Showing posts with label Nigella Lawson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigella Lawson. Show all posts

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quadruple Chocolate Bundt #BundtBakers

Cocoa, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, chocolate curls on top all combine to make this most chocolatey of Bundts, with added flavor from pecans and coffee.

It was 2008 and I had been crushing hard on Nigella for several years. I tell you, as far as I was concerned, that woman could do no wrong in the kitchen, plus she did it all with insouciance and nary an apron in sight. Yet, she was always immaculate and perfectly coiffed. I get that she had staff for a clean kitchen but how did she manage not to get herself dirty? I certainly can’t do it.

Anyhoo, we had just moved down the road from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and our girls were able to take the fancy bus - airplane-type seats and Subway packed lunches served en route - back to stay with friends. Houseguests should always bring gifts, so I’d send them with jars of tomato chutney or Nigella’s Quadruple Chocolate Cake because it’s baked in a loaf pan and travels well when wrapped in cling film and foil. I have since brought Nigella’s cake to potlucks and parties on at least three continents.

When our host for this month’s Bundt Bakers, Tanya of Dessert Stalking, chose chocolate as our theme, I knew immediately that I wanted to adapt that cake to bake in my newest small Bundt pan, the 6-cup Nordic Ware Anniversary pan, a birthday gift last month from me to me. (Oh, no, really, you shouldn’t have. It’s too much! – But I insist! Happy Birthday! – Well, if you insist. Thank you!) And because the original recipe called for water for the batter and the syrup, I used coffee. And added pecans. Because pecans and coffee make everything better.

For the batter to fit a 6-cup Bundt pan. Or double to bake in a normal Bundt pan and increase the baking time accordingly.
Ghirardelli is the best! 
1 cup or 125g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1/3 cup or 80g soft unsalted butter
1/4 cup or 25g unsweetened cocoa
1 egg
4 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup or 60ml very hot coffee
4 oz or 110g chocolate chips (I used both semi-sweet and white.)
2 oz or 55g pecans, chopped

For the syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup or 180ml coffee
Rounded 1/3 cup or 75g sugar

Topping  - shavings of dark chocolate – use the bar of your choice.

Remove all your ingredients from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Prepare your Bundt pan by greasing and flouring it or use the non-stick spray that has flour already in it.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Measure the flour, sugar, butter, cocoa, egg, sour cream, vanilla, baking soda and salt into your food processor.

Pulse till everything is well combined and smooth.

While it’s whirring, pour in the very hot coffee. Try not to be alarmed at the sudden increase in speed of your processor as the hot coffee mixes in and the batter thins.

Scrape down the sides and fold in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.

Pour the rich batter into your prepared Bundt pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes in your preheated oven.

About 10 minutes before the cake is due out of the oven, put your syrup ingredients into a small pot, mix well and boil for about five minutes or until the liquid reduces by almost half and thickens slightly. It will thicken more as it cools.

Take the Bundt out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Then turn it out of the pan, just to make sure it will. I have yet to be disappointed by a Nordic Ware pan not releasing but one can never be too cautious when it comes to Bundts.

Now put it carefully back in the pan and poke it all over with a skewer. Pour all but a few tablespoons of the syrup over the cake and around the sides, and leave it to soak in.

When it’s all soaked in, turn the Bundt out again and put it on your serving plate.

Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls out of part of your chocolate bar.

Spoon the balance of the syrup over the top of the Bundt and top with the chocolate curls, alternating sprinkling with spooning so the chocolate curls will stick.


Are you a fan of chocolate Bundts? Check out the great recipes Bundt Bakers has for you this month!


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send me an email with your blog URL to

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Buttermilk Roast Chicken Breasts for #RandomRecipeChallenge

Chicken marinated in buttermilk becomes tender and juicy, even whole chicken breasts, which are notorious for becoming dry during roasting.  These were succulently, fragrantly delicious! 

The Random Recipe Challenge has gone back to its theme-less origins this month, with Dom proclaiming that we should choose a random cookbook off the shelf and open it to a new random recipe.  And make it.

random recipes #34
Read all about it by clicking here.

I got lucky.  Not in the sense that I had the ingredients, because that did require a trip to the supermarket but I was hoping for something savory after completing Cookie Week last Saturday and the Creative Cookie Challenge on Tuesday.  I enjoyed baking the cookies.  I really did.  But my fervent prayer was still, “Please don’t let it be another cookie!”  My random book was Nigella Lawson’s Express, a book I really haven’t used very much so the chances of my opening to a familiar recipe were practically nil.  It fell open to Buttermilk Roast Chicken and I thought it was going to be like Jamie Oliver’s chicken baked in milk, which I have made.  And enjoyed.  But, nope.  The buttermilk is just part of the marinade, with seasonings added.  I have to say, “Thanks, Dom!”  Because I think we’ve found a new family favorite!

