Rubik’s Cheese Cube
Adapted from Women’s LifeStyle’s Watermelon Rubik’s Cube
1. For bite-sized cubes, measure 1/2-inch squares. (In retrospect, for a centerpiece cube, I would measure them to be 1 inch!)
2. Cut at least nine equal-sized cubes of each cheese. You’ll have plenty leftover!
3. Build your cube by alternating the cheeses. In true Rubik’s fashion, you’ll be done when there is nine on each side.
4. Serve with contrasting, delicious pumpernickel sliced bread.
Dark Chocolate Sables
Sift together and set aside:
In a large bowl, cream until light and fluffy:
Beat in until combined, scraping down sides:
Add sifted dry ingredients, along with:
3.5 oz (100g) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped until almost powdery in a food processor (I don’t have a food processor, so my wonderful sous chef abandoned his studies for ten minutes to grate this miserable stuff for me – if you have a processor, USE IT.)
Beat just until the dough comes together, then wrap it in cling film – it will be crumbly but should stick together in a ball or a log when coaxed – and chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes, or overnight. (Deb’s instructions go on to suggest rolling out and cutting the dough – if you’ve chilled it longer than 45 minutes, make sure to let it warm up a bit before rolling it out.)
If you’ve rolled your dough into a log and chilled it that way, make sure it’s nice and firm, then preheat your oven to 350F/175C and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough into 1/2” rounds and lay them flat on the sheets, about an inch apart. Sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar if desired, then bake 10-12 minutes.
Let the cookies cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets before removing to a rack (be gentle – they’re more delicate than they look before they’ve fully cooled). Deb says the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks, but they’ll never in a million years last long enough for me to test that theory.
Crunchy Banana with Cinnamon-Chili-Chocolate Sauce.
1. Measure and sift all the dry ingredients into a large (preferably stainless steel) mixing bowl: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The result should be slightly lumpy, yet combined to form a batter.
3. Whip the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until they reach medium peaks (soft in the middle). You can either whip them by hand with a whisk, or put them in the bowl of an electric mixer to whip. Be careful, you don’t want to overwhip the egg whites.
4. Gently mix half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining half into the batter. Remember: this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated; it should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (The batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)
5. Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat pan — to 350 to 375°F. Grease the hot griddle with the remaining butter. Drop a cup (approximately 4 tablespoons) of pancake batter on the griddle and cook to set. When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crispy on the edges. If ready, flip the pancake.
6. When the pancake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, cooking several pancakes at a time.
1. Melt the chocolate, corn syrup, half-and-half, butter, vanilla, chili powder, and cinnamon together in a stainless-steel bowl over a pot filled with warm water on low heat. Mix until smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly pour in the seltzer. Set aside.
3. Fill a Dutch oven halfway with oil. Heat the oil to 350°F, checking the temperature with a cooking thermometer. Roll the banana halves in the batter and place them on a dish. With tongs, dip a banana tip into the oil and hold firm until the oil begins to bubble. Gently drop the banana half into the oil. Fry 2 banana halves at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bananas turn golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to agitate the bananas every 30 seconds so they do not burn on one side. Repeat with the remaining bananas.
4. Place the fried bananas on a paper-towel-lined plate. Slice the bananas on the bias into 1-inch pieces and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. Serve the slices on top of the pancakes with the Cinnamon Chili Chocolate Sauce.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
slightly adapted from BBC (mostly to make my life easier, ingredient-wise)
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. In a medium saucepan, bring to the boil:
Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften the dates, then remove from heat and stir in:
In a large bowl, cream:
Fold in the dates/tea and pour into a buttered 8x8 pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is just firm to touch.
While the cake is baking, make your sauce! I doubled the amounts below and found that I had plenty of sauce – I recommend you double it too because there’s nothing worse than having to be stingy with sauce, but I’ll put original measurements here in case you want a smaller amount.
In a large pan over low heat, bring to a simmer:
100g (1/2c) light brown sugar
100g (7 Tbsp) unsalted butter
142ml (scant 2/3c) double/heavy cream
When the sugar has dissolved, keep cooking until the sauce has a rich toffee color (yes, that’s really all there is to it!).
Serve the warm cake in squares, drowned in toffee sauce and served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you really want to gild the lily!
Mushroom & Taleggio Cheese Pie
1 tablespoon olive oil
250g mushrooms, thinly sliced (basically one punnet of mushrooms)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (if you can’t find fresh, freeze dried would also work)
375g fresh puff pastry (a standard roll of puff pastry)
1 small packet of fresh rocket (arugula)
300g Taleggio, sliced
1 egg, beaten
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened.
- Reduce the heat; add the garlic and thyme leaves. Season with pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Take off the heat & leave to cool.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface into a rectangular shape. Try to make it as long as you can so that you have enough space to spread the filling quite thinly.
- Scatter the rocket over 1 half of the pastry, then top with the mushrooms and sliced Taleggio.
- Brush the pastry edges with egg and fold the pastry in half over the filling, pressing to seal.
- Put on a baking sheet and prick the pastry with a fork.
- Set the pie aside to rest while you preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F
- Egg wash the pastry and decorate as you fancy. Make a few slashes in the top before putting it in the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Serve hot!
Makes 4 Eggvocado Toasts. An original recipe!
Thick, porous bread (I used a multigrain)
1-2 Large Hass Avocados
4-6 Large eggs
Butter or margarine
Optional: pepper and hot sauce of choice
1. Heat your oven to 400°F, or, use a toaster oven on broil.
2. Cut your avocados in half, and take out the pits. Carefully peel the avocado skin off piece by piece, starting from any edge until it’s completely removed.
3. Place your peeled avocado face-down on a cutting board, carefully slice 1/4 inch off of the bottom, and repeat. If your avocados are large, this will give you four slices from one whole avocado (two halves) with a hole in the center — the perfect well for holding your egg yolk! There will be leftover avocado that won’t be used on the toast, which makes a great snack while you’re prepping.
4. Butter your bread slices, and place them on the baking sheet. A 9″ x 13″ baking sheet will fit 3-4 slices. A toaster oven pan will fit 1-2 slices.
5. Place one avocado slice on each slice of bread. Crack an egg just over the center of the avocado hole so that the yolk rests in the center, while the egg white soaks into the rest of the bread. I used a few extra eggs without the yolk to saturate each slice with extra egg white.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or less if using a toaster oven. Keep a close eye on the egg yolk, as you might want to take it out before it’s completely cooked through.
7. Serve immediately! The bread will harden if it sits out too long. Garnish with pepper and hot sauce, and enjoy!