Macaroon syrup cake

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I’ll leave it to Lois to convince you that you need to make this cake:

‘In this luscious sryup-soaked cake, a high proportion of coconut ensures a rich, moist, chewy texture. On first tasting it, my daughter [Mary Daish] described it as “Bounty bar cake”.’

Sold.

Macaroon syrup cake (adapted slightly from Lois Daish, Listener, February 17, 2001 p. 43)

150g butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

4 free-range eggs

1 cup flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups desicated coconut

1/2 cup ground almonds

Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

zest of 1 lemon or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

Preheat oven to 160˚C and butter a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture followed by the coconut. Scrape into the prepared cake tin, smooth off the top, and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes away clean.

While the cake is baking prepare the syrup by gently heating all three ingredients together in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot syrup over the warm cake and leave for a few hours before serving.

Asparagus carbonara

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Lois’ ingenious idea: use the tough, woody ends of the asparagus to flavour the pasta cooking water to make this dish taste even more asparagus-y. You’ll also be making use of the whole asparagus spear and minimising food waste. Once again so on trend it’s ridiculous, Lois.

This will make enough for two.

Asparagus carbonara (Lois Daish, A Good Year, p.123)

1 free-range egg

1 free-range egg yolk

2 tablespoons cream

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

200g spaghetti

12 thin asparagus spears

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Snap the woody ends off the asparargus and place in a large pot of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes before scooping out the asparagus ends (discard these). Salt the water and add the spaghetti.

Chop the asparagus spears into thick slanted slices. Combine the egg, egg yolk, cream, salt, pepper and cheese together in a small bowl and set aside.

When the pasta is almost cooked, add the asparagus. When both are tender, drain into a sieve, using the cooking liquid to heat a large serving bowl. Tip out the liquid and add the spaghetti and asparagus to the bowl. Toss with the oil and pour on the egg and cream mixture. Toss together and eat immediately. As if you needed telling.

Apple & almond cake

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This recipe contains only a small amount of flour, so you can easily sub in some gluten-free flour to make a gluten-free cake if that’s what you’re into; it’s already dairy-free just the way it is. Lois suggests baking the cake in two tins and then sandwiching the thin layers with some whipped cream, which sounds like a bloody excellent idea to me.

Apple & almond cake (Lois Daish, Good Food, p. 114)

3 free-range eggs

150g caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar; I keep a vanilla pod in a jar of caster sugar to gently infuse it)

50g flour (can use a gluten-free flour here)

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

170g ground almonds

2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla paste)

1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling on top 

Preheat oven to 160˚C and line a 22cm loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture turns light in colour and thickens. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds and then fold this mixture into the eggs. Stir in the chopped apples and vanilla. Scrape mixture into tin, smooth the top, sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar and bake for 35 minutes until browned on top and firm to touch.

Note: I baked this cake using a conventional oven and when I checked it after 30 minutes the cake was still pale on top, so I turned the oven to fan bake and left the cake for another 5-7 minutes.