Friday, April 29, 2005

[DANSK] The Importance of Salt & Sugar



Smørrebrød - or just plain open-faced sandwich on rye, with ripe avocado and cherry tomatoes. Lots of freshly ground pepper and LOTS of Maldon Salt.




Breakfast smørrebrød - on brown bread with salted butter, strawberries and brown sugah Baby (as it could ony be sung by D'Angelo).

So maybe not REALLY Danish - but it's open-faced, in your face, applied to face - good. And after all, that is what's important :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - April 27th



This dish does NOT taste of anchovies.

Just thought I'd get that out of the way. So - this week, Cathy and I am focusing on pasta. That versatile backdrop for sauces rich or light, chunky or smooth. You can have it fresh, or you can have it dried. While I at first thought this a golden opportunity to actually try using the pasta machine I got this Christmas, time ran away from me, and heck, on a daily basis, I guess most of us need recipes for dressing up the dried kind, rather than the fresh kind. The fresh is sort of a feast in itself anyways, stuffed it with goodies or as smooth, silky strands of home made tagliatelle or the likes.

This dish does NOT taste of anchovies.

And what better to try than Debbie of Words to Eat By's Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Figs & Mint. I was so intrigued by the combination of sweet figs and savory (admittedly, tiny bit of) anchovy paste, and the ahem - somewhat "windy" smelling cauliflower - if you know what I mean?;-) - that I had to try it.

This dish does NOT taste of anchovies.

The cauliflower smelled magnificent when it came out of the oven - I roasted it for a little less time than Debbie stated, but my oven was on a bit higher heat, so that makes sense. The rosemary and chili goes great with it, and I'm sure I'll use this method for other purposes too, in a salad for example.

The rest is simple and easy - fry garlic, anchovy paste, figs that has been soaked, mint - add cooked pasta, et presto! Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Figs and Mint. Mmmmm - 'twas yummy. Boyfriend added a couple of slices of protein (fried bacon) and the smokiness with the figs wasn't off the mark, but the dish was as perfect as could be without it too. Next time, I'll take Debbie's advise of adding the soaking liquid and pasta-water in note, to make more of a sauce in the dish. I'm actually thinking that if it's left dry-ish, it might work wonders as a cold pasta salad...

And really, you can't taste the anchovies. I'm pretty sure I cut even add a tad more and get away with it.

Cathy's leaving for Sicily (that lucky girl!) but has cooked up TWO pasta dishes before leaving - BRAVA!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

REALLY Zarah!

So am I daft or what?! I just found out that my camera has one of those macro buttons. I thought surely, that was some fancy thing only very expensive cameras had. Nuh-uh. Mine does too. It's the little flower one. And it makes a world of a difference - now I can actually get as close to the food as I'd wanted to get, but never could! Horray! Not that I'm promising this place is going to start looking like some sort of gourmet magazine or anything, but I thought I'd share the news - maybe I'm not the only one that hasn't fully understood the capabilities of my fairly standard digi-cam?

And uh - Rachel taught me how to post multiple pictures, too. Man, soon this blogging business will be child's play!:-)

One more thing - a lot can be learned from the newly established Food Blog S'cool - so if you haven't already checked it out, do!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

IMBB#14: Orange You Hungry? Sweet Potato Rolls with Chili & Cheese



Whew! Busy weekend, neh? SHF over and done, we promptly proceeded to the month of April's Is My Blog Burning? event! And color me Orange, Ladygoat over at Foodgoat (or is it both of them? Hmm...) asked us all "Orange you hungry?"

I started out thinking I had to do something with oranges, but nooooo - this is the first color-coordinated IMBB-event, and you could use any kind of ingredient or dish that would turn out orange for your entry. I've done colored (green and yellow) dinners for my Food Club girlfriends a couple of times, so I can't wait to see how this turns out - it has got to be one of the editions that will show the greatest diversity of recipes!

On to the matter at heart, I chose sweet potatoes as my ingredient. The orange variety, naturally, even though I had some problems finding them - they're not used that much around this hood (so much for Danish cooking, eih? Hold your horses, we'll get there!:-)).

I wanted to do something that I served all the time when I worked at Bali Sugar in London. We served all kinds of flavored rolls, fennel seeds, scezhuan pepper, plantain etc. - but people were always mesmerized by the bright orange one in the basket: the sweet potato roll.

