Monday, 18 May 2015

Rhubarb cake with meringue topping

I'm a big believer in openness. So much so that sometimes I worry that I overshare on this blog and try to tone down my natural tendencies. Yet I have been given some feedback recently from a few different people and apparently you, the reader, likes to get personal. Don't worry, I won't hit you with a bomb of over-personal information right away (or perhaps you'd enjoy that) but I can commit to slowly opening up once more, perhaps a bit more like I used to when I first started this blog. When I examine my approach, there was no conscious change, yet I think that with time I started holding back a little bit with the fear of being seen as an emotional car crash. I love receiving feedback because it alters my perspective. It gives me a chance to let go of any fears I have and grow more into  myself, even if sometimes that might be slightly dramatic or over-emotional. I am Slavic after all. And talking of those Slavic roots, here we have a cake based on my gran's old recipe, only with seasonal rhubarb...
There were a couple of mishaps while making this: firstly, I misunderstand my mum when she was reading the recipe aloud and put too much butter in the dough, so it was too soft. Secondly, my mum put it on too a high a temperature in the oven. No matter. It was delicious nevertheless. Here however I give you the correct quantities and temperature, so that yours will be even better still.


500g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg yolks
350g of  caster sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
800g rhubarb
150g raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla essence 
4 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks

- Make dough out of the flour, baking powder, 125g of sugar, sour cream and egg yolks
- Take a handful of dough and put in the freezer
- Put the remainder of the dough in a plastic bag in the fridge
- Peel the rhubarb, cut into chunks
- Mix the rhubarb with the raisins and 100g of sugar
- Butter a baking tray and roll the dough out to fit the bottom
- Place this in a pre-heated oven for 10min at 180 degrees C
- Add the rhubarb mix and put it back in the oven for another 10min
- Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Add vanilla essence and the remaining sugar tot he whites and keep blitzing until the mixture thickens
- Pour this over the top of the rhubarb.
- take the small dough ball out of the freezer and grate over the top
- Bake int he oven altogether for a further 35min at a reduced heat (about 160 degrees C)

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Sesame flapjacks (no sugar)

My apologies. My aim is to blog at least once a week, a commitment I've been neglecting of late. I am in a period of restructure. I am restructuring my timetable, my habits, my priorities, my social life and my mind. That's basically my whole life come to think of it. I have 5 months to hand in the manuscript of my book. This sounds like a long time but I know it isn't, because I've been writing my book. For 5 years. Yes, granted - that wasn't full time - but still, there's no room for complacency. This is my dream project, and I don't think I have ever cared about something work-related this much before. That's not to say that I haven't cared, only that this is very, very important, you get me? Everything else will need to stay on the backburner for the time being. Happily, cooking is a big part of my dream project. Also, I have to eat and keep my energy levels up. Flapjacks are always good at times like these.
This is because oats release energy slowly, as do sesame seeds. As usual, I avoided sugar and used good quality honey instead. I also substituted some of the butter for coconut oil. It made them more crumbly, but this was not a problem for me.


100g oats
100g sesame seeds
150g butter
200ml honey
50g coconut oil
50g almonds

Melt the butter and oil in a pan. Add the sesame seeds and fry until golden. Add the honey and the almonds. And anything else you fancy really. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tray and bake for 25min at about 180 degrees C.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hoxton 100, probably the best place to eat in East London

Hoxton 100 the best restaurant in Shoreditch? With all the up-market restaurants in east London these days that's a big claim. I'll explain my reasoning point-by-point.

1. I can't actually pick a favourite dish. Every single dish we ordered was superb.
2. They have an amazing early-bird offer that includes Saturdays and means you get 5 sharing dishes for £30, and it's enough food for a satisfying meal. We were both full.
3. Happy hour with amazing cocktails at the same time - winning.
4. Friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere. Un-pretentious.
5. I can't wait to go back there.

So this is why Hoxton 100 is  my new favourite Shoreditch spot and if your rating system is anything like mine, then you should check it out.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Cheeky cod cheeks

The cod cheeks took me by surprise. You know those days when you know exactly what you're going to cook only to be thwarted at every step. You go to your favourite butcher to get quail. No quail. Ok wild rabbit then. No wild rabbit. So I bought pork, then remembered by partner doesn't eat it. Walked into three organic, specialist green grocers'... No sorrel anyone? Really? Luckily, I stumbled across these delicious cod cheeks while looking dejectedly around a fishmonger. 
Cod cheeks are cheap and absolutely delicious by the way. Two massive portions cost about £4. I fried them on some butter with chopped green chilli and garlic, and squeezed lemon on top. So easy. We ate them with butternut squash mash and a warm salad of yellow courgettes (zucchini), halloumi cheese and tomatoes over some salad leaves. I was informed that it could well be my "best yet".