Rhubarb Apple and Prune Cake


IMG_9500 I visited South bank today and the Regional Flavours food and lifestyle event.

It was great to wander around amongst all the fantastic food and produce that comes from Queensland. Lots of exciting new ideas and some old classics. I saw a fantastic bunch of Rhubarb and of course I had to purchase it. When I returned to my kitchen I couldn’t wait to bake an old favourite of mine.

Here is the recipe for you to enjoy

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RECIPE

Ingredients
Serves 6
150g butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g plain flour
1½ tsp vanilla sugar
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
Topping
25g butter
50g  brown sugar
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
4-5 sticks (400g) rhubarb, cut into 12cm lengths
1 green granny smith apple cut into small pieces
6 pitted prunes cut into small pieces1 First, make the topping. In a saucepan, heat the butter, sugar and cinnamon. When bubbling slightly, add the rhubarb, apple and prunes and stew for a few minutes until completely coated. Take off the heat and leave to cool.2 To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.

3 In a bowl, sift the flour, salt, vanilla sugar and baking powder and fold in with the wet mixture. Line a 23cm-diameter baking dish with high sides (minimum 5cm) with baking paper. Add the batter and spread evenly. Carefully and evenly add  2/3 of the rhubarb apple and prune mixture on top.  The last third will be placed on top of the cake before serving

4 Bake in the oven at 180C  This can take anything from 35-45 minutes. Check with a skewer: if it comes out clean, it’s done. Leave to cool

This cake is great served warm with custard or ice cream.

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Lemon Polenta and Coconut Cake and my return to Brisbane


IMG_0005I have hit a difficult spot. In all my years of blogging I have not had this happen before. I don’t feel like writing on my site anymore. I don’t know if I am burnt out or if I have just come to the end of the journey but I have had a three week break and I still haven’t found that passion that I have always had.

Has this ever happened to you? When I first started writing, I didn’t really think anyone would notice or read what I wrote. I started before Twitter so really only friends were interested in my recipes. Then when Twitter started food blogs really took off. Now I am invited to openings of new restaurants, blogger’s conferences, media launches and all sorts of events to do with food. It has been a wild ride.

I am going to just slow it down a bit, take it easy and see what happens. So if you notice a change now you know what has been going on.

In my last week in Sydney I stopped at a little cafe and ordered a coffee and a little treat called a lemon, coconut and polenta cake. It was absolutely delicious and so when I returned to my apartment I looked up the recipe and tried to copy it. I’m sorry to say that mine did not work out as well. The one at the cafe must have been made from a more refined polenta and it was not as grainy.

IMG_9801lemon polentaIngredients

  • 225g/7 1/8 oz butter at room temperature

  • 225g/7 1/8 oz caster or superfine sugar

  • 3 eggs (165g/5 1.2 oz) lightly beaten

  • 110g /3 3/4oz ground almond

  • 110g /3 3/4oz shredded coconut long thread

  • 110g /3 3/4oz fine polenta

  • finely grated zest of 2 lemon

  • 2.5 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

Icing

  • 225g/ 71/8oz icing confectioner’s sugar, sieved

  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Lemon zest

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Put the oven on 150C. You can use mini or normal muffin trays, butter them well and place a little square or circle of parchment on the base as shown to prevent any sticking. This is REALLY important as these tend to stick to the tin. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until lump free. Slowly beat in the eggs, then fold in the ground almonds, polenta, lemon zest, lemon juice, baking powder and vanilla.

Pour into cake tin. Fill them 2/3 of the way up. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the top. Bake for 25-30 mins. Remove the squares of parchment.

To make the icing, mix the sieved icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. Spoon over the cakes letting the icing dribble down the sides a bit. Leave the icing to set then sprinkle a little lemon zest on the top.

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Potato and Fennel Croquettes with Mozzerella filling


IMG_9086Melbourne is always inspiring for food. They do cafe’s and bars so well. Cosy, relaxed with an eclectic mix of people and menu choices. All this was on offer at a great place on Gertrude Street called De Clieu where we stopped for lunch. I hadn’t done any research and had no expectations which is sometimes the best way to experience a meal. I ordered the potato and fennel croquettes and  my husba ordered the chickpea falafel with walnut homous sandwich. What an amazing meal! Everything was fresh and well cooked. The interior of the croquettes were soft and delicious with a hint of fennel and the sauce was nice and tangy. Of course I had to try and replicate these when I returned home.

Here are photos of the lunch we ordered at De Clieu.

IMG_9214IMG_9215 The coffee was fantastic too. All of Gertrude Street is a treat, there are so many great stores and places to eat. Mud Australia has a store there too and you know how I love Mud!”

Recipe

3 large potatoes

chopped garlic

1 tablespoon of fennel seeds

1 onion

flour

1 egg lightly beaten

breadcrumbs

olive oil

small cubes of mozzerella

Method

Peel and roughly chop potatoes. Boil until very soft then mash and season. Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In another pan fry chopped onion, fennel seeds, garlic and chopped fennel. Add just a small amount of water. Cook until really soft.

Add the fennel onion mixture to the cooked potatoes and blend together until well blended.

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Place a little flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate small bowls. Scoop up one tablespoonful of the potato mixture and roll into a ball shape. Roll the croquette in the flour, shaking off any excess. Place a piece of mozzerella into the middle of the ball, then roll again. Dip in the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs to evenly coat. Place on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Repeat with remaining potato mixture. Place croquettes in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. Add enough olive oil in a non-stick frying pan to reach a depth of 3cm. Heat oil to 190°C over medium-high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 10 seconds). Add 4 croquettes to oil and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in batches, with the remaining croquettes, reheating the oil between batches. Drain on paper towel. Serve with  dijoinaise or any sauce you like.

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