Monthly Archives: April 2012

Orange & Rosemary Butter Cake

Hello there!  Anyone still around???  I feel like I’ve gone AWOL again.  Would be lovely if I could have this blog as my full-time occupation.  Some of you do the blogger thing full-time out there … what’s the secret???  I’ll figure it out, eventually …  😉

I’m very excited as I’m working with some very talented people to  overhaul this blog and redesign the site!  At last!  The aim is to give it a whole new look and feel that fits with what this blog is all about and separate out the protein cookery section and make it all easier to navigate and a whole bunch of other stuff.   So watch this space, CCMers 😀

Right now, though, I’m thinking oranges.  Why?  It’s not part of the new blog colour scheme, if that’s what you’re thinking.  The reason is that navel oranges are coming back into season here in Australia, specifically Victoria.  We grow awesome oranges locally.   But it irks me that in the warmer months we import Navel oranges because everyone seems to want Navels.  In summer, we have the most wonderful Valencia oranges that always seem to be cast aside, into the shadows, with Navels always getting the limelight.  Or orangelight in this case.  Whatever.   I love using fruit and vegetables in season.  They are so much better – sweeter, juicier, and at their peak nutritionally.  I bought quite a few this week.  Fragrant, perfect, juicy and sweet.  Locally grown Navels, because their season has begun and the Valencias have disappeared.  At least from my local market.

I’ve barely baked anything at all lately aside from essentials like my protein bread.  I’ve simply neglected proper baking altogether.  Working long hours and not having any time out, even on weekends and public holidays, eventually takes its toll.  I’m not fishing for sympathy, mind you.  Just a stress buster.  The other night, I grabbed my apron, and walked purposefully into the kitchen.

“I’m baking a cake.  A proper butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, bona fide cake”, I declared … and so I did.

Of course, there would be oranges.  Given my rosemary bush is just beautiful now and you can smell its fragrance in the garden, I just had to use that too.  Lemon and rosemary are a very common combination in breads and cakes but orange and rosemary is fairly traditional in Italy too.  It smells like heaven … sharp rosemary mixed with the sweetness of the orange … wrapped up in a classic butter cake.

I hope you love this cake.  It’s very simple and a little rustic but rather sophisticated too.  It’s lovely served on its own with a cup of tea or an espresso.  It also makes an interesting dessert, served with a generous dollop of thick Greek yoghurt or créme fraîche.  A few orange segments alongside would not go astray.  Use oranges in season! 🙂


Makes 1 x 18cm – 20cm cake / Serves 8 – 10

150 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 grams sugar
3 large eggs
1 large orange
185 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 grams / 1 generous tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line the base and sides of a 18 – 20cm round cake tin with baking paper (unless using the non-stick variety).

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Add the eggs and beat until smooth.  Finely grate the zest of the orange and add to the egg and butter mixture.  Juice the orange and set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder together.  Add half to the batter and beat until smooth.  Add the orange juice and mix well.  Add the remaining half of the flour and beat until smooth.  Finally, add the chopped rosemary and fold in.

Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  The top of the cake should be light golden.  Set aside to cool in the tin.

This cake keeps well, stored in an airtight container for several days.  If it lasts that long.


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cakes, Fruit

Tamari Ginger Atlantic Salmon

Hands up if you love salmon?  Wow, it’s like a mexican wave out there 🙂

I’m posting this recipe because I keep posting pictures of it on the Facebook page and everyone asks for the recipe but I’ve been too lazy to post it.  Well, not exactly lazy but you see, when I make it, I’m usually just cooking it to eat it, not cooking it to photograph it, style the plate beautifully, and regale the world with the fabulousness of its inherent simplicity.  You see my point?  I think you can by the fact that the pics are so obviously taken (in some haste) with iPhone cam.  Next time, I may well make time to photograph them properly and update the pics.

But that’s OK, because it’s all about the salmon, isn’t it?  All about the food, sharing the love, and the goodness.  So without further ado …

This salmon dish is truly a fast, simple meal that is prepared in minutes.  Fifteen minutes from washing the salmon to sitting down and eating it.  It’s also amazingly healthy and delicious.  It ticks all the boxes.  If you use soy instead of tamari, it’s also gluten-free.  You cannot go wrong with this dish.  I dare you not to fall in love with it.

