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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Mushroom Trifecta Pasta

I first heard the term Trifecta as a University student and quickly learnt that it was related to Horse Racing. You basically pick the horses that will finish first, second, and third in exact order. I was never into horses nor into horse racing so it was with pleasure that I discovered that the term Trifecta is also used to describe a situation when three elements come together at the same time. This is especially true for food where three items come together very nicely. In fact, there is a popular meal that includes beans, rice, and quesadillas that is known as a "The Trifecta."

So, when trying to come up for a name for this mushroom pasta that uses three different types of mushrooms, what better name could I think off than the Mushroom Trifecta Pasta! It sure would sound good on a restaurant menu.

I decided on a Mushroom pasta to get away from the usual and try something different. The kids love creamy pasta and tomato based pastas and usually the mushrooms are a side ingredient rather than the main ingredient. For this dish, three different types of mushrooms make up the main ingredients and there is absolutely no meat in it at all!

5 cloves garlic - chopped
1 large onion - sliced
1 Tbsp Oregano
2 stalks celery - sliced
250g Portobello Mushrooms - sliced
250g White button mushrooms - sliced
250g Oyster Mushrooms - sliced (or torn into pieces)
3 Large tomatoes - sliced
100g Basil Leaves
Black Pepper

Sautee the garlic, onion and oregano till onion in soft. Add in the celery and continue to cook. Add in the mushrooms and cook till the juices come out. Put in the tomatoes, cover the pan and allow to simmer until the tomatoes are soft and the juices released into the sauce. Toss in the Basil leaves and mix well. Stir in the pasta to coat well. Serve.

I have to say this dish ranks as one of my favourite vegetarian pastas. The mushrooms actually lend and air of 'meatness' to the dish and meat lovers wouldnt really notice that there is no meat in this. Regardless of the meat or no meat, this pasta dish is really tasty and even better, really, really healthy!

Its been a while since I've taken part in Presto Pasta Nights but I'm back with this entry. This week, PPN is being hosted by Claire of Chez Cayenne and of course, Presto Pasta Nights is the brainchild of my friend Ruth over at Once upon a feast. It's good to be back to taking part in PPN and I hope you all like this recipe as much as my family and I did!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Triple Layer Chocolate Delight

This post is rather late and I realise that I have quite a backlog of posts to clear up. I made this cake for our Christmas Meal in 2010 and I mentioned that although it turned out well, it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. I had mentioned in that post that:

I had wanted the baked layer of the dessert to be softer but it turned out more like a brownie thanks to me adding in too much flour, forgetting that the cocoa would act as a binder as well. (I redid the layer a few days later and I'll post about that soon - I hope!)

So yes, you realise how late this post is!

This is how I wanted the layer to be. Soft, baked mousse, although in the remake, I left out the walnuts.

This is the full recipe for how it Should be!

For the Base
1 Packs Oreos
50g Butter

For the Baked Mousse
100g Walnuts
4 eggs
170g good quality chocolate
10g butter
120g brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp baking powder

For the Mousse
200g Good Quality Chocolate
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
3 Egg Yolks
300ml Whipping Cream


For the Base:
Melt the butter and let cool. Crush the oreos and mix with the melted butter. Pack into a 9" springform pan. Bake for 15 mins in a 180C oven. Allow to cool.

For the Baked Mousse:
Melt the chocolate with butter and set aside. Whisk the eggs with sugar till thick and foamy. Add in the chocolate mixture and mix well. Add in the cocoa sifted together with corn flour and baking powder. Turn out into the oreo base and bake for 25 mins at 180C. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the mousse top:
Whip the cream till soft peaks. Melt the chocolate with the brown sugar and whisk in the egg yolks. If mixture seizes, dont worry. Add in the cream a little at a time and whisk till smooth. Fold in to rest of cream and then once cake is cool, spread over the cake.

Allow to chill for at least 4 hours

It really is a lovely dessert and anything with loads of chocolate and nuts is a winner in my book. You may want to double the ingredients for the oreo base as I thought more Oreos would make the dessert taste even better.

Remember that the pictures are the original attempt and not how the edited recipe would appear. Try and picture a combination of the mousse top and the baked mousse cake shown earlier and you get the idea. Sorry if I'm complicating things!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Double Choc Chip Muffins

Sometime in mid January, the kids wanted something to munch on. They were also a little 'concerned' about what they could take to school for break time. The 'concern' came from the fact that school was into its second week and they were tired of their usual ration of cookies.

I asked them if they would like me to make them something. Their eyes lit up and they asked me what I was going to make. I first thought of making my usual Choc Chip Muffins but then I decided that I would try something different. I suggested Double Choc Chip Muffins and they both looked at me enquiringly.

My little princess asked if that meant that there were Double the amount of Choc Chips, so I explained that Double Choc Chip Muffins meant that the cake was chocolate AND there were Choc Chips in it. That's what the double meant. Both of them responded with a resounding "Yes Please!" This was quickly followed by "Can we help?"

And help they did! They helped to measure the flour, beat the mixture and of course their most favourite part was licking the bowl and utensils clean. This is what we did:

250 g butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cocoa
1 cup cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
100 g Choc Chips

Melt butter and cool. Beat melted butter and sugar till well combined. Add in eggs a little at a time. Beat till creamy
Sift flour together with baking powder and cocoa.Fold into cream mixture.
Add in vanilla and choc chips. Mix well. Divide equally into muffin cases. Makes about 12 large muffins
Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for 35 minutes or till done.
Remove from oven and cool

The muffins were absolutely delicious. Very chocolatey, very moist and quite rich too. In retrospect, it would have been better to make them in smaller muffin cases as even eating just one was very filling.

The muffins were eaten for dessert that very night and they went great with ice cream. The next morning, both kids took a muffin each to school and the day after as well!


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