Page: 1

Tag / Nigella Lawson

Tantalise your tastebuds this Christmas!

This cake is the talk of the office! And lucky you, we can give you the recipe. We'll let Nigella tell you about it, but you might need to get a bib first- she makes it sound SO delicious you can't help but drool!

kitchenkitThis cake. It confounds me. It delights me. I almost want to leave it there.

But I should explain: I never ever thought I would be in raptures about the joyfulness of a – yes – vegan chocolate cake. This isn’t the voice of prejudice but was – ”was” being the operative word – the conclusion of experience.

It’s true that I first made a version of it – the recipe kindly given to me by Caroline Stearns, my technical guru in the kitchen – when I was giving a supper for a vegan friend, but I now make this as my chocolate cake of choice for people where dietary restrictions are not an issue, and I don’t even need to explain it’s vegan. No need to offer explanations: you just need to offer the cake. On top of everything else, it’s incredibly simple to make.

rsz_9780701189358-1-editiondefaultoriginal-1My version has coconut oil in the cake, and coconut butter in the icing, but of course you can use vegetable oil in the cake, and vegan margarine for the icing if you prefer. The combination stipulated in the ingredients list, however, creates a cake and icing of such depth and fudginess that I never veer from it, even though I know the shopping list is a tiny bit demanding. But once you’ve tasted it, you too must surely concur that a cake as good as this can be as demanding as it likes. Besides, it asks nothing of you in the kitchen beyond some simple stirring. You are not required to get a mixer out, or do any heavy lifting at all: this is a simple bowl-and-woodenspoon number. Both the coconut oil and coconut butter need to stand out of the fridge for a good couple of hours before using. I often take them out the night before, as then they are easier to measure out.

Please check the labelling on the chocolate you buy. It needs, whatever your concerns, to be dark (minimum 70% cocoa solids for my taste), but if you need this to be absolutely dairy-free or vegan, make sure it says so on the packet.

I hate the worthy association that comes with vegan cakes, and celebrate this one by scattering rose petals and chopped pistachios over it.

rsz_rha_simplynigella_dessertsDark and sumptuous chocolate cake

60ml cold water
75g coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)
50g soft dark sugar
1½ teaspoons instant espresso
1½ x 15ml tablespoons cocoa
150g dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids, see Intro), finely chopped

225g plain flour
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
75g cocoa
300g soft dark brown sugar
375ml hot water, from a recently boiled kettle
90ml (75g if weighed when solid) coconut oil
1½ teaspoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 x 15ml tablespoon edible rose petals
1 x 15ml tablespoon chopped pistachios

1 x 20cm round springform cake tin

* Start with the icing, though first preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and pop in a baking sheet at the same time. Put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved. Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob – then quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan so that it is all underwater, so to speak. Leave for a scant minute, then whisk until you have a darkly glossy icing, and leave to cool. I find this takes exactly the amount of time the cake takes to make, cook and cool. But do give the icing a stir with a spatula every now and again.
* Line the bottom of your springform cake tin (you will need a good, leakproof one as this is a very wet batter) with baking parchment.
* Put the flour, bicarb, salt and instant espresso and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.
* Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out clean, apart from a few crumbs. This is a fudgy cake and you don’t want to overdo it.
* Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.
* Turn to your icing, and give it a good stir with a spatula to check it is at the right consistency. It needs to be runny enough to cover the cake, but thick enough to stay (mostly) on the top. So pour over the unmoulded cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed. If you wish to decorate, now is the time to do it. In which case, sprinkle joyously with rose petals and chopped pistachios or anything else that your heart desires; otherwise, leave it gleaming darkly and, indeed, sumptuously. Leave to stand for 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing into the cake.

Store in an airtight container (or under a cake dome) at room temperature for up to 5 days.

The cake can be made ahead and frozen, without icing. When cool, carefully wrap cake in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap and place on a serving plate at room temperature for 3–4 hours.

Recipe extracted from SIMPLY NIGELLA by Nigella Lawson.

Simply Nigella: Free Recipe!

