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Archive for April, 2011

Last weekend, the lovely Grace from Grace Daniels Cakes held a sugarcraft course for beginners here in Galway. I was there, I learned so much, my cake looked fabulous (see above), and I think I found myself a new hobby 🙂

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When I first spied this recipe over on englishmum.com, I knew I had to make it. I love finding alternatives to butter in cake baking, and though I had started cooking with rapeseed oil, I hadn’t yet baked with it. This cake also has ground almonds, which I love. They give a great almondy flavour which isn’t overpowering, and I find a cake stays moist for much longer with ground almonds in it. I was so impressed with this recipe that I made it again, this time adding in a few tablespoons of poppy seeds and splitting the mixture between muffin cases. Another top result.  This is a really simple batter to put together – no waiting about for butter to soften – and the most time-consuming part is zesting the lemon, which, let’s be honest, doesn’t take very long at all.

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Towards the end of summer last year, we went on holiday. We checked and double-checked the apartment, turning off unnecessary electricals, turned on the automatic feeder for the tropical fish, and headed off for 10 days. We came back to discover that my checking and double-checking in the kitchen had been so thorough that I had switched off the fridge and freezer.

Horrors.

Words cannot describe how I felt when I realised that all the Ben & Jerry’s I had been stockpiling had been reduced to a sad, gloopy puddle. The frozen worms for feeding the fish had also defrosted. Gross.

I had moved on from the tragedy a little when I discovered that the precious, end-of-season rhubarb I had lovingly cut up, bagged and placed in the freezer for a burst of sunshine in the winter months was also a casualty of my enthusiastic switch-flicking. Sob. You see, I really really love rhubarb. I remember a friend once remarked how apples are “poor man’s rhubarb”.  Ha!  It’s true, though.While I do love apples in all their cakey, bakey forms, rhubarb really takes things up a notch.  So I was very excited to see some in the supermarket last weekend. I thought about making another fabulous Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake, but decided I’d try something new with this precious new season rhubarb. This is quite a tart flan (heh), meaning if you like your desserts sugary, then this might not be to your taste. The lemon filling is just sweet enough to balance the tang of the rhubarb, but only just.  If you do make it and find it too tangy, a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream will go a long way to sorting that out.

Question: why is all the rhubarb I’ve ever seen here the green-y coloured rhubarb, and not the lovely pink-y coloured rhubarb that photographs so wonderfully? Am I just looking in the wrong places? It tastes the same, but green rhubarb just doesn’t look as appetizing. See above photo. The flan is actually tasty, I swear.

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