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Showing posts from April, 2012

Duck Apicius

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Ever since I picked out a modern interpretation of an Apicius pork dish in Dom’s first ever Random Recipe challenge (and that was quite a while ago now) I’ve been playing around with some of the other recipes (I use the term loosely) in this text from ancient Rome. Since my Latin is a little rusty, I’ve lazily resorted to translations I’m afraid.

A brief QI style digression:
There are actually ten “books” in the Apicius writings that (sort of) add up to a complete treatise on cooking. The books are named in honour of Apicius, who was known for his love of fine food, but were actually compiled long after his death. And I think that’s more than enough facts for now.
You need a fair amount of imagination with some of the “recipes” in Apicius: there are few exact quantities given or methods described and some of the ingredients, such as the plant silphium or laser, no longer exist.  So I feel justified in bringing you a fairly free adaptation of an Apicius sauce for duck (or, as Apicius s…

Mr Barry’s Chocolate Cake – A Random Recipe

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For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen is celebrating two years of blogging and has asked us to bake him something lovely but random. For some reason I don’t have any cookbooks purely on baking (well, I probably do but I couldn’t find any). So instead I thought I’d randomly select from a folder of recipes that I’ve taken from magazines over many years – there’s plenty of baking in there. When I opened this, though, I came up with something that might not be an obvious choice, but which I just couldn’t resist baking – Michael Barry’s Crafty Chocolate Cake.

For those who don’t live in the UK or who are too young to remember, Michael Barry was a chef (actually, I’m sure he’d say cook) on radio and TV, notably on a very successful BBC TV show ‘Food and Drink’ in the eighties (and nineties, I think). He specialised in simplified and easy recipes that he described as ‘crafty’. This particular recipe was one of his best known but I have a feeling that it might be in…

Pear and Chocolate Filo Tarts

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For this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge Choclette of Chocolate Log Bog has asked us to combine cheese and chocolate. Well, I just couldn't resist using Choccy Philly (or Philadelphia with Cadbury as we seem to be urged to call it – at least in this country). This is a great product for knocking out desserts such as chocolate mousse in a couple of minutes and claiming that you’ve spent hours in the kitchen. Although I’ve not tried it yet, I have it on very good authority that you can also use it to make a remarkably easy ice cream. Anyway that’s enough unpaid and unsolicited advertising for cheese and chocolate companies.

I’m actually being a bit of a fraud here, because this dessert was dreamed up and largely put together by my wife. I don’t think there’ll be any copyright disputes, though.

This is, for once, a reasonably healthy little treat. The recipe will make 2 individual tarts.

For the filo pastry cases:
     2 sheets of filo pastry, each cut into 4 pieces (this amount ma…

A Sort of Biarritz Biscuit and the Lead Guitarist’s Tale

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I intended this to be short and sweet post about little, spongy biscuits. But I warn you that there’ll be a bit of a Proustian moment coming up.

It all started because I needed cheering up. I also didn’t have a lot of time and I had some odds and ends to use up (notably some ground nuts). So biscuits seemed to be the answer, especially since I’ve had this recipe for Biarritz biscuits lying around for a while. Happily these biscuits are quick to put together (especially if you use a stand mixer) and quick to cook. This isn’t really the classic Biarritz biscuit – for instance, hazelnuts are not normally used as far as I know - but it is a pleasing substitute. Normally Biarritz biscuits are coated in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. I did coat some of mine with dark chocolate but, for the most part, I like them just as they are. For some reason I’ve never really cared for the coconut sprinkle.

Since I needed a quick boost, I decided to have a few of the biscuits with some ice cream.…