Monday, February 05, 2007

Sixth week starts here

It only seems like yesterday when I began this Challenge. Time moved slowly then, but now the days seem to fly by. I am so looking forward to these last few weeks as, with less food in store, it will become much more of a challenge - and this I always enjoy.

Eggs, in their own right, are worth a mention. Firstly - they are an incredibly cheap source of protein, so maybe worth using the free-range as a 'main-meal' ingredient rather than in a cake. But for cake-making, where the aim is not so much on nutrition, more as a treat, don't dismiss the economy eggs often sold in supermarkets, regrettably these have to be bought in larger numbers - like 15 at any one time, but they do save quite a bit of money and would be quite suitable for using in cake making (make tray-bakes and freeze).
Further to a previous mention of eggs in recipes are expected to weigh 2 oz each. One book I have dealing with cake recipes I see mentions at the beginning that large eggs were used throughout. So there you go.
There is a half-way solution to an eggless cake. Angel Cakes are made using only the whites of cakes so the yolks can be kept to add to a savoury dish (quiche etc), or even to make lemon curd. (If you want the recipe for Angel Cake let me know - as I need to look it up).
Normally, home-made lemon curd has a shorter shelf life than bought - recommended as being used up within a month. Some recipes say two weeks. So to start the recipe collection today I include one for a Lemon Curd made with honey which is said to keep for several months and certainly would be good to eat if you feel a cold is in the offing, followed by 2 recipes for eggless cakes.

Lemon and Honey Curd:
4 lemons, use the grated rind and juice
1 lb (450g) clear honey
4 eggs plus 2 extra egg yolks
4 oz (125g) unsalted butter, sut into small pieces
Into a bowl put the honey and the lemon rind. Using another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and lemon juice together and pour over the honey. Add the butter and place over a bowl of simmering water. Cook very gently, and keep stirring, until until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (takes about 20 minutes). Pour into warm jars, cover and store in a cold place.

Brown Cake:
6 oz (175g) margarine
12 oz (350g) plain flour
6 oz (175g) caster sugar
10 oz (275g) mixed dried fruit
1/2 pint (275ml) milk
1 large tblsp golden syrup
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
Rub the margarine into the flour and add the sugar and fruit. Warm the milk and syrup together and add the bicarb. Pour into the flour and mix to a loose consistency. Pour into a greased and lined 8" cake tin and bake at 150C, 300F, gas 2 for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. This cake will freeze.

Irish Fruit Cake:
1/2 pint cold strained tea (no milk or sugar)
8 oz (225g) dried mixed fruit including some candied peel
4 oz (110g) margarine
4 oz (110g) caster sugar
1 tblsp golden syrup
9 oz (250g) self raising flour
1/2 tsp each mixed spice and cinnamon
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
demerara sugar to sprinkle on top
Put the tea, fruit, margarine, sugar and syrup into a saucepan and heat until melted and sugar has dissolved. Simmer five minutes then cool. Sift together the flour, spices, salt and bicarb.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the fruit mixture. Stir until well blended. Pour into a greased and lined 8" cake tin. Sprinkle over some demerara sugar and bake for one and a half hours at 180C, 350F, gas 4 . Cover top with foil (shiny side out) after 30 minutes to prevent it getting too brown.
Tip: although I haven't tried it, I suppose you could use black treacle instead of golden syrup.

Today my plan is to 'stock-take' and see what food I have left. Must also sit down with my books and do some auditing so that we can see just how much money has already been spent and how much (or little) there is left. The results I will give tomorrow.