Rhubarb & Date Cake

As I have rhubarb growing in the garden I am always on the lookout for recipes  for  rhubarb cakes and have tried many from English, American & Polish recipe books and magazines.

Some recipes just used 1 or 2 stalks of rhubarb – as I have lots of rhubarb – I wanted a recipe that used more.

I was talking with my old school friend who lives in Leeds and she told me her husband makes a lovely rhubarb cake with the rhubarb they have growing on their allotment.

So, I tried it out and it was indeed lovely!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 340g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 170g  butter
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 450g rhubarb, chopped into small cubes
  • 230g stoned dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk (either whole or semi skimmed)
  • Optional – extra sugar to sprinkle on top – (I would not bother with this next time)

 

 

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C
  • Line the base of a 26cm round spring-form or loose bottomed tin with baking paper. (You can use a 23cm tin)
  • Place the chopped rhubarb and dates into a bowl.
  • Place the flour and baking powder into another bowl.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Stir the chopped rhubarb and dates into the mixture.
  • Combine the eggs and milk in a jug and beat a little.
  • Stir into the cake mix until well combined.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
  • If using, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on the top of the cake.
  • Bake for approximately 1 – 1 & 1/4  hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean – best check on it after an hour and cover top if necessary to prevent burning.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack until the tin is cool enough to safely handle.
  • Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely on the wire rack

Although the cake keeps well, I think it is best eaten when fresh as then the rhubarb taste is strong and the cake delicious.

Crown china tea plates – no pattern named.

Note

The rhubarb season is now over in my garden as it has just past July – next year I am going to try some variations on this cake eg – without the dates or with raisins etc.

Tomato & Gherkin Soup

Several years ago after a large family gathering I had some gherkin and tomato salad left and decided to use this to make a soup.

It was really delicious and I now often make this soup either from left over salad or create it from scratch.

It is one of those refreshing summer style soups with a touch of sourness as loved by the Poles.

Ingredients

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 4 gherkins
  • 1 onion
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock – I use Marigold powder
  • 60ml  of gherkin liquid.
  • Chopped chives
  • Chopped parsley
  • Ground black pepper to taste.

Method

  • Slice the tomatoes and cut the slices in two.
  • Chop the onion fine.
  • Slice the gherkins and cut the slices into two.
  • Put all the ingredients(apart from the ground pepper) into a saucepan, bring to the boil and then let this simmer for around 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning if needed.

 

Served in Royal Doulton, Burgundy soup plates, 1959 – 1981.

Pork with Rhubarb

Having made pork with sour plums, I thought, why not do something similar with the rhubarb that is growing in the garden?

I was cooking the rhubarb for a cake as well and chopped up the rhubarb and placed it in a large roasting dish with some sugar – not too much –  it does not want to be too sweet – keep it tart.

I placed this into a low oven GM2 -150°C for around 45 – 60 minutes – you want it soft but not totally disintegrated.

 

After roasting a loin of pork, I placed some of the rhubarb and juices into a saucepan and heated it through – adjusting the sugar if necessary.

You could just grill or pan fry pork chops rather than do a roast.

Serve the rhubarb hot with the pork.

 

Served here with new potatoes and carrots on Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1981 -1998.

Pork with Sour Plums

My holiday in Poland earlier this year has inspired many new recipes and posts.

This one was from a meal of slow cooked belly pork with caramelised sour plums and roast potatoes, which I had at the Gvara Restaurant.

 

I tried doing caramelised plums but did not have any success, as it was the sourness I liked, I did the plums a different way.

This works well with plums that are not quite ripe, I used small ones from the supermarket, the sort they say will ripen at home (I find they never do!).

Sour Plums

  • 4-5 per person depending on size.
  • Simmer whole with some water and a little sugar in a shallow wide pan with a lid till soft.
  • Keep taking off the lid and stirring and adjusting the heat etc.
  • You do not want a lot of liquid .
  • Aiming for cooked but still sour – add a little sugar at end if needed.

 

Roast Pork with Sour Plums

I roasted a joint of pork loin – I think that is much nicer than leg of pork.  You could just grill pork chops for this.

Serve the pork with the plums.

Served on Royal Doulton Tapestry 1966 – 1988.

 

Slightly Chinese Style Slow Cooked Belly Pork

 

Ingredients

  • Large piece of belly pork
  • 1 can of Jamaican fiery ginger beer – regular with sugar (NOT sweetener)
  • Sliced piece of peeled root ginger – around 8cm long (finger length)
  • 3- 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • Several long chilies, fresh or dried.
  • 3-4 grains allspice or cloves.
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns

Method

  • Place everything in a slow cooker and cook for at least 4 hours (often more)– till flesh is soft.
  • Remove from juices and cut into thick slices to serve. 

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton Tapestry 1966 – 1988.

Summer Salads – Radish & Cucumber

The inspiration for these salads are from recipes in a new book I bought recently in Poland and from one my Polish friend  in Leeds bought for me.

 

 

History of the Radish

Radish, in Polish –  rzodkiew,  Latin name  –  Raphanus sativus,    is a root vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family and is thought to have originated in South East Asia.  It is mentioned in Greece in the 3rd century BC and in Europe in pre-Roman times.

It was one of the first European crops to be taken to the Americas.

Some of the recipes used czarna rzodkiew – which translates as black radish.  Now I had never heard of this, so looked it up and found it is called Black Spanish radish and sometimes called winter radish. It is mentioned in Europe in the 16th century and in England in the 19th century.

