Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Peach Upside Down Cake

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Since getting my new job my home baking has gone a bit minimal. Its pretty perfect for me because I get the enjoyment of making lots of different things every day but my waistline stays in check because I  don't end up eating half a cake when it emerges from the oven. However, yesterday I bought the most beautiful, sweet peaches and after putting 2 aside to eat fresh I decided the best thing for them was to make an upside down cake. This cake is really simple to make and aslong as you line your cake tin you won't have any problems with turning it out. (You can see my tutorial on how to do that here). I took the cake to a friends house who had prepared the most epic barbecue I have ever eaten, think beef ribs, pulled pork & pork ribs all in incredible sweet, spicy marinades & the most incredible Boston beans, slaw & pickled fennel. The meat had been cooked slowly on the barbecue for 6 or so hours and induced the biggest meat coma ever. But meat aside, we all somehow managed to make some room for a slice (or 2) of cake at the end. The syrup from the peaches soaks into the cake when it gets turned over so you end up with a light but syrupy sponge with just a little tang from the peaches. I'm glad I decided against taking the leftovers home as I would have eaten some for breakfast for sure.

Makes a 23cm round cake
You will need-
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 peaches, stoned and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup (optional)
  • 180g softened butter
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs (roughly 180g total if using smaller eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 180g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Pre-heat your oven to 170C. Next, sprinkle the base of your lined cake tin with the brown sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg then lay the peach slices on top. At this point you could pour some golden syrup onto the peaches if you want the peaches to be a bit more caramelised.

To make the sponge filling whisk together the butter & sugar till its light and fluffy then add the eggs 1 by 1 and beat till mixed in. Add the almond extract in with the last egg and mix well. Finally add the flour & baking powder and fold into the wet ingredients. Spoon into the cake tin and gently spread over the fruit. Bake in the oven for around 30-35 minutes. The cake is ready when its golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes and then remove the outer ring of the cake tin and the baking paper. Place a plate or cake stand on top of the cake and carefully turn the cake over onto it. Gently peel away the baking paper from the base and leave the cake to finish cooling. The cake is delicious on its own but would be great with a dollop of ice-cream or creme fraiche.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Indian Scrambled Eggs on Naan Bread

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I should begin by saying I am all for eating breakfast for lunch & dinner. I am also up for dinner that can be thrown together and be ready to eat in under 10 minutes. I would recommend trying to track down a good quality naan bread, I used a garlic & coriander one from Sainsbury's but you could always make your own if you fancied the challenge. I would have photographed the whole process but the meal was finished in a flash, almost as fast as we both scoffed it down!

Serves 2
You will need-
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 green or red chilli, deseeded & finely diced
  • 1cm square ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander plus extra for serving
  • 1 tomato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 2 Naan breads
Preheat your oven to 180C and then get a frying pan with the oil in on a medium high heat. Whilst the frying pan is heating place the naan bread in the oven. Add the chilli, ginger, spring onions, cumin, turmeric, salt & pepper to the pan and fry for a 5 minutes before adding the coriander & tomato. Give everything a good stir and cook for another minute before adding the egg. Keep stirring the egg and take off the heat as soon as they're cooked. This shouldn't take more than about 2 minutes. To serve, spoon the egg mixture onto the naan bread and top with some more coriander.
Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am!

Monday, 13 August 2012

2nd Anniversary

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Last weekend saw mine & Tim's 2nd wedding anniversary. Apart from booking the weekend off from work we hadn't planned anything so when we woke up on Saturday morning we decided on a last minute day trip to Southwold. In my eyes it is the perfect English seaside town, from the colourful beach huts dotted along the sea front to old pier its just full of charm. We settled on lunch at The Crown where I had a crab claw risotto which came served with samphire & Tim, a smoked cheddar grilled cheese sandwich with the best chips.

After lunch we took a stroll around the town looking in the green grocers, bakeries, charity shops & the Adnams store before enjoying macaron on the sea front watching the waves & children flying kites. The rest of the afternoon was spent walking along the seafront before taking the scenic route home stopping in villages along the way for an explore.

When we got home we treated ourselves to our favourite sort of meal, a meze of cheese & charcuterie all washed down with beer brought home from the coast. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Friday, 10 August 2012


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Like I mentioned in the post about the Ethicurean, Tim and I recently returned to Dartmoor to teach another printmaking course at Dartmoor Arts. Dartmoor Arts is a week long art school run by artists surrounding the beautiful village of Drewsteignton. It was great to be back there and we were blessed with amazing weather. I really enjoyed getting my hands inky again and realised that there are a lot of similarities between old job and new, aprons, gloves and even colour mixing isn't too different to making a cake. We took full advantage of being in such beautiful surroundings and embraced our new found spontaneity with drives in search of stone circles and even a dip in the river. We stayed in the same beautiful house as last year, an old rectory where we got to enjoy eggs from the roaming chickens & Indian running ducks for breakfast along with milk from the farm down the road.

The workshop was run from Peter Randal-Page's studio which was in the middle of a luscious green valley with swallows flying in and out all day (occasionally leaving little gifts on people's work). Other gifts included elevenses of homemade scones & clotted cream and afternoon tea of an amazing fruity sponge on our last day brought in by a student. A group meal was included every night but we snuck off mid week for a meal in a nearby pub where we enjoyed mackerel served with golden beetroot and hake with sautéed fennel. We even managed to bring some of Devon home with us in the form of chutneys made with apples from the local orchard. We had a really magical week and I can't wait till next year!

To find our more about Dartmoor Arts, check out their website
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