I have always loved food.
Recently whilst trying to help my 94 yr. old mother to remember something, she pointed out to me that all of my childhood memories focused on food. I would come home from birthday parties either elated by the food, especially cake or say I didn’t want to go back to a particular friend’s house as the food was a bit duff. The cake was the be all and end all for me. A livid green concoction in the shape of a football field is still remembered as the worst made with oil not butter, or in those days Blue Band Margarine, it just tasted weird…… I knew as I’d even asked the boy’s mother what was in it I never went back.
I have realised it wasn’t just during my childhood, it’s all the time. Entire countries are mentally crossed of my list if the food keeps on disappointing instead of giving.
Food is important. It feeds & fuels our bodies; it can heal us, nourish us, has the ability to cheer us up, calm us down, soothe us and in my case feed the soul.
It doesn’t need to be fancy; on the contrary the food that over the years that has made my heart sing is usually the simplest, often borne out of economic restraints and even war. A dhal vada, a Southern Indian snack made simply of lentils, ginger, spices and the ubiquitous curry leaf & cooked to perfection in coconut oil is simply divine and costs literally a few rupees (recipe to follow in another blog). Or perfect scrambled eggs made with my own rescue hen’s eggs… just the best.
Travel & adventure are two of my other loves. The combination of food and travel makes me the happiest. In our work my husband Sam & I travel all over the country so finding regional food is always a bonus. I have had many, many conversations with customers at the festivals we cater at, just about bread.
Bread it seems is probably one of the things with more regional variations than anything else in this country, except for the obvious ones like cheese. Even the names are regional. Take the humble bap, you know the soft flattish roll that is usually white & floured, well that’s what it’s called in Sussex. I get blank looks in certain places when I ask people if they’d like a white or brown bap (we do brown ones just to throw people) “What’s a bap?” and when I point to our enormous bread baskets I’m told, depending where we are that it’s a cob, a roll, teacake or probably one of a dozen different names. I love it and along with regional accents long may it last.
So with our love for food and the fact we are caterers and adore to travel this blog was born. Here I will share my foodie and sometimes travel ramblings, thoughts and recipes. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. As I mentioned the strange and green birthday cake that has stuck in my memory for years, I’ll start with my most asked for recipe. A cake.
I also love to dance. 1930s & 1940s and always make this for the tea dances, I usually end up scribbling the recipe down on a paper napkin. I hope you enjoy it.
Oscar’s Kitchen Chocolate Almond Cake.
This is a naturally gluten free cake, it is gooey and irresistible… it also freezes well.
180g dark chocolate… the darker, the better
175g unsalted butter
125g unrefined sugar …I use coconut palm sugar*
200g ground almonds
4 free range eggs
Ganache: 120g dark chocolate
50g salted butter
Pre heat your oven to 180’.
Line an 8” cake tin with baking parchment.
Separate the eggs into yolks and whites.
Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan containing a shallow amount of simmering water….a bain-marie.
In the bowl of a mixer cream together the butter & sugar and then slowly add the egg yolks one at a time. Don’t worry if it appears to slightly split….…it will come back together when you add the other ingredients.
Add the ground almonds and slightly cooled chocolate and mix. In a separate, spotlessly clean bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Mix one tablespoon of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mix ..this will start to loosen up the mix. Mix in the rest of the egg whites by gently folding them in …I always use a large metal spoon. Try to be gentle so as not to knock the air out of the mixture.
Scrape into your lined tin using a spatula, so as not to leave a single bit of the mix.
When completely cool take out of the tin and put a serving dish over the top and flip the whole thing over so the bottom becomes the top and peel away the baking parchment.
In the same bowl you melted the chocolate in for the cake, break the chocolate for the ganache & add the butter. Melt until combined and cool in bowl for about 10 minutes.
Pour onto the cake and spread over the top. Cool. Eat & enjoy.
* I buy my coconut palm sugar from www.elementsforlife.co.uk