Sensing A Theme

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picture: Bill Hogan / Chicago Tribune via Seattle Times

Last week, I went browsing through some recipes I’d collected*, in search of interesting things to bake. It was soon clear that a few common elements are developing... This is quite like my wardrobe, which tends to contain large numbers of black tops with elbow length sleeves**.

The first thing is ginger. Lots and lots of recipes using ginger. Which can be less than helpful, given that the other penguin (who is the main recipient of my sporadic baking efforts) is not a ginger fan (substitute chocolate, caramel or vanilla for ginger, and it’s a big improvement in that quarter – no complaints from me on any of those three, but they can’t hold back the tide of ginger recipes that leap out at me***). Anything containing golden syrup seems to end up on the list as well. Also, cinnamon, honey and (yum) dark brown sugar. Anything that combines all of these ingredients is likely to result in unseemly gluttony. More so if it also involves icing.

Picture: The English Kitchen

The now-not-so-recent foray down south involved a visit to Oaklands, a nearby garden centre / antique place / café. Websites don’t seem quite as ubiquitous down there (given the availability of internet access, this isn’t a huge surprise. While I couldn’t survive without it for long, an occasional weekend of falling off the connected world can be a good break), but if you’re interested, there are some details of it hereOaklands also has flying pigs, and camels (the camels, as far as I know, don’t fly).

Picture: me, at Oaklands

The café has all sorts of promising options for lunch and morning and afternoon snack-ish things. I began with a special of a salmon and dill frittata, which was light, tasty, and reminded me that I really would like to try making frittata at home.

The cafe also does, rather randomly, croque monsieur (and madame). I’m not sure I ever met a croque madame I didn’t like, but after being spoiled with so many good options closer to home, it wouldn’t be my first choice from the menu. However, for those without a wide selection of local croques, it adequately fills the need.

The frittata was followed by triple ginger cake, shared with my mum. We were told this was their most popular menu item, and it was not at all hard to see why. The cake was spongy and treacly, with a rich ginger flavour. It came with rhubarb and apple compote, which matched beautifully with the sticky cake, and would also be great on porridge, muesli, with custard, or just in a large bowl with a spoon.

I had intended to take some photos of the beautiful and delicious cake. Unfortunately, this was as close as it got – a very empty plate with a lonely dollop of cream (having forgotten to order it without)...

So now, as well as the assorted ginger recipes that catch my eye, I’m on the lookout for something like the triple ginger cake, to see if it can be replicated at home.

* Google Reader is a wonderful thing for gathering recipes... For people that only like cookbooks with beautiful photos of what it ought to look like (which have the dual benefit of providing much greater motivation to cook something than happens with just a description, and also a yardstick of whether it turned out ok – much as taste is the main thing, if it doesn’t look like the photo, that tends to mean something went awry...), it’s very useful (and also fun) to look at what other people are cooking. And they’re normally more interesting and personal than the average cookbook. OK, this is way too long to be a note at the end!
** It also appears to be gaining momentum in gathering metallic tops, stripy things and interesting coloured ballet flats. Out loud, that sounds like I should never have a what-on-earth-do-I-wear?! day again. The reality, however, does not bear this out...
*** A leaping tide. Wow, there really are some badly mixed metaphors going on today.

Penguins love comments - please share your thoughts...

  © Blogger template "Shush" by 2009, changed to bits and pieces by the Sticky Penguin