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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

After many requests, I’ve finally got round to posting the recipe for these little delights!

Of all the things I’ve ever made, these Oreo Truffles have lavished me with the most praise!  I pinched it from the lovely Celine, who made them for us at a BBQ last year!

Celine made them in school (what school-aged obesity issue?), and they went down a treat.  We were all practically fighting for the remaining truffles (which disappeared rapidly, I tell ye).

I’ve only made these a couple of times and feedback includes: “I need these in my life”, as well as “they’re honestly the best things I have ever put in my mouth” *snigger*.  This is definitely one for indulgence; if you are on a diet I would look away now.  You won’t be able to “just have one”, I won’t lie to you.

Here are the Ingredients in all their beautiful glory (made 15 fat truffles)

2 packets of Oreos

230g bar of Dairy Milk

250g Plain Soft Cheese

Another recipe that calls for furious bashing… place the Oreos into a bowl and, with a rolling pin, unleash the fury.

Mix in the soft cheese thoroughly, then its time to get messy.  Roll them into truffle-sized balls and place on a flat tray (I used my chopping board), then put them in the fridge to set for an hour (or the freezer for half an hour).

Melt the Dairy Milk in a bowl over a pot of bubbling hot water.  Try not to eat it, lest you earn yourself a trip to the A&E.

Dip the truffles into the (cooled) chocolate, coating them nicely and putting back on the chopping board (or whatever you’re using).  Put in the fridge to set for another hour or so.

The final step is to sit back and accept the praise :)

You can dust icing sugar over it, to make it look fancy and “truffle-ish”, but I didn’t bother.

Do try them, you won’t be disappointed!

Enjoy :D x

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When having a meal, how many of your senses do you really use? 

Of course, there are the obvious ones; taste and smell.  If you wanted to be pernickety, you could argue that sight, touch and sound all have their place in the dining experience.  But have you ever had a dining experience that focuses exclusively on exploring the senses?  Probably not, if you haven’t attended the Ubiquitous Chip’s event: Ingr3dients.  It claims to be the World’s first sensory dining experience. 

The event was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant, situated within Ashton Lane, at the heart of Glasgow’s West End.  This charming lane is filled with character and very pretty to look at.  But if, like me, you enjoy wearing heels… be prepared to stagger along the cobbles looking like you’ve had one too many cocktails!

I was kindly invited to experience it for myself, and asked Irene to be my ever faithful companion.  On the invitation, the event was described as “combining fine food and cutting-edge digital art, including Alasdair Gray’s first digital artwork”.  I don’t know much about cutting edge digital art, but I do love my food!

The decor in the Ubiquitous Chip made for tranquil surroundings.  Soft lighting, provided by millions of teeny lights, along with an abundance of plants and a gorgeous water feature in the corner of the room, making a relaxing trickling sound.

On the table, there were 3D glasses waiting for us.  Safe in the knowledge that everyone was going to look as cool as us, we donned our attire…

One of the waiters pointed out the interactive sea bed, on the way to our seats.  It was so cute!  There were fish, crabs and lobsters etc, scurrying around the floor from a projection on the ceiling (I assume).  When you stood within the “sea bed”, they all scurried towards you.

Throughout the event, there were various digital art displays, running in a concurrent theme along with each course.  The first image was of a giant fish, darting around the screen and zooming in at you (in what Irene found to be a hilarious fashion; she was cackling away to herself!).  We were henceforth presented with our first course: A Tassie of Cullen Skink.

This creamy soup was so moreish; it was so thick and luxurious, with delicate chunks of fish and potato.  I could easily devour a massive bowl of this, and intend to recreate it soon!

Next up, there was a visual display of 3D shells.  With our glasses on, they looked beautiful and intricate.  This was to introduce the next course: Seafood Trinity.

This consisted of:

Queen Scallop, Dulce and Mirin Ceviche

Black Bottle and Beetroot Cured Organic Salmon

Crab, Pear and Celeriac Choucroute

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about this dish.  I’m a complete seafood novice; having never tried scallops or crab and not being very keen on smoked salmon.  But, in the spirit of adventure (and being able to talk about the food here!), I tried it.  The scallops weren’t as scary as I thought, but they didn’t taste of much.  The crab had a lovely texture, and I will try it again.  The only gripe is that I felt it was overpowered by the taste of mustard.  The salmon was a nice surprise for me; the whisky and beetroot gave it a lovely taste, and I ate the lot!

