Eggless Welsh Cakes

The first Easter following our move to England happened to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. This only meant one thing to us – extra holidays! So we set off on a camping trip to Wales where we encountered these yummy things called Welsh cakes. We also encountered some other interesting things like the guy who was into dressing up like Elvis and going to gatherings with other “Elvises” but that’s a story for another day.

What are “Welsh cakes” ? Really, they are a pancake more than a cake – made with flour, raisins/sultanas, spices such as cinnamon, butter,eggs and sugar. There isn’t really any baking time involved as you cook them on the stove in a fry pan. They are a lovely accompaniment to tea and go with any sort of fruit jam/preserve.

Do give it a go as it is incredibly easy to make and takes barely any time to put together. In addition, you can make it gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and sugar-free if you’d like.

The inside of a Welsh cake

The inside of a Welsh cake

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Layered chocolate and cherry wine cake : My most decadent cake yet

I have made this cake twice – once as a wedding present for a dear friend and once for my huband’s birthday – both in 2013, both decadent as anything and both having gone down an absolute treat with their respective recepients.

Weddings and wedding presents – always a tricky one for me. There are those people that tell me what they want and make my life easy. And then there are others who I care about, but I have no clue as to how my miniscule contribution could make a difference to there generally well set up lives. It is in the latter situation that I usually opt for cooking (usually baking) something for them so that they can remember the taste of it (and perhaps its maker) for many years to come.

I’m not a huge chocolate eater myself but I knew my friend was and I know my husband definitely is. It is his weakness and I often joke that he’d be easily kidnapped if someone dangled dark chocolate on a stick in front of his eyes. So, for me, this cake was a challenge on many levels – coming up with the right texture, appearance and taste for the occasion were very important. So I set about surfing the internet for inspiration and ideas and came across this lovely recipe by Lindsay & Taylor and I decided to give it my own twist.

Hope you like it and will give it a go.

Manasa

Triple-layer chocolate cherry cake with dinosaur

Triple-layer chocolate cherry cake with dinosaur

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Purple sprouting broccoli for breakfast

A few months ago, just when the season was right for it,  a dear friend brought me some purple sprouting broccoli fresh from her garden. It just also happened to be the weekend  and I was missing my Melbournian weekend brunches, as I often do in this small English town.

To pay for breakfast or brunch here is folly as the food is disappointing 9.5 times out of 10. So, I decided to make some myself using this lovely sprouting broccoli. A bit of google-ing and I settled on grilled purple sprouting broccoli and hollandaise sauce on a bed of sourdough and poached eggs.

Why do I post it now ? I was doing an audit of my food pictures folder and realised that I have so many things I need to write about and today, I just felt like writing about this one as it was so delicious. I’m sorry, I don’t have too many pictures of the process and next time I make this dish, I’ll be sure to take some.

Purple sprouting broccoli with hollandaise sauce over poached eggs and sourdough

Purple sprouting broccoli with hollandaise sauce over poached eggs and sourdough

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Bread, berry and cherry pudding

I seem to have taken a rather long summer holiday from my blog. In my defence, the English summer until 2 Thursdays ago was glorious. So glorious that we spent most of our time outdoors walking, running, kayaking and even swimming. While the weather was still wonderful (yes, that’s right, it is a think of the past now), our friends took us on a foraging expedition which turned up several boxes of blackberries (bramble) and cherries (small, wild, juicy and amazingly sweet).

Blackberries and cherries

Hand-picked blackberries and cherries : Juicy and delicious

We ate as many berries and cherries as we could on the day and the day after but we couldn’t eat them all. I then asked Mr Google what I could do with a whole lot of berries and cherries. Unsurprisingly, several options were presented to me. Of these, I chose two  – (1) a berry, cherry and almond milk smoothie (2) A blackberry and cherry, bread and butter (yup, a mouthful to say) pudding. This post is on the latter and is somewhat reminiscent of my one of my older recipes on Bread and Butter pudding.

Bread and butter pudding enthusiasts and connoisseurs beware – this recipe violates several basic principles. However, I can guarantee that the taste of the fresh berries and cherries made for quite a delightful dessert while we watched our current favourite TV show Treme.

Do try it and tell me what you think of it at canwehavesomerasam@gmail.com.

Bread, berry and cherry pudding

Bread, berry and cherry pudding

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Jerusalem, Moro and Ottolenghi and inspired dinner

I have recently become addicted to three cookbooks I acquired from Amazon and our local library. They are, in order of favouritism,

1. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

2. Moro by Samuel and Samantha Clark

3. Ottolenghi also by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Why the addiction – well these books respect vegetables like I have been taught to respect them as a life time vegetarian. Growing up in a South Indian household, my mother and grandma had endless ways of making vegetables exciting and I try and continue this tradition till today. However, I’m also a little more adventurous that mum and grandma and I cannot eat the same/similar things day in and day out. This is something I did quite gladly did when I was still dependent on my parents, but ever since I’ve moved out on my own, my kitchen has been a bit of a playground, as is this blog I host.

