Tag: strawberries

A kind cake to have with tea

As I have mentioned before, I am not a baker. That skill was handed out to my sister who can make the most delicate tarts and cakes. She also manages to turn gluten free baking into some kind of delicious realm of possibilities, something I never thought was possible. However, lately I have been finding myself wanting to have fresh baking in the house. I have been making banana bread, gluten, sugar and dairy free muffins (actually really good, will post the recipe soon), lemon and ricotta ring cakes, and yesterday I made a rhubarb and strawberry cake.

Both Ollie and I go crazy for rhubarb. Stewed with muesli in the morning, with ice cream, in a crumble or pie. Any way possible in fact. So this cake is perfect. It is easy, both sweet and tart, and goes perfectly with a cup of tea. It is the kind of cake you can imagine eating with thick clotted cream and your grandmother.

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An Old Fashioned Cake
(Based on a pear cake in Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries)

130g butter
130g caster sugar
2 eggs
130g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Half a punnet of strawberries
About 5 stalks of rhubarb
A sprinkling of brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, and gradually mix them in with the butter and sugar. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold in carefully. Spoon into a greased cake tin and don’t worry that it looks like there isn’t enough mixture.

Finely slice the rhubarb and cut the strawberries into quarters. Place them evenly over the cake mixture, and then sprinkle some brown sugar on top. This recipe can be used for any fruit, I have made it with apple and pear in the past, in which case you don’t need extra sugar. Rhubarb often needs a bit more love than other fruit to make it sing.

Bake for 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean, leave in the tin for 10 minutes, and then cool on a rack. Or if you are impatient like me, cut a slice and eat it with some natural yoghurt and a cup of coffee.

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The book you can see in the photo arrived in the mail just a few days ago. It is part of a #savetheculture book exchange I am part of. Despite Ollie referring to it as my Ponzi scheme and another friend calling it a glorified chain letter, I think it is a pretty cool idea. I saw a friend had shared a post about it on facebook which I bit the bullet and liked. She sent me a stranger’s address for me to post a book to, plus her address to share with people who liked my post. Theoretically, I should get a whole lot of books in the mail. Who am I to say no to that?

I had been eyeing up Ali Smith’s newest book at The Booksmith just the other day, so I was thrilled to receive it with a little postcard from an old school friend I haven’t talked to in years. I will let you know if I get any other goodies in the letter box.

Happy baking and happy reading from sunny San Francisco x

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Memories of Strawberry Jam

When my friend Anna was pregnant with her gorgeous Maxime, she loved strawberry jam. Whenever I have it, I am taken back to her little home. We are sitting and talking together by the warmth of the heater, her drinking milo, mug balanced on her tummy, me drinking chamomile tea with honey, and the tree outside the window is heavy with lemons. Anna is eating strawberry jam on toast.

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With Anna in mind, I had a go making strawberry jam. I didn’t do a great job of measuring, watching the pot in case it boiled over or timing things, but the end result tastes pretty damn good with plenty of butter on toasted fresh bread.

Anna K’s Strawberry Jam

Strawberries
Brown sugar
Seeds from one vanilla pod
Juice of a lemon

If you want it to set more and be more jammy, use equal amounts of sugar and fruit. I just think that is a whole lots of sugar to be eating, plus I’m not really a sweet tooth, so I would rather have slightly sloppier jam that tastes like fruit, so I used less sugar, more fruit. Up to you with measurements.

Quarter the strawberries and put in a pot with the brown sugar. Leave for a couple of hours at room temperature. Apparently fruit likes to do this before it is made into jam, I don’t really understand why but other blogs told me so. Then put on the element with the other ingredients and bring to the boil. Be careful here, as it likes to overflow everywhere and get really sticky on the elements. I boiled mine for about half an hour and then poured it into a sterilised jar and left to set.

Enjoy this as a strawberry hit on vanilla ice cream. Or with butter, toast and tea, thinking of friends like Anna as I am.

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