It’s not a typographical error, I did call a part of my post Plean Soufflรฉ; so now that I have cleared that up, I suppose it’s only fair to explain what a “Plean” really is or how it came about……..no it’s not an alien food item from planet Zรถrg……nice try though ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜‚

It all started when February 14 rolled round; after I groped my way from beneath tonnes of cake batter, whipped cream and moulded chocolate it dawned on me, tragically, that I had made no culinary plans ……or errrrrmmmmm any plans for that matter for this (in my opinion exaggerated) occassion.

Essentially I had to get creative and FAST!! There was a growling Papa bear wandering around in my house and my baby cubs were at risk!! Eeeeeeekkk!!

Ok drama over, a quick rummage through my fridge reveled that I had; whipped cream, tonnes of left over chocolate cake shavings, fresh strawberries and strawberry yoghurt. This was a no- brainer! Strawberry chocolate parfait!! I just layered the different ingredients and voila! And I didn’t even have to light an oven! So that was breakfast sorted.

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By the time lunch hour rolled round, I was in pseudo panic mode! As I cast my gaze around my kitchen my eyes fell on the following ingredients,

3 extremely ripe plantains
1/4 cup beans flour
3 ata rodo aka scotch bonnet peppers
1 tbs ground Cameroon pepper
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tbs cray fish
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs powdered ginger
4 tbs vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
2 eggs
1/3 warm water (optional)
1 thinly sliced cucumber (garnish)

A light bulb went off in my head and I gathered them all up and this is what I did with them. I was completely winging this recipe and didn’t know what to expect……I was literally making it up as I went along.

I did know however that I wanted to achieve a beautiful union between moin-moin and Ukpo ogede: you read all about these here. And on what better day that February 14 to attempt such a pairing? Even food has a place in romantic entanglements, non?

The “How To”
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Carefully oil an oven proof rectangular Pyrex baking dish or any mould of your choice to be frank.
Wash and peel the plantains and chop them into medium chunks. Peel the onion and garlic and cut them up, set aside. You may opt to seed the peppers or leave the seeds in, it depends on if you can take the heat. Now this is where things get interesting; you’re probably braced for a laborious cooking process but not today – remember that I was tired. I pulled out my food processor with the blade attachment and tossed everything in except the eggs and water.

Blitz the ingredients until you have an even, lump free mixture then add the two eggs and blitz again until evenly mixed through (about 1 minute). Check the consistency, if it appears quite viscous and dense then you may want to thin it down a it with the warm water otherwise, carefully empty the contreras into your oiled receptacle (in my case my rectangular dish). And then place the dish in a Bain Marie (a water bath that can fit in your oven; it should just have about 1 inch of hot water in it). Cover your dish with foil, place it in the oven for about 35 minutes. Check for “doneness” by inserting a tooth pick in it if it comes out clean then it is ready, if it not give it a few more minutes (a lot will depend on the dimensions of your dish).

Voilร ! You just made your very first Plean Souffleรฉ! By now you must have figured that I invented that word by pairing Plantain + Bean…..The end result should be a fluffy sweet yet savory and very spicy “pudding”. To temper the spiciness, I added slices of cucumber on the plate to cool the palette and to anchor all the flavours I also incorporated pesto (this time from a jar not freshly made). All these elements came together magically and paired with the stuffed chicken it was magic on a plate!

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Here’s the recipe for the stuffed chicken.

Ingredients

2 medium sized chicken breasts
1 clove of garlic
150 grams of cheddar cheese
1 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbs butter

The How To
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
Trim away any sinew or silver skin on your chicken breasts, rinse and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Lay them on a clean, dry chopping board and carefully cover them with cling film. Now with a meat mallet or with a rolling pin beat the breasts until you have an even thickness across the surface and they are about 3/4 of an inch thick; set aside. Chop the garlic and slice up the cheese. Divide them unto the chicken; placing them carefully along one short end of the chicken, then carefully roll the chicken tightly and secure with a butcher’s string tied around it or use tooth picks to keep the seams closed.

Now place a thick bottomed pan (with an oven proof handle) on medium high heat an add the butter, once the butter starts to sizzle place both rolled up chicken pieces in the pan and sear on all sides until you get a lovely brown colour. Transfer the entire pan and it’s contents into the oven for 22 – 25 minutes. Press on it carefully to check if it’s cooked, the chicken flesh should be firm when you press it with your index finger and the juices in the pan should be clear. Cover with foil to rest for another 10 minutes or so. Remove strings or tooth picks, cut up and serve warm.

For dessert we had the infamous triple chocolate mousse cake. The recipe is right here. I didn’t make it on that day. I had prepped it a few days earlier when prepping client’s order.

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I hope you enjoyed my culinary journey of discovery and indeed invention. ๐Ÿ˜€

I love chocolate and it’s a fact…..Here’s some of the chocolatey creations that have emanated from the FFF flab over the past few days…

Gorgeous chocolate cake covered in whipped cream surrounded by a chocolate cage. Aren't those strawberries adorable?

Gorgeous chocolate cake covered in whipped cream surrounded by a chocolate cage. Aren’t those strawberries adorable?

Triple chocolate mousse cake with strawberry coulis

Triple chocolate mousse cake with strawberry coulis

Even tied up in ribbons it's still stunning

Even tied up in ribbons it’s still stunning

Strawberries and chocolate........dessert Heaven.......

