This summer has been awfully strange. The weather in May showed all the promise of a brilliant summer. June was a wash out and July non commital. August looked like it may deliver but the weekend we went camping was wet and windy. Since then most weekends have been warm and sunny and we've been out and about, we even made it to the beach over the bank holiday weekend. Us and the rest of the UK. This last weekend we spent Saturday in my sister's garden surrounded by flowers, bees, birds and a warm breeze. I took the opportunity to soak up the last of the sun and even caught some colour on my legs and arms. it was just gorgeous.
I am sure I have said this before but when we get together as a family it is all about the food. The kitchen in the late afternoon was alive with the three of us buzzing around. Kate working on her coconut, lime, ginger and green pepper Devon Ruby Beef skewers, Michelle prepping vegetables and I was tasked with a dessert that included raspberries. Kate's canes were filled with fruit ready to be picked. I ate my fill whilst picking a selection of red and yellow raspberries and shared the over ripe fruit with the chickens at my feet. Honestly it was the quintessential English afternoon; in the countryside, a warm breeze, the sound of children playing in the background, chickens clucking softly in the vegetable garden and the smell of warm soft fruit bruised by busy fingers. Absolutel idyllic.
I searched through heaps of recipes and the one that caught my eye was Nigella Lawson's Chocolate, Raspberry Pudding Cake. I found it on The Happy Foodie website. All ingredients were at hand, I didn't need to pop down to the shop to buy anything, we had more than the required number of raspberries, and I was a woman on a mission. To be honest I used Amaretto as Kate didn't have Chambord and I thought almond, chocolate, coffee and raspberries would be delicious anyway. It was pure indulgent pleasure on a plate.
185g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
250g unsalted butter, plus more to grease cake tin (I use the foil the butter was wrapped in)
1 tbsp Chambord
95g caster sugar
95g light muscovado sugar
250g good dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken into squares
185ml black coffee and 185ml water, or instant coffee made up with 2 teaspoons instant coffee and 370ml water
2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten slightly
250g raspberries plus lots more to serve
approx. ½ teaspoon icing sugar, to serve
You will need: a 22–23cm spring-sided cake tin.
Arrange the oven shelves so that one is in the middle for the cake, and another just below it. Slide a baking sheet onto the lower rack to catch any drips as the cake bakes. Heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C Fan.
Butter a 22–23cm spring-sided cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Mix the flour and cocoa powder together in a bowl, and set aside.
Put the butter, liqueur, sugars, chocolate, coffee and water in a thick-bottomed saucepan and stir over low heat until everything melts and is thickly, glossily smooth. Remove the pan from the heat, and let stand for a couple of minutes.
Stir the flour and cocoa mixture into the pan, and beat well – just with a spatula or wooden spoon - until all is smooth and glossy again, then gradually beat in the eggs. The mixture will be runny: don’t panic, and don’t add more flour; the chocolate itself sets as it cooks and then cools.
Pour into the prepared tin until you have covered the base with about 2cm of the mixture (which will be about half of it) and then cover with the raspberries and pour the rest of the mixture on top. You may have to push some of the raspberries back under the cake batter by hand.
Put into the preheated oven and bake for 40–45 minutes. Don’t try and test by poking in a skewer as you don’t want it to come out clean: the gunge is what the cake is about. But when it’s cooked, the top will be firm, and slightly cracked. Don’t worry about that: a little icing sugar will deflect attention. When it’s ready, take the cake out of the oven and put on a rack. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before removing the sides of the tin; the cake must stay on its base.
When you’re just about to eat – and this should be around an hour after the cake’s come out of the oven - dust with a little icing sugar pushed through a tea strainer. Serve with lots more fresh raspberries, and Greek yoghurt, whipped double cream or crème fraîche as you wish.
For those of you who don't speak Afrikaans, this translates to "We are now going to bbq." There is a famous South African comedian called Barry Hilton who tells the hillarious story of what happens at many a braai or bbq all over the world. Too much to drink, too much talking and then far too much meat late in the evening. I promise it is a thing. But, this is not the case today I can assure you.
As long as it is not raining Kyle will braai. A hint of good looking weather and the fire is lit. South African braais are very different to the British bbq, American bbq and Australian bbq. I will not delve into the intricacies of each but only to say we South Africans will cook ANYTHING on a braai. Meat, fish, poultry, game, vegetables and dessert. A classic in this household is peri-peri chicken. Who doesn't love crispy skinned, spicey, juicy chicken with a hint of smoke? When people think of peri-peri they think of Nandos or Portuguese piri-piri but I guarantee, unless you've lived in South Africa or visited Mozambique, you have not experienced the one true peri-peri (my humble opinion). There is something about Mozambican Portuguese peri-peri that knocks the socks off the rest. Poured over fire roasted chicken and in a fluffy, floured white bun slathered with butter and an ice cold 2M beer on a sunny afternoon. You can't beat it! Just typing this and I am salivating.
Everyone has their own favourite version of peri-peri sauce that either they buy or make. Whatever floats your boat. I am all about homemade. So I am sharing my favourite peri-peri sauce recipe which literally goes with everything if you want to add a bit of spice to your life. You can marinate chicken in it before popping it on the braai or in the oven. Great for dipping slices of steak in or putting on your steak sarnie. Perfect for adding to stew or Bolognaise to give it a bit of a kick. You choose.
Homemade Peri-Peri Sauce - Alida Ryder, Simply-Delicious-Food.com
2 red onions peeled and roughly chopped
1 head of garlic peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup of bird's eye chillis, stems removed - if you can't get them I'd say use a mixture of red chillis that you can find
2 red bell peppers, de-seeded and roughly chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Tbsp olive oil
Juice and zest of 3 lemons
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor/blender and blitz until all the ingredients are finely chopped and the mix is saucy in consistency.
Transfer to a saucepan on a medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes to prevent the sauce from burning.
After 20 minutes check the seasoning and adjust. The sauce should be well balanced with a good kick of spice and sourness from the lemons and vinegar.
Pour into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or marinate your plump, organic or free range, spatchcock chicken and cook on the braai/bbq or roast in the oven at 220°c until the juices run clear when you poke a knife into the fattest part of the thigh. Depending on the size of your bird about 1.5 - 2 hours.
All pictures taken by Judit Erdos @lelencjud
Novinophobia - The fear of running out of wine