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Thursday 17 July 2014

El desayuno: Tostada con tomate

OK, OK, I think we have established in the past that I am not a Spanish speaker, but after my recent trip to Malaga I have been inspired to try and recreate the super sensational breakfast I ate there every single day. And it sounds better in the original language - 'tomato toasts' doesn't really make me feel the least bit hungry, and I doubt anybody is really going to search for that on Google either.

(Just saying.)

Here's the deal: warm toasted bread, drizzled with peppery olive oil and rubbed with juicy, red, sun-sweet tomato. It's so much more than it sounds, and I happen to think it sounds pretty good actually. The way it's served at Dulces Dreams, the place I stayed in (and recommend to all), the tomato comes pulped in a little dish, along with bread, oil and salt, so that's how I have been making it at home too. To be honest, you could probably just rub a cut tomato into the toast and it would be less of a production, but some of us live for the drama, so don't hate me for adding an extra step.

I do think that good extra virgin olive oil is essential. It needs to be peppery and make your mouth tingle, otherwise it's just... well, oil. I've been tinkering with the new Gran Cru range from Filippo Berio, and think their Toscano is just perfect here. I know it's Italian, and this is a Spanish recipe, but let's be honest: who's going to know when it's on the bread and tomato? Toscano has pep, a lovely grassy colour and a nice fragrance too. A little sprinkle of sea salt on the top and you have a seriously delicious breakfast.

Unspoilt. Unadulterated.

The Gran Cru range also has oils from Sicily and Puglia, the different regions (goodness me, the temptation to use the word 'terroirs' runs high!) each offering something different in terms of flavour and colour. I recommend checking them out if you see them in your supermarket; the quality is really high, and good oil makes all the difference in your cooking.

Tostada con tomate

You will need:

(Per person)

1 white crusty bread roll
2 good sized ripe tomatoes
good extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

  1. Split the roll in half and toast the inside. I used my griddle, but the toaster would work as well. Obviously.
  2. While that's happening, either just slice the tomatoes to rub onto the toast later, or grate them using a box grater. 
  3. To serve, drizzle the toast generously with oil; top with tomato and sprinkle with salt. Eat. Repeat.

Delicious Delicious Delicious received a sample of oils from the Filippo Berio Gran Cru range.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Chocolate Cream Cake

 More deliciousness on Instagram.

There are times, despite the sunshine and good weather, that you just feel exhausted, grouchy and in need of the sort of food you never really need at all. I'm talking toasted cheese sandwiches,burgers and big slices of chocolate cake.

Like this one.

In the long-running battle of cake vs. frosting, I have always been, and remain, firmly entrenched behind the lines of cake. It's not that I hate icing, it's just that cake is better. Which is why this chocolatey little beast is exactly what I need a slice of right now. But after my grilled cheese. OK?

There's no typo with this recipe by the way: there is not meant to be any butter in it. The whipped cream acts as the shortening, and quite honestly, has enough butterfat in it (we're talking a whole pot's worth of cream here) that the cake tastes as if it were actually made by dairy cows themselves.

Which doesn't sound delicious, but trust me, this is.

You can also bake it in regular sandwich tins; they'll take about twenty minutes in the oven.

If you feel the need for more chocolate after enjoying this, try this flourless chocolate cake or even these fondants flavoured with orange. Maybe add cherries (this one also has no butter - score!).

Chocolate Cream Cake

You will need:

150g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
300ml double cream
225g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and flour a 25cm bundt tin.
  2. Using a whisk, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whip the cream until starting to form stiff peaks; then add the eggs and sugar and beat until airy and combined. 
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients, pour into the prepared tin and bake for around 30 minutes, or until well risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  5. Cool for ten minutes in the tin, and invert on to a wire wrack to finish cooling.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Malted Banana Ice-Cream

As I sit here, on standby (FML, as the youngsters seem to be saying these days), I realise that it is the first of the month.

Will July be when I start blogging with the increased frequency that I used to? Will I go back to being the kind of nice, friendly blogger who comments on others' posts and engages in conversations on Twitter and Facebook? Well, we can hope. There are going to be big changes coming up anyway, so you never know!

I am freshly back from holiday, and suffering from the associated exhaustion that such a state entails. Am I the only one who thinks we should be entitled to a post-holiday holiday to get over the first? Maybe it's my age (I turned 32 last week).

I spent a week in Malaga, visiting a former flyer friend who just opened a hotel in the old town there. In actual fact, he was in Ibiza for most of the time we were in town, but nonetheless, I took the opportunity to eat as many local treats as one possibly can without the help of a guide (I manage that rather well!) and am going to try to rustle up some of them for these very pages.

One of my favourite finds was a local heladeria, which had such wonderful ice-cream I can hardly bear thinking about it. Thus, I have been in full chilled dessert making mode since coming back home. I have turned out fairly decent strawberry gelato, but the way I do it uses raw eggs and I know what you lot are like about raw eggs in food, having received a raft of emails about leaving them out when I shared my Alphonso mango tiramisu recipe years ago. So I am giving you an egg free malted banana version (which is inspired by a dessert let down I had recently in Bill's - does anyone ever come away from there feeling satisfied? I find it all style and no substance). You don't need an ice-cream maker: this is no churn. Hurrah.


Malted Banana Ice-Cream

You will need:

1 tin of condensed milk (397g)
300ml double cream
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 tbsp Horlicks, or other malted milk powder
2 tbsp vodka (optional, but keeps texture smooth during long storage in freezer)
  1. Whisk everything together until thick and airily creamy. Freeze. That's it.
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