|Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)|
I had been in a cooking rut for more than a month now; nothing is inspiring me to cook. I have been reading my favorite books and stories hoping to ignite my passion for food and cooking -- "Like Water for Chocolate", "The School of Essential Ingredients", "HeartBurn", "Crazy Salad Plus Nine" and legendary cook and writer Elizabeth David’s "French Provincial Cooking" and "A Taste of the Sun". Although the books transported me to the kitchens and lives of these wonderful women, I remained unmoved.
It finally came last Friday when I was at the market and found some beautiful strawberries from Matthews Farms in Baxley, GA. As I inhaled the fragrant sweetness of these perfectly deep red of juiciness, I knew that it was time to put down the books and play with my zester.
Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba)
adopted from Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking
1 T strong espresso coffee
1 T brandy or rum
150 g softened unsalted butter
1/2 t sea salt
150 g caster sugar
100 g ground almonds
5 eggs, separated
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 160C (about 350 F). Butter a 9-inch spring form baking pan.
Combine chocolate, coffee and brandy in a bowl over water or in a double-boiler. Stir when melted and add butter and sugar and mix well. Add almonds and salt stir in well. Remove bowl from the heat.
Lightly beat the yolks and stir into the bowl. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Lighten chocolate mixture with a spoonful of whites, then fold in the remainder.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake will test a bit gooey in the centre. Cool completely in the tin before slipping onto a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar.