Caper Berry Gravy

Monday, April 24, 2006

What's for pud? Bakewell pudding... or um, tart!

Becks & Posh and Monkey Face are hosting "What's for pud?" a celebration of St George's Day and English desserts!

I chose the Bakewell Pudding;
controversially also known as the Bakewell Tart. Mine was slightly overdone* but thumbs up all round for this treat sweetened by jam and laced with almond.
Bakewell is in Derbyshire in the North of England. History has this pudding being created in the 1860s at the local inn when the landlady miscommunicated an order for a strawberry jam tart and the baker instead of using egg and sugar in the tart base, spread jam over the base and then put the egg and sugar mixture over the jam.

What is the controversy? It is claimed that the Bakewell Tart is a modern version of the Bakewell Pudding, attributed to things including class differences and commercialism of the pudding, and there are those who will only eat pudding. Most recipes are for the Bakewell Tart - being a frangipane topping that uses ground almonds for a firmer topping; the Bakewell Pudding recipe I've seen uses more eggs and almond essence so that you end up with a sort of custard filling that doesn't set.

My recipe is from Nigella's "Feast" and it is the tart.

Nigella's Bakewell Tart (adapted from Cranberry Bakewell Tart recipe)
175g Plain flour
30g Ground almonds
50g Icing sugar
125g Butter, cold and diced
1 Egg, beaten
Pinch salt
1-3 Tbl Iced water

1) Pulse together the flour, almonds and icing sugar in a food processor.
2) Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles oatmeal.
3) Beat together the beaten egg, salt and iced water, then tip into the processor as it is running to bind the pastry. "The almonds make this into a wonderfully pliable, Play-Doh of a pastry".
4) Form the pastry into a flat disc, wrap in glad wrap and leave to rest in fridge.

125g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
125g Ground almond
300g Jam

5) Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C.
6) Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly. Beat together the sugar and eggs and add in the butter. Stir in the ground almond.
7) Roll out the pastry disk to fit a 26cm deep tart tin, prick the base with a fork.
8) Spread the jam on the pastry case and then pour over the almond mixture. Makes sure you cover all of the jam.
9) Bake for 45 minutes. "The filling will rise and look puffy in places but once it comes out of the oven it will fall back again to form an even surface."
10) Leave the tart to cool slightly then serve with cream or ice-cream. (The tart is also good cold!)

1) *Yes, I burnt my tart slightly! I decided to divide the mixture up between 2 smaller tins and being distracted (dangerous!) I forgot about reducing the baking time. I actually had to trim the edge of the tart... the filling looks darker in the photo, it wasn't burnt and tasted fine!
2) I used plum jam;
for Nigella's cranberry tart, she used cranberry jam (of course) and decorated with clementine flavoured royal icing.
3) I know Nigella uses her food processor a lot; you can do by hand or use a freestanding mixer.

Extra trivia:
- Plenty of shops claim to have the original recipe including the Bakewell Pudding Shop.
- Jane Austen fans, there are claims that Pride and Prejudice was written in during a stay in Bakewell.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Egg Nest Cake

Happy Easter!

Above is my Easter Egg Nest Cake from Nigella's "Feast". It actually doubled as a birthday cake for a friend and proved a hit. The point is that the cake should be collapsed but someone is going to point out that you were just disguising a mistake!

The cake is fiddly (chocolate melting, egg separating and whisking) but the end result makes it all worthwhile. And licking the spoon with the chocolate and cream is a bonus! I found another friend collapsed on the couch in ecstacy, this delectable mix of dense flourless chocolate cake smothered with chocolate cream is no ordinary treat.

Nigella's Easter Egg Nest Cake
125g Butter - unsalted, softened
250g Dark chocolate
6 eggs - 4 separated and 2 whole
175g Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract

250ml Double cream
125g Dark chocolate
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Small chocolate easter eggs - ideally sugared eggs

1) Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C and line a springform tin with baking paper
2) For the cake, melt the butter and chocolate and allow to cool.
3) Whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy and gradually beat in 100g of the sugar until peaks form; they should not be stiff.
4) Whisk the 4 egg yolks and 2 whole eggs with the remaining 75g of sugar and the vanilla essence. Fold in the melted butter and chocolate.
5) "Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg whites" and in three additions, fold in the rest of the egg white mixture.
6) Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40mins until the cake rises and cracks on top, and the centre doesn't wobble.
7) Let the cake cool in the tin. The centre will collapse and form a crater, and the sides will crack.

