Olympic Fever

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So it seems after all the rain moaning in my salsa cat post, the weather has taken a thankful turn for a while; my blog, ladles and jellyspoons, has much power! Even though this country is not accustomed to the ole air conditioning side of things, there is no way I am going to complain about the heat. It really is glorious. I just need to buy a paddling pool for temporary usage.

Now. The Olympics has started. Don’t worry I’m not one of those super patriotic sports fans so I won’t go on for ages about how it’s amazing it’s in our country and everything. One thing I will say though is, that I’m glad it’s become another excuse to get us Brits happy in one way or another. My idea of happiness, as you can imagine, is food. To top that would be to also meet with a select few of my best friends and to share food and be merry. Nothing in the world can be better than that for me, unless you transport us all to a lovely beach in the Maldives. With the food.

So I’d rather use the Olympics as an excuse to eat more. Go figure. Here’s two ideas;

An example of an Olympics = food+ happiness event is at the Townhouse Bar and Kitchen in Bristol. (They are very gluten free friendly!) Their food is also tremendous; I shall review for you next month.

They’re launching an Olympics promotion on Tuesday the 31st July (they’re closed for painting on Monday 30th) which will run across lunch only, for the duration of the games.

It kicks off at midday every week day:

First 10 people in get gold – 3 courses for £3
Next 10 in get silver – 3 courses for £5
Next 10 in get bronze – 3 courses for £8

It is only on the set lunch menu only (usually 3 courses for £10) and no reservations can be taken but maybe the thought of ‘racing to get food’ instead of watching people race sounds a bit more like your kinda thing?

 Perhaps you’d also like to bake a gluten free cake? Insert my solution.

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It’s not in anyway Olympic themed, but I feel it’s a recipe that can be made quite easily to make for a group of friends and in this troubling heat. A perfect afternoon tea cake to enjoy with an iced tea in the garden or an alcoholic beverage if you’d prefer. ;)

White chocolate and rosemary is simply a delicious combination, and if you’ve ever enjoyed a rosemary cake before- this is a real treat. I’ve used yoghurt instead of milk to provide a bit of a sour note- there is a lot of sweetness from the white chocolate and sugar so if you’d rather balance it a bit I’d recommend using the yoghurt; it also gives it a dense, almost doughy texture which is nice to break apart and dip into the icing sugar.

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White Chocolate and Rosemary Maderia Loaf

225g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

175g Gluten Free Plain Flour

25g Ground Almonds

2tsp of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp baking powder

50ml Plain Yoghurt or 50ml of Milk

80g White chocolate chopped

1 Tablespoon of chopped Rosemary.

Icing Sugar to dust (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides of a loaf tin and grease well with butter.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light.

Gradually add the eggs and beating all the time.

Sift in the flour, almond flour, Xanthan gum, Baking powder, Yoghurt and fold in  slowly with a spatula.

Fold in the chopped White Chocolate and Rosemary.

Place the mixture into the loaf tin

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on it!

Turn the cake out and leave to cool.

Dust with icing sugar.

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So don’t hate the Olympics, embrace the food opportunities and excuses to indulge. Much better ;)

From Paris with … Chocolat Chaud

I’m back. ‘Finally’ – I hear you cry. Oh you guys!! *blushes* and I’m married –double yay! So no longer do I have to spell out my surname ‘Kreczmer’ numerous times to people I can now simply go ‘Carter’ and pretend I’m an American news reporter. Badass.

We went to Paris for our honeymoon and I have to be brutally honest and say, although it was lovely- we did have a few issues and in retrospect we wished we just went for a lazy beach scenario. Our first hotel although it was good for a base hotel, didn’t quite have the romantic charm or attentive service that we needed for our honeymoon so we did a swift move to another which was better located in the 1st arrondissment and near to Pierre Herme’, the latter pretty much sealed the deal for me.

It was an expensive holiday, and the most affordable (and most enjoyable) for me was going to the supermarket. Yes. Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc d’Triomphe -forget it, the supermarkets is where it’s at. Particularly in the Galleries Lafayette Gourmet. It was foodie heaven. I could have spent hours trying all the delicious produce but alas we was on a tight schedule and I had a feeling the husband was getting nervous with the amount of money I was spending on chocolate. I seem to however go into this ‘money-no-object’ state when I’m in foreign supermarkets; I think it’s because you never really know what things cost unless you have an amazing ability to convert instantly.

My best purchase wasn’t found in the supermarket (although they also sold it there) but in one of the most famous tea rooms in Paris – Angelina. Their hot chocolate is arguably (but debated consistently on trip advisor) as one of the best in Paris. I bought a box then…naturally.

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My return home to England was depressing to say the least, we only had a 5 day honeymoon which went a bit fast (we hope to go somewhere longer next year) and I STILL didn’t think I bought enough food back with me. Disaster! On the upside though I’m now back to share with you this recipe, which I put together in my mind on the flight back. A bit weary of cooking cake with chocolat chaud but let me tell you…this did not disappoint.

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There’s something very child-like about messing around with hot chocolate in the kitchen, I remember mixing all kinds of cream/milk/caramel syrup concoctions when I was young. This went all through university as well. You just can’t grow out of that indulgent simplicity.

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This Hot chocolate maderia cake though is not recommended for children however, it involves Crème d’Abricot (Apricot Liqueur) and I did get drunk in the process of testing. You can use any Liqueur really but I found this one a bit different and it also gives it an almondy taste that is lovely with sweet chocolate.

Either put the icing on top or use it as a side cream- this cake is particularly nice when heated up! Either way Ash loved it.

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Hot Chocolate Maderia Cake with Creme d’Abricot Mascapone Icing

225g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g gluten free plain flour

25g Ground Almonds

2tsp of Xanthym Gum

2 tsp baking powder

50ml milk

100g hot chocolate powder (at least 50% cocoa)

2 Tablespoons of Apricot Liqueur (and a drizzle extra)

Mascapone  100g

Cream Cheese  200g

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Butter the sides of a loaf tin and grease well with butter.

Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light.

Gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, beating all the time.

Sift in the flour, almond flour, Xyanthm gum, Baking powder, milk and mix slowly.

Fold in the sifted cocoa powder.

Place the mixture into the loaf tin

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn the cake out and leave to cool.

(Optional) Once cool, use a pastry brush and brush the top with liqueur evenly.

Top cake with icing :)

Icing:

Mix the Mascapone with the Cream Cheese and beat together.

Add the icing sugar.

Add the liqueur bit by bit till its to your taste.

Next blog post I’ll do something healthy :P Promise.

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