Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Banquet! & Recipe: Chocolate Cake 4 Dummiez

Hold onto your hats folks, and if your delicate constitution can't handle too much seriously sumptuous food p*rn in one sitting, you may need to take this one a course at a time...

But first, here's a quick blow-by-blow of the first few eats of 2010 - mostly verbal as I'm out of the swing of photographing the more monotonous meals:

NB: I'm including a small amount of vegetables every day to ease the transition from over-consumption of fruit and nuts over Christmas. I'm feeling really good even with a bit of salad, so we'll see how that goes. The extra weight is dropping steadily even with a few carbs, so...

1/1/10

Fried eggs for brekky
Roast lamb in juices/gravy for lunchables
Itty bitty prawns in a bed of sautéed red cabbage and steamed zucchini for din-dins


2/1/10

B: Sautéed red cabbage
L: Chicken drumsticks and zucchini
D: Spicy burger patty with cos lettuce and tomato

3/1/10

First: Sausage and eggs, including a double-yolker!


Second: grilled salmon fillet with salmon roe salad


Third - at a friend's wedding: fish fillet, lamb rump, and butter (and yes, even with clear RSVP instructions and a bride very familiar with my preferences, the kitchen staff STILL screwed it all up, originally reporting my needs as "no meat or cream" and, even after correction, bringing me a plate of salad coated in sticky dressing. All's well in the end though, and it was a truly beautiful wedding.

4/1/10

Breakfasted on scotch fillet topped with brie, plus some salmon roe salad


Lunched on grilled calamari, and a cheese plate at the Little Creatures Dining Hall on Brunswick St, Fitzroy.


Dined at home on peel-your-own prawns, and then BBQ'd some homemade chicken & lamb kebabs that were then eaten in the car on our mad dash to the cinema to see The Lovely Bones. (Meh.)


5/1/10

Broke my fast with a decadent Camembert omelet (The Usual with a luxe twist) followed by delicious organic smoke bacon.


Broke my shopping tripping by stopping in at T.G.I. Friday's for an Angus rump steak with bleu cheese and a side of ignored green beans, splitting the meal with Mum, who is currently visiting.



And then, for dinner with Mum, the bro, his girl, and the beau, it was time to whip up a banquet...

THE FIVE COURSE BANQUET: Primal-style!

Course The First:

In newly-purchased steel cup/bowls, I served up a fresh batch of Primal Pumpkin Soup, with a dish of heavy cream and some ground nutmeg.


Course The Second:

A new experiment - roast chicken drumsticks with a curry coating (a mix of olive oil, curry powder, and lemon juice, brushed over each piece), with roast fennel, button squash and boiled baby beets.

Before going into the oven:


And after:


Course The Third:

Trying my hand at salmon sashimi! I sliced my salmon fillet thinly after removing the skin, and sat the pieces in a bowl of lemon juice to 'cook' in the citric acid. I was then distracted by my company, so the pieces were a little overcooked in appearance, but utterly perfect in flavour. I'm definitely adding this way of enjoying salmon to my weekly rotation - grilling fillets no longer inspires me, but the beau won't eat raw fish.

I used the pieces in a sashimi salad - salmon, salmon roe, mixed lettuce, capsicum, and snap peas. Divine!


Course The Fourth:

I'm still trying to think of a name for this experiment, and I'm currently leaning toward Minced Beef Medley, or some such. I originally intended to use minced roo meat, but the package we bought was past its expiry date, and also past its smelling-good date, so it went into the bin and the hurried thawing of organic beef mince began.

First I sautéed a diced red onion and a diced red capsicum (bell pepper) in some butter, until slightly softened. While they cooked I attempted to separate an iceberg lettuce into cups, but I bought a particularly inter-folded head, making separation impossible. Instead, I ripped up each mangled leaf and laid the pieces across a platter, adding some fresh basil leaves.

Putting the onion & capsicum into a bowl, I sautéed the beef mince until cooked, adding extra butter, plus some thyme and garlic. If I were to make it again, I'd add a few more flavourings, such as cumin, but I kept it simple since we'd had some spice in the soup and chicken course already.

I then layered the cooked beef across the salad leaves, topping it off with the capsicum & onion. Light yet satisfying; simple yet delicious.


