Sunday, 31 July 2011

Rotweinkuchen (Red Wine Chocolate Cake)

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This is one of those cakes that my mum makes quite regularly. It's simple, easy to transport and keeps well, should you have any leftovers for some strange reason. The red wine gives it some depth in flavour and also makes sure it's moist.

So when I went home for a family visit and all went on a holiday at Easter this cake is one of the things we took along with us and enjoyed with a cup of coffee after a five-hour car journey to East Germany. Why I'm only just getting around to blogging about it now, I don't know!

It usually looks a little darker, but we didn't have quite enough cocoa powder left.


Rotweinkuchen (1 cake)

250g softened butter or magarine
250g sugar
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2tbsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla essence
125ml red wine
125g coarsly chopped or grated dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 175C/Gas4.

Grease a Kugelhop or fluted cake tin.

In a large bowl cream the butter with the sugar until light in colour.

Add one egg at the time and continue to beat with an electric whisk.

Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and vanilla essence and red wine and continue to beat until combined.

Sift the baking powder and flour together and add little by little by little whilst continuing to whisk.

Add the chocolate and mix in with a wooden spoon.

Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for around 60 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Allow to stand for 10 minutes before carefully turning out onto a cooling rack.

Once cool, dust with icing sugar.



Friday, 29 July 2011

Easy Cherry Tomato and Feta Tart

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Even if you can't cook you can make this tart and impress at a party.

I made four of them for the annual Cherry Berry party yesterday, two with thyme and two with basil. There are always so many sweets on offer I thought something savoury would be a good idea. It was great with the Greek Salad that L. had made.

A big thanks to L. for organising it this year.

I., if you're reading, this is one for you, much easier than cheesecake!


Easy Cherry Tomato and Feta Tart (serves 4)

1 large sheet of ready-made puff pastry (375g)
250g feta cheese
30-40 cherry or baby plum tomatoes, halved
fresh basil, thyme or oregano, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas4.

Cut the large sheet of pastry in half (or you can leave it as one if you prefer/cut it into small individual portions) and score line around all four edges about 2cm in.

Crumble 3/4 of the feta cheese over the pastry, leaving the scored edge free.

Top with the tomatoes and crumble the rest of the feta over the top.

Season with freshly ground black pepper. You won't need salt as the feta is salty enough.

Bake for 15 minutes, sprinkle with herbs of your choice and return to the oven for another 5-10minutes until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.

Serve hot or cold.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Roasted Beet and Rocket Salad

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Remember I had dinner with friends after having been sent some cookbooks? I know it was a while ago and it has taken me a lot longer than planned to write about the final recipe, but better late than never.

The third and final dish I tried from The Free Range Cook was Roasted Beet and Rocket Salad and I'll definitely be making it again, especially once the beetroot in my veg patch is ready for eating. For years I thought I hated beetroot. There aren't many foods I won't eat and most I keep trying with again every now and then to see if my taste buds have changed, sometimes that works as in the case of beetroot (the supposed pleasures of celery still elude me to this day though).

Well to be honest, I guess it wasn't a case of my taste buds changing, more the fact that after having only ever eaten pickled beets, I went to Finland and was served a vegetable stew that had the most amazing tasting beetroot in it. I was converted. Now I have it often, still never pickled though!


Roasted Beet and Rocket Salad (serves 6)

5 medium beetroot, peeled and cut into 2cm wedges
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 handfuls of rocket
1 handful of baby beet leaves (optional)
1 lemon, juice of
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
135g roasted almonds
120g feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas5. Place the beetroot wedges in a large roasting tin lined with baking paper and mix with the first measure of oil, the sugar, vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for 45 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool in the roasting dish.

Toss the salad leaves with the sec ond measure of oil and lemon juice and place on a large serving platter or other shallow dish. Top with roasted beets and scatter the almonds and crumbled feta on top.