Saturday, February 18, 2006

Patty cakes

I started making these earlier in the week when we had a food scare at childcare. The kids had been served banana cake, I think it was someone's birthday. Hannah had been given something else, and she had grabbed someone else's slice of cake and may have taken a mouthful. I was horrified that it had happened - the staff at the centre know how serious this can be, but at the same time there was relief as there was no reaction. We have never known what might happen if she ingested egg or nuts because the allergy was picked up when she was so young. She reacted to the egg and peanut protein in breast milk, which was identified by a dermatologist because of the nature of her eczema. The allergy specialist said he couldn't tell what would happen were she to ingest egg or nuts, we were told to carry an epi-pen and be very careful. Hannah's next prick test is not until July, so I won't know for sure til then - but I'm am now desparately hoping that the egg allergy has disappeared.

However until we know for sure, life will still be egg-free. I realised I should have supplied the childcare centre with some egg-free cake so that Hannah wouldn't feel left out when cake was served. So I started experimenting with these. The photo is from my fourth batch which I thought worked the best so far. I'll now send a batch, individually bagged and labelled to the childcare centre for them to freeze and use as needed.

I'm not sure what to call them, in the original recipe from my Mum, they are patty cakes. I imagine now they would be called cup cakes, Hannah calls them muffins. They are baked in paper liners that are called patty pans, and then traditionally they would be iced or turned into butterfly or jelly cakes. They store well in a cake tin for a few days and freeze well.

In my mum's recipe the cream used is supposed to be soured, i.e. ordinary cream that has turned. She said it made no difference to the recipe if you used soured cream or fresh cream, so I guess it's an economy measure to use up cream that would otherwise be wasted. This recipe makes between 11 and 12 small cakes.

1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 tbs milk

Beat the cream and sugar until the cream thickens. Gently mix in milk and vanilla, then add flour and baking powder and gently combine.

Place patty pan liners (or paper muffin cases) into patty-pan tray (muffin tray with 40ml capacity cups) and spoon 1 desertspoon of mix into each. Bake at 180 degrees C for between 20 and 25 minutes. Makes 12.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cured Salmon

I've no idea where I found this recipe, though I seem to recall it originally specified a very large piece of fish, indeed possibly a whole salmon. I make it often when its hot and I'm organised - its one of those dishes you need to plan at least 24 hours ahead. And yes we've had a bit of hot here in Melbourne lately, so this has been on high rotation - and the small girl loves it.

I've posted the recipe as it is in my recipe file, and offer the following amendments for the frazzled cook. If you don't have any white wine in the house, red works ok, though the skin of each slice will have a faint blush. I haven't tried any other alcohol yet. If you are short of time you can skip adding the zests. The dill and mustard layer is usually missed here as I usually forget about it until too late. The small girl is not big on herbs either. The fish has never lasted 10 days in our house so I cannot confirm that it will be safe to eat at this point.

In the photo is the ubiquitous mashed potato - it will not be eaten in any other form. If I was to have my way it would be the Stephanie Alexander potato salad which is sensational and totally mayonaise free. I'll try to post it soon.

1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
75 g table salt
25 g sugar
zest of 1/2 orange
zest of 1 lemon
85 ml lemon juice
40ml orange juice
50 ml white wine

1 fillet of salmon, skin left on, bones removed (use pliers)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 bunch dill

Roughly crush coriander seeds and peppercorns and combine with other ingredients (except mustard and dill). Whisk to dissolve salt and sugar. Pour into dish and submerged fillet. Leave for 24 hours in the 'fridge, turning after 12 hours.

Remove salmon from marinade and brush with a clean cloth, removing excess zest. Brush skinless side of fillet with mustard and coat with finely chopped dill. Wrap tigthly in cling film, and rest in refridgerator for 2 hours.

Cut finely with knife at an angle towards the skin.

Can be kept safely for up to 10 days.
Serve with squeeze of lemon, crema fresca and lightly toasted sour dough. Good with stout.