Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chocolate Cake Heaven

I realise I am a totally indulgent grandmother and I don’t wish to bore you with grandmother pursuits but there are two very good reasons why I want to share this with you.

One is that anything that encourages young children into the kitchen is worthwhile and with so many mothers busy and holding down jobs, there is an opportunity for grandparents to become teachers.

We have more patience, generally, and time, hopefully, to fill the role.

The other thing I wanted to share with you is this fabulous chocolate cake recipe which is a firm favourite in our family. It is birthday cake, lunch box cake, cupcake and no reason at all cake!

Given to me by my foodie sister years ago it is firmly imprinted in my head. A one bowl wonder that is chocolatey, moist and truly delicious.
Cook it and love it.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Makes 1 x 23 cm round cake or 18 regular cup cakes

200g plain flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa
150g brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 eggs
150ml oil
300ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Sieve dry ingredients in bowl and add the sugar. Make well in centre and add syrup, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla. Beat all together until smooth. Pour into a greased tin/s. Bake @ 170°C for 45 mins to an hour – or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cupcakes – 20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Autumn’s gift to Aphrodite ….the Quince

It’s quince season and oh! how I look forward to it every year! For the chefs in the kitchen, it means jars and jars of beautiful pink jelly, packets of delicious quince paste and giant bottles of our pickled quinces which we use on cheeseboards and chopped into aromatic lamb tagines.

To me, one of the greatest pleasures is a chunk of freshly baked bread smeared generously with quince jelly and topped with a wedge of ripe oozing brie – divine!

My mother used to grate them into apple pies and crumbles but as a child I found them tart and uninteresting which surprised me because quince trees are exquisite in blossom and look just as beautiful with the shiny golden fruit hanging decoratively on their branches.

I like to make a SUGAR SYRUP using 1 cup sugar and 2 cups water in a cast iron casserole dish. When the sugar has dissolved, I add 1 cinnamon stick, the juice of a lemon with pith and a vanilla pod which has been split. Peel, quarter and core four quinces, then cut each quarter in half again. Place into syrup, cover tightly with lid and place in oven which has been preheated to 150°C. Bake for 3-4 hours until quinces are ruby red and tender. Cool in syrup.

To make a delicious QUINCE SYRUP CAKE:
50g butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
4 quinces poached as above and drained (reserve syrup)
Line a 23 cm round tin with baking paper. Combine butter and sugar and pour into lined tin. Cover with quince segments in a circular pattern.

Make a batter by creaming together:

150g soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
Add 3 eggs, and fold in 1⅓ cup flour, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1½ teaspoon baking powder.
Spoon over fruit carefully so as not to spoil pattern and bake in preheated oven 180°C for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and rest in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto plate. Pour over 1 cup of reserved syrup and serve with yoghurt, ice cream or lightly whipped cream.

Cook it – love it!