Course The Last:

After gazing many a time at Dr. A's decadent Black Forest Gateau used for the title image of The Comfort Eater's Diet blog, I decided to take a crack at the 'how is it possible?' recipe:

Recipe: Chocolate Cream Cake with Berries
a.k.a. Chocolate Cake 4 Dummiez

Ingredients:

6 eggs
100g unsweetened cocoa
Sweeteners to taste

2 cups whipped heavy cream
Fresh raspberries and blueberries, or frozen berries that have been thawed in the refrigerator.

(Please note when viewing my photos, I had to thaw raspberries and due to time constraints did not have a chance to let them cool, hence the flood of raspberry cream down the back of the cake. Still delicious, of course!)


Method:

Preheat oven to 175degC.

Combine eggs, cocoa, and sweetener in a bowl, using an electric whisk.

Pour mix into a square or rectangular baking dish - I used a square glass dish, about 20cm x 20cm (8" x 8"). No need to grease it, but you can line it with baking paper if it's an old dish.

Bake in the oven until risen and firm to the touch.

Remove and allow to cool.

When cake is cool, slice in half horizontally (and I also sliced my square in half length-ways to make four rectangles)

Place a piece on a platter, then top with 1/4 of the whipped cream (or until covered) and a layer of berries. I alternated between blueberries and raspberries.

Repeat by placing another piece of cake on top of the berries, then topping with cream and berries. Repeat twice more until cake is complete.

This cake is rich and filling, and could serve six greedy people comfortably, or more depending on the size of your baking dish (thinner, longer rectangles would feed more, due to ease of slicing).


Each course was received with an 'ooh' of visual appreciation, and then near-silence during consumption - a more meaningful sign of enjoyment to the chef than immediate verbal feedback! All dishes were praised, particularly the soup, and my guests could not comprehend that the cake was truly made with just eggs and cocoa! "But how does it stay together? Why isn't it all eggy? Didn't it need some almond flour or something? How did it puff up?" :)

And after five courses of food, no one felt stuffed or bloated, as you would had their been bread/grains/starches involved I'm sure, and only the dessert left us feeling full and a little overwhelmed, but not lethargic in any sense!

I love cooking. :D

16 comments:

caroline said...

It's obvious that you love cooking! Congratulations on a great looking dinner party - esp the cake. Did it taste like regular cake, or better? The texture? I wonder about using sweeteners for no reason other than people might detect that it's sweetener and not sugar like they're used to...you know how fussy people who eat super-sweet pseudo food all the time can be! You've been very inspiring and your blog has lots of helpful info. Thanks - sometimes it's good to hop on the net and have a look at what you've been up to and get some motivation. I had a bit of a look through your old posts and esp at your before and after photos - what a transformation! I hope you got masses of compliments at Christmas? I used to love it when I'd go home for the hols and everyone would ooh and aah at the weight I'd lost (which of course hasn't happened for a while...but it will).

Jezwyn said...

Aw, thanks for the lovely words, Caroline!

It's been over a year since I had 'regular cake', but my company of carb-o-holics loved it! The texture was probably denser than your average sponge, but not so dense as even the fluffiest pancakes. And the mix was delectably smooth too... I'm making more tonight - I'll pay extra attention ;)

The sugar-holic beau of mine can't often tell when I use sweeteners - once I used maple syrup and he claimed that the taste was 'too fake' ;) As long as you combine sugar alcohols/stevia to defend against aftertastes, then most palates won't pick up the difference. I'd add that the cake tasted like dark dairy chocolate to me, but the others felt it was much darker with a bitter edge rather than sweet (counter-acted when the berries were included in the bites).

I was expecting lots of feedback from my family at Christmas, but I didn't receive much other than my loud-mouthed mid-teen cousin blurting out "Have you lost weight?" during a conversation focussed elsewhere. My grandfather also told my Mum that I had grown into a "beautiful young woman" so that may be his way of saying that he noticed my fat loss. But no, not as much positive feedback as I had hoped, and no sense of congratulation. Ah well. I guess Aussies just aren't big on celebrating achievement - blame Tall Poppy Syndrome :)

Hopefully my continuing efforts this year will mean that I'm in perfect shape by next Christmas, so they will have no excuses! (And plus I'll prove that I am unlike my aunt who has yo-yo'd her way from itsy-bitsy to curvy and back so many times that we've given up pointing out her successes. She was particularly thin this year too, so she stole a bit of my thunder!) :)

SnowDog said...

Thank you for your recipes. I absolutely loved your chocolate covered berry pie, which I recreated with blueberries!