8) Carefully remove the cake from the tin and place on a serving plate/cake stand.
9) Melt the chocolate and let cool. Whip the cream until it is aerated but not stiff and add in the vanilla essence. Fold the chocolate into the cream topping.
10) Fill the crater with the chocolate cream and spread towards the edge of the cake. Decorate with the chocolate eggs.

1) My cake took a little longer and I actually cracked the top of the cake myself with a wooden spoon, then returned it to the oven to bake until it didn't wobble.
Sugared easter eggs were nowhere to be found and all I could find were mini creme eggs; not as colourful but they did the trick.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Builders Arms Hotel

I added back my Somerset Rarebit post with recipe.

But I bring you the Builders Arms Hotel...

The outside is deceiving; you think you're just going into a pub that has live music nights, but out the back is a sleek room of black and white wallpaper, red banquettes, a mirrored wall and funky flower lights as per the picture. (The same light fittings as Lounge Downstairs - the old Viz - on Swanston St!) This is a vibrant place to meet friends for a well-priced meal out. The dishes that dominate seem to me to be fusion Moroccan; not pub "parma and a pint" cuisine but you're not here for complicated flavours and new offerings either.

The above picture is of the chorizo salad. I didn't actually have it so I can't tell you how it tasted but I was told "fantastic so take a photo"! I did have the herb crusted veal which was just right - ie not soggy in the sauce - and it came with the most amazing pumpkin mash as an accompaniment. It's only pumpkin you say, but it was oh so sweet and creamy. From memory, the wine selection featured a few French entries but it was mostly Australian and a good selection. You won't break the bank for a great night out!

Builders Arms Hotel
211 Gertrude St
(03) 9419 0818


Friday, April 07, 2006

Tribute to Helayne

Thanks for dinner!

Isn't this a magnificent tribute to fresh produce and the end of summer? Although autumn theoretically started a while ago, we've had strange hot and sunny weather. Until last night that is; it's freezing in Melbourne, someone accidentally pushed the winter button!

Helayne has this wonderful way of just throwing together simple but effective dishes for a dinner party. Whilst we nibbled on an avocado, rocket and fennel salad, bread with dips and marinated mini bocconcini, and asparagus sprinkled with Yarra Valley Persian Fetta, she managed to chat to us over the kitchen bench whilst roasting a chicken and preparing a fettucine with basil and tomato. All whilst looking extremely calm and relaxed! Grrr.
Note the great use of pineapples as a centrepiece! All of this was rounded off with the platter of cheeses, figs and grapes... has she inspired you?

Helayne's tip - the dip must be Poseidon Taramasalata, nothing else!

Here's to our friend O, who said "Figs are fantastic. They're so sensuous, they're to fruit like oyster is to um... like seafood"!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Why Caper Berry Gravy?

Well, it's time to explain my blog title. The other day, Indy dropped by saying, "Caper Berry Gravy...Great title! Just stir it Una!" but for those who are still wondering what on earth is going on, read on.

From Bridget Jones' Diary (the movie):
Mark: What are we going to do about this dinner, then?
Bridget: We can have blue soup to start, orange pudding to end, and... well, for main course, we have... uh, congealed green gunge.
M: That is caper berry gravy.
B: Oh, yes. Yeah.
M: Do you have eggs?
B: Yes.
M: Right, omelet it is then.
B: Ah. With caper berry gravy.
M: You wouldn't by any chance have any beet root cubes? A mini-gherkin, stuffed olive?
B: No, Pam, and besides, I'm busy. The gravy needs sieving.
M Surely not. Just stir it, Una.

Why Bridget Jones? Well, no matter how good a cook you are, you will always have a blue soup day. My blog's not about perfect results, it's about food and fun things to see and do with friends who like you "just the way you are" - even with blue soup and marmalade.

And if you haven't watched the movie, get to it and see why the soup is blue!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

W11: Karachi 2 Melbourne

I've seen this tram go past so many times and finally caught it! I thought that with Festival Melbourne 2006 over, I'd missed my chance but it's still here. Who knows how much longer it'll be around so try and catch it if you're in Melbourne.

Tramtactic have the story behind this W11 tram.

I couldn't help but sit back and grin in awe at the beading and colourful decoration, if only the dancing conductors were there! Still, the flashing lights and Pakistani pop made it an awesome experience.

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