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Friday Food: Totally Chocolate Choc Chip Cookies

These are good. They are very good, so I am told. I have made three batches recently and I made this batch for the doctors and nurses at the Vet.

They are just so easy to make and quick too. No messing about, waiting for things to cool or whatever. I used Dutch cocoa and I think it makes a difference to their chocolatiness. There is almost 2 packets of choc chips, so these are definitely a special occasion biscuit/cookie.

It makes 12, but you could make 24 and wing the cooking time. I used my good ice-cream scoop and broke it, so I'd recommend dipping your scoop into boiling water for each biscuit you scoop out. It is actually 1/4 cup so you could use that to measure as well.

I have it on good authority that one is definitely enough!!!

 

Totally Chocolate Choc Chip Cookies    makes 12 giant biscuits

  • 125g good dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids is good
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g good cocoa powder
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 large egg, cold from the fridge (I know, it goes against all reason)
  • 350g choc chips, any combination you like

Preheat the oven to 170*C and grease and line two baking trays.

The chocolate
Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave, or in a bowl over some simmering water. Don't melt it all the way and then stir to dissolve the last pieces. Leave to cool slightly as you do the next step-

Creaming
Which is to cream the butter and sugar till pale, and then add the vanilla extract and the egg.

Adding the chocolate
Finally spoon in the chocolate with the beater on low and then a burst of high to make sure it is all combined.

Dry ingredients
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, add the choc chips and mix to coat with flour. I think this stops them all sinking to the bottom, not sure if it does, but I believe it!!

Mix it all up
Add the chocolate batter and mix until all combined.

Making baking
Dip the ice-cream scoop into the boiling water (be careful) and scoop out 12 biscuits onto the trays, 6 on each. Leave them dome shaped, as they will flatten when they cook.

Leave room between them, as they will spread. Bake for 18 minutes. I turned and swapped the trays half way through and then I checked at about 15 minutes because chocolate will burn easily.

Cool on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a rack. Store in an airtight container.

Eat making Nigella 'Mmmmm' noises!!!

One giant biscuit


Since Shoe Been Gone, All That's Left Is A Band Of Gold.

Peri is feeling very well. She can extricate herself from the Cloud Collar with contortions worthy of Houdini, but I foiled her today when I tightened her collar quite a lot. Maybe she has lost weight???

Every day she is a little bit better, so much so that I have had to shut us in the dining room and lounge to make Peri rest. Gilly is just as bad: they run and play Who can get the cup??

Miss Peri recuperating.
On our walk today I let Peri off her lead to trot along with Gilly. We are actually on our way back to the car, I was walking backwards and I had biscuits in my pocket so I was worth following.

Peri and Gilly trot along
MrsSingapore, MrsDrWho's sister, discovered Coles Online and so Peri received a wondrous Get Well gift the other night!!! She can't quite believe it. Gilly can. If they share tiny foil tray every second day, Peri's present will last for four months!!!

Food

MrsDrWho had an excellent idea and I liked it a lot. I shall be reviewing the food from Recipes to Riches every week. For those not in the know the show is sponsored by Woolworths (one of the big two monopoly of supermarkets in Australia) and each week three people, who have their own special family recipes, compete to have their food on the shelf in Woolies, or as I still call it Roelf Vos. The show is on Tuesday and you can buy the product on Wednesday. I am not sure if I like the show yet, but as it gives me something to taste and talk about, it is worth its weight in frilly knickers.

Croq box

This week's winner was Connie and her croquettes. 60% of the public they asked didn't know what a croquette was. These are rice and potato, with parmesan and bacon, and found in the freezer section. One packet costs $5-99.

There are ten in a pack and a serve is ONE croquette. They bake in twelve minutes, which is quite quick. I was disappointed to see that they had other additives and E numbers that were not in the original recipe.

Croqs
I think they are OK. It is a bit weird having rice and potato. They are quite soft and not really crispy. I prefer crispy.  The cheese and bacon flavour is salty, but I don't eat a lot of salt ordinary.

