Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Nigel's Double Ginger Cake (Yes, he is still my hero)
250 self raising flour
2 level teaspoons of ground ginger
half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
a level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
200g golden syrup
stem ginger in syrup - 3 lumps, about 55g
2 tablespoons of syrup from the stem ginger jar
2 heaped tablespoons of sultanas
125g dark muscavado sugar
2 large eggs
a square cake tim 20 - 22cms, lined with greaseproof paper.
Set the oven at 180C. Sift the flour with the ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda and salt. Put the Golden Syrup and the ginger syrup and butter into a small saucepan and warm over a low heat. Dice the ginger finely, and add it to the pan with the sultanas and sugar. Let the mixture bubble gently for a minute, giving it the occasional stir to stop the fruit sticking.
Break the eggs into a bowl, pour in the milk and beat gently to break up the egg and mix it into the milk. Remove the butter and sugar mixture from the heat and pour into the flour, stirring smoothly and firmly with a large metal spoon. Mix in the milk and the eggs. The mixture should be sloppy with no trace of flour.
Scoop the mixture into a lined cake tin and bake for thirty five or forty minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Unless you are serving it warm, leave the cake in its tin to cool, then tip it out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper. Wrap it up in foil, and if you can leave it to mature for a day or two before eating. Because this cake is so dark naturally, you might need to cover it during cooking, and keep a very close eye on it to ensure it doesn't burn. :)
|The view from the kitchen|
|Frothy batter ready to go|
|Magic frying pan from Norway|
Monday, 29 November 2010
Saturday, 27 November 2010
The angel showed me, John, the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear down the middle of the city street. On either side of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the pagans.
The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever.
The angel said to me, ‘All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who gives the spirit to the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place. Very soon now, I shall be with you again.’ Happy are those who treasure the prophetic message of this book.
Apocalypse 2: 1 - 7
The cure for (cold filled) pagans
6 blood oranges (the red centre is beautiful, and the juice sweet - but if you cant get them, just get good big juicing oranges instead). 2 grapefruits.
a small onion
2 cloves of garlic
a chunk of ginger
225g red split lentils
teaspoon of ground tumeric
a teaspoon of ground chilli (I sometimes use fresh ones)
a bunch of roughly chopped coriander
For the onion topping: 2 medium onions, ground nut oil, 2 small hot chillies, 2 cloves of garlic
Chop the onion for the soup roughly. Peel and crush the garlic with the back of your knife. Add them to a heavy based pan. Grate in the ginger. Add the lentils and pour in one and a half litres of water. Bring to the boil and then turn down to an enthusiastic simmer. Stir in the tumeric and chilli, season and leave to do its thing, with a lid on, for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a medium sized pan of water to the boil. Peel and scoop out the pumpkin, then cut it into the fat chunks. Boil for about ten minutes, or until they are tender. Drain them and set them to one side.
To make the topping, peel the onions and cut them into thin rings. Fry them gently in a pan with the groundnut oil, until they colour. De-seed the chillies and slice them finely. Peel and slice the garlic finely too. Add these to the onions. Cook until the onions are a deep golden brown.
Remove the lid from the lentils and turn up the heat, boiling hard for five minutes. Remove from the heat and add the drained pumpkin. Blend the soup with a handheld blender until smooth (be careful!). Stir the roughly chopped coriander through the soup and serve. Topping each deep bowl of goodness with a spoonful of the spiced onions.
Nigel says that this is a soup that both whips and kisses. It is warm and releases a slow build up of heat from the base notes of chilli, ginger and garlic. For today it is perfect. We had it with hunks of rustic bread and poachers cheese on the side. You can't go wrong. The colours are right for today too, all fiery oranges, reds and deep ochre. Perfect. And, as I was serving up I look at my watch, 6pm. The new year begins, quietly...waiting.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Meanwhile, the end of the year is upon us. The last week of the liturgical year is perfectly placed. I love the dark, the weather, the little flickering lights blinking in preparation for Christmas. A time to look out for the first frost and the last light. Brilliant.
2 tbsp olive oil
- 150g/5oz onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 900g/2lb freshly minced beef
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, such as marjoram, or 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oilHeat the oil and sweat the crushed garlic and chopped onions. Mix the minced beef, herbs, seasoning and egg in a separate bowl. Mix the onions and garlic with the meat. Form into 24 little meatballs and refrigerate until needed.Then for the sauce: 24 meatballs, 3 slices of smoked bacon, 1 large spanish onion, 2 cloves of garlic, oregano from the cupboard, salt and pepper, olive oil, tomato puree and 2 tins of crushed tomatoes.Sweat the onion and garlic in the oil in large saucepan, and add the oregano (to taste). After these are soft add the tomato puree and the tins of tomatoes and leave on a very low heat to reduce for up to 30 mins. Here you can add wine if you have it. In a separate frying pan, brown the meatballs in olive oil, add bacon and season. When brown, add to the tomato sauce, with a slotted spoon or ladle (so as not to add extra oil to the meal). Lea and Perrins is good if you have it. :)Cook pasta how you normally do. Make it good pasta. Try fresh pasta. Please.Serve and cover with cheese (parmigiano-reggiano is good, cheddar - don't do it, mozzarella is fun but unnecessary :) )
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
A man is summoned to a hospital where his elderly mother is fading away. He arrives in the middle of the night and walks through empty corridors looking for a coffee machine. So why is he avoiding sitting at his mother's bedside?
He gets talking to an auxiliary nurse a disgruntled but determined young woman whose life is starting, just as his mother's is ending. As he tells this complete stranger about his mother's uneventful life, her small achievements, he comes to understand some of the mechanisms at play in his strange inability to sit with her.