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"I'd sit around dreaming that the boys I saw at shows or at work - the boys with silver earrings and big boots - would tell me I was beautiful, take me home and feed me Thai food or omelets and undress me and make love to me all night with the palm trees whispering windsongs about a tortured gleaming city and the moonlight like flame melting our candle bodies."

Francesca Lia Block

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Entries in cinnamon (6)

Tuesday
Aug252015

Apple and greengage crumble

There is only one month left of summer and while everyone else is busy catching the last rays of sun, I am trying to make the most of all the wonderful summer fruits at Natoora before they go out of season.

One of my new favourites is the Reine Claude Doree greengage. It is the variety from which all other greengage plums originate. Doree means golden; unlike most greengages, which have green flesh, these are golden when fully ripened.

The golden, jammy flesh of the Reine Claude Doree works beautifully in this summer crumble. The natural sweetness of the fruit is well balanced with crisp, tart green apples. Sweetened with honey and topped with a crumble packed with cobnuts, this recipe turns a simple dessert into something special.

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Sunday
Aug102014

Deb and Wally’s Ginger Spice Cake

This is one of my favourite cake recipes. I like it because it looks so modest; the kind of cake that not even the greediest child would bother picking up at a tea party. More fool them.

I got the original recipe from Kylie Kwong’s cookbook, It Taste’s Better.  I love the addition of white pepper, which I had never seen before in a cake – it gives it a real kick.

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Saturday
Dec182010

Moussaka; an unexpected history

 

MOUSSAKA        A dish common to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, made with slices of aubergine (eggplant) arranged in layers, alternating with minced (ground) mutton or lamb, onions, and sometimes tomatoes, often with the addition of a thick béchamel sauce. In some recipes, courgettes (zucchini), potatoes or spinach are used instead of aubergine. The dish is baked in the oven.

This definition from Larousse Gastronomique pretty much sums up my recipe for moussaka. If I were sensible, I would accept it as gospel and be done with it. It would certainly save me a lot of typing and you a lot of reading. But sensible I am not and having looked further into the history and origins of the dish I feel the need to share.

The definition refers to Turkey and the Balkans, but in fact the description which follows depicts the Greek preparation. According to Wikipedia, Turkish musakka is not layered, “Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat” and eaten with cacik and pilaf. The Bulgarian and Macedonian versions are layered like the Greek, but contain pork and beef rather than lamb and potatoes rather than aubergine. Like most of the recipes in the rest of the Balkan states, they are topped with a savoury custard.

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Monday
Oct112010

Amazing cake, how sweet and round...

Deborah Mele's Rustic apple cake with rosemary syrup

‘That cake was absolutely f**king …’

‘Amazing?’

‘Yeah’  

I made this cake a few nights ago and it was by all accounts ‘amazing’. Normally, when the boyfriend is around I am only allowed to take in enough cake to share with my team, but as he was away on business I was able to take the whole thing to work. I should do so more often; my colleagues are certainly more vocal in their gratitude and, hey, even if I am buying the attention, it is nice to bask in the glory of an amazing cake for a few hours. 

Luisa Weiss, of The Wednesday Chef put me onto the idea of using rosemary in baking, when she blogged about her new discovery in Kim Boyce’s cookbook:

I did not think I would ever be a fan of rosemary in cake. I like it on my potatoes just fine, but in my desserts? Nah, no thanks.

Silly me ... I don't know how she figured this out, but the fruity olive oil, the dark funk of the chocolate and the herbal, aggressive rosemary combine in the heat of the oven to produce the most astonishing thing: a simple tea cake that tastes complex and deep and delicious, with a flavor that is very, very difficult to put your figure on. It tastes so bewitchingly good, you will find yourself thinking about the cake the day after you make it, and the day after that as well, trying to find excuses to bake another round of it.

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Friday
Aug272010

Would you like some apple with that crumble?

Updated on Monday, August 30, 2010 at 12:09PM by Registered CommenterVix

Apple and pear crumble

Apple crumble was probably one of the first desserts I learnt to make; it is very simple, so I assume this is why Dad trusted me to do it. I cannot remember whether he taught me or just told me what went in it, but either way at some point it became my job rather than his when someone in the family (read sister) demanded crumble.

Over the years my version has become known as “crumble apple” because the crumble is really the central feature, the apple a token gesture to the dishes origins*. And why not? Everyone knows the crumble is the best bit! Indeed, the name crumble apple isn’t even especially accurate, because very often I include other fruits as well. I have always been very big on berries, as has my sister, so it was ‘crumble berry apple’ for most of our teenage years, and later when I became more adventurous, ‘crumble apple plum’ ...or rhubarb ...or pear.

Some may think this recipe too simple to warrant a post and it is true that it is fairly intuitive. It is for this reason that when asked in the past for my recipe (most frequently by Miss Ger-al-din-uhhh) I have not been particularly forthcoming. As she remembers it, I used to say that it was a secret family recipe, but the truth is there wasn’t one. I would just use as much fruit as I had, pick a dish depending on that, and then make an absurd amount of crumble to top it.

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