September 12, 2012

Lunchtime favourite

tuna salad 1

I love salads. They make a great dinner and an even better lunch. But growing up, salad as a main meal was only ever served in summer for lunch. I still remember how outraged my dad was one winter evening when I suggested we have tuna salad for dinner. "It's freezing outside, why would I want something cold for dinner"?  In a way he's right. There's nothing cosy about having chilled greens when the temperature outside is -40.

As the weather warms up here in Australia I'm making more salads again. This Tuna and Bean Salad from Petrea King is quick, fresh and healthy and there's enough for the lunchbox the next day.

Tuna and Bean salad
serves 2

150 g green beans trimmed and halved
1 cup cooked cannellini beans
1/4 Spanish red onion, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 kalamata olives
180 g can tuna, drained
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard

Blanch the green beans in a saucepan of boiling water and refresh in cold water. Combine with the canellini beans, onion, tomatoes and olives and place on 2 plates.

Break the tuna into flakes and place on top of the salad. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard and drizzle over the salad.

September 11, 2012

The Birthday Cake

birthday cake 2

Mr N is partial to anything with chocolate, and particularly Black Forest Cake. For his birthday this year I attempted (again) to bake him "the ultimate chocolate and cherry cake". It's been a six year process, but I think I might have finally cracked it.

This Dark Chocolate Cherry cake is stunning. Yummy, densely chocolately and with a hint of cherries. It tastes even better the next day. I couldn't find any fresh cherries so I decorated with white choc dipped strawberries which I think worked really well. If there's one criticism... I might cut back on the cinnamon next time as it was a bit too strong. And the base is very delicate. I cut the bottom layer too thin meaning breakage. That said, nothing a bit of ganache won't fix!

birthday cake 3

Recipe from Swedish cooking magazine Allt om Mat:

Dark Chocolate Cake with Cherries

175 g butter, softened
300 ml sugar
4 eggs
200 ml full fat milk

200 ml plain flour
100 ml cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar

Chocolate filling
400 g dark chocolate (70%)
250 g butter
100 ml icing sugar
200 ml cherry jam


1. Turn the oven to 175 degrees. Using a 24 cm springform attach baking paper to bottom, butter sides.

2. Beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Separate eggs and put eggwhites in separate bowl. Add egg yolks one at a time to butter and sugar mixtures and then milk. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients then add to batter.

3. Whip eggwhites until stiff peaks form. Fold carefully into batter.

4. Pour into prepared tin. Bake in lower part of oven for 50 minutes. Let cake cool in pan.


1. Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Sift icing sugar into mixture and stir until dissolved. Put aside 300 ml of filling to ice the cake. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Cut cake in three. Spread chocolate filling on one cake. Put second cake on top and spread with cherry jam. Put third cake on top and pour the preserved icing on top and onto sides.

3. Decorate with cherries or chocolate dipped strawberries.

4. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes. Let it stand in room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. 

birthday 1

September 10, 2012

It's spring time let's Tosca

toscakaka sliver

Looking through my photos just lately I seem to have been baking a lot. So maybe it's time I shared some recipes.

It's spring time in the southern hemisphere and this Swedish classic Tosca cake is lovely with a coffee in the sunshine.

This is a buttery sponge with a nutty caramel topping. What's not to like! I used a recipe from Swedish food magazine but doubled the topping as it was a bit on the stingy side.

To the recipe