Tag Archives: Coffee

Smile, It’s Sunday!

So it looks like I have a bit of a Sunday blogging series going on here. There’s just something about a big cup of home brewed coffee and an overworked oven that gets my writing buzz on.

I bought this orchid last weekend for the princely sum of £5 and I’ve very glad i did as I got back to a dead rosemary plant and dried up old roses. 

  
Today, I had to skip my lie in. Well, I still had an extra hour in bed than I would if I was working, but still, who sees 8.30am on a Sunday morning! There was a good reason, to be fair, with my potential wedding photographer to be met. 

He’s a great guy with an over-flowing enthusiasm for what he does, so a nice way to spend an hour and a couple of cups of coffee. Fingers crossed, that’s the next thing to tick off the list! 

  
I also discovered Apple Music today, by starting my free trial. I have my iPhone 6 back, by the way, and it has made me very happy, especially as it had managed to back-up all of my engagement-moon photos. Anyway, I haven’t heard great reviews about it, but I’ve been listening to a couple of the “Activity” playlists and have been pleasantly surprised. It basically allows you to pick out a playlist from a group designed to fit the mood of whatever activity you’re planning to get into. It won’t play your favourites, but it will give you some new or retro surprises.

  
I had to do some revising for my Financial Services exams earlier so I picked on one of their “studying” playlists. After finishing my Blogilates calendar workout, I decided I should add in some extra cardio because today’s group of workouts only gave you 8 minutes or cardio. I picked out a track from one of the working out lists and filled it up with 6 minutes of star jumps, bum kicks, skipping, boxing, knees up and jumping twists. Much better. 

  
Next, I set about getting a chicken in the oven to roast. I won’t share the recipe, as it was a fairly basic one and I think I’ve probably roast- chickened you all out a bit. Basically, I rubbed grated garlic and ginger into some butter with parsley and seasoning and rubbed it under the skin, stuffed with a lemon and roasted with a clementine, an onion, more garlic and a sprig of rosemary.

  
I picked out the Subday brunch playlist under the cooking section and enjoyed some sing-along classics from Celine, Tina and James Taylor. Excellent times. 

Anyways, I’m off to prepare some of my shopping for the freezer, cook supper and make banana bread. Playlist time! 

For anyone dreading the new work week, I’ll leave you with some excellent words from Freddie (Sunday meme) and wish you a very happy September (for Tuesday).

  

Mocha Cake 

It was my Dad’s birthday recently and I wanted to make him a birthday cake that was manly enough to qualify for a man’s birthday treat. I spent 3 nights researching exactly the right flavour combination and the best recipes to provide what I was looking for.  I’ve always thought there was something brilliant about a great, moist flavoured cake with real frosting.  This was the result – not too sweet, not too rich, decorated with chocolate shavings and pecans. 

  
For the sponge, you will need:

225g butter, left out at room temperature to soften but not melt

225g golden caster sugar

4 large eggs

200ml espresso or strongly brewed coffee, cooled

4 tsp cocoa powder

225g self-raising flour 

  
For the chocolate buttercream, you will need:

150g good quality 70% cocoa chocolate 

75g salted butter, again softened

150g icing sugar 

1 large egg yolk

  
1. Brew the coffee. Ideally you want enough shots of espresso to measure 200ml. Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Grease and line two sandwich cake pans. 

2. Measure out the butter and cream until fluffy, ideally with a hand-held electric mixer.

2. Add in the sugar, and mix again, getting in as much air as you can. 

3. Add the eggs in, one by one, mixing after each addition. Once they’ve all been added, whip up until airy and moussey. Add in the coffee and mix again. 

4. Fold in the cocoa powder and flour until just mixed in. 

  
5. Split the mixture between the cake pans. I like to weigh it as I go along to make sure they are relatively even. 

6. Put in the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little and then turn out. 

7. While the sponges are baking and cooling (bring mindful of time in the oven) start working on the chocolate buttercream. The first step is to break up the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. The saucepan should be slightly smaller than the rim of the bowl, the right size to keep it suspended over the water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, or you’ll risk burning the chocolate. Stir occasionally until it has all melted then take off the heat and allow to cool, stirring every now and then.

