Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dark Chocolate Sauce with Shiraz

This is a very good sauce. Very good. Seriously good.

Now, I'm not sure on the exact amounts of stuff as I do a lot of "eye-balling" in the kitchen. But this'll give you a good start.

The idea is you want the sauce to still be pourable when it cools, but still be tasty and chocolaty.

Here's what you need:

2 cups of dark cooking chocolate (melts or pieces from a bar)
1/2 glass shiraz wine (and the other half for the cook)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 whipping cream *update* 1/2 CUP whipping cream, darned typos

What do you do?

This is easy. Chuck it all into a thick bottomed saucepan. Lowest heat possible. Stir or whisk it as the chocolate melts. As soon as the chocolate is melted and everything is stirred together, turn the heat off.

You can use it hot, or use it as cold.

This year for the Christmas morning brunch everyone had a dish of this chocolate sauce for use. Most just dipped the fresh strawberries in the sauce. I, of course, dipped pretty much everything in the sauce including rolled up shaved prosciutto. It was very tasty! I even dipped chocolate sea shells in the chocolate sauce, mmmmmmm. I even poured a bit into my champagne glass and then filled the glass with a vanilla and cream flavoured sparkling wine (from Nurioopta). Yummy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


More holiday recipes! Woo-hoo!

This is one I've made for the last 3 holiday feasts, but this year it'll be substituted with my peanut butter cheesecake with hot fudge topping.

So, like *what* does panforte mean? Hmmmm, let's see... "forte" means "strong", and "pan" means "pan", which could be Peter Pan. Ahhh, *peter* is slang for penis, so I guess this would be a penis that's strong? Like an erection?

No, no, I'm joking! If you like nuts and chocolate, then this is for YOU.

One Continental Panforte

What you kneed:

130 gms (a bit over 1/2 cup) macadamia nuts --note: I use cashews since they are a LOT cheaper here
130 gms chopped walnuts
130 gms slivered (not silvered) almonds
150 gms (2/3 cup) chopped, pitted, dates
180 gms (3/4 cup) sultanas --raisins are dried red grapes, sultanas are dried white grapes; you can use raisins if you like
250 gms (1 cup) cooking chocolate --you know, the kind for melting
60 gms (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut
125 gms (1/2 cup) flour
125 gms (still 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
125 gms (really! still 1/2 cup) icing sugar
60 gms (1/4 cup) butter
125 gms (gosh, still 1/2 cup) apricot jam
75 mls (1/3 cup) cherry brandy (leave a shot or two for the cook)

What you due:

Chuck all the nuts, fruits (sultana counts as a fruit here), coconut, flour, cocoa, and icing sugar in a bowl. Mix it all together.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. (If you don't have a double boiler, then here's a neat trick (came up with it myself): put the choc and butter in a metal bowl, place the bowl over the top of a pan of boiling water. Duh! One instant double boiler! You can paypal me whatever amount you'd like for that tip.) Add the apricot jam and cherry brandy to the melting mixture and stir well.

Once the double boiler stuff is melted, then add it to the bowl of dry stuff and mix thoroughly.

Grease (butter) and line* (wax paper or grease-proof paper) a deep cake dish (or pretty much anything that'll go in the oven) and bake for 30 mins in a 150 C (300 F) oven.

When you pull it out, it'll seem moist and sticky but will firm up upon cooling.

Once it's cooled (at least two hours), pop that baby out and slice it up! Oh, it'll keep for weeks if you so desire (yeah, right!).

*you really don't need to line the dish, once it's cooled, just float it in a sink of hot water for a minute and then it'll slide right out.

This sucker weighs over 3 and a half pounds! Chocolate, nuts, brandy, etc! Ahhhhh, I'm not responsible for any increased waistlines... You've been warned.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bananas Flambe'

These are so easy and so tasty! You just need to make sure you've got good, solid bananas. If your 'nanners have gone too ripe, then make banana jam instead.

But, if you've got fresh, solid 'nanners, then try this:

Bananas Flambe --Dingo Dave style

What you knead:

Some firm bananas, pealed, and halved lengthwise
At least a half cup of butter
Half a cup (or so) of raw sugar
A splash of high quality rum

Before I start with the "what you due" section, there's a few points I'd like to write about regarding the above stuff.

Bananas vs plantains... Hey, anyone know Don King's phone number? Sounds like a good fight to me.

For those of you knot (not) in the know, a plantain IS a banana; just larger and starchier. musa paradisica is the latin term for a plantain. Since a plantain is much starchier (I love that word: STARCHIER) than a standard banana --musa sapientia-- you have to make sure it's cooked longer than a banana. So if you are using plantains in this recipe, make sure you slice them thinly and cook them longer.

Trivia: You've all scene (seen) seens (scenes) of a jungle on the Telly (TV) where banana trees abound --Oh Puuuuuh-leeeeaaaassssseeee try to say that fast! But it may interest you to know (and then again, maybe not) to learn that a banana plant is botanically classified as an HERB. Gotta love them big herbs. Yo, Herb! Is that you dude?

Next topic: sugar... raw sugar is what used to be known as brown sugar yonks ago (a long time ago). Brown sugar now means ugly refined sugar with ultra-processed molasses added --YUCK! So... Raw Sugar Is Cool.

High Quality Rum: I don't think I need to talk about the fact that 151 from the Windies is best, eh?

Oh crap, almost forgot: what do you get when you heat butter and sugar in a saucepan? You get butterscotch (duh). Guess what? It orginates from the same area as Scotch! You know: Scotland. Traditional butterscotch is a hard candy-like treat; the mixture is allowed to cool, then it hardens, then you eat it. The wonderful butterscotch topping that you are all familiar with that is put upon your ice cream has lemon juice and cream added to it while cooking the mix in a double boiler. Let me know if you want to know how to make your own, no worries.

Ok, back to the recipe:

What you due

Melt the butter and sugar in a fry pan. When it's melted, put the bananas in. Turn them after a few mins so that they are browned on both sides (hey, it's just sugar). Then toss in the splash of 151 dark rum (reserving enough for the cook), then light it (if you have a gas cooker you don't need to light it, it should light itself).

When the flames die down (die flames, DIE), serve it up over vanilla ice cream, making sure you pour lots of the flambe'ed butterscotch topping over it.


BTW, I have gathered all the fixin's for this year's Holiday Feast. Well, except the fresh stuff, I'll be getting that daily. Anywho, starting Monday the Twenty-Oneth I'll start posting holiday recipes complete with pictures. I'll even give you detailed details on how to make WP's infamous Charlotte Rouse.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spicy Roasted Almonds

Yes, it's that time of the year when everyone roasts nuts. Anyone remember the old joke about Chet's nuts? This post has nothing to do with Chet's nuts.

These almonds are spicy. If you don't like spicy, then just halve (or quarter) some of the seasonings.

Now, I've done this for a small amount of almonds (the cockatoos ate the rest before I got to the trees) so just double or ten-tuple everything if you've got a lot of almonds.

What you need:

1/2 cup of shelled almonds (with the skin on) --that's 50 grams or about 2 ounces.
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chilli flakes
1 or 2 tbsp crushed garlic

What you do:

Add everything except the garlic to a steel saucepan or wok. Heat on low heat for 5 or 6 minutes (the almonds will have just started to plump up). Stir often and keep them nuts moving.

After 5 or six minutes, add the crushed garlic. Stir together. You can turn the heat off one or two minutes after adding the garlic. Keep it moving cus you don't want anything to burn.

Turn the whole mess onto a plate and let it cool.

Last thing... ummmmm, eat them! With a beer! While watching sports!

BTW, these are some of the most tasty treats to me.