Woodward’s Dark Fruitcake

My long time friend, The Reverend Dr. Eileen M. Conway, often posts her culinary adventures on Facebook. One day she mentioned “Woodward’s Dark Fruitcake”, and that piqued my interest.

I had an instant flood of memories of my Mom, who was a dedicated Woodward’s customer and employee. She also made a dark fruitcake every Christmas, which I have been trying to replicate for years. Although good fruitcake was had, it wasn’t Mom’s.

Mail! Real honest to goodness mail! I even used a special letter opener for the occasion.

When Eileen posted about the dark fruitcake, I asked for, and received, a beautifully hand-written copy of the recipe in the mail. The whole exchange was so old school and delightful and nostalgic, for a moment I thought I would hand copy ALL my recipes, electronic or otherwise. I have recipes scribbled on scraps of paper attached to our fridge, in cookbooks, in notebooks, on Pinterest, this blog, in my purse, pockets, and in several cookbooks I started typing and then abandoned. The idea became overwhelming. It was ditched as quickly as it was thought.

If you are over a certain age you will remember Woodward’s department stores, and especially Woodward’s Food Floor. Woodward’s also supported the home cook with helpful tips and recipes. This is one of them.

With Eileen’s permission, I am happy to share her recipe, exactly as she wrote it out to me.

Woodward’s Dark Fruitcake

Makes 2 cakes = 6 lbs
Oven 275F – 3 to 3 1/2 hours

3 1/2 cups mixed, diced candied fruits and peels (1 1/2 lbs). If you wish to include glacécherries, slice in half.

Fruit, including raisins, may be soaked overnight in 1 cup booze before you begin baking. Stir now and then. Drain.

1 1/4 cups dark seedless raisins
1 1/4 cups light seedless raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp powdered cloves
1 cup shortening (room temperature)
2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs (= 1 cup total)
3/4 cup grape juice

Mix fruit, peel, raisins, and nuts. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Sprinkle 1/4 cup over fruit mixture; mix well. Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternatively with grape juice, beat smooth after each addition. Pour over fruits and nuts; mix well. Line two 9 x 5 loaf pans with greased brown paper, extending 1/2 inch above rim. Pour batter into pans, filling 3/4 full – do not flatten. Bake in preheated 275F oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until cakes test done. Have a pan of water on lower oven shelf during baking.

The cakes turned out perfect. Although still not quite my Mom’s version, it is the closest I have come. I also ate a sample as soon as it was cool enough to slice. Generally I will keep fruit cake wrapped and stored until Christmas time.

My own comments:

The brown paper/shortening liner is what I grew up with. For those more used to modern parchment paper, all you need to do is open clean brown bags, and trim to fit in your loaf pans. Before settling them in, grease the pans, place in the paper, and grease again. Works a treat.

As for booze in the assorted peel, cherries and raisins…. not an option. You MUST put some in. I soaked mine overnight in one cup of brandy. When I drained the fruit, I captured the boozy juicy mix thinking it would be a treat. It came out so thick and syrupy in ended up down the drain and into the North Saskatchewan river. There may be a few happy fish or ducks down there in the river valley.

I added a few additional tablespoons of brandy to the still warm, fresh from the oven cakes. I remember with my Mom’s recipe, she would carefully add more booze to her cakes in the weeks preceding Christmas. I’m sure I could do the same with this recipe, but as it is, I’ve wrapped them carefully and have them stored to spring upon unsuspecting guests.

I take personal delight in watching people’s faces as you present fruitcake. Experience has shown people either love it or hate it. To each their own. What you don’t eat, I will.

Cookie Crumbs – A Review

A visit to Bountiful Market in Edmonton is a joy. It’s spacious, it’s fun, and the vendors are all eager to help. In pre-COVID19 days, the vendors were very generous with samples.

Bountiful Market has become more and more popular as the months pass by. It has become our favourite market as Michael and I enjoy it for the ample parking, and easy to get to location.

Along the East wall, adjacent to the picnic tables, is a busy and tidy vendor called Cookie Crumbs. This place is owned and operated by Angus and her husband. If you first look at the treats, you might wonder, “what on earth?”.

