Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ange's special cake

Ange's special cake
Many moons ago(12 to be exact), my friend Ange introduced me to her fruit cake. Whatever she cooks I eat. She's one of three people who have taught me about organic food and feeding my kids in the healthiest way possible. 
She's an incredible cook - need I say more!
I've never been a fan of fruit cake. Coming from European parents, the closest I ever got to fruit cake was a German stollen and that never did it for me!
From the first bite of Ange's I was hooked.
This past weekend Wilco had his first fruit cake encounter at baby Lilla's party. Lets just say he ate his body weight in cake and then insisted on taking half of it home.
My kids are never shy when it comes to food, a trait they get from me.
So here it is, in my scribble and her words all guesstimated. 
Make this cake it's dead easy, it just takes a few days!
There's a kids version and an adults version. The difference being the liquid in one is apple juice and the other brandy.
Personally I used half/half only because I didn't have enough brandy, but I'd go the brandy, after all you cook the alcohol off.
Ange's Fruit Cake
You'll need:
(remembering all ingredients should be sulphate free, organic or bio-dynamic - but that goes without saying)
500g of either sultana's or Raisins (Ange prefers Thompson's Raisin's)
1/2 a packet of pitted prunes - chopped to roughly the same size as the sultana's
1 small handful of sulphate free apricots (the brown ones)- chopped to roughly the same size as the sultana's
(about 700g of dried fruit all up)
1 cup of apple juice or brandy
1 cup of water
125g unsalted butter
1 cup of rapdura sugar or coconut sugar - maybe a little less (because the fruit is very sweet)
1 tablespoon of sticky stuff, ie: apricot jam, agave, malt, honey
1 teaspoon of bi-carb dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling water
3 eggs - whisked
1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of self raising flour
Any tin will work, you'll just have to adjust cooking time
Activated almonds to decorate
How to make:
Pre-heat oven to 160c fan forced - low and slow 
Soak the sultanas, prunes and apricots in the brandy/juice and water overnight.
In the morning add the unsalted butter to the soaked fruit in a saucepan with the sugar and tablespoon of 'sticky stuff'.
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat off.
Mix the bi-carb in boiling water and let it do it's stuff - don't stir.
Go for a walk. She swears this is the trick.(I packed my house)
Come home and it should have cooled.
Once cooled add the whisked eggs - stir.
Then sift in the flour.
Then beat the shit out of it - so there are no flour bubbles in the mix.
Pour into a lined baking tin, decorate with almonds and cook for 1 - 1.5 hours depending on your oven.(closer to 1.5 hours)
It's ready when it's ready or when it looks like this and it firm to touch.
I cooked mine for 1h 10min and thought I'd over cooked it - I hadn't and now I realise it needed the extra 20 min.
Ange has never measured anything that goes into this cake, which means mine wasn't perfect and if you know me, you'll know I'm only a perfectionist when it comes to cooking.
Ange you're still the Fruit cake Queen!
Your cake is way better than my lame arse first attempt - but I'm not giving up till its perfect!

All photo's taken by me - recipe kindly shared by my friend Ange
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The last of LA

If anyone that reads this blog hasn't realised by now, I'm all talk very little action. I promise shit and rarely deliver - story of my life!
It's only taken me a month to finish LA. 
So those of you who are still interested in what we did in LA, can read the next 3 days highlights here and look at the photo's 
This will be the final installment on LA.
Day 3 - 6 
The Highlights.....
A camera lesson while sharing our first burger and a beer
I wanted everything in this shop. In the end we bought the camera in the middle (the yellow Marc Newson Pentax).
Our last night at the Shangri-La we at Pepperoni & olive pizza, in bed watching movies.
The pizza was enormous and we ate every last bit.

My breakfast the day we left Santa Monica and before our bike ride to Venice
Saying goodbye to Venice Beach 
The big ride to Venice and what we saw on the way......
Scones and cookies - just like I remember at
Gjelina take away - so in love with the marble, and the food!

West Hollywood - Beverly Hills 
First stop, The Grove / Farmers Market - Incredible Mexican - another Goop recommendation

 Americans do everything a whole lot larger

 Breakfast most morning's at Joan's on Third
Buttermilk pancakes with a wod of butter and lashing's of maple washed down with iced coffee

Check out how it works here
Fries, fries everywhere - The little door

 Best honey in the world from the Chateau Marmont

Everything salted caramel
 Pizza on our last night. At a little place called Mulberry Pizzeria, another recommendation from Goop - Gwyneth doesn't lie, the eggplant pizza is to die for!(that's it on the bottom right corner).
Home to the troops and the very, zen Pen, not sure they missed us at all!
 L.A 2012 ©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps
 or Max Doyle