Friday, 11 March 2011
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy
I just had to. Couldn't resist. Could you?
I looked at the ingredients and thought I must make this. A proper moist, fiery ginger cake. Full of sweetness and childhood memories of crystallised ginger and ice - cream.
It was the height of adventurous eating. Me, mum, Uncle Albert and Aunt Sylvia, after the Frankie ("Give Me the Moonlight") Vaughan's Summer Spectacular at the Hippodrome, seated at the only Chinese restaurant in Brighton's "Lanes". Fried egg rice, pork in a sweet chilli sauce, funny coloured tea and for afters - crystallised ginger, masses of sweet sugary ginger juice and a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. Topped off with a fan wafer.
Adventurous excursions to exotic eateries took place very infrequently. Such trips happened only when wealthy, sophisticated, as I thought, relatives and friends visited us and helped Mum out financially by paying Grand Hotel prices for B&B at our house.
More than 50 years on I can still remember Mum's attempt at emulating Indian sub continent cuisine. A hard boiled egg trapped in a quick sand of a yellowish sauce, boiled to death rice and a few sultanas and raisins. I dread to think how it was made, although a suspiciously yellow coloured tin with a "Mild Curry Powder" label was the prime suspect, in the case of the poisoned taste-buds.
Other culinary wreckages that fetched up on my mother's "Scylla and Charybdis" kitchen included curried prawns with the heads and all the shell on, and "fluffy" rice made out of the sweet pudding variety.
Her forays into "Continental" cookery were equally disastrous. Heinz spaghetti, reinforced with tomato ketchup, green salad drenched in Heinz salad dressing in which stranded baby slugs swam to the shore.
No wonder, when I went for a meal with my first serious girl friend - I knew it was serious 'cause I was invited to Sunday tea - I thought sliced tomatoes in Worcester sauce was the height of fine dining.
Such memories bring a lump to my throat. And so to the memory of my mother and a generation of "boil the cabbage 'til it screams for mercy" cooks I dedicate the following:
Delia's Preserved Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing
5 pieces of preserved stem ginger in syrup, chopped
2 tbsps ginger syrup (see above)
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 heaped tsp grated fresh root ginger
175 g soft butter, plus a knob for greasing
175 g of caster sugar
3 large eggs (not straight from the fridge)
1 tbsp of molasses syrup
225 g of self raisin flour
1 level tbsp of ground almonds
2 tbsp of milk
For the icing
Juice of 1 lemon
225 g icing sugar
2 extra pieces of preserved stem ginger
Heat the oven to 170C
Delia uses a rectangular cake tin but I found a smallish round tin with a removable bottom produced a much jollier cake. Grease the tin lightly and place a sheet of baking parchment in the base.
The next few step are basic for any cake mix. Cream the butter and caster sugar, until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time ensuring they're fully blended into the mixture.
Next fold in the ginger syrup and mollasses; but this time things are seriously sticky so a oiled spatula is a useful tool here. (Unless, of course, like me sticky figures are an excuse to lick off all the luscious goo with one's tongue!)
Sift the flour and ground ginger into a separate bowl or plate and gradually fold it into the goo at a tablespoon at a time. I like this part, it just slows down the process and one can drift away. Once you've returned, fold in the almonds followed by the dribble of milk, the grated fresh ginger, and the chopped up stem ginger.
Pour this simmering concoction into the baking tin, giving it a gentle shake to level out the mixture: pop it into the oven and leave for 45 - 50 minutes when it should have risen beautifully and is springy and firm to touch in the centre. Leave it to cool and when it has take it out of the cake tin. Delia at this stage makes a lemon icing which she dribbles over the cool cake, but my wife stopped me!
I love it's roundness and its raised centre is broken. Looks a bit like a very large muffin. And it's very tasty.