Introducing: A Waffle Puck

What they sell are called waffle pucks. It’s a shortbread cookie filled with the most delicious centres, made with fresh ingredients you would find in your own refrigerator/pantry (that is, if you buy organic). These yummy treats are called waffle in part because it is baked in something like a waffle iron. That said, they also sell waffle bites, which resemble a traditional waffle shape.

Currently, they have 29 flavours listed on their website. My favourite is piña colada, because I cannot resist coconut cream and pineapple. Michael has gone crazy for the saskatoon berry flavour. Traditional North American flavours include apple pie, butter tart, chocolate, key lime and maple cream. Asian yums include Hojicha (roasted green tea), red bean, Japanese cheesecake and black sesame.

A flavour explosion in the centre

The cookie part has a nice golden exterior. It tastes buttery and rich. The filling is creamy and full of amazing flavour. You can eat it right out of your hand, but it’s more fun to cut in half and share.

Highly recommend trying Cookie Crumbs if you are tired of cupcakes, and if regular old cookies seem boring. These are unusual, flavourful, fun and a true labour of love. Anges is passionate about her product, and it shows.

Square Season

I’ve got the baking bug. Perhaps the result of months of watching the Great British Baking Show, the Great Canadian Baking Show and the Great American Baking Show. Watching nice people bake nice things and saying nice supportive things to each other has warmed my heart and given me the encouragement to dig out my 8 x 8 square pan and put delicious things in it. Then eat it.

First up was a sweetened condensed milk phase. I made Millionaire Squares (shortbread bottom, caramel centre and chocolate top). Photo not available, but a Google search will satisfy your curiosity very quickly.

Next up was a tooth throbbing sweet chocolate fudge sort of concoction made very simply, no oven required. These sweet treats are made by melting two cups chocolate chips along with 2/3 of one can of sweetened condensed milk. You do not need to wait for a certain temperature or ball stage. Just melt together. Once melted, spread in an 8 x 8 pan lined with wax paper. Then, melt one cup butterscotch chips in the remaining sweetened condensed milk. Spread over chocolate base. Add a light sprinkle of fleur de sel. Refrigerate for three hours. Lift out of pan and cut in tiny pieces. Should look like this:

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Today I was feeling nostalgic and remembered date squares (aka matrimonial bars). Date squares seem old world to me, and like to think I’m evoking the spirit of my mother and grandmothers when I make these. I love dates in all forms. One particular treat is to take a Medjool date, split it in half, remove the pit, and add a bit of plain cream cheese. Heaven.

For today’s date squares I pulled out my trusty 8 x 8, and cooked up 1 cup of dates (the block kind) along with 1/2 cup of water, a few tablespoons of brown sugar, the grated rind of one orange, the juice of a half an orange, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Can’t you just smell it?

Once the dates have become a oozy mess, I set it aside and worked on the infamous, messy, crumb base. To make this, with my hands mixed together 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, a teaspoon of baking powder, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and a dash of salt. I used fresh from the fridge hard butter and worked it in the flour and oatmeal until a fine crumb.

Into my buttered 8 x 8 I added about 2/3 of the crumb base and lightly packed it. Then I smeared on the date ooze, and covered with the remaining crumb. I baked it in a 350F oven for 35 minutes.

Kid yourself not, even though this contains dates and oats which sound healthy and wholesome, it also has the addition of brown sugar and butter, which does not place it in the Canada Food Guide Fruit and Vegetable section of the rainbow. There’s enough butter in it, a person might be able to count it as a dairy serving.

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Crum Coffee Bar

Edmonton has a new independently owned and operated coffee bar. The beautiful Mila and Christine Gossain sisters have opened Crum Coffee Bar located at 4640 Calgary Trail South, Edmonton. With plenty of free parking, it’s an easy stop when running errands, meeting a friend, or wanting to sit and relax and work through the Edmonton Journal‘s puzzle page as Michael and I do on weekends.

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Mila and Christine’s passion for coffee is almost palpable. Coffee is in their DNA as their parents are also in the coffee biz in the city. What do they do when not operating a coffee shop? They travel to visit cafes! Remarkably calm with all that caffeine and a new company to run, the sisters promise to keep things simple. You will not find unicorn blended coffee beverages here. We are talking quality coffee, espresso, lattes, flat whites and cappuccinos.The organic beans are hand roasted in small batches by Cherry Hill Coffee from Kelowna, BC.

