Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

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I first came across this cake while searching the Internet for my birthday cake. It seemed really easy to make and it promised a densechocolate cake which was enough for me to bookmark it down for my birthday cake. I was almost sure that I would be baking my own birthday cake but my mother wanted to bake it for me instead since I baked her a birthday cake for her birthday. Her cake was a disappointment though, I’m sorry Mother, for she over-baked it which resulted in an overly dry chocolate cake.

Reading the recipe now, I can understand why she would over-bake it since the recipe states a total of 45 minutes of baking time. Uhhh, that’s way too much. I made this cake again today and made sure that I kept checking on the cake but sadly, I still think I over-baked my cake too. I only baked it for 30 minutes but it didn’t turn out as moist as I would have liked it to be. So maybe I’ll take it out at the 25 minute mark next time? Anyway, every oven is different. So what might take 30 minutes in my oven may take 40 minutes in yours, so just keep checking on the cake every 5 or 10 minutes. I guess patience and perseverance gives you your perfect cake. Wow, the 3Ps.

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The cake itself though, isn’t that fantastic on the first bite. The chocolate taste doesn’t hit you yet. Only when you take the second bite will you fully taste the dark chocolate. And it is only then when it starts getting addictive. Soon, the slice of cake will be gone and you’ll be reaching for seconds :>

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Ingredients
1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
113g 80% cocoa bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
1 cup freshly brewed coffee

Directions
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in eggs until well combined.
3. Fold in melted chocolate
4. Fold in brandy
5. Sieve flour and baking soda together.
6. Fold in one spoonful of flour mixture then one spoonful of coffee. Alternate until all is combined and you end up with a smooth, fairly liquid batter.
7. Line 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and grease a smaller loaf pan.
8. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
9. Pour batter into loaf pans, leaving 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan to prevent overflowing.
10. Bake the cake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
11. Lower oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes. Take smaller cake out at 20 minute mark.
12. Let cake cool completely in the loaf pan before turning it out. It is best to enjoy the cake a day later, but that is assuming that you can wait. I can’t.

Zucchini noodles with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

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I’m back in my kitchen! 🙂 I’ve been so busy meeting up with friends and settling school stuff that I’ve been kept away from my kitchen for too long. Anyway, today’s lunch was all vegetarian with all 3 dishes made of purely vegetables. My friend said I went overboard. I think I did but oh wells, after a Prego Sunday Brunch that was full of meat, the only thing I wanted to eat today was vegetables. (ps. my friend also blames for deforestation in the world)

I’m starting this series of vegetarian posts with a recipe that I created. Inspired by the various posts on loveandlemons.com of zucchini noodles, I was super excited when I found a zucchini lying around in my fridge. Basically I created this recipe based on what I could find in my fridge. Forgive the randomness but they taste quite unusual and healthy together.

I used a grater-like gadget to julienne the zucchini into long strips that looked like pasta. It’s awesome that you can trick your mind into thinking that you’re eating some kind of pasta when actually all you’re eating is vegetables. The julienned zucchini was surprisingly soft and felt like al dente pasta. It didn’t taste like raw vegetables at all.

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The sauce was made from tahini, yogurt and honey. I didn’t just want a regular tahini, olive oil, lemon juice dressing so I amped it up a bit with yogurt and honey. My favourite part of the dish was the roasted red pepper with its charred parts because it added flavour, texture and colour to the dish, elevating the entire dish.

It’s my first time coming up with my own dish, and it’s all vegetables so I doubt many will try it out. But hey, it’s quite a cool unusual combination!

Ingredients
1 medium Zucchini
2 medium red peppers
3 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp tahini
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp honey
Lemon wedge

Directions
1. Julienne the zucchini
2. Roast red peppers and the entire clove of garlic (with skin on) in the oven at 200 degrees celsius until the skins of the red peppers are charred.
3. Julienne the red peppers.
4. Combine tahini, yogurt and honey in a bowl.
5. Squeeze the roasted clove of garlic into the bowl. Mix.
6. Combine zucchini, red pepper and tahini sauce.
7. Finish off with a squeeze of lemon 🙂

Top 5 Places to Eat in London

1. Dishoom
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Rated London’s top restaurant in 2015, I knew I had to try this bombay-style cafe, especially since I love Indian food. The menu was extensive and it was a pity I could only try the Deep fried Okra, Chicken Ruby and Chicken Briyani.

