March 2014

March 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lemon Pancake Cake

My throwback recipe from 2014 would make an ideal treat for Shrove Tuesday this week. It is also featured in  the CCC Cook Book 'A Year of Cake' on page 39.

Stainless Steel Earth Pan by Ozeri
I recently took delivery of a Stainless Steel Earth Pan by Ozeri and wanted to cook something which would really test (according to the manufacturer) the “100% PFOA-Free Non-Stick coating”. According to the manufacturer’s description, the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA has found that PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid), often found in traditional cookware, once ingested is capable of remaining in people for a very long time, and has been shown to cause developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals. Ooooh errr…I am no scientist, simply a humble housewife, but such warnings did raise a slight alarm when I looked at my old, worn and well used pots and pans!

Anyway, what could I cook which would test the pans actual performance and non-stick quality? The answer just had to be a simple pancake. My Lemon Pancake Cake is a perfect and special family dinner dessert, easily put together, with few ingredients.

Perfect pancake
I used my usual sweet batter recipe – 1 cup flour, 1 cup eggs (2 or 3 depending on size), 1 cup milk, 1 dessertspoon sugar) and 1 tablespoon water. This mix made about 10 pancakes and, much to my amazement, I didn’t have to use any oil at all! During cooking, after the batter was poured in, I was able to carefully lift the edge and turn it over, before finally sliding it out to a waiting plate. Not one stuck! 

Cream and lemon curd layer
The cooked pancakes were inter-leaved with non-stick parchment and then left to cool. I then lined a loose-bottomed cake tin with cling film and stacked my pancakes, interspersed with lemon curd and a lemon-flavoured cream – 300ml double cream, zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1, all beaten to soft peaks. The tin was then placed in the fridge overnight for the cake to set.

With its combination of manufacturer’s claim for health benefits, as well as its powerful non-stick properties, I will certainly consider buying other products in this range.

Ready for guests

The Stainless Steel Earth Pan was sent to me free of charge but I was under no obligation to provide a favourable review of this product.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chocolate Ecstasy Tour - London

My fellow chocolate tourers.

I can’t believe a week has gone by since hubby and I joined 8 others on a Chelsea Chocolate Ecstasy Tour and I am certainly getting chocolate withdrawal symptoms whilst writing and thinking about our experience!

William Curley chocolate.
We firstly met Elle, our lovely guide, plus our fellow chocolate tourists at William Curley in Ebury Street. The displays of the most exquisite patissierie and sweet confections were an absolute feast for the eyes – we knew we were on to something good! As we sat drinking hot chocolate, Elle asked about our favourite flavours, and we happily munched upon one or two samples before leaving for our next destination.

Artisan du Chocolat.
Our second stop of the day was at Artisan du Chocolat. True artisans are often fanatical about their products and it was evident from the tastings here that this company insists on high standards. I sampled my favourite, sea salted caramel chocolate, and its liquid centre was truly delicious. I also noticed bottles of the caramel in the window and I was sorely tried but resisted the temptation to buy. I knew there would be more delights to follow.

Pierre Herme macarons.
Elle expertly shepherded us to the next location, pointing out places of interest along the way, and I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I discovered that we were to visit the establishment Pierre Herme of Paris. What could be better than beautiful chocolate, as well as their famous exquisite macarons. I have to tell you, macarons are my guilty pleasure and when I sampled the ‘Infiniment CafĂ© Iapar Rouge du Bresil’ sample, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. 

I really can’t emphasise enough how each retailer on our tour was so welcoming, samples were freely given, at no time were we rushed, and all our questions were answered with enthusiasm. 

Our guide Elle.
Our final stop took us to Rococo Chocolates and a fascinating in-depth talk by Elle on the growing of cacoa and all the facets of chocolate production. Of course, we were almost at chocolate overload but still had room to sample various cocoa solid examples from zero per cent - a white chocolate which, of course, had no cocoa solids, just the butter but it was flavoured with cardamom and was yummy – to one which was 100% and was rather too overpowering for most of the group. 

Although this was my first visit to Rococo, I have read about its creator, Chantal Cody, and her inspiration to open ‘a chocolate paradise’ and, seated in her Sloane Street shop, it was obvious where her passion lies. Delicious chocolate containing healthy ingredients surrounded us, which is sourced ethically, produced and packaged beautifully. I do hope it won’t be too long before I can revisit.

A Rococo display.

Thank you so much Elle and Chocolate Ecstasy Tours – it was a chocoholic delight!