If it ain’t broke…

I recently made an apple cake with rum; a winning recipe from Dorie Greenspan which was consumed eagerly by my family with cries for more.  But, I had to try a different recipe… I couldn’t just rest that I had found the nirvana of simple rustic country apple cake recipes.

So, I tried this one pinned from the fabulous Leite’s Culinaria site. It was good, very good, but it didn’t turn out for me as I think it was supposed to. The recipe describes part of the cake as almost pudding like in texture, mine was dry, no hint of gooey pudding. The apple mixture looks plentiful in the recipe, layers upon layers of thin slices of moist apples. In fact, more apple than cake. But, the instructions said to cut the apples into eighths which left big sections of apple – I cut them in half again but I still didn’t get the layers of apples I expected, they seemed to mysteriously clump together in the middle.

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Many times I think that it is not so much the recipe as the interpretation. Which is why we all have our favourite cookbooks, where the writer/chef/cook seems to have a similar style of cooking and the recipes just work.

This wasn’t a keeper for me, I will stick with Dorie’s recipe – which was simpler to put together and had better texture and flavour. This one was good, it just wasn’t as great.

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One Pot Pasta

These one pot pasta miracles show up on Pinterest regularly. With a bare cupboard and limited time to cook dinner it seemed like the perfect time to try one.

This particular recipe is from Martha Stewart’s new cookbook “One Pot”. However, if like me you don’t have the book, the recipe is available on the website here.

One Pan Pasta

My other half was hugely sceptical, especially when all the ingredients were in the pan and there didn’t seem like there was going to be enough water to cook the pasta. But there was and the end result was surprisingly good. I have no idea if they cook pasta this way in Italy or if it is some sort of pasta travesty but it seemed to work.

The dish was delicious eaten immediately but I did notice that any leftovers had a slightly mushy texture. This could be down to the fact that I used regular spaghetti instead of the linguini called for in the recipe (quicker cooking time?).

Would definitely make this again – a fun recipe for rental vacations or even outdoor cooking where cooking utensils and kitchen space are limited.

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I have a confession, I am addicted to Pinterest – seriously addicted.

This is one of those Pinterest recipes that you see, pin and just have to make. I have also pinned several other versions of this cake (also called Magic Cake) because that is the beauty (or waistline downfall) of Pinterest, it suggest similar pins and you just can’t stop pinning. I am surprised I have time to actually make anything.

We love flan (really, who doesn’t) and we love chocolate cake (again, who doesn’t) so a combined two-for-one sounded like a result. This recipe is from Food Network’s Marcela Valladolid and can be found here.

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This cake was a big hit despite two major errors in the making of it.

Firstly, I completely spaced out on the 12 cup bundt pan – who knew bundt pans came in different sizes? I had the foresight to check my pan and it was only 6 cups (a 12 cup bundt pan must be ginormous). Luckily, I have two of them 6 cuppers – great, two cakes to eat.

Secondly, I don’t know how, but I completely forgot to cover the bundt pans with foil as they went in the oven. The result is they overcooked and the cake was a little dry and the flan a little too set.

Amazingly, the cakes survived these bungles and were not only edible, but delicious. I can only imagine how fantastic this cake is when made following the recipe!

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Personally, we preferred this cake cold from the fridge as warm or room temperature flan is just odd tasting. We also omitted the nuts and extra caramel, it didn’t need it and I didn’t think the chopped nuts sounded appealing.

This was a big hit in our house and the magic part of it makes for a clever and delicious desert. I am now on the hunt for a 12 cup bundt pan…

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Although I am a dedicated collector of all things print, I can’t help but acknowledge that the internet is a truly amazing resource for cooks.

I love the Leite’s Culinaria website and David’s book “The New Portuguese Table” is high up on my wishlist. We have a house in Portugal and although we seem to have a love hate relationship with the food we really miss it now we are not there.

Although David’s book is all about Portuguese food – which seems to be one of those things that when its good, it’s very, very good and when it’s bad, it’s very, very bad – the Leite’s Culinaria site is more eclectic and definitely not just all things Portugal. This recipe is not Portuguese at all although I am sure they would happily make and eat it, after all who doesn’t like ice cream? Thinking about it, this recipe would probably go down a storm in Portugal where, it seems, a large majority of puddings contain a can of condensed milk.

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It is a real winner and it is REALLY easy. I love home made ice cream but when you have a family, cranking out the egg yolk and cream concoctions can be expensive and what to do with all those egg whites… So I love a recipe that takes short cuts but still tastes great.

For me, the biscuit gave the ice cream a bitty texture as it broke down even more when I mixed it in. I would prefer just the ice cream and strawberry puree with maybe a biscuit topping separate, but I was the outsider on this one as the rest of the family loved it. Just yesterday my daughter asked when I was going to make her favourite ice cream. Definitely a keeper and if made with frozen strawberries easy to whip up any time of year.

The recipe Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream can be found here.