Reduced To Clear

I thought I’d introduce a new feature on my blog called Reduced To Clear. Like the shelf in the supermarket where you often find a gem amongst the dented cans of beans and kosher popcorn, this post will be about some of the recipes that praps didn’t go so well but have redeeming qualities.

BBC Good Food's Cherry and Almond Cake

This is what it should have looked like

First up is the Cherry and Almond cake recipe I tore out of June’s Good Food Magazine with high hopes that it would become a regular fixture on my baking list. It’s one of my fave types of cake but I hadn’t quite got around to making it. Maybe deep down I’ve not wanted to make it in case I stuffed it up. Must be psychic.

Glace cherries take me straight back to my mum’s kitchen, where she kept a big jar of the plump red beauties in the cupboard where you could find all those magical things like jellied orange segments, hundreds and thousands and tiny silver balls.

My mum knocks out huge batches of cakes without even blinking. She’s a fully trained up home economist and is my 24 hour emergency cooking hotline. When I call with a query it’s normally greeted with “What have you done now?!”. She’s seen it all before and doesn’t cling to recipes like I still do…

Anyway, back to the cherry and almond cake. The picture of the said sweet treat shows the cherries have sunk to the bottom. I think it looks quite pretty but decide to follow the tip which advises to chop the cherries if you want them to be more evenly scattered through the sponge.

My version

My girly pink version!

Well I think doing that combined with the fact that I lazily used my kitchen aid for the entire process resulted in a bright pink sponge!

If i’d just taken a bit more time to gently fold the cherries into the mixture rather than dumping them in the mixer I’m sure things would’ve been different!

Ah well! It actually tastes divine – like a huge moist bakewell tart minus the pastry or icing.

Thank goodness it was just a testing session as opposed to the centrepiece to a cake stall or afternoon tea.

Also in Reduced To Clear is Nigel Slater’s recipe for Chicken Cakes that I tore out of my mum’s Radio Times last September.

Radio Times image of Nigel Slater's Chicken Cakes

Here's Nigel's full fat version

I adore Nigel. His recipes are unfussy and generally involve double cream, butter and pork products – what’s not to love?!

But I dared to go off-piste and make a few subsitutions when I didn’t have two of the ingredients. So instead of chicken and bacon, I used turkey and ham.

Do you know what, it wasn’t a disaster, it was like a weight watchers version. Seriously, if you’re on a diet my tweaks are pure genius. But if you’re feeding hungry boys and men, then don’t bother!

The parmesan, lemon and thyme gave the burgers a beautiful summery quality. However the lack of juice because I omitted the streaky bacon meant they had a slightly dry texture.

Chicken cakes

Pressed and ready to go

Cooked chicken cakes

Girly burgers

Matthew (lover of all things burger) wasn’t impressed. He only ate one. Very clear signal that they weren’t up to scratch. The boys ate them, but didn’t enthuse. I really liked them, but that’s irrelevant.

I’ll defo make them again, but will do the lardy version. Very foolish to try and mess with the Slater!

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About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog www.feedingboys.co.uk is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea! She lives in West London with her two young boys and yes, her firefighter husband.
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4 Responses to Reduced To Clear

  1. Emma says:

    I think that your cake looks much nicer then the original actually!!! I’m a terrible cook but Chick and I have got a cookbook and are going to work our way through it! The results should be very amusing!!!!!

  2. Rosemary Hamilton says:

    Did you wash and dry the whole cherries before adding them to the mixture?That is what she who knows would have advised!I must say the pink cake looks pretty and your niece would approve!

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