Would I buy them again?? No. I'd rather make my own, but they would be good in a snack emergency. For some reason I can't photograph these. I even cooked the other five and tried again. I'm really tired, my brain isn't working properly. Looking after an invalid can be stressful.

Croqs cooked
There has been more sock knitting. I've branched out into some red possum for MrsValley. I'm using the modified Monkey lace pattern from here, and so I have called them City Park Socks: we have monkeys in our park. On the left is the as yet unnamed sock, and on the right the Hand-eye Co-ordination second sock that just needs the toes to be grafted.

All my socks
I have new shoes, well technically I have a new shoe because one is in the car or in a bag in the bedroom. They are Homyped shoes. They are leather and fabric which I have already made grubby with Labrador grime. I shall have to put these on outside the gate and take them off before I come in again. They are lovely, very stylish and so comfortable. Big thanks to my sister!!!!

Shoes that are green

My kind neighbours fixed my falling down fence. I like to think of it as retro, or vintage, maybe shabby chic!! Now it won't fall over and no Labradors can visit next door. It did mean that I actually met my next to next door neighbours properly, which was exceedingly nice.

Fence
Gilly does not like the iPad. I pay it too much attention. The night before last while I was reclining in bed saving a Princess she gently tapped the iPad cover with her paw or nose and it fell straight onto my top  lip with the full force of gravity. Ouch. My lip was split and bleeding. I held ice in a flannel on it for about an hour. The swelling has gone down and now it only hurts when I smile, or eat something salty. How do people ever be in a fight?? I am such a sooky lala that I would be crying Pax at the first opportunity.

Gilly loves muddy puddles as you can see. Luckily there were enough deep, clean puddles so that she washed all the mud off.

Gilly and the mud
I've joined Instagram but I don't know how to work it and I'm not sure I understand it either. I'm a Luddite. In spite of help.

The weather is heating up, it's going to be 20*C this weekend which prompted me to buy the ball of wool I needed to finish Petrea. Or try to.

Tomorrow Peri has her stitches out and Gilly is lucky enough to have her claws clipped. Yay!! Everyone is going to the vet.

Oh and I am listening to the Opposition Assistant Treasurer on PM and is sounds to me like he's really The Terminator!!! Click through and just listen with your eyes closed for a few seconds!!!

Speaking of voting, here's a site that lets you organise your Below The Line voting before you go to the electoral booth. You can print it out and take it with you so you remember the order. I love voting below the line so I can choose exactly who goes last. It pleases me no end. NB You can't use the print out as a voting form.


I Love You, A Bushel And A Check (Up)

Thank you for all the lovely comments and emails about Peri. Everyone is so kind and I am glad to say that she is feeling so much better today. It is so lovely that friends are concerned about Peri and about me.

Peri went to see Doctor Tm at the Vet this morning. Her first check up went very well. He was surprised, again, at how healthy she is for a Labrador who is almost twelve. There was no fluid collecting inside her wounds and she is well on the way to recovery. So well, that she is now allowed to go for a walk on a lead!!

Yesterday she disappeared while I was having my cup of tea at breakfast and I found her at the top of the stairs in the sun. She played with a plastic cup and ate her food with gusto. She even hopped up on her favourite table and bathed in the sun.

Happy Peri and Gilly kisses
Gilly checked up on her and gave her kisses and cleaned her eyes.

Labrador kisses
Doctor Tim started to ask if she was eating, and then realised he was talking about a Labrador and of course she was.

Gilly was at home howling and sulking so much that she didn't even eat her juicy meaty bone. It was still untouched when I came inside. She was beside herself with joy when I grabbed her collar and lead and she raced to the back gate.

Peri walks on a lead
Peri had a lovely walk and Gilly ran back and forth between Peri and me and everything she could sniff!!

Gilly is so happy
I haven't been sleeping soundly, as every time a Labrador shifts on the end of the bed I wake up to check Peri isn't licking her stitches. I'm drinking double strength peppermint tea because I'm feeling a little woozy in the stomach, which is only to be expected!!

