This blog has been rather quiet recently, and I’m afraid it will continue to be quiet for the next couple of weeks – I am sitting a singing exam on September 9th, so currently all those waking hours which are not devoted to work are devoted to singing practice and the endless writing of Programme Notes (followed by the endless editing of Programme Notes since, as nobody reading this blog will be surprised to learn, my first draft was sent back with the critique “Highly entertaining, but much too long”. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like me at all…).
I’m hoping to get a couple of cupcake and other wedding-related recipes up here as soon as I have time to re-work them, but right now there are barely enough hours in the day for cooking, and definitely not enough for writing about it…
Sorry about the hiatus – I will return to my normal blogging schedule as soon as possible.
Posted in admin
Tagged admin, singing
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I bet you thought this post would be about wedding cakes. Nope. Not this time. It turns out that after living and breathing and, of course, baking wedding cakes for most of the last week, I am really, really over … Continue reading
Just a short post tonight, because I have indeed baked wedding cakes with some success but also, apparently, at the price of a migraine and some serious wobbliness, so it’s an early night for me.
Gluten- and dairy-free (and, allegedly, low-fructose) fresh ginger cakes with blood orange and rhubarb filling and wild hibiscus flower
This is mostly notes for my own nefarious, wedding-cake-making purposes, so I’m going to put most of it under a cut. But if you enjoy reading the convoluted workings of my brain when trying to calculate food and allergy things, by all means, click here…
Tonight was our regular fortnightly dinner party with friends who live down the road, and really should have been an excellent excuse to practice wedding cakes. The trouble is, I am currently fighting a psychological battle on the subject of wedding cakes with my more neurotic side, which is claiming – loudly – that it’s terribly unfair to only cater for each kind of allergy with one kind of cake. Everyone should have at least two choices. Out of three kinds of cake. Nobody has actually suggested that I need to do this (in fact, my friends have been very kindly and consistently telling me that I am crazy to think like that), but the delusion persists, so when it came to dessert tonight, I decided to do something utterly-un-wedding-cakely with blood oranges.
Ah, blood oranges. I have a rather strange relationship with blood oranges. On the one hand, I love them to bits – their juice is so magnificently red, and they make everything into a chemistry experiment (basically, if you add their juice to anything alkaline, such as, oh, bicarb of soda or egg-whites, the mixture goes a really horrible shade of greenish-greyish-mould-blue, which is actually pretty brilliant, but not so good when you were hoping to serve those cakes to non-scientists). On the other hand… they make everything into a chemistry experiment, which makes me a little wary of using them in baking. After all, even if you cut the egg-whites out of a cake, you do generally need bicarb to make it rise, and most people will not eat bluish-green cake. So I tend to buy huge quantities of these oranges and then dither about using them…
This cake is based on a lime and rosewater syrup cake in Cook Simple. It’s a lovely, easy cake, which I keep adapting to all sorts of flavour combinations just because it is so good and so quick to make, and keeps really well for several days. Blood orange seemed like the logical next step (though ordinary oranges or tangerines would work, too, if you can’t get the bloody kind – this cake was disappointingly sensible in colour), and the orange-flower water syrup was a given, with just a little cardamom to stop everything from getting too cloying. I recommend serving this with Greek yoghurt and poached rhubarb and strawberries, to help cut the richness, though any good, acidic fruit would work.
Your Shopping List
2 blood oranges
150 ml sunflower oil
250 g Greek yoghurt (or soy yoghurt if you need to avoid dairy)
200 g self-raising flour
115 g ground almonds
125 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cardamom, or to taste
275 ml water
175 g white sugar (or more caster sugar)
2 tsp orange flower water, or to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom (un-ground seeds would be great here, you can strain them out at the end)
Aargh! Here I am, with the best intentions in the world about posting lots of exciting things, and I can’t, because I don’t have time, because I’m too busy cooking! Well, and singing. To give you a brief glimpse of the current craziness: Friday night was singing lesson and making vegan truffles for a birthday yesterday, yesterday I was out all day at said birthday, today was choir, a birthday dinner for a different set of people, practicing cake decorating, and bonus practice cupcakes erupting all over my oven (moral of the story: do not forget to put the eggs in the cupcakes. It’s fine if they weren’t supposed to have eggs in the first place, but if they were, it turns out that one of the things eggs do is prevent bicarb-fueled cake eruptions), tomorrow is another singing lesson, Tuesday is a dinner party, Wednesday will be last minute cake experiments for the wedding cake I am making for Sunday, Thursday is choir, Friday is singing practice and baking wedding cakes, Saturday is baking more wedding cakes and decorating them, and Sunday is a wedding.