8. In the mean time, weigh out the butter and whiz up with the electric beaters (now clean!) until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and beat once more, before combining the cooked melted chocolate and egg yolk.

 
9. Peel the paper off of the sponges then place one on a cake board or plate, domed top facing down. Use about 1/3 of the buttercream to cover the top of the sponge, spread evenly then top with the second sponge.

 
10. Spread the remaining buttercream evenly over the top and sides of the cake, making sure there are no spaces where the sponge can be seen. 

  

11. Top with chocolate shavings and evenly spaced pecan halves, or your preferred decoration. Chocolate-covered coffee beans would work well. 

  

Serve or give away – perfect with a nice cup of tea or coffee.   

Chilli Con Dos Carnes

I’ve made basic Chilli Con Carne more times than I can remember. But I was reading Nigella’s Kitchen the other day and thought that her version, which features cocoa powder and chorizo, might be worth a try, especially as I had chorizo in the fridge. This recipe, therefore, combines elements of her recipe and my own (although I’m not convinced the cocoa powder added much!)

I just ate mine with some home-made guacamole and baked tortilla chips with a light sprinkling of Gruyère over the top while it was still hot from the pot. It’s warming, it’s filing and it’s (mostly) full of goodness. And let’s face it, there’s not much better than a pot of chilli bubbling on the stove on a Sunday afternoon!

  
You will need: 

110g approx. of cooking chorizo

500g beef mince (or lean steak mince if you can get it)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp mild chilli powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped 

1 knob of fresh ginger, grated

Salt and pepper 

1tbsp tomato purée 

1 normal tin of chopped tomatoes (400g approx.)

1/2 tomato tin of hot water swirled around to catch the remnants (full can of not using the coffee)

1 good splash Worcestershire sauce

1 can kidney beans 

1 carrot

1 onion

1 pepper 

1/2 cup brewed coffee (optional)

Beef stock (optional) – I used 1 Knorr Stock Pot

  
1. Slice the onion, carrot and pepper however you like and add to a casserole dish which has been preheating on the job with a splash of oil in it and cook until starting to soften. 

2. Slice the chorizo into thick disks, then quarter the disks. Add a new pan on a low heat and cook on both sides until starting to brown, and until you see the fat starts to render out. You can, of course, cook this in the main casserole dish if you’d like; I just prefer it this way so you can control how much fat ends up in the final Chilli. 

3. Add the grated garlic and ginger, stir, then add the tomato purée, turning down the heat to avoid the garlic burning and to help the tomato purée to render out into sweetness. Then add the chorizo to the vegetables, and however much fat you wish to include. I used quite a hot chorizo so I got rid of all of the rendered fat, leaving a residue in the pan for browning the mince. 

  

4. How you continue at this point is up to you, but for me, this was dictated by the size of my casserole dish!  You want to gently brown the mince, not boil it, so if you don’t have alot of space in the casserole (or large saucepan), I would advice browning the mince in the pan you used for the chorizo. Add the mince to the pan in batches, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan, occasionally flipping and stirring it, until it had sealed all over. Sprinkle the mince with the cocoa, dried herbs and dried spices. 

5. Add the mince to the casserole, stir into the vegetables and add the tomatoes, water, stock, coffee and Worcestershire sauce. Give it all a good stir and allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 40 minutes, but 1 or 2 hours would be best, stirring occasionally. If it starts to get dry, add in some more water or coffee. 

 
6. When you think you’re about half an hour or so from the finish, strain the kidney beans and add them to the Chilli. I like to rinse them out as well, as they seem to accumulate a purple goo in the tin which perturbs me a little!

7. Continue to simmer until you’re happy with it, adding any other seasonings you feel are needed to taste.  Serve with rice, tortilla chips, salad, tacos, whatever! The world is your kidney bean. It is fantastic with sweet potato wedges, with lashings of cheese, sour cream and guacamole. 

   

¡Buen provecho!