Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake

12 Days of Chrismukkah, Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

Good news – we finally have a cast member that doesn’t link into my torrid love life. I mean sure, I did sleep with Willa Holland’s current co-star Stephen Amell years ago … but I didn’t meet her through him, so technically I’m home free.

You see I met Willa through my dear friend Lisa Kudrow – who I am so overdue to see that it scares me – when Willa guested on an episode of the majestic and underrated series The Comeback.

It would shock nobody to know that my attitude inspired her characterisation of Valerie Cherish.

I was taken by her talent and she was the only person I could think of to replace my cousin-in-law Shailene when they wanted to beef up the role of Caitlin. I also put her forward for the role of Thea Queen on Arrow … not that I’m saying she should be grateful to me for her career.

But she probably should be … a little, at least.

As she has been super – get it? – busy with her role in the Arrow-verse shows, I haven’t been able to spend much meaningful time with Wills in the last few years but thankfully our friendship is so beautiful that our bond never changes.

Plus, if it did, I’d just withhold my Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake until she loves me again … because that is what you do with your family during the holiday!

 

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Combining the velvety sweet charm of one Caitlin Cooper and the brooding darkness and depth of Thea Queen, this cake is the perfect hybrid of my dear friend’s roles.

Enjoy!

 

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Willa Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake
Serves: 10-12.

Ingredients
200g hazelnuts, peeled and roasted
250g good dark chocolate, chopped
185g unsalted butter, cubed
40g cocoa powder, sifted
30ml strong, freshly brewed coffee
30ml amaretto
6 eggs, at room temperature
275g caster sugar
ice cream, cream or fresh berries, to serve
Nutella, to drizzle on top

Method
Preheat oven to 160ºC and grease/line a springform tin.

Chuck the hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until it it is finely ground and just starting to turn to a paste. Set aside.

Combine the chocolate, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until just melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the coffee and amaretto. Set aside.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer until just combined. Fold through the chocolate, followed by the hazelnuts and pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Once cooled, serve with a dollop of ice cream and drizzled with nutella … because we can’t get enough hazelnut!

 

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Bryam Cranston Balls

Emmy Gold, Party Food, Side, Snack, Vegetarian

Ok – so I know it makes running the odds all the more difficult, I couldn’t bare to hold an Emmy Week without seeing my ex-love and six-time victor Bryan Cranston.

Plus he has won for Best Actor in a Drama and Best Drama on top of his nominations for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Best Limited Series or Movie and – catch your breath – Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, meaning he can run a shit tonne of odds with me.

Let’s start with Best Supporting Actor, on account of yesterday’s catch-up with Tone, where Bry (like me and honestly Tone) is going for the well-deserved though underdog Tituss Burgess. I mean, the academy really should make up for the fact he lost last year despite the majesty of Pinot Noir.

Anyway, let me take you back to the early 80s. As you know, I was working with my dear friend Erik Estrada on the set of CHiPs when a young Bry arrived to guest during an episode. Using my keen sense of great talent – I discovered Meryl Streep, did you know? – I knew that he was destined for greatness, kinda dumped E and hitched myself to the Cranston Wagon.

We stayed close through his bit parts on Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Baywatch, The Flash, Seinfeld before I finally got him his big break – via my ex-lover – on Malcolm in the Middle and the rest, as they irritatingly say, is history.

While I was never able to get through the shit stretch of Breaking Bad, I’ve always been Bry’s number one fan and know that he will once again take out the Emmy, this time for Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (I mean, the man won a Tony for the play) – obvs I’m putting a cheeky bet on Hiddleston for the sole reason that he finally broke up with Swifty.

Once again, despite our extremely loud and incredibly close relationship, Bry has opted to go to this year’s Emmys with his wife, although was kind enough to point out that Kit and I would make such a cute twincest couple, albeit with me in the role of low-rent Jon Snow. With such a beautiful compliment, I had to repay him so still whipped up a batch of my Bryam Cranston Balls.

 

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You know that like the egreciously snubbed Jane Krakowski’s alter ego Jenna Maroney, I’m a huge fan of balls. Balls, balls, balls, balls.

Balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls, balls. If I can form food into a ball, I will.

So yes, these are just a version of arancini, but arancini is the best, so is that a crime? Add in some yam (or you know, sweet potato in a pinch … I was in a pinch), spinach and goat’s cheese and you’ve got a preemptive seventh Emmy party in yo’ mouth!

Enjoy!

 

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Bryam Cranston Balls
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
250g yam (or sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1cm dice
olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 cup baby spinach
100g goat’s cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
½ cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the yam on an a baking tray, drizzle with oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.

Meanwhile, heat a good lug of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Add the rice and cook for a further couple of minutes or until they start to go translucent. Add the wine and cook until it is all absorbed, followed by the stock, half-cup by half-cup until all gone, absorbing between each addition.

Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat, stir through the baby spinach and allow to cool for an hour.

When it is as frosty as a Daytime Emmy winner at a Primetime Emmy party, stir through the sweet potato, goat’s cheese, sage and chilli.

Line a large baking tray, roll the risotto into 1-2 tablespoon sized balls and place on the tray to rest until the mixture is all gone.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in another. One by one, roll each ball in the flour, then the egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. Return to tray and repeat until all done. Place the tray in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Remove the tray from the fridge, drizzle with oil and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, or until golden and crisp.

Devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.