A few weeks ago I went to a pottery workshop in beautiful Titirangi, Auckland New Zealand. They served a delightful vegetarian lunch and one of the dishes served was from Yotam Ottenlenghi‘s SIMPLE. The cookbook is filled with really easy recipes and after tasting this soba dish, I just had to remake it at home.
My recipe below is an adaptation of the original recipe, as J is allergic to pistachios and avocados are out of season. We also don’t have Nigella seeds so have used chilli flakes instead. This is optional.
Love the tanginess of the lime, but mostly, I am blown away by the cardamom. Feel free to up the cardamom quantities, I have been quite liberal with it myself! You should have left over dressing with the quantities below, which is great stored in a jar for a second meal.
- 250g buckwheat soba noodles
- ½ tsp of cardamom seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 35g (1 cup) basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 35g (1 cup) coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 limes: slightly press and roll limes on the bench surface. Finely grate for 2 tsp zest, then juice to get 80ml.
- Extra lime, cut into 4 wedges, to serve
- 5 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 drops of garlic essence (optional)
- 1 red or green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (optional)
- 2 ripe avocados, deseeded and cut into thin slices (optional)
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional), to sprinkle over
- 1 tsp salt
- Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
- Once cooked, drain into a colander and rinse under cold running water. Set aside in the colander to drain well.
- Crush the cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestle (if using pods, open for seeds and discard the outer husks).
- Place the crushed cardamom seeds in a mixing jug with the basil, coriander, lime zest and juice, oil, garlic, chilli, avocado (if using) and 1 tsp salt.
- Place noodles in a large mixing bowl and pour dressing in. Mix everything together well, taste and add more seasoning if needed.
- Serve platter style. Sprinkle over the chilli flakes, if using, and serve with a wedge of lime.
A simple dessert, reminiscent of childhood days in Hong Kong. They are loved for the smoothness and silkiness of the custard. The key to this is to always use a sieve to remove clumps in the mix before pouring into bowls, and to tightly cover the bowls while steaming.
Try eating it hot as well as cold – there is quite a difference in the experience!
Makes 3 small rice bowl portions
- 180ml full fat milk
- 120ml water
- 80g sugar (best to use chinese rock sugar 冰糖)
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- Heat milk and water in a smal saucepan and melt the sugar in it. Set aside to cool to 40C.
- Whisk eggs lightly with a fork.
- Once the sugar mixture has cooled, add whisked eggs in.
- Using a sieve, pour the egg mixture into small bowls or ramekins. This removes any lumps in the mix.
- Cover tightly with foil and steam on a rack in a wok or steamer for 9 minutes.
- Turn off heat and leave for another 2 minutes before removing bowls from the steamer.
- Carefully peel back the foil to avoid water on the foil dripping over the surface or he custard.
- Serve hot or cold.
So pleased to be introducing this delightful cake: Espresso Mascarpone Chocolate Cake, drizzled with a Caramélia chocolate glaze with Cacao nibs.
Made with Nespresso Envivo Lungo extractions, this is the next cake you are going to fall in love with. Coffee and chocolate is always a perfect match and I’ve been changing up my cake flavours by switching to different Nespresso coffee variations. Each came out with a different flavour profile and I think each had a different personality too (!)
Mascarpone cheese makes this cake moist throughout. I love making cakes using buttermilk, sour cream or mascarpone cheese, it adds a tang to it and balances out all the sweetness. Mascarpone cheese results in a more uniform and smooth texture, whereas sour cream and buttermilk gives a crumbly light result.
The glaze, oh can I tell you about this star-of-the-show glaze! Valrhona Caramélia chocolate simply melted down with warm cream and poured all over. We lovvvved the outpouring of chocolate when we broke the chocolate dam. That added drama and was so much fun.
Oh and if this ever happens, the cake remains moist even after 1 week!! (but chances are you would have devoured it way before.)
Espresso Chocolate cake
- 300g soft brown sugar
- 175g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3g (1 tsp) Heilala vanilla baking extract
- 2 large eggs (size 7)
- 110g almond meal
- 200g plain flour
- 80g cocoa powder (Valrhona)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2g (1/2 tsp) salt
- 160g mascarpone cream cheese (Tatua Dairy)
- 190ml hot coffee (2x Nespresso Envivo Lungo extractions, you will have 10ml left over)
Espresso Caramelia Milk Chocolate Glaze
- 135g Valrhona Caramélia milk chocolate
- 135ml cream (at least 36% fat)
- 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
- Preheat the oven to 175C (fan forced) and lightly grease a bundt pan, careful to go into all the crevices.
- In a large mixing bowl beat together the sugar and butter, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few seconds to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each has been fully incorporated before adding the next.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and then add a third of it to the sugar/butter/eggs mixture. Add in half of the mascarpone cream. Add a third of the dry ingredients, then the second half of the mascarpone cream. Finally add the last third of the dry ingredients (The batter is thickish at this point).
- Mix in the hot coffee, until you have a smooth batter. Transfer the batter into the prepared bundt pan, smoothing out the top. Lightly tap the pan on a flat surface to ensure the batter has filled all the crevices.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until a long toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before upending it to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the glaze heat the cream in a pan and place the chocolate and coffee in a small pot with a pouring spout. When the cream begins to shimmer and before it boils (don’t let it boil as evaporation will reduce the liquid volume) pour it over the chocolate and coffee. Wait a few minutes before stirring, until the glaze becomes homogenous and is smooth and silky. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, have some fun doing this! Slice and enjoy!