After a short holiday it's time to get back to blogging the promised rhubarb cake from the last post. It's a very rustic cake and the added honey went well with the cinnamon. The dough will seem to be a little dry after the long baking time, but the juice given off by the rhubarb will counter this.
Rhubarb Cake with(out) pistacios
Source: Lust auf Genuss 6/2010
350 g rhubarb
200 g cake flour
80 g soft butter
75 g whole weat flour
200 g sugar *
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
100 g cream
100 ml milk
50 g pistacios **
* Used about 120 g honey.
Wash and peel the rhubarb and cut into 2-cm slices. Toss with 2 Tbsp of the flour. Grease a cake tin with about 1 Tbsp of butter. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
In a bowl, mix together the remaining flour, whole-weat flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Melt the butter and whisk in the egg, milk and cream. Stir into the flour mixture. Fold in rhubarb and pistacios.
Bake for about 85 minutes on the lowest rack. Maybe cover the cake towards the end of baking time. Remove the cake from the oven and let rest for a while before removing it from the pan onto a wire rack.
I had meant to take part in the cook the books club for some time, but somehow circumstances had conspired to prevent this (like, receiving the book by Peter Mayle 5 (yes, five) months after ordering it). However, I got hold of the current book selection Eating for England by Nigel Slater on time. The collection of short pieces on various foods take the reader on a tour of British eating past and present (even though quite a number are addressing store-bought childhood sweets, which are quite arcane to somebody not brought up in the UK), which didn't make it easy to choose a dish for cook the books.
First I wanted to try Welsh Rarebit, because cheese melted in beer sounds like a great idea. Then came a spell of warm weather and a rhubarb Eton Mess seemed to be the way to go. But the rhubarb ended up in a cake (post coming up, but don't hold your breath) and I settled for pasta with lemon sauce from another of Nigel's books as an example of contemporary English cuisine.
Lemon and Basil Linguine
Source: the kitchen diaries by Nigel Slater
200 g linguine *
juice of a large lemon
75 ml olive oil
75 g Parmesan, grated
large handful of basil leaves
* Used spaghetti.
Put a huge pan of water on to boil. When it is bubbling furiously, salt it generously, then add the linguine. Let it cook at an excited boil for about eight minutes.
Put the lemon juice, olive oil and grated parmesan in a warm bowl (warmed under a running tap, then dried) and beat briefly with a small whisk till thick and grainy. Tear up the basil and stir in with a grinding of black pepper. Drain the pasta and quickly toss in the lemon and Parmesan 'sauce'.
Enough for 2.
Before we move into summer, here's a wintry dish which I forgot to post when I made it. The onion has great flavour and does cook down considerably, so maybe you want to err on the side of generosity when judging the amount you use.
Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions
Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 very large onion, sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick
1 1/4 cups green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
salt and freshly milled pepper
3/4 cup white or brown long-grain rice
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it's a rich, dark brown, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the lentils in a saucepan with 1 quart water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the rice, plenty of pepper, and, if needed, additional water to cover.
Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is done, about 15 minutes. Stir in half the onions, then cover and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Spoon the lentil-rice mixture onto plates or a platter and cover with the remaining onions.
With spring being firmly in place now, asparagus has come into season. Two weeks ago, I bought a pound of soup-grade asparagus, as the stalks would be cut into thin strands anyway. The final dish is yummy with just a subtle taste of asparagus. This subtlety is reflected in the picture above, where it's difficult to make out any asparagus among all that pasta. ;)
Pasta with Asparagus and Coriander
Source: Kochen fast ohne Rezept by Hans Gerlach, recipe by Ulrike Myrzik
500 g asparagus
1 bunch coriander *
2-3 garlic cloves
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
400 g linguine (or spaghetti)
2-3 Tbsp butter
* Used flat-leaf parsley.
Peel the asparagus and cutt off any woody ends. Using a peeler, slice asparagus into thin strands.
Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add plenty of salt and a little sugar. Mince the coriander. Mince the garlic and fry in the olive oil. Blanch the asparagus for two minutes, remove from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer into the pan with the garlic. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta to manufacturer's instructions, drain while reserving 100 ml of the cooking water. Put the pan back on the stove onto high heat. Add pasta and coriander, season with pepper and mix well. Add small cubes of butter and enough of the cooking water to coat the pasta with a creamy sauce.
Everyone is jumping the spice caravan for this week's cooking with Mark Bittman, which should be easy to do given the broad range of his cookbooks. This dish is similar to the stir-fried potato slivers I made a while ago, but it's not as dominated by hot chilis and has a more rounded flavour. Adding finely sliced raw onions on top gives the dish a kinda fresh flavour, without overpowering the curry with acidity. A technique worth remembering.
Curried Stir-Fried Potatoes
Source: How to cook everything vegetarian by Mark Bittman
3 Tbsp neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1 Tbsp cumin seeds, optional *
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and shredded or minced
1 Tbsp garam masala or curry powder, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped **
* Used ground cumin.
- Put the oil in a large nonstick or well seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds if you are using them, fry for 30 seconds, then add half the onion and the potatoes. Add the spice blend along with the salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook, stiring or tossing, until the onion has caramelized and the potatoes are slightly browned, about 10 minutes; the potatoes need not be fully tender.
- Add the cilantro to the pan,toss once and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with the raw onion and serve immediately.