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    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Memories - Chocolate Cup Cakes and Carrot and Parsnip Soup

    Isn't it amazing how some aromas and flavours can transport you back in time. This week I bought some beautiful Blue Cod from my local wonderful Fish Shop "Catch a Fish Takeaways" in Parnell.
    When I tasted this fish I immediately thought of my Mother. This is how she cooked fish and with the taste of butter and the beautiful flakiness of the Cod...Memories just flooded back.
    Brings tears to your eyes. 

    So I took it home and treated it very simply, as one should do with fresh fish,

    Seasoned it quick dusting of flour
    Into med hot pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and
    Cook on first side about 3 minutes.
    Add a good knob of butter and turn fish.
    Another 2-3 minutes
    Put aside to rest for a few minutes.

    I served this with Herb Stuffed Mushrooms and Broccoli with Garlic Lemon Butter
    Can't get much better than that. Quick squeeze fresh lemon juice.

    Next... I watched Rachel Allen make cup cakes on her "Bake" programme... on Food TV
    More memories, when I was young and went to the first cooking classes. Form 2, 12 years old.
    They taught us to make little Queen Cakes and Chocolate Cakes.
    The recipe just made a dozen.
    In the School Holidays My Mother would go to work in the local Bookshop about 10am
    Leave us to look after ourselves.
    My friend Dianne Torstonson would come over, and we would bake these cakes.
    Pulled them out of the oven and proceeded to eat the lot, hot, on one go.
    Here we are women of the world!!!

    Very greedy but they were just fab.
    I have never been able to find a recipe that only made a few
    So thank you Rachel Allen, her recipe makes just 8 Cup Cakes.
    You can whip them up from Go To Whoa in just 30 minutes.
    Dale and I only ate one each and I waited for them to cool so that I could ice them.
    Her recipe was for Lemon cakes
    I adjusted the recipe and made her cakes into Chocolate ones.
    Easy Peasy.

    Couple of hints
    Have all ingredients at room temperature
    In fact as the oven was heating I popped the sugar in for about 2 minutes, just to warm it.
    A baking hint from my friend Catherine.

    So let's get on with it.
    Pre-heat the oven to 180C

    Line 8 muffin tins with paper cases

    125 gms butter softened
    125 gms sugar
    2 large eggs
    150 gms plain flour sifted
     Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 2 tablespoons sifted cocoa
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    Pinch salt
    Several drops of vanilla extract

    Beat the butter till soft
    Add sugar in thirds
    Keep beating
    Add eggs one at a time
    Add vanilla
    Stir in sifted dry ingredients in thirds

    Divide mixture evenly amongst the paper cakes

    Into oven
    Bake 18  mintes
    Test with a skewer if still gooey back into the oven for another minute
    Onto a rack to cool
    If you want eat some now whilst hot go for it or
    Make a chocolate icing and smother the little cakes

    Here's an easy icing

    85 gms dark choc chips
    Knob of butter
    65 gms icing sugar
    Few drops of Vanilla extract
    Little hot water till it reaches the right consistency
    I reckon fresh orange juice in place of the vanilla and hot water would be excellent
    Melt the chocolate chips over a pan of hot water
    Add butter
    Stir well
    Add icing sugar and flavourings
    Stir well till right consistency to ice


    It's cold today and we returned home from our dear friend John Wallace's Funeral in Taupo
    We needed something to warm our bodies and our sad souls.
    I made a quick Carrot and Parsnip Soup
    Another 30 minute dish
    Don't cook it too long or you will lose the wonderful buttery taste of the Carrots and Parsnips

    Very simple
    50 gms butter
    2 carrots peeled
    1 parsnip peeled
    Salt and pepper
    1 1/2 litres of stock

    Grate the vegetables
    Melt butter in pot
    Add the grated vege
    Cook gently till tende about 8 minutes
    Into blender

    Add the stock
    Blend till smooth

    Back into pot
    bring to boil and simmer about 5 minutes
    And just serve as is. Delicious
    After that cooking and eating I turned on the TV and caught up on my My Sky.
    Now just waiting for the sun to go over the yard arm for the first wine of the day.
    Actually there is no sun, so I think I will have one anyway now.


    Asha said...

    What a great array of food, enjoy Gilli. Have a great weekend.

    Anali said...

    So sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. It's been cold here for the past couple of days too. I'm getting ready to make carrot soup also and think that I'll try your suggestion to grate the carrots. That will be much quicker. Thanks for the tip!