I felt the need for enchiladas today and so I used this recipe and made guacamole too, from scratch. I also baked a batch of scones and topped them with Ashgrove cream and my mum's raspberry jam.

Foodily
I may have bought a new Amy Herzog cardigan pattern. It is called Dalriada and is 5ply and couldn't be more perfect. Here is the photo from The Ravelry. Click through to see all the details.

Cardis
The second pattern is Prescott, and I have already bought four skeins of Cascade sock wool in Christmas Green from Purlwise. It arrived really quickly and the first skein wound up like a dream. I also have spot on tension!!! I took the photo with my iPad and uplaoded it to The Ravelry so it isn't the greatest detail. I love the colour and ordered enough to make long sleeves.

Prescott tension square
In the last few weeks four bloggers I read have decided to stop blogging, for now at least: two knitting and two sewing blogs. It makes me sad as I shan't keep up with them on The Facebook or Twitter. It makes me wonder about why I am still happily blogging after almost nine years. Wow, that's a long time. I think I have lots of things to post about: Labradors, friends, outings, knitting, sewing, embroidery, cooking, the weather just to name a few topics. When I left work I really missed contact with other people, especially my children at school. It was revelation to find other people on the internet who were interested in the same things I was, but perhaps their blogs were dedicated to just one thing, like sewing or knitting?

I think that even if no-one ever left a comment, I would still post to my blog, it is a record of my life for three-quarters of the time I have been ill and not at work. I can look back at the good times and bad. I can find that recipe I want to bake or the photo of Harki, or Vundy or Tori. I can search the books I've read and the things I've knitted and sewn. There are times when I don't blog very much and other times when I have so many things to write about I can't type fast enough.

Speaking of the weather, which I frequently am, we are expecting 17*C on Sunday, a veritable heatwave!! I may need to wear a dress.

Here are The Labradors, Rafa and two new dogs we met last week. Peri has her happy hackles up. Gilly and Rafa are in the middle of a chasing game.

Five dogs
More peppermint tea I think, and then to bed.


Friday Food: Baked Cheesecake

I took this cheesecake to The Vet when I went to peek at Peri at 2-15 ish. It's Jamie Oliver's recipe and he makes a cherry compote. I made a raspberry one which is basically the same. I think you could use stone fruit or berries. The compote can have a swig of alcohol, but I used lemon juice. I baked the cheesecake in a disposable rectangular tray lined with baking paper, so the doctors and nurses could throw it out and not have to worry about my plate or tin.

I think the main thing you can do to have a successful cheesecake is have the Philly cheese quite soft. I gently microwaved mine as room temperature would have been far too cold. I test it is soft enough by poking my finger into it, as you will see in the pictures anon. The cream cheese should be full fat, skinny just won't work and cheesecake is a sometimes food.

I also read somewhere that adding a tablespoon or two of almost boiling water to the crushed biscuits and butter will make the base less crumbly and easier to cut. I don't know if it is true or not, but I do it all the time now. This base is briefly bakes, but you could just as easily pop it in the freezer for ten minutes instead.

This is a classic cheesecake, it's rich and firm, and I hope the doctors and nurses enjoyed it.

 

Classic Baked Cheesecake   serves 12-ish

  • 250g Granita biscuits
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 tbspn almost boiling water
  • 900g softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbspn cornflour
  • 2 eggs
  • 115ml thickened cream
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract or a pod
  • zest of a large orange or lemon

For the compote

  • 400g raspberries (frozen is fine) or cherries, stoned
  • 2-3 tbspn caster sugar
  • swig of port/whisky or squeeze of lemon/orange juice

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a 24cm spring-form tin. I used a standard rectangular BBQ tray.

Biscuit base
Granita are excellent for crushing, I crushed them with the bottom of a bottle in batches in ziplock bags. Other people might use a food processor!! Pour in the butter and water and mix to combine.

