Now that the hangover has worn off, you are back in tune with the world and the reality that the credit card bill you got in the mail is indeed not a typo. I think a lot of us are thinking about changing for the better after being so rebellious.For a lot of us the new years means one of two things; feeling the full guilt of the Christmas/ Thanks giving/ New year’s parties or being disgusted at state of your house after all the parties. While I am toggling between the two categories one thing remains certain the New year has removed my rose-coloured glasses about the amount of junk/clutter we have in the house. I know that junk is a very poor description but really some of the stuff I often find is.
I KNOW you will probably be courteous and say “Oh it is not that bad”. I would do a before and after image to prove to you how bad it was however it was impossible to even take a photograph because it was packed to rafters. Like many of you who are in their 20-30’s, your parents are most likely to be around 50ish-60ish. Not all people can relate to this but I am referring to the mindset of the older generation. Growing up my parents were not rich, life was hard back in China before the industrial revolution came and government rarely supported the people. My late father would sometimes tell us of the hardships which he faced as a child, not out of spite, but as a way of teaching us not to be frivolous with material goods. His mentality was if it was still in stable condition, we are keeping it. My mum is not as bad but still.
No throwing out things when it is broken, he will try to repair it. Broken? He will take it apart and salvage useable parts.
Holey, torn clothes he would wear to the last thread and do not get me started on technology… We only threw out a computers that ran on DOS and Windows 98 only 5 years ago.
While I do admire his resourcefulness, over the year the storage became a problem. I can not imagine what people would think of having more than 4 standing wardrobes and a double bed in a study room but we did. He never wasted an inch of space; if you could still move it was fine. I was complete the opposite of him, I always wanted to throw thing away. Sometimes we had council clean up however he would go back outside and pick up half of the stuff we put out.RAGE!!!! Now that I no longer a little kid, I am being a web/Pinterest/apartment therapy addict looking for way to get rid of clutter for GOOD. I will update you on the progress but if I seem crazy when I say this maybe I am. “cleaning/organization is addictive”. I leave it at that.
Not more addictive than baking though! I am a great believer in desserts all the time all the time even if you are detox doesn’t mean I have to be on one too. Being inspired by a piece of middle eastern cuisine during the holidays I made a cake based on the famous semolina sweet. The semolina almond cake has a lovely light texture however textural thanks to the ground nuts and coconut It is also heavy soaked in a lemon syrup and studded beautifully with an almond.
As much as I want to recreate the real thing, I will fail to impress any mamma will my skills. So I do what I can and made a Coconut semolina naked cake with pineapple curd and pistachio cream. I am in love with using semolina in baking thanks to the lovely hue of yellow it gives to baked goods. However the use of pistachios is more flavour preference. Staying true the classic I used coconut in the cake a soaked the cakes in a lemon syrup to keep the texture moist.
The cream is not a mossy green because I used flavoured oils which are clear but are better at imparting the real flavour without colour. The curd is a summertime twist that you should do when you have wrinkled passion fruit. They may not look beautiful but the tip I pick up from Maggie Beer is that these are sweetest ones of the bunch.
A perfumed, lightly textured cake with a tangy edge of sweetness from both the syrup and passion fruit curd layers. Finished in a cover of pistachio butter cream and crushed pistachios which not only made the cake beautiful as a high tea show piece, but is important the final taste of the cake. One bite of this and you will understand why semolina is more than just a flour for bread and pasta. I made cupcakes too to show you the curd which I think the best part it but then I am nuts for passion fruit 😉
Fruity Coconut Semolina Naked Cake with Pineapple curd and pistachio cream.
Make a 18cm double layer cake or 24 medium cupcakes.
Coconut Semonila Cake
1 lemon, stripped of zest
100g caster sugar
125g butter, unsalted soften
125g self-raising flour
3g baking powder
3g Mastic crystals, ground
1 egg yolk
5ml almond extract
150g white sugar
100ml lemon juice
Adapted from Cooks republic
6 passion fruit
90g caster sugar
60ml lemon juice
pinch of salt
Pistachio butter cream
240g plus 115g caster sugar divided
300g egg white
900g butter, cubed
7g sea salt
3 drops of pistachio flavour oil
FOR BUTTER CREAM
At the same time, in a sauce pan combined sugar and water. Place on stove on medium heat. You are making sugar syrup. Place in sugar thermometer.
Once the sugar syrup has reached 113C. In a stand mixer beat egg whites yolks until foamy and fluffy ( soft peak).
Heat the syrup, swirling to evenly distribute heat. Bring the sugar mix to 118C.
Once it reaches this temperature, remove from heat. With the stand mixer running on high, drizzle the syrup into the bowl of egg whites. Make sure to pour down the side to avoid the beaters.
Continue to beat until this mix is room temperature. About 7 minutes
Change to paddle.
Add the butter slowly on medium speed. Scrape the bowl often. Continue this process until all butter is added.
Add salt and flavour oil beat on high medium until fluffy. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan melted sugar and butter. Add salt, passion fruit and lemon juice. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
In another bowl whisk the eggs well. On low heat, whisk the eggs slowly to the saucepan. Continue to use the whisk to mix well. Switch to a wooden spoon to and continuously stir the curd until it coats the back of the spoon. Allow to cool in a another bowl.
Pre heat oven to 180C and line your cake tin with baking paper.
In a stand mixer, with the paddle combine butter, sugar, coconut, semolina, self raising flour, lemon zest and baking powder. Run until it comes to fine crumb about 3 minutes. Add the mastic, extract and eggs and beat to well combined about 5 minutes.
Spread mix into cake tin and bake in the oven for 20- 25 minutes or until a wooden skewer/cake tester is pulled clean from the centre of the cake. Allow to cool in tin.
In medium sauce pan bring the ingredient all the to boil and dissolve the sugar. Place aside to cool.
One recipe of lemon syrup
One recipe of coconut semolina cake
One recipe of butter cream
One recipe of Passion fruit curd
Additional crushed pistachios
Un mould the cakes and cut off any bumps so it is flat. On a turn table place your cake on cardboard cake plate, using a small amount of butter cream to keep it in place.
Using a brush heavy drench the cake in lemon syrup. Place butter cream in a piping bag with 1 cm round opening and pipe a broader 5mm from edge of the cake. Spread curd inside the circle and top with the next layer. Brush on syrup to the top cake. Fridge for 20 minutes
Spread the remaining butter cream on the top of the cake and push it down the edge. Lightly coat the sides of cake and flatten the top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with crushed pistachios.