If you need a treat with your coffee, the Gossain’s will be baking croissants and other goodies right in the store.

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Some may remember this Huntington Galleria location as a Second Cup franchise. Michael and I had made this a favourite stop over the past few years, not so much for the Second Cup brand, but because we adore Christine and have always been made to feel welcome, admire the art work on Michael’s lattes, and frustrate ourselves with 5-star Sudoku puzzles. We have sat among many regulars for the past few years. We don’t outwardly acknowledge each other yet we all know each other, and there is comfort in that.

If you are looking for something new on the coffee scene, with welcoming friendly staff, and a comfortable place to sit and relax then please try Crum Coffee Bar.

In summary:

Crum Coffee Bar
4640 Calgary Trail South, Edmonton
Twitter: @crumcoffeebar
Facebook: CrumCoffeeBar

Open Monday – Friday 7 am – 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am – 7 pm
Loads of free parking
Nice spacious seating indoors – chairs/tables, bar stools/counter
A few chairs available to sit outside facing parking lot
Nearby:  Italian Centre Shop

Candy Cake

Craving something sweet… I mean really sweet? After someone posted a picture of Holly Hobby on the internet this morning, I was feeling nostalgic. I can’t just sit still and feel nostalgic, I usually get some food memories going on at the same time, which means I get cooking / baking!

To keep the story short and sweet, my sister had the Holly Hobby Amy doll when we lived in Lakeview in Calgary. At the time I would have nothing to do with my little sister, so while she happily played with Amy, I would plot ways to torment her play with my friends, one of them being Sheelah Taylor who lived a few blocks away.  It was the Taylor’s who introduced me to Candy Cake. They also introduced me to the idea that men could knit (Sheelah’s dad was a great knitter), and that some churches take you to Sunday school by bus and while in said bus you had to memorize little bits of scripture typed on small pieces of paper in order to recite it once in “school”. That part of my life didn’t last long. 8 year old Cathy had a difficult time (still does) concentrating on anything during the weekend.

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Candy cake. It’s got this going for it – it’s the easiest thing to bake. It’s oats, brown sugar, butter and vanilla. When it comes out of the oven, it’s a molten pan of sugary goodness. Once cooled, it slices up into delicious squares of teeth singing sweetness. Out of the respect for the Taylor’s, I continue the tradition of adding a layer of creamy butter cream icing as well (although today I skipped the blue food dye which was happily added back in the 1970’s).

Curious? Have a sweet tooth? Try this:

CANDY CAKE

1 cup brown sugar
2 cups oatmeal (large flake)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients and press into a 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into squares.

If you dare to go there, before cutting, top with butter cream icing. I don’t have a recipe. All I do is mix together about a 1/4 cup softened butter, a few drops of vanilla and milk, adding a little bit of icing sugar and mixing.  I keep adding drops of milk and bits of sugar until it looked like a butter cream.

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Crepes

Crepes (pronouced cray-ps by me, and crips by a delightfully sassy Sarah Carey of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food) were on my mind last night. I had a bowl of left over sliced strawberries, and a fresh container of cream. Whipping cream.  Although nothing is quite as delicious as strawberries and cream on its own, I felt, despite the overwhelming oppressive heat of the apartment, I would make crepes. For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to make a nice cool crispy salad like most people do on hot days.

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I pulled out my blender, and plopped in:

1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk (for those of you who know I am lactose intolerant, I used lactose free milk)
4 large eggs
3 tbsp melted butter

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I whirred until well blended, then put the blender jar with the crepe mixture in the fridge to rest 20 minutes.

Then, for the next 30 minutes, in the oppressive heat of the apartment, I stood next to the hot stove making about a dozen or so crepes. Crepes are super-easy to make, they just require your attention.

I slightly butter the crepe pan (any flat pan will work), heated to medium (level 5 on my cooker). I add a bit of butter, then use a paper towel to wipe it off. Then I pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. Wobble the pan in a wobbly manner to help distribute the batter in a round shape and to try to cover the pan. It needs to be thin.

The crepe is done when the edges get tinged brown and pull away from the pan. Flip and give the other side a bit of a cook. It takes only seconds, so watch carefully.

