Recipe: lamb ribs with nigella seeds

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I tend to bookmark recipes to try all the time, but sometimes it takes me quite a while to actually try them out. This one, is definitely one of those as I first made a mental note while watching the series Simply Nigella, and then literally bookmarking the page in the cookbook, then leaving it for a year or so. But this recipe is worth the wait. It’s incredibly easy to “make” (the oven takes care of it really) and it’s really yummy and packed full of flavour.

If you’re not a fan of lamb meat this may not be for you as the meat flavour is really strong because of the cut and the fat that melts over the meat in the oven. But if you, like me – like lamb – they’re heavenly!

 

Lamb ribs with nigella and cumin seeds, serves 6-10

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

4 teaspoons nigella seeds

4 teaspoons cumin seeds

4 teaspoons regular olive oil

4 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely grated, or minced)

24 lamb ribs (cut from 3 lamb breasts, bones in)

Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Line a large roasting tin with foil and sit a rack on top.

Get out a dish and add the nigella and cumin seeds, pour in the oil and soy and add the garlic. Stir to combine.

Dip the ribs, one by one, in this mixture, so that they are lightly coated on both sides; you may think this scant amount won’t be enough for all the ribs, but it is. 

Arrange them on the rack above the lined baking tin and cook in the oven for 1½–2 hours (they can differ in size), or until the fat on the ribs is crisp and the meat tender. Serve. 

 

 

Nigella’s sumptuous chocolate cake

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I have had a complicated relationship with Nigella through the years. It was definitely because of her and Jamie Oliver I started cooking as a teenager, but as I got better at both cooking and baking I also got a bit disappointed with some of Nigella’s recipes. Sometimes they seem to promise more than they delivered, but then some recipes are so great I still use them 15 years later.

With her new cookbook and series, both named Simply Nigella, I am back in awe of her. I want to try all the recipes, love like the style of cooking (and baking) and all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been great.

This cake seemed absolutely delicious and easy to make on her show, and it certainly is a treat, plus it’s vegan – so a good recipe to have in your repertoire. Mine wasn’t entirely vegan though, I must confess. As I couldn’t find any coconut butter in my supermarket I used regular butter in the icing, which worked just as well would you prefer to make it non-vegan.

It is probably the most moist chocolate cake I’ve ever made and I will certainly make it again and again.

Nigella’s dark and sumptuous chocolate cake, serves 10-12

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

For the icing:

60 ml cold water

75 coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)

50 soft dark sugar

1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder – I omitted this 

1 ½ tbsp cocoa

150 dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the cake:

225 plain flour

1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp fine sea salt

1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder – I omitted this 

75 cocoa

300 soft dark brown sugar

375 ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle

75 g (90 ml) coconut oil 

1 ½ tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180°C and pop in a baking sheet. Then start with the icing: put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved. Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob – then quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan to allow the chocolate to sink.  Leave for a minute, then whisk until you have a glossy icing, and leave to cool.

Line the bottom of your springform cake tin with baking parchment. Put the flour, bicarb, salt (and instant espresso) and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix.

Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil and vinegar until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done.

Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin.

Give the icing a good stir with a spatula and  pour over the unmoulded cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed. Decorate (Nigella used chopped pistachios and rose petals while I went for snowflake sprinkles) and leave for 30 minutes until serving. 

 

New York blueberry cheesecake

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The Swedish equivalent to Nigella is certainly Leila Lindholm, who despite being a properly trained chef, got famous for her domestic goddess style baking on TV. Her recipes are well-known and very good, so when I wanted to make a proper New York style cheesecake I reached for her recipe.

My colleagues (who seem to be the only ones I bake for) really enjoyed it. And although it split (because I needed the oven and couldn’t leave it in the residual heat) it still looked great! And it’s delicious! It’s not too sweet but still has a nice sweetness, nice texture and freshness from the berries.

New York blueberry cheesecake, serves 12

Base:

300 g digestive biscuits

150 g melted butter

Filling:

600g philadelphia 

250 ml fromage frais

80 g caster sugar

65 g corn flour

2 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

100 ml double cream

200 g white chocolate of good quality

150 g fresh blueberries 

Pre-heat oven to 175C. Crush the biscuits in a food processor and mix with the melted butter. Press the mixture onto the base of a springform, Ø 24 cm. Bake the base for 10 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Raise the temperature to 200C. Beat cream cheese and fromage frais in a bowl. Add sugar, corn flour and vanilla. Add one egg at the time and then the cream. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and add to the mixture. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 minutes. Cover with tin foil when golden brown on top as to not brown too much. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the residual heat for 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated. 

