Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Super moist blueberry cake

This is an adaptation from a recipe in the beautiful cake porn book "Cake Days" by the Hummingbird Bakery. While I'm sure that the original recipe was perfect already, I am pathologically unable to stick to instructions. It's one of my many quirks.

7oz margarine
7oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
7oz  golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs (I don't need to remind you to use free range, do I?)
1 tsp vanilla extract  
 5oz blueberries dusted with 1 tbs flour
1oz quark, beaten to soften

The method is the same as a basic sponge. Cream together the marge and sugar (purists would probably do this with a wooden spoon and elbow grease but I'm far too lazy  for that) until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift in about half of the flour and baking powder, stir well, then fold in the rest. Fold through the quark, then finally the blueberries. Bung in your prepared tin of choice (I used a loaf tin, but had a bit of spare mixture so made half a dozen cupcakes out of the remainder) and let it bake at about 180 C until risen to perfection and dotted with exploded purpley goo.

The slightely higher than usual egg-flour ratio along with the quark makes this cake so soft and moist it really doesn't need any frosting, but since I had half a tub of quark in the fridge I thought I'd play around. A large dollop beaten with a little icing sugar and a few drops of lemon oil (juice would slacken the frosting too much) makes a lovely tangy topping. It would be seriously good on carrot cake too. 


Friday, 6 January 2012

A littlebit about me...

Alright, I suck at this blogging  stuff. I fully intend to remedy this situation this year. But for now, a little foodie survey.

1. Who taught you to cook? Myself. One part natural ability, one part greed, several parts trial and error.

2. Describe your cooking style: Rustic and flavoursome.

3. How many cookbooks do you have? (Tell the truth): I've never tried counting. 60 maybe?

4. Who do you admire as a food writer? Jamie, Hugh, Nigella, Kate Shirazi, Gizzi Erskine.

5. What is your most used cookbook? Nigella - Domestic Goddess

6. What is your fail-safe dish? Carbonara with leeks and peas. No other dish produces such delicious results for such little effort and expense.

7. French or Italian? Italian without a shadow of a doubt.

8. Thai or Indian? Thai thai thai!

9. Tea or coffee? If I had to live without either I would combust.

10. Your guilty food pleasure? Dominos and KFC.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mincemeat for mince pie haters.

I'm sick of people telling me they don't like mince pies. What they actually mean is they don't like cheap, dry pastry cases filled with bitter chunks of candied peel, cheap harsh brandy and currants with pips that get stuck between your teeth. If people were offered REAL mince pies, with short, buttery pastry and rich, juicy fruit NO-ONE would claim to dislike one of the season's greatest traditions.

So  here we are, folks,  my recipe for the most delicious mincemeat you're ever likely to taste.

500g sultanas
350g dates, stoned and chopped
200g dried cranberries
2 apples,  peeled and coursely grated
75g soft brown sugar
200g  beef or vegetable  suet
2 tbs ground cinnamon
1tbs mixed spice
100ml  orange juice
100ml spiced rum
zest of 3 clementines or a large orange

Start by putting the dried fruits in a bowl or container and pour over the juice  and rum. Add the sugar, spices and zest and give it a good ol' mix. Leave to steep for a day or two, until the liquid is absorbed and the fruit looks plump and juicy. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir well. You can either keep  it in the fridge for a few weeks, or stick it in sterilized jars, with  another teaspoon of rum on top and save it for next christmas (if  you have that much  willpower)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A starting point...

I, like most, tend to fail miserably at New Year's Resolutions. Sometimes I out and out break them, mostly I just forget all about them by mid-April. This year has been no exception, I'm  fairly sure I made at least five, but I can only remember three of them. One is  complete; visit two countries I've never  been to  before.  A  summer break to Madrid and an Autumn jaunt to Cologne has seen to that nicely. I've failed the second; stop buying avocados then letting them go mushy and brown before throwing them away. There's one in the fridge right now that's been decomposing for several weeks. I love avocados, I just never seem to have anything for them to go with.

My third resolution (that  I can remember) was to start writing a food blog. It shouldn't 've been  difficult; I love food, I cook both for a living and pleasure, and when I'm not cooking I'm usually thinking  about it  or yabbering  on to  someone about it or  shopping for it or reading  about  it (you get the  picture) yet here I  am, two  months of  twenty eleven left and I've still not got round to it.

That's me. Useless as ever.

So in my attempt to suceed at not just  one but TWO of my New Year's resolutions, here it is. My blog. Recipes,  photos and  general kitchen-based witterings to come.