We've been lucky enough to get our hands on a free recipe from Nigella Lawson's
fabulous new cookbook, Simply Nigella! Get your forks ready folks, this one is super-tasty!

Chicken traybake with bitter orange and fennel

rsz_9780701189358-1-editiondefaultoriginal-1I don’t think I could say how often I’ve made this since settling into my new kitchen. Not that I’m ashamed of being repetitive – I find that comforting – but I’ve simply cooked it too often to count. It will always, no matter wherever and whenever I cook it, be the taste of my new home, evoking the strength and robust sense of cosiness that emanates from that.

I never quite feel that a house is a home until a chicken has been roasted in it (with apologies to all vegetarians and, indeed, chickens) and this, as it cooks, fills your kitchen with its gentle anise and citrus scent, working as well in midwinter with in-season Seville oranges as it does in summer with eating oranges, their sweetness soured by lemon. Apropos of this, although I normally consider not using the zest of a lemon a culinary hanging offence, here I don’t use it, as it would flagrantly, if fragrantly, overpower the essential orange.

I always get the chicken in its marinade a day ahead, but if you don’t have time, an hour would be fine (out of the fridge, but in a cool place) so long as you start off with good chicken. If you can afford good organic chicken, buy it. It is this chicken that provides a strong natural “gravy”, and the other reasons to do so are even more compelling.

The fennel I’ve been finding lately has been large but no less full of herbal flavour for all that; if you find only smaller bulbs of fennel, maybe use 3, and just quarter them.

As for what to serve alongside, depending on the time of year, I’d say a pile of mashed potatoes or steamed new potatoes and perhaps some just-blanched sugar snaps, glossed with butter or oil, for crunch.

rsz_rha_simplynigella_dine2 large bulbs fennel (approx. 1kg total, though less wouldn’t matter)
100ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 x 15ml tablespoon or so for drizzling on the chicken when cooking
zest and juice of 2 Seville oranges (about 100ml juice), or zest and juice of 1 eating orange and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
12 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in, preferably organic

* Remove the fronds from the fennel and put them in a resealable bag in the fridge for serving. I discard (that’s to say, eat) the tubey bits of the fennel, but if you have a roasting tin big enough, use everything. Cut the bulbs of fennel into quarters and then cut each quarter, lengthways, into 3. Leave on the chopping board while you get on with the marinade.

* Placing a large freezer bag in position inside a wide-necked-measuring jug or similar, pour in the oil, add the orange zest and juice (and lemon juice, if using), and spoon in the salt, fennel seeds and mustard. Stir briefly to mix.

* Remove the bag from the jug and, holding it up, add a quarter of the chicken pieces, followed by a quarter of the fennel pieces, and so on until everything’s been used up.

* Seal the bag tightly at the top, lay the bag in something like a lasagne dish and squelch it about so that you make the small amount of marinade cover as much of the chicken as possible. It will look as if it isn’t enough, but it is, I promise. Leave in the fridge overnight or up to 1 day.

* When you want to cook, remove the marinating chicken and fennel from the fridge and tip the contents of the bag – marinade and all – into a large shallow roasting tin (I use a tin that measures 46 x 34cm with a lip of 1.5cm). Using tongs, or whatever implement(s) you prefer, arrange the chicken pieces so that they are sitting, skin-side up, on top of the fennel, leave it for 30 minutes or so, to come up to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

* Drizzle some more golden oil onto the chicken, and cook in the oven for 1 hour, by which time the fennel will be soft and the chicken cooked through and bronzed on top.

* Put the chicken and fennel onto a warmed serving plate and put the pan over a medium heat (use a saucepan if your tin isn’t hob-friendly) and boil the juices, stirring as you watch it turn syrupy; this should take about 1 ½ – 2 minutes in the tin, and about 5 in a saucepan.

* Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken and fennel, and then tear over the reserves fennel fronds.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: The chicken can be marinated 1 day ahead. Store in fridge until needed.
STORE NOTE: Cool leftovers, then cover and refrigerate within 2 hours of making. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days

Recipe extracted from SIMPLY NIGELLA by Nigella Lawson.