Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Saturday, 29 June 2013



Greetings from the rainy city (Sydney, apparently)! Isn't it a great relief to be able to enjoy the pouring rain from the comfort of your own bed ;) Today I'm sharing with you a tried and treasured recipe adapted from Neil Perry's The Food I Love - his dark chocolate beetroot cake. I found it in Gourmet Traveller a while back. This one is completely perfect as beetroot is coming into season. If you haven't noticed already I kind of have a thing for vegetables incorporated in desserts... See here and here. This recipe leads the pack though for sure!


Completely irresistible, why stop at just one? I love the pinky purple tinge to this cake too :)

Without further ado...

Ingredientsss
400g dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
6 eggs, separated
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
200g beetroot (1 large), very finely grated Note: I love beetroot so I usually put in double the quantity in the recipe. It doesn't overpower the cake at all, in case you were wondering :D
100ml pouring cream, whisked to soft peaks
75g almond meal
Butter for greasing
Dutch process cocoa powder, double cream or ice cream to serve

Method
1. Butter and line a 20cm square watertight cake tin. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan or simmering water until smooth (3-5 minutes). Set aside
2. Whisk yolks and 2/3 of sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy (3-5 minutes). Add melted chocolate and grated beetroot, stir to combine and set aside
3. Whisk eggwhite in an electric mixer to soft peaks, add remaining sugar and whisk until smooth and glossy. 
4. Fold cream and eggwhite through chocolate mixture, then fold through almond meal, spoon into tin. 
5. Place in a roasting pan, pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of tin and bake for 45 minutes. Then, reduce oven to 150 degrees and bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed (30 minutes). 
6. Turn off oven but leave cake in oven for further 20 minutes, then run a knife around sides and cool in pan for another 15 minutes before turning out. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with cream or ice cream.
7. HellOOO!


Sheer indulgence with a side of veggies. Bueno!

Thanks for reading and happy baking!
xGourmand

The Rook

Sunday, 23 June 2013



Naturally, the dinner conversation came to the name...
Rook - the castle chess piece that moves in straight lines. Now, also a newish bar/eatery that sits in a prime rooftop position in an office block on York St. Pretty much in the middle of town, so perfect for an after work tipple. When making the ascent in the lift, you almost feel like you're entering a secret club, that or the best house party in town (erm, bubbles and lobster - hello?). 


The interior has that sort of thrown together feel that you know has been meticulously thought out. The timber walled bench seats and dangling light bulbs add to the house party feel. It gives you the warm and cosies. Photo credit: Sophie Roberts for Broadsheet Sydney

On that note, can I just sing the praises of the relaxed liquor licensing here now? Thank you, Clover! The worst thing about our visit was most certainly the weather. It was absolutely pissing down + hideous + heinous +++. Despite their rooftop venue let me assure you, the Rook is fully enclosed and has heating! Yuss.

The Florabotanica cocktail: sheer genius. Find the recipe this way. The bacon/lobster croquettes as entrée were super creamy with a béchamel replacing the traditional potato. These were scant on lobster (and flavour I must say) but we'd soon make up for that on the following courses...

What better way to seek solace from crappy weather than with a cocktail. The list at the Rook is impressive (short and sweet shall we say), and delicious. At one point we had a sort of  cocktail tasting going at one point, which could have ended badlyThe Florabotanica and Nobis are two of the best. What ended up being a disaster was being talked into getting a bottle of chilled Gamay - a red wine. What were we thinking *shakes head*



The damned well best onion rings there ever were. Did that even make any sense? The perfect accompaniment to a beer/beverage of your choosing, these rings were golden crispy and contained actual onion. Kudos! I could eat shedloads of this stuff, die young and happy.

Le pièce de résistance...
It's taken me the longest time to figure out how to do accents on the keyboard haha


The Rook has gained a bit of a rep for their lobsters. It's basically one of the two or three things they actually have on their menu. I ordered the garlic butter variety with a serving or truffle fries (super chunky and addictive) and chopped salad. Cooked in its shell and served in all (well, half) it's glory, the lobster was cooked well and very juicy (must be all that butter right) but on the smaller side. It costs a pretty penny but if you're craving lobster (aren't we all), you should give it a whirl at least once!

Service at the Rook swung wildly between extremely attentive and total disinterest. This was a rather small detractor because when you have all this good food and drink around you sort of cease to care! Having said that, I wasn't that impressed when my cocktail was swept away from my reaches not yet finished. What's going on there? You can always ASK first (pls).


