This month sees the 25th instalment of Dom from Belleau Kitchen’s fantastic Random Recipes food bloggers round up. Each month he tasks to make a random recipe from our (usually massive) collection of cookery books in a bid to encourage us to step outside our comfort zone and try new recipes. This month Dom said we could choose our random recipe however we wished, so I asked my significant other to do it for me. He closed his eyes, selected a book off the shelf and then opened it, pointing to the recipe on the page. The book he chose was Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Bites (2001) and the recipe he randomly selected was Lilac-or Chocolate-Topped Cupcakes. Yay! I have to confess I was delighted at his selection as choosing a random recipe might yield something utterly inedible, like something involving prawns. Shudder!
Nigella’s chocolate-topped cupcakes (for I had no Grape Violet food-colouring paste for the lilac-topped variety) are covered in a rich dark chocolate ganache. This brings us to Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes and her Classic French blogging challenge. This month, since she’s doing so much celebrating (being her birthday month and all) she chose chocolate ganache as the challenge theme. I’m not particularly experienced in the art of making chocolate ganache. I recall trying it once (with success) to cover a sachertorte, but this time it was nearly a fail. Nigella recommends to put equal parts cream and broken up chocolate in a pan and stir until the chocolate is melted. You’re then supposed to whisk it together (I don’t have a Magiwhisk so I just whisked with elbow grease instead) until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy. Well I clearly did something wrong because my mixture started to separate into thick chocolate and a light caramel coloured liquid! I stopped whisking and spooned the very thick mixture over the top of the cupcakes. It was very, very thick indeed. I think I may have whisked too hard and started whipping the cream. The taste and texture, however, was fantastic! A very grown-up way indeed to serve fairy cakes (although the children loved them just as much).
Vardhini at Cooks Joy has another food blogging challenge: Sweet Luv where we are asked, this month, to share our sweet recipes. This recipe certainly falls into that category, although the rich, dark chocolate imparts an almost savoury element which complements the sweet. Nigella suggests to top the cupcakes with gold chocolate buttons or minstrels. I couldn’t find any gold buttons in town but I did find some fantastic marbled chocolate buttons which remind me of tiger’s eye gemstones. I have also added another nostalgic moment to my beat up cookery books with this Nigella Lawson recipe: my six year old daughter was fascinated by my taking close up photographs of the finished cupcakes, commenting shyly that she thought the images were very pretty. She wanted to try taking a photo herself. I handed her the camera, talked her through the super macro function (and the fact the flash cover needs to be held up with a fingertip because the spring has long since broken – the local camera store said it would cost more than a new camera to have it fixed, alas!) and she took this photograph you see below! This is her very first ever food photograph. #proudmummymoment