I am feeling a bit discombobulated!

I am feeling a bit discombobulated. You know that sense, sort of not quite here and not quite there, not quite violated, but could be… its a weird feeling, a moment of confusion, regeneration and sadness. Its about South Melbourne shop of course. Did I do the right thing, was I pre-emptive, all that stuff. I did of course, like I have said in previous missives, it just got to the stage of having to decide what we were and as much as the sense of creative joy, ebullient quaffing of wine, me feeding people with pleased looks on their faces was and is seductive, time has come to get down and get serious. We are great manufacturers, simple as that. I am not getting any younger of course, (perhaps that’s the real reason) but, one of the advantages of advancing decrepitude, is that your eyesight fails along with your body, so as you look at your ancient bod in the large mirror in the bathroom, and of course you have not got your glasses on in view of steam etc., you don’t look all that bad. Least that what I think.
What does change, is taste… yes folks you will all be delighted to know that as you age, your sense of taste ages along with you and, tragically you loose some of the ‘sharpness’ of your palate. I think that one of natures tricks is that the sweet edge of your palate seems to be as sharp as ever and the sweet foods that one avoided, are now embraced. Slice of cake, sweet biscuit with the cup of tea (which, in acknowledgement of ones remarkable style and taste, must be made in a teapot and served in a cup and saucer… is there another way?).
I know that my Poppy was grouchy and very hard to live with if he did not get his fill of sweet foods and that did not mean sweets like the blessed Iris served up in summer, stewed fruit and a cardboard box of ice cream. Can you believe that I can remember the first time that ‘bought’ ice cream came into our home, It was a soggy cardboard box that, if you let things thaw for even a minute too long, just caved in. Only two sorts were available, just plain ice cream and Neapolitan … now that begs the question, why was it called that?? Here is the Google result, I must say that the original sounds infinitely preferable to the number I knew… A tricolored, three-flavored (usually cherry, chocolate and pistachio) Neapolitan ice cream virtually unknown in Italy today but still made in the United States, where it was introduced in the 1890s. (The American term “Neapolitan” for vanilla, chocolate and strawberry tricolored ice cream is based on its former identification with spumoni.)
I do have some objection to the claims that this was an American Invention… but perhaps my overt sensibilities in regard to the food of the USA are in need of revising and a kinder attitude installed. Wikepedia does say that Australian ‘love’ a cake with the three colours swirled together and iced with a pink icing that is called Neapolitan… I also want to say and celebrate, that Little Tommy Digby, baker extraordinaire who worked for Caddy’s Bakery in Bank Street, that put up with my many many visits to the bakery to watch the bread being made and to of course fill my nostrils with the delicious aromas, are great memories. But as usual I digress, There was a cake that was three layers, chocolate,  raspberry (read pink) and normal cake, it was layered together with mock cream… now why don’t we use that stuff today, its absolutely delicious, rich with vanilla and butter and then Tom would ice the whole cake with a chocolate icing that he kind of raked. It was called Rainbow cake and was delectable. Another great favourite of mine was Napolean Slice, a slice that was made from two layers of Ruff Puff pastry (in Tommy’s case it would have been the real deal and in the event you cannot be bothered making your own, then use butter sheets of Puff Pastry) layered with a 2 cm raft of good butter cake and kept together with raspberry jam, all was iced with white or pink icing.
Napoleon Slice (from the CWA, Western Australia Cook Book)

500 grams of good puff pastry (remember that in the past, every good cake shop sold pastry as a matter of
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup self raising flour
1 egg.

Cream butter and sugar, add well beaten egg and then the flour. Add enough hot water to make a thick consistency. Beat this well, you are adding hot water to a cold mix. I would also think that a teaspoon of Vanilla extract or a bit of lemon juice could be good. Have the Puff Pastry rolled out and divided into two equal sheets. Spread each piece with a really good Raspberry Jam. Lay one sheet down jam side up, and pour the cake mix onto it, top with the other sheet, jam side down. Bake in a fairly hot oven (200 C) until the pastry and cake are cooked. Ice with pink icing an scatter with coconut.

Rainbow Cake

500 grams sugar
6 eggs
500 grams Self Raising flour
250 gr of butter
1 small breakfast cup of milk
4 teaspoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon vanilla and cochineal

Beat the butter and sugar to a cream, add the eggs one at a time and then the flour, use the milk to make a good dough. Divide the dough into three, flavour one with a teaspoon of vanilla, the second with some cochineal and the third with four teaspoons of cocoa mixed with a little of the unused milk. Bake in shallow tins in a moderate oven, 180 celcius for 20 – 30 minutes untill cooked, cool completely. And then fill with…Mock Cream Filling (see below).
Mock Cream Filling

60 grams butter
60 grams of sugar (I would use icing sugar …pure)
2 dessertspoon of boiling water
2 dessertspoons cold milk.
Vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar with a cap of Vanilla, when well creamed, add one dessertspoon of boiling water and beat for a few minutes, then add one dessertspoon of cold milk and beat for five minutes, then add the second dessertspoon of boiling water and beat again for 5 minutes. Finally add the last dessert spoon of milk and beat well to a delicious cream. Finishing the cake: You choose what ever order you like, I like chocolate on the base, then pink and then plain cake, put the mock cream between the layers and allow to set. Ice the cake with your favourite chocolate icing… I like a butter icing.

… and here is just final offering, from a great New Zealand cook book called Grans Kitchen by Natalie Oldfield, and a long time favourite of mine.
Luscious Lemon Slice

1 Cup Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
60 grams Butter
1 egg light beaten
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
60 gr butter

For the Base… sift flour into a bowl, add sugar, stir well to combine, rub in butter and add egs to form a soft dough. Press 2/3rd of the dough into a slice tin, keep the remaining third for the top. For the filling… place all filling ingredients into a small pot and cook over a low heat till thick. Pour the hot filling over the dough in the in now crumble the remaining dough over the top. Bake in a 180 celcius oven for 30 minutes.
Steamed Ginger Pudding

2 1/2 (315gr or 10oz) cups of plain flour
1 tspns of ground ginger
Pinch of mixed spice (to taste, more if you like it)
1 tspns of bicarb soda
155gr (5oz) finely grated suet (if you don’t want to use suet, use 125gr butter chilled and chopped finely)
1 egg
3/4 cup golden syrup
3/4 cup warmed milk
3 tblspns finely chopped preserved ginger
Sift the flour, spices, bicarb soda into a bowl, add the suet (or butter if using… rub the butter into the mixture to make fine crumbs) make a well in the centre and pour in the beaten eggs mixed with the syrup and the milk. Stir well into a batter that is more runny than dough like. Use a five (5) cup pudding basin and put the glace ginger in the bottom, pour in the mixture and cover with greaseproof paper and the lid and steam over hot water for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, making sure that the water is always bubbling and there is plenty of it. Turn out from the basin and serve with a sweet white sauce.

~ by peterwatson on March 25, 2010.

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