Lobster 'other ways': lobster risotto (left) and the Fried chicken burger (right). The risotto was a rather hearty serve and quite heavy. The amount of lobster here was teeny tiny and completely swamped by the sheer volume of risotto rice. The fried chicken burger seemed to be a bit of an afterthought - Sydney is going through a bit of a 'fried anything and everything must be good' phase. The burger was so so, rather MacDonalds-esque. I'm not sure if that's a good thing either

Dessert was definitely more fizzle than sizzle. Here we have the deep fried mars bar & vanilla bean ice cream (left) and the mango and strawberry eton mess (right). The mars bar was sort of a profusion of all sorts of sweet ingredients that didn't really go together. The actual mars bar was itself a tad soggy (sad face). The eton mess I didn't understand, being winter I was amazed to see those fruits in a dessert at this time of year. The mango was still frozen and the strawberries tasteless. Use pears, rhubarb or my personal favourite - quince! Anything that's in season really ;)

Despite my few misgivings, I actually had a great time at the Rook. Fun certainly comes to mind. What with its old school 80s soundtrack mixed with more modern stuff, the Rook is somewhere you can sit and enjoy your lobster mornay or crack out the dance moves by the bar (maybe). I'll be sticking this one in the memory bank for future reference. Check mate!

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand
The Rook on Urbanspoon

Snapshot: Sydney cafés I

Sunday, 2 June 2013



It's funny to think that the Sydney CBD is slightly lacking when it comes to the café department. It's places in the 'burbs like Alexandria and Surry Hills that are on trend at the mo. Actually, I can't believe I haven't written much about the cafés on our doorstep at all! The search for the best café/coffee in the city isn't exactly a tight race but that might be all about to change... Here are two that definitively buck the trend ;)

Baroque Pantry

88 George St, The Rocks

Baroque Bistro came onto my radar a couple of years ago when macarons had their resurgence in popularity. I can't comment much on their French biccies but here's my two cents on their pop-up café, Baroque Pantry. An all day café sitting flush by the harbour - that's all we want! A casual setting for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The only issue is that it's now ridiculously full!


Freshly baked breakfast pastries from Baroque Pantry - err, yes please?! How French of us. Credit: Baroque Pantry

Full of revellers hailing from all corners of the globe, Baroque Pantry is perfectly situated for a light lunch whilst cruising the harbour with your entourage and DSLR. Here's a snapshot of what we had:


Quiche of the Day: Quiche Lorraine with green salad and mascarpone. A lunch classic if there ever was one, I think the mascarpone on top is completely unnecessary. Whatever happened to the good old curly-leaf parsley garnish? One other thing, the quiche came out to the table only lukewarm...not good!

Eggs benedict Baroque style: hot smoked Petuna ocean trout, spinach, hollandaise on toasted brioche bun. The star attraction for me - I love a good Benedict and this one is a nice rendition. Don't be fooled by the rather smallish serving size, the two poached eggs squished on there make up for that. And thankfully they can pull of a decent hollandaise

My only peeve about this place was that the service was very unorganised and slooow. I was half worried they'd always forget what we asked for. However, the numbers don't lie - this place is still chockers! 


The perfect way to round out the meal. A zesty orange sponge cake topped with shavings of coconut. The quinelle of double cream was slightly overkill but the crunchy crumbs made up for that

Palomino Espresso

Shop 1/61 York Street, Sydney CBD

Palomino Espresso is the 'new' kid kicking up it's heels on York St in the land of suits. Like a breath of fresh air, this puny café is serving up good coffee with a swathe of baked goods in house and a bunch of daily specials (for those that have time to dine in). Owner Liesel Schmidt has cracked onto a winning formula. The menu changes daily so you're never left wanting. In the age of the time-poor this café has all the answers and the queues for tables speak volumes.


In a cosy interior with a few miniscule fold out tables, Palomino dishes it up. On the walls and tables are Western themed postcards and memorabilia Source: Time Out Sydney

The Daily lunch special: Greek lamb orzo. This portion was so generous, the orzo were nicely plump in a tomato based sauce. The lamb was cooked tender but somewhat lacking in flavour

The Pie of the Day: Butter Chicken. On all accounts, this homemade pie was goood.

Standard order: cappuccino (left) and the Belgian Chocolate cake with very funny looking ice cream (right). The coffee was very good and the cake the perfect (though gargantuan) end to a quick and easy meal. The hazelnuts strewn through the mix made it for me.

Palomino ticks all the boxes for me, I made a few trips to the cabinet alone just to oggle. The sandwiches look fantastic and put my packed lunches to shame! I will definitely be banking this spot for another visit in the future. Highly recommended!

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand
Palomino Espresso on Urbanspoon
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