Swedish Apple Cake

This is another of those recipes that came from a booklet we got with some bit of electrical kit like a mixer or a processor.  You can keep it as a whole cake but I think it’s another one that works brilliantly when cooked in a square tin and cut up into individual little square cakes then frozen and defrosted when the mood for a Swedish apple cake takes you.  The cake is cooked for longer than a lot of sponge cakes – it needs to in order to cook the apples and deal with the moisture that the apples have brought into the equation – and this means that you end up with soft sponge, melting apple and some crunchy sponge on top.  Excellent.

Excellent with coffee or tea. Also excellent as a dessert – especially warmed up, dusted with a bit of sieved icing sugar and served with cream.  

About the ingredients:
If you haven’t got cooking apples you can make it with dessert apples but be sure that they’re on the sharp side. And reduce the sugar in the sponge by about a quarter. But really you should use cooking apples.

Makes 16 little square cakes

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Chocolate Orange Cake

This has been in the family for years and years. I think our mother found it in one of those booklets that come with a food mixer. I added the idea of putting a sticky syrup on the top. Like our Crunchy Lemon Squares, I think it’s best make in a big tin and cut into individual squares which can then be frozen and eaten when the fancy takes you. If you put it in your lunchbox when it’s still frozen it’ll be just lovely by the time it gets to coffee break.

About the ingredients

Use 70% chocolate, which doesn’t have to be at all expensive. All I need to say is Lidl and Aldi. Don’t even think about using some rubbish 40% chocolate or milk chocolate because it will be just plain cheap and nasty and far too sweet. The walnuts are entirely optional. They give a little more density and, well, nuttiness to the cake but you can easily leave them out.

Makes 16 little square cakes

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Easy Sticky Figs

Hello reader. 

Ok. Figs: Discuss.Figs1

Figs are the supermodel of the food world. They photograph brilliantly, so they lounge on the cover of every on-trend cookery book (in which the writer calls them blatantly sexy words like ‘pert’ and ‘luscious’ to get you interested), and they grace the pages of expensive food magazines, all covered in honey and sprinkled with violet petals. Yup, figs are a great colour and they photograph well.  Try it, it isn’t hard – chop one in half, take a picture on your phone and see how good it looks – with not even a scrap of make-up.

The problem IS…. getting them to TASTE any good is not so easy. I have splashed out on them several times, followed some random oven-baked recipe that one is supposed to smear mascarpone on afterwards and as I’ve chewed on the slightly sludgy, seedy, not-very-tasty result I’ve thought to myself: Hm. Figs. All talk and no flippin’ trousers.

BUT the other day I tried again. I bought some – on special offer of course – and I chucked on a load of things that I hoped would make them taste better. An experimental method not quite in the Heston Blumenthal style but one that is often worth a go. If it doesn’t taste all that, add something that might make it taste better.

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Almond, Raisin and Lemon Biscotti

Biscotti_ingredients.

Howdy. So here are some very quick biscotti that turn out really impressively with minimal effort. What a great combo. Drag some people in off the street to show off to, if necessary. Serve with coffee, or hand them out with some ice-cream, and generally swank about how easy they are. 

They are veeeeehry tasty and veeeehry crunchy, and veeeehry versatile, because you can change the flavours to suit what you like. (Suggestions will follow the recipe). They freeze really well too and don’t take long to defrost. I also put less sugar in than regular recipes. No-one has ever complained they are not sweet enough. So they are, in short: A Winner.

Mine were almond, lemon, raisin and a bit of rosemary, but the rosemary was mainly to look good in the picture, as I have to fess up and say you can’t really taste it. 

Biscotti_ingredients2

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Super-Quick Courgette and Pea Soup

This is ridiculously easy but has the lip-smackingly great taste of something much more complicated. It always gets comments of ‘yum how did you make this?!’

I didn’t make it up, it comes from the River Cafe Easy book.  I scrawled it down from a friend’s book, and I can’t remember if I’ve adapted it, but I think not. The quantities below are based on what I’ve end up doing myself, as I do it from memory when I make it, but it’s basically River Cafe’s recipe. 

I use a net bag of value courgettes, and cheap frozen peas. It takes about half an hour from ‘ooo I fancy some soup’ to spooning it into your mouth. What’s not to like?

The trick, as with many of the recipes on this blog, is in the GARNISH. It’s all in the garnish, man, if you leave out the parmesan and basil at the end, it’s still nice, but it’s not….. quite as lush.

Here’s how to make it:

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