Bake the base
Press into the tin or tray and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake for 10 minutes and cool slightly.

Philly
Check the Philly cream cheese is soft, and put it into a small mixing bowl with the caster sugar and cornflour. Beat slowly with a mixer at first, and then on medium to high speed until is is smooth and there are no lumps, or undissolved sugar.

Egg cream lemon vanilla
With the speed barely on low add the eggs one at a time, pour in the cream and finally add the vanilla and zest. Whip on high briefly. Always remember to use a spoon and mix well to check there isn't a hidden lump of cream cheese in the bottom of the bowl.

Base and cheesecake
Pour over the coooled base and even out. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning the tin half way through. The recipe says to turn the oven up to 200*C, but when I did this I felt the cheesecake cooked too quickly. Maybe it is because I have a fan-forced oven??

Cooked cheesecake
Cool at room temperature and then serve straight away, or refrigerate so it is nice and cold.

To make the compote, put the fruit, sugar and a splash of water into a small saucpan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Keep an eye out just in case it needs some extra water. I stirred my raspberries 3 or 4 times. Add the alcohol or juice and stir well. Serve warm, at room temperature or icy cold.

Raspberry compote

Dust it with icing sugar, and you only need a small portion to be cheesecaked to the brim!!!

Cheesecake


Peri Tales

Peri is home after her operation.

Warning: there are pictures of her wounds.

She was looked after extremely well by all the doctors and nurses, and Doctor Tim removed her lumps. The lump on her leg turned out to be a tumour, and not just a fatty lump. When I asked Doctor Tim if that meant I should start looking for a new puppy, he laughed and said no. They have sent the tumour off to be analysed, but even if it is cancer, it is most likely to be low grade. It came out in one piece, but some cells could still be left behind. Peri is 12-ish already and may grow another lump in the same spot, but maybe not before she is Quite Old anyway. As with Harki, we won't be amputating anyone's legs any time soon.

MrsDrWho found a much better alternative to a cone or bucket: it's a Kong CloudCollar. It cost about $30 and I let Gilly wear it first the day before the operation. This ensured that Peri would want to try it out too. Gilly is giving Peri a kiss. They both think it is a fun game to play: wear the collar!!!

Peri in a ring gilly kisses her
Here we are at the vet.

Before the op
And here's what Gilly did while Peri was away: she watched the house, carefully, and waited outside the chemist while I picked up my prescriptions.

What Gilly did next
At two o'clock I rang the vet and then at 2-15 I went in and they let me pat Peri in Recovery. She was kind of asleep, still dopey and howling like a wolf. She didn't really know I was there.

When we came home at five o'clock my very kind next door neighbours helped me put Peri on an old quilt and we carried her down all the stairs. She had roast chicken for tea and a big drink of water. Peri then proceeded to roam about aimlessly, but in a determined fashion, until 10-19pm, when she finally fell asleep.

Peri camping in the lounge room
We were all camping in the lounge room, but she insisted on going to proper bed at 2-30am. Gilly thought is was all rather fun, jolly hockey sticks, rah, rah, rah!! (The D-Generation who thought Jane Austen was a car)

Gilly camping in the ring
This morning Peri was able to put a little weight on her leg, she ate roast chicken again and then had a nice sleep in the afternoon sun.

Peri asleep in the sun

We have to go back to the vet for a check up on Friday and then it's stitches out the following Friday. I was allowed to use my judgement with the painkillers and so I gave her one this morning instead of tonight.

Gilly has been such a good girl, very gentle and even though she's been excited, she has been extra kind to Peri.

Meanwhile, I have finished my Green Loop socks. They are the Knitty pattern Froot Loops. Almost. Ta da!!!

Green loops 2013
MrsDrWho, WeeJock-and-Bessie's Mum and I had breakfast out. MrsDrWho recommended the Ricotta hotcakes. They were so delicious: blueberry ricotta hotcakes poached pear and rhubarb, marscarpone and seeds. She and I could have eaten it twice, except we actually couldn't.

