When the dilemma between working in the evening or cooking for friends arises, unfortunately (for my PhD) there is only one choice.
I picked one of my favourite dishes ever for the main, the one with the catchy little title Chicken in Tomato and Red Wine sauce with Cinnamon and Nutmeg. I could omit the cinnamon and nutmeg bit I suppose, and even the red wine but, trust me, it’s so important it has to be in the name. It is what makes the kitchen smell heavenly and suddenly the time you spent skinning 10 chicken thighs makes sense. Hoping that I have demonstrated my love for this dish enough, I feel that it requires its own special post so I’ll leave it for another time (yes, I got greedy again and forgot to take a picture of the finished product).
For pudding, I thought I’d make something new. I had just bought James Martin’s Desserts book and so many things looked so exciting. I wonder now what made me choose Sticky Toffee Pudding with Toffee Sauce, since I’ve only eaten it once or twice and it certainly never made much of an impression. It must be the winter.
The recipe isn’t too difficult, but you need both a food processor and a blender. You will be rewarded though when the kitchen starts smelling like sweet treacle and golden syrup.
Sticky Toffee Pudding (from James Martin’s Desserts, or here)
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
75g soft butter
175g dark brown demerara sugar
200g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g pitted dried dates
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
First thing I want to say is, make this even if you don’t like dried dates. Now we’re over that, grease a 23cm tin with the 25g of butter (I made it in a orthogonal one, whatever suits you best around that size) and dust the inside with flour. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (180 if fan assisted).
Put the butter and the sugar in the food processor/mixer and blend them. Slowly add the golden syrup, treacle, eggs and vanilla extract and continue mixing. Then, add the flour, but turn down the mixer to a slower setting if you don’t want to kill all the raising agent (you don’t).
Now, the dates. Boil them in the 300ml water and then use a blender to puree them. Add the bicarb of soda and watch it come alive! While it’s still hot, add this to the egg mix and combine. Pour into the tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 mins.
This has been such a success that I was instructed to make it last night to go with the Guinness Chocolate Cake instead of the chocolate ganache I was planning to make. We call it JJ, but it is just inappropriate for me to tell you what it stands for. It is the easiest thing ever.
100g dark soft sugar
200ml double cream
Not the healthiest thing ever, but do it anyway. Melt the sugar with the butter and then add the double cream. Bring to boil and simmer it until it’s thick enough.
Vanilla ice cream will go really well with this but we didn’t have any. It was still heavenly. You can reheat both the sauce (just bring to boil again) and the sponge. I just put it in the microwave for 10-15 secs but James says you could also use the oven for 5 mins. You can also freeze the sponge apparently, although I can’t see how it’s possible to make it and not eat it all in the next few hours.