 

Griddled aubergine with feta, chilli and mint

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I have quite a large cookbook collection in London (too big for my book case anyhow) so I have to keep some cookbooks in Sweden as well. The ones with easy, summery recipes I keep in the summer house and I just love flicking through Summer by Nigella every time I’m there. This summer I finally tried these lovely aubergine rolls with feta, chilli and mint. They are incredibly easy to make, and utterly delicious to eat.

Griddled aubergine with feta, chilli and mint, serves 4

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

2 large aubergines (each cut thinly lengthwise into about 10 slices)

4 tablespoons olive oil

250 grams feta cheese

1 large red chilli (finely chopped & deseeded or not depending how hot you require it)

1 bunch fresh mint (finely chopped – save some for sprinkling over)

juice of 1 lemon

black pepper

Preheat the barbecue or griddle to a high heat.

Brush both sides of the aubergine slices with the oil, and cook them for about 2 minutes each side until golden and tender.

Crumble the feta into a bowl and stir in the chilli, mint and lemon juice and grind in some black pepper. You don’t need salt, as the feta is salty enough. Pile the end third of each warm aubergine slice with a heaped teaspoon of the feta mixture and roll each slice up as you go to form a soft, stuffed bundle.

Place join side down on a plate, and sprinkle with a little more mint.

Nigella’s snowflecked brownies

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I used to bake these snowflecked brownies courtesy of Nigella a lot before, pre-blog, and somehow I thought of them again and made it for my brunch between Christmas and New Year. That made me realise what a great recipe this is! A lot of recipes I used to love before the blog are now disappointing, but this is definitely not one of them. These brownies have begun a revival in my kitchen; I’m planning on making them for the office this month and probably some dinner parties too.

The texture is absolutely wonderful; moist and dense, but in a good way, speckled with white chocolate. What’s not to like?!

Nigella’s snowflecked brownies, makes 20 pieces

Adapted from the recipe in Feast by Nigella Lawson

375 g salted butter

375 g dark high quality chocolate

6 eggs

350 g caster sugar 

1 tbsp vanilla

225 g plain flour

1 tsp salt

250 g roughly chopped white chocolate

Icing sugar for serving 

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tin measuring 33 x 23 cm with baking parchment. Melt butter and dark chocolate in a large heavy pan on low heat. Leave to cool. Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour and salt. Add the white chocolate and pour the batter into the tin. Bake for 25 minutes. The top layer should be pale with a dark still moist layer underneath. Leave to cool and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar and serve. They freeze well. 

Scandi tip #19: Leila

Sweden’s answer to Nigella is definitelty Leila Lindholm. She is equally good at whipping up girly cakes as to cook for a dinner party. She’s a famous face in Sweden after her TV shows, and her cookbooks have been translated into English.

The newest addition to her empire is her online shop Leila’s General Store. It has some vintage kitchen items and lots of nice baking accessories and other nice things for the kitchen. Some of the items are quite pricey, but I would still buy from there.

Peanut butter chocolate cheesecake

Apologies for the bad photo, only had my mobile at hand when plating the cake at work.

The last cake for work last month was another Nigella number. You can always trust her not to make something half-hearted or too healthy (and I mean that in a good way).

This chessecake is more of an all-in kind of cake with lots of everything. It was good, but I think I would like to improve a few things for next time. First of all I would like to bake the base so it keeps drier for longer. Also adding a bit more sugar to both the filling and the topping would be beneficial as the mixture goes a lot more sour when chilled, and this cake should be served chilled.

Peanut butter chocolate cheesecake, serves 10-12

Adapted from Nigella’s recipe

Base:

200 g digestives

50 g softened butter

Filling:

500 g Philadelphia

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

200 g caster sugar

125 ml sourcream

250 g smooth peanut butter

Topping:

25 ml sourcream

100 g milk chocolate, chopped

30 g soft brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C. Crumble the biscuits for the base in a food processor or in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Mix with the butter and press it into a springform (lined with pachment paper in the bottom and around the sides. I would suggest prebaking it for 10 minutes.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a food processor or with an electric whisk. Pour the mixture into the springform and spread it out evenly. Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from the oven.

Heat up sourcream, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan until it has all melted and is incorporated. Spread onto the cheesecake and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on its tin. Place in a fridge for at least a few hours before serving. Leave it in its tin until it is time to serve. Powder with icing sugar before serving.