Monday, 4 June 2012

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Katie Stewart has a wonderful recipe for mincemeat crumble cake, which is where the inspiration for this recipe sprang from. It's a little bit more involved then making a plain cake, as there are three elements to it- sponge, cooked and sweetened rhubarb, and a crumble topping. I think its worth the extra effort, especially as you can make the crumble topping and deal with the rhubarb a while in advance, just making the cake batter when you're ready to eat it.

I think this cake is best eaten hot or warm, with some thick cold cream on the side.

Sponge base:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
zest of an orange
100g self raising flour
25g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder

Rhubarb filling:
3 sticks of rhubarb, cut into 2 cm chunks
3 tbsp caster sugar
small knob of butter
juice of half a large orange
pinch ground ginger

Crumble topping:
100g plain flour
50g butter, cut into small dice
75g soft brown sugar
pinch ground ginger
2 tbsp flaked  almonds

Start with the rhubarb. Put all the filling ingredients in a saucepan over a medium low heat until the rhubarb starts to fall apart. It should be a thick, pulpy sauce.

Now deal with the topping: rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, ginger and almonds and set aside.

Preheat the oven the 200C. Line a 20cm round cake tin. Cream the butter until light and pale, slowly incorporating the sugar. Beat in the egg and orange zest, then fold in the flour, baking powder and almonds. Scrape the mix into a cake tin, and spread out (it will be quite a thin layer of batter) Spoon over the rhubarb filling evenly, but don't go right up to the edges, leave about a centimetre. Sprinkle over the crumble topping and bake for around 25 minutes. Enjoy while warm.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Jungle Curry with Pork, Sweet Potato and Snake Bean

Coconuts don't grow in the jungle, hence a jungle curry is made without coconut milk, unlike most other Thai curries. Water replaces the coconut milk, resulting in a far fierier, broth-like curry. I was hesitant about trying it, because really like using coconut milk as a curry ingredient. However, I was glad I made it, the flavours are really intense, and the meat and vegetables components seem to stand out more in a coconut-free base.

Wild boar would be better than pork in this recipe, so if you can get your hands on it, try it. You can use any meat, or make it vegetarian. Just remember to add the ingredients that need the longest cooking time first.

2 tbsp oil, such as groundnut
4-5 tbsps jungle curry paste
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
500ml water
300g pork tenderloin, cut into small chunks
snake beans, a good handful, cut into approx 3cm lengths
fish sauce
palm sugar
juice of one lime
handful Thai holy basil leaves

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil. Add the curry paste, and fry it in the oil, until the paste begins to separate from the oil. Add the sweet potatoes, and stir to coat in the paste. Add the water, and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer until the potato is tender. Add the pork and the beans, and cook with the lid off for a few minutes until the pork is cooked through. Turn off the heat, and season with lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce to get a good balance of heat, sour, sweet and salt.
Stir in the holy basil, and serve over steamed jasmine rice