Zucchini Cake

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I loved zucchini cake when I was growing up. Looking with some confusion and a lack of inspiration at two ancient and bendy zucchinis this week I thought zucchini cake would be perfect for them. I scoured the web for a nice recipe and came up with a recipe from Paul Hollywood.

The recipe makes two loaves, which I did not want so I set about halving the proportions. That resulted in a dry crumbly mixture, so I added egg number 3 and a bit more oil. Then it was a bit too liquidy so I tossed in some more flour. In the end I thought that I had stuffed the whole thing up, so would throw it in the oven and see what happened. Considering my anarchic approach, I was surprised that such a lovely light, tasty cake came out of the oven!

I made no notes of any of the measurements I used as it was all a bit of guesswork. So I post instead the link to the recipe I should have followed.

http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/513936

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Fiakergulasch- Viennese Cab-Driver’s Stew

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A rare departure from our predominately vegetarian diet. Husband-Gusto offered to cook a nostalgic favourite at the weekend. The weather has turned wintry again and it is cold, windy and wet. Fiakergulasch was a favourite meal back in the days before Baby-Gusto was born and we tried to spend a few days in Vienna before Christmas each year. Glorious Vienna.  The Christmas lights, the Christmas markets. The gluh-wein and the rum-punch. Hot roasted chestnuts.  I believe the word ‘Fiaker’ is the word for the horse-drawn hackney cabs that have operated in Vienna since the 1600s and Fiakergulasch is a dish reputedly beloved of their drivers. Whatever the reason behind the name, this is a delicious stew. Perfect with a glass of red or a very great deal of beer. The stew is traditionally served with a fried egg,pickled gherkins and a frankfurter.

Ingredients

1 kg diced beef

1 kg onions thinly sliced

1crushed garlic clove

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1tablespoon white vinegar

4 cups hot beef stock

2 level teaspoons mixed herbs

1 teaspoon ground caraway

1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste

1 egg per person

1 frankfurter per person

1-2 pickled gherkins or cucumbers perperson

Cook onions in the olive oil on the hob. Add paprika, vinegar and beef stock. Add beef and herbs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes.Keep checking that the stock is not boiling off, add more if you need.  After 90 minutes, uncover, add tomato paste and simmer on a very low heat for another 20 minutes or so. Add salt pepper to taste.

Serve topped by the fried egg with the gherkin and cooked frankfurter on the side. Boiled potato dumplings round off this meal beautifully.

Spring

 

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How wonderful it is to finally see the signs of Spring after a dreary wet winter. This year I am determined to develop a little kitchen garden.We already have sage, thyme and rosemary well established. Last weekend we planted loads of strawberry plants. Baby-Gusto sewed his very own strawberry seeds and sunflower seeds a few weeks back, and the baby strawberries have thrown up teeny tiny shoots. I refuse to pay lottery-figure amounts for strawberries at the supermarkets, so hope to harvest our very own ….before the birds get them of course!

Happy Spring everyone.

Linguine with asparagus, pine nuts and chilli

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I was really pleased with how this dish turned out. We wanted something quite light and simple for dinner, and this was lovely with a green salad on the side.

Ingredients

2 bunches asparagus, chopped

1 large garlic clove, crushed

50 gm pine nuts

100 ml olive oil

1 tablespoon chilli flakes.

Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, drain and put aside. Cover to keep warm.

Put oil in a frying pan or saucepan and heat through. You want it hot, but not smoking hot. Add garlic and saute. When garlic is golden, add chilli and pine nuts and turn off the heat so it does not burn.

Cook linguine according to packet. Drain, and add to the pan. Add asparagus and toss through.

Salt and pepper to taste.