Showing posts from February, 2012

Pepper Dip with Almonds and Chocolate

If I'm called on to cook any sort of fancy or special meal for a few people then there's a pretty good chance that the starter will be a meze-style selection of dips and other little dishes. That's partly because I can make them in advance but it's also because that's just the way I like to eat. I often use peppers in dips and this particular version has developed a stronger flavour over time. It started out as vaguely North African, then suffered a bit of Spanish influence and now has a hint of Mexico, I suppose. I don't use green peppers very often in cooking but in this dish the slightly sour qualities are essential. Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog has set an interesting task for the February We Should Cocoa challenge: a savoury, vegetarian dish including chocolate. So this should fit the bill. You could add some chillies for heat and other flavours such as garlic or more spices. They would work in this dip, but I prefer the purer flavour of peppers, espec

Pork Cooked in Orange and Lemon

The Random Recipe challenge hosted by Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has reached its first birthday and for this anniversary challenge Dom has asked us to return to the book we used for the first ever event. For me that was the ‘The Cuisine of Alain Senderens’. I have huge admiration and respect for M Senderens , mostly for his masterly cuisine but also because he had the courage to tell the Michelin guide he didn't really want his three stars any more. On the other hand, finding a recipe that would be suitable for the challenge wasn’t easy, partly because we’re trying to eat a little less fat around here at the moment and partly because we’re not rich. The recipes in this particular book take no prisoners. They include a lot of cream and butter as well as plenty of lobster, turbot, oysters and frog's legs. Eventually, after a few random attempts, I came across this dish, although I confess that I’ve simplified the recipe and reduced the fat a little. The result is simple but,

Amalfi Lemon and Almond Cake

If you’re longing for some sunshine or need a little cheering up, then I can definitely recommend this cake. To me, it tastes like pure sunshine in cake form – moist, crumbly, buttery and very lemony. It’s based on a recipe by Salvatore De Riso , the celebrated pastry chef and baker from the Amalfi coast. There are a lot of lemons needed for this cake, but then there are a lot of lemons on the Amalfi coast so that’s the way it has to be. In fact, it calls for a fair bit of candied lemon peel and I know that candied peel is likely to make some people avoid this cake. I used to feel that way thanks to the poor quality candied peel that I’d eaten in the past. Buy good quality or, better still, make your own candied peel, however, and the taste and texture are so much better. For use in baking I prefer to avoid using most of the pith and so it will take 3 or 4 lemons, depending on their size, to make enough candied peel for this cake You may well have your own method of making candied