Luckily the recipe is in The Sugar Club cookbook, and I've tried it before. This time I went ahead and did a little substituting and adding and adapted it to rise overnight in the fridge - and got this:



Sweet Potato Rolls with Chili & Cheese - adapted from The Sugar Club Cookbook by Peter Gordon

500 g. sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
400 ml. milk
10 g. fresh yeast (I think the equivalent would be around 1½ teaspoon dried yeast?) dissolved in 50 ml. warm water
Flour - I used about 200 g. sifted spelt flour and um... just enough regular white flour!
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 handfuls of grated cheese (I used a mild cheddar) - you could probably up the amount to 3 handfuls of a stronger cheese, if you were so inclined.
Chili flakes for the tops

Makes 14



Put the sweet potato and milk in a pot, put the lid on and bring to the boil. Cook until the potato is done, then remove the lid and boil until the milk has reduced by half. This will mush up the potatoes somewhat, but I still choose to strain them, reserving the liquid. Then I proceeded to puré the potatoes with an immersing blender (is that the word? The "blender-on-a-stick", if you know what I mean?), adding enough liquid to make it into a smooth paste. If you like chunks in the rolls, leave this part out, and just use it as is - I suppose a lot of the chunks will dissolve when you knead the dough anyways. Let the puré cool.

Add the yeast to the cool potato puré, then add the salt. Add enough flour to make a moist, but not sticky dough. The original recipe calls for 800 g of flour, but I have no idea exactly how much I used - start by adding about 500 grams, then go from there. Knead, knead, knead. Add the cheese last.

Shape the dough into a ball, put it in an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it overnight in the fridge. I think mine waited about 14 hours, but 2-3 hours less shouldn't make a difference.

The next morning, punch (no, don't knock it! Gently deflate it!;-)) down the dough, roll it into a sausage shape, then cut it into similarly sized slices - I got 14. Shape the slices into rolls - first make a rough ball-shaped thing, then cup your hand on top of the roll, letting your fingertips touch the table and moving the ball around underneath your cupped palm. This will give you perfectly shaped rolls - if that explanation makes any sense!



Leave to rise for 2 hours - one is enough if your hungry. Preheat your oven to 175 C. Brush with a little water, sprinkle chili flakes on top, then bake for about 15 minutes. Leave on a rack to cool slightly, or eat as soon as they're out of the oven. Or eat three within the first 2 hours after they've come out of the oven...:-)



The cheese-taste could be more pronounced, but they have a slightly sweet taste from the sweet potato, and a nice kick from the chili on top - and a FABULOUS orange color! Next time I might try adding a little chili flakes to the dough, as they get a little bit hot whenever you bite into a single flake on top - at least it would be masked in the dough the other way. Maybe chili powder? Must think about that one. They're soft rolls, and perfect for accompanying a dinner of, say roast tiger shrimps with mayo and a tomato/rocket/pine nut salad, like we did!


Now I have to check out all the other contributions - the next Food Club Dinner shall be ORANGE!

Friday, April 22, 2005

SHF#7: Black & Sticky - Molasses. A Not-so-good Molasses'n'Crème Fraîche Ice Cream, but a Rather Nice Sirupskage


While the sun has started warming the ground a little around here, it is still insanely cold outside. So why on earth I decided to make ice cream for Sugar High Friday, this time hosted by Derrick, is beyond me!

Yup, sometimes I'm pretty foolish. I blame it on the UV-rays, the fact that after having been without my ice cream maker for a good 6 months (the freezer element started leaking - it was an OLD machine!) and then miraculously having said ice cream maker restored to normal (Boyfriend picked up TWO new elements this Monday) and the fact that I thought I had come up with a BRILLIANT idea to present this months start ingredient, MOLASSES - yea, that must have been the reason(s)!

I had a problem figuring out what exactly "molasses" would translate into in Danish, to start things of. Derrick's explanation, combined with a little help from Harold McGee (how did I ever live without this book?) told me that what I'd be looking for would be "sirup" on this side of the water. Sirup comes in a dark and a light version here - and then we've also started getting cane sugar sirup - the taste of this is a little more fruity and musky and not just as sweet as the regular kind. That would be what I'd be using.

So for ice cream, you use some kind of dairy product - I'd seen a recipe in one of my books that combined honey and crème fraîche - well what should be the problem about substituting my fruity molasses with the honey?

In the real world, probably nothing - but seeing this was a recipe from the book to which the boyfriend referred to as: "oh, that book. The recipes from that book never work anyways!", I should have said a little prayer before I started (to my defense, he didn't say that until after I'd made everything!) Then there was the other thing. I've never made a custard for ice cream before - I've made regular custards, but I'm always shivering with fear that they'll curdle. Ahem - not the best starting off point I suppose.

