In January of 2008 I started a grand experiment to try and change the way my family ate. We live in one of the best climates and also one of the largest agricultural regions in the USA but the industrialized food economy had left me unaware of seasonality and a larder full of stuff I did not recognize as food. This is about the journey from that place to one which is based on local sustainability with respect and knowledge of seasonality
Well this post is a little off-piste but since there a big Royal Wedding back in my homeland and also because my wife begged me to make I did a bit of research into this simple (no-bake) cake that became a favorite of a future king and will be served at the wedding along side a more traditional wedding cake.
It should be said that there are many recipes online for this cake and they are all subtly different in nature but they all contain two main ingredients and do not require you to fire up your oven. This then is my interpretation compiled it must be said from the many versions I found and uses as many local ingredients as I could find. Unfortunately one of the main ingredients is McVities’s Rich Tea biscuits (you probably could substitute any butter biscuit) which are not local and might prove hard to find. For those readers in the Cupertino area who want the authentic article, you can find them at Genes Market in Saratoga. The other key ingredient is Chocolate and I would suggest you find a nice fair trade variety of at least 70% cocoa.
For hardware you will need a mixing bowl and a 7-8inch springform pan which has been well greased.
To make the base of the cake simply break up the biscuits into chunks you want them to be 1/4 – 1/2 inch not crumbs. Place them in a bowl. Put the cream, honey and butter into a pan and bring to a good simmer. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until you have a smooth glossy mixture with no lumps. Add the vanilla extract and combine. Then pour this gooey mixture over the biscuits and fold together.
Transfer the chocolate and biscuits to the springform pan and smooth out the top. Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove any air holes. Then put the whole thing into the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Once the cake has set you can gently remove it from the springform pan. It is good enough to eat right now but for an extra bit of royal flourish it is an idea to glaze it with more chocolate. To make the glaze take the following ingredients
Put the butter and cream into a pan and bring to a simmer, then add the chocolate. Mix until it is smooth. Place the chilled cake onto a wire rack over some parchment. Then poor the mixture over the cake starting in the middle. User a knife or spatula to smooth the glaze over the cake and down the sides. Allow to firm up, then transfer to a plate. Keep refrigerated until serving time.
This is a very simple cake to make and would something that kids would be able to do (with supervision) and enjoy the results. If you fancy a bit of royal faire on your table then give it a go..
I have been baking bread for a few years now and something that has escaped me is a 100% Wholemeal loaf that didn't look like frisbie, tasted like sawdust or took 3 days to make.
The problem is the lack of gluten in wholemeal flour making it hard to develop a strong structure when proving. Adding a portion of white flour can improve things but that defeats the object.
Well I discovered a recipe in Darina Allen's book called Forgotten Skills of Cooking entitled Ballymaloe brown bread. It is so simple to make, no kneading required and it yields a crusty yet soft delicious tasting loaf of bread. The recipe was developed in the 1940's by Doris Grant for the Ministry of food (no not the Jamie Oliver one).
The only bit of special kit you need is a 5x8 inch loaf tin then gather the following ingredients.
450g Stone ground whole meal flour
425ml lukewarm water
15g Dried yeast
Oil for greasing
Seeds such as sesame
Preheat oven to 450F
Grease loaf tin (I recommend lining the tin with parchment)
Mix the yeast with 140ml of water and molasses and mix. Leave for a few mins to froth.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl and mix to distribute the salt. Pour in the water and the frothy yeat mixture and mix to a sloppy dough. Note this will be too wet to knead if not add a bit more water. Mix in the bowl then put into tin, sprinkle seeds on top.
Cover tin with towel and wait for 20mins just for the dough to rise to the top of the tin. The gently place it in the oven. Leave for 20mins then turn down the oven to 400F.
Cook for 40mins then remove from tin and place loaf back in the oven for 10mins to crisp the crust. Remove and cool then slice and enjoy. A simple, everyday 100% wholemeal loaf do youself a favor and try this recipe
I made these last weekend in preparation for St Davids day, March 1st. I remember my mother and welsh grandmother made these most weeks only they called them bakestones. There are made in a similar way to scones but cooked on a griddle like pancakes. Very with a nice cup of (fairtrade) tea. There are a number of recipies on the net but I will post my recipe later