My recipe To-Do list is growing, in fact, it’s bulging at the seams; like a cake eater’s excess strain on their trouser seams. Mutiny is imminent, unless I arrest the yeasted dough like speed at which it is expanding. I am mired in such a sorry state of affairs, despite being a no-repeat cook. Part of the reason is that I like to cook as varied a repertoire as I can, another is that I cannot recall what I made last week, or what I thought of it. Unless The Scotsman hated it, in which case it is emblazoned in my memory. I am grateful, that it’s a rare occurrence. This blog comes in handy in that regard, but at a price. Getting geared for a blog post takes a lot of time, from the cooking, photographing, editing, writing and uploading, which means that those ear-marked recipes are never going to come to life.
So, I have been thinking. I would like to start a dedicated section here, for those blog recipes I have been meaning to try, from blogs that I either have fallen in love with, admire or am downright jealous of. One blog that elicits the entire spectrum of these feelings is Eat, Little Bird. You may have read about the Madeleines and Pikelets I have posted about previously. Well, Thanh has only gone and done it again. The Rhubarb and Custard Cake she featured from an Australian Women’s Weekly book, is a pretty, perfectly self-dividing cake that would sit handsomely at an afternoon tea table. This cake went viral when she published it and for good reason. How beautiful does it look? I have made this twice so far and it never fails to get gobbled. My kids might pull off the pink, soft rhubarb stems and toss it onto my plate, but I can just about forgive them this time.
I followed Thanh’s instructions to the letter, with two changes only. She has two recipes for the same cake, one using Bird’s custard powder and the second, has instructions for making your own custard from scratch. Both of these recipes are on the link above. The second one is the recipe I’ve used. I wanted to, and I admit to this rather sheepishly, make a coconut custard ( I am aware I am coconut nut. I choose to give into the madness) so I substituted the same amount of double cream for good quality, proper tasting, full fat coconut milk. I could have sat on the kitchen floor, licking that incredible coconut custard straight off the wooden spoon. There are recipes to use that custard, mooching around in my mind.
I also added two tablespoons of milk to the cake batter, at the very end to loosen and moisten it a touch. It may take you aback by how stiff a batter it is. Persevere though, it comes together to form an exceedingly light, soft and fluffy crumb. I also noted, that my cake, for whatever unknown reason, took an hour to bake, as opposed to the hour and quarter her recipe states. Even then, I felt I could have taken it out earlier. One can never predict the way a cake is going to behave, so be cautious and start checking around the 50 minute mark.
Forced pink rhubarb, cut thickly, would be perfect as it tends to maintain that shocking pink colour after baking. Try not to use too thick a stalk, a slimmer number would do better here.
The Scotsman kept mumbling, “ooh soft…” while chomping (a fat slice was gone in two bites) on it. Some custard on the side even, would make this quite decadent. I loved the restrained elegance of this cake and having that custard layer in the middle was a welcome, desirable change from regular frosting. I only wish I doubled the custard! It’s the perfect spring-summer cake, all bright coloured, light and airy.
I had three egg whites left over from the Rhubarb Custard Cake and since the kids have been moaning about the empty cookie jar for sometime, I thought macaroons would be the very thing. MacarOOns – those chewy, non-temperamental, matter-of-fact, no fuss and silly frills, cracked and crumbly cookies. Couldn’t be easier. Mix together together an egg white with some sugar, bung in any finely ground nut of your choice, a bit of flour, touch of vanilla, roll and bake. Here I used hazelnuts with some cocoa powder and had some pistachios knocking about, so I made jade green macaroons with those. For some reason, the batter was more moist with the pistachio. Perhaps it has something to do with their moisture content and the fact that the chocolat ones have cocoa powder, but it does not deter from the taste. Also, conveniently for the no-gluten folk, I made this with rice flour, which gives it a wonderfully chewy texture.
There you have it, from one cake, came out dozens of cookies too, so it has been a rather satisfying day of kitchen pottering. I hope for plenty more of the same – being inspired by the food on those blogs I love and sharing that around my family table and with you.
80gm / 3/4 cup whole nuts, (any of your choice, like, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds) to be whizzed finely in a food processor/grinder Pre-heat the oven to 130 deg C / 250 deg F. In a bowl, combine the sugar and egg white. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well to make a stiff dough, sticky dough. It will feel like it won’t come together but just a wee bit of bashing around will do the job. Roll into heaped teaspoon sized balls, place on baking tray and flatten the top. CSI gloves are handy. Put into the oven and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. It should crack and will still be a bit soft in the centre, that’s what makes it chewy. Cool on a baking rack. This will keep in an airtight container for a week. To make the chocolate cookies, replace 10 gms/ 2 tablespoons of rice flour with cocoa powder.
80gm / 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons of caster sugar
30 gm / 1/4 cup of rice flour or plain, all-purpose flour
1 egg white
80gm / 3/4 cup whole nuts, (any of your choice, like, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds) to be whizzed finely in a food processor/grinder
Pre-heat the oven to 130 deg C / 250 deg F. In a bowl, combine the sugar and egg white. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well to make a stiff dough, sticky dough. It will feel like it won’t come together but just a wee bit of bashing around will do the job. Roll into heaped teaspoon sized balls, place on baking tray and flatten the top. CSI gloves are handy. Put into the oven and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. It should crack and will still be a bit soft in the centre, that’s what makes it chewy. Cool on a baking rack. This will keep in an airtight container for a week. To make the chocolate cookies, replace 10 gms/ 2 tablespoons of rice flour with cocoa powder.