Sunday, October 10, 2010

You must endure the rain to see the rainbow

The rain for me was in the form of a chocolate cake. 
My mother was halfway through making it when I arrived in the kitchen, she was heading to an appointment and left it in my care.
It is a boiled chocolate cake with orange that I have made many times. But having received a bundt tin for my birthday, I decided to give that a go. It cooked well, but there was an issue...
It did not turn out whole! I went out with friends while the cake was still warm so mother turned it out and oh dear! I did grease the plan liberally with oil but it seems it was not enough. Next time I use the bundt tin I shall use both oil and either sugar or flour to stop the cake from sticking.
But the cake still tastes good, it is a family favorite being rich and moist.

Boiled Chocolate Cake
1 cup water
125g butter
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
2 tbsp cocoa
pinch salt
1 3/4 cup self-raising flour
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar 
1 tsp vanilla essence

1) Put sugar, water, butter, vanilla essence, cocoa, bi-carb soda and salt into a large saucepan.
2) Over a medium heat, stir until boiling
3) Turn down heat and let simmer for five minutes*
4) Let cool until at room temperature (to do this quickly, put the saucepan into a sink of cold water and stir)
5) When cool, add the eggs and flour. Mix well until combined and smooth
6) Pour into greased and lined 22cm round tin (or any tin that hold about the same amount) 
7) Bake in a moderate oven for 45 - 60 minutes
8) Let cool in tin before removing.
* the mixture will froth up - but be careful that it does not bubble over. So keep a close eye on it and use a large saucepan

The rainbow was making fresh tortillas with my friend in the afternoon. She had never had Mexican style food before and I enjoy cooking it, so it was a win-win situation! The tortilla recipe we used is simple but tasty. We did one and then, noticing how long it took to cook, rolled the rest out thinner. We served them with a chicken-tomato-onion-sauce-thing I threw together, shredded lettuce, cheese, and beetroot tatziki (sounds strange, but it is really good!) My friend and myself had lots of fun making and eating the food together - it was most definitely an afternoon to remember. It was nice to have afternoon success after the mornings culinary hiccup!

Plain flour tortillas 
Ingredients (makes 12 small or six large tortillas, I normally make the smaller ones as they are easier to eat)
2 cups flour
1/4 cup shortening or lard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm water

1) Using your hands, rub the flour, baking powder, salt and shortening together until it resembles corn meal
2) Add water slowly until soft dough forms. You may need to add more or less water to what the recipe suggests to get the result you are looking for
3) Knead for 5 minutes 
4) Separate into equal portions (see above for sizing guide)
5) Roll portions into balls, before rolling out into rounds about 1mm - 2mm thick.
6) Heat a large fry pan - do not add oil or butter, the fat in the tortillas is enough - until very hot. 
7) Cook each tortilla first on one side until lightly browned before flipping to the other side to do the same. I suggest tasting your first one, checking it is not still doughy - if it is, cook the others for a bit longer on each side. They will puff up quite a lot, this is normal and you can just press down lightly on the tortilla with a spatula to let it cook evenly
8) Best served warm with fillings such as beans, lettuce, cheese etc 

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