Broken Yolk

Broken Yolk
Play with your Food!

Friday, 18 February 2011

‘Sorry I passed out in your bed’ Cupcakes

Who cares about crumbs?

olive oil cupcakes with blackcurrant icing

Yes, once not long ago, I went to visit someone and ended up passed out in their bed. Not the most dignified position to be in, I’ll admit, and it was made somewhat worse by the fact that I’d just come from a gay festival, at my college in Oxford, called Queerfest wearing a neon tutu and a t-shirt saying “I love pussy”.  It was really very lucky that after the night’s festivities of drag queens and random inter-gender pulling I had even managed to end up in a friend’s bed at all. And waking up in the cold dawn light disorientated and surrounded by the gimpy pigeons, who only seem to come out in the early morning, and bemused rowers, is an experience I prefer to avoid.

But as is my firm and adamant belief, nothing says sorry like some good homemade food. Even if you did end up throwing up all over someone’s floor and not stirring from their bed for 48 hours.

Despite the embarrassment of its origins, this recipe has become one of my all time favourites. Bake it and you’ll see why; it’s moist, rich and fragrant from the zest, almond extract and olive oil. This cake is an interesting alternative to a standard sponge, gooey and moreish, with zingy blackcurrant icing to balance out the sweetness. Yum.

And I can say that this recipe officially got me off the hook. I was suddenly forgiven for all my indiscretions and even the two days I claimed the bed for. Result.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
A dash of vanilla extract and almond extract. The zest of one orange and 1/2 a cup of its juice.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°F. Place your cupcake cases on a baking tray.
2. In a bowl mix together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Crack the eggs into another bowl and whisk them to break up the yolks. Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk it for about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and whisk until the mixture is lighter in color and has thickened, this should take about about 45 seconds. 
4. Then whisk in the extracts and zest, followed by the orange juice.
5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk until they are thoroughly combined; continue whisking until you have a smooth batter.
5. Pour the batter into the cupcake cases, and bake the cake for 15 to 20 minutes, until fully cooked and bouncy to the touch.
6. To make the icing, blend fresh blackcurrant into a smooth puree and then cream with some butter and enough icing sugar to create the desired consistency. 

This cake smells good – and so do you after baking it! IFF in Paris have probably spent years trying to capture the floral notes that will be on your hands. This sensual quality makes very good if you’re serving it in bed, like I did.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lebanese House Tabouleh

The night after crashing a well lubricated party at Aqua, where I’d seen media types get drunk and sweatily fondle each other in an attempt to forget their lost dreams and daily data entry, I was lying in a pool of canapĂ© & champagne vomit (my own luckily) and felt something in the floors of my building. Not the usual post-apocalyptic rustlings, but the chaotic pulse of good house music. Needless to say I stirred the occupants of my room and went to investigate. In the basement, next to the laundry room, was a pool of strobe lights and a hub of people, one of my favourite sights. I moved onto the dance floor.

And if there’s one thing I can say about a two-day gyrating mess it’s that it builds up an appetite. After shaking my bones to some great beats, and being surprised by some sublimely good times, I pondered the usual equation [hunger = time to cook] and felt inspired to document the night a la mode.

This is the recipe inspired by my hazy memories of strange conversations with Lebanese bourgeois boys, muttering about burning tire mountains in an urban dessert, and a spattering of moments with most of Eastern Europe, all to the sound of the spinning decks.

It was time for a spot of cupboard raiding in several people’s rooms, during which time I found a couple of misshapen cigarettes and some suspect reading literature (never trust a pamphlet) as well as more edible treasure. I was lucky enough to come across some bulghar wheat, which was the perfect medium for this dish.


100g feta
150g  Bulghur Wheat
1 pomegranate
50g chopped walnuts
25g pistachios
40g chopped fresh mixed herbs (mint, flat-leaf parsley, coriander)
100g rocket
Olive oil, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

      1.   Cook the bulghur wheat for 10-15 minutes or until al dente. Leave to drain.
2.    Roll the pomegranate on a chopping board and then slice in half. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate, and discard any bitter white pith.
3.     Place the feta and pomegranate in a large mixing bowl with the walnuts, pistachios, fresh herbs, rocket and the warm bulghur wheat. Season well and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

What I love about this recipe is that as you bite into the pomegranate, the seeds burst in your mouth in a tiny explosion of taste. This, along with the contrast between the nutty bulghur wheat and freshness and zingy flavors of the herbs and lemon, creates a riot of flavour in your mouth. Every particle of taste is like a note of music in an electro EP. 

If you know of any good Lebanese house music that you think could be paired with my recipe please let me know… any suggestions welcome!