Breakfast out
My iPad has been wonderful these last few days. I can lie in bed and look at The Internet and check emails. I can take photos and watch TV!! It has made my life a little bit easier as I was all of a dither yesterday. I did not collapse in a heap or go to bed and cry as I would have done last year.

Gilly and I baked a cheesecake for the Vet so I have my Friday Food; ready to go.

The weather is cooling down, so I am going to try and persuade Peri to come inside and we might all have a nap in bed. I am rather too old for camping in the lounge room. It is a big relief for Gilly and me that Peri is home and that she is starting to feel better. I suspect my biggest problem will be keeping her quiet and still while she convalescing!!!


Friday Food: Apple Pastries

I used to make these years ago, and suddenly last Sunday when I wanted to make something apple-y to take to MrsDrWho's for dessert, I remembered these. I had everything except for some Granny Smith apples, so I just had to drive to the deli at the corner and I was ready.

You could use apricots, peaches or plums, maybe pears too.

That's it really. Serve dusted with icing sugar and cream, ice-cream, custard, or any combination of the three.

 

Apple Pastries     serves 4 (2 each)

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, or any green cooking apple
  • 2 tspn lemon juice
  • 2 tbspn apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 tbsn plain flour
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 tbspn butter
  • egg or milk for glazing

NB A tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons.

Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a tray with baking paper.

Peel, slice and finely dice the apples. Place in a bowl with the lemon juice and apricots jam and mix well.

Apple, lemon juice, jam

Rub the butter into the almond meal, cinnamon and plain flour and then add to the the apples. Combine very well.

Flour, meal and butter, cinnamon
Cut each sheet into quarters, making eight squares in all. Spoon some of the apple mixture down the centre leaving a gap at the top and bottom: maybe a tablespoon and a half??

Pastry and apple
Now make cuts down each side as shown in the pictures. Cut from the apple, outwards to the edge. I made a cut at halfway, then quarters and then eighths. The recipe calls for 8 cuts but I made 7 because it was easier.

Carrotapple
Now the apple miraculously turns into carrot, because the photos I took (or imagined I took) were not on my camera. I made a re-creation with Kiss Biscuit dough and carrot. Fold the top and bottom strips around the sides apple, joining them if you can and encasing the apple. Then make a lattice by folding alternate strips across the apple until it is all covered. Repeat this with all the squares.

Brush with egg or milk and then place on the tray.

Tray full of pastries
Bake for 12-18 minutes, depending on your oven. The pastries should be golden on top, and underneath. I like a little extra colour on my pastries.

Serve hot, warm or cold. They taste fine any way.

Apple pastries


Beauty Is In The i Of The Beholder

Well, I had such a lovely time with my mum and aunt, but the two of them could outwalk, outlast, outplay me. We ate out, we ate in, we had High Tea for lunch, we shopped and we went to the Harvest market. We talked and had cups of tea. We found some red and white silk which I can hem and make into a scarf for my mum. Red is not 'in' this year right now.

I have no pictures, though I did take up the sleeves on my mum's tops.

Sewing

I have since been doing quite a lot of sleeping, walking The Labradors, and sleeping. I did go out for tea with MrsMauritius and Bella'sMum. After twenty-four years we still catch up semi-regularly and chat as if we were teaching together at school only yesterday.

I've baked more TimTam brownies, a controversial cake, special chocolate biscuits, apple pastries from days of yore and made coconut ice.

Peri has been for her pro-op check up at the vet. We saw Dr Marion who had a good look at both her lumps. Peri is going to hospital next Tuesday and I have made sure I have no appointments so that I can stay home and she doesn't have to wear a bucket/cone on her head. Peri was very excited to be at the vet and she met another Labrador called Abby.

Peri preop vet Peri preop vet 1
Poor Lorelai Gilmore was left home alone, locked inside so her piteous howling didn't disturb the neighbours. I left her with a carrot and a treat, but she pouted the whole time we were away and would only eat them when we came home. She has her unhappy ears on.

