Thursday, May 28, 2009


The above photo is going for Click - a food photography event hosted by Jugalbandi

I have been swamped these past few months, what with, I really don't know. Now June approaches and we will have visitors (family and friends) visiting one after the other the entire month.  So, I am sure with the kids, family and friends visiting and the weather getting warmer, there will be hardly anytime to blog. Even though the kitchen will be buzzing, I will have hardly any time to post any recipes or take photos.   

I have been planning to make these cookies for ages.  I last made it almost a decade ago and had altered the recipe as I don't like mixed peel or glace (candied) cherries.  I made this recipe from Essentials of Baking, irresistible home bakes, from breads to cakes, my first baking book. 

When I made these cookies today, I added more almonds and substituted cherries with sultanas.  I also added more butter and flour.   

  • 45g butter(I used a stick plus a little more)
  • 125 ml whipping cream
  • 125 g sugar
  • 125 g flaked almonds (I used 175g)
  • 55g orange or mixed peel, finely chopped(I didn't use any)
  • 45g glace/candied cherries chopped (I substituted sultanas)
  • 70g flour (I used 100g + a little more to hold the cookie in shape)
  • 225 g plain chocolate (I cheated and used chocolate spread)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4. Grease 2 baking sheets. (I always use Silpat.)

Melt butter, cream and sugar together and slowly bring to the boil.  Take off heat and stir in the almonds, orange or mixed peel, cherries and flour(in my case, almonds, sultanas and flour) until well blended.

Drop teaspoonfuls of batter, 1-2" apart on the prepared sheets and flatten with a spoon or fork.

Bake until cookies brown at the edges, about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and correct the shape by quickly pushing in any thin uneven edges with a spoon.  Work fast as the cookies will harden as they cool.  If necessary, return to the oven for a few moments to soften it. Transfer it to a cooling rack.

Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or microwave and add oil and stir to blend.  Or use a chocolate spread like I did (see note).

With a metal palette knife, spread the smooth underside of the cooled florentines with a thin coating of the melted chocolate.

When the chocolate is about to set, draw a serrated knife across the surface with a slight sawing motion to make wavy lines.  Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Note: Since I used chocolate spread, my chocolate didn't set and I ended up liking my messy chocolatey hands after - I am not complaining though :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Raspberry Banana Upside down cake

I woke up this morning to pretty roses on my door step, a warm hug from my 2 beautiful kids and a bunch of gifts my 5 year old made in school. She made 2 beautiful cards, a bright colored jewelry box, nicely wrapped in pink tissue paper and before I could unwrap the tissue she was jumping around saying open it mama, open it. There was a bracelet in the box that she had made, orange, purple and candy cane striped beads. She described how she made it and was as thrilled as I was. I wore the bracelet all day.

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's day!

My neighbor invited us over for lunch and I decided to take dessert. I had no time to shop and my pantry was running low on chocolate. My plan for making something chocolatey wouldn't be possible. So plan B - I found 2 ripe bananas and a packet of frozen raspberries in the freezer. I used the raspberries for a layer in the cake and thought upside down cake would be perfect. This is how the cake was born, with things that were screaming in the fridge and freezer to use. The cake came out beautifully. The raspberries gave a lovely tartness and the banana added a lot of flavor to the cake. I served it with a sprinkle of icing/confectioners sugar.


1 stick butter(113gms)
100 gms sugar
2 eggs
150 gms self raising flour
2 over ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp milk
1tbsp sugar
1tbsp confectioners/icing sugar(optional)
120z Frozen raspberries


Preheat the oven 350F. Butter a springform cake tin. Sprinkle and coat the tin with the confectioners/icing sugar. Top it with frozen raspberries and keep aside.

Beat the butter and sugar till pale in color. Add eggs one at a time beating well. Add the mashed banana's and vanilla extract. Beat it for a few more minutes and add the flour in batches. Add one table spoon of milk and beat for a few more minutes.

Pour the cake batter on top of the raspberries. Level the batter with the spatula and bake it for 45 minutes - an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before turning it on a platter. Serve with confectioners/icing sugar.

Note: The cake is more like a tart. If you prefer, you could double the amount of self raising flour, sugar and butter to get more of a cake. Also, the cake is quite tart from the raspberries. You could try substituting raspberries with other berries, like blueberries, blackberries or even cranberries.

Tip: To ease up on cleaning put the springform cake tin on a cookie sheet wrapped with aluminum foil while baking. The juices from the berries does leak out.