Monday, 22 October 2012

Luscious Chocolate and Blueberry Cake

 Chocolate and blueberry cake - perfect for Valentines


I baked this luscious chocolate and blueberry cake for a birthday this week. It’s one of those rich, dense chocolaty cakes that are simply irresistible!
The blueberries are a special surprise. Don’t let the idea of grated zucchini put you off. They can’t be seen when the cake has been baked but help to keep it moist for a several days. The icing, made from a 200 gram block of chocolate and some sour cream is so delightfully sinful it will tempt every chocolate lover!
The recipe comes from “Plenty” published by the Whakatane West Rotary Club. The Rotarians wanted to create something significant to celebrate their 40th birthday. So they decided to put out a book to showcase the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s wonderful food and lifestyle. It has given the locals a chance to share their favourite recipes and quirky anecdotes. All the profits from the sale of this book will be used for community projects
When a community recipe book is put together people will often be prepared to divulge special family recipes and this book is no exception. As one of the contributors says “I hate sharing my secret but it’s for a good cause!”
The recipes reflect the local food which comes from the land and the bush as well as the sea. As you might expect from a coastal region there are lots of seafood recipes such as a duet of whitebait, tuatua fritters, creamed paua pastries, scallops on minted pea puree, and smoked marlin pasta.

The Isis fish salad makes a great lunch. It is best made with freshly caught snapper, kingfish or gurnard.Roz Tucker created it on a maiden voyage to White island from snapper caught on the way out. A little lemon salt is sprinkled on the fish. It is then very quickly fried and tossed through a salad which contains such ingredients as rock melon, tomatoes, cucumber and snap peas. Over this a dressing made from orange juice, pickled ginger, soy sauce and coconut cream. Light and delicious!
There are also chapters on nibbles and starters, barbecues and picnics, wild foods, mains, desserts and sweet treats. Most of these look yummy and are easy and quick to make.
For a very special dinner I’d start with the venison and brandy terrine. For the main it would be the eye fillet on kumara rosti. For dessert, the “Berry White Island”, a romantic concoction of fresh raspberries, cream, yoghurt, and crushed meringues. This would also be a great meal to impress overseas guests and a welcome change from roast lamb and pavlova!
“Plenty” was designed to be more than a recipe book. The photographs capture the beauty of the coastal scenery as well as the food. As you leaf through the book you almost feel as if you are at Ohope Beach with sand between your feet, taking a leap into the water from the Ohiwa wharf with the local kids, whitebaiting at Thornton Beach or watching a glowing sunset at Lake Rotoma.
Another special feature of the book is the snippets of local history. I loved the tale of how the first kumara arrived in New Zealand in the great waka Mataatua and was planted at Matirerau.
The book also recounts how many years later Captain James Cook sailed into the area and discovered how the sea, bays and rivers “abounded with a great variety of excellent Fish,” and mentioned that the lobsters were the best his crew had ever eaten. No wonder he gave it the name of the Bay of Plenty.
These days “The Bay of Plenty is still one of the great markets of the world. Weka fricassee and kakapo casserole have been taken off the menu, but now seafood chowder, whitebait fritters, wild pork, fresh stream trout, native honey, cheese, berry fruits, citrus and olives, to name but a few, all hail from the land, sea and soil.”
Just reading about all this great food will be sure to tickle your taste buds, and make you dream of a romantic weekend away .A great place to fish, swim surf or simply lounge on the beach before tucking into a picnic basket or firing up a barbecue. Must do this summer!

Chocolate cake the blueberry way
Recipe by Heidi Rosewarne
from Plenty published by the Whakatane West Rotary Club
125g butter
250g cooking chocolate
½ cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup yoghurt, plain or fruit
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 cups grated zucchini
1½ cups Blueberry Corner blueberries
200g cooking chocolate
¼ cup sour cream
In a large pot, melt butter and chocolate until smooth.
Cream through sugar and beat in eggs, one at a time, with a wooden spoon. Add a little flour to prevent curdling. Add vanilla and yoghurt, and then fold in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Finally, fold in zucchini and blueberries and spread mixture into a greased 23cm cake tin.
Bake at 170˚C for 45-60 minutes. Cook for 20 minutes longer if using frozen blueberries.
Ice when cool with 200g melted cooking chocolate and ¼ cup sour cream.
Plenty is published by the Whakatane West Rotary Club
Price $44.90
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