As you pull them off, stack on a plate. Some sites will say to layer them between parchment or wax paper. Don’t bother with the fuss. They stack well on their own and come apart easily.

Now that you have a stack of crepes, the real fun begins. I had the strawberries and cream. All I did was slightly whip the cream so it was thick. I added sliced strawberries, a sprinkle of sugar, and a dollop of the cream. It looked something like this this:

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Which rolled up perfectly into this:

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This morning I thought why not expand my crepe horizons and try the ham, cheese and egg crepe as shown in the Everyday Foods video. Why not? Really? What can I lose? My egg. That’s what I can lose. This is how it turned out:

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This is how it was supposed to look:

MarthaStewart Photo via:  Martha Stewart

Clearly, Martha uses staples to keep the corners of her crepes perky.

Crepes, once cooked, can sit in your fridge for a few days. They can probably be frozen too, but I doubt you’d have any left over to freeze.

 

 

 

 

Penuche

It all started with a solid block of brown sugar.

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Here’s a link to the Kitchn’s site to read the article, A Simple Way to Soften Hard Brown Sugar in a Hurry.

A few spoons of the softened brown sugar were used for our morning bowls of oatmeal. You see, it’s getting chilly outside, and when the weather changes, we have the urge to eat hot, fortifying breakfasts like porridge…. and sweet things….

Which brings us to penuche. With having learned how to soften our old bag of brown sugar, we now had just shy of 2 kg of brown sugar. Friend Darlene mentioned on my post how her family uses up their sugar by making penuche (can’t pronounce it? think Italian, and say pannuchi! Say it loud and joyfully, with open hand gestures, tossing your head to one side).

Armed with Darlene’s family recipe, and a few internet searches gathered around me, I set out to make a batch of penuche. And no better day to make penuche, when it’s blustering outside, and my husband has become linked at a molecular level to the television to watch Ireland beat France (24-9) in the Rugby World Cup 2015.

As Darlene promised, the recipe is easy. The most important thing I learned from Darlene, is that there is no steadfast rule about how to make it. I love recipes like that, because it takes the pressure off. Don’t have vanilla? Don’t put it in. Don’t have cream? Use evaporated milk. Lactose intolerant? Use lactose free 35% cream (yes this exists, and you cannot believe how excited I was to find it – even though I seem to be able tolerate regular cream just fine, why risk it?).

The second most important thing I learned from Darlene is to use a cast iron pan. Honestly! I would have never thought of that, and used it today, and it worked great. Yes, there were moments I had concerns my boiling burbling mass of sugary goo would overflow the pan like lava and burn a hole to the floor below us, but that did not happen!

I used principles that I learned in a bunch of recipes. I don’t have exact measurements, and encourage you to look at the web yourself. The main ingredients are:

Brown sugar (2 – 3 cups)
Cream (or evaporated milk) (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
Butter (2 – 3 tbsp)
Dash of salt (a dash, to me, is two shakes of the salt shaker)
Little bit of vanilla (less than a 1/4 tsp)

The internet will tell you different things. For instance, add white sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar, nuts, less butter, more butter, less sugar, more sugar, no vanilla, more vanilla…. go with whatever you like.

Where things are the same is when it comes to the method:

Put your butter, cream, sugar and salt in a pot / pan on the stove.

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Stir:

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Bring to a boil.

IMG_4593Reduce heat and continue to boil until it reaches the soft ball stage. This potentially is the trickiest part of the process. If you have a candy thermometer, that would be 235F. However, if like me you don’t have a candy thermometer, learn how to tell your sugary mass has reached the soft ball stage by watching this video:  https://youtu.be/lchea5BHbgs

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 11.57.22 AMWhen this occurs, then carefully remove the pan, and pour the molten mass into a heat proof bowl, add your vanilla if you are adding vanilla (or nuts, or whatever) and stir.

IMG_4596Stir some more. Keep stirring….. no a little more, keep going… Stir for about 15 minutes, until the stuff thickens and loses its gloss.

Then pour out into a buttered (or parchment lined pan).

IMG_4599Allow to cool, and then cut into tiny pieces:

IMG_4602As I write this, I have the jitters from sampling so many of those little pieces. 😀

Penuche is sweet and delicious. It is also used to ice cakes, but I am of the camp that thinks cake is overrated. Let’s get right to the icing!

