In Italy (Prato) last year I tasted a pumpkin ravioli with rocket sauce at one of the best restaurants we found; this restaurant happened to be famous for its barbecued beef fillet, but in the end I was convinced I'd chosen the best meal; delicious! I've made three attempts recently to get the rocket sauce just right, but wasn't totally happy with the first two. On the third try, though, I nailed it (subjective assessment of course).
It's always exciting to get where you want with flavours/textures, but of course I forgot to photograph the dish, didn't I ? Too much excitement . ..
I did photograph the Apple, Cranberry and Almond Cake I came up with, though. I am rather pleased with it too (recipe below).
|Apple, Cranberry and Almond Cake|
Apple, Cranberry and Almond Cake
A mix and stir cake, this one is moist and completely delicious in the dense, fruit- packed style that makes for a great dessert or coffee cake.
Although the results will be slightly different, it really doesn’t seem to matter whether tart apples are used, like Granny Smiths or sweet, like Pacific Rose; this cake is a celebration of simplicity.
It isn’t necessary to peel the apples as they are sliced very thinly.
750g apples, cored and quartered
Finely grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1& 1/3 cups caster sugar
120g butter, melted and cooled
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup coconut cream or milk
¾ cup dried cranberries or raisins
1 cup flaked almonds
3 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Pre heat the oven to 170 C.
Grease or lightly spray a 24cm spring form cake tin.
Slice the cored and quartered apples thinly, into 6-8 slim wedges. Toss with the lemon juice and zest and set aside.
Whisk the eggs, vanilla paste and sugar together until pale and creamy.
Fold in the melted butter, sifted flour and baking powder, the ground almonds and the coconut cream.
Pour half the batter into the prepared caked tin. Evenly distribute all the cranberries over the batter, followed by half the apple slices and half the flaked almonds.
Repeat the batter, apple and almond layers.
Sprinkle the combined caster sugar and cinnamon evenly over the top of the cake and bake at 170 C for 60- 75 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake exits cleanly. Times may vary as the cooking times of apples differ.
Remove from the oven but cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling on a cake rack.
Serve with softly whipped cream, passionfruit yoghurt or crème fraiche.
Just to continue with the sweet theme, I also tried a slightly different take on baklava, making the flavours less sweet and buttery, more fruity (orange) as well as nutty (pistachio and walnut) and had fun making individual baklava 'twists', which were very simple.
|Gather one sheet of filo like a folded fan,|
using both hands to slide it across your bench,
then roll up like a pinwheel
Got to get back to savoury things, but sweets are fun too, especially when I can offer what we can't eat to the neighbours - there's got to be some brownie points in that!