It’s handy to have a few cake recipes up your sleeve that are both quick and simple. Even better to have one in your repertoire that doesn’t require you to pull out a written recipe at all. A Quatre-Quarts (aka Pound) cake is just that… and as long as you have a set of scales on hand, you can whip this cake up in a flash. Four main ingredients in equal quantities, though you may wish to enhance the basic batter, by adding spices like cinnamon or cardamom or by adding a hit of flavour with the likes of vanilla extract or citrus zest. This time around I’ve gone with the classic combination of orange and poppyseed, which I know will disappear all too quickly this afternoon when school gets out.
Orange Poppyseed Quatre-Quarts Cake | Gather and Graze
Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 18cm round cake tin.
Place a large mixing bowl on to a set of kitchen scales, ensuring it has been tared to 0g. Crack the 3 eggs into the bowl and take note of the weight. Mine weighed 160g.
Place the same weight of butter into a saucepan or microwaveable bowl and heat until just melted. Set aside to cool a little.
Add the same weight of caster sugar to the bowl with the eggs and whisk for 5 minutes or so, until creamy.
Sift in the same weight of self-raising flour, along with the pinch of salt, and fold in using the whisk until just combined.
Pour in the slightly cooled melted butter and fold in with the whisk until fully incorporated and the batter is smooth and silky.
Add the orange zest and poppy seeds and mix through evenly. Scoop the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30-35 mins, until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Check after 25 mins or so and if the cake top is starting to darken too quickly, place a loose sheet of foil across the top. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Feel free to serve sliced simply as is… or dust the top with a little icing sugar… or even better, drizzle with a little orange icing (made by stirring together 1½-2 tsp fresh orange juice along with 50g/⅓ cup of icing sugar).
My 3 eggs had roughly a 25g difference in weight depending on whether they were weighed with or without their shells. After testing this cake a number of times, I feel that the results are better if you go by the weight of the eggs without their shells.
Cacciatore, meaning ‘hunter’ in Italian, is also the name given to a wonderful winter-warming stew. It’s a well-loved Italian classic, with many variations to explore. Capsicum (peppers, for my American friends) and/or mushrooms are quite often added and I have no doubt that there’s a debate to be had over whether to choose red or white wine. Continue reading →
When we lived in Florida a number of years ago, some Canadian friends introduced us to a close variation of this fresh Mexican Dip. Unfortunately, I can no longer find the recipe that was kindly passed on to me, so I’ve just been making it from memory ever since and am pretty sure that it’s reasonably close. The tins of RO*TEL Mexican Style Tomatoes(that have green chilli, lime and cilantro added to them) are widely available in supermarkets throughout the USA, but something I can only get my hands on from time to time. I’m sure though that adding a couple of diced fresh tomatoes and a chopped green chilli to the mix would be a good alternative. Continue reading →
There are certain recipes on Gather and Graze that are posted primarily as a guide for my two teenage boys, who will one day leave the nest and find a need to not only cook for themselves, but perhaps for friends, or a loved one and even further down the track possibly children of their own. This is one of those recipes… Continue reading →
Frustratingly, I seem to be incapable of writing blog posts when my husband goes away. You would think I’d have more time on my hands (with one less mouth to feed, less washing to do and less picking up of stuff left around the house… hmmm). What I think actually happens is that I go into survival mode, cutting away anything extra that doesn’t fall into the ‘must-do’ category Continue reading →
Pastitsio is a layered Greek pasta dish, in many ways similar to it’s rather delicious Italian cousin, lasagne. It works well with either minced beef or lamb, though my family unanimously prefers the beef version. If you’re unable to find the Greek Kefalotyri cheese, feel free to substitute with Parmesan. Hope you enjoy this gently-spiced pasta dish as much as we do! Continue reading →
My lovely Swedish friend recently lent me one of her baking cookbooks and I’ve been having a fabulous time translating recipes and learning the Swedish words for certain ingredients and cooking techniques. So far I’ve baked two cakes, as well as these delicious chocolate biscuits… all in the space of a week. They’re really quite easy to make and they taste just as wonderful as they look on the plate! Continue reading →
We’ve had something of an Indian Summer here in Canberra this year and it’s been absolutely glorious. For the first time ever, we may actually make it through to Anzac Day without having to turn the heating on… something Canberrans strive to achieve each year.