It has white flesh and a black skin and  can be round or long and it  is much larger  than the radishes I have seen.  So when the recipes used one or two black Spanish radishes, I used 1 or 2 bunches of radishes.

Cucumber & Radish Salad – Version 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 or 2 bunches of radishes
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt & pepper
  • Chopped dill & flat leafed parsley

Method

  • Peel the cucumber or part peel lengthwise in stripes.
  • Cut the cucumber into thin slices  – you can cut these into halves.
  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the oil and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Garnish with dill and flat leafed parsley.

 

 

 

Sweet Honey Dressing

A lovely sweet dressing made with honey is used on the following four salads.

Ingredients

  • 125ml soured cream
  • 1 tablespoon of runny honey
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Method

Use a little whisk to combine the ingredients.

Cucumber & Radish Salad – Version 2

As version 1 with sweet honey dressing

Radish & Red Onion Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 bunches of radishes
  • 1 red onion
  • Sweet honey dressing

Method

  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Slice and chop the onion into small squares.
  • Mix the radishes and onion together.
  • Pour the sweet honey dressing over them and mix.

 

 

Radish & Raisin Salad

Ingredients

  • 1-2 bunches of radishes
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • Sweet honey dressing

Method

  • Put the raisins into a small bowl and boiling water over them to cover.
  • Leave them until they are cold.
  • Use a sieve to drain away the water.
  • Use kitchen roll or a clean tea cloth to dry the raisins.
  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Mix the radishes and raisins.
  • Pour the sweet honey dressing over them and mix.

Optional

Serve this on top of a bed of shredded lettuce.

 

 

 

Served here with liver & rice

Cucumber & Raisin Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • Sweet honey dressing

Method

  • Put the raisins into a small bowl and boiling water over them to cover.
  • Leave them until they are cold.
  • Use a sieve to drain away the water.
  • Use kitchen roll or a clean tea cloth to dry the raisins.
  • Peel the cucumber or part peel lengthwise in stripes.
  • Cut the cucumber into thin slices  – you can cut these into halves.
  • Mix the cucumber and raisins.
  • Pour the sweet honey dressing over them and mix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Served here with liver & mushrooms and rice.

 

Radish & Apple Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 1 large apple – Braeburn is good
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 pinches of salt

Method

  • Top and tail the radishes and then thinly slice them.
  • Cut larger slices into two
  • Put them into a bowl with the sugar and salt and leave these for around 10 minutes
  • Core the apple and cut into rough cubes
  • Place the apple into a bowl and our the lemon juice over them.
  • Mix the radishes and apple together
  • Mix in the yoghurt.

 

 

 

 

Duck with Red Cabbage & Cranberries

Recently I used duck, red cabbage &  dried cranberries as a filling for pierogi and really liked the combination.  I was pleased with the easy way I made the red cabbage mixture so I decided to use this with pan fried duck breast.

It turned out  well very and I think this will be replacing my slow cooker red cabbage method especially to use with quicker pan fried or grilled meat.

Ingredients for Cabbage & Cranberry Mixture

  • 1 small red cabbage (around 600g once core removed)
  • 100 -150g of dried cranberries
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt & ground black pepper

Method

Rather than boiling, steaming or slow cooking the red cabbage, I used a sort of stir-fry & braising method which worked very well.

  • Put the cranberries in a dish and cover them with some boiling water and leave them for about half an hour.
  • Shred the cabbage.
  • In a deep frying/ saucepan heat some water and add the butter.
  • Stir in the cabbage and simmer gently for a few minutes.
  • Cover the pan – a glass lid is good so you can see what is happening – you need to check and stir occasionally.
  • Simmer for around 10 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries & water, stir and on put the lid back on.
  • Simmer for around 10  to 15 minutes.
  • Keep a check on the water so it does not dry out.
  • If the cabbage has not cooked enough – adjust the water and cook for a bit longer.

Ingredients – Duck

  • Duck breasts – 1 per person
  • Italian herbs
  • Salt & ground black pepper

Method

  • Rub the duck breasts with Italian herbs, ground black pepper and salt and leave for at least an hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM5 – 190°C
  • Put a baking tray in the oven for around 10 minutes to heat up.
  • Heat a heavy based frying pan (I use a cast iron pan) until it is very hot –  you do not need any added oil or fat.
  • Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down and turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Put the duck onto the heated baking tray.
  • Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.
  • You can serve the duck breast as whole pieces or slice them up.
  • Place the duck on top of the cabbage and cranberry mixture to serve.

Served on Royal Doulton, Tapestry 1966 – 1998

 

Salads with a Hint of Breakfast!

Having written several posts recently with different ideas for breakfasts,  I started to think about how to use some of these ingredients such as smoked bacon & eggs in salads.

Version 1 with lemon juice

Ingredients

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • Lemon juice
  • Chives to garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  • Cut the lettuce into shreds with a sharp knife.
  • Peel the cucumber or part peel in stripes lengthwise.
  • Chop the cucumber into small pieces.
  • Chop up the hard boiled eggs into small pieces.
  • Chop up the bacon into small squares and fry without extra oil until all the fat has come out.
  • Use kitchen roll to soak up the excess fat and leave to cool completely.
  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add the lemon juice and stir.
  • Add chopped chives to serve.

 

 

 

Version 2 with soured cream

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of soured cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chives to garnish

Method

As version 1 with the addition of the soured cream at the end.

 

Version 3 with tomatoes

  • 1 iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 250g smoked bacon
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Chives to garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

As version 1 with the addition of the chopped cherry tomatoes.

 

 

 

Served in 1930s Glass Dishes