I always use sashimi grade atlantic salmon for this recipe.  The flavour is amazing.  It’s the rectangular fillet, not the cutlet, that works best here.  It’s a shame we can’t get wild caught salmon in Australia, but there you go.

Serve it immediately, or make ahead and serve at room temperature or even chilled.  It’s the best ever make-ahead salmon meal.  I love making this to take with me when I’m not in the office during the day.  It is also fantastic party fare.  You are welcome 😉

The recipe serves one. If you want to scale it up to serve two or more people, use about 1 1/2 x the recipe for the marinade for two fillets.  Double the quantity of marinade for three fillets (servings).

For anyone interested in the macronutrient breakdown:

473 kCals, 42g protein, 13g carbohydrates, and 26g total fats (of which only 5g is saturated).

These are based on a 200 gram fillet, which yields around a 150 gram serving when cooked.   I actually got these macros from My Fitness Pal as I’m trialling MFP on their macros while I’m tracking my own daily intake for a short time.  Ah, don’t ask … 😛

A special shout out to Lydia over on the FB page and Nikki (aka the fabulous Cinchpt) … this is for you!!

Enjoy 🙂

Serves 1

1 x 200 – 250 grams atlantic salmon fillet (raw weight)

20 millilitres salt-reduced tamari
20 millilitres mirin
juice of 1/2 lime
zest of 1 lime
1 clove garlic
1 knob of fresh ginger (small walnut size)
fresh chopped chilli (optional)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped or shredded

Wash the salmon fillet under cold running water and pat dry.
Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the salmon and trim off any visible fat, if needed.
Cut the fillet in half lengthwise and then slice it into even sized chunks.  Set aside.

Mix together the tamari, mirin, lime juice and grated zest of the lime in a small bowl.
Mince the garlic and ginger and add to the marinade.
Finely chop the chilli, if using, and add it to the marinade. Stir to mix.

Heat a non stick frying pan. When hot, add the olive oil.
Add the salmon pieces and cook, turning as needed, until just cooked through.
Raise the heat a little, and pour over the marinade, carefully turning the salmon to make sure it absorbs the flavours on all sides.
Remove the salmon to a serving dish. If needed, reduce the marinade down a fraction to make a sauce. Pour over the salmon.
Sprinkle over the basil and toss gently.  Serve immediately.

Serve immediately with green salad, veggies, whatever, or store airtight in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Money shot … 🙂


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Savouries, Special Diet

Cho-co Truffles with Anti-Ganache … say what?

Captain Kirk: “Wow, I can’t believe it’s not ganache!”
Bones McCoy: “It’s ganache, Jim.  But not as you know it”  😛

Well, that’s what I think the exchange would be on the starship Enterprise, had Captain Kirk been presented with one of these chocolately delights.  Hot damn, if you’re a star graduate of the Starfleet Academy, you’d be wanting to keep in great shape.  But no-one should miss truffles.  Who better to appreciate the matter-antimatter complexities inherent in creating a lighter version of the classic truffle, without sacrificing the creamy lushness we all adore?  Mixing chocolate with non-fat (aka anti-matter) ingredients?

Interestingly enough, it’s not just a massive KABOOM with only a spray of photons (aka light or cacao powder in this case) to show for our efforts.  Like water for chocolate … it’s all in the order in which you do things … which sea of yummy atoms is kept warm, which is kept cool, and which is added to which, in what order, before they fuse in a plasma (ok ganache) of chocolatey creamy mmmmmm …

So I’ve created my own anti-ganache to use for truffles, or as a filling for cakes, tarts, muffins … or to eat with a spoon perchance 😀

It defies the laws of ganache making but the result is a perfect ganache texture but with a flavour that is lighter and more tangy than a traditional ganache.  If you’ve ever had the pleasure of making ganache with creme fraiche, you’ll have some idea of what I’m talking about.  So maybe you don’t have to stop at just one …

I know what Spock would say:  “Fascinating … ”  but he’d follow that with “It’s logical“.   Yeah, he would.

I’ve given two amounts for the yoghurt in the ingredients list.  The lower amount is perfect for making truffles.  The higher amount is perfect if you want to use the ganache as a frosting or filling for cakes, cupcakes or desserts.  It’s the perfect consistency for piping or spreading and won’t set as much as the truffle mixture.  The frosting version is also great to serve as a fast, easy alternative to chocolate mousse.  It’s takes all of a few minutes to make and serve.