For the marinade:
2 cups or 480ml buttermilk
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil plus more for during roasting
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup (You know what I substituted.)

For roasting:
6 chicken breasts with wings still attached (or chicken pieces of your choice, approximately 3lbs or 1.4kg total weight)
2 tablespoons of olive oil or duck fat for the baking pan
Sprinkle cayenne pepper and extra black pepper

In a Ziploc bag large enough to hold all your chicken breasts, add the peeled garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper and olive oil.

Close the bag and use the heel of your hand to crush the garlic cloves, being careful not to pierce the bag.

Add in the buttermilk and then the chicken.  Seal the bag and mash everything around to make sure that all parts of the chicken are covered with seasoned liquid.

Leave the chicken marinating in the refrigerator overnight or at the very least out of the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  I put it in a deep plate, just in case the bag leaked a little.  Fortunately, it didn’t, but you never know with those Ziplocs.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Prepare a baking pan large enough for the chicken breasts to sit apart and in a single layer by lining it with foil and coating it with olive oil or duck fat, if you prefer.  If you are using duck fat, you can melt it in the pan in the preheating oven.

You KNOW I chose the duck fat option! 

Take the chicken out of the bag and drain it well in a colander.

Arrange the breasts in your prepared baking pan, skin side DOWN to coat with olive oil or duck fat.

Now turn the breasts over, sprinkle with a little more black pepper and some cayenne.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle a little more olive oil on the breasts and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a serving plate and use a spoon to gently scrape up the lovely brown bits from the foil, adding a little hot water if necessary to remove them.  Serve this lovely pan juice alongside your chicken.   It is fabulous on mashed potatoes or rice.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush

Enjoy spicy za'atar chicken with fattoush, a refreshing salad made with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, green onions and toasted pita bread.

When I get a new cookbook, I sit and read it cover to cover, even in bed at night, delaying lights out to finish just one last story or one last recipe.  I bookmark dishes to try and occupy the next weeks skipping happily through the markets, finding new ingredients, chopping and stirring and baking and cooking.  I’m in my element.

One of my favorite authors in my cookbook collection is Nigella Lawson.  She has a bright and easy way of writing and cooking that I adore.   When I bought her Forever Summer, one of the first meals I made was this tasty za’atar chicken with fattoush.  When I read that our host for #SundaySupper this week, Amy from KimChiMom, had chosen spices as our theme, I knew immediately that I had to make this!  The lovely Arabic mix of thyme, sesame seeds and ground sumac of the za’atar coats the chicken and gives it wonderful aromatic flavors as it roasts.  The fattoush, a tomato and cucumber salad with toasted pita bread, compliments it perfectly.

For the chicken:
Olive oil
1 large chicken (approx. 4 1/2-5 1/2 lbs or 2-2.5kg), cut into 8 pieces
4-6 tablespoons za’atar – can be purchased online at Penzey’s Spices or any Middle Eastern market
Maldon sea salt

For the fattoush:
1/2 English cucumber
4 Roma tomatoes
1 bunch spring onions
1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
1 clove garlic, minced
Good handful black olives
5 1/4 oz or 150g crumbled feta cheese
Sprinkle of za’atar
Juice 1/2 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
2 pita breads

Pour a good couple of glugs of olive oil into the roasting pan and put the chicken pieces skin side up in the oil.  Turn the chicken pieces over and sprinkle the za’atar liberally over them.

Sprinkle with sea salt.  Turn them skin side up and sprinkle liberally again with za’atar and a little salt.

Leave to marinate for an hour or so, or overnight, covered, in the refrigerator if you have the time.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.  (If the chicken has been chilled, bring it to room temperature.)

Roast the chicken for about 45-60 minutes, or until it is golden and cooked through.

Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes and cucumbers and pile them into a big salad bowl.  Mince the garlic and chop the spring onions and mint and add them in.

Halve the olives and add them into the salad with the crumbled feta.  Sprinkle lightly with za’atar.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the roasting pan from the oven and set aside, covered with foil.

Cut the pita breads open lengthways so that you have four very thin halves then toast them in the oven until golden and crunchy.  Take them out and let them cool.

Squeeze the lemon over the salad and give it a generous drizzle of olive oil.  Toss lightly.

Break the toasted pita breads into pieces and add to the salad.  Toss again lightly.

Serve alongside some tasty za’atar chicken.  


