Friday, 10 January 2014

Dutch Apple Cake
Recipe courtesy Rachel Allen
Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
35 min
12 squares

·         2 eggs
·         150g caster sugar, plus extra sugar, for sprinkling
·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         85g butter
·         75mls milk
·         125g plain flour
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
·         2 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
The fruit sinks to the bottom as it cooks, leaving a light sponge on top with a lovely sugary crust.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line the sides and base of a 8 by 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper. 

Using an electric whisk or hand held mixer, whisk the eggs,  caster sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, until the mixture is thick and mousse-like, and the whisk leaves a figure of eight pattern, this will take about 5 minutes. 

Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk, and then pour the mixture onto the eggs, whisking continuously. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, and baking powder, and fold carefully into the batter so that there are no lumps of flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface. 

Peel and core the apples, and cut them into thin slices, and then arrange them over the batter. They will sink to the bottom. This is meant to happen! Sprinkle the cake with sugar, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake until well risen and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Allow the cake to cool in the tin, cut into squares and serve warm. It is delicious with cream! 


Raspberry and Pear: Instead of the cinnamon, mix the finely grated zest of 1 orange into the batter. Instead of the apples, sink a half pint of fresh or frozen raspberries, and thin slices of 2 pears into the batter, and cook in the same way.

© Recipe courtesy Rachel Allen

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Years Eve Soup

Chickpea Soup

A simple soup flavoured with cumin and coriander. Made utterly delicious by adding salbitxada sauce to the bowl when ladled out. Recipes from Ottolenghi, The Guardian.

Chickpea soup

This needs a little something stirred into it at the end, to give it an edge. Make coriander oil, as here, or use some salbitxada. Serves four.
90ml olive oil
2 onions, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
4 celery stalks, cut into 1cm dice
2 tbsp harissa (or to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
500g cooked chickpeas
1½ tsp salt and black pepper
1.2 litres vegetable stock
25g coriander, leaves and stalks
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based saucepan, and sauté the onions on medium heat for five minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots and celery, cook for eight minutes, then stir in the harissa and spices, and cook for two minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, salt and plenty of black pepper, add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
If making the coriander oil, blitz the coriander in food processor with a pinch of salt, then slowly pour in 60ml of oil and process until smooth

Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle over the oil or salbitxada.

Salbitxada sauce
Salbitxada is a sharp and lightly sweet Catalan sauce that's traditionally served with calçots – spring or salad onions, grilled whole, make a good substitute.
1 red pepper
2 red chillies
5 garlic cloves, skin on
40g flaked almonds, toasted
4 ripe tomatoes (400g), blanched, peeled and deseeded
2 tsp sherry vinegar
100ml olive oil
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Put the pepper, chillies and garlic on an oven tray and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the chillies and garlic, turn the pepper and roast for 20 minutes more. Once the skin is blistered, put the pepper in a bowl and cover with clingfilm. When cool, peel and deseed both the pepper and chillies, and peel the garlic.
Grind the almonds to a coarse powder in a food processor. Add the pepper, chilli, garlic and tomatoes, and whizz to a paste. Add the vinegar and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, then slowly add oil to make a thick sauce

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