Strawberries and chocolate……..dessert Heaven…….

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This is post is really just meant to sate your chocolate appetite…..however if you want us to bring these gorgeous baked yummies to life for you then contact us at nkem.o@foodandfashionfusion.com or use the contact form on the home page.

A lot of people underestimate the thought process that goes into setting a meal before someone. Some people even trivialize the whole cooking “thingy”. In my opinion, the truth about preparing food, be it for a feast of 100 or a quiet meal for one, is that when you cook with love it comes through in the food. It really does……this has been my experience.

When I cook, I get inspiration; all sorts of ideas float into my head and before I know it I have a delicious creation before me. It’s great fun!

Over Christmas, I came across an amazing recipe for a tuxedo cake which went down a treat during Christmas lunch.

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It is essentially a two layers of decadent chocolate cake slathered in whipped cream and topped with a chocolate ganache. In the version I made over the holidays I slathered mine in vanilla cream cheese frosting and topped off the ganache with cherries not the strawberries that the original recipe recommended.

The gasps of delight the ensued when I appeared with the cake and the mmmmmms that escaped from my guests’ cake filled mouths assured me that the cake was a huge hit. Not to mention every one left with a an extra piece safely ensconced in foil and ziploc.

The recipe is simple enough to make. Although I must confess you MUST be fairly organized in order to set about putting this cake together. It’s not something you make on a whim; it’s a simple but deliberate process.

Ingredients:
To make the cake:
226 grams unsalted butter
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil ( I used corn oil)
4 cups sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee (optional)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tbsp. baking soda
ยฝ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

*I don’t know about you but butter milk is a pretty scarce resource to find in the city of Lagos so I save myself the grief by deploying a nifty alternative I learned a while ago. Measure a cup of whole milk and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to it. Stir and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. And voila! Buttermilk!

To make the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1ยผ cups icing sugar, sifted

OR

You could opt to use store bought cream cheese frosting. Betty Crocker make a good selection.

For the chocolate ganache
100 grams good quality bittersweet chocolate (50 – 70% cocoa) finely chopped
ยฝ cup heavy whipping cream
ยผ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Garnish
A 12 – 15. fresh strawberries or cherries (optional)

The “How To”

To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 175หš C. Line three 9-inch round cake pans (or two 10-inch round cake pans) with parchment paper. Butter and flour the inside edges of the pan. Tap the pans gently to discard of any excess flour and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, coffee (if using) water and vegetable oil; heat until the butter is melted then take of the heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and flour; whisk to blend. Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then add in the buttermilk and vanilla to the bowl and mix until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

You might wonder how the heck you should divide the batter evenly, well, if you have a flat surface digital scale the. Weigh the pans until each have equal weights. Or if you’re like me you just eyeball to. Alternatively you could go through the messy process of sticking toothpicks I. The batter to see the level in each pan but that’s so messy….just eyeball it or weigh it. I must point out that I used 9″ pans and I found the batter to be too much so I usually hold some of the cake batter back and simply fill a teeny weeny loaf tin and made a cute chocolate loaf for myself. Anyway back to the matter at hand….

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Please check the cake from the 28 minute mark; for my cakes they were done at about 32 minutes.

Now, this is the hard part; LET THE CAKES COOL IN THE PANS for at least 15 minutes. Then carefully run a table knife or spatula around the edge of each cake layer and carefully invert onto a wire cooling rack. Now, allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting for at least 2 hours.

This cake is a great make ahead dessert so once the cakes have cooled you can plonk them in the fridge. Be sure to wrap them secure in cling film or parchment paper first.

Now for the fun part; to make the frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat or you will effectively end up with butter and water……which is not such a bad thing……..:-)

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake platter and spread a layer of the whipped cream frosting over the top. Top with a second cake layer, more frosting (and the third cake layer, if using). Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake. Refrigerate until the frosting has stabilized/set. This should take at least 1 hour but the longer you leave it the better!

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To make the chocolate ganache, place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering (do not boil the cream. Once you can see steam rising off the surface take it off the heat). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes; this step is crucial because if you apply the hot chocolate the cake directly it will completely ruin your frosting however do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake – see what I mean about it being a deliberate process?

Slowly pour the gooey ganache over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides. It’s a mesmerizing process and creates such a beautiful visual!

At this point, if you have the stamina………lol, you may dip your washed and dried strawberries in the chocolate and place carefully on the cake.

Refrigerate the cake until the ganache is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least another hour. Slice with a long, sharp knife, wiping the blade clean between slices.

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Now bite into decadent chocolatey goodness!

This cake has been in high demand since I first made it and in within one week I have made it twice for two clients. The first was as a birthday cake from a loving hubby to his wife and the second was for a swanky private dinner party.

If you would FFF to create this impressive for you just fill the contact m or send an email to nkem.o@foodandfashionfusion.com

FFF tip of The Day

1. In order to get even layers between your cakes, when the cakes are completely cool, carefully, slice off the domed part of the cake with a long sharp knife until you have a level surface.
The scraps need not be wasted as you can use them in a lovely parfait, layering them up with any left over whipped cream and chocolate ganache or just snack on them as they are ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Before whipping cream, ensure that the cream is well chilled. Also chill the bowl the whisk in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. I prefer to use a metal bowl. This ensures that the cream whips up nicely and easily.