I used Chobani 0% Greek yoghurt for its fabulous thick creamy texture and flavour.  It’s a lot like creme fraiche, without the calories and fat.  I’ve also made the truffles and lighter ganache with the Chobani 2% yoghurt.  Both are wonderful, the latter has a slightly richer flavour.  If you are unable to find Chobani yoghurt, choose the best flavoured plain yoghurt you can find and strain it.  You will need roughly double the amount of yoghurt to get the amount in the recipe after it is strained (i.e. 240 – 400 grams or so).

The possibilities are endless in the chocolate universe, are they not?

I’ll be posting some more ganache “alternatives” soon …

Macros are included below for anyone, like me, that needs to know.   The plain ganache, without coating or flavourings added has around 2/3 the kCals, two times the protein, and only half the total and saturated fat of conventional truffles.  Sobering 🙂

Makes about 20 truffles (220 grams of ganache)

Yoghurt Anti-Ganache
100 grams good quality dark chocolate (70% – 100% cacao)
120 – 200 grams thick 0% Greek yoghurt (I used Chobani 0% Plain)
pinch of Fleur de Sel or other sea salt

5 grams unsweetened shredded coconut**

** you can use anything you like to coat the truffles.  I would avoid cacao powder as the moisture in the truffles tends to absorb the cacao powder after a while, spoiling the appearance (but not the flavour).  Good options are finely chopped nuts, cacao nibs (oh mamma!), even colourful sprinkles if that’s your thing!

Chop the chocolate into small even-sized pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.  I find a glass or Pyrex bowl is the absolute best for melting and tempering chocolate.  It retains the heat evenly so the chocolate melts evenly and keeps its temper.  We don’t need to worry about tempering the chocolate for these truffles this time, of course.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure that no steam or condensation gets into the chocolate.  Let the chocolate melt and remove the bowl to a bench and stir until smooth.  Alternatively, place the bowl into the microwave for 60 seconds.  Remove and stir until the chocolate is evenly melted.  There should be no lumps in the chocolate.

Now grab yourself a hand-held wire whisk.  Don’t own one?   What???  *breathes deeply to calm herself*  LOL.  OK, get one.  No kitchen is complete without a whisk.

Have whisk, will travel.

Trust me.  You can’t drag your bench top appliances around the globe but you can go anywhere with a whisk.  You’ll never be caught out.

So grab that whisk!  Add the yoghurt to the chocolate.  Don’t panic.  There will be no seizures here today.  Whisk 120 grams of the yoghurt into the chocolate.  Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth.  If you have used a higher percentage chocolate, particularly above 90%, you may need to add a little more yoghurt to achieve a thick, smooth ganache.  If so, add a little more, as needed.  As a guide, I’ve made this with 99% cacao chocolate and I used up to 140 grams of yoghurt in that case.

If you are making the ganache to use as a filling, use the full 200 grams of yoghurt for a lighter texture, perfect for piping or spreading as a frosting on cakes, cupcakes, etc.

At this point you can add any flavourings that you wish.  Whisk gently to incorporate them.

Cover and refrigerate for about 20 – 30 minutes.  Form into truffles and coat in the coconut.  Store in the refrigerator.

These truffles will keep for several days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.  I do think, though, that they are at their best if eaten within 24 hours.

If you are making this to eat as a mousse, serve immediately.  If you refrigerate it, it will set to some extent.

Macronutrient Profile
I’ve provided macros here for anyone for whom they’re important (that includes me!).  I’ve used macros for the Chobani 0% plain yoghurt.  For the chocolate, I have used values based on the Lindt Excellence 70% and 99% chocolates.  I’ve done this for two reasons.  Firstly, Lindt Excellence (plain) is a good quality dark chocolate and secondly, it’s both affordable and widely available.  It is also fairly indicative of the macro values for chocolates of these intensities.

I’ve also included macros for a standard truffle ganache based on the same quantity of cream (35% fat) substituted for the yoghurt.  This shows the difference in protein, fat and calories.


Filed under All Recipe Posts, Chocolate, Confectionery, Fillings, Protein, Protein Chocolates, Special Diet