This light olive oil cake can be served alone or accompanied by pears poached in red wine or brandy-soaked cherries or prunes, but the success of the cake depends on using a top-quality olive oil.
Because there’s not much flour in this batter, the crumb is chewy, sort of like a cross between a custard pie and a buttery cake. The cake is very thin but a good platform for the whipped cream and berries.
Chocolate and beets are a natural pair. The earthiness of the beets contrasts with the richness and sweetness of chocolate. The milk chocolate frosting on this cake is laced with orange zest—orange tastes great with both chocolate and beets.
Milk may not seem a likely braising liquid, but it works beautifully, tenderizing the meat and combining with the chicken juices and spices to create the sauce. You can brown the meat in advance, assemble the braise and refrigerate it, then pop it into the oven just before you want to eat; in under an hour you’ll have a comforting main course that’s perfect for a snowy evening.
Sticky toffee pudding is a rich British dessert that’s basically an exceptionally moist date cake with caramel sauce poured over the top. Steaming in the slow cooker is an absolutely foolproof way to make it. The maple syrup in the easy caramel sauce is an unorthodox American addition—but maple goes so well with dates.