Rich, moist, and with a dark bitter edge, this is a chocolate cake that feels decadent while also being a solid candidate for morning tea on an average work day. And if you avoid dairy, grain, or refined-sugar free for dietary reasons, or simply want to have your cake and eat it too, without the sugar crash, then this is the cake for you. There's no reason not to make it, really.
225 g whole almond meal (I make my own from unblanched almonds, substitute store bought)
50 g / 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa, sifted
4 eggs, separated
150 ml / 2/3 cup light olive oil
200 ml / 3/4 cup raw unfiltered honey
pinch sea salt
vanilla extract to taste
Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F). Line a 20 cm cake tin with baking paper.
In a clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat egg yolks, olive oil, honey, and vanilla until well combined.
Combine almond meal, cocoa powder and salt. Add to the egg and oil mixture in three batches, beating after each addition to incorporate.
Take a third of the egg whites and fold quickly into the batter with a metal spoon to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the remainder until there are no streaks of egg white left.
Pour the batter gently into the prepared tin, tap it gently on the bench to settle any large air bubbles, and bake for 35-40 min or until a skewer comes out just damp.
Serve warm or at room temperature plain, with cream, and/or some fresh berries.
I've long wanted to develop a chocolate olive oil cake recipe. It just sounded so…right somehow. I wanted this cake to be super fudgey, very chocolatey and, if possible, a little lower on the glycemic index scale than your average chocolate cake, and so I started thinking about substituting the typically high-glycemic index ingredients - white flour and refined cane sugar - with alternatives (stay with me here). And here it is, a rich chocolate cake suitable for those who avoid dairy, grains or refined sugar for whatever reason, but also for those, like me, who just like to mix things up, and occasionally feel like having a cake that ticks ALL the boxes, from those chocolate cravings to your body's fuel needs. I'm not saying this is the healthiest snack you could have, but it's certainly not the worst! And that's where the whole almond meal and raw honey come in. By all means use a store-bought almond meal, but by making it yourself (you only need a small blender/mixer for this), you can use the whole almond, skin and all, and leave the texture a bit more nubbly than you would find in a packet, thus making the final product higher in fibre (and with a pleasing nutty texture). Make sure you blend just until you have a mealy texture. Go too far and you'll have almond butter. Good, but not useful here. And I do think its important to use raw honey where possible. Yes, honey is another form of sugar (all carbohydrates are), but by using a raw and unfiltered honey you get all the health benefits of the antioxidants and nutrients that would be lost in the heat-treating process.
Anyway, enough earbashing! Apart from everything else, this cake is delicious. I do like my chocolate with a bitter edge, so just be warned this is not for diehard sweet-tooths. The almonds and oil obviously provide a lot of richness and moisture, while the honey adds a more complex sweetness than sugar would. It's pretty hard to stuff up too, as the amount of almond meal makes the mixture quite stable. It rises and then falls a little as it cools, leaving the top fairly flat, making it also a good candidate for layering and smothering with icing should the occasion call for it. I think this would make a great birthday cake, and one that (hopefully) everyone can eat! So it's a win all round really. I hope you enjoy it!
Simple concepts and effortless execution belie the bright boldness of these two salads. Served alongside some roasted or barbecued meat and bread or potatoes - what more do you need? Well, something crisp to drink too, of course!
Bloody Mary Salad
Cut tomatoes into 5mm thick slices either with a sharp knife or on a mandolin. Arrange on a serving plate. Squeeze the remaining stem ends of the tomatoes over the slices to extract as much extra juice as you can. Drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Combine the vodka, lemon juice, Worcesteshire sauce and Tabasco and pour over tomatoes. Scatter over the capers, preserved lemon and celery leaves and serve immediately.
Orange, Fennel and Black Olive Salad
Serves 4 - 6 as a side
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and
16 - 18 pitted Spanish black olives
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
Sea salt flakes
Prepare the oranges by slicing off each end and then slicing down and around the curve of the orange, taking care to remove as much of the bitter white pith as possible (see image below). Cut into 5mm slices using a sharp knife or mandolin and arrange on a platter.
Remove any bruised or damaged outer parts of the fennel. Shave very finely (about 2mm thick) using, again, a very sharp knife or mandolin. Arrange over orange pieces (if not serving the salad immediately, place fennel slices into some acidulated water to prevent discolouration). Scatter over olives.
Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over salad. Scatter over the reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately.
, I'm all about the platter salad at the moment! It's such a simple yet attractive way to present food. I love how you can see all the ingredients and the dressing is able to soak into everything, rather than pooling in the bottom of a bowl. All you need to do is arrange some sliced stuff on a platter, prettily scatter over some flavour-packed morsels and douse with a complementary dressing, usually hot and/or sharp for me. You could use this template for any number of combinations: sliced peaches, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella? The classic watermelon and feta with some mint or fresh oregano? They shout summer eating to me - simple, fresh food that lifts the spirits both to behold and to eat.
I was excited to make these as I got to use my new favourite kitchen toy: a mandolin I got for my birthday last year. While I'm not very into gadgets, there are a few kitchen tools that make life much easier, and a simple mandolin is one of them. Made slicing those tomatoes, oranges and fennel an absolute breeze. Thanks husband! I can't claim the Orange, Fennel and Black Olive Salad as my own, however, as versions of this are found across the Mediterranean (and the Internet!). The Bloody Mary Salad came to me some time ago, but I have since found - unsurprisingly - that many other cooks have had the same idea. If there's a cocktail that lends itself to being transmogrified into salad, it has to be the Bloody Mary! Though this is obviously an adults-only salad, you could omit the vodka (and maybe tone down the spice) if serving it to children. We ate these alongside some roasted butterflied chicken (recipe, such as it is, in the works), some roasted potatoes that had been pre-boiled and thrown in alongside the chicken for the last half hour, and a simple leaf salad, but I can imagine them really coming into their own at a barbecue, where their acidity and freshness would cut the richness of marinated meat cooked over coals. And to complete the picture, a glass of cool rosé. Well, a girl can dream.