Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Pear Purée Cake

This cake is subtly flavoured with pear, incorporating a pear purée, which is easily made by cooking pears until soft and processing in either a food processor or blender until you have a smooth purée.
I always like the flavour of vanilla with pear so unlike a cake made using apple purée, where cinnamon or clove would be a good addition, I use a little of my home made vanilla extract click here for the recipe. My two chief tasters, Sue & Dick both agreed this cake didn't taste of pear, Dick was prepared to say it tasted a little of pear once he knew it was supposed to, but I have to admit, it's very subtle. The main thing is, this is a perfect recipe for a delicate flavoured Madeira style cake and has less fat in than a conventional Madeira cake.

For this recipe you will need;
300g of Self Raising flour
250g of soft unsalted butter
250g of caster sugar
150g of pear purée
50g of Greek yogurt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract (this item was originally missing, until kindly pointed out by a reader, thank you)
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Prepare a 20cm by 10cm round baking tin by lining with baking parchment. Switch on the oven to 180C.
Cream together the butter and caster sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Thoroughly mix in the pear purée and the yogurt and finally fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Place the mix into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when pushed into the centre of the cake. Allow to cool before turning out.

The cake has the texture of the best Madeira cake, light and moist with a closer crumb than a sponge cake.

Swiss Chard & Cheddar Rissoles

I grow a lot of Swiss Chard, I find it a useful addition to so many savoury recipes. At this time of year, whilst walking Algy & Poppy in the morning, I am able to gather walnuts that have fallen from the tree, 50grams of wet (or commercially available) walnuts will add a great crunch to the texture of these savoury nuggets. Whenever I think of creating something using chard, or beetroot, cumin is the spice I automatically turn to; to me the flavour of cumin marries beautifully with the earthy tones of the vegetables.

For this recipe you will need;
500g of Swiss chard (including stalks)
250g of Cheddar cheese
150g of bread crumbs (from a day or two old loaf)
50g of walnuts, wet walnuts if possible
3 eggs
3 flat cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Marigold Bouillon Powder or 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
 Oil for frying

Begin by chopping up the garlic and frying gently with the cumin seeds in the olive oil. I use a large sauteuse which will accommodate the rather bulky chopped chard, but any large pan will work. Fry the garlic until it begins to take on colour, add the chopped chard, stalks first because they take a little longer to cook. Fry gently for a minute or two before adding the leaves. Fry for a further couple of minutes, place on a lid and switch off the heat.
I use a food processor to turn the bread into breadcrumbs, roughly chop the walnuts and to grate the cheese. Having done this, place the breadcrumbs, walnuts and cheese in a large bowl. Add the seasoning and finally place the chard mixture into the processor and pulse for a moment or two just to roughly chop, you don't need to take this down to a puree consistency.
Stir into the dry ingredients and mix in the eggs. The mixture should be easy to form into balls, flatten slightly to create rissoles or burger shapes. At this point they can be kept in the fridge for up to 8 hours before frying gently in shallow oil. Fry one one side until you have a rich brown colour, then turn and fry on the other side.

I have to say I enjoy these as much cold, in a sandwich, as I do hot.
They make an excellent vegetarian alternative to burgers and they're delicious served hot with fried mushrooms and eggs for breakfast.
I made a second, larger batch of these and mixed in some cooked mushrooms I had that were left over from another meal. I chopped the mushrooms up having fried them. I couldn't have imagined the addition of cooked mushroom would make them even more delicious, but it does; so much so I may have to include them from now on.