Tag Archives: cherries

When life is topsy turvy, make upside down cake

We’ve just said goodbye to some friends who popped over for a visit from LA. We were more of a pitstop on their way to the more glamorous climates of Sri Lanka but still, was lovely to have them here. Their trip coincided with a lot of familial upheaval so whilst we endeavoured to feed them proper home cooked foods most days (I say most days, at least two days they were here I was too hungover to leave my bed – I’m a classy girl), we often failed and left them to their own devices. I did, however, get around to trialling the bundt pan chicken I’ve seen on various blogs recently. It’s basically like beer can chicken but on a bundt tin instead of a beer can – the idea is that it stays moist all over and the skin gets crispy as the air circulates around it. It was good but think I overstuffed the base of the tin with potatoes and onions as the skin on the legs didn’t get that crispy. So when I’ve perfected the potato to chicken to tin ratio, I’ll post my very own variation. I cleverly froze the carcass like some kind of weirdo who freezes bones and yesterday, I used it to make bone broth. Well stock but bone broth sounds fancier.

Anyway, they’ve left and we’re left with lots of fruit (mostly because that was what I lazily fed them on) so yesterday, I decided to use that fruit up during a lazy Sunday of baking and brothing.

Also related, I bought a basil plant from the supermarket a few months ago. I am not green fingered. I have a beautiful herb garden in our garden that flourishes in the summer months but then dies in winter and is never the same. I just don’t have that gardening bug. Anyway, I bought this plant, fully expecting it to be dead in a few weeks – but a few months later, it looks like this. This is very exciting news to me, I haven’t killed a plant. I need a medal. Anyway, a girl can only have so much pesto so decided to use the basil in this cake.

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Look at the size of that bad boy.

So below is my recipe for an upside down cake. I did two variants – one plum, one cherry but the cake and topping recipes remain the same. You can use most any fruit with this – apples and harder fruit may not cook down to the lovely softness of stoned fruit though.

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Upside down cake

Preheat your oven to 160C

For the topping

  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar

Mix this together until it’s light and creamy then spread on the base of your tin. If you’re making the plum and basil variation, lay a line of basil leaves down the centre of a loaf tin then slice 3-4 plums and layer this over the basil, pushing down slightly so it’s stuck to the topping. Put in the fridge whilst you make the cake batter.

For the cake

  • 120g butter
  • 120g golden caster sugar
  • 2 x medium eggs
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy then add the eggs one by one until just incorporated. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and combine. Spoon the batter on top of the topping and flatten the top then put in the oven for 25-30 mins until a skewer inserted into the top comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then loosen the sides of the cake, place a serving plate over the top of the tin and invert – the cake should come loose and be ready to serve.

We ate ours warm with Haagen Dazs Belgian chocolate ice cream which I can confirm is a total win. But sure it’d be fine with cream/vanilla ice cream/marscapone/on it’s own/cold out of a bowl for breakfast. You choose.

 

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Pretending fridge soup is roasted duck with cherry sauce

One of my favourite things to do apart from eat and cook and eat more is go away on holiday. And as we’re off on holiday tomorrow, I’ve been playing my favourite cooking game; what can I make for dinner tonight using only the contents of my fridge?

It’s a fun game to play and the rules are simple. Open your fridge, get out all the fresh veg, check the dates on things like cream or yoghurt or stock and get combining.

My available fridge ingredients were: Carrots, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, chicken stock, Greek yoghurt, fresh coriander and galangal. Coupled with the four slightly sprouty potatoes I found in the veg basket and garlic and onions, a broccoli, mushroom, coriander soup was born.

It’s a really boring soup but as I’ve got a husband down with killer man flu, it’s the perfect thing to shut him up make him feel better. And I can pretend I’m keeping to my slightly rubbish version of a bikini diet by eating soup. Given that my bikini diet has involved buying a shit load of kaftans and kimonos, I’m really not doing very well at being beach ready. Apart from the bit where you’re absolutely exhausted and the only thing that’s getting you through is the thought of being on a beach in less than 24 hours. That’s beach ready, right?

Whilst I’m chowing down on a bowlful of soup, I’m going to reminisce about the dinner I made this time last week and share that recipe with you.

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I’ve never cooked duck before. Not sure why, I like eating duck and I like ducks in the park, but had never made it at home. So with a free day, I decided to roast duck legs and make a cherry sauce. The roasting duck legs bit is fairly straightforward so I won’t pretend to know better than Nigella and simply share her recipe for roasted duck legs and potatoes that was on the Food Network site.

I’m totally sharing the recipe for the cherry sauce though, as I’ve honestly never made one this good before. Or cared enough about it to do things like strain the shallots out of it. I don’t know what’s happened to me, I’ve changed.

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So here’s the recipe, I reckon it’d go with all sorts of roasted poultry, I’m planning on trying it with goose at some point in the future.

Cherry sauce recipe – serves four

  • 2 x shallots finely diced
  • About 2cm of grated fresh galangal
  • 1 x small glass of red wine (about 200ml, I think but that could be a generous pour)
  • 250ml of chicken stock
  • A generous squeeze of runny honey
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 225g cherries, halved – this is their weight with stones in, I forgot to weigh them after I stoned them (I blame the generous pour)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • 20g butter
  • A splash of olive oil

NOTE: I got a crunchy skin on my duck legs by starting them off in a frying pan till the skin went crispy then moving them into a roasting tin with the potatoes and some of the duck fat. I then made the sauce in the same frying pan to get the duck flavours.

  • Over a low heat, warm the pan that you’d cooked the duck in, adding a little bit of olive oil if there isn’t much duck fat remaining
  • Add the shallots with a small pinch of salt (stops them browning, clever, huh?) and fry till the shallots soften
  • Add the red wine and let it come to the boil, after it comes to a boil, add the galangal and cook for about a minute after that
  • Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil – let this mix reduce a little but after about 3 mins cooking time, add the cornflour paste
  • Let this cook a little further, you’re looking for a glossy, thick finish
  • Once it’s got to the right consistency for you, add the red wine vinegar and the honey and stir in
  • Take off the heat and pour through a fine meshed sieve so that you remove all the bits of shallot and galangal and any bits that were in the stock
  • Return the liquor to the pan and once it’s warm again (but not boiling) add the halved cherries
  • Stir to warm them through, season then pour onto your duck and enjoy

Here’s the final dish – I wish I was eating that tonight instead of fridge soup!

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