Thursday, 29 January 2015

Blood-Orange Chiffon Cake

I love chiffon cakes; I find Angel cakes are a tad too sweet and Sponge cakes are a bit on the dry side.
I must admit I don't bake them as much as I should, for the most part it's down to the size of the cake... the recipes usually call for an "enormous" amount of ingredients - certainly not a cake for two!

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you about my chiffon tube pan...
it was a gift - a parting gift to be precise- from my manja baby sis, Yatie.
We met while shopping for Persian carpets. She was with her son and Uncle, PakChaq. When I heard them speaking to each other in the norhern dialect, I couldn't help but approach them... turned out to be the best decision made ever!

 Photo taken at her house in Aberdeen during Eid (2011)

Blood-Orange Chiffon Cake
recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

6 large eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white
225g flour
250g caster sugar + 50g for the egg whites
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp orange zest
120ml vegetable oil
180ml freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 170C
In a bowl, place all the dry ingredients and orange zest.
Make a well in the centre and add the and orange zest, egg yolks, oil, orange juice and orange extract. Mix until well combine.
In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites ubtil foamy. add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 50g  of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. With a large spatula, gently fold in the egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan and bake for 55 - 60 minutes.
Invert the pan and leave it to cool completely before removing the cake from pan.


Friday, 23 January 2015

Garden Updates

Dreaming of Spring

Not an update - just harking back
Here are some photos of my garden last summer which didn't make the cut first time round

 The south-facing garden

the "semi-formal" area 
with buxus, variegated Euonymus, pussy-willow, roses

Bronze-leaf Begonia in pink, red and white

My mostly-foliage section
with bamboo, elder tree, skimmia

My sorry-looking hostas. Better luck next this year, I hope

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Cherry Clafoutis

Whilst out doing my weekly grocery shopping, I was smacked with a sudden craving for some juicy, fresh soft fruits. Though none of these types of fruits are in season at the moment, my prying eyes found a few punnets of cherries sitting pretty on the shelves. They came all the way from somewhere in South America. Carbon footprint aside (maths was never my strong suit!) I took one home and was suitably happy. That was until I had a taste - the cherries were pretty much without taste.

Cherry Clafoutis

250g cherries, pitted
4 tbsp flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs


Preheat oven to 180C
Grease a 1.5 litre flan dish with butter, then arrange the cherries in the dish

 Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl, add milk, cream and vanilla and whisk together
Add the eggs and whisk until smooth
Pour over the cherries and bake for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden

  You may serve it with a lashing of cream or creme fraiche

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

First Snow

Our first snow for this year; albeit just a light sprinkling.
It came last Monday and stayed on till today.
I just love walking in the snow and hearing the breakfast-cereal-like crunch it makes at my every footstep.
We're having extraordinarily beautiful weather at the moment; the sun is shining almost on a daily basis - makes you forget the cold...