A Taste of the Real YEG

For those who don’t know, YEG originally, and is still, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) code for the Edmonton International Airport (EIA). Back in the day when I was in Travel Agent School, I had to memorize all the airport codes in the world, which served me well in my 10 years with Time Air, Canadian Regional and Canadian Airlines. After I left, I would only show-off my IATA airport code skills when travelling or writing in short hand, but now it has found a whole new use in Twitter. You are probably very familiar with #YEG after all. The fine people at EIA invited a bunch of us food bloggers out for a Taste of EIA, give us a sample of what’s available, and give us some interesting facts about the EIA to share with our readers. I pause here to make special mention of the pen we all got at the bottom of our swag bags. It is a pen of q-u-a-l-i-t-y… it has a real weight behind it, and came in a fancy velvet-like pouch. No, you may not borrow my pen. IMG_3992 Anyways, now that I’ve identified that I can be easily bought with a promo pen (quality promo pens, mind you), let’s get on with food experience! Come this way….

First stop – Chili’s: We were greeted with a table full of Very Large Alcoholic Drinks (they knew I was coming).    I selected the Coronita Beer Caesar, which is a new offering at Chili’s. You’ve seen the margarita’s with inverted beers, yes? Well, this is the same thing, but in Caesar form. It was delicious. IMG_3962 I also tried a wee bit of a Platinum Presidente Margarita – a big sized traditional margarita that is hand-shaken and served over ice. IMG_3969 For food, we were provided plates of delicious deep-fried goodness – onion rings, southwestern eggrolls, chicken wings, dry ribs, tostada chips, and the show stopper…. White Spinach Queso – which is white queso (cheese) and chopped spinach topped with shredded Monterey Jack, house-made pico de gallo (salsa), fresh guacamole, queso fresca (more cheese) and chopped cilantro, and wait for it….. served warm. This oooey gooey splodge was crazy delicious. Lactose intolerance be damned. I ate it anyway. IMG_3971 Second stop – Heineken: If you want to try something that is unique to Canada, try the Heineken lounge. It is the only one in Canada! And they serve more than beer. The menu offered some delicious food options, and around the table we had a generous serving of good old Mac ‘n Cheese (not the Mack Male and Graham Hicks kind either, but they would have been welcome), beside this was a decidedly smaller serving of cheese on a cheese board… but who wants to load up on cheese before a flight anyway? Also spotted was a chicken satay, waffle fries, a salad, a burger and my dish, the chicken curry served with pillowy soft naan, basmati rice and a mango/apple chutney. It was good, filling food.

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Last stop – Caffe Sorrentino’s: Now Caffe Sorrentino’s is interesting. As you pass by it, you might think they just serve coffee, gelato and a few beers. You would be wrong. They serve DELICIOUS coffee and gelato, yes, but they also serve grilled pannini, soup, salad, pasta, breakfast and desserts. By this time though, all I wanted was a decaf Americano, which was one of the best decaf/caffeinated Americano’s I ever had. So much so, I have decided to switch to Sorrentino’s downtown at Edmonton Centre East instead of Starbucks for my coffee fix. Arrivederci Starbucks (but I’ll still see you at Omega). IMG_3986 My blood orange sorbetto was a perfect sweet end to the evening. Was this it? No! Despite being full to bursting, who could say no when we were presented with an assortment of delicious desserts… I scored a dark chocolate layer cake which had to come home with me because at the table I poo-poo’d the idea of eating more that evening (but naturally the moment I got home and tea was poured, split the cake with Michael and finished it off in less than 30 seconds). I am not a fan of dense chocolate cakes, and although this LOOKED dense, it was quite light and not too sweet. It was perfect. I have become a new fan of Caffe Sorrentino’s. I look forward to my next visit. IMG_3989 Although I can’t speak for all Edmontonians, I suspect most of us race to the airport, race through security, race to the gate, and then sit and wait and fiddle with our phones for 45 minutes or more until our flight is ready to board. Next time, I will try to arrive a few minutes earlier and relax over a coffee and enjoy a nice meal before boarding. EIA has made the departure lounge a thing of beauty. Although they still have an abundance of the ubiquitous airport seating, they have also brought in comfortable seating where you can sit by yourself, NOT next to someone who carries all their luggage plus a cello plus a cat in a carrier and tries to read the free National Post while talking on their phone and eating a bagel. There is also cafe-style seating for those who want a table without having to buy a meal. Best of all, is the indoor vertical garden. It’s a 1,400 square foot Living Wall with 8,000 different plants which helps purify the airport’s air. You will find this right next to the Heineken Lounge, the Belgian Beer Cafe and Sorrentino’s. My thanks to EIA’s delightful Jacquie and Gillian for the invitation, as well as to fellow bloggers, Edible Woman, Marlow Moo and The Tiffin Box for the great company.

