Monthly Archives: March 2010

Mascarpone and praline chocolate cake

>Mascarpone and praline chocolate cake

Ingredients list:
200g of “Pralinoise” by Nestlé or any other chocolate with praline
Mascarpone 280g
Sugar 50g
4 eggs (2 yolks and 4 whites)
Flour 80g
Cocoa 1 spoonful


This special milk-chocolate lovers indulgence was inspired by a mascarpone chocolate recipe I found on the delightful blog “Le plaisir de gourmandise” but I decided to make my version with whipped egg whites for lightness and praline based chocolate because it is about pure indulgence and the mascarpone already reminded me of Italian ice creams and sweets so the jump to praline (or Gianduja in Italy) did seem quite natural!

So here it is: a recipe I’ve fooled around with as you should with a lover after a plentiful, satisfying Italian feast! Appetite is a good, sensible thing when it comes to life’s best moments!..

Melt the chocolate with a spoonful of water but be careful to do it quickly as milk and almond-based chocolates tend to burn rather fast.

Add the mascarpone and sugar; then beat to melt it all. Beat the egg yolks with a fork and add them in. Whisk the whites until they form soft peaks and add this to the mix, alternating with spoonfuls of flour.

You should have a smooth and light, pale coloured batter. Add the cocoa to strengthen the praline taste- you don’t have too if you are a milk chocolate fan but I like my emotions a bit stronger…

Pour into a cake tin: I use flexipans for this because it is very moist and anything else seems to destroy it by attaching the sides…
Bake it in a hot oven (190 degree C.) for a maximum of 20mn. Take it out when the middle is still wobbly so you get a creamy, slightly runny centre of milk ganache with a light, spongy surround.

Enjoy with a cup of strong coffee – to choose as carefully as the male companion you’ll share this with… He has to be very special- Or you won’t share at all! 

I am in a chocolate kind of mood!

>Manille’s melt-in-the-mouth chocolate cake
Ingredients list:
Eggs 6 (whites whisked separately)
Sugar 150g
Vanilla sugar 2 paquets
Dark chocolate 200g ( no less than 70% cocoa)
Butter 125g
Pinch of bicarbonate
One spoonful of cornflour (optional)
One thimble of good dark rum

One very important point when baking is to take all the ingredients out of the fridge at least 30mn beforehand.

When ready to bake, set your oven to 180 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter on low heat then set aside. In a large bowl, vigorously beat the yolks with the sugar and the vanilla sugar until the mix turns paler and fluffier. Vanilla sugar is sold in small individual portions in France and is an ingredient I have always seen my grand mother make an ample use of! But it can easily be homemade by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of caster sugar and forgetting it for a little while in your cupboard.

Now whisk the egg whites with a tiny pinch of bicarbonate. At that point I add a thimble of dark rum so the eggs are flavoured and increase in volume due to the added liquid! According to scientist Hervé This you can make up to one cubic metre of snow with one single egg white! But don’t attempt this now… Click and see the video later if you want to know more! Science is amazing when taught like this: I could even see some poetry in chemistry…

Mix the chocolate and the yolk mixture, add the cornflour (not in the original but I find it a good addition), then gently fold in the whites until you have a light, blended mix.

Pour into a deep, lined cake tin and into the oven for 30mn. The cake is ready when the first cracks form on the surface. Do not overcook it – this is truly scrumptious when still moist and creamy inside.


I shared a bite of this cake yesterday with a few good friends and with a second thimble of rum before heading home in the rain! My thank yous to everybody who came.

Soba salad with king prawns

>Soba salad with king prawns

Ingredients list:
Soba noodles (1 bunch for each guest- love the way they’re tied with a paper ring…)
A few handfuls of baby spinach
3 or 4 sliced Parisian mushrooms
2 shredded spring onions (I have a great little Japanese tool for that with tiny blades that do the job itself very quickly)
1 handful of frozen peas
1 handful of king prawns (frozen or fresh)
1 handful of frozen pacific scallops
1 dash of soya sauce
1 crushed bite-size chunk of fresh ginger
1 dash of rapeseed oil
A few cashew nuts

Oyster sauce , Japanese pickled ginger and wasabi to serve.

This I made twice today for lunch (for me) and for my daughter after school so this recipe is twice tried and tested! Soba is made with buckwheat and a very healthy alternative to wheat pasta.

Put the soba noodles 4 min in boiling water. Drain and rinse under a cold tap. Put aside.

Put some oil in a thick-bottomed pan and quickly fry the parsley and shallots. Turn down the hob and add the other ingredients. Cover and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on slow heat. The natural juice of the spinach will be released and the other ingredients will be steamed in the pan. All the flavours mingle at once and the slow cooking keeping all the goodness of the food inside the pot. I am a big fan of slow cooking and I need to write about it soon as it is so good for the health as well.

Serve the salad at room temperature with the pickled ginger and the oyster sauce on the side. A pinch of wasabi will make it more real but it is up to your own taste. I love its bite and freshness and would put it on every single seafood if I let myself!

This was fresh and healthy and delicious, hence perfect to open the new season with, in the first days of spring. And to celebrate the first camellia bloom in my garden! Rather later than usual…
Wine note: Riesling, I am told, goes beautifully with exotic food… Any other suggestion welcome, please!

Quick hummus, if you didn’t exist…

>What else would I serve the men of my life on a Friday evening with a glass of shandy?! 


Ingredient list:
1 tin of chick pea
1 spoonful of Tahini
Virgin cold pressed Olive oil 100ml
Lemon juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 spoonful of ground cumin
1 spoonful of smoked paprika
Optional: 1 small seeded chopped chilli

Blitz all ingredients in a food processor (I use a standing blender); adding a bit of olive oil or even water too make it lighter if the consistency is too thick. But I never puree it to finely as I enjoy a bit of texture.
Serve with toasted pitta or flat bread and a glass a dry white. TGIFriday after all!

I know of one who will be expecting this next Friday! And I can’t wait… Ring me to say you got the message! -Sorry Darling, but there will be some Saturday for you too…

My version of a Mozzarella ice-cream

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Ingredients list:
Egg yolks 4
Whole milk 300ml
Organic Mozzarella 2 whole
Arrowroot
Salt

Beat the egg yolks with 1 spoonful of arrowroot and a pinch of salt.
Boil the milk, turn off the gas at boiling point and slowly pour into the egg mix while beating with a wooden spoon. Then fold the chunks of mozzarella into the hot mixture until melted. I like a bit of “chewyness” so I diced biggish chunks and did not wait till it melted all.

Pour the mixture in a jug and leave to cool. If you have an ice-cream maker, the rest is easy! If not, put into the freezer and take out a few times to beat with a whip until it is set and creamy. Serve soft and not too set on a bed of rocket salad and a drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar- only the best will do…

This is a very subtle and unusual combination of flavours but it works and makes a stunning starter to a chic dinner party. I served it to the family with the previously blogged about risotto and we all enjoyed the experience even if this is not quite proper family fare and I am stretching my blog core subject here!