Showing posts from August, 2013

Apricot and Ginger Loaf

I haven't made a loaf cake for a while, but having a sort out of my baking cupboard, I found some wholemeal flour, stem ginger and a bag of dried apricots that needed using. Thought they'd make a good combination in a loaf cake. I find using just wholemeal flour make cakes too heavy for my taste, so I always do half wholemeal and half white. It's a quick loaf to make - preheat your oven to 180C/gas 4 and grease a 900g loaf tin. Put 115g wholemeal flour and 115g plain flour in a bowl with 11/2 tspns of baking powder. Add 150g soft light brown sugar, 115g butter, 2 eggs, zest of a lemon and 2 tbspn of milk. Beat together using an electric mixer for about 2 mins then fold in 175g of dried apricots [not the ones you have to soak] which have been chopped. Finely chop 3 pieces of stem ginger and you need 4 tbspns of the syrup from the jar, Add these to the cake mixture. Thinly slice 1 more piece of stem ginger. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and level the top, then arra

Blueberry Buckle

Have been trying to unravel the difference between various American words used in desserts - slump, grunt, cobbler and buckle. I've made a cobbler a few times, cutting out scone-like cobbles to put on top of the fruit but what's a grunt or a slump? Great words, and what  pictures they conjure up. I found a recipe in an American book I bought from 'The Works' years ago, for a Blueberry Buckle. This sounded intriguing so I had to make one. What is it? It's a cake mixture with the fruit added which is put into the bottom of the cake tin, and a streusel type mixture is spooned on top. The name Buckle is supposed to have been used because the top of the baked dessert looks like it's buckled under the heat  - it does, so maybe there's some truth in this idea. I altered some of the amounts in the recipe, as there seemed to be too much flour in the cake part. I'll certainly make the recipe again, but I'd use less sugar in the topping as it was way to

Plum tart

This is a really quick dessert I did to use up some plums which were going soft. It was in a supplement in Woman's Weekly magazine ages ago, and I've made it with various fruit - apricots, pears, apples as well as the original plums. I add cinnamon as we love it. It uses bought puff pastry and store cupboard ingredients, plus the fruit. You need 500g puff pastry, 10 plums which you halve and stone, 4tbspn ground almonds, 1 tbspn icing sugar, 1 tbspn vegetable oil, a tspn cinnamon, about 55g flaked almonds, 2 tbspn honey and milk or beaten egg to brush around the edges of the pastry. You can also use 100g marzipan which you grate, but I didn't use any. You preheat oven 190C/gas5 and you need a baking sheet. Roll the pastry out to a 30x20cm rectangle. Score it 2cm in from the edge all the way round, but don't cut it through. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar and oil in a blender a make into a paste. I used a little more than 1 tbspn oil as my paste wouldn't

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

When living in France, I loved the homely cakes my French neighbours baked, as opposed to the great patisserie you buy in the specialist shops. We took it in turns to make a traditional cake to have with coffee or tea. If it was with tea, it was always a fruit flavoured one or a tisane, never our black tea [except in our house]. This is one my next door neighbour made regularly; it's her grandmother's recipe, and she called it a 'Gateau au chocolat a l'ancienne'. I make it in a loaf tin instead of in the usual 'moule a manque', the traditional round French cake tin. It's great with an afternoon cuppa, or as a dessert with some ice cream or creme anglaise. It's normally made using cooking or dessert chocolate [of which there are many good makes in France], but I use dark chocolate from a supermarket, not an expensive bar. Here's the recipe - it's so easy to make and is delicious. 150g dessert or plain chocolate 3 eggs 100g caster sugar 6