Tomato and roasted red pepper soup

As I am not allowed to eat solid food at the moment I thought this is a good time to try out some of the soup recipes that I have torn out of magazines over the last years and never once made! I took stock of what I had in my cupboard… chickpeas, lentils, white beans, chopped tomatoes, bamboo shoots… lentil soup? I opened the fridge and saw a lonely red romano pepper right next to a pot of thick double cream and knew I had to make a tomato and red pepper soup. Such an easy quick soup to make … a rich, velvety, wonderfully red soup!

Ingredients:
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
A handful of fresh cocktail tomatoes or two normal sized tomatoes, without the skin and chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 red romano pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp thick double cream
1 tsp unami paste
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parmesan shavings
Fresh basil leaves

Turn on your grill. Take the red pepper, rub some olive oil on it and place it on a baking tray. Put under the grill and keep turning it so that all sides roast evenly.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and on a medium heat fry for five minutes or until translucent.

Take the skin off the red pepper, deseed it and chop it into small pieces.

Add the red pepper and the chopped tomatoes to the onions. Fry for a few minutes then add the puree, unami paste, salt, sugar, black pepper and the cream. Stir and continue to cook on low heat for a further five minutes.

Blend into a smooth soup, I use a handheld blender.

Garnish with parmesan shavings and some basil leaves, freshly ground pepper and drizzle with a little bit of double cream.

I think this is my most favourite one of all!

La Tartine Gourmande is the ultimate food blog for me. It’s so much more than just about food. It’s about pleasure, enjoyment, sadness, glorious moments and the celebration of life in a peaceful yet exciting manner. The photos are wonderful, the stories of their travels to foreign places, that are equally stunning as their home never fail to enchant me. This is a blog not to be missed.

La Tartine Gourmande

Nigella’s old fashioned chocolate cake

I wanted to try out a new chocolate cake and came across this one from Nigella Lawson: It’s her old fashioned chocolate cake and what convinced me to try it out were her words “because it is, for me, the essence of chocolate cake: melting, luscious and mood-enhancingly good.” How could I resist this recipe? It all went well, the cakes turned out a bit flatter than I thought but judging by the picture of the cake on her blog it wasn’t meant to be a tall cake. The only issue I had was with her icing, I had to use a lot more icing sugar than in her recipe to keep the icing from running down the cake. I’m also not sure about the use of Golden Syrup in the icing… maybe that’s the reason it was quite runny to begin with? I think instead of using 300g of icing sugar I must have used 500g. It still tasted good (when does icing ever taste bad, no matter how much sugar you use when it’s combined with chocolate?) but I will use a different icing recipe for future cakes.

 

Flourless chocolate cake

This was our Christmas dessert and against all expectations it turned out to be an absolutely awesome cake. When I made it I thought, uh, it’s quite a thin cake batter and I wondered if it was too liquid but when I took the cake out it looked like a real cake (even though there is no flour in it!). The outside is slightly crumbly and uneven and there was a crack running across the cake just as the recipe said there would. The inside was gooey and fudgy yet still light and heavenly chocolaty.
I can totally recommend this cake. It’s really easy to make and tastes great. You will need some berries with it though, as it’s quite rich and it needs some sharpness to cut through this. I served it with a layer of whipped double cream and fresh summerberries piled on top of the cake. I tried to get currants as well as they look like red jewels (or white and black ones depending on which fresh currants you get) and would have been perfect for Christmas but the raspberries, strawberries and black berries did the trick aswell. Finished with some chocolate stars and a bit of gold shimmer (spray) it was indeed a very festive dessert!

Ingredients:
300g broken plain chocolate
225g caster sugar
180ml boiling water
225g salted butter, cut into cubes
6 free-range eggs, separated
1tsp instant coffee powder
1tbsp vanilla extract

Double cream for whipping and fresh summerberries to decorate

Grease and line the base of a 9 inch round cake tin. Preheat your oven to 180ºC /gas mark 4.
In a food processor pulse the chocolate and sugar fine. If you’re like me and you don’t have a large food processor but only a small one do it in batches and put the chocolate/sugar mix into a mixing bowl.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff und put in the fridge.
Add the boiling water, butter, egg yolks, coffee powder and vanilla extract to the chocolate/sugar mix and whisk until all combined. Then fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 45-55 minutes. The top will crack during baking!
Once you take the cake out of the oven it will collapse into itself a bit, but that’s ok, it’s meant to be like that. Plus, you can hide all “sins” under the cream and berries!
Let the cake cool before you put it in the fridge for a few hours. Take the cake out of the tin shortly before you want to serve it.