Tag Archives: cinnamon

Cobble Cakes

A new guest post from Cluedo! Find her others here, here , here and here.

I’d like to propose a new unit of time decay just like carbon dating, with at least the same level of accuracy, but with the added advantage that humans can release as much radioactivity into the atmosphere as they want without distorting the results.

I propose to call the time RHKD, short for “rate of Hussarenkrapferl  decay”, based on a German biscuit delicacy* that my grandmother used to bake**

This RHKD seems an adequate measure to guage the popularity of biscuits in my house. Preliminary empirical data gathering seems to suggest that 45 Hussarenkrapferl last circa 24 hours, among 5 flatmates here, which would be a formula of t/n/g, where t is the length of time in hours the portions last, n stands for the number of biscuits, and g for the number of greedy buggers who gobble them all up without leaving me some gourmands who have access to them.

On an inverse scale then, the closer RHKD is to zero, the more delicious the biscuit. The current RHKD for Hussarenkrapferl in my abode is therefore 0.10.

All of this highly scientific discussion of rates of decay is necessary to highlight one of the key problems with the recipe that I made from the very strange book that is the Kitchen Garden Cook Book by Audrey Ellis from 1972. I say strange because it seems to assume that people with allotments have beehives from which they can source plentiful honey that is required for the many honey-based recipes. It is also definitively a book for time- and real estate rich, because the diversity of recipes included suggests access to a big allotment and an even bigger amount of time to grow and source and nurse all those flowers, herbs, vegetables and bees required to prepare stuff from this book. A bit of a far cry from the She Quicky Cookbook .

Nevermind. After leafing through the book for the umpteenth time to find something that didn’t require me to cook cabbage roses in sugar or trying to figure out what the hell nasturtium is (Editor’s note: this), I chanced upon cobble cakes, a relatively simple affair of butter, sugar, flour and cornflour, baking powder, almonds, candid peel, cinnamon, ground cloves and ginger and rum. As you can see from the pictures below, the recipe calls for icing, but as the whole thing was already quite a sweet affair, I didn’t bother with it. It is an easy recipe that shouldn’t present problems to anyone who knows their way around a food processor. 

Cobble Cakes recipe 1

Cobble cake recipe 2

There were a couple of substitutions: unfortunately, I made these cookies just before the start of the consumerismfest season lovely Christmas season, so I couldn’t find candied peel in any of the three supermarkets I came across that day, but I did manage to find a jar of minced meat. I put in a little less than the candied peel required to make up for the increased sweetness. I also had run out of cinnamon and cloves****, but did have ginger and rum.

The picture below shows c 25 of the cakes, and although grumpy timer cat seems to disagree, they looked and tasted really quite nice. Their RHKD of 0.6 however indicates that they are nowhere near as moreish as Hussarenkrapferl – they are just a bit too sweet, and you wouldn’t want to eat more than one with a nice cuppa.

cakes

It may be that the citric flavour of the candid peel makes a difference, so if anyone wants to have a go, let me know your results!

* Ok ok, they are just posh jammy dodgers

**  When she baked them, they looked like perfect little round darling donuts with a dollop of jam nestling in the little hollow that she had made with her dainty thumb. Mine look more like they’ve been steam-rollered by a very small troll living in my oven. Like jammy dodgers then.

***A variation of the formula is n/t/(g+bw), where b is brownness and w the number of weirdo flatmates who prefer darker/burnt cookies, which entices at least one w in my house to increase the rate of decay, but this may be a highly localised variation of the formula and shall therefore be disregarded for future reference.

**** AlthoughI think that the sock monster may have a herbal cousin who smokes all the stuff. We usually have at least 5 jars of flavourless cinnamon in the cupboard.

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Food as presents - P H White cover

We are delighted to wake this blog from a few restorative weeks of hibernation with a guest post from Salada. Her other posts can be enjoyed here and here.

