Chocolate Truffle Cake

Nigella's Chocolate Truffle Cake

This is not this first cake I’ve made from Nigella’s Chocolate Hall of Fame (from ‘Feast’). Both the chocolate orange cake and the chocolate guinness cake have a special place in my heart. I even tried out the chocolate orange cake as gluten free cupcakes, with some success. So when I needed to make another birthday cake, it was an obvious place to start looking. The chocolate truffle cake appealed because it required minimal baking and, well, chocolate? cream? rum? What’s not to like?

For once, I think I stuck pretty close to the recipe. It was amusing baking the meringue, which rose to the top of the of the tin in the oven! But it (as expected) shrunk down pretty quickly once removed, making a fairly thin base for the truffle mixture to go on top. The truffle mixture was easy to mix up, and I think developed in richness as it cooled overnight. I was wary whilst opening the spring form tin, but it was fine (and I didn’t leave it particularly long to lose its chill). I didn’t take the bottom of the tin out before I first served it as I was terrified it would end up a dreadful mess. However, it slipped off the base very easily (though it remained on the baking paper). From the picture, Nigella’s truffle seems to be a bit deeper than mine, which might be because I finished the cake in a rush and much of the bowl scrapings I would have ordinarily included went down the sink :-/ ( but with ~900 g of chocolate and cream already, I didn’t feel too bad about that!)

Morning Tea: The Sandwiches

Golden Jubilee Chicken Sandwiches

Golden Jubilee Chicken Sandwiches Golden Jubilee Chicken Sandwiches Golden Jubilee Chicken Sandwiches Trimming the Sandwich Sandwiches

My love for bite-sized tea sandwiches is relatively new. It’s only probably only in the last year that I’ve understood how lovely a cucumber sandwich can be. So an invitation to morning tea was the perfect opportunity to re-visit a couple of sandwich recipes, which I became acquainted with earlier in the year.

First off we have cucumber sandwiches. Or, more precisely cucumber, cream cheese and mint sandwiches. I first had something like this at Leaf Tea Merchants in Mount Lawley, as part of their Parisian Tea (v. nice, btw) and the mint in particular won me over. These sandwiches are very easy to make: mix together half a tub of philadelphia cream cheese (~125g), a couple of dessertspoon fulls of chopped fresh mint, a squirt of lemon and some cracked black pepper, and you should have enough spread for 10 slices of white bread (i.e. 5 sandwiches , or 20 sandwich triangles). Lay some thinly sliced seedless cucumber between 2 slices of bread, remove the crusts, and cut as desired.

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches Cucumber Sandwiches

I’m calling the other sandwiches I made golden jubillee chicken sandwiches. I gained an appreciation of coronation chicken (and sandwiches in general) whilst living in the UK a couple of years ago. At first I thought I’d try to make coronation chicken, but to be honest the ingredients list sounded like far too much effort for me. I’m not sure what I made was any less complicated (and it wasn’t complicated), but it seemed more attainable, as well as being lighter and healthier. My starting point was fond memories of Nigella Lawson’s ‘Golden Jubliee Chicken’ (called chicken, mango and chilli salad on her website) from Forever Summer. Could I adapt this to a sandwich filling? It turned out that I could [1]

What I used:

1 chicken breast, pan friend, chilled overnight and then chopped finely
Mango (I cheated and went with tinned mango – using about the same volume of mango as I had chicken breast. Fresh mango would probably be better)
Red chilli – about 1/4 to 1/3 of a long (10cm+) one – more heat would have probably been fine so I might put in more next time
Coriander – a good handful
Lime juice – several squirts from a bottle (again I’m sure real lime would have been better)
Macadamia oil – just a drizzle. (Nigella’s original recipe calls for groundnut oil and sesame and I would have used sesame in preference, if I’d had it to hand).
Cos lettuce – shredded
Cream cheese – to ‘butter’ the bread – mostly because I thought the chicken mixture might make the bread soggy without a bit of a water resistent layer. I was probably right (pretty sure butter would have been fine here too).
White bread – 8 slices, wholemeal bread – 4 slices

The chicken mix was simply the mango, chili, lime, coriander and chicken all relatively finely chopped and mixed, with a desh of groundnut oil over it at the end. I had some concern that this mix wouldn’t hold together and I had a backup plan of adding mayo as a binder, but it was absolutely fine.

I was planning to make little triangle sandwiches here too, but at the last minute, I made finger sandwiches using three slices of bread (white, wholemeal, white) for variety (inspired by this recipe on Taste.com.au). Construction was a bit more complicated than for triangles, but still relatively simple. Spread cream cheese on a white bread slice and layer the chicken mix on fairly thickly (maybe 5 mm thick). Spread cream cheese on both sides of the brown bread and put on top, then layer on shredded lettuce and a final slice of white bread (again, with cream cheese). Cut the crusts, then cut each square into thirds. I made 4 whole sandwiches (or 12 fingers), but had enough chicken mix for another 2 if I’d needed.

Golden Jubilee Chicken Sandwiches

I was very pleased with the results for both recipes, although also a bit scandalised at the amount of leftover crusts. It seemed as if there was as much of them as the sandwiches themselves! Right now I’m thinking of using them for stuffing in a roast chicken, though. They’ll definitely be used up somehow 🙂

[1] Which was great cos I had no backup plan!