Alright, I've stated my flaws. And that said, the ice cream could have turned out MUCH worse - I actually think the idea of the tangy crème fraîche and the caramelly cane sugar molasses works - I just need to work with it a LOT more, so no recipe for you this time. And I well... Umm. I'm actually not that much of an ice cream eater. Don't get me wrong, I like it and all - but I'd rather eat cake!

So even though he was afraid there'd be a LOT of entries starring cake for this edition, he's gonna get one more from me! This is a Danish version of - hmm, I don't think it's really anything like a gingerbread, but I'm no expert on gingerbreads (not on ice cream, not on ginger bread either!) It's called Sirupskage (translation: Molasses cake) and is sort of a cross between a quick bread and a shortbread cookie texture-wise.



Sirupskage - from Karolines Køkken



Bread tin containing 1 ½ liter or there abouts - mine was a bit bigger, so my cake was very flat and baked in 45 minutes - buttered.

1 egg
125 g. sugar
60 g. butter
125 g. molasses (I used the dark variety)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. baking soda
175 g. flour
65 ml. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 175 C.


dark, thick, glossy and yum...

Melt the molasses and butter - I used the microwave oven.

Beat the egg with the sugar until white and foamy. Add the melted butter/molasses

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add these to the butter/molasses/egg/sugar mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Pour in the tin and bake for about 60 minutes, but check after 45, especially if you use a different sized tin.

Let cool, and eat with indecent amounts of salted butter!



Besides, this is MUCH easier eating than that fancy-schmanzy composition in the first picture! (And kudos to food stylist in general and the chef's in training at the restaurant I work at in particular - doing ice cream scoops with a regular spoon is difficult!)

It's a weekend of virtual events I must say! Don't forget IMBB? this Sunday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - April 20th



Ahem. It really couldn't have been me that suggested this weeks theme should be a cake. Why, I never bake, - do I?;-)

Okay, so I do. On my recent trip to Berlin, I almost spend more money on cake tins, than on clothes (okay, almost - not entirely!) So cake had to be there somewhere.

The problem about this theme wasn't so much finding a cake I'd like to try making - the problem was more narrowing down the choices! To the rescue came a relatively new and GORGEOUS blog: Delicious Days, written by Nicky from Munich. She was trying to hide it, but I did a search on her site (typed CAKE - how hard can it be?) and up popped 4 posts, one of them titled: Chocolate Heaven. Uh-oh. Would the pictures be deceiving, or would it be as good as they suggested?

She's also got recipes up for a pink to the point of perfection glazed tuna, incredible sounding Antipasto Speciale, small doughy cushions, sounds so good! - and, should you be going round to Munich anytime soon, be sure to check Delicious Days for where to go. Or, you know - just look at the pictures - they're pretty!

The cake - the cake: a dense, fudgy chocolate cake, a cross between one of those mousse-like cakes and a brownie, I'd say. The batter is assembled in a matter of minutes, and bakes in 22 (twenty-two!) minutes. DO NOT feel tempted to cook it much longer, even though it looks a little wobbly - I did, and it had just that tiny bit of burnt crust on the outer rim that make you go ugh! when you eat that piece by mistake.

I'm having a period of how few ingredients can you use and have great results? Well, this recipe has 5 ingredients, two of them being equal amounts of chocolate and butter - heh! I used the 70 % Lindt chocolate Nicky suggested, but because the Boyfriend likes milk chocolate so much, I haven't done cakes with PURE dark chocolate for ages, so this was just a tiny bit bitter to me - I might try it with half dark and half milk chocolate next. While Nicky prefers it slightly warm, I'm all for the cold version. And let me just add that it works wonders on a lazy Sunday evening as I'm sure it would as a classy dessert after a nice dinner.

Now, jump over and have a slice of Cathy's cake...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

What to do, what to do?



