food

Lemon Yoghurt CupCakes

Speciality delicatessens and bakeries in my part of the world offer Lemon Yoghurt cupcakes to die for. Mostly they come from one or two bakeries, ones that are Italian in origin and their product offerings. Yet, it seems that the Lemon and Yoghurt Cake may have been French in origin:

Grandmother all over France are renowned for Lemon and Yoghurt Cake. In French, this cake is called Gâteaux de Mamie, which translated is: Granny Cake. The part of the story I love, is the way these French grandmothers measure the cake ingredients – with yogurt jars!

https://thecafesucrefarine.com/french-grandmothers-lemon-yogurt-cake/

You can try that version of the recipe out at this site.

This week, the cake for #onecakeaweek comes from Best Recipes, however, I wanted to produce a cupcake experience, rather than make another ring cake. My ingredients vary slightly from the French version in that there is more yoghurt and sugar, but less eggs and oil. Yeah – nah! – probably evens out, doesn’t it?

LEMON and YOGHURT CAKE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups fine or Caster Sugar – I only used 1and one half cups
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 cup Natural yoghurt
  • 2 cups Self-raising flour or plain flour and baking powder
  • extra leftover lemon juice

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix rind, oil, eggs and sugar with a fork.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and combine well.
  3. Pour into greased ring tin or lined cupcake pans and bake at 180C for 30 – 40 minutes – more time, for the ring tin.
  4. Poke holes in the top with a toothpick and drizzle few drops of lemon juice for extra tang. Not too much or the cake will go soggy.
  5. Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Variation: I added Pearl Sugar and an Almond on the top prior to baking. White chocolate chips could also be added for an extra measure of decadence.

Donna Hay, Australian cook and Cookbook Author, uses almost an identical recipe to mine, but decorates the cake with icing and strangely of all, thyme leaves. If you want to try that variation?

More lemon cake recipes from other bakers are found here

#OneCakeaWeek

food, health

Magnesium Rich Foods for Lunch

I have been having issues with muscle cramps in the foot and calf lately, so I wanted to ensure I wasn’t falling behind on a quota of minerals, such as Magnesium, that might be explain this problem.

Symptoms of a Magnesium deficiency may include:

  • numbness
  • tingling
  • muscle cramps
  • seizures
  • muscle spasticity
  • personality changes
  • abnormal heart rhythms

Lunch constituted a portion of Salmon, some baby Spinach leaves in a leafy green Salad, topped with Apple cider vinaigrette dressing, and garnished with Almonds, Pickled Danish Cucumbers and Walnuts.

I just needed some avocado to top it off. According to healthline.com, one medium avocado provides 58 mg of magnesium, which is 15% of the RDI.

But there are loads more good reasons to add avocado in your diet.

More Reasons to Add Avocado to your Diet

Studies have shown that eating avocados can reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels and increase feelings of fullness after meals.

Sounds like a powerhouse food, right?

What to Eat as a Magnesium-Rich Afternoon Snack?

Perhaps a Banana with a square or two if 70% dark chocolate?

animals

Want a Chip, Bro?

I Want a Chip.

I did remind the friendly seagull that he would do better to rely on fresh fish than our takeaway lunch meal. But he wanted a chip.

The famous meme of a seagull offering the beached whale a chip went viral years ago. If you haven’t seen it, take a look:

Beached whale

Chips or chip, in the singular form, is the Australian equivalent of French Fries.

How do you refer to a singular, chip in America? Is it a “fry?”

How does an America say, ” Hey bro, do you want a fry?

The gull had several from our lunch of fish and chips and flew away satisfied with a crop of cholesterol.

The envy of his flock.

food, health

Cinnamon Spice cake

I do look for recipes that use cinnamon, as it is has so many health-giving benefits:

Cinnamon Spice

  • contains calcium, iron, vitamins, fibre
  • assists with  a variety of digestive ailments such as gas and bloating
  • has a mild anti-inflammatory effect.

Studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.

[Source: cinnamonnutrition.com/ ]
Photo by Ena Marinkovic on Pexels.com
cake

Initially I adapted a Danish Spice cake recipe posted by Ted at Recipereminiscing, but halved the recipe as it makes quite a large cake, used butter instead of margarine, and replaced the cloves with mixed spice. Then I added a few currants, because I had a slight oversupply of currants in the pantry and I thought it might work will with the spices.

The cake turned out well but I preferred another version of the Danish spice cake, one that is evocative of Christmas and all those aromatic spices. I have posted both Ted’s and my recipe below.

Danish

Spice Cake

cake on cooling tray

In Australia, we do not have easy access to the wonder that is a range of fermented milk products, so I substituted sour cream and plain probiotic yoghurt, in place of cultured milk.

Ted’s Danish Spice Cake

2,1 pint / 1 l flour
1,6 pint / 7.5 dl sugar
3 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon cloves, ground
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg
1,6 pint / 7.5 dl cultured milk (see note below)
5,3 oz. / 150 g margarine

[1] Set the oven at 390 F / 200 C.

[2] Melt the margarine.

[3] Mix all the dry ingredients.

[4] Mix the eggs with milk and margarine, and stirred into the dry.

[5] Bake in pan for approximately 30 min.

Note:
Cultured milk or soured milk is a food product produced from the acidification of milk. It is not the same as spoiled milk that has gone bad, commonly but incorrectly called soured and which may contain toxins.

Acidification, which gives the milk a tart taste, is achieved either through the addition of an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, or through bacterial fermentation. The acid causes milk to coagulate and form a thicker consistency, and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and thus improves its shelf life. Soured milk that is produced by bacterial fermentation is more specifically called fermented milk or cultured milk.

Wikipedia

Amanda’s Danish Spice Cake

Ingredients:

danish cake
  • 2 dl Dark Brown sugar
  • 0.5 dl White sugar
  • 4.5 dl Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ginger
  • 2 tsp Clove
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 tbspn Cocoa Powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 200ml Buttermilk or Yoghurt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100ml melted Copha/Coconut oil/Vegetable oil

 Method:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  2. Ensure melted Copha and buttermilk is at room temperature and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix well, but not too much.  If the Copha solidifies, place the bowl over a hot water bath and gently fold until even.
  4. Pour into greased cake tin, I used a ‘kugelhof’ or bundt mould.
  5. Bake in oven 175° celsius (350°F) for about 40 minutes.
  6. Cool 10 mins  before turning out.

For extra decadence (entirely optional):

Drizzle melted butter over the top and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar/dusting sugar.

Tips for measurement conversions: 

American

1 cup = 8 fl oz = 2.4 dl = 24 cl = 240 ml

British

1 cup = 10 fl oz = 2.8 dl = 280 ml

Australian

dl – 1 deciliter = 6 (scant) tablespoons

Reasons to Indulge in this Cake:

It doesn’t require heavy lashings of icing, and the less sugar we eat, the better for us, right?  (There is plenty of sugar in the cake itself, so why add more?)

While we are eating it, think of all the good things the spices are doing for our bodies!

Another tasty cake recipe using cinnamon is Apple and Cinnamon Bread.

Find more about the healthy benefits of Cinnamon.

#onecakeaweek

Have you posted a recipe for a cake? Post your link in the comments below.

Sunrise
food, health, home

To Sour A Dough

The uptake of families using their pandemic down time to create things at home, has led to shortages of essentials in stores in some places.

It is as if we have rewound the clock, to an earlier time, when takeaway was unknown and we prepared all of our own food. Which is such a better way to eat than packaged, pre-prepared foods that are preserved beyond comprehension and have a shelf life that Cro-Magnon man would envy?

Repressed Baker or Bakeaholic?

