May I recommend?

Thai-style pork with eggplant, from It is one of only two recipes at Taste that include both eggplant and pork mince (what I had on hand), and was relished by my dining partner, even though he doesn’t really like eggplant. (I love it)


Look Ma… No Baking Powder!

genoese sponge

After learning that my dearest had never even seen a lamington, let alone tasted one (he’s foreign), they’ve been on my mind. Specifically, I realised that, although I’ve eaten and enjoyed lamingtons,  I’ve never made any. I decided, therefore, to try making some for my birthday afternoon tea this weekend (particularly as they apparently freeze well and therefore could be made in advance).

First step in making lamingtons is, of course, a sponge.  For my recipe I chose the genoese sponge recipe in Stephanie Alexander’s ‘The Cook’s Companion’ (page 429), which is the first recipe I’ve actually tried out of this book (it’s a lovely book though).

Genoese Sponge
5 eggs
60 gm of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
plain flour
3/4 cup castor sugar

Select a 20cm x 28 cm lamington tin or a 24cm x 5 cm deep round cake tin and brush with some of the melted butter.  Dust with plain flour and tap to dislodge excess. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Beat eggs and sugar with an elextric mixer (I used my electric whisk!) until thick and mousse like – this will take about 10 minutes. Sift 150g flour over the eggs and fold in thoroughly but lightly with a large metal spoon. Trickle cooled melted butter down the sides of the bowl and fold in. Pour into tin and bake for 15 – 18 minutes until top of cake feels springy to the touch (but do not open the oven before the 15 minutes has lapsed).  Allow cake to cool for a few minutes in tin, then turn out onto a clean tea towel and leave until completely cold.

Now I actually used a 40 cm x 27 cm tin.  This was because I really wanted to make mini lamingtons and I wanted to have jam in the middle. Apparently a true lamington should not have jam in the middle.  However,  I have said fie! to that and sandwiched my sponge around dark cherry jam (not traditional rasberry, but I like it and I had it in the fridge – cos I like it 😉

Because of my tin, my sponge was longer and thinner.  I was a bit worried about the cooking time,  but after 15 and a bit minutes it was golden and springy as described.  I also worried about the buttering and flouring of the tin – which mostly worked, but the sponge did stick in a couple of the corners. Next time I’d probably put baking paper on the bottom at least.

I was impressed from the start that the cake’s sponginess came from the beaten eggs alone – and it is spongy. However,  I only noticed that the cake didn’t have any ‘flavoring’ (vanilla for instance) until I was pouring it into the tin.  The cake is still lovely and sweet, however – very reminiscent of sponge fingers. The sponge is now sitting in the freezer before icing and coconut-ing on the weekend – expect more pictures then!

Asian Style Lamb Steaks

Lamb is not the meat that most immediately comes to mind when I’m thinking about making a stir fry or such. Indeed, I’d probably think of chicken, beef and pork all before lamb. However this week I had some leftover asian-style coleslaw, some glass noodles in the cupboard, and some lamb steaks in the freezer. I decided to try and find a suitable marinade to tie the lot together.

Enter google (of course) and this recipe for honey-soy marinade. By the title alone it sounds a bit boring, but if you look at the ingredients list, you’ll see it’s actually quite a complex mixture. Obviously, I was unable to make the marinade as it was described (both by ingredient limitations and inclination) and so my marinade ended up more like this:

1/2 cup soy sauce
4 dessertspoons honey
1 dessertspoon hoisin sauce
1 dessertpoon dark sesame oil
1 dessertpoon ginger-from-a-jar (it was organic!)
1 dessertpoon garlic-from-a-jar (ditto the organic 🙂
1 dessertspoon bog standard untoasted sesame seeds (would have but no time!)
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

I mixed all of it together in a flat tupperware-like container and put the steaks into marinate before I left for work. That evening, we fried the steaks up (they came up lovely and crispy and the marinade turned into a fantastic sauce), soaked the glass noodles in boiled water for a few minutes and then arranged the salad, noodles and lamb on plates. With a cold glass of beer, this meal was really fantastic. The lamb had a great combination of heat (from the chilli) and then an almost crunch from the sesame seeds. I’d definitely make this again.

Unfortunately I have no photographic evidence of this meal, so you’ll have to take my word for it! 🙂