I'm at a loss for inspiration food-blogging-wise these days. I think (hope?!) you all know what it's like - it's not because you don't cook, it's just because - well, maybe what you cook are old standby's, maybe they look goddam-awful, maybe you forgot to take the picture (although the Boyfriend has started joking that he never gets to eat before I get the perfect shot) - maybe your thoughts are elsewhere, or as in my case, should be elsewhere (exam, yes, again. Not until another two months, but our school has made it their case to make sure we only have 4 days for catching up on all the "insert cursing phrase" we didn't have time to read before exam is actually there - so we have to start now to try and get through all of it)

I thought I had things planned, with pictures already up-loaded and ready for a couple of catchy words, but alas, it's just not so much fun posting about things you've done a looong time ago - the memory of tastes, textures and trials during their making are not as crisp and fresh as they were when you'd just done them, hence the wording of it, not very fresh and crisp either. I want to post about cake today, not the Jerusalem artichoke gratin from Jamie Oliver I tried the other night...

There's nothing more boring (okay, there might be!), than blogs that never updates. On the other hand, it's also a waste of time reading completely uninspired posts as this one (heh - got you!) I like the fact that I have my Dining with the Bloggers, the IMBB's?, the SHF's, WBW's et all forcing me to do stuff, but on the other hand, would like for Food & Thoughts to be more than that.

I've been thinking about doing more out of me living in Copenhagen. As it is, I guess I could be based almost everywhere, 'cause the food wouldn't tell you I am in fact in a gorgeous, old city in Scandinavia. I like themes - I love Sam's idea of her India Curry & Spice Week coming up this week. Hmm, maybe I should do a cakewalk week? Of course, that would imply me spending time away from the books - see what I mean, I'm SO trying to dodge school!

Anyways - I've added a notify-me list, so you don't have to stroll by every now and again to check if I've gotten round to do a new post - check the right hand bar for it. Meanwhile, feel free to comment with all of the great suggestions of things you'd like to see here - I'm sure inspiration will stop by in my head any day soon and I'll get my butt back in gear again... Because funny enough, that often happens when you've complained about the lack of it! Irony, nes pas?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Next IMBB? is up!

Orange? Orange! Courtesy of Foodgoat & Ladygoat...

Dining with the Bloggers - April 13th



Around came the days that were full of CHEESE! Yes, that's right, this week the Bloggers are dining with, in and around cheese - Um? With me being a total novice in the Mac'n'cheese department, what would fall more natural than trying out an already tried and tested recipe for that? That is, a novice, apart from (okay, I am embarrassed now:) the Kraft version...

At A Spoonful of Sugar, one of the first food blogs I ever encountered, Angela had in her archives a small hidden treasure. Usually, I'm tempted by all of the cakes she's got going on over there, but this sounded wonderfully posh in a way that only the English, and Delia Smith could make it sound: Upmarket Souffléed Macaroni Cheese. That's like taking the two extremes of the culinary repertoire and trying to fit them together!

I love how Angela scold Delia for her way of writing recipes - as I've mentioned before, she is ridiculously meticulous - I mean so okay, I KNOW not the entire world is food blogging their way through life, but if you have at all cooked before, toasted a piece of bread, or, in this case, just taken a glance at someone boiling pasta, you WOULD know how much water to put in the pot!! Thank you Angela, for daring to say it out loud! I especially loved the WTF? just in the beginning of the post! LOL!

Back to the subject - da cheez. Working your way through the recipe will be well worth the result. I, for once, measured almost EVERYTHING for it - maybe except the nutmeg... Had to try doing it by the book, seeing as when I've made cheese sauces before, they never got cheesy enough in my opinion. You will end up with a surprisingly light and fluffy version of what I've been told is one of the world's highest rated comfort food dishes. I can see why. The taste is good, sticky bits on top, creamy and voluptuous underneath. Mine didn't soufflé as prettily as Angela's, but I don't believe it affected the taste. Served it with an iceberg salad and Dijon Mustard - elderflower vinegar - molasses dressing. Comfort with a kick.

Has Cathy grated her knuckles? Did she melt or just eat plain? Go find out!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Flowers for You and Me



No no, I haven't disappeared totally - I'm just a busy little bee at the moment. So have a look at these pretty flowers that my Boyfriend gave me for my birthday this February, and I'll be back with a real post before you know it!

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Am I weird?



This is my most recent possession. It's a huge (40 by 30 cm) roasting tin (that will, I'm sure, also accommodate a sheet cake perfectly). The people at my favorite cook shop, Kunst & Køkkentøj, said it probably wouldn't fit in the oven, but let me take it with me home for a try. It fits perfectly, leaving 1 cm on each side between the handle and the oven's side. Like a glove.

I know. I know. A ROASTING TIN?? C'mon.

But no. There's no denying it. I LOVE IT!




Now I just have to figure out what to make in it...

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - April 6th.



