This is my favourite ginger cake recipe – I’ve made it at least three times now – and yet I don’t know where it came from. We have it as a photocopy, and it appears to be from a book called “easy baking” although, to be honest, it took me a number of goes to get the icing right so I didn’t find it *that* easy. Anyway, since clearly I like making this, I’m going to put it in a more accessible place: my blog. The original name of this recipe was “divine ginger cake with caramel icing”.
Ingredients – Cake
125g unsalted butter
3/4 cup (190mL) firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (190mL) plain flour
1/2 cup (125mL) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons (10mL) ground ginger
1 teaspoon (5mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) ground nutmeg
2/3 cup (170mL) buttermilk (although you can get away with using ordinary, full-cream milk)
Ingredients – Icing
3/4 cup (190mL) icing sugar
60g unsalted butter
1/2 cup (125mL) firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons (40mL) milk
Heat oven to 170 degrees Celcius.
Grease a 20cm ring tin and line with baking paper (or you can use a 20cm round cake tin like I did in the picture, but you’ll need to add at least 10 mins to the cooking time and it won’t rise up as much with the bigger volume tin).
Melt the butter, e.g. in the microwave for 30s on HIGH, and set aside.
Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, then add the wet ingredients (melted butter, eggs and buttermilk). Beat on low until combined, then beat on medium for a minute or two until the mixture has combined and there are no visible lumps.
Pour mix into cake tin, and bake for 35 mins in the oven.
Remove from oven and stand for 10 mins before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
Before the cake has cooled, crack on with the icing – it should be poured onto a slightly warm cake. First, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and set aside.
Place the butter, brown sugar and milk in a saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, until the brown sugar has dissolved and it starts boiling.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, then immediately mix in the icing sugar.
Allow to cool slightly (if it starts to set, heat it up a little) then drizzle and spread over the cake.
While part of the fun of a Thanksgiving theme is over-the-top food (marshmallows in main course and all that), the dish I cooked that I’m going to keep in the repertoire is this fantastic stuffing that I found at Allrecipes.com. Below is my slightly modified version of it.
1/4 cup Dijon (French) mustard
1 large onion
2 sticks celery (enough to make ~1 cup when chopped)
110g sliced water chestnuts (e.g. from a can)
1/2 cup crumbed walnuts
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
3 cups dried bread crumbs (~300g)
200mL of chicken stock
Finely chop the onion and celery.
Melt the butter and mustard together in a large saucepan, and when combined, add the onion and celery.
Cook until onion is softened, then stir in water chestnuts, walnuts, thyme, and pepper & salt to taste.
Mix in the breadcrumbs until thoroughly combined.
You can pause at this point if you wish, and place the mix in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. This enables you to make this part in advance. The last stage can be combined with removing a turkey from the oven to rest.
Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Add chicken stock to the mixture and stir through. It will begin clumping together.
Spread on a baking tray and cook in oven for 20 – 30 mins, until crust begins to dry. Then, remove from oven and serve.
My grandfather always makes this recipe at Christmas, so for me it is part of that bundle of food associations that make this time of year particularly special. However, this year he’s been a little unwell, so didn’t have time to make the stuff. He normally produces enough Nuts and Bolts to feel a small nation, and gives gifts of the savoury snack to every family member. The dinner table wouldn’t have been the same this year without it, so I made a quick batch. It is deliciously more-ish!
250g dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted
300g Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain (these are the “bolts”)
1/2 cup (125mL) of light oil (preferably peanut oil)
45g packet of French Onion Soup mix
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Warm oil in microwave, for example, on High setting for 30 seconds, then pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread the mix across a large, flat baking dish and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, removing to stir every 5 minutes or so. The result should look dry and smell very aromatic.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating. Needs to be stored in an air-tight container.
This recipe is easily adaptable to taste, e.g. use more or less Nutri-Grain, nuts, curry or mustard as your taste dictates.
Makes enough Nuts and Bolts to fill a 2L container. Best eaten before 1st January.
A few of us having been working on a new sort of food website concept, called 99sauces, and today it passed the 100 entries barrier. In fact, it’s now 101 entries, which is a lot better than 101 dalmations, I’m sure.
“What makes it new?” I hear you ask. Well, unlike the hundreds of other food and dining based websites out there that relate to Melbourne, this one is based on the wiki principle, which is that anyone can contribute and edit the contents, even if they haven’t registed. (You may be familiar with this sort of thing from Wikipedia, which is also a wiki).
But that’s not all. It’s also not just about places. More importantly, it’s about people – the people behind the places. There are entries for the chefs, owners, and anyone else of note. When your favourite cafe goes downhill, you can find out that the chef has left, and where they’ve gone to!
But that’s not all. It doesn’t contain any reviews itself, but it refers to reviews from elsewhere, even old reviews. So, you can see a variety of opinions about a place, and whether people think it’s improving, or something’s going steadily wrong.
Since this is the first time I’ve mentioned this anywhere publically, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us (my co-moderator Cathy and I) with this project, by providing advice, contributing entries/comments to 99sauces, and even designing our logo. You know who you are, and I won’t list all of you here. But a heartfelt Thanks!