Chai Rice Pudding

Subtitled, “Wait! Don’t eat that Cardamon Pod!”.

Deeply satisfied with my rice cooker, I happily make rice several times a week. Sometimes I get over zealous and make too much rice.

For the last two days I’ve had left over rice in the fridge, staring me in the eye every time I open the door, mind-melding with me and telling me to “Do something useful with me! I was not grown to be thrown out!”.

Tonight I listened to the rice, and made a rice pudding. A regular old rice pudding, but then I thought, “Chai Rice Pudding!”.

This is what I did:

1.5 cups cooked white rice
1.5 cups milk
Slightly less than 1/4 cup sugar (could have gone way-lesser – my teeth sang like a musical saw)zaag_1-MED
Knob of butter
A handful of raisins
Cinnamon (a bit less than a tsp – or to taste)
Cardamon Pods (more than two, less than four – or to taste)
Cloves (more than three, less than five – or to taste)
Vanilla (just a scant amount)

I tossed it all in a pot and simmered on the stove for about 25 – 30 minutes. Stir often.

IMPORTANT: Remove the cloves and cardamon pods. If you used dark raisins, this could be more difficult than it sounds. Someone could lose a tooth on those pods.

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Chai Rice Pudding – with bits of spice things removed.

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Cardamon pods and cloves safely removed from the rice pud. Only a few rice grains were sacrificed.

Sponge Cake

Happy first day summer! The sun is shining, the leaf curler caterpillars are dangling from the trees, friends are meeting on sunny patios for icy beverages, having great conversation and giving away eggs (thank you @Super_Su!).

P1020678 Not regular eggs either. These are beautiful farm fresh eggs which I am sure were laid by the prettiest chickens in Alberta. Look carefully, some are blue and green! The city girl in me wants to know how a robin mated with a chicken to come up with a blue egg… but I have been assured (perhaps comforted) that robins and chickens are not going at it behind the coop. And I’m sure someone out there sighing deeply and rolling their eyes and wants to leave a comment that chickens don’t need to “go at it” in order to lay an egg for breakfast. I don’t know about these things. Let’s leave it a mystery for now.

Now the thing is, I went to Seba Beach a few weeks ago and popped in at the farmers market. I came home with a dozen farm fresh eggs from Nature Spring Farm. We love our eggs Michael and I do, but two dozen is a bit much. What to do?

Sponge cake.

I could hear Mom’s voice in my head from ages ago…. “If you ever have a lot of eggs to use up, make a sponge cake”. So I did. It takes six eggs. And a lot of stamina.

P1020679If you have a modern kitchen you probably have a Kitchen Aid mixer you bought at Costco, which cracks and separates the eggs for you, beats yolks to a buttery yellow froth, self cleans, then beats whites to stiff peaks. I don’t have that luxury. I used my little electric hand mixer quite successfully, but it took away 10 MINUTES OF MY LIFE. I am kidding. Not about the 10 minutes, but I went in to a sort of trance, occasionally snapping out of it when the thought of the hand-mixer slipping and chewing through my fingers would pop in my head.

P1020684P1020687P1020688P1020689P1020691P1020692P1020693P1020695The recipe I used is in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. There are many recipes on the net.

But what does one do, once one has baked a sponge cake? You make a Victoria Sponge. That’s what you do. And here’s how:

Find a sponge cake, slice it, put a nice smear of raspberry or strawberry jam on half, fill with fresh whipped cream, and add another slice of sponge cake. If you want to get all fancy-schmancy, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with…… ?  Tea of course!

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