Gilly was left at home alone
Our newest Leukaemia Support Group nurse has left to have a baby and so I sewed some bibs for her. It's a nice easy pattern and they are reversible. I even had success with the hammer on snaps the first time. We have our Lovely Nurse back again. She has a beautiful Labrador called Charlie.

BibsThere has been so much rain in the last week, that there was a flood at the bottom of the hill. There's a video here. We've had 90mm, almost 4 inches, in the last week. Lots of thunder and lightning storms and flood warnings. The dam is overflowing right to the top curvy part.

Dam that's high

I am so spoiled and so lucky: some of my friends, together, bought me an iPad. When MrsDrWho gave it to me, I cried and she cried. My friends and family spoil me, I am very lucky to be loved so much. I have an ABC app so I can listen to the usual radio programmes when the cricket and football are on. And I ask Siri about the weather quite often. I think I need a sewing organisation app and a knitting app too, to help count rows and organise patterns. Peri and Gilly are not so sure it is a good thing, as I pay attention to the iPad to their detriment they feel.

Ipad
And Ducks Flying Up The Wall magnets!!!!

Ducks flying up the wall
Meanwhile I am eye-sad as I trod on my inside glasses. I knocked them off the ironing board one evening and they are camouflaged on the dark floor boards. While I was fending off Labradors I managed to tread right on my glasses, scratch the lenses and break off both the arms. Good thing I was thinking of buying a new pair. I have stuck them together with sticky tape to be going on with. Oh dear.

Eye sad
MrsDrWho says there should be at least a four hour gap between waking up from a nap and going to sleep at night. The Labradors woke me up at 5-30pm, so it's just about the perfect time to go to sleep now. maybe a nice cup of Sleep Tight tea and a hotwater bottle, oh and a treat for Peri and Gilly.


The Ballad of Bilby Baggins

August is Dental Month for dogs and cats. There are free check ups at our Vet and so Peri and Gilly went along. All the way there in the car, in the waiting room, in the surgery and all the way home, Peri and Gilly made noises of excitement. When I tied Gilly's lead to the table so Peri could be examined first, she pulled it half way across the room. Let's just say the excitement level was 11. Here's Peri being alert and ready to go in, and then Gilly mid gum check.

Going to the dentist
Both Labradors scored a tick in the top box, and there were special treats and lots of pats. Then, the pièce de résistance : a new food bowl. And Gilly has now graduated from the slow-me-down dish with bumps to a Big Girl Bowl. Yay for Gilly. She's feeling very proud.

Gilly has a big girl bowl
I've knitted a hat for Mr Reno. I usually knit him a hat for his birthday or Christmas. It's This Helm's Deep (Helm by Stephen West) It has great short row garter ear flaps and cables and bits and bobs. It's not centred. I knew this and vacillated between 'fixing' the pattern to centre it, or following the pattern as written. I chose the latter. I only mis-cabled three or four times, because I was knitting and watching Deep Space 9. I am up to Season 3 now. Luckily I can fix a cable: I drop the stitches of the cable until I come to the wrong cross, pick them up and make the correct cable. Then I pick up the stitches and Bob's your uncle!!!

Fixing my cable
And here's the hat. It needs a wash and then blocking to make the cables 'pop'. I had a test run wearing it in the house and it does keep your ears warm. If I knitted it again I would change the type of Wrap & Turn. The ordinary one in the pattern leaves a hole. I would prefer it to be whole, not hole.

This Helm's Deep 2013
I had lunch and then some shopping with Auntie Dutch. She gave me the cutest Bilby brooch. I love the gifts The Dutches give me. I would never choose them myself, but somehow they are always perfect for me. I love the sticky tape too. I wore my brooch all day.

Bilby brooch
I'm also the owner of a TARDIS knitting needle measure-er. I bought it from Spun Out, but they're out of stock now. The new Doctor Who has been announced and it is Peter Capaldi. I know him from Local hero the film, Chandler and Co, Torchwood and Doctor Who and many other shows. He is a good actor and will make a good Doctor. I think I am more than ready for a Doctor who does not have his female Companion falling in love with him. He's my eleventh Doctor, so I am quite used to the regenerations now.

