Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Tangelo polenta drizzle cake

Nature is clever. In the middle of winter, when everything is feeling grey and dreary, it offers up citrus. It's enough to just gaze upon the bright colours of lemons and oranges and limes and pink grapefruit and everything in between but the flavour of these fruits works the same way to shock you out of a slump.

This recipe requires a single bowl. If you don't have tangelos, oranges or lemons will do. Containing both oil and yoghurt, the cake keeps well which means you can make it ahead, or have it on hand for the week. But the colour! It's the best. Sweet and softly glowing, it's almost like eating sun.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Louisa's cake

I made a cake. It's been a while. After meeting all my deadlines, the sun was out Saturday and so I baked. This recipe I'd had bookmarked for a while. It had a short list of ingredients, always a winner in my book, and came with authentic Italian credentials (likewise). It contained ricotta, of which I have a seemingly endless supply in my freezer (compulsively making it when milk is about to expire) and there's nothing I like more than being able to cook with pantry staples. So. I've made many a ricotta cake before - this one is a perennial favourite - but this distinguished itself from the others by by featuring apple among its ingredients. You can't so much taste the fruit itself, just its subtle sweetness. Leavened with a little flour, rich with ricotta and bolstered with butter, it's simple and decadent all at once. I don't know Louisa but her cake is excellent. Grazie.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Pear cake with rye and ginger

I love Hobart. I love its hills. I love its water. I love the local support for MONA's winter festival Dark Mofo, which has residents wrapping their outside lights in red cellophane and businesses decorating shop windows in red, even the CWA store, who excelled this year with their display which featured the word Mofo and a cross fashioned from scarlet beads. Winter is not Tasmania's starriest produce season. That would be summer, when apricots are weighing down backyard trees, cherries are fat and plentiful, and plums are practically rolling down the roads with all the street planting. But the colder months have their charms - one of them being staying inside where it's warm and eating cake. This one is dark and wintery and wonderful with the heat of ginger, sweet, silky pears and a chewy crumb courtesy of rye flour. It's not in the CWA playbook but I think they'd approve.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Do-It-All cake

I am turning into my mother. She told me it would happen, more than once, with a wicked - borderline evil - smile on her face. And now it has. I have little flecks of grey around my temples, exactly where she had them, am evangelical about public libraries... and I simply cannot bear to let the smallest skerrick of food go to waste. I am constantly making ricotta (and freezing it) with milk about to expire, or zesting citrus I need for juice (another ziplock bag freezer stash) or burying bits and pieces of wilting greens in curries. Last week I had half a carton of cream in my fridge to use up. Happily, it was exactly the amount needed for this recipe, which I'd had bookmarked for ages since first reading about it on Food52

It's the simple cakes I gravitate most to these days. This one - dubbed Do-It-All Cake - by its author, Danish cook Nadine Levy Redzepi (wife of RenĂ©, head chef and founder of Noma in Copenhagen) is monk-like in its simplicity. But that's probably not the right analogy for something so rich, delicious and slightly subversive. The latter comes from the use of salted butter, rather than the traditional unsalted, and additionally, a light sprinkling of sea salt over the batter before it goes in the oven, which perfectly balances the creamy sweetness of it all. 

This cake is the very definition of something being more than the sum of its parts. All the ingredients are everyday ones, there's nothing more to making it than a bit of beating and folding but it leaves your whole house smelling amazing and tastes incredible with a cup of black coffee. I wish I could make it for my mum but it does the next best thing, by making me think of her.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Fresh fig and ricotta cake

I've had my head down working for the last little while but the Sunday before Easter I took a much needed day off. With friends I made my way to a new swimming spot, a secluded Sydney harbour beach off West Head in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The occasion called for cake and this one was a winner, both before and after our dip. Not too sweet, lightly lemony, and showcasing in-season figs as stunning as our surrounds. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Neapolitan pound cake

It's been a long time between cakes. Don't get me wrong - I've been eating them just not making them as I've been away from my oven and busy with work. But I had a birthday last week. I don't know what's happening, but as I get older, my taste in birthday cake seems to be regressing. This year, and last, my cake of choice has been this Neapolitan pound cake - basically a marble cake of vanilla, chocolate and well... pink. It's an Ottolenghi recipe so it's a little bit adult I suppose but there's nothing terribly mature about something smothered in pink drippy icing. But maybe that's the point. I made it for the first time last year to take on a houseboat called Wallamba so my friends who shared that adventure with me - and this year's smaller scale south coast celebration - now refer to it as Wallamba cake, which seems perfect as birthday cake should be whatever you want it to be. And certainly not second-guessed.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Apricot raspberry rose galette

Killing time in South Brisbane recently on a recent trip to my hometown, I spent a delightful half hour browsing the aisles of Triton Food Brokers, a treasure trove of imported European grocery items and bulk foods in an unassuming stretch of Montague Rd. In amongst the baklava, and olives, haloumi and marzipan, pastizzi and pomegranate molasses I found edible rose petals for $1.50 and bargain barberries (a find for an owner of multiple Ottolenghi cookbooks who has up til now just been subbing in cranberries because she thought he made them up). I wasn't sure when I'd use the rose petals, but paging through a cookbook I got for Christmas, I came across this recipe for apricot raspberry rose galette. It was fated as I've been trying to make the most of summer fruit before disappearing for a month into winter. A galette is basically the lazy person's pie (half the rolling and no crimping or complicated lattice work) but better still, its open top allows you to see the glorious colours of the fruit within. And this is one of the prettiest palettes you'll see - orange and red and pink. The crust is made with cornmeal, which gives it a nice texture, a lovely contrast with the jamminess of the fruit. A fitting farewell to summer.