Thursday, 20 October 2011

Cake Slice Bakers October 2011 – Apple Cake with Maple Frosting

It’s October and in the Cake Slice Bakers that means it’s the month when we welcome new members and start baking from our new book, which we continue to bake from once a month for a year. I’m pleased to tell you that our new book is The Cake Book by American author Tish Boyle published by John Wiley and Sons 2006. I’ve owned this book since it came out and although I have a lot bookmarked I’ve not managed to get round to baking from it until now, but I’m very much looking forward to trying some of the lovely cakes from this book.

Our starting cake is a really nice one for this time of year – Apple Cake with Maple Frosting. It’s a slightly spiced cake batter which has peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples and chopped walnuts folded through it before baking. The frosting is a cream cheese number that is again lightly spiced and also has some maple extract.

I liked the cake and the frosting, the maple extract gave a sort of butterscotch Angel Delight taste to it, or at least the one I remember as being so beloved from my childhood. I had the maple extract in my cupboard having needed it for another American recipe, that I’ve not managed to get round to yet, but I will… I ordered it from Ebay one day a little while ago.

Can’t wait to see what next months’ one is, but in the meantime I’m off to see some of the apple cakes from my fellow bakers here on the Cake Slice Bakers blogroll.

Next Review Up: Rachel Allen Easy Meals

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Month in Marrakesh – Review

Well we had a Moroccan night chez moi last week, courtesy of recipes from a new cookbook - A Month in Marrakesh by Andy Harris published by Hardie Grant Books 2011, with thanks to the Publisher for my copy. The author has a background in food and is currently editor of Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’ Magazine.

I think it has a masculine edge, it’s nicely done. Loads of pictures of food and absolutely fabulous scene setting pictures of Morocco and life in Marrakesh by the great photographer David Loftus.

Chapters are: Breakfast, Salads and Vegetables, Street Food and Snacks, Soups, Savoury Pastries, Tagine, Roasts, Desserts and Condiments. There is also a Glossary of Moroccan Spices, Moroccan Grains and Pulses then finally Moroccan Ingredients.

There is slow food, fast food, vibrant and different salads and unusual desserts. There is also a real deal couscous recipe in the Glossary section of the book, no boiling water and 10 minutes in a cling covered bowl here! This needs steaming, cooling, fluffing with butter and more steaming, cooling and fluffing… This method gives a fabulous couscous, but it does take time. Something to make one day when you have a relaxed timetable and feel like showing your friends and family a little love and great couscous!

Having dipped my little finger into the food of Morocco I’m sure I’ll be trying out some more soon. Some of the dishes on my list from Andy’s book are: Seffa with Stewed Fruit, Chorba, Sept Legumes with Couscous, Lamb and Prune Tagine and Mahallabia (milk pudding). Here are the three dishes I tried out:

Chicken Tagine

I took a gentle introduction to Moroccan food with this tagine, it should have been rabbit, but, I swapped it for chicken instead. I deliberately chose a mild mannered tagine, and it was nice, the flavour delicate and aromatic, the meat so tender.

Date Compote and Greek Yoghurt

This was a very unusual dish, a compote of dates and almonds flavoured with thyme, and rose. I have honestly never tasted anything like it before. The compote was layered with Greek yoghurt which should have had lemon juice folded through, but my yoghurt was pretty sour already, so I omitted this step. I served this with shortbread, which was totally misplaced, but good!

Avocado, Persimmon and Mango Salad

This was a fabulous salad - unusual, sweet, gentle but full of delicious tastes, we had this dish one lunch time with some cold chicken and it was lovely.

Next Up: Cake Slice Bakers

Next Review Up: Rachel Allen's Easy Meals