Here is an easy, but elegant Chocolate Mousse that is sure to make your mother smile.
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Dutch Cocoa
3 Large Separated Eggs
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/4 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
3 Tablespoons Orange Liqueur
3 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
Extra Whipped Cream For Garnish
Raspberries For Garnish
In a medium saucepan melt the unsalted butter over a low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool. In a large size bowl beat the egg yolks, with a hand mixer, until they are nice and thick. They should have a lemon color. Slowly beat in 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Now beat in the cocoa mixture on low. Stir in 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and the orange liqueur. In a medium size bowl beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Beat the remaining heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a medium size bowl until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over beat. You don’t want to end up with butter. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into individual dessert dishes. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Garnish with whipped cream and raspberries. Serves 8
If you want friends then make this cheesecake!
1 1/3 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 Stick Butter
1 Tablespoon Cocoa
12 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate (Chopped Small)
3 (8 Ounces Each) Packages of Cream Cheese
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Custard Powder
3 Large Eggs
3 Large Egg Yolks
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
1/2Teaspoon Cocoa (Dissolved in 1 Tablespoon Hot Water)
3 Ounces Finely Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon Dark Corn Syrup
Preheat your oven to 350° F. For the crust put the graham crackers in either a blender or food processor. Add the butter and cocoa. Pulse until the crumbs are damp. Pour the crumbs mixture into a 9 inch springform pan. Spread evenly into the bottom of the pan and press well. Place into the freezer while you are preparing the filling.
To make the filling: Boil a small pan of water. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then set it aside to slightly cool. Beat the cream cheese to get it nice and soft. Add the powdered sugar and the custard powder. Beat again until well combined. Add the 3 eggs and also the additional 3 egg yolks. Beat for 20 seconds. Add the sour cream, the cocoa dissolved in hot water and melted chocolate. Beat until you have a smooth batter.
Remove the pan from the freezer and pour in the cheesecake filling. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. You will notice that the top of the cheesecake will be set, but the underside will have a bit of a jiggle to it. Don’t worry about that. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake fully cool, in the pan, on a wire rack. When it is fully cooled cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to serve remove from the fridge and let it sit on the courter for 45 minutes before removing from the springform pan.
Remove from the pan and place on a cake plate. To make the chocolate sauce: Slowly melt the chocolate, cream and syrup in a double boiler. When the chocolate has almost melted remove from the heat and whisk it to make a smooth sauce. Let the sauce cool, on the counter, for 10 minutes and then pour over the cheesecake on the cake plate. Serves 8
*Note: You should be able to find custard powder in any British section of the grocery store. I usually use Birds Custard.
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
8 Medium Artichokes
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Mint Leaves
1 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Chopped Garlic Cloves
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
Fill a large bowl with cold water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Trim the artichokes by laying each artichoke on its side and with a serrated knife cut 1 inch off the top. Trim the stem end and cut off the stem level with the bottom of the artichoke. Peel the tough outer layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler. Bend back the dark outer leaves just from around the base of the artichoke. Snap off and throw away. With kitchen shears trim the thorny tips from the remaining leaves. Place the stems and trimmed artichokes in the bowl of lemon water to prevent browning. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. In a large skillet heat 1 inch of water to a boil. Stand the artichokes in the boiling water. Add the stems and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Drain the artichokes. In a medium size bowl combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mint, all of the breadcrumbs, Romano cheese, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. This should make about 3 1/2 cups. Preheat the oven to 400° F. When the artichokes are cool enough to handle pull out the prickly center leaves from each artichoke with a teaspoon. Scrape out the fuzzy choke and throw away (without cutting into the heart). Finely chop the stems and stir into the mint mixture. Stand the artichokes on a large baking sheet – stems down. Pull the leaves down to open slightly. Spoon the mint mixture between the leaves and into the center cavities (a little less than 1/2 cup per artichoke). Bake for 25 minutes until the stuffing is golden and the artichokes are heated through. Serve hot. Serves 8
This week is Easter and coconut cake is on my mind. I wanted to make a cake that is a bit more traditional. Enjoy this time with family and friends and have a Happy Easter.
1 ½ Cup Unbleached Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2/3 Cup Coconut
Additional Coconut For Garnish
Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a large bowl cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Next add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk. Mix well. Add the coconut. Pour the batter into two prepared 8 inch round cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans, on wire racks, for 15 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and cool completely. Frost and top with more coconut.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese
½ Cup Softened Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Marinating Lamb Chops
These Lamb Chops are wonderful either on the grill or under the broiler. Marinating them overnight really brings out the flavor.
