend I decide to sleep in a tent and go tramping? WHY WILL THAT BIT OF HAIR NOT STOP STICKING UP? Most importantly, why do I have to cook dinner every night and make lunch every day when I am too lazy and hungry to come home and do so? I hate to admit it, but this truly is the biggest and most pressing problem in my life right now. In an attempt to partially counteract it, I spent 2 entire days making giant batches of soup and freezing them for those days where I need lunch but am too lazy to make it the night before (ie almost every day). This is one of those soups

Tomato and Basil soup (taken from http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com.au/2007/02/get-well-quickly-tomato-soup.html)
800g canned, crushed tomatoes
1 head of garlic, roasted
1 decent handful of fresh basil, chopped/torn
1/4 of an onion diced
One celery stick, diced
One carrot, diced
2 pieces of cooked bacon (optional)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of cream
3 tablespoons of hard cheese such as Parmigiana, Romano or Asiago, grated

Separate garlic into cloves, don’t peel but rub off papery bits. Place cloves on piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap and place in oven at 150 degrees celcius for an hour
Sweat onions (heat on low with the lid on), celery, carrot and one piece of bacon I (if using, I didn’t) in butter for 15 minutes
Add tomatoes, sugar and basil and other piece of bacon to pot
Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for half an hour
Take roasted garlic out of oven, and add to tomato mixture as many cloves as you like
Stir in cheese
Simmer, covered for another half hour
Turn off heat and let cool
Puree tomato mixture until smooth
Stir in cream (you can use more than two cups for a thinner soup)
Serve with crusty bread (and if you don’t feel well, you can spread more roasted garlic on the bread).

Lately I’ve been getting a bit better at improvising and tweaking recipes a bit but as this is from the Homesick Texan I took the recipe as gospel and didn’t change it much at all. Because that would be like walking up to Jamie Oliver and trying to lecture him on olive oil.

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