TARDIS needle measure
And here's the latest quilt: Jelly On My Head. It's completed, backed, labelled and gifted as an early Christmas present. Didn't manage to quite get a decent picture so I've cobbled two together.

Jelly on my head

Speaking of Christmas, look what I spotted in Spotlight yesterday. I'm not making any kind of positive or negative comment, it's just a photo statement.

Haha christmas
We've had quite a lot of rain, 22ml or almost an inch, the other night. We've been like Camelot, where the rain may never fall till after sundown. The dam has been slightly overflowing, not much, but enough to make a very loud noise and impress me with its power.

Water over the dam
My mum and aunt are coming to visit for three days, so there may not be a Friday Food on Friday. We'll have to see, as we have lots of plans for delicious food, the Harvest market and shopping. I am going to be very tired by the end. Yesterday I was tired and went for a nap at 4pm. I woke up at 6-38 and had no idea whether it was still night-time, or I'd slept all the way through to the morning. I did think that The Labradors would have woken me up to feed them, so it wasn't the morning. I have been telling Peri and Gilly that Nanny is coming. I think they are getting ready for even more excitement!!!

Labradors are models really


Friday Food: One Bowl Chocolate Cake

This is the cake on the front of September's Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I took this cake to the Vet this afternoon when The Labradors had their Dental Check Up.

It is really important to have the correct size tin, mine was 24cm and the recipe says 20cm. My cake wasn't as high as the one on the cover.

It is a very easy recipe, you can use just one bowl if that bowl goes in the microwave. It cooked beautifully and I did sneak a little taste when I cut it open to cool and it was fudgy and rich. I used Dutch Cocoa, I think that helps. It doesn't give a fan-forced oven temperature and the cake was cooked in 40, not 50, minutes. Do check with a skewer though: if it comes out clean when poked into the centre of the cake, it's cooked.

The recipe says to add the vanilla before you use the microwave. I've always added vanilla after the heating is done.

You can add whatever you like to the cream: any kind of chocolate bar, plain chocolate, berries or other fruit.

 

One Bowl Chocolate Cake, Malteser Cream, Chocolate Sauce   serves 10-12

  • 125g butter, cubed
  • 220g brown sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tspn bicarb soda

For cream filling

  • 400ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup Maltesers, chopped

For the Chocolate Sauce

  • 200ml thickened cream
  • 200g good dark chocolate

 

Preheat oven to 160*C. Grease and line a 20cm round high sided tin with baking paper.

Line tin
Put the butter, brown sugar and water into a microwave proof bowl and heat on High for 3 minutes. Remove and stir till smooth. Cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in 3 lightly beaten eggs and the vanilla.

 

Choc etc melting and eggs
Sift the flours, bicarb and cocoa together and then fold into the batter.

Pour into the cake tin and bake for 50 minutes. I turned the tin half way through and the cake only took 40 minutes. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then cool on a rack.

Batter and bake
Whip the cream till firm peaks form and then fold in the Maltesers.

Cream and maltesers
When the cake is cold, cut it in half horizontally on the serving plate. I flip the top over onto another plate or board right next to the base. This way, if you remember not to turn the base, you can just flip the top back on and it will match the base perfectly.

Slice cake in half
Spread the cream over the base, almost right up to the edges. Place the top back on and push down slightly so the cream oozes out the sides. The cold cake is reasonably stable and flexible. Anyway, cream and chocolate sauce can hide a multitude of sins.

Cream filled cake
Make the chocolate sauce by microwaving the cream on High for 1-2 minutes. I did 1 minute and then 30 seconds more. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth.

Chocolate sauce
Pour the sauce over the cake, cut and serve. I don't have a photo because I left the cake at the Vet, so here's the photo from the cover of the magazine.

One bowl cake