A long, LONG time ago, when she hadn't even started her blog, Moira was so kind as to offer me, via e-mail, a copy of her recipe for bagels. She claimed they were the best homemade bagels in the entire WORLD! And you know what? I think she's right!

This weeks theme is lunch or as I liked to put it, lunchbox - I have to bring lunch on an almost daily basis to school, and started a little project on finding the best bagel in the world a couple of months ago, that then proceeded to die right then and there. So naturally, when I saw Moira had posted about the bagels over at Who Wants Seconds? there was no escaping it anymore - I had to try them. Moira's a real kidder - I mean seriously, she had me thinking "Oh no, she's gone amuck, I mean one thing is originality, but this? This is plain - um... EUIW!" Also, her pictures are to die for!

I was a little startled to find out that I needed an entire packet of fresh yeast (50 g) for the 3½ cups of flour, after having used the site Moira's included in her post. It seemed like a lot to me, but I think it's actually pretty standard - I just usually cut down on the yeast in my breads, I hate it when all you can taste to a loaf or roll is yeast. Let me say straight up, these DO NOT taste yeasty at all when done! And they were dead easy to do - I dumped water, sugar, salt and flour in my Kitchen Aid, left it for 10 minutes, came back and found a smooth, silky dough. A little rise, shaping them (the easiest method EVER - all the recipes I've seen so far having you making little logs then pinching the ends of those together - they almost always split when you boil them) boiling, baking.

And as for the texture and taste. They seem a little more airy than other bagels I've encountered (I should probably at this stage tell you that Bagels in Denmark are either out of the frozen section at the supermarket or from a take-out shop - I think the take-out shop's ones are pretty authentic, but I've never had the real deal in NY, so don't lynch me if I'm all wrong here!:-)) Anyways - appearances are deceiving, they are chewy, slightly sweet and "gummy" (weird word - I mean it in the nicest way!) The boyfriend, who isn't usually a bagel-lover even popped one in his mouth as soon as he saw them and declared them "MMMMMMMMMMMM - mheyr chewy - mice staste" - that was about all he could say, what with his mouth full and all. I had one, just plain with nice butter - they're a definite keeper!

Cathy's packed a sensible lunch for you too...

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - March 30th REVISITED



So I promised I'd report back on the thing I was supposed to do for this weeks Dining with the Bloggers - better late than never, right? :-)

The thing was and Onion Tart. But oh no, not just any old onion tart - it was Molly of Orangette's Alsatian Onion Tart. A dream of a tart, no less. I'm telling you - while I've had my share of problems with tarts, this one was a breeze, and tasted magnificent - not too much butter, exactly enough crunch and flakiness. (I think my problem have been adding too little water - I guess I was just always anxious I'd add to much and end up with a batter instead of dough!) Next time I might bake the tart case blind for a couple of minutes before adding the onions, just because that's what I always do and I think it might make it even more perfect. And oh, the onions - just thinly sliced, then sauteed in a couple of lugs of oil - patience, patience - and AH! Caramelized onions.

It seems way too simple: I mean: butter - flour - sugar - salt - and then onions - cream - eggs - salt - pepper - nutmeg. That's like 9 (NINE!) ingredients. And the result is nothing short of magnificent. Dreamlike. Yummy. I can only say one thing: Make it!

Friday, April 1, 2005

Now that's a tunnel I wouldn't mind going through!


What with Easter and everything, and family coming around, one had to bake a cake - oh drats!;-)

I'm not one to let an opportunity like that pass me by, so out came the books (I'm doing a lot of things by the book, I don't know if you've noticed... One day I guess I'll feel confident dabbling around baking recipes, but for now, I'll stick to messing up my dinners and lunches - the savory part anyways)

My collection of cookbooks is an evergrowing project (YAY!) but there are, to my shame, a lot of them that I've never cooked from. Shame on me, shame on me. And you know what - one of those was entitled Chocolate American Style. C'mon, a cookbook named something with chocolate and I hadn't cooked from it?!? Well, that's just - wrong. I had to do something!

The book is divided into chapters: The Candy Store - Chocolate for Breakfast (Lora Brody - I like you!) - Comfort me with Chocolate - Celebrations, Holidays, and Other Special Occasions for Eating Chocolate - Soda-Fountain Favorites - Old World-New World - I'd like That to Go - Kids in the Kitchen - Some like it hot and, last, but not least, Isn't it Romantic? The pictures are divine (a lot of them brown, goes with the territory I suppose) and the print is kept white on chocolate-colored pages, and chocolate-colored on white pages. There are actually quite a few recipes I'd like to try, but for this occasion, I wanted something I could bake in my new, recently brought home from Berlin cake pan with hearts. Therefore, when I saw the Tunnel of Fudge Cake, my search ended.

