Okay so I finally started a blog and decided on a theme – now my dilemma was which cookbook got to open the show!
Thanks for all your suggestions and I will get round to them all I promise – even to Hugh (eventually….) !
The problem was solved by the amount of apples in my kitchen demanding to be used (thank you to all my wonderful neighbours). I decided to stew and freeze some of them and then remembered a recipe for a ‘sauce’ cake. Cue Sophie Grigson’s Country Kitchen
This book was a Christmas present from my sister after my time in Ballymaloe Cookery School and her inscription ‘to the petite chef with the big ideas’ still makes me smile! The splashed pages and the handwritten notes will convince you that this is one of the workers in my collection – I love the Rhubarb & Honey Compote, and her sweet & sour red cabbage is a Christmas must.
In the introduction the book is described as ‘a record of a year’s cooking in a country kitchen – but with a modern twist’ . This is borne out in recipes such as ‘pot-roast pork with star anise, ginger. tamarind and port’ or ‘cauliflower with sundried tomatoes, garlic and capers’ .
The book is laid out by season with beautiful photographs and informative notes on ingredients. The recipes are well laid out and easy to follow and most importantly they work! My biggest peeve is that it doesn’t have a photograph for every dish – I like to know what I’m aspiring to!
My favourite and most used from this book is Sophie’s recipe for ‘Gooseberry Sauce Cake’ – simple and quick and adaptable for most fruits. I’ve tried it with gooseberries, rhubarb, plums and most recently with apples and the result is a lovely moist cake everytime!
So if like me you’re overrun with apples you should give this a try:
Apple Sauce Cake
What you need:
- 10oz/280g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 40z/110g caster sugar
- 40z/110g demerara sugar
- 4oz/110g butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 pt/300ml stewed apples
- Firstly stew your fruit – I used a mix of sweet and cooking apples as I like the difference in texture. Peel, core and chop the fruit. Then stew with a little water over a low heat for 20-30 mins. I didn’t use any particular quantities as I froze the rest of the fruit in 1/2 pint portions for future cakes!
- When fruit is stewed to your liking measure out 1/2 pt for your cake (btw apologies for any confusion and if I appear old fashioned but I tend to bake in imperial and cook in metric!)
- Mix all your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and sugars together
- Fold in the lightly beaten eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Finally stir in the stewed apples.
- Pour mixture into a lined 9″/23cm springform tin and sprinkle a little extra demerara sugar over the top.
- Sophie’s instructions are to bake the cake at 180C/Gas 4 for 45 minutes. Having tried it on several occasions it takes 30-35 minutes in my oven at 170C Fan so I’d advise you to check it after 30 mins!
- Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 mins before turning out. Then there’s nothing left to do but serve it with some lightly whipped cream!