Tag Archives: walnuts

Savoury cake variation

Picnic Cake with Dates 2 (7100)Happy Monday! This post will be a short one (I will be back later in the week) but I wanted to post a new pic I should really have published together with Ms. Khoo’s recipe. The picture may seem the same to you, and perhaps to me, however the savoury cake you see here was made with ground almonds (I simply added them to the flour but you could substitute say around 100g from the original flour quantity), walnuts and dates. These reminded me of home. You can read the post before this one for the ingredients. The cake turned out to be a little crumblier than the original one, which is noticable in the way the cubed sausages fall to the side, but tasted just as good, if not a little sweeter. R xx

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Rachel Khoo’s Pistachio and Prune Cake

Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6872)OK…for the last few weeks the weather drove me insane. On a recent visit to Malta one of my friends said that there is always a grey cloud over the UK. There has been some windy and rainy weather around this Spring, and let me tell you, it can get to you after a pretty dismal winter. J loves stormy weather because it makes photos look good. He’s right of course. But that doesn’t make you want to go out for a picnic, does it? Mmm?

Today though, the Sun’s finally out once more. Great for all those lucky tennis fans in Wimbledon, and also good for the rest of us mere mortals, watching the action on the internet! For a taste of the grass, out with the boots and in with the flip flops, good food, an ice-cream or two, a picnic basket and off we go.

For an outing such as this it’s always good to opt for food which is very easy to make and very portable. I find that simplicity and portability always work well together and the following recipe was just that. While waiting for Rachel Khoo’s next book I made her cured sausage, pistachio and prune cake, from her charming third publication The Little Paris Kitchen, changing absolutely nothing from the original recipe. Removing the pistachio shells was the biggest faff and to be honest their taste got kind of lost in the end. I thought the smoked sausages were quite chewy, but the saltiness was what the cake needed. Mademoiselle Khoo said that salami would work well here and I know for a fact that friends who have tried it with cured chorizo, loved it.

Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6863)Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6864)Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6867)Rachel Khoo Sausage Prune and Pistachio Cake (6869)Jarlsberg Muffins and Savoury Cake (6877)The Little Paris Kitchen (6865)I tried it again with dates and walnuts, two ingredients found perpetually found in my pantry, and I bet it would also work well with whole toasted almonds. That would certainly give it a more Mediterranean feel.

  • 250g plain flour
  • 15g baking powder
  • 150g cured French sausage (or whatever you can find – chorizo or cured Maltese sausages are good options), chopped in little cubes
  • 80g pistachios (or toasted walnuts or almonds), shelled and roughly chopped
  • 100g prunes (or dates), roughly chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml milk
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 50g plain runny yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper

Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Measure out all the the flour, baking powder, cubed sausage, pistachios and prunes, and give them a good mix in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until they turn pale. Add the milk, olive oil, yoghurt, salt and pepper and whisk again.

Now, making sure not to overbeat, slowly add and fold the dry flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Remember: some lumps in the batter is a good thing.

Pour this lovely cake mixture into your diligently prepared loaf tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

I like this best when served with a fresh salad. Picnic anyone? What’s your favourite picnic food?

Rob xx

(Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen, Michael Joseph, 2012.)

Apple and Walnut Cake

Apple-Cake-(6431)

I am not a big fan of apples. I buy sacks of them but it takes an effort to eat them all. The fact that J doesn’t like them much either doesn’t help. However they will always be forever present in this house, just because they are good and healthy. Any extras will undoubtedly end up in pies or cakes.

I am aware that I should make the most of the wonderful juicy apples here. They grow almost everywhere in England. Although all is not as rosy as it seems. A long time ago there were approximately 1,500 varieties of apples in this country. Now there are only around 500, and we are eating a lot less than that. It seems that we are only buying what looks good on supermarket shelves, many of which are imported from other countries. Pity.