So you see, even typing very fast, that doesn’t leave much room for blogging. Especially when the cakes you were hoping to blog about erupted all over your oven…
So here’s a random recipe I started writing down for you months ago and then forgot about completely and never came back to. It’s still good, though. It started off Italian in feel, but sort of started sidling shiftily in the direction of Greece with the herbs and feta. Feta is very shifty that way. Still, cultural identity issues aside, it tasted pretty good and was well worth making. And finally I have something to do with those giant pasta shells that ogle me so enticingly from the supermarket shelves and then sit in my pantry for months doing nothing…
Your Shopping List
500 g frozen spinach
5 cloves garlic
400g tinned tomatoes (chopped)
750 ml passata
1/2 cup water
1 small bunch basil
500 g ricotta (preferably fairly solid ricotta from a deli, not the smooth stuff in a tub)
150 g feta cheese
a large handful fresh mint
375 g giant pasta shells
1/4 cup parmesan, approximately
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, fresh if possible
Posted in low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged basil, feta, low GI, main courses, mint, nut-free, pasta, recipes, ricotta, tomato, vegetarian
Hello again! And hello new people who wandered over from Broadsheet Melbourne, which I gather wrote lovely things about me yesterday. I am ridiculously flattered and delighted by this! (So lovely not just to get a review, but a review that basically says that I am succeeding in doing exactly the things I am trying to do).
You may recall that I promised an exciting vegetarian / vegan friendly recipe about a week ago, and completely failed to deliver. Why? Because, I regret to say, my nettle pie with olive oil pastry turned out to be less than delectable when I tasted it. To be blunt, it was awful. I think perhaps nettles are a bit on the bitter side for my taste, though this may be just a case of the bad cook blaming her ingredients. So no nettle pie recipe for you, sorry. (And this, I regret to say, was also a major reason for the week-long hiatus from this blog – I was sulking for days because clearly this pie was proof that I Can’t Cook At All. Hey, I never claimed to be logical…) I do intend to buy nettles again sometime and try them in a different recipe, so we’ll see what happens.
Instead, my dear readers, you will have to cope with a recipe I am developing for a wedding cupcake tower next weekend. This one is gluten, nut, soy and fructose free, and also vegan, which you would think wouldn’t leave you with much to work with, but there is always chocolate! And chilli! The spice level has been scientifically tested (I sent an email around to my scientists this morning looking for volunteer tasters), and deemed to be acceptable to all – which is to say, the true chilli heads claim it needs more chilli, but everyone else liked it. Feel free to adjust the chilli level to suit your taste (but be aware that these cakes taste much spicier fresh from the oven, just in case you were planning to serve them as puddings with a chocolatey sauce).
These cakes taste warm rather than hot, even when they are at room temperature, and the chilli does stay with you a bit afterward, but is not burny, even if you are a complete wuss about chilli, as I am. I have not yet developed the perfect icing for them (translation: something went horribly wrong with my usually fail-proof rice-milk ganache last night), but something with the personality of a chocolate cream-cheese icing would be about right. I’ll add a link to that once I’ve figured it out.
Your Shopping List
1 1/3 cups rice milk (or other non-dairy milk of your choice, depending what you are trying to avoid and what you have in the cupboard, but probably not coconut milk)
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup brown rice flour (supermarket or health-food shop)
1/4 cup potato starch (definitely health-food shop, but cornflour would work in a pinch)
1/8 cup tapioca flour (also in supermarket, may be disguised as arrowroot)
1/8 cup cornflour (supermarket friendly – yay!)
1 tsp xanthum gum (health-food shop, no two ways about it)
1/2 cup cocoa powder – dutch process if possible, and fair trade if you can find it
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp ground chilli
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
Posted in cakes, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, nut-free, Recipes, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged cakes, chilli, chocolate, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low fructose, nut-free, recipes, vegan, vegetarian
This entry was going to be a recipe for goat and cardoon tagine. I’m still going to include the recipe at the bottom of this post, because Andrew quite liked it, but I really, really didn’t. Instead I’m going to talk about the strangeness of goat, and my attempts at cooking it. (Apologies to my vegetarian readers – I promise the next recipe will be a vegetarian one with vegan options! Indeed, I have already written said recipe, but I am currently more inspired by the goat… though it’s rather a negative sort of inspiration.)
Posted in cooking with meat, dairy-free, egg-free, everyday cooking, gluten-free, low glycemic index, main courses, nut-free, Recipes
Tagged cardoons, carrots, dairy-free, egg-free, ginger, gluten-free, goat, low GI, main courses, nut-free, recipes