With the early evenings still warm enough to sit outside, this Prawn Paté worked a treat the other night. It was accompanied by a chilled glass or two of Bandol (Provençal) Rosé which, I’ve got to say, complemented the rosiness of the prawns perfectly. Continue reading →
The lemons in our garden are still a deep shade of green, but having almost reached a mature size, I catch myself daydreaming about what to do with them all once fully ripe. These lemon and poppyseed biscuits/cookies are a wonderful way of utilising some of the zest, while at the same time creating a beautiful, little treat to pair nicely with a cup of tea or coffee. Continue reading →
Over the phone, I listened rather enviously as my Mum proceeded to tell me recently that she had passionfruit coming out of her ears… thankfully not literally, just figuratively! Unfortunately, my parents live about 1300km north from where we live, so helping her out with this glut of fruit was not going to be an option. It did, however, jolt my memory of a delicious passionfruit ice cream that I’d made about a year ago. Continue reading →
There’s a certain novelty to eating outdoors in the form of a picnic. The vigorous shaking out of the much-loved blanket… ours, a tartan one, made all the more nostalgic having been received as a wedding gift decades ago from English friends unable to attend our wedding. And there’s room on that blanket for three, four, five, six… is it not true that however many people there might be, enough space can always be created? Coffee slurped out carefully into cups from a thermos or two… complementing both sweet and savoury offerings, centrally placed, spilling from tins or Tupperware or preferably both… giving the freedom to eat with one’s hands! Continue reading →
Finding the right balance of flavours when creating Asian dishes at home can sometimes be a challenge. So when this dish hit the spot with each and every member of the family, I figured it was definitely worthy of featuring on Gather and Graze. The amount of chilli is just enough to tingle on the tongue, without making eyes water and noses run… and the sauce generously coats the chicken and vegetables, without leaving a puddle of liquid on the bottom of the bowl. The two slightly unusual ingredients, Kecap Manisand Sambal Oelek, can be found in most good Asian grocery stores and in many everyday supermarkets here in Australia. I hope this is also the case for those who live overseas as well. Continue reading →
Eeek… remember me? Roughly a year and a half between posts and for that I am truly sorry! Hopefully some of you lovely people are still out there, graced with the ability to forgive (and not forget!) this lapsed food blogger. Continue reading →
It was our first year growing Broad Beans in the garden here in Canberra and they survived through the winter frosts beautifully to produce a surprising amount of pods that are just now becoming mature enough to pick. Mostly, I’ve been allowing them to reach about the 18-20cm mark, so that they can be shelled and the tender beans inside eaten raw, without peeling. For those that sneakily grow a little larger, I’m hoping to test out Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Spicy Broad Bean Fritters… which very much looks like falafel. I’m already dreaming about sandwiching a few into some home-made flat bread with salad and yoghurt dressing.Continue reading →
It’s been way too long, my friends… and I apologise sincerely for my all too frequent lapses in blogging these days. All manner of excuses come to mind, mostly legitimate… others somewhat pathetic… in the desperate hope that you’ll forgive me and continue to accompany me on my food blogging journey (as sporadic as it may be). Continue reading →
The occasional kitchen flop can sometimes be a blessing in disguise on several fronts. Most likely it helps to ensure that the same mistake won’t be made again in the future… and it can also serve to get those creative juices working to find ways of improving upon a particular recipe that didn’t turn out so well. Continue reading →
Despite the fact that I’m 4th generation Australian, I feel a strong, quite emotional pull towards European life. Such a rich mosaic of culture, history and food, that Australia (despite it’s many fine qualities) somewhat struggles to compete with. Don’t get me wrong, life is pretty darn wonderful here… there’s a lot to love… and I won’t be moving anytime soon, however it doesn’t change the fact that at certain times of the year, things just seem a little out of kilter. It struck me the other day, as I was making up a batch of these maple-glazed walnuts, that it felt like a Christmassy thing to be doing, yet a good seven months need to be worked through before the silly season hits again. Continue reading →
It feels a little self indulgent to prepare a big bowl of Tiramisu, when it’s just for the four of us… on a weeknight no less. But with weather temperatures starting to dip, I really don’t require too much coercing to unleash my indulgent side. Thankfully walks around the lake have recommenced with vigor now that school holidays are over, ensuring those oversized portions of tiramisu don’t rest on my hips any longer than necessary. 😉 Continue reading →
Autumn is well and truly here… and my gosh, what a stunning season it is. Somehow, I never cease to be amazed each and every year, at the vividness of the reds, yellows and oranges of the foliage, giving out their last hurrah of the growing season. I’m thankful that there’s been a lingering warmth in the daytime… to soak up and relish for as long as it lasts; though eating al fresco of an evening has sadly come to a close.
Plums, figs and apples have been the highlight of the local farmer’s markets recently… Continue reading →
My obsession with cookbooks extends also to food magazines… the usual suspects being the Australian publications of ‘Gourmet Traveller’, ‘Donna Hay’ and ‘Delicious’. During our 2 year New Zealand sojourn, ‘Cuisine’ and ‘Dish’ became the new favourites and then later on while living in the USA, I spent many a pleasant hour reading ‘Cook’s Illustrated’, cover to cover. Cook’s Illustrated was like nothing else I’d seen before. Continue reading →