Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Pascale Weeks’ Mincemeat Cake

I've made this simple cake quite regularly at this time of year either to use up leftover mincemeat or when the supermarkets start to sell it off at knockdown prices. The recipe was published back in 2009 here on the English language version of the blog “C'est moi qui l'ai fait !”. Recently I was burbling on about defunct food blogs and I suppose that technically this is one of them. But calling it a defunct blog is a bit misleading: the French version of  “C'est moi qui l'ai fait !” is still very much a going concern and well worth reading if you're OK with French. What's more if you've ever picked up a copy of “750g” magazine or come across one of her books, then you'll know that its author Pascale Weeks is still very much around and doing just fine. It was simply the English language version of her blog that she stopped producing.
Mincemeat Cake
Mme Weeks gave this recipe the alternative title of “lazy girl cake” because it's so simple and quick to put together. I'm only half-qualified to comment on the name but I'm definitely lazy and it's easy enough for me. It produces a delicious, gently-spiced (depending on your choice of mincemeat) and slightly crumbly fruit cake. I've also made this cake with homemade, fat-free mincemeat and it still works, although the texture is a little different and you may need to adjust the baking time.

This cake reminds me of sitting in a café in Devon many years ago while the staff and customers tried valiantly to explain the important difference between ‘mincemeat’ and ‘minced meat’ to a man from Paris with a limited grasp of English. He just wanted a typical British afternoon snack but left shaking his head sadly.

If you fancy a different sort of mincemeat cake, then the Apple and Mincemeat Cake that Suelle posted on Mainly Baking recently would make an excellent alternative.

I haven't shared many posts lately and because it's a new year I thought I really should make more of an effort.
Love Cake Logo

Since this cake is perfect for using up leftover mincemeat, it should fit in well with the 'Waste Not' theme of this month's Love Cake at Jibber Jabber.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Remembering 2015 (Hazily)

This isn't the usual sort of stuff that I blurt out on this blog but I'm in a reflective mood and so I thought I'd look back on 2015. I wasn't able to do as much cooking or blogging as I would have liked last year and I really must apologise to both of my readers for that. Here are some of the things that I remember from 2015– albeit a little hazily.
  • Alice celebrated her 150th birthday.

Alice in Devon
  • Many food blogs left the building.

Sad to say, a number of the food blogs that I'd been reading ground to a halt or disappeared last year. Worse still, I recently came across a  list of the blogs that I used to read regularly in 2010. Around three quarters of them are now defunct. Back then one of the great attractions for me in the food blogging world was that it offered such a refreshing alternative to the branded, self-promoting world of many cookery books, TV shows and websites. Last year there was a commercially successful book published that had just over 100 recipes (fair enough) and 64 pictures of the author. It's probably an age thing but I genuinely don't understand how 64 pictures of the author helps when you're trying to cook a meal. I still want to read and try out interesting and original recipes and I much prefer the alternative, nonprofessional and idiosyncratic blogging world without all the commercial hype. I hope it doesn't disappear altogether.

  • It was the best year that I can remember for roses.

I Promised You A Rose Garden
  • Avocado was placed on toast.

You couldn't move very far last year without someone offering you avocado on toast, which is fine by me. But there were also numerous offers of recipes in very expensive books for avocado on toast and I find that decidedly odd. Another age thing, probably.

  • It was 600 years since the battle of Agincourt.

Yes, this really is a picture of the battlefield – or rather, the road round it.

That's enough nostalgia for 2015, it's time for a few words about 2016. I started this blog to record the recipes that I used and developed and, six years later, I've almost come to the end of my list of recipes. I've posted around 200 so far and how many recipes does one man really need? I'm not quite finished, though - there are still some dishes and bakes that I'm determined to get right or just finally get around to publishing. But, unless I discover a bunch of new recipes under a rock somewhere, 2016 will probably be the last year of this blog.

Some of the recipes that I've yet to write down are the ones that seemed more personal and, occasionally, odd and so didn't seem to fit what I though was the food blog brief. But they're actually recipes that I use quite regularly and are often based on ingredients from local suppliers. It's my resolution to make an effort to correct those omissions and mention some more local food. It might mean that things get even more wayward and eccentric round here - sorry about that.

I'll start by admitting that I've spent far too much time hanging about and enjoying myself in Bronte's Café since it opened last year. They do a fine avocado on toast (see above) and excellent coffee from the local organic coffee roasters Beanberry. That's two local mentions already. Who says I can't stick to my resolutions?
Normal (well, sort of normal) recipe service will resume shortly. I'm off for a coffee.

Happy New Year