13.2.11

Happy Valentines Day!

I actually like Valentines day. Chocolate, hearts, and celebrating love? Count me in. Sure, it's commerical, bla bla bla, and I know it is, but it's fun and I've always enjoyed it. I'm hoping/assuming that this one will be better than last, as I was on the kibbutz last year and a really nasty flu happened to be going around the volunteer crew that week. I spent Valentines Day in bed feeling wretched. But you know what? All my healthy friends came in and looked after me, and brought me water and made me tea. I think one of them even made my bed for me!  So really, it wasn't that bad of a day. I felt the love.
 But this year, there will be none of that flu nonsense. 
Anyway, I made a delightful dessert tonight in honor of the holiday. It feeds eight, so if you're having a little get-together, perhaps you could serve this! I got the recipe from BBC Good Food (the October 2010 issue). I made a few reaaaaaallly minor adjustments, but really I just followed the recipe. It turned out really nicely! Check it out.
 Self-Saucing Jaffa Pudding
Courtesy of BBC Good Food

By the way. I had no idea what Jaffa cakes were until I went to England. I have tried them, however, and they were excellent. They're named for the lovely Jaffa oranges, which, incidenally, are Israeli. (Jaffa is an ancient port right outside of Tel Aviv, and it is fabulous. Eventually, I will blog about it...)
This is quite different from a Jaffa cake, obviously. But the chocolate orange element is there. I did not use Jaffa oranges (can one even get them in the US?) I used, in spirit of Valentine's Day, blood oranges (well, really, because I saw a bag of them at the market and was so excited I just had to buy them...guess who's having red orange juice tomorrow for breakfast??) I also used pink salt, just because it felt more valentinesy to me, but I know that's ridiculous.  
Oh. Okay, one more thing. The recipe specified self-rising flour, and since I rarely bake, I didn't want to buy a whole bag of that. I read in a Nigella Lawson cookbook that you can make your own self-rising flour by adding two tablespoons of baking powder for every cup of flour you use, and if the recipe also involves cocoa (or buttermilk, or yogurt), to also (on top of the power) add a quarter of a teaspoon of baking soda to every cup as well. The recipe also calls for baking powder, and I used it. It was a lot of baking powder, but it turned out great, so, no worries. 

Ingredients
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, melted
250 grams or 2 cups of self-rising flour  (or see above)
140 grams/5 oz sugar 
50 grams/2 oz cocoa 
1 tsp baking powder
zest and juice of one orange (try blood oranges if you see them in the store! mmm)
3 eggs
150 ml or 2/3 cup milk
100 grams/4 oz chocolate (orange chocolate, if you find it), broken into chunks 

FOR THE SAUCE
200 grams/7 oz sugar (light muscovado,  if you have it. I didn't.)
25 grams/1 oz cocoa

Preparation
Grease a 2 litre baking dish and heat oven to 360f (180c). Put the kettle on. Combine the flour, sugar and cocoa for the cake, baking powder, orange zest and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. 
Whisk together the orange juice, eggs, melted butter and milk until smooth. Add the chocolate chunks, stir to incorporate. Pour into the baking dish.
Mix about a  cup and a quarter of the boiling water from the kettle with the sugar and cocoa for the sauce. Pour it over the pudding batter. It will look water, slightly lumpy, and unattractive.  (BBC Good Food even warns this!) 
Slide into the middle rack of the oven and cook for 30 minutes. When you serve, you will find a spongy, delicate, chocolately cake and a rich beautiful sauce underneath. No idea how it works but it's fantastic. 
Serve immediately!
It would be a crime not to serve this with ice cream, or even just cream.  

Happy Valentines Day!  

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