Thursday, November 26, 2009

Megan's Orange and Poppyseed Cake

My teenage cousin is just getting into baking, and delighted us all with this amazing cake. Frosted with cream cheese icing it was really sensational.

175g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 3 large oranges
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup poppyseeds

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar, then add the zest and the eggs, one at a time.

Fold in juice and yoghurt then the dry ingredients.

Bake at 160' fan forced for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gingerbread loaf - some like it dark

Gingerbread to me is one of the ultimate comfort foods. If I can eat it with a hot cup of tea and a good book, I am in heaven. (You see, my needs in this life are very simple).

Anyway, this loaf freezes well and is totally delicious for about 4-5 days if kept airtight.

I love gingerbread to be rich, dark and spicy. If you don't, substitute white sugar instead of raw sugar, golden syrup instead of treacle, and leave out the fresh ginger. The result will be a lighter, sweeter loaf.

Using molasses is ideal but its hard to find sweet molasses here in New Zealand ... the stuff you can buy at the supermarket here will make it taste awful!

Gingerbread loaf

90g butter
¾ cup raw sugar
3 heaped dessertspoons treacle
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ milk
1 2/3 cup plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (optional - makes it gloriously spicy!)
pinch salt


In a large saucepan boil together the butter, sugar, syrup, baking soda and milk.
Allow to cool (this is really important or it will go lumpy. I just pop the saucepan in a sink of cold water for five minute).

Add sifted dry ingredients and fold together.

Place in a greased and lined loaf tin and bake (not fan forced) at 160°C for 1 hour

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Morroccan Chickpeas

I have never been to Morrocco, but its one of those places that evokes all sorts of exotic fantasies for me ... mainly involving beautiful architecture, bustling markets, stunning fabrics and amazing food.

This dish is loosely based on a recipe I found in a Moroccan cookbook but simplified considerably. Its lovely with rice or couscous with a dollop of sour cream.

It freezes beautifully so I often quadruple the recipe and stock up the freezer.

Morroccan Chickpeas

spray oil
1 small onion finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper - more to taste
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (optional - its nice but I often don't bother)
2 tin chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained
1 tin chopped Italian tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock (powdered is fine here)
salt and pepper to season

In a large frypan coated with spray-oil, brown the onion, garlic and spices. Then add in the tomatoes, stock, and chickpeas. Cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens and reduces.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Boiled Sultana Loaf

This is my version of a Delia Smith recipe for 'Sticky Tea Bread' which is pretty good ... but I think using raw sugar and spices makes it even nicer.

¾ cup raw sugar
110 g raisins or sultanas
110 g butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 ¼ cups plain flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees bake (not fan bake), and line a medium sized loaf tin, or a small cake tin if you don’t have a loaf tin. (It is better as a loaf though).Then take the largest saucepan you have, and add and the water, the sugar, sultanas, butter and baking soda. Cook them on a medium-high heat and boil for about ten minutes. The baking soda will make it rise, so watch it carefully in case it boils over. Then remove from heat and allow to cool – I just pop the saucepan into a sink of cold water. Once cool add the beaten egg, baking powder and flour. Mix it well, pop it into the tin and bake for a bit over an hour, until a skewer comes out clean.

Keeps well for at least a week.

Mexican pinto beans

Ole ... pinto beans are delicious beans but they need serious cooking so its a good one when you are home all day. This is another great recipe for the freezer, and I imagine it would be brilliant in the slow cooker!

1 small onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup of dried pinto beans, soaked in water overnight
1 tsp each ground coriander cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 tin chopped Italian tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 diced capsicum (any colour will be fine)
1/2 tsp sugar

In a large frypan sprayed with oil brown the onion and garlic. Add the spices then the beans, tomatoes, stock, capsicum, and sugar. Cook for 4 hours stirring occassionally minutes until the beans are tender. Add salt at the end to taste.
Serve with rice and sour cream, and a big fresh salad.