Saturday, December 05, 2009

Seasonal Changes

Here is a recipe for a savoury 'crumble' topping. This eats very well when cooked over a bed of mixed vegetables, but would go with any dish that needs a 'topping', especially where shortcrust pastry might be used, for as a basic crumble has the same ingredients as when making pastry - but without liquid being added - it is virtually the same, but with added 'crunch'.
Savoury Crumble Topping: for a dish to serve 4 - 6
6 oz (175g) wholewheat flour OR..
...4 oz (100g) wholewheat flour and...
...2 oz (50g) porridge oats
3 oz (75g) butter, cut into cubes
4 oz (100g) Cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz (50g) chopped mixed nuts
2 tblsp sesame seeds
pinch dried mixed herbs (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the flour (and oats if using) in a bowl and rub in the butter until like breadcrumbs. Then stir in remaining ingredients. Spread this over the top of the chosen meal, and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Another pastry 'topping' is real pastry, but instead of rolling it out, coarsely grate a block of frozen (and still solid) pastry over the food in the dish to form a lid. Then bake in the usual way. If browning too quickly, tent with foil, shiny side up, then continue until the contents of the dish are cooked through.

Vegetables are now being used more and more when making cakes. We are all familiar with the Carrot Cake, and more recently the chocolate cake made with beetroot. Here is a cake recipe made with parsnips, but with a twist, a variation Shirley style. Sandwich layers will freeze but not when filled.
Suggest you give this cake a different name, so that children will be more inclined to eat it. When serving carrot cake before, have noticed that it is ALL eaten up (especially by men) when called by its alternative name: Passion Cake. Not that there is any romance in calling this veggie cake 'Parrot Cake', but it does come from part of the two veggie names.
Parsnip and Carrot Sandwich Cake: serves 8 (F)
6 oz (175g) butter
9 oz (250g) demerara sugar
4 oz (100g) golden syrup or maple syrup
3 large eggs
9 oz (250g) self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
9 oz (250g) mixture of grated parsnip and carrots
1 medium apple (any kind) peeled, and grated
2 oz (50g) walnuts, chopped
zest and juice of 1 orange
icing sugar
1 x 250 tub cream cheese (Philly type)
Put the butter, sugar and syrup into a pan and heat gently until melted and dissolved. Cool slightly.
Sift the flour, baking powder and spice into a bowl and put to one side. Have ready prepared vegetable and apples, nuts and orange zest mixed together.
Pour the melted butter/sugar mixture into a bowl, and stir in the flour, followed by the vegetable mixture. Stir in the orange juice, and when well mixed pour/spoon the mixture into two greased and base-lined sandwich tins and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 25 or so minutes until the top is firm and spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool the cakes in their tins for five or so minute before turning out onto cake airers to cool completely **.
When ready to serve, mix a little icing sugar into the cream cheese and spread this over one later, topping with the other. Give a final dusting of icing sugar before serving.
To Freeze: After cake layers have been cooked and cooled to **. Wrap each layer separately and freeze. Use within 3 months.
To serve from Freezer: remove cakes and wrappings, place on cake airer, cover lightly with foil and allow to thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours. Then prepare the filling, and continue as above.