Jerusalem, Moro and Ottolenghi, while laden with meat-based recipes are also quite generous with their coverage of vegetable/vegetarian dishes from Eastern Mediterranean regions, Israel, Palestine with influences from Italy, Spain and Northern Africa. Overall, these vegetables are prepared quite differently (most of the time) to how I’d prepare them as a person of South Indian upbringing and I find that really really exciting. Sometimes, I find some similarities and start thinking about the origins of certain food and how recipes might have travelled from one region to another in ancient time.

To summarize it is food, vegetarian food, exciting vegetarian food and I love it! Food to me is most satisfying when I’ve made it and others are enjoying it 🙂 An opportunity presented itself when we decided to host a dinner and board games evening at our place. While I usually cook Indian food, I decided that I’d try recipes from my recently acquired books instead. There was a deathly silence as everyone sat eating until one of our friends spoke up and said , “You know the food is good when everyone is too busy eating and cannot stop to speak”. I’m going to call it a successful experiment based on this !

My menu and links to the recipes are presented below. I managed to take a lot of pictures for the first few dishes and then ran out of time and my guests arrived so I couldn’t keep clicking any more. Hope you try some of the recipes and like them !

Menu for board games night

Menu for board games night

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Chocolate orange marble cake with orange curd icing

I promised I’d share this recipe a little while ago on my Orange and lemon curd blog but hadn’t gotten around it until today. I’ve been hanging onto this little bit of paper onto which I scribbled the ingredients for the cake and was overjoyed when I found it today on one of my cleaning missions. I thought I’d better write it up before I lose the bit of paper again.

My partner loves Chocolate-orange together in any form of dessert. So for his birthday, I decided I’d make a chocolate orange cake. Since I didn’t want to mess up on the day, I thought I’d give it a trial run first. The trial run was extremely successful both at home and in the office (yes, I am on a secret mission to fatten my colleagues – shhh….). I didn’t however make it for his birthday as he decided he wanted something different. I will write about the actual birthday cake at a later date.

With most recipes, my first port of call is the interwebs. There are hundreds of recipes for chocolate orange cakes and hundreds more for marbled cake. I looked up so many of them but nothing seemed to match the image I had in my head. Nothing, until this Pumpkin Marbled cake by Sabine from Berry Lovely.

I am not keen on food colouring so I really liked Sabine’s use of pumpkin in this recipe. Unfortunately, the only pumpkins I could buy here were really huge and it isn’t a popular vegetable in the house. So, I decided to use carrots to impart the orange colour to my marbled cake.  Here is my take on Sabine’s take on a recipe from Sunset Magazine.

Chocolatey-orangey and very edible!

Chocolatey-orangey and very edible!

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Orange and lemon curd

I was looking for a recipe to make a chocolate orange cake for my partner’s birthday which is in a few weeks time as it his favourite combination of flavours. My idea was to make a marbled cake with a chocolate-orange ganache topping and scribble “Happy Birthday” on top. However, I came across this recipe for a chocolate-orange wedding cake, saw the orange curd in there and hit upon a different idea. I thought I could cover the marbled  cake in orange curd instead, dribble the ganache topping in concentric circles on top of the curd and make feather-y patterns on the curd. How did it turn out ? Well you’ll have to wait for my chocolate-orange cake recipe. In the interim, I’m leaving you with a recipe for Orange and lemon curd.

The word “curd” would throw most Indian people and it did the same to me initially. Curd is a synonym for yoghurt in parts of India so when someone told me about a lemon curd, I thought it was really weird. Then I tried it and fell in love with it. In New Zealand, I lived in a share house with a big lemon tree in the backyard. After months of letting the lemons rot or play ball for the dog, one of my housemates decided to make lemon curd  and marmalade with them. The house smelt wonderful when I returned from work that day. When I asked about it, she told me what they were and that it was OK to help myself to some lemon curd and marmalade. I think I might have taken the “help myself” a bit too far and she wasn’t too impressed. However, I did get the recipe off her before I left. This orange curd recipe is based on the lemon-curd  one I got from my ex-housemate. It’s simple, easy and tasty.

You can use orange and lemon curd on toast, with yoghurt, as a tart filling and as a creamy layer between layers of a sponge cake to name a few. If you are gross like me, you’d just eat spoonfuls of it for fun. This is a lot less tangy than lemon curd and I find that much more of a pleasant taste. Do try it and tell me what you think by mailing me at canwehavesomerasam@gmail.com

Thick and yummy orange+lemon curd

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