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Daily Archives: July 14, 2013

Blueberry and Cumquat Cake with Sugared Pecans

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The basis of this cake is a recipe from Annabel Langbein in the July 2013 delicious. magazine – Blackberry and Orange Teacake. I had some cumquat marmalade left over from a bottling session earlier in the week, plus some frozen blueberries on hand, so I used these to add my stamp to the cake. The recipe called for chopped almonds – I’m a big fan of pecans, so I used these instead in the topping.

Ingredients

125 gms softened butter

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 tbls cumquat marmalade (or substitute any citrus marmalade)

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp bicarabonate of soda

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup caster sugar

To serve: a handful of blueberries, a sprinkling of caster sugar (optional) and thick cream.

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C or 150 degrees C fan-forced. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line base with baking paper.

Cream butter, caster sugar, vanilla paste and eggs in a food processor until thick and pale. Beat in sour cream and cumquat marmalade, reserving a good teaspoonful, then add alternately SR flour and milk in 3 batches. Combine the bicarbonate of soda, remaining marmalade and 1 tsp water in a small bowl, then pulse into the cake mixture.

Spoon into the cake tin using a spatula, then scatter the blueberries (reserving a handful),  and chopped pecans over the batter. Lastly sprinkle over the brown sugar, making sure the nuts are well covered. The nuts will caramelise nicely during baking.

Bake for 45 minutes, then gently open oven door and scatter remaining blueberries and caster sugar over cake. This is to ensure that some of the blueberries sit on top of the cake  – some will have sunk into the mixture during the initial cooking.

Close oven door and cook for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the tin before unmoulding.

Serve with more berries, a sprinkling of sugar if desired, and lots of thick cream!

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Artist and Artisan’s retreat – Idyllic Southern Highlands

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I was lucky enough to spend some time this week with my old and dear friends, the Artist and the Artisan, partners in life and in so many varied creative activities.

The Artist can turn her hand to anything artistic, but ceramics feature strongly in her work. The Artisan can build anything – from a house to a kiln to a chook pen, and is a pretty mean chook handler to boot!

They inhabit what could only be described as an idyllic retreat in the Southern Highlands. Five acres of beautiful parkland, complete with its own Hansel and Gretel forest, as well as manicured lawns, lush flower and vegetable gardens, and abundant fruit trees, make you wonder whether you have entered a fairytale country from some distant northern land. The surrounding open spaces and view of Mt Alexandra and the bush remind us that we are indeed still in rural NSW.

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Nestled in these gardens is the house, early 20th century, quaint and idiosyncratic, once a residential institution, and now owned and under loving restoration by the Artist and the Artisan.

Behind the old house is the gem of the property: a large and light filled studio, home to many of the Artist’s own works and those of her creative friends, as well as works of other established artists, and a wonderful place for communal entertaining.

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On this occasion the Artist had invited some friends who are keen potters to spend the day glazing their works and firing them in the kiln which resides in the back garden.

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I was there to enjoy the day, the beautiful repast and to photograph my latest baking creation, Blueberry and Cumquat Cake with Sugared Pecans.

I also got to glaze my own ceramic pot – my very first foray into the world of ceramics – I think I’m hooked! A fabulous day all round!

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