With regard to sugar alcohols, remember that the only one which does not raise my blood sugar is erythritol.

Thanks again!

Jezwyn said...

Thank YOU for reading! :)

Nice work with the Choc-Blueberry Pie! I keep using sweeter berries in my mix, such as raspberries, so that I don't have to add so much sweetener. I use erythritol too, as well as stevia, and sometimes extended with a little xylitol. Sugar alcohols are so unpredictable - a definite YMMV. I've heard of people for whom even erythritol causes blood sugar levels to climb (as well as some whose blood glucose level drops thanks to conditioned insulin production linked to any sweet taste, poor things!) and some who can take even evil maltitol without it impacting blood glucose. I'm not sure how each sweetener affects me personally; I just try to eat only whole foods and avoid all of that as often as possible.

You should definitely have a go at the egg + cocoa = chocolate cake, it's similar in flavour as the pie except without the nuts, though you could easily sprinkle nuts with the fruit layers!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow... I tried the first part of the recipe, without the whipped cream and just berries, and it is fantastic. I actually did not get to try the recipe in full since the cake itself was so good...I added half a banana and a few nuts and passed them into the blender. Thank you for this great recipe, we just discovered your blog, and will definitely try other things that you make. MG

Jezwyn said...

Thanks for the comment, MG! I'm going to try using this recipe to make gooey brownies by upping the egg ratio and undercooking the mix a little... Mmmmm!

Anonymous said...

How many cup of Cocoa you've used for the egg-cocoa-cake recipe and any specific type of cocoa? I've tried the recipe using 1 cup full of cocoa powder and 1 table spoon of honey with 6 eggs, it came out VERY bitter, what am I doing wrong?

Jezwyn said...

Yep, 1 cup of cocoa - I've used conventional unsweetened cocoa, raw cacao powder, and some fancy European cocoa - all worked out perfectly. I would suspect your culprit is honey, which isn't much of a sweetener. I would combine a couple of natural sweeteners perhaps - mix some berry juice with the honey? I usually use sugar alcohols such as xylitol, so that my blood glucose response is minimised, but that's also why my desserts are rarely consumed by me ;) If you want to stick to honey, I'd experiment with upping the amount in the cake, and maybe drizzle some in the berry layer as well... I'd love to hear how you go!

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! This was incredible!! Even my kids loved it!!!

Paleo Grrrl said...

Hiya!

I have just tried my hand at paleo baking...it went sooo well! YUM!

I wanted to post some of my results on my blog, and I used your choc cake recipe for the base of one of my cupcakes. Is it okay if I link back to your page??

Keep up the yumminess!!

Jezwyn said...

Hey hey Grrrl, this one was sitting in Moderation for some reason. Yes, always appreciate a link-back! Glad you enjoyed it!

Sarah said...

How do you whip the cream? When I google how to whip whipping cream, they all have sugar in them. Please help! Thanks!

Jezwyn said...

Hi Sarah,

Whipping cream is easy - just grab your whisk (i.e. electric beaters in this modern world) and go to town on the cream in a big bowl until the whole lot is stiff. You don't need to add sugar - that's typically what people do when they are serving whipped cream with a dessert, but it's not necessary (or healthy!). I've added erythritol to my cream before, but not lately. If I want to add some extra flavour to the whip I add a dash of vanilla and some cinnamon.

Enjoy!

primaldirewolf said...

Hey there!

Thanks so much for the recipe! Today's my birthday, and I was a little bummed thinking I couldn't do cake, but I did a quick search, and someone pointed me your way!

Thanks for the recipe! I'll totally be making this my default celebratory cake!

doublethejoy said...

I have been looking for a chocolate dessert recipe and can't wait to try the cake. Can I use agave as the sweetener? I have never baked primal or used any primal sweeteners so I am clueless when it comes to now much to use. I am making it for by non- primal eating brother and sister in laws in a effort to convince them to try going paleo or primal. Please advise...thanks:)also Love your blog.

Jezwyn said...

Hi there! Agave is pretty much the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup, when you look at the production process and nutritional information. You'd be better off using a whole sweetener like honey or more fruit, or maybe maple syrup as it is high in minerals despite its processed nature. I would use maple syrup if I were to make the cake now.

In terms of quantity, the only way to tell is to add a small amount and then do a taste test. I'm not afraid of raw egg, so I happily taste uncooked batter. If you can detect any sweetness above the cocoa, then you're good to go.

All the best!