In my house, the baking frenzy – and the #onecakeaweek has been in full swing during the length of the Covid pandemic. Yet, I still bear the title of ‘Repressed baker.’

Or, perhaps it was likely that I was a baker in a former life?

I venture to say the joy of kneading bread dough borders on the therapeutic, for me at least. Kneading, folding, creating and then of course the joy of eating. It is almost blissful.

It is not the first time, this lapsed baker has made bread, but it has been a while.

When I turned 21 years old, I decided it was time to hang up my bread-making apron for other pursuits. Not only was the process of making bread time-consuming, but good yeast was hard to find and quite expensive. As a 20-something, the novelty of making my own varieties of bread quickly wore off.

Like others, the enforced leave from work, with adult kids who have (mostly), left the nest, means the urge to bake all kinds of things has returned with gusto.

Sourdough Mother

Now in the midst of lockdown, I returned to the kitchen to make sourdogh bread. I have already made loads of different kinds of cakes and sweet treats and was growing a sourdough mother under the expert tutelage of my blogger friends and bread-baking mentors, Sandy and Peggy.

Once I was able to secure some wholemeal flour, which was a feat in itself, given the shortages under Covid, I tended the sourdough starter lovingly for days and made a pancakes out of the discard.

The Final Result Sourdough Rolls

At the end of the week, I produced these wonderful Wholemeal Sourdough bread Rolls from Peggy‘s recipe.

bread rolls

I had enough to give some to my son and a friend. Surprisingly, the friend who happens to be Danish, so is used to beautifully cooked bread, raved about my sourdough rolls.

I was a little surprised she liked them, as I found them quite dense in texture and sliced them thinly to toast them. But then compared to Rugbrød, the Danish Rye bread, they are most likely light and airy given that the Danes like their bread really heavy and solid.

Danish Rugbrød or Ryebread

The Sourdough Mother has now gone, so I will have to start the process over again, which is a lot of fun.

Next time, it will be with Rye flour and linseed, just like the Danes, I think.

A Home by the Sea
food, home

Not Your Average Carrot Cake

I was racking my brains to find the location for a recipe for Carrot Cake I had saved somewhere. It has been sitting in my file notes for I think, several years.

Last week, I made it. The M.o.t.h. loves Carrot cakes as he figures as it is a vegetable, it is all healthy and he can have a larger helping! Although it doesn’t work like that, at least he is getting a bit more fibre in his diet!

The added bonus of cardamon gives it an aromatic hint of something more. Something a little Nordic.

Research online tells me that this recipe is adapted from the bakery of the iconic Rosendal trädgården (a horticultural garden in front of Rosendal Palace) in Stockholm.

city of stockholm across the water

I don’t ever ice my cakes, they are sweet enough, already – for me. And cake icing and a sub tropical climate doesn’t make a good marriage. It is melts everywhere and is so messy.

If you do want to ice the cake the cream cheese icing works really well and provides a slightly savoury and sweet combination, so popular in Scandinavian cuisine.

Carrot and Cardamon Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 225 ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 310 g caster sugar
  • 170 g grated carrot
  • 3 eggs
  • 240 g plain flour
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 40 g chopped walnuts

Icing

  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 180 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Cook’s notes (Source: sbs.com.au)

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC – (390º F) bit lower if using a fan-forced oven.

  • Beat the oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes, until light yellowish white.
  • Keep beating while you add the carrot and the eggs, one at a time.
  • Add the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Mix for a few minutes
  • Stir in the walnuts with a spatula.
  • Using a greased 23 cm round cake tin or an 11 x 6 ” loaf pan, bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool in its tin for 10 minutes then turn out. If using the loaf pan, you might have enough over to make a smaller friand loaf as well – (around 5″x3″) – good to pop in the freezer if needed later.

To make the icing by beating together all the ingredients until smooth.