4 Lamb Chops
6 Chopped Garlic Cloves
½ Cup Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
¼ Cup Torn Mint Leaves
In a small bowl mix all of the ingredients except for the lamb chops. Place the lamb chops into a large ziplock plastic bag and pour the marinade in the bag. Make sure to cover the chops. Put in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to cook the chops, remove the bag from the fridge and take the chops out of the bag. Throw away the bag with the excess marinade. Place the chops on a heated grill or on a broiler pan under the broiler. How rare you want your lamb chops will determine how long you cook the chops on each side. I like to cook them between 2 to 3 minutes each side. When finished cooking, remove from the heat and transfer to a serving plate. Serves 2
By adding the grated apple, which is a pectin packed fruit, it naturally jells the jam and gives it a pleasant tartness.
1 Pound Strawberries
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Peeled Granny Smith Apple
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
Hull and quarter the strawberries. You may use fresh or frozen (thaw before using). In a heavy skillet combine the strawberries and sugar. Grate the peeled apple and stir into the strawberry mixture. Cook over a medium low heat. Stir and break up the strawberries until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes until the jam has thickened. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl or jar and let cool. Cover and chill for 2 ½ hours until set. Keep chilled and serve within 2 weeks. Makes 1 ½ cups.
Strawberry & Rhubarb Compote
Strawberries & rhubarb were meant to be together. The sweet, juicy berries mellow the tart, slightly astringent rhubarb. While there is nothing wrong with the traditional pie, I decided to make a sweet, jam-like, easy compote that is perfect for serving over pound cake or any cake for that matter. You can also serve it topped with ice cream or stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. The compote will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week.
1 Pound Hulled & Chopped Strawberries (3 Cups)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Pound Sliced ¼ Inch Thick Rhubarb
¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons Water
In a medium size bowl, toss the strawberries with ½ cup sugar and lemon juice. Next, transfer the strawberry mixture to a small nonreactive pan. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes and stir often. Remove the strawberries and place them into a small bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, in another small pan over a medium low heat, combine the rhubarb and remaining sugar, salt and the water. Simmer for 6 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the rhubarb is almost tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the bowl with the strawberries and combine. Finally, transfer the strawberry & rhubarb mixture to a medium size pan and cook for 10 minutes over a medium low heat. Remove from the heat and transfer compote to a bowl and let cool for 45 minutes until the compote comes to room temperature. Serve over cake, ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal. Makes 4 cups.
Irish Cream Truffles
These Irish Cream Truffles are easy to make and worth every bite. They make a nice homemade gift or keep them for yourself.
1 Cup Whipping Cream
1 Pound High Quality Real Bittersweet Chocolate Broken Into 1 Inch Pieces
4 Ounces High Quality Real Milk Chocolate Broken Into 1 Inch Pieces
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
¼ Cups Butter
3 Tablespoons Irish Cream Liqueur
2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
In a 2 quart saucepan place the whipping cream, bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate. Cook over a low heat for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Irish Cream Liqueur. When the butter has melted pour the truffle mixture into a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. You want the mixture to be firm. Remove from the fridge and set on the counter for a few minutes. In a medium size shallow bowl sift the cocoa. With a tablespoon scoop out rounded tablespoonfuls of the chocolate mixture. Drop each one into the cocoa and roll to coat. Shape into balls and roll in the cocoa again. Gently place onto a tray and refrigerate them for 45 minutes until firm. Store refrigerated. Makes 36 truffles.
Dry Rub Salmon
You certainly can’t go wrong with a nice piece of salmon. Add olive oil and dry rub and you have a delicious piece of fish. This dish goes well with my Cotswold Potatoes.
1 Pound Fresh Salmon
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Victoria’s Dry Rub
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Rinse the salmon in cold water and place on a plate. Pat dry with paper towels. Cover a broiling pan with foil and transfer the salmon onto the foil. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle Victoria’s Dry Rub all over the salmon. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Serves 2
Red Velvet Cupcakes
These Red Velvet Cupcakes are unbelievably good. They are so good I could eat 5 in one sitting!
2 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour
½ Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Softened Butter
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Milk
1 Ounce Red Food Color
3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a medium size bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large size bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on a medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed. Spoon into paper lined muffin cups. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely. Spread with the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. Makes 30 cupcakes.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: In a medium size bowl beat 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 16 ounces powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) until smooth.