Whilst we waited on our next dish, the display showed a flock of birds, flying in an erratic fashion and in a sequence that was quite hypnotic.  We didn’t even notice the waiters coming up to us with our next course: Pressed Perthshire Game Bird Terrine, with Warm Puy Lentil and Shiitake Salad, Sherry and Walnut Pickled Enoki Mushroom.

If I was apprehensive about the seafood, I was terrified of the game bird terrine!  I didn’t start eating vegetables and fish till my early twenties, so this is a big hike from my picky days.  And I’m delighted to report; this was one of my favourite dishes of the evening!  I cleared the plate entirely and I kept interrupting my meal with outbursts of “this is delicious“, and Irene wholeheartedly agreed.  The terrine was pure meaty goodness.  The mushrooms complimented it wonderfully, and the salad was sweet and fresh; perfect for lightening the dish.

As we made way for our next course, we were greeted by a massive Highland Cow, strolling across the screen lazily and grazing on nothing at all.  This indicated our next meal: Rioja Glazed Shin of Beef, Marrow Beignet, Shallot Essence, with Potato and Sage Gnocchi.

I could have used a spoon to cut through the beef; that’s how tender it was.  The Rioja glaze was outstanding.  Irene’s favourite wine is Rioja, so she was especially delighted.  She did find the shallot puree rather salty, but I couldn’t agree.  The waiter told us the gravy was made using a reduction of the meat juices with some wine and chicken stock.  It was incredibly flavoursome; if I were serving this up myself, I’d have flooded the plate with gravy (one of the many reasons I’m not a chef!).  The marrow beignet was scary in theory (I tried to convince Irene it wasn’t bone marrow), but we reluctantly admitted it was very tasty.  The potato and sage gnocchi was the star of the show for me, out of EVERYTHING.  The only criticism is that there wasn’t more of them on the plate.  Considering the large portion of beef, I feel more gnocchi would have given a better balance (or less beef, but always more potato if I can get it!).

There was just enough room for our last course; dessert: The Chip’s Famous Caledonian Oatmeal Ice Cream, with Caramelised Banana, and Angostura Rum Fattened Golden Raisins.

I’d never heard of oatmeal encrusted ice cream before, and after tasting this, I’m surprised I haven’t.  It’s absolutely gorgeous!  It creates a lovely texture, as do the glazed bananas that practically snap when you bite them.  Irene wasn’t crazy about the raisins, but I loved them.  For the second time that night, I cleared my plate. 

I tried to take pictures of the 3D show, but they just looked blurry, as if through the eyes of a drunken fool.  It would certainly not have done the artist any justice for me to post them here.  I couldn’t help feeling a bit guilty about these images of the animals we were essentially tucking into.  Me being a hardened carnivore as well!  I mentioned this to Mal Young, the man who controlled the images, and he alleviated my conscience by explaining the images were more about exploring the locally sourced produce (which Ubiquitous Chip is renowned for), rather than having little animals zooming in at you, with pleading eyes, crying “don’t eat meeee”.  I’m sure it wouldn’t placate the vegetarians out there, but it’s good enough for me.

Overall, it was a wonderful night.  As much as I love having a gab between courses with my fellow diners, I absolutely adored the 3D animations and believe it did enhance the meal on the whole.  The restaurant clearly puts a lot of effort into creating an excellent atmosphere, and the staff really do make a fuss over you (in a good way; not in that intrusive way that I detest).  If I were to sum up the food in one word, it would be Magnificent. 

If you’re looking to take someone for a fancy meal, or have a special occasion coming up, I would thoroughly recommend Ubiquitous Chip.

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Lately, my baking attempts have resulted in disaster.  My “Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies” looked fabulous, but sadly could have been confiscated as an offensive weapon.

To add further insult to injury, my Brownies resembled a pool of brown mess with a tooth-breaking crust on top (which someone and their spoon went to town with… shame on you, Mother!  At least it tasted nice…).  Needless to say, those blog posts made the cutting room floor.

I’m more of a savoury person anyways (in taste bud only; not personality, I hope), so I was nearly resigned to the fact that I just could not bake sweet treats.  I had almost come to terms with it; flicking past the apple crumble and pumpkin pie recipes despondently… wondering what was so wrong with the chocolate muffins in McDonald’s, anyway?  Sigh.

But after reading this blog post the other day, I was spurred on to give it another shot.  I drool at every food picture at the best of times, but the craving for home-baked shortbread was overwhelming.

Having baked “shortbread” once before, I was apprehensive.  My last batch looked like a tray of sunken, week-old scones (hence the inverted commas in my description; shortbread it certainly was not!).  They didn’t even taste similar. 