Recipe originally from The New Nordic by Simon Bajada

Linking to the Trent’s Weekly Smile and Curl’s and Skirls Tea Party

A Home by the Sea
tree lined road
blogging, environment, writing

Sunrise and Sunset at the Beach

The morning sun rising over water can be one of the most invigorating feelings for the spirit and the body. Stimulating, within us, a bundle of potential energy to begin our day.

Sunrise is a time to bear witness to the opening of the universe’s portal to eternity. Untouchable and surreal.

When the sun breaks over the low, scudding clouds that persistently hang on the horizon, we are blessed with a fleeting splendour of golden rays that nourish in our spirit endless possibilities.

After hours of restful slumber, being present and mindful during a sunrise brings feelings of anticipation and promise: a myriad of potentials for a day we have yet to explore.

Sunsets

The amazing thing, about where I live, is the experience of both sunrise and sunset over the water. This is the beauty of living on a peninsula, with sea water on three sides.

The evening light show that Mother nature provides, is more often subdued than her morning counterpart.

More mellow, the tones of sunset can be at times be ever so thrilling, so excitable you cannot look away, lest the magic of what you are seeing, disappears.

Mostly laid back energy, the sunset is evocative of our time to chill out, to prepare for the evening and its accompanying slower pace. The light show nature lays out for us in a glorious sunset such as this, changes from a deep luminescent orange and gold, to a deep purple and hot pink.

The artist that is our Mother Nature is the consummate colour harmonizer. Sunset colours blend seamlessly. She never gets it wrong!

Life at my Home by the Sea is always satisfying.

Reaffirming something I have been waiting my whole life to experience.

I breathe a deep breath of satisfaction.

Sunrise
blogging, home

A Midlife Sea Change – Is it for you?

Right now on Cresting the Hill, you will find my post as guest blogger for Leanne’s MIDLIFE SYMPHONY series.

In this series, bloggers discuss what we are doing to make the second half of life the best half of life. Arguably, the best years of your life?

My house move to the Home by the Sea turned into a better than expected lifestyle change just the way I had dreamt of it. Read more about my sea change.

A Home by the Sea
pickled cucumber
food, health, home

DIY Pickled Cucumber Salad -Agurksalat Recipe

I love to try Nordic cooking and dishes. My connection with my Danish family feels a little stronger when I make something peculiarly Danish.


The bonus comes when the dish is healthy AND tasty.


Cucumbers are a humble yet versatile vegetable that hold an important place in salads and summer dishes.

Pickled cucumbers extend the life of salad vegetables, so we can enjoy them for longer. For those of us living in a warmer part of the world, cucumbers are an everyday part of life.

Nutritional Benefits of Cucumber



In just a single cup of cucumber slices, you’ll get 14% to 19% of the vitamin K you need for the day. In addition, you will find vitamins B and C along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

Web.MD

Danish Cucumber Salad


This really quick and simple form of cucumber salad, (or in Danish, ‘Agurksalat’), that can extend the life of your salad vegetables and impart another flavour to your meals.


Tart and scrumptious with a tuna or smoked salmon sandwich, or with cold meats, this form of cucumber salad will keep in the fridge for days.

If you run out, you can reuse the liquid and top up with another cucumber or two before you dispose of it.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1- 2 thinly sliced cucumbers (I use Lebanese)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ground pepper
  • Rosemary or Dill
  1. Thinly slice cucumbers. Peel them if you prefer or have an issue with digesting vegetable skins.
  2. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. Set aside for an hour then drain off the liquid, or pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place the sliced and drained cucumbers in a glass jar. Use a glass jar due to the vinegar. (2 cups is a good starting amount, but you can use up to 2 full cucumbers for the amount of vinegar and sugar.) Add more if you are using large cucumbers but equal quantities of vinegar and sugar.
  4. Place the vinegar and sugar in a pan. Heat until sugar is dissolved. I throw mine in the microwave for a minute. (Feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of water if you feel that the vinegar is too strong.)
  5. Pour the vinegar and sugar over the cucumbers. Add pepper to taste. (Black pepper is fine, but white is less noticeable.)
  6. Place a sprig of dill or rosemary in the jar (optional) and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

NB. As you finish the cucumbers, you can slice some more and continue to use the liquid for some time.

