On the inaugural Dietary Requirements, our hosts Simon Day, Alice Neville and Sophie Gilmour discuss the crispy bacon spectrum, the perfect egg sandwich and memorable dining experiences, all the while enjoying Ninth Island Methode Traditionnelle and Panhead Blacktop Oat Stout.
Auckland hospo power couple Sid and Chand Sahrawat make an appearance (read Simon’s profile of them here), Simon recalls a curious encounter with Annabel Langbein (see below for details), and we pay tribute to the late, great Anthony Bourdain.
We suggest celebrating the launch of the podcast with a slice of Annabel’s ultimate chocolate cake, the recipe for which we’ve included below.
Simon shares his sorry tale here:
When Annabel Langbein came to a party at my house, I accused her of being a bad cook.
I’d made her ultimate chocolate cake and it was exquisite, light, rich, and incredibly easy to make. But the chocolate ganache she suggested to ice the cake didn’t work. Even after I put it in the fridge, and then the freezer, it wouldn’t set. So when she showed up at my flat on Auckland’s Franklin Road on 1 December, some time around 2014, to celebrate the annual launch of the street’s famous Christmas lights display, I mustered up the courage to tell her what I thought about her recipe.
“Annabel, your chocolate ganache doesn’t work.”
She saw right through me, and deep into my flawed personality.
“You used cheap chocolate, didn’t you Simon?”
She wasn’t wrong. I’m a famously reluctant spender of money. How Annabel knew this just from looking at me, I’m not sure.
I’m grateful she was not offended by my accusation, and later, on a dirty, drunken dance floor, she let me crawl through her legs − my favourite dance move.
But the chocolate cake recipe is fantastic and so simple, and the ganache is even easier − just make sure you use good-quality chocolate.
The measurements below make one very big cake. I often make two smaller ones and combine them, with ganache and raspberry jam in the middle.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
For the cake
3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
200g butter, softened
1 cup milk or unsweetened yoghurt
3 large eggs
1 cup boiling hot coffee
For the chocolate ganache
500g dark chocolate (I use Whittaker’s 72% Cocoa Dark Ghana), chopped
fresh raspberries (when in season)
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.
Grease a 30cm-diameter springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
Place all the cake ingredients in a large bowl, electric mixer or food processor and mix or blitz until the ingredients are combined and the butter is fully incorporated. Pour into the prepared tin or tins and smooth the top.
Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin. If not using at once, the cake will keep for about a week in a sealed container in the fridge. You can also freeze it un-iced.
To make the ganache, smash up the chocolate with a rolling pin while it’s still in the packet.
Put the cream into a medium saucepan and heat until it is almost but not quite boiling. You’ll know it’s ready when bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is fully melted into the cream. Whisk until smooth and glossy. When you start to stir it, you think it won’t come together, but it will (as long as you don’t use cheap stuff).
When you are ready to ice the cake, slather chilled chocolate ganache over the top. Top with fresh raspberries, if using, and serve.
Dietary Requirements is brought to you by Freedom Farms, which is excited to facilitate good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa, and Fine Wine Delivery Co, which firmly believes that eating and drinking well is part of a life well lived.