Sunday, July 11, 2010
Chocolate Pudding - Nigella Express
One of the gifts I got this birthday was Nigella Express - the book based on her show (or was it the other way round?!) which features recipes for people on the go - "quick to prepare, easy to follow".
I have been watching her shows for more than a year now, though not regularly. I like her style and the effortless ease which she seems to bring to the kitchen. It does seem like nothing is too difficult when it comes to cooking, if you enjoy it enough. And the Express series shows how you can enjoy it if you make it easier by using simple and fuss free recipes and basic ingredients. (Though I must say Nigella coming back from work by bus after shopping for a last minute dinner party seems a tad too much!)
What I have never identified with though, is the amount of fat and cream which seems to go into her cooking - especially the desserts!! A tub of cream cheese here, 2 sticks of butter there and then some whipped cream to end it all :) I guess she is also liked for cocking a snook at the New Age lean and mean recipes - it* is* refreshing in some ways though, to see food being enjoyed.
Though Nigella started out writing for newspapers and magazines since the early 90s - first as a book reviewer and restaurant critic and then as a freelance writer and even an editor - she really came into the public eye with her books How to Eat and How to be a Domestic Goddess. Then in 2000, she really came into her own with her show "Nigella Bites" on Channel Four in the UK. Her distinctive style of presentation where she seems to flirt with food and the fact that she is not a trained chef but rather comes across as someone who passionately loves food, has endeared herself to her viewers.
So, when my friend who gifted me the book was to come over for lunch with her family this weekend, I decided to cook something from the book since I knew she loves Nigella. I ended up making two recipes from the book - this chocolate pudding and a potato salad. I also saw a prawn and mango curry recipe and got inspired to make a fish curry on the same lines for our meal.
In the midst of my Saturday morning chores, I barely had about a couple of hours to cook up this meal. But truly, this chocolate pudding was ready in no time, just as Nigella promises. As the fish curry simmered on the stove and the potatoes for the salad were boiling, I got together the 5 ingredients needed and within half an hour it was all in the oven. It helped of course, that because of the astonishing intensity of the Delhi heat this year, I didn't have to melt the chocolate and butter - it turned into a gooey mess just standing there on the counter - its a wonder that there was no puddle in place of me at the end of the two hours!
I tweaked the measures a little though - the Lindt chocolate I had was only 100gms instead of the 120gms in the book. Couldn't bring myself to add 110 gms of butter, so I pared it down by half. The sugar too was halved to about half a cup and with the dark chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate, it was fine. Eggs were 4 according to her recipe, I used 3; and about 1tbsp less than 1/3 cup of flour.
The changes did not seem to make a difference to the pudding though - it was light and airy on the edges and a little gooey in the centre - maybe it may have been much more molten in the centre with the extra egg and butter and less like a brownie. But all in all, quite delicious and a keeper of a recipe for sure. Nigella calls these Glitzy Chocolate Puddings and glazes the top with a a mixture of butter and chocolate - I didn't use the glaze and they were still quite amazing. I might do that for a dinner party next time - as a showstopper as she calls it!
1/3 cup flour
60gms butter (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
100 gms dark chocolate (Lindt Dark Coffee)
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1. Cream sugar and eggs together, with a whisk or a blender, till pale and shiny - about 8 minutes in my hand blender.
2. Melt dark chocolate and butter together in the microwave (20 seconds at a time on Full power) or on the stove over a double boiler. Cool.
3. Mix flour, salt and baking powder, gently fold into the beaten eggs and then mix in the cooled dark chocolate and butter.
4. Pre heat the oven to 180C (350F) and grease 8 individual ramekins or one square/rectangle baking tin.
5. Pour the pudding mix into the greased ramekins/baking tin and bake for 25 minutes.