Tuesday 2 December 2008

Cook's Alphabet 'M'

Cook's Alphabet 'M'

This is the thirteenth in my series of 28 postings going through the entire alphabet, as it relates to cooks and cooking. As you can see, today I'm dealing with the letter 'M'.

The letter 'M' is, of course the thirteenth letter in the English alphabet, and today's recipe is for a classic Australian dish containing (and named after) that classic Australian 'M' nut, the Macadamia nut:

Macadamia Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Fudge Sauce


For the nut caramel:
100g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
50g macadamia nuts

For the sponge:
100g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, softened
250g self-raising flour
2 eggs

For the chocolate fudge sauce:
50g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
50ml white wine
1 tbsp milk
50g dark chocolate, melted
50g macadamia nuts

Begin with the nut caramel. Add the sugar and butter in a pan and cook until melted and the mixture turns a deep caramel colour. Add the macadamia nuts, stir well then pour the mixture into the base of an lightly-greased oven-proof dish.

Cram together the sugar and butter for the sponge until light and fluffy. Stir-in the flour and eggs and blend until smooth then tip the sponge mix over the nut mix in the dish. Place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and bake for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Take out of the oven and allow to cool a little before serving.

For the chocolate fudge sauce, heat the butter and sugar in a pan until melted then add the white wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in carefully in a pan or bain-marie (double boiler). Add the milk, melted chocolate and macadamia nuts to the wine reduction then tip the sponge out onto a serving place and pour the sauce over the top.

(This recipe reproduced, with permission, from the Celtnet Macadamia Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Fudge Sauce page, part of the site's Australian recipes collection. )

Today's cooking term is Mirepoix: Mirepoix is a French term denoting the bed of vegetables on which foods (typically joints of meat or fish) are braised. The vegetables both flavour the stock and prevent the meat from sticking to the pan bottom.

Today's spice is Mahlab: Mahlab is an aromatic spice derived from the pulverized pits of the black Mahlab cherry Cerasus mahaleb. It has been used for centuries in the Middle East and the surrounding areas (especially in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Armenia, Iran and Greece) as a sweet/sour, nutty addition to breads, cheese, and biscuits (cookies). Typically it is used as a flavouring for sweet dishes and cakes.

For more information on cookery-associated terms and information beginning with the letter 'M' here are various links that may well be of interest:

Recipes beginning with 'M'
Spices beginning with 'M'
Herbs beginning with 'M'
Wild foods beginning with 'M'
Cook's glossary 'M'

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