Thursday, 11 October 2007

Chocolate and Asparagus

Not together, of course. Eww. Last night we had some friends around, and we ate pide, salads and chocolate cake. I made the salads, and Belinda made the cake, and the bloke made the martinis. A good time was had by all, featuring furniture assembly by candlelight in the Red Room, and a discussion ranging over blue lycra crab costumes, lolcats, Dita von Teese, and the correct pronunciation of Xian and Chengdu.

I liked my asparagus salad, and the cake was amazing, so herewith are the recipes. The cake looked like a magnificently crumpled ruin, archaeological more than culinary, and it hit you with chocolate richness. It's not an original recipe - she found it somewhere out on that thar intarweb thing, as you can tell from the American ingredient list. The photo must be from the net, Belinda's wasn't glazed and was more walnut-nobbly on top. A lot of sites come up when I google for the title, so I don't know who to credit.

Recipe 1: Asparagus Salad
2 bunches asparagus (15-20 spears)
100g fetta cheese

8 sundried tomatoes in oil, well drained

1 tablespoon macadamia oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cook the asparagus as you prefer. Cool it and combine with the crumbled fetta, and the chopped tomatoes. Dress with oil and lemon. Easy.

Notes: I microwaved the asparagus, but this would be great fresh off a barbecue grill.

Recipe 2: Tunnel of Fudge cake
1 3/4 c. butter, softened
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 c. powdered sugar
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa
2 c. chopped walnuts

Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add powdered sugar, blending well. By hand, stir in flour, cocoa and walnuts until well blended.

Spoon batter into greased and floured 12 cup Bundt pan or 10 inch angel food tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 58-62 minutes. Cool upright in pan on cooling rack 1 hour. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely. Spoon glaze over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Yields 16 servings.

Note: Nuts are essential for success of recipe. Because cake has soft tunnel of fudge, ordinary doneness cannot be used. Accurate oven temperature and baking time are critical. In altitudes above 3500 feet, increase flour to 2 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons.

3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2-2 tbsp. milk
Combine sugar, cocoa and milk in small bowl until well blended. Store tightly covered.

I love how this recipe is so precise. Alterations for altitude! 58-62 minutes?! 63 shall not be the count, neither count thou 57, excepting that thou then proceed to 58. 65 is right out.

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