Vegan chocolate cake: Nigella Lawson

Here’s another chocolate cake to add to my amassing collection of favourites. This one is super easy to make, delicious, and easily dressed up for extra impact or kept simple. It differs from other cakes of the same sort in that the sponge is fudgy, but not dense, and very moreish; the dried coffee gives an interesting hint of flavour which doesn’t overwhelm at all. Surprisingly, it’s a Nigella Lawson recipe, who is generally known for her lashings of cream and calorific decadence; if you’ve seen Simon Amstell’s Carnage, you’ll have witnessed the morbid pleasure she takes in cracking the ribs of a dead chicken. Nevertheless, she writes on this recipe that it’s her preferred chocolate cake for all guests, vegan or not – even if that’s not true, I’m pleased that a ‘traditional’ chef recognises that vegan food can match, and even trump, the normal animal product diet.

The recipe can be found here. If you fancy making a gorgeous cake, delicious and simple, I recommend giving it a go. I used a white sugar instead of a brown and a dried Americano instead of dried espresso, to no obvious detriment; the icing I completely shunned for an easier (and cheaper) chocolate (vegan) buttercream, made from a small amount of softened marg, melted dark chocolate, and icing sugar. Throw over a handful of chopped almonds, and you’ve got yourself a real winner.

IMG_20170407_165657_525

Advertisements

Aubergine & spinach curry with turmeric roasted potatoes 

When it comes to curry, aubergine is one of my favourite ingredients. It’s got a fantastic ability to soak up flavour, and when cooked through, it’s lovely and tender. From time to time, I used to make an aubergine curry I’d seen made by an Indian lady on YouTube, which satisfied my desire for authenticity; now I just cobble together my own, requiring less effort. This recipe is easily thrown together on a weekday evening, and tastes even better on re-heating. It can be served as I ate it, with potatoes, or with rice.

 

IMG_20170331_194837_407

20170331185515_IMG_0766

 

To serve two, you’ll need:

  • One aubergine
  • 100g spinach
  • One red onion
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • One green chilli (or less, if you’re not keen on too much spice)
  • Half a tsp each ground cumin and coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A few medium-sized white potatoes per person
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes

Begin by preheating the oven to gas mark 7. Wash and chop the potatoes into medium sized chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, dust with half a tsp of turmeric and cayenne pepper, season, and mix well to incorporate. Tip onto a baking tray, and roast for 45-60 minutes, turning halfway; you want a nice golden crisp by the end of the cooking time.

Roughly chop the red onion, and cook gently for ten minutes over a low heat. Finely chop the garlic, chilli, and ginger, then add to the pan. Adding a little more oil to the pan if needed, fry for a minute before adding the ground cumin, coriander, and turmeric, before frying for another minute.

Add the aubergine, chopped into smallish chunks, and mix well to coat in the spice mixture. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and a little water before leaving to simmer for around 35 minutes, or until tender. Add more water if needed.

Meanwhile, check on the potatoes, and turn them over. When both the aubergines and the potatoes are cooked through, stir through the spinach in handfuls. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Serve the curry over the potatoes, and enjoy!