Whilst everyone has their own individual recipe, there are many similar versions

A Home by the Sea


food

Polish Food – Bigos

Do you live in the southern half of the world? If so, I am thinking you might be preparing for the onslaught of cooler weather. During our short winter season, I recreated a taste that I had brought back home with me, when I returned from Poland: the Polish national dish, called “Bigos.”

Polish food
Bigos

Bigos is a meal based on the Polish sausage, Kielbasa, but any kind of cooked sausage works well if you make your own version. It might be nice to try Chorizo sausage, but I actually used Bratwurst, as that is what I had to hand. It is still a traditional Bigos no matter what meal you use, as Wikipedia states:

“The variety of meats is considered essential for good bigos; its preparation may be a good occasion to clean out one’s freezer and use up leftovers from other meat dishes.”

Making Bigos is a great use of leftovers, especially sausage and cabbage, because unless you like curried sausages, which my other half most decidedly doesn’t, you aren’t left with too many other options with using up leftover bratwurst.

But Bigos IS an option you do have. And what’s more, it’s a very forgiving dish. Being a traditional dish of not only Poland, but also Belarus and Lithuania, it is said that there are as many recipes for Bigos, as there are cooks in Poland!

Traditionally, Bigos would be served at large family gatherings, like Christmas or Easter, but centuries ago, it was more common to cook Bigos in a simply pot over a camp fire, whilst out, “hunting,” hence the term, “Hunter’s Stew.”

Wikipedia

Like many stews or casseroles, it’s flavour improves with subsequent reheating and refrigeration. One can vary the amount of sauerkraut/fresh cabbage and meat ratios used and thicken it with several ingredients such as flour, crumbled rye bread, or even grated raw potato.

In Silesian Poland, they add a potato dumpling to thicken the stew prior to serving.

This very forgiving flexible, hearty dish is just the ticket for an upcoming cool Autumn/Winter night. It could also be easily made in the slow cooker, ready and waiting for when one arrives home from work, in the evening!

Originally, this recipe came from Allrecipes.com, but I have varied it a great deal and so have reproduced it here.

Polish Bigos Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices hickory-smoked bacon
  • 1 large cooked bratwurst, kielbasa other Polish sausage, sliced
  • 250g cubed pork/ham
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced  or other hard vegetables
  • 1 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage – any variety is fine
  • 250g sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dry red wine- I didn’t have any so I left this out
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch caraway seed, crushed
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 50g mushrooms,  diced
  • 1 dash hot chilli sauce (optional)
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef/chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons tinned tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup tinned diced tomatoes

Method

  1.  Add the bacon and kielbasa/bratwurst sausage to a large saucepan on medium heat. Cook and stir until the bacon, sausage, pork or ham is lightly browned.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and sauerkraut. Reduce heat to medium, then cook and stir until the carrots are soft; about 10 minutes. Do not let the vegetables brown.
  4. Add the red wine and heat, stirring to loosen all of the bits that are stuck to the bottom. I used a little stock as I had no wine!
  5. Season with the bay leaf, the herbs, paprika, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute.
  6. Mix in the mushrooms, chili sauce if you wish, Worcestershire sauce, remaining chicken or beef stock, tomato paste and tomatoes. Heat through just until boiling. Cover with a lid.
  7. Simmer on the stove for 1 1/2 hours or Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or on low/auto in a slow cooker.
  8. I omitted the use of flour, but if the Bigos has not condensed down to the consistency of a casserole, add 1 -2 tablespoon of cornflour mixed in a little cold water and mix in. Cook for 5- 10 minutes till thickened.
A Home by the Sea