Monthly Archives: November 2013

Golden Wattle Tea Cake

It’s particularly grim weather in London today. One mustn’t complain too much as we’ve had a few days of sunshine and most importantly this morning has been born a NewHuman to our very good friends. I shall dedicate this post to her, RJBF, as she’s barely 8 hours old at the time of writing and already causing dramas. Takes after her mother, which is wonderful.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving, dedicating a post to a newborn child. I can regale her with stories of visitor stats and comments. Such a treat in store for her.

It’s a terrible thing, parenthood. It comes with it so many societal norms and assumed values, and is supported by an industry that seems to me to run on the power of guilt. I’ve managed to avoid a lot of it through dint of being an ornery old cow but even I, heart made of steel, have fallen foul of the Parenting Guilt Trap more times than it’s cool to admit. I DO NOT APPROVE.  I’m basing this on almost 6 months of experience. I feel well qualified to comment. Basically if your kid is alive, loved, sometimes clean and mostly warm, then you’re onto a winner.  I am going to write a parenting book, I think, and title it ‘It’s Probably Fine, Stop Worrying and Go Have a Drink’.

Anyway, moving on, this tea cake is from a legendary cookbook of my youth, The Golden Wattle. Our copy at home was held together with the concrete remains of various flours, some not-very-sticky sellotape and carefully placed batter drops from this very cake.  The photos for this post date back to the day before my NewHuman was born. I made this before falling headfirst (and morphine-assisted, oh yeah) into parenting and I think there’s still some left in the freezer.  Cake, that is.

We ate a lot of this growing up. It is a Plain Cake but one, slathered in cold butter per slice, which is very satisfying. Much better than those bloody annoying Weekender Biscuits, as previously posted.

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Preheat your oven to 180C.

Gather:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
vanilla extract – the good stuff
1 and 1/2 cups Self Raising flour
1/2 -3/4 cup of milk.

Grease and line a loaf tin.  Actually, don’t line it. It’s a faff and you don’t need to bother with this cake.

20131120-094722.jpg Cream butter and sugar together quite well, then add the egg and beat it.  Beat it well. Beat it like the showy mothers who homecook all their weaning child’s food, freezing pureed blocks of organically grown carrots in their specially purchased freezers, and then blog about it.

Stir through the vanilla.

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Sift in half the flour then add half the milk, stir through, and repeat until all flour & milk has gone.

Complex, eh?

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Pour the batter into your greased loaf tin.  Now the original recipe I think says to bake 15-20 minutes in moderate oven but that’s batshit crazy.  I can’t remember now seeing as it’s six months ago but I’m fairly confident I baked mine for closer to 40 mins or so. Basically you want a clean skewer type situation, so see how you get on.

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The dog had two consecutive vet visits last week – an unexplained skin infection (yuk, gross, expensive and ugly) and then the very next morning she managed to magically tear her front leg open on an invisible stick. Staples ahoy (yuk, ow, ugly and urgh). Also expensive. Anyway NewHuman has been keen to investigate, as demonstrated above. Dog is rightly unsure about his fine motor skills.

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Right – cake out of the oven when clean skewer has been achieved.

Grab a block of butter from somewhere – if you’re like me you have about a hundred butter-ends from all those recipes who call for slightly less than 250g. Anyway, one of them. Rub it along the cake whilst cake is still hot. Melty melty goodness. Rub a lot of it in.

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Sprinkle  caster sugar and cinnamon on top. I actually think the original recipe says do this, and then when cake cooled to cut the cake in half and spread it with butter, then rejoin. We don’t bother that that in my family. We just butter the top, and then layer butter on a slice, like bricklayer’s cement.

Eat, enjoy.  Some kind of hot beverage is good with this.  It’s called tea cake, innit.

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Weekender Biscuits

Afternoon.

Sorry for the brief break in communications. We’ve been in Morocco.  Allow me to brag a little:-

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The villa. Now, if you’re some rich millionaire who stays where they like when they like then this villa could be yours for some crazy price per night, in peak season.  If you are cheap but lucky bastards like us you (i) travel off peak and (ii) jag a deal that means you get a week of virtual solitude (apart from the hot French lady-neighbours in the next villa whose bikini bodies put my Speedo Enduro racer-back to such shame it still won’t speak to me) for rather a lot less.

We are cheap and lucky. The pool was heated, fabulous and accessible by falling straight into it from various villa doorways. Perfect for me who has a terrible habit of falling over and/or being drunk.

Anyway, Essaouira. I recommend it.  The medina was rather aces and whilst ten mins away from the villa was a whole world away in terms of everything else. Fabulous. And smelly. And a lot of cats, donkeys and dogs who I wanted to rescue.

I’m home now, we all are. It’s time to make Weekender biscuits. I’m fairly confident in saying that most children of my generation learnt to bake these pretty much first time we were allowed near any kind of oven. Aussie classic, recipe via the Australian Women’s Weekly. I don’t recall loving to make them very much as a kid, mostly cause the cornflakes bit is boring and messy.  That is, cornflakes are a boring cereal and crushing them and rolling the biscuits in them is messy. Still, here we are, all these years later and I survived it so well I am attempting it again.  Like many of these childhood faves I’ve not actually eaten one till now for YONKS but they are as good as ever.  Pretty basic, but good. Like NewHuman, actually.

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Preheat your oven to about 180C.

Gather:-

125g butter

75g caster sugar

I put in about a teaspoon of vanilla paste but the trad recipe doesn’t. But I do. So, you know, DO IT.

110g sultanas. I’m sure if you don’t like sultanas then (i) apologise to your bowels and (ii) substitute for another dried fruit of your choice.

1 egg

1 cup self raising flour

1 and a half cups cornflakes, crushed.  That’s not crushed cornflakes. That’s cornflakes, then crushed. K?

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Beat the butter and sugar, an electric mixer or hand beater will be your friend here, till smooth. Unusually for me I like to do this till it’s fairly fluffy.  I mostly can’t be bothered with that otherwise. Add your vanilla.

Then add the egg, beat till combined, then tip in the flour. You can either stir the flour through with the sultanas or carefully use your machine to incorporate the flour and then do the sultanas by hand.

Either way it’s a sticky bugger of a mix. Bloody biscuits.

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On a plate crush your cornflakes in your hand, pretending they are the skulls of whatever terrible Conservative politician you favour on the day. Today I went with Iain Duncan Smith. For those of you not au fait with him and his role in UK politics, feel free to google. Best you not be poor, a single parent mother, unemployed, have a serious and chronic illness, disability, etc etc.

ANYWAY. Crush them to around about the above consistency.

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Roll rounded teaspoons into balls and drop into the cornflakes, coating them.  Place on a tray and flatten slightly.

Into the oven for about 20 mins or so, or until lightly browned.

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NewHuman enjoyed the local wildlife. I enjoyed that the local wildlife had no chance of escape, really, and that even I, broken-kneed as I am, had a chance of grabbing a closer look. Tortoises on your lawn in the morning was very cool. Do they make good soup?

Biscuits out, leave to cool on trays. Eat.  As usual the Women’s Weekly wildly over-estimates how many this mix makes. They reckon 35. BOLLOCKS. I got 22. Or 23. Or something. And I only ate about 3 biscuit’s worth of mix. So. Make of that what you will.

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