Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Chocolate Ganache and peanut butter frosting.

Oh yes.  You heard me right. Peanuts and chocolate!  Who doesn't like this combination?  Dead people, that's who! 

I was looking for an idea for chocolate and peanut in a cake, and was wondering.. should i make peanut cupcakes and chocolate frosting?  or the other way around?  then I found the perfect recipe, tried the cake base in another recipe this week, and thought this cake MUST be made, and it MUST be made into cupcakes! :)  
Peanut butter cream cheese frosting topping a dark moist cake.  wow.  wow! 
In the theme of the Ganesh cake I made last weekend, I feel that this one also deserves to be attached to some kind of deity. So I'm calling them "Holy Jesus peanut butter chocolate cupcakes".

I've had quite a chocolate week this week, i've already made one decadent chocolate celebration cake, but tonight's celebration (one of my dearest friends is leaving for a year to do his masters in the UK) also calls for an uber chocolate feast!  Apart from all the cakes, chocolate has made an appearance in savoury cooking this week as a friend of mine made us chicken cooked with port, sage and cocoa the other day, which was pretty amazing! :) I will definitely put my adaptation of this dish up when i finally get around to making it!

Anyway, the base of these cupcakes are the same as the Dulce de Leche cake posted previously. Only difference is that i did not add the coffee, which was actually totally an oversight.  ah well, for next time ;)  Honestly these cakes are so good that I don't think the coffee is even needed, especially not with the fact that these are filled with chocolate peanut ganache (yes.  i didn't even know this could be done.  my life will never be the same!) and then topped with cream cheese peanut butter frosting (this tastes infinitely better than it sounds, and i certainly would not have made it had Deb from smitten kitchen specifically mentioned that it's good!!)...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stop Chasing Ganesh! a.k.a. Chocolate cake with Dulce de Leche filling and Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

I know, I know!! The title’s misleading!  There is no Indian elephant god Ganesh in this cake, however honestly if there was to be a cake that represented a god, this would be, at the very least, a contender!

The title comes from a line out of an episode of The Simpsons, where Homer dressed up as Ganesh and tries to stop Apu from getting married.  In turn, my lovely friend Joe always says “Ganesh” instead of “Ganache”, and frankly, that stuff is pretty godly so it does make sense in a way ;)

Anyway, I was looking for a cake that would fit perfectly with one of my best mates – she adores chocolate and toffee like substances, so what better cake for her than a moist dark chocolate cake, filled with lashings of dulce de leche, topped with smooth dark chocolate ganache??  YUM! 

This is definitely, no doubt about it, a celebration cake.  This isn’t something you do on a weekend to have something with tea.  This is a cake to be placed at the centre of attention, shared and enjoyed. 

I have accidentally also found one of the best chocolate cake recipes ever!  I will most definitely be using this when I make chocolate layer cakes.  It’s moist, dense, insanely dark (I don’t know what it is about an almost black chocolate cake that just excited me!), wonderfully chocolatey, and yet, somehow, it still manages to be delicately soft and light.… YUM!  For the Maltesers, what I was looking for essentially was a cake I can make from scratch that rivaled the old school Fontanella cake.  Unfortunately, I believe they have gone downhill over the last few years, hence the need to replace it with something! AND.. SUCCESS!!   I have finally found the right cake!  And to top it off, I know exactly what goes into it as I’ve made it myself (always a concern when ordering cakes from out) J

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zoe's Blue cheese, honey and walnut salad

I love blue cheese.  I'm actually surprised that I only have one other recipe that involves blue cheese on this blog so far, and I assure you that I will make every effort to include more!

I have memories of tasting it for the first time many many moons ago, at a large family gathering (possibly Christmas or one of my many cousins' birthdays), the cheese platter would be presented and there would be all manners of cheesy goodness.  I remember one of my uncles explaining to me that the blue green veins were mould, and that the white velvety covering on a piece of brie was also mould.  It grossed me out, but also totally fascinated me that we would deliberately eat it!  So naturally, I tasted it, and that is where the love affair started!

My love for the blue veined cheeses grew when i discovered certain combinations of flavours.  My first love was blue cheese and cured meat - Salami and Parma ham in particular.  Then came blue cheese with walnuts! then came blue cheese with pears! and then finally, and i must say it was one of those epiphany moments, came the discovery (thanks to Warren, chef at Barracuda restaurant) of the foodgasm that is blue cheese and honey.

Blue cheese is one of those cheeses that I cannot NOT like.  I can not be in the mood for it, but I have loved every single type of blue cheese that has entered my mouth, whether it be pasteurised, cave ripened, sheeps, goats, cow's, speciality, cheapo grocery bought cheese.  I have almost as much love for cheap Danish blue than I have for an unpasteurised speciality Roquefort or a pot ripened Stilton soaked in port.  YUM!

I guess I've been somewhat of a foodie since I was weaned, and one of the main reasons was CHEESE!  I love cheese so much!  My (food) highlight of every family gathering is the cheese platter after dinner, sitting there sipping wine, nibbling on cheese and having the inevitable lively discussion, whether it be politics, religion, or some topic that will raise a few voices and possibly end in someone sulking :P (i adore the fact that we can do this and still have so much love for each other).

ANWAY, I am lucky to have found fellow foodie friends, amongst them my lovely half-Maltese, half-French friend Zoe :)  We bonded over how much we have in common all those years ago, and cemented it with cheese.  We are both obsessed with cheese!  It's so tasty! so delicious, and we have spent many a nights just having one more piece of cheese to finish the wine, or one more glass of wine to finish the cheese, repeat ad nauseum and/or drunken food coma :)

This salad is her creation!  Blue cheese, walnuts, prosciutto crudo, pears, dressed with  honey, served with masses of fresh baby salad leaves... perfection!  All these ingredients go so well with each other, it's only natural that we would bring them all together into one of my favourite salads on this planet!

Sorry about the bad quality camera pic!