Friday, 1 January 2016

What we ate.

Well, the first thing to state is that we ate far too much rich food. Not that I'm complaining, for a short while it's great to be utterly indulgent! I made three cold desserts that were gradually demolished over four holiday days, with six full-time eaters and friends coming to join us.
A hamper arrived on Christmas Eve. Have I told you how much I love hampers? They have all the excitement of putting your hand in a bran tub and feeling about for treasure! You know there are going to be some tasty goodies inside but you don't know exactly what you will find.
 This year's hamper came from Harvey Nick's and was a stylish affair in black wicker. We delved about in the wrapping and discovered all sorts of tasty things. (Absolute favourite is their brandy butter!)
There was a ridiculous black taxi tree decoration on the top layer that went straight onto the tree.
The tree comes in from the garden every year and has ever fewer needles on it's branches. It looks rather forlorn until the decorations are in place.
These are the cold desserts that I made.
Cassata alla Siciliana 
3 eggs
3oz sugar
rind of a lemon
half teaspoon vanilla essence.  Whisk all together until thick then add
3oz sifted flour. Put in a lined and greased 2pint loaf tin.  
Bake for about half an hour at gas mark 5.

Filling and icing.
1lb Ricotta cheese
4oz castor sugar.    Beat together until light. Add
2 tablespoons Cointreau or similar. Divide into two portions. Keep a slightly larger amount for the icing and to this add
2oz grated chocolate
2oz chopped crystalized orange peel
1 tablespoon chopped pistachio nuts.

When the cake has cooled cut it horizontally into three layers and sprinkle the bottom and middle layers with another couple of tablespoons of Cointreau. Spread the filling on the bottom and middle layers of cake, put on the top layer and chill. Spread the remaining portion of sugar/cheese mix over the cake and decorate as desired. I used white chocolate stars. The photos show less than half the remaining cake, rather clumsily cut - it should show quite distinct layers of filling and cake. 
It tastes good! 

This torte is such a great recipe, easy to make, freezes well and is so rich that a little goes a long way. Eight of us ate it on Boxing Day and there was plenty left over for the following day.

Truffle Torte
3oz  crushedAmarette biscuits spread over the base of a 9inch cake tin that has been greased and lined with a circle of paper.
1lb melted chocolate
5 tablespoons liquid glucose
5 tablespoons rum mixed together and slightly cooled. Add
1pint lightly whipped double cream. Blend all together well and pour into the tin. Cover with cling film and chill. (Or if making well in advance of eating then freeze.)
Invert onto a serving plate and dust with cocoa powder.
I decorated with rum truffles and sprinkled on some edible gold dust that came in my Christmas stocking.
Rum Truffles
5fl oz thick double cream
1oz unsalted butter
2 tablespoons rum heated together in a saucepan to simmering point. Add
5oz  grated dark chocolate and blend everything together until smooth. Mix in
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt and pour the liquid into a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate  to thicken.
Roll into small balls and decorate as desired with dipped chocolate, toasted almonds, chopped ginger or rolled in cocoa powder. Like the torte, they freeze well.

In contrast to the torte this cheesecake is refreshingly light and fresh tasting.
Lemon Cheesecake
4 oz crushed digestive biscuits mixed with
2oz melted butter and pressed into the base of an oiled 8inch loose-bottomed cake tin.
12oz cottage cheese
2 oz sugar
2 egg yolks blended together with the
rind and juice of a lemon.
Half an ounce of powdered gelatine melted into three tablespoons of water and
5 fluid oz lightly whipped double cream added to the mixture and blended in. Pour onto the biscuit base and chill.

If your New Year resolution is to diet then I apologise for posting these recipes!


  1. I am intrigued by your truffle torte and would like to make it for a company dinner this week. What kind of chocolate do you melt? Semi sweet? German sweet? Please tell! Thanks!

    1. I used 81% premium cocoa beans which produces a very dark, rich torte. Lidl's 70% Ecuador chocolate is equally good. It's such an easy recipe but can be dressed up to look quite special. I hope you will like it.

    2. The truffle torte was amazing— basically a giant truffle! As you promised, very easy to make and a real hit with the guests. Thank you! Now how do I keep from finishing off the leftovers and putting on a stone or two?

  2. It all looks delicious! Sending you wishes for a Happy New Year! Bonnie

    1. Dear Bonnie, thank you for your good wishes, I feel that the year has started well. I wish you a happy and a healthy 2016 with serene sleep and no waking in the night to plan the day ahead!