In which I make another chiffon cake (this one chocolate), and Tas talks about Greek Cypriot food and makes me hungry.
Some of the recipes Tas mentions:
Interview with Kate, whose jam I used in the cake.
Monday Morning Cooking Club interview
… because what can go wrong?
Look, as an Australian I am deeply confused about the naming of this dish. Casseroles are meant to be far more liquidy (although not soupy); although it does include tortillas I think the Mexican aspect is all about the tortillas and the corn, and the suggestion of corn and coriander.
ANYWAY, I made it… or a version of it at least. Instead of going the veg option I used rehydrated dehydrated bolognese (still had some left from camping shenanigans); I used silverbeet instead of spinach; I used wraps instead of, strictly speaking, tortillas. But the final result was HECK YES I will be making this again, and I may even follow the actual recipe next time.
So firstly I made this in a round tin because I don’t have any square tins… maybe I need to invest in one. ANYWAY I made it and the tin was a bit small I think because this ended up being a remarkably tall cake. I was very excited about the custard aspect and the apple aspect; I used apples that I’d stewed with cider vinegar ages ago and froze, and custard, man. Custard. In the end the cake itself was nice enough, being quite moist; but I didn’t feel it was either custard-y or apple-y enough. I would add more of each if I made this again.
I have very big issues with anything that’s advertised as ‘guilt free’ but salted caramel sesame cacao drew me in nonetheless. And the short version is yes, these are delicious and I really enjoyed them. However… perhaps it was because the only dates I had were not medjool, but there was no ‘processing until finely chopped’ – my dates didn’t get that fine. And I did not end up with a mixture that was at all smooth when I added the tahini and coconut oil; I ended up shaping the mixture into balls instead because I didn’t think that pressing it into a slice would work. I then also had problems dipping the balls into the coating (cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup). So they ended up looking pretty substandard, but darn they’re tasty.
In this episode, I bake! (what a surprise, I know). And Anne talks to me about preserving in a whole lot of ways for a whole lot of reasons with a whole lot of food.
The kimchi recipe Anne talks about: from Maangchi
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Thanks to this recipe, I no longer fear the sponge! Instead, I laugh in the face of sponge! Manically! Can’t be bothered clicking through? Cornflour and custard powder (and eggs and sugar).
This one is sandwiched with birthday-gift lemon curd and cream.
Here’s how they came out of the oven:
… so I was pretty happy right from the start. Although if anyone can tell me why this happened, I’d be ever so grateful:
(They left their bottoms behind. Too little greasing perhaps?)
The cake was very well received at work. It was, in fact, devoured.
So we went camping for about ten days recently, and we managed to make dinner on the fire every night. Which was ace. We’d done a lot of prep beforehand, which stood us in good stead.
We did a few pretty normal things: eye fillet and lamb backstrap on the grill. A whole lot of roast potatoes. We’d marinated some lamb with onion, garlic, and ginger and then vac-sealed it; we cooked that with a tin of peas and it was quite good! We took many tins of vegetables – easier to transport, especially when our trip involved running the quarantine regulations of travel between Victoria and South Australia. We had some that were just boiled, and they were just… average. So I decided to change it up by warming them in a pan with some butter and herbs. Herbs were courtesy of a Gewurzhaus gift from a friend and they really lifted the veg.
In terms of dessert, we did two experiments. One, I discovered that you can buy packet mug cake! Which is so wrong but so awesome. And we decided to make them in the sandwich maker and they worked brilliantly. Two, we decided to try and make a proper cake too. My beloved was convinced that we could do it in a cast-iron cauldron. I thought we should put alfoil in the bottom. And… well, the bottom burnt, which was sad, but probably not a surprise. We still ate the cake, and it was ok – I mean, it was cake in the middle of the Flinders Ranges – but it did have a burnt tang. Which was sad. Next time we might try a pot-inside-a-pot… or just take a cake tin with us. Or, easiest, just rely on mug cake packets.
Breakfast was mostly pancakes and bacon and egg wraps. There was also a lot of tea and aeropress coffee. Lunch was wraps, or occasionally using the sandwich maker for its actual purpose.
My mother has Foxtel and whenever I’m there I watch food programmes, of course. When I’m really lucky, there are episodes of Ace of Cakes to watch.
I adore Ace of Cakes.
So imagine my joy at discovering that in SBS’ baking October, they’re showing a new show with Duff Goldman: Duff til Dawn. I don’t really do cooking challenge shows, but Duff has managed to make this feel less like competition than I feared. Maybe because it’s just two groups competing, maybe because it’s happening overnight so they’re all a bit mad, maybe it’s because they’re not always referencing the clock, maybe I’m willing to put up with elements that I otherwise wouldn’t when there’s awesome cake-decorating skillz on display.
Could be all of the above.
Anyway, the premise is just what I’ve outlined: two teams of cake-decorators come in and, overnight, in Charmed City Cakes, they design and decorate a cake.
No biggie. Except that Duff always throws in a curveball at about the four hour mark – an additional element that must be included. And of course cakes break and fondant cracks and you’re doing this at three AM. In fact at 3am you have about another 3 hours to go. Because that’s not going to make anyone nuts.
They’re judged on design and taste, which makes me very happy since half the time those decorated cakes I’ve seen on other shows just seem like they’re all fluff and no substance. (The one I just watched had a Baileys Irish Cream creme brûlée buttercream. WOAH.)
I’ll be watching the heck out of this show, and dreaming of being one of the judges.
In Australia, it’s on SBS’ Food Network; episodes are available on their catch up service until the end of October as far as I can tell.
In which I discuss CAKE and Gillian discusses cooking for the masses.
The first cake mentioned (sponge)
The second cake mentioned.
The third cake (chocolate and beetroot) is similar to this one. I made the version in Annabel Crabb’s Special Delivery.
The fourth cake (I call them mandarines, Nigella calls them clementines…)
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