No muffin recipes appear in the VCBT list. Honestly, I checked.  Patricia H White is, assuming she’s still with us, an American who moved to England in the 1960’s.  This book was first published in 1975, and encourages the tradition of taking a bit of trouble with your gifts, or DIY as it’s known.  The recipes are divided into eight categories such as preserves, potted foods, sweetmeats and baked goods.  Ms White gives advice on packaging and storage, and how long the produce will last.

This recipe looks like a standard muffin mixture.  Commercial muffins nowadays have expanded to massive proportions, but these seem to come from a more frugal era.  Apple and cinnamon is a classic flavour match.
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Arni Ttavas – oven roast lamb and onions

I bought Cooking from Cyprus in the excellent secondhand bookshop on Clarence road in Hackney, which I used to go to fairly often when I lived  there a few years ago. (It was different then – there was an ASBO on the entire street.) Anyway, genial proprietress Rose sells fiction, poetry, arts, politics, health, lots of childrens books and a small selection of cookery books, with a focus on Black authors

I rather like this book because the author is as excited as hell about the recipes. In an attempt to convey the hospitality of Cyprus, he comes across like someone who’s had a good go at at the grappa and a followed it with a couple of cups of strong καφές. Luckily most of the recipes seem to warrant this level of enthusiasm – well marinated grilled meats (the full gamut of ruminants, poultry, game and swine), several pilau, flat breads and mezze.  Choosing to cook this stew was entirely based on what I already had in the house (and had taken out of my freezer to defrost). Fans of Turkish food will note the word ‘ttavas’ as similar to ‘tava’.

Straight forward to assemble, the only change I made a half portion of the recipe and use tinned, not fresh, tomatoes. The smell while cooking was reminiscent of brown bread. I ended up with 3 portions (by my standards), not sure what that says about my eating habits (um, I like stew.)

Results

Apologies for the blurry photo – low blood sugar and dying batteries meant I only had the chance to wave the camera over the bowl before it conked out/I did.

As you can see, I ate the fruity, savoury stew with some mashed potato and will definitely be adding this dish to my (unwritten) rota of excellent week-night dinners.

Ttavased by Elly

Herman the German Friendship Cake

Initially I had no plans to blog this as it’s not from a book, but after live-tweeting its assembly I thought I might as well. I remember my mother being given some of this starter about 25 years ago and I (who didn’t have to stir it daily or move it when doing other things in the kitchen), loved the resulting cake. The internet seems a little conflicted as to the origins – certainly Amish Friendship Bread is very similar.

Anyway, I was very pleased when a friend gave me some Herman starter in a yoghurt pot, in a Liberty’s bag, along with the strict advice that it was Day 3, and a piece of paper stating:

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Spicy Apple Fritters

Elly and I were very kindly invited to talk about the blog and do some live cooking recently by the lovely A Playful Day for her podcast (naturally the whole thing is well worth a listen, but if you’re particularly eager to hear us we appear around 29 minutes in). We cooked Spicy Apple Fritters from the TREX cookbook (which doesn’t appear to have a date of publication). The fritters turned out to be surprisingly tasty and looked like this:

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Clootie Dumpling

Happy St Stephen’s Day! Actually, I imagine most of you will be reading this in a couple of day’s time when you need a break from your Christmas present books or stumbling here in a couple of months when you are looking for a suitable recipe for ballast-food.

I spent Christmas day with friends this year, a delightful experience, with just a few pangs for family rituals. I brought a contribution to the main course, offered to make custard and in a flurry of last-minute organisation, volunteered to cook clootie dumpling which several of us had missed the opportunity to have when on holiday in Scotland in the summer. On that trip, I had bought Traditional Scotttish Cookery by Margaret Fairlie, first published in 1972 by Hale Books, in Inverness Museum. I’ve tried to find out more about Ms Fairlie, but the internet is only giving me information on the identically named eminent gynaecologist and first woman to hold a professorial chair in Scotland. So if you know any more about Margaret Fairlie, cookbook writer, do comment and let me know.

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Apple Crisp

One of the sweet things about writing this blog is the extent to which my nearest and dearest enable me by reading, taste-testing and buying me new and exciting old books to try. Today’s recipe is taken from Betty Crocker’s Dinner for Two:


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