Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hot Date Cake with Caramel Sauce

I made a very old favourite last night, the recipe comes from an old Vogue or Gourmet Traveller, my Mum was making it before I had heard of sticky date pudding, which this is a grown up version of. I think anything would taste good with caramel sauce on it, but this cake really is delicious!

Hot Fresh Date Cake with Caramel Sauce
I have halved the amount of sauce from the original recipe and there is still plenty. The leftovers are great on icecream or pancakes, or on a spoon straight out of the fridge! The sauce can also be frozen, as can the whole cake.
serves 8
250g                dates, fresh or dried
185g                firm unsalted butter
185g                sugar
3                      eggs
1½ tsp             vanilla
185g                self-raising flour
¾ tsp               baking powder
150ml              water
75ml                milk
225g                brown sugar
40g                  unsalted butter
225ml              cream
1 tsp                vanilla
2 tsp                pecans
1-2 tbsp           brandy (optional)
                       thick cream to serve

Line and grease a 22-23cm round springform tin or 20 cm square tin, make sure it has a good seal as this is a very runny cake batter and will leak through a loose tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.

If using fresh dates, stone and coarsely chop and set aside.

Place in a food processor, the butter cut into pieces, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, water and milk. Process 15 seconds only or to just mix. Add dates and process 2 seconds to mix through. Alternatively, in an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs and vanilla, then add flour, baking powder, water and milk and mix.

Place the sloppy mixture in the tin. Bake at 180C for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Remove from oven, run knife around the cake and cool in the tin. Cake can be frozen at the point or stored for a few days.

An hour before serving, place cake in an ovenproof tin and marinate with some of the sauce. Fifteen minutes before serving, reheat in the oven at 180C. Serve with sauce and cream.

Place all ingredients except the thick cream, bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mexican Dip with Corn

This week we harvested at least 10 cobs of corn from our vegie garden and for the first time ever they are delicious, must have been all the rain we have had this year.
So when I was making something last night to take to a bbq it had to have corn in it! I made an old favourite - layered mexican dip, but added a layer of corn which worked really well.  I made a big dip to take and a mini one which I am snacking on now.

The first layer of the dip is refried beans which I didn't have any of, so I googled it and made my own from a tin of kidney beans.

Mexican Dip
makes 1 large serving dish, I use a flat bottomed dish such as a  pie or small lasagna dish
I didn't have tomatoes so left them out which didn't matter at all. The corn was my own addition to the recipe, which was great.

1 tin of refried beans, or see the recipe below to make your own
2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 avocados, mashed with lemon juice
3/4 carton sour cream
1-2 corn cobs, kernels cut off
1 jar salsa or taco sauce
handful grated cheese

Starting with the beans, layer the ingredients in the serving dish finishing with the grated cheese.

Serve with corn chips.

Refried Beans
1 tin kidney, pinto or mexe beans, drained and mashed
2 rashes bacon (don't cut the fat off - you want this to cook the beans in)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 

Fry the bacon in a frypan until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan but leave the fat. Finely chop the bacon.

Lower the heat and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the spices and fry until fragrant. Add the beans  and bacon and 1/2 C water. Cook the beans, continuing to mash and stir as they absorb the water. They are done once a paste has formed., can be mashed until smooth or left lumpy.