According to Lora Brody (the author), Tunnel of Fudge Cake is a classic dessert. I never heard of it, but I'm not American, so that wasn't a surprise! What you do is make a ring of fudge/ganache first, that you then freeze - you make the batter, fill your pan halfways, put in the ring of fudge, then spoon in the rest of the batter. And bake, of course. It looks fantastic and it do that, even if you don't have as neat a cake pan as I do, I'm sure!;-)

Tunnel of Fudge Cake - from Lora Brody's Chocolate American Style

For the fudge filling:
½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cake:
Unsalted butter and flour for preparing the pan
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
Confectioners' sugar for garnish

- I substituted the buttermilk for regular milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice - I was all out of buttermilk, and the stores were closed - hey, it's Easter! As for the chocolate, I just used a total of 170 g. for the cake. In Denmark we don't really have categories of bittersweet, semisweet, unsweetened and so forth, but merely a percentage of cocoa solids. I used half 70 % chocolate, and half milk chocolate - I have to make that man of mine happy, don't I? I actually think I'll try to use milk chocolate for the fudge filling next time too, would make for a nice contrast in colors. Anyways, you have to combine everything too, don't ya?

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Prepare the cake pan.

To make the fudge filling "ring", place the heavy cream in a saucepan. Gently heat the cream until almost boiling, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Let it cool in the pan to room temperature. Draw a circle on a piece of wax paper, a little smaller than the size of your cake pan - Lora Brody suggests using a salad plate for measure, which fitted with my cake pan, but check before you go ahead! Place the wax paper on a flat pan that can fit in the freezer - I was stupid enough to just use the salad plate and the ring ended up more like a puddle in the middle of the plate than a ring. No worries, I just cut it to fit, but there must be a smarter way of doing this! Like having a smaller cakepan, lining it with film, and just pouring in the chocolate, letting in set, then remove it? I don't know, but you'll figure something out!

Anyway, flat pan, wax paper - scoop the chocolate mixture onto the paper, using the drawn circle to form a ring of chocolate, approximately 1½ inches wide. Place in the freezer while you make the batter for the cake.

Melt the chocolate, melting them together is fine. I use the microwave, but otherwise a bowl on top of barely simmering water is the way to go. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl (the one of your Kitchen Aid if your lucky enough to have one of those!) Beat the butter with an electric mixer (or the KA) until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer still running, add the granulated sugar, little by little. Add the eggs one at the time, beating well after each addition. Adjust the speed of the mixer to low, then add a third of the flour mixture, followed by a third of the buttermilk, continuing until you've used all of both flour-mixture and buttermilk. Add the melted chocolate - it'll look like this:



Now, scrape about two cups worth of batter into your prepared pan. Take out the fudge ring of the freezer, peel it of the waxed paper, and gently place it on top of the batter, cutting it to fit if it needs it. You don't want the ring to touch the sides of the pan, it has to be completely surrounded by batter. Scrape in the rest of the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the cake has risen, the surface is cracked and the cake has just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. I found this to be the hardest part - I usually go by the "no crumbs on the toothpick"-method, but that won't work here - you've got a gooey chocolate trail in the middle that'll mess up your idea of what's crumb and what's melted chocolate. So keep an eye on it.

When you believe the cake is done, leave to cool - IN THE PAN! - on a cooling rack. It has to be in the pan, because the filling has to set a little before you turn it out. Turning it out, use a serving plate placed over the cake pan, then invert the cake onto the pan. I wouldn't mind leaving it for longer, the recipe says 20 minutes, but when I took mine out after that amount of time, it sank a little - not a lot, but a little, and enough to start me thinking OH NO, stop, getup, get. back. up!


That's it. Sift confectioners' sugar on top if you like. Lora suggest you serve it warm, but I think it's just a wee bit too much when warm. I planned the making of it so I could serve it warm, but actually thought it was better on the second day - it goes a little brownie-like in it's sticky-ness and you can still tell there was a fudge ring present at one time.

And wouldn't want to cheat you - here it is when cut (and still warm):



And DON'T FORGET! Derrick just announced the next Sugar High Friday - it's getting sticky again, with molasses!