Tuesday 29 December 2015

The best sponge recipe

For our Christmas Day  dessert I settled on a new trifle recipe from House & Garden Issue No. 256 December 2015, it looked fabulous!
Not wanting to use a bought sponge I decided to have another go at making my own sponge.
A couple of years ago one of my dear friends, Bernice, said she had a 'never fail' recipe that had been handed down to her through generations of bakers. It sounded like my kind of recipe and I filed it away.
A few weeks ago I finally got around to making it.
I was told to use a large roasting pan (greased with dripping, and floured) but decided to just butter and line the tin with baking paper, leaving out the dripping!
The result was absolutely the best sponge I have ever produced. 
Once slightly cooled, and with some trepidation, I removed my sponge from the tin, cut it in half, wrapped it in cling film and placed it in the freezer to make the trifle on Christmas Eve.
A sponge was always something my mother used to make with ease! And to honour her memory this Christmas I had hoped to create a fabulously soft perfect sponge. (In a few days time it is the 5th anniversary of her death, I will always miss her).
In previous blogs I have attempted a sponge roll which have all cracked, but this recipe rolls beautifully (apparently).
Bernice says 'take this sponge straight out of the oven and while still hot, remove from tin and turn out onto a damp tea towel. At this point spread with jam and roll it up. When cool unroll the sponge and fill with cream, and roll up'. Mmmmmmm, easier said than done.
I will let you know how I get on in another blog post.
Anyway, back to this great sponge recipe.  It is so simple, it's ridiculous....and so very tasty.
Cream Sponge  
 5 eggs
1 level cup of sugar
Beat together until thick and creamy
Gently fold in sifted
1 level cup of flour
1 tsp baking powder 
Lastly fold in 1 tbsp of boiling water
Pour batter into a greased floured pan ( I lined mine with baking paper to be on the safe side!)
Bake 180 degrees C  for 10-15 minutes on fan bake.
Watch it doesn't over cook, it should spring back a little when you gently press the top.
It can be cut in half and filled with cream and whatever summer fruit you may have. And ass Bernice has said, it will feed a crowd nicely.

It's so soft and tasty!
This is the final result using a House and Garden recipe from Dec '15 Issue 256

.  It's fab!

Thursday 26 November 2015

Old fashioned tomato sauce

It was one of those rare occasions when tomatoes were at a super price at the supermarket. M spotted beautiful big tomatoes for sale at only $2.00 a kilo, a complete bargain in our city, so early in the 'season'. If you have them growing in your garden this summer - lucky you! The wind here batters my plants to the point they just give up supplying any fruit!

The man has always loved this homemade tomato sauce. It was originally named Nana Spence's tomato sauce, a lady who has sadly long gone so I can't get her permission to use the recipe. I understand she was a lovely Nana so I suspect she won't mind if I share the love and post it in this blog.
It is the second year I have made it. It will last for a long time in a cool dry place (our wine cellar is the perfect spot).
You will get a slightly different taste depending on the apples you use, how much cayenne pepper is added and of course the ripeness of your tomatoes. Suffice to say I am very pleased with this latest batch.
We did a little experiment to see if the old fashioned style of sauce contains less sugar per serving. It comes just a little under the mass produced sort, but we think because it is homemade it must be better for you!

Nana Spence’s Tomato Sauce
The original recipe was in imperial measurement. We have adapted it to metric.
I used 6kg of tomatoes which made about 8 litres of sauce.
Allow a large part of a day to do this – it takes a while to prepare, cook, sterilise bottles and bottle.
You need a muslin bag for the spices, an extra big pot for this quantity and a mouli.
We used granny smith apples in one batch and red apples in the second. It made the latter sauce a little darker.

5kg tomatoes
800 grams onions
1.7kg apples
1.25kg brown sugar
56 grams whole cloves
1 tsp (or more) of cayenne
56g pepper (you could try peppercorns)
56g whole spice (I used ground and it was ok, but best to use whole)
125g plain salt
1 to 2 bottles of cider vinegar (you could use malt but cider gives a better flavour we think)
Place all whole spices in a muslin bag and tie securely.
Cut onions, apples, tomatoes into quarters and place in large preserving pan or pot.
Add all other ingredients (except the vinegar).
Bring to boil and simmer for an hour – keep stirring every now and then to ensure it doesn’t stick on the bottom.
Then add vinegar, boil for another hour.
Cool and mouli to remove the skins and bottle  into sterilised bottles