If you like things spicy, hot or not, have a look at all the lovely Sunday Supper spice-filled recipes my fellow bloggers have for you this week.

Snappy Starters & Snacks

Fiery Main Dishes

Searing Sauces & Seasonings

Zesty Sweets & Sips

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hasselback Potatoes

I don’t know about you but I get bored of the same old potato, rice and pasta side dishes.  Years ago I was watching a Nigella Lawson show and she made these lovely potatoes, describing their incomplete slices as just a way of getting more fat inside.  As a huge roast potato fan, this thrilled me.  Best of all, this recipe is pretty and easily multiplied to feed any army, limited only by the size of your largest roasting pan and oven.

6 medium waxy young potatoes (with thin peels)
Knob of butter
Healthy drizzle of olive oil
Good sprinkle of sea salt
Small handful chopped parsley for serving - optional

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Set your potatoes, one at a time in a wooden spoon.  Using a sharp knife, cut even slices about 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm apart, from the top of the potato, width-wise, until your knife reaches the wooden spoon.

Set the potatoes, cut side down in a baking pan that has been drizzled with olive oil.  Put the knob of butter in the pan and put the pan in the preheated oven.

Roast for about 20-25 minutes, turning the potatoes from top to bottom and basting frequently with the olive oil/butter in the bottom of the pan.

Finally turn the potatoes cut side up and give them a good sprinkle of sea salt.

Continue basting frequently with the olive oil/butter.

Roast another 20-25 minutes or until the slices have separated and the potatoes are golden and crunchy around the edges.

Baste one final time and serve.

I meant to sprinkle these with chopped parsley.  Imagine them even prettier with a little green on top. 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meatzza for #ForeverNigella

I was browsing through the internet the other day, as you do, (Tell me it's not just me!) and I came across a blog hop devoted to Nigella Lawson and food your family would love.  The original organizer of the blog hop is Sarah at Maison Cupcake, but the host this month is Sally from Recipe Junkie and the Attack of the Custard Creams.  I could appreciate Sally’s attachment to Nigella and baking.  She went through a challenging time when her child was quite ill a few years ago and baking from Nigella's How to Become a Domestic Goddess gave her structure and something she could control.  While my feeling-out-of-control issues are not on par with hers, with all our moving about, I could definitely relate.  If my kitchen is in working order, I am in a safe, familiar place.

I decided to join the blog hop by making a Nigella recipe from her latest book, Nigellissima.  Whenever we have pizza, my motto is always the more meat, the better.  And the thinner the crust, the better.  This recipe goes one step further on both counts.  No crust at all and it’s basically all meat.  I added cooked lentils because 1. I like them, 2. I knew they would taste good and 3. they would make me feel better about eating what is basically a big hamburger patty with tomatoes and cheese.  This is comfort food for sure.  If you are trying to restrict carbs in your diet, this is the perfect pizza, or rather, meatzza for you.

1 lb 2 oz or 500g ground or minced beef
3/4 cup or 100g cooked lentils
3/4 oz or about 20g Parmesan
Small handful fresh parsley
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Olive oil
1 can 14 oz or 400g chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Crushed red pepper - optional
1 ball mozzarella – about 4 1/2 oz or 125g – plain or with basil
1 small bunch fresh basil – for garnish

Preheat your oven to 425°F or 220°C.

Chop your parsley and pour your canned tomatoes into a sieve to drain.  (Save the juice for soup or another dish.)

Put your ground beef, lentils, parsley and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Grate in the Parmesan and one of the cloves of garlic and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir until just mixed through.

Oil a shallow, round baking tin.  For a thinner crust, choose a wider baking pan.  Mine was only about 8 in or 21cm so this was definitely a deep pan meatzz.  Press the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

In another bowl, put your well-drained tomatoes, a little sprinkle of salt and the oregano.  Grate in the second clove of garlic and give it a good drizzle of olive oil.  Mix well.

Spread the seasoned tomatoes onto your meat and then sprinkle with some crushed red pepper, if using.

Slice the mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the tomatoes.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat layer.  I was a little bit concerned initially because the meat juices came up and around the tomatoes and cheese, which was not attractive.  But at the end of the cooking time, the top was browned and it was all good.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Decorate with the basil and cut in wedges to serve.  I served a good wedge along side a salad of arugula or rocket with a simple vinaigrette to complete the meal.

Nigella’s recipe says it serves four to six people but even with a side salad and my addition of the lentils, I don’t think you could stretch this to feed more than four.   It was delicious though and I would definitely make it again.


And again, check out the other #ForeverNigella favorites in the blog hop right here.