Sunday, July 24, 2011

Upside Down Pear And Ginger Cake

I love finding bargains. I try to be good though and only buy things on sale when they are things I will use. I don't always succeed. But when it comes to food products I can't really go wrong; it's easy to justify a food purchase because eating is essential right? So yeah any purchase is bound to be put to good use. Or so I tell myself. My latest purchase had me a bit worried though: a big sack of nashi pears...for only $1.

Now as much as I like fruit (and nashi pears) I'm actually really slack at eating them, they tend to sit in the fruit bowl until they are almost on death's door, and even then I only eat them 'coz I hate to waste things. The only way I seem to truly get motivated to eat them is when they are a part of something else, like a cake or bircher muesli, or with other fruity friends in a fruit salad. But fruit on its own, is not so appealing. If only I'd been in the Garden of Eden instead of Eve, things might have been different.

Anyway enough rambling! This is a super easy recipe and so adaptable. I know commonly upside down puddings are made with pineapples and cherries, but I find that too sweet so I thought my nashi pears would be a better substitute, and I happened to have the ginger lying around (love the stuff) and I put in my favourite spices. So feel free to use whatever fruits and spices you prefer. The addition of the crystallised ginger worked really well as the sugary goodness of them got all sticky sweet and gooey. Yum!

Base recipe adapted from the good old Edmond's Cookbook.


125g butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
25g butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 - 3 nashi pears, sliced however you please
a small handful of crystallised ginger (approx 50g), slice them in half if you like


Cream the first measures of butter and sugar.
Add the eggs one at at time, beat well after each addition.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Stir in the milk.
Now onto the 'topping'...
Combine the melted butter, brown sugar and spices.
Spread this mixture onto the bottom of a 20cm round cake tin.
Arrange the pears on top.
Dot the ginger pieces into the gaps.
Spoon the cake mixture on top.
Bake at 180 Celsius for 30-40 minutes.
Flip over onto a plate to unmould.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hasenpfeffer - Rabbit Stew

I've been a little slack with blogging lately, partly out of laziness but also partly because I've been away in Quebec, Canada. It was just a short trip, but due to the millions of hours (well it felt like it!) spent travelling it feels like I've been away for ages. It also feels like I've also been hit by a bus, gotta love jet-lag. Anyway, I had a fantastic time, especially discovering new foods.

Site-seeing is all well and good, but one of my favourite things to do when travelling is to eat the local cuisine or try the foods I can't find back home. Some of the food highlights of my trip were eating escargot and horse meat. But other things I tried included things like elk meat, bison,  sugar pie, smoked meat sandwiches and of course...poutine. This love of trying new foods is something I also love to do in my home country of New Zealand, so when I spotted rabbit meat at my local supermarket (something I have never cooked with) I thought I'd give it a whirl. I love the taste of rabbit, it's like chicken but actually tasty. I used this recipe as it was similar to how my grandad would cook it; marinated in wine and vinegar for a few days to keep the meat nice and tender. It's really yummy served with egg noodles and rye bread. Btw rabbits are a huge pest in NZ, especially in the South Island, so I feel less guilty about eating these wee little dudes.


2 rabbits, skinned and gutted and chopped (if in doubt, Google how to do this, it's not so scary)

2 cups red wine
1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
10 whole black peppercorns

1/2 cup plain flour
6 slices bacon, cut up
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
1-3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Combine the marinade ingredients, add rabbit, refrigerate for 2-3 days, turning the rabbit pieces daily.
Remove rabbit pieces from marinade, pat dry and set aside.
Strain the marinade and reserve 1 and a half cups of it, discard the herbs and excess marinade.
Toss the rabbit pieces in the flour.
In a dutch oven/casserole dish, cook the bacon until it starts to crisp. Add mushrooms and onion. Cook until onion softens. Remove vegetables, set aside.
Add a tablespoon of butter to pan. Add rabbit, brown on all sides, adding more butter if needed.
Return vegetables to pan. Add salt and reserved marinade. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat is tender (just over an hour)
Mix in sour cream, cook until heated through (do not boil).

Serves 4 - 6

Recipe adapted from 'The Complete Hunter' - Dressing And Cooking Wild Game