Food

apple & pecan cake

There are currently 5 cakes in my house. 4 of them are actually layers for one massive cake, but still, it’s a lot of cake. The layer cake is a story for another day (*fingers are still crossed it all works out*) but this one is worth sharing now.

I had a few apples I needed to use up, and since every other ingredient is a pantry-staple, it’s the kind of cake that’s easy to throw together in a few minutes. It’s dense, sitting closer to a bread than you’d expect, and the almond really compliments the apples. While it’s not a flashy, decorative cake, it’s the kind that gets better as it sits on your counter and is perfect to serve with coffee.

2 apples, cored and chopped (approx 1/2 inch pieces)

1 tbs ground cinnamon

3 tbs sugar

chopped pecans (optional)

1 3/4 c (230g) plain flour

1/2 tbs baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 c oil

1 c sugar

2 tbs lemon juice

2 eggs

1-2 tsp almond extract

  • core and chop apples, add pecans and toss with cinnamon and 3 tbs sugar in a small bowl
  • preheat oven to 350/180
  • stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl
  • whisk together oil, sugar, lemon juice, eggs, and almond extract (make it as almond-y as you like)
  • mix wet ingredients into dry and mix till incorporated
  • here the mixture will look way to think, close to dough rather than batter, that’s okay!
  • in a greased and lined loaf pan, layer half the batter, then the apples, then the other half of the batter over top (the top half of the batter may be difficult to spread, doesn’t have to be perfect!)
  • bake for 45 minutes to 1 hr (when checking, make sure you test the batter all the way to the bottom, making sure the batter underneath the apples is cooked)
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Food

Brothy Cannellini Soup

Even in July, I crave soup. All seasons are soup season. It’s comforting and easy, and I love foods eaten out of bowls. British summers are mild and cool in the evenings, meaning a light and brothy soup like this works even in the middle of summer. This whole recipe is pantry ingredient friendly, and was the result of wanting to change the beans-on-toast from last week into a different meal the next day. This would also be great with some small pasta or hearty greens added if you have them around.

Brothy Cannellini Soup

1/2 of the beans-on-toast from last week (alternately, plain cannellini beans, you may need to season this simple broth a little more since the beans won’t already be seasoned)

a small onion, peeled and cut in half

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

a few sprigs of tyme

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 parmesan rind (the hard bit at the end of a slice of parm that you should absolutely be saving)

1 veg stock cube

6 c water

  • in a pot, combine all the ingredients except the beans
  • bring to a simmer and leave for about an hour, longer if you have it
  • pull out the garlic cloves, which should be soft, and smash them, adding the paste back to the pot
  • strain broth, discarding the remains
  • if adding pasta, return to heat and add here and cook until the pasta is al dente, or add hearty greens and wilt in residual heat
  • add beans, and season to taste (salt and pepper, I added chili paste for some more heat)
  • serve with bread and a squeeze of lemon juice

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Food

(Cannellini) Beans on Toast

Beans are a truly amazing food, and while black beans will (probably) always be my favourite and british baked beans my least favourite, there is room in the middle for a lot of others. The can of cannellini beans that became these meals sat in my cabinet for months, after I read this Smitten Kitchen recipe that looked like an ideal lunch. However, finding artichokes is much harder than I’d like, so the recipe took a different turn when I got around to making it.

(Cannellini) Beans On Toast

1 can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)

4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

3 tbs olive oil

red pepper flakes

salt

a few handfuls of kale – toss in olive oil and salt/pepper, roast in the oven at about 375f for 10 minutes or until crispy

slices of baguette, toasted

  • heat olive oil in a small pan on medium heat, adding garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking until just turning golden (do not look away, garlic is fickle and will burn if you give it the chance)
  • add in rinsed beans, stirring until warmed through
  • pull off heat, salt to taste
  • top bread with beans and roasted kale, add a grating of parm is you like

I used the second half of these beans to make a very easy soup the next day, since this makes 2-3 portions – that easy soup will be up next week!

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