Sunday, May 30, 2010

Peach jelly cake

This cake reminds me of my childhood. It was probably the very first one that I made myself when I was about 7 years old, without any help from my mum or granny. And many times after that... It is really easy to make and there is no need for special ingredients, everything is usually in the cupboard.
As the time progressed I learnt a lot of new recipes and improved my cooking and baking skills, and I forgot about this one. But recently I have been in nostalgic mood, so I decided to make old school peach jelly cake.
For cake you need:
175g caster sugar
175g soft unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
100ml buttermilk or thin yogurt
200g self-rising flour
Beat sugar and butter until smooth, then add eggs, one by one and beat. Add vanilla extract, buttermilk and flour and mix. Pour into lightly greased baking tin and bake in preheated oven for 175 C degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Let it cool.
For jelly you can use any suitable fruit in syrup (in tin). The best is peach, apricot or blueberry.
Take the fruit out of tin, slice and arrange onto the baked cake. Pour the syrup from tin into a measuring jug and top up with water so you have 500ml of liquid altogether. Pour the liquid in pan with 3 tbsp of caster sugar and bring it to boil. In the meantime dissolve 40g of custard powder in 100ml of water. When the liquid in pan is boiling, add the custard mixture. The jelly will thicken and become translucent. Take it from the heat and let it cool slightly. Don't forget to mix it from time to time to keep the texture smooth. Then pour onto cake with fruit and let it set for couple of hours. Little bit of whipped cream on the top compliments the flavours very well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Herbs in early spring

Spring is such a delightful time of year. Particularly for those who - like me - love gardening. First edible results of your hard work are ready to be picked.
Rocket - strong peppery flavour is exceptionally good in salads, with pasta and last year I even made a batch of rocket and walnut pesto.
Chives - this is probably my favourite herb. It is always first to come, fine oniony flavour complements many savoury dishes. And its lovely flowers are very attractive for bee, too. That's what we want - to attract wild live to the garden to help pollinate.
Lemon balm - in my opinion very undervalued herb. Tea infusion made from it is very refreshing. It is also great in mixtures - with sage to calm sore through and with mint to help digestion. It can be dried and stored for months.

Spinach - well, no need to remind of this little fella. Its baby leaves are delicious in salads and bigger ones in stews, with pasta, in omeletes... Possibilities are endless.

Radish - that is such a nice thing to bite into. Its crunchiness and sharp flavour make nice addition to salads. I have planted 3 different varieties, this long one is my winner.
Everything in my garden is blooming, bees are busy and I can look forward to tomatoes, courgettes and peppers.