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.