BBC Good Food… your version of shortbread left me nothing short of disenchanted.  How could you?  I’m one of your biggest fans… sniffle. :(  Thankfully, your abundance of other lovely recipes has mended our once broken relationship.

So; it was time to see if my next shortbread attempt would leave me crestfallen once more… 

I am happy to report; faith in my baking ability has been fully restored!  Of course it has! :)  I can safely say you won’t need to look elsewhere for an authentic shortbread recipe; this one is perfect.

I don’t (yet) have the adorable shortbread tin like Wendy’s; I just packed my mixture into two sandwich tins.  I was going to re-type the instructions here, but I followed every ingredient, measurement and method to the letter (a first for me), so if you want to try it, you’re best checking out the link above. 

Rave reviews all around from my samplers; I thoroughly recommend it to any bakers who have had a knock in confidence!

Enjoy :)

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Well hello Stranger!  I’ve missed you all muchly! :)

It feels like an age since I last posted, or leisurely perused my favourite food blogs.  When I opened my Google Reader, there was the inevitable “1000+” declaration of unread blog posts waiting for me. :(

I contemplated clearing out my RSS feed list, saving only my favourite food blogs (like this, this and this…), but as I leafed through each of them, I couldn’t bear it.  They are all too wonderful and I feel I would be depriving myself of wonderful recipes and enjoyment.  Nope.  No blog cull for Moi. 

As I said in my previous post, I have started evening classes.  One for Philosophy and the other for English Literature.  I am thrilled to say that both are going really well and it feels great to use parts of my brain again, that I’d left behind at college some years ago.

Last weeks English Lit class was focused on English Sonnets.  We analysed and discussed 6 sonnets, but one in particular stuck out for me, and I would like to share it with you. 

Shakespeare, Sonnets 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, ye well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

At first, I felt outraged on behalf of this poor “mistress” who was paling beyond all comparison.  But then I realised, all these “ideals” (such as having eyes like the sun and snow white skin), were actually being mocked.  That being less than perfect was more endearing and special than any of these stereotypes. 

How utterly refreshing.  As someone who has recently cancelled her gym subscription due to lack of time to go (and feeling a tad out of shape now, huff), reading this was very comforting.  I hope anyone reading it now can also take some comfort, since I’m taking a leaf out of Shakespeare’s book and declaring perfection a falsity! 

Anyways… onto the grub!  I did this cheesecake at my Come Dine With Me night a while back.  I used ginger snaps for the base last time, which was gorgeously stunning, however, I decided to follow the recipe (almost) properly this time, and the results were excellent.  If you make this cake, prepare to be heftily praised! :)

This is a cake from Nigella’s website.  Find it here.

Ingredients

For the base:

150g x chocolate digestives

50g butter, melted

Filling:

175g x chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Cadbury’s Dairy Milk mmmm)

600g x soft cream cheese

150g x caster sugar

1 tbsp x custard powder

3 x eggs

3 x egg yolks

142ml x pot of sour cream

½ tsp x cocoa (I used Cadbury hot chocolate powder to keep in line with the dairy milk)

Glaze:

75 g x chocolate (Dairy Milk, naturally)

125ml x double cream

1 x tsp golden syrup

Instructions:

Crush the biscuits to within an inch of their life (I used a rolling pin and plenty of aggression) and mix with the melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a springform tin, then shove in the freezer whilst you make the filling.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Melt the 175g chocolate (I melted it in a glass bowl, placed over a pot of boiling water, but you can microwave if you prefer).  Put aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese (I used my hand mixer).  Add your sugar and custard powder and beat again.  Beat in your eggs, egg yolks and sour cream. 

Dissolve your cocoa powder in a few tbsps hot water.  Add that to the mix, along with your melted chocolate.  Mix it all into a smooth, even consistency.

Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.

 

Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the pan with just-boiled water, to come about halfway up the cake tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

 

Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the fridge once it’s no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with clingfilm, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the glaze, melt your 75g chocolate, then add the cream and syrup.  Take off the heat and whisk thoroughly, until it starts to look like a smooth sauce.  Resist eating it all with a spoon at this point. ;)

Nigella likes to “Jackson Pollock” the sauce over the cheesecake.  To be fair, this was my original intention.  I completely ballsed it up, however, hence my decision to just cover the entire surface of it with chocolate.

I sprinkled a bit too much cocoa powder over the top.  It’s not much to look at, admittedly.  But you and I both know that anything containing THAT much dairy milk in it is bound to be a success.

 

Enjoy! :) And have a good weekend! x

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