An Anthology of Late-Night Munchies

Introduced & Selected by Charmain Ponnutherai
midnight-feast-silk-scarf-karen-mabonI am a glutton when it comes to cookbooks. I buy and devour every new tome on the culinary arts. I am interested in food journeys through Asian jungles, wildernesses, or the hill towns of Italy, France, Spain, the archipelagos of Sweden, the street markets of Thailand , etc., etc. I can’t get enough of Nigellissima stuffing a pollo with limones from the Amalfi coast.

I love to watch Jamie Oliver cooking chorizo and jamon and gammas over a pile of cork oak logs in the Pyrenees. I watched spell bound by Carluccio’s road trip with Genarro through the regional and religious edible curiosities of Italy. It all fires my imagination and taste buds.
I was delighted when a friend gave me Midnight Feasts: An Anthology of Late-Night Munchies. This anthology is filled with recipes contributed by friends and family and is so sweet to look at, you practically want to eat it.

Compiled by mother and good cook Charmain Ponnutherai, with adorable illustrations by Laurie Bellanca, this charming cookery book contains recipes from a very distinguished gang of British fashion designers, actresses, party people and culinary giants. Learn how to make dishes like Anya Hindmarch’s Platter of Cold Meat & Potted Artichokes; Gwyneth Paltrow’s Capon, Grandma Style; Rachel Johnson’s Instant Cheesecake; and Rose Gray’s Chocolate & Ginger Cake. Proceeds from the book go to Springboard, a British charity helping children with Dyslexia and learning difficulties. It really is the gift that keeps on giving and will be much appreciated by anyone who receives it. I’ve ordered copies for all my friends and can’t wait to feast upon whatever they concoct, be it day or night.

— Countess du Ruel

Recipes (a little taster of those in the book)
HRH The Duchess of York’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

You will need two 7 or 8-inch cake tins, buttered and base-lined with baking paper.

Ingredients for the cake
100g plain chocolate
100g Demerara sugar
300ml milk
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar
100g butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
225g plain flour
Ingredients for the icing
40g butter
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
icing sugar (amount depends on how you like your icing)
2 tablespoons milk
a few chocolate Buttons

1. Preheat oven to 170C.
2. Place the chocolate, milk and Demerara sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is very hot but not quite boiling.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb. It will fizz up! Leave to cool slightly.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the butter and cater sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks.
5. Add by degrees the warm chocolate mixture and the sieved plain flour, stirring well after each addition.
6. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold one spoonful into the mix to slacken it. Then gently fold in the rest.
7. Pour the mix into the two tins and level the top. Bake for approx. 25 minutes until the surface of the cake springs back when pressed. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins with a palette knife. Place on a cooling rack.
8. To make the icing, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then sift in cocoa powder. Cook, stirring for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Stir in milk, then stir in icing sugar an ounce at a time until you have the consistency you desire. Once the cake is cool, use icing to fill and decorate the top. Arrange buttons on the top. Heaven!
Serves 10 generously
Lady Carole Bamford’s Lemonade from Fresh Lemons

4 unwaxed organic lemons
100g sugar
thyme and mint to taste
sugar to taste
1. Take the 4 unwaxed organic lemons, wash the skins and cut them into chunks, cutting off the ends.
2. Add to a food processor with 50g sugar and enough water to cover them.
3. Process to a mush, then strain, then return the mush to the processor and add another 50g sugar and a little more water. Whizz again to mush, strain, then combine with the first contents. Chill.
4. When you wish to serve, top up wth still water, adding sugar if desired. Add a sprig of mint or thyme to taste.
Serves 2

Midnight Feasts: An Anthology of Late-Night Munchies Introduced & Selected by Charmain Ponnutherai is available at www.amazon.co.uk.

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