In my opinion, your experience at Dishoom very much relies on how wise your selections were. Next to us was a table of two which ordered naan and chicken ruby, and they were very angry about how small the portions were and how they had to go find more food after dinner. In contrast, Sandra and I traded the naan (even though it would have been lovely to have some naan dipped in curry) for biryani (basmatic rice) and had a satisfying meal.

They were very generous with the chicken pieces in the biryani, and I loved how quirky the dish was, with a sprinkling of cranberries to add a British twist to this Indian dish. The Chicken Ruby was a curry that was quite spicy, actually so spicy that the lady had to place a jug of water on our table instead of constantly refilling our glasses haha. But it was so flavourful that we wiped the entire bowl clean. There was not a single drop of curry left. The deep fried okra was a pleasant starter to our meal. I loved the Indian spices in the batter and how seemingly healthy this dish was (because ladies fingers= daily fix of veggies). It definitely made me feel less guilty about my deep fried okra addiction.

As long as you are in London, you HAVE TO try Dishoom even though the queues are long. At least they give out hot chai while you wait in the queue :>

Check out their locations at http://www.dishoom.com

2. Patty & Bun


BEST BURGER EVER. Enough said. I posted a photo of their burger on my instagram and other people agreed that this was the best burger they ever tasted. Everything on their menu looked so good that Huifen and I spammed order. We each ordered a “Smokey Robinson” burger, shared a “Winger Winger Chicken Dinner” and Chips with Roast Chicken Mayo and Chicken Sea Salt. Even their names sound awesome.


The “Smokey Robinson” consisted of a beef patty, caramelized onions, bacon, tomato, lettuce, cheese, ketchup and mayo. I loooooved the melted cheese, it was all over the burger and the paper wrapping the burger. I ordered my beef patty as Medium (they usually do it Medium Rare) and I found it to be cooked perfectly. Loved how thick the patty was and how it actually had a substantial taste of beef, as compared to the burgers found in Singapore.

Check out their locations at http://pattyandbun.co.uk/contact/

3. Burger & Lobster

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There are only 3 things on the menu at Burger & Lobster, you choose a whole lobster, a lobster roll or a beef burger. I guess ordering the beef burger is a bit silly and I’d rather eat a whole lobster than less lobster in a roll (unless you are lazy to crack open the lobster) so Sandra and I each spent 20 pounds on a whole lobster. Steamed, then grilled, with a garlic butter sauce to go with it.

The garlic butter sauce overwhelmed the natural sweetness of the lobster, so in the end, I just enjoyed the lobster by itself. The sauce was instead used as a dip for my fries, which I ashamedly cleared the entire cup of. Comparing prices with Singapore, getting a lobster for 20 pounds (S$40) is a steal. Plus the lobster was fresh and perfectly cooked (thank god they didn’t boil it because that would be stupid), so what’s not to like?

One of my friends commented on how he went to Burger & Lobster twice recently. London has too much good food for you to try B&L twice (please don’t waste your precious meals) but at least try it once. It’s worth the 1 hour wait and the 20 pounds.

Check out their many locations at http://www.burgerandlobster.com/home/locations/london/

4. Little Social

Burrata with Truffles Cod Brandade Braised Irish Ox Cheeks
This French-inspired British bistro is opened by Jason Atherton which means the food here was no doubt excellent. I particularly enjoyed the braised Irish ox cheeks and the roasted bone marrow. The ox cheeks were really tender and the bone marrow was really fatty. Other dishes that we ordered were burrata with shaved truffles, cod brandade with tapenade and a roasted turbot. It’s a pricey restaurant so visit it if you decide to splurge one night or if you are with the parents.

5 Pollen Street, Mayfair, London W1S 1NE
Tel: 020 7870 3730

5. The Mac Factory

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Found in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of Camden Lock market, this Mac & Cheese shop is a gem. They give out free samples to people so that you can decide if Mac & Cheese is your kind of thing but seriously, how can it not be your kind of thing?! We ordered the truffled Mac & Cheese for 7 pounds, plopped ourselves down on the stairs and ate away. They fry the Mac & Cheese for you on the spot so that when you eat it, it’s all warm and gooey and you can’t stop reaching for more. Writing about it is making me really really hungry. Now I want my mac & cheese >:

Camden Lock Market, West Yard
Open 10am to 6pm