There are many recipes out there for apple cake, but I chose to try one from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book, or a variation of it anyway. (Turns out that Nigella’s recipe is a twist on one by Anna del Conte.) The original recipe calls for walnuts, listed as an optional ingredient. The thing is though, I did have the walnuts, way above the amount stated. I took the package out of my pantry and placed it right in front of me. However, as is typical when in a rush, or when there’s no peace of mind, I totally forgot about them and ended up with a plain apple cake. Typical. It was delicious anyway but I think it did lack something and I missed them. It would have been better to have them in the cake. There’s always a next time though…

I made this apple cake during the Christmas holidays, since I wanted an easy alternative to the traditional fruity one which can be a little bit too much for two people. This one struck the right balance. (Next time I will try to use baking powder instead of the bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartare.) You will need:

  • 100g sultanas
  • 75ml rum
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 450g apples, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon oil (the original recipe doesn’t have this so don’t worry if you don’t have it.)
  • (100g chopped walnuts, optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC, and grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. In a small pan with a heavy base, place the sultanas and rum on the hob. When they start bubbling away, take them off the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl add the flavourless oil and sugar and start beating, while adding the eggs one by one. Add the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and mix with a large metal spoon. The mixture will be quite stiff here so you do need some elbow grease I’m afraid! Fold in the apples, lemon juice, lemon oil and walnuts if you are including them (you really should I think).
  3. Tip the cake batter into your prepared tin and bake for around 1 hour. Always check if it’s cooked through with a knife or skewer. Eat it warm and make sure to wrap it in foil to keep it moist.

Good with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!

Rob x

Paul Hollywood’s recipe for Banana Bread

Paul-Hollywood's-Banana-Bread-(6379)

I bake banana bread on a regular basis for a number of reasons; one, because it’s so easy, two, because it’s tasty, and three, because there’s nothing better than a mug of thick hot chocolate to go with it. I have made other recipes for banana bread (or loaf, you can call it what you want) in the past. You will find at least another two in this blog. And most probably I have told you that those were two of my favourites. Well, I have to include this one in that list.

You will find a really good one in Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake (Bloomsbury, 2012). You will find a chocolate and walnut version of this right here, which is almost identical to the version found in the book. Please note that the book version omits the chocolate. It’s a pity I didn’t bother to look for the online version before: it would have made for a much prettier photo. But not to worry…fortunately I *always* have a small stash of chocolate in the pantry, for which I now have use!

The recipe in the book calls for the following:

  • 3-4 large bananas, ripe and mashed
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 120g walnut pieces

Just follow the link I have given you above for the method. What I did was a little bit different, because I wanted to use up some chopped hazelnuts which as usual were bought for another recipe. (No surprise there!) I had 3 very ripe bananas, 80g walnut pieces, topped the rest with the hazelnuts, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, not sure why. Perhaps because I usually do…Enjoy!

Rob x

Tea time cakes: Banana Nut Loaf

Banana-Nut-Loaf-(4645)

A couple of months ago I wanted to bake something light and fluffy for tea. I didn’t want to make another chocolate cake; that would have been too boring, even for my self-confessed love of the stuff. So I flipped through the books and found two lovely cakes. I couldn’t choose between them and I tried them both. On two different days in case you ask. The only problem was that when J processed the photos for me I couldn’t remember what cakes they were and where I got them from. Eventually J was the one who did the identifying; nothing out of the ordinary really – it happens. I need to improve my note-keeping…

The following is a recipe which I had in my notes for more than ten years now. It’s a good recipe for Banana Nut Loaf. You can make it quickly if you have people coming over for tea on a Sunday, you can whip it up for yourself and your family, and leave it in the kitchen for anyone who might like something sweet in the afternoon. The original recipe calls for wholemeal self-raising flour but I tried it with half wholemeal and half white once, and it still worked well. If you use plain wholemeal, then mix two teaspoons of baking powder with the flour. The recipe below is close to the one in the book but with a slight variations. It yields one loaf cake.

  • 125g soft butter
  • 230g soft brown sugar, plus 1 extra tablespoon
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 50g dessicated coconut, plus 2 extra tablespoons
  • 15og banana, mashed
  • 125ml milk
  • 40g walnuts, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper. (Believe me, this will really keep the cake nice and moist so don’t skip the lining bit.)
  2. In a large bowl mix the softened butter, the 230g of the sugar, eggs, flour, 50g coconut, banana and milk. Whisk all the ingredients together but don’t over beat.
  3. Now spoon half of your cake batter into the loaf tin. In a small bowl use your hands to mix half the walnuts, mixed spice, the 1 extra tablespoon of sugar and the 2 extra tablespoons of coconut.
  4. Sprinkle half this mix on to the batter in your tin. Then carefully pour in the remaining cake batter. Smooth the surface with a spatula and add the remaining spice, nut and coconut mix on top.
  5. Bake the cake for around 1 hour, keeping an eye on it every now and then to make sure the surface doesn’t burn. If this happens cover it loosely with a piece of foil after 25-30 minutes. Check that the cake has cooked through by inserting a skewer or knife. It’s well worth the wait.

    Enjoy!

    Rob x