Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flavour of the Month

Or ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ continued – sorry, but I’m not done with it yet and as it seems to be the only thing working for me at the moment I’m sticking with it. Desperate Reader got a bit of an unexpected redesign (as you can see), it all came about whilst I was trying to sort out ongoing problems with uploading pictures and then got distracted by new templates, and then hit the wrong box, and now I don’t think there’s any going back. I mostly like the new look...

I’m still having problems with pictures; phone laptop and camera clearly need some sort of relationship counselling as they refuse to communicate with each other, it’s all very frustrating but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some sort of illustration with this post.

Now back to ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ which is much more interesting. The more time I spend with this book the more I like it, and the more useful I feel it’s going to be. Although not primarily a recipe book there are still some 200 recipes in here, though be aware – they come in the Elizabeth David mould and are as brief as possible working on the assumption that anyone using the book will know their way around a kitchen. I’m happy with that; I feel I’m being treated like a competent grown up, and heaven knows I don’t often feel like one so any encouragement in that direction is, well, encouraging. Better though than the recipes (which are excellent, but I don’t lack for recipes and I’m seeing these as a bonus rather than the main event) are the tips and hints throughout. I’m also being sent back to the books I already own looking for things I can adapt to new (for me) combinations, or just looking. Anything which gets me using my cookbooks (so that I can justify the need for more because ‘look I use all of these all the time’) is a good thing by me, and actually the more books I have, the more useful a compendium like this is.... (Honestly it’s a really good thing)

And the proof of all this eulogizing; well after Friday’s football avoiding bake I have an entirely new cake in my repertoire and a flavour combination (cherry and walnut) which is looking for just the right recipe (initial results were good but could be better).

The new cake is Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond cake, and without Segnit I doubt I would ever have cooked it, which would have been a loss for because it’s wonderful. The thing is you’re meant to boil the oranges for 2 hours beforehand which is an awfully long time and was more than enough to put me off – Segnit told me that a couple of minutes in the micro would do the job (I put the orange in a bowl of boiling water anyway which seemed like the right thing to do.) End result nice mushy orange in 3 minutes. One lined springform tin and the oven at 190°/gas 5 later all that was left to do was to cut the Orange into 4 and deseed it before putting it in a magimix (or push through a sieve – get a food blender) with 3 eggs, 125g of ground almond, 125g sugar, and ½ a teaspoon of baking powder. Blitz the lot until the orange is all pulp, pour into the tin and bake for about 50 mins. That’s it, and could it be easier?

These quantities are for half of Roden’s original recipe but I was short of eggs, next time I’m definitely making the bigger cake. It should come out pretty moist – it’s meant to be a wettish kind of cake – perfect for pudding as well as with coffee, and it has the most wonderful marmalade/orangey quality, it even got the Scottish ones seal of approval.


  1. Mmm, cherry and walnut, that is a good idea. I like the sound of the orange cake - I've often been put off by cakes involving pulping a whole orange. But maybe once I have my new Kenwood mixer with various attachments I will get over my fear of that.

  2. Bet you can't wait, I dream of kitchen aids but worry I'd never get enough use out of one to justify the space taken up in my quite small kitchen.

  3. We have had to make space by getting rid of a small bookcase (well, it's temporarily relocated in front of a radiatior, but will have to go in October when we put the heating on!

  4. Verity, what a dillema - books or kitchen toys, that's the sort of choice that would keep me awake at night. A bigger house is what you need!

    Bybee - I can't argue with that sentiment...

  5. Madam,
    I shall start requesting an intricate update on you book finds. I'd been saving this little one for Christmas/Birthday. Whatever shall I find to replace it?! Apologies for the late comment- computer very nearly antique and with that comes a slowwwwwwwwww temperament!Thus making me less i nvclined to do battle with it.
    R x