Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ottolenghi's Hazelnut Cupcakes

These cupcakes are the ultimate indulgence but the nuts in the batter stop the cakes from being too sugary whilst adding texture. Light as a feather, and with the cream cheese topping synonymous with American cupcakes such as those at Magnolia Bakery in New York, this is definitely my favourite cupcake flavour!

Hazelnut Cupcake Recipe, Ottolenghi 'The Cookbook'
  • Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Place 45g Unblanched Hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes, until lightly coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cold, rub them in a tea towel and shake to get rid of most of the skins. Blitz in a food processor with 75g Caster Sugar until finely chopped.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 170˚C. Line a muffin tray with 8-12 paper cases (muffin sized). Sift together 180g Plain Flour, 1¼ tsp Baking Powder, and 1/3 tsp Salt. Cream together 150g Unsalted Butter, 75g Caster Sugar, 1 tbsp Hazelnut Oil (or any other nut oil) and the chopped hazelnuts until light and fluffy.
  • Beat 2 small Free-range Eggs together and then mix into the wet batter slowly. Next fold in half the dry ingredients and half a 150ml pot Soured Cream. Once incorporated do the same with the other half of the dry ingredients and Soured Cream.
  • Spoon into the cases, filling them to with 5mm of the rim and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
  • To make the icing: Beat 150g Cream Cheese with 150g Mascarpone until light. In a separate bowl, beat 80g Soft Unsalted Butter with 100g Icing Sugar with an electric mix for 5 minutes. Fold in the cheese mixture and then ice each cake using a spatula to create swirls. 

    Saturday, 15 October 2011

    Stylishly Sated in...Paris and Grenoble

    Good food is synonymous with France, but I find that if you go to the big cities or tourist destinations you can so easily have a below par meal at huge prices (the euro quickly squashes any notion of anywhere in France on a budget!). I long to find those quiet bistros, tucked sown a side street, populated solely by locals, but of course you can only find those by stumbling upon them as any form of publicity would put paid to their anonymity. So when a whirlwind long weekend to Paris and Grenoble beckoned, the pressure was on to find some good places to eat.

    Paris was barley a 24 hour stop, so it was wonderful to find that our hotel sat just behind Angelina, 226 Rue de Rivoli, the famous Parisian tearoom – in fact I could have done some serious patisserie bin raiding if I hadn’t been worried by my sanity and a raised eyebrow from the all-black clad glamazon fashionistas pounding the cobbles of the Place Vendome nearby. And actually, if I have to admit it, the beautifully crafted cakes look better than they taste! I had a much better millefeuille at LadurĂ©e but, no matter, Angelina’s delicious Croquet-Madame more than makes up for it.

    Eye candy...