boscobel beach ginger cake

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I don’t know if this cake is an authentic Jamaican recipe.

Prepping for this cake, I can honestly say, was a bother. First there is scraping the ginger root and whizzing it in the blender; then, I had to sift the brown sugar (brown sugar in Bangkok has large “stones” in it which must be removed before baking), and third, I must melt butter and mix it with flour for prepping the pan. This last step can be avoided by using flour-spray, but I prefer to use my own flour-butter mixture. In the end, I liked the way it turned out. The crumb was moist, the texture soft but firm, and the taste was cinnamon-y–it reminded me that Christmas is coming. So whether or not it’s really Jamaican doesn’t matter. It’s a great name for a cake.

Boscobel Beach Ginger Cake (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Prep time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes

For the Cake:
1 cup (227g) butter
1 1/4 cups (250g) packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup (50g) grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups (312g) all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, optional
1 1/2 tablespoons rum, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Grease and flour one 9-inch bundt cake pan (1 tablespoon melted butter to 1 tablespoon flour to make a paste). In a large bowl put flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt. Whisk 30 seconds to combine. Set aside.

2. In another large bowl, cream the butter on high speed about 30 second. Add the brown sugar and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the grated ginger and vanilla. At this stage, the mixture will look curdled. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and ending with the flour. Mix until just incorporated, scraping down the bowl between additions.  At the end, use a silicone spatula to hand-turn the batter at the bottom of the pan to make sure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Scrape batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, with just a few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan 30 minutes on a wire rack.  Turn out onto a wire rack for glazing. Cool thoroughly.

4. Glaze cake with rum icing. Set the cooled cake on the wire rack placed over a baking tray. In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons rum. If it is too thick, thin with a little milk. It should be thick but spreadable. Spoon over the top of the cake, letting glaze drip down the sides. Let glaze dry before slicing cake.

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salmon and potato strata

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Salmon and Potato Strata
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes

4 medium potatoes, whole, peeled or unpeeled, cut into thin rounds
2 salmon steaks, cut up into small cubes, skinned and boned
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery (can substitute green peas)
4 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup broth (chicken or beef)
seasoning salt to taste
1 tablespoon herbs (parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, etc. or a mixture)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook for 7-10 minutes then drain and rinse under cool running water until cool to the touch.

2. In a large bowl, add salmon, onion, celery or peas, eggs, milk, broth, 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, and herbs. Mix well together.

3. Put 1/2 potatoes in the bottom of a 3-4 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle potato layer with a little seasoning salt. Cover potatoes with 1/3 of the salmon mixture. Repeat and end with the salmon mixture. Sprinkle seasoning salt on top.

4. Bake uncovered 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden and crusty, and the egg is set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

brown sugar bundt cake

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I follow the blogger  Food Librarian who has a whole page devoted to bundt cakes. I chose this one because of its simplicity; all the ingredients are either in the refrigerator or the pantry, and therefore can be whipped up on the spur of the moment. Instead of glazing the cake with the brown sugar glaze below, I merely dusted confectioner’s sugar on top.

Brown Sugar Bundt (Food Librarian)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 50-55 minutes

Cake:
1 cup butter (227g), room temp/70 degrees
2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 cups (386 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 ml) whole milk

Brown Sugar Glaze:
1/2 c (100 g) packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla extract

Oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pan: 12-cup Bundt pan. Butter and flour pan generously.

1. Dry ingredients: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

2. Cream & Combine: Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter with sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Scrape sides of bowl.

3. Combine dry & wet: On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in three additions and milk in two additions. Don’t overmix.

4. Bundt Pan: Spoon into bundt pan and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula.

5. Bake: Place pan in the oven (never put a Bundt pan on a tray – air needs to circulate through the hole in the center of the Bundt pan). Bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, about 60 minutes. Check early, mine was done in at 55 minutes.

6. Cooling : Place Bundt on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert and let cool completely on a wire rack.

7. Glaze: In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, milk and salt and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla and let the glaze cool and thicken slightly. Pour glaze over cooled cake.

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tagliarini

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My sister gave me the Canadian Cookbook as a memento after a visit to Calgary. In it was this marvelous recipe for a one-pot pasta meal that quickly became a family favorite. Now I make it for the left overs. I’ve altered the recipe over the years by grinding my own ground meat and adding fresh carrots and corn.

Tagliarini (adapted from the Canadian Cookbook)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
kernels of 2 ears of medium sized corn on the cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium carrots, cubed
1 pound ground lean pork tenderloin
2 x 400g diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
250g flat very thin pasta (e.g. linguine), broken into large pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (optional)
1 medium sweet pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch pot. Cook the onions until almost translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the corn and the carrots and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the empty pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and brown the meat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chili pepper, if using. Return the carrot and corn mixture to the pot. Add the diced tomatoes, the water, and the pasta. Cover and cook 35 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Mix in the sweet pepper and the celery.

Cook’s Note: If the pasta seems too dry during cooking add another 1/2 cup water.

Spoon into individual serving plates or bowls. Serve with grated cheese on top and garlic bread on the side.

The garlic bread is so easy it doesn’t need a recipe, just a baguette, 2 tablespoons salted butter, and 1 large clove garlic minced fine. Then I pop it in a hot oven to warm up the bread and melt the butter, about 10 minutes.

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mama’s bundt butter cake

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This cake only has 6 ingredients. It yields a cake with a moist and tender crumb. The cake can be  glazed too. My favorite glaze for this cake is the lemon-lime glaze for a 7-up cake . Just mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 tablespoon lime juice to 1 cup confectioner’s sugar. It adds just the right amount of sweetness with a tangy citrus flavor.

Mama’s Bundt Butter Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

227 grams unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
338g superfine sugar
281g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F. Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan with butter, making sure to get inside all the crevices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix the butter on low speed to soften. Add the vanilla. Pour in the sugar all at once and mix on medium speed 2-3 minutes until the butter-sugar mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides.

Add the flour all at once to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed until the flour mixture is just incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan lightly on the counter top to dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 30 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Invert the pan and unmold the cake. Cool completely. Simply dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.