Dessert| Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna Cotta …

“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”
Joanne Harris, Chocolat

Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaNever. Without. Chocolate. There’s something about chocolate … deep, sensuous, satisfying, comforting, seductive, addictive. I was on twitter after ages yesterday and came across a random tweet with someone despairing the lack of chocolate at home! A rather unsettling tweet that was! Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaI had a bar of absolutely delicious bitter chocolate from Moscow that a friend got for me. Mmmm … more chocolate; life was becoming sweeter by the minute!Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaWhats not to love about this fabulous combination, one that is high on my list of favourites and one that I enjoy playing with in my kitchen in the ‘orange’ months which sadly are restricted to the winter ones here. The conversation reminded me of the Dark Chocolate Mousse & Orange Panna Cotta that I made in December but never got down to posting!Dark Chocolate & Orange Panna CottaCouldn’t be a better time to bring this dessert to see light of day and share this quintessentially beautiful pairing … Chocolate & Orange = YUM!!

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Baking| Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake … an Anna Olson adaptation

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeThis is a simple cake and it’s been more than 2 years that I’ve had this recipe bookmarked. Its been on my folder of recipes I HAVE to try forever, yet I missed making it last winter {orange season here}. A few days ago an uncle dropped by to see me, and also dropped by huge bags of apples and oranges. It was time to bake! The apples found their way into these Apple Strawberry Basil Hand Pies.Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake The oranges were destined for Anna Olsons Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake, a recipe I adapted from Vals post of April 2009. Visiting Vals blog is always nostalgic. More Than Burnt Toast and PAB go back many years. I’ve known Val ever since I began blogging {well almost, because in the first few months of blogging I was petrified of this whole blogging paraphernalia}.Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeShe’s a wonderful Canadian food blogger, supportive, fun and talented. We got to know each other better as time passed, and had a great time with the Blogger Aid Cookbook. I contributed a recipe to it, was part of the editing team, and thought up the idea for the book cover.Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeThe cake baked in the kitchen, filling the house with the most amazing aromas. I hadn’t felt this sweet bakery feeling in months. Summer has been filled with quick light desserts, baked in a hurry, sometimes no bake stuff. With the weather changing, a silent feeling of fall round the corner, this cake smelt so good, warm and comforting! Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeWhile the cake rose in the oven, I sliced up the oranges. The citrus salad is a refreshing, novel idea; a must make! All of it came together beautifully. My cake didn’t have as light a crumb as Vals because I used almost half almond meal and half all purpose flour. It was denser yet moist and delicious. Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeThe citrus salad is a beautiful addition to an already delicious cake. I took it a teeny indulgent step further, and served some with a drizzle of low fat cream with the citrus salad topping it. YUM!! The kids enjoyed just plain chilled slices too, and we were sad that it got over too soon! What could be better!!Orange Almond Olive Oil CakeOlive oil in baking is a wonderful idea and you must try and use a good quality brand. I would love to bake extensively with extra virgin olive oil but for its prohibitive cost. That said, this cake recipe will be made often as it was really nice! 

Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 1 9 inch cake

Serves 8-10

Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

An Anna Olson recipe; adapted from More Than Burnt Toast, this is a moist and delightfully flavoured cake. Orange and almond are a great pairing, and the citrus salad adds a new dimension.

Ingredients

Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

2 eggs

1 cup vanilla sugar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup 2 %milk

Zest of 2 oranges or tangerines

1/2 cup + 2 T all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange extract

Pinch of salt

Icing sugar for dusting

Citrus Salad

3-4 navel oranges

2 T good quality extra virgin olive oil

2 T sugar

Instructions

  1. To prepare Orange Olive Oil Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 180C and butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar. Add olive oil, milk and orange zest and mix well. In a separate bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to olive oil batter and stir just until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Let cake cool completely, then turn out onto a plate and dust with icing sugar.
  5. To make Citrus Salad
  6. Cut away skin and pith from outside of oranges and cut out sections of orange with a paring knife, pulling the orange segment out of its membrane. Immediately before serving, toss oranges with olive oil and sugar and serve with a slice of cake, and a serving of unsweetened low fat cream if desired.
http://www.passionateaboutbaking.com/2011/09/baking-orange-almond-olive-oil-cake-an-anna-olson-adaptation.html

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Baking| Strawberry & Lemon Curd Shortbread

“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.”
G.K. Chesterton

Strawberry & Lemon Curd ShortbreadDesperate times call for desperate measures! Even though the magnitude of my troubles was minuscule, 3 days of no internet reduced me to tears. Silly how addicted and dependent we can be on the internet. Sometime back, sweet Joy from Gourmeted tweeted about Lemon Curd & Shortbread Bars. I had a small jar of left over lemon curd in the freezer and this recipe called my name. Saved the link as the net is just a heartbeat away; well almost always… Strawberry & Lemon Curd ShortbreadLittle did I know!! We have massive roadworks being carried out for rain harvesting which have meant underground telephone cables being cut pretty often. The cable company always has them up and running the same day; not this time though as the damage was extensive. Oh the untold anguish and the feeling of being cut-off…Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadThese wedges were something born out of desperation as I finally gave up and decided to bake ‘anything shortbread’ with the lemon curd and strawberries. Cookbooks yielded nothing, so I eventually put together a basic shortbread recipe for the base, topped it with the lemon curd, and then threw on some strawberries to add colour and taste. Slivered almonds on top  for crunch seemed to crown these well. Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadMy love for fruit in baking continues unabated. I managed to get a neat stash of strawberries the other day at a really good price. The challenge of course was to use them judiciously and deliciously so they wouldn’t disappoint! Froze some, made some strawberry muffins {recipe to be blogged}, and then made this shortbread.Strawberry Lemon Curd Shortbread’twas soon time to tempt the teen out of her diet, and these had her eating out of my hand, no fuss, nothing! Ah the power of food, always A M A Z I N G!! I enjoyed making these. Loved the different textures, the colours, and the burst of flavours from the rather buttery unsweetened shortbread to the sweet tart lemon curd, the strawberries lending their ever promising magic to the wedges. Bye bye diet, hello happiness!!Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadIt’s always handy to have lemon curd on hand. Have you tried making your own? I use a simple home made lemon curd recipe from Ju @ Little Teochew. It freezes beautifully too, and am contemplating doing a batch of orange lemon curd once before the season bids us adieu.

Strawberry Lemon Curd Shortbread Strawberry & Lemon Curd Shortbread
Delicious and light, the crisp buttery shortbread base is complimented beautifully by simple homemade lemon curd – the flavours tart & sweet.  Strawberries add a unique dimension to this indulgent dessert.
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Cooking time: 45 mins | Servings: 6 | Meal type: High tea / Dessert
Biscuit Crust:
100g butter, chilled, cut into cubes
3/4 cup plain flour
Topping:
2/3 cup easy homemade lemon curd
100g fresh strawberries, diced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a loose bottomed 7″ round tart pan.
Run the flour and butter in blender until you get a breadcrumb like mix. Press into the bottom of a removable base 7″ round tart pan.
Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes, until light brown Take out of oven, top with lemon curd followed by strawberries. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over.
Return to oven and continue to bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes till the edges begin to get light brown.
Cool on rack, cut into wedges and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.
Variations
You can use other seasonal fruit like blueberries, raspberries etc.
Strawberry Lemon Curd ShortbreadThank you for stopping by
Copyright © Deeba @ Passionate About Baking

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I have a winner for the CSN giveaway… It’s Michelle @ Big Black Dog who said, “I know exactly what I want at CNS, a pizelle maker!”. Congrats Michelle. Mailing you soon!!

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