I woke up thinking about what I was going to prepare and cook today. But after I'd food prepped for a while my mind started to wander towards cake.
A piece of homemade cake with a coffee or cup of tea is one of those weekend luxuries where time really does appear to stand still for just a few minutes. Whether you literally put your feet up, pause to stop what you're doing, or simply let out one long exhalation, with tea and a piece of cake in hand there's a good chance you'll feel yourself relax into a moment of stillness. That said, I do prefer my cake to be guilt free. Or at least as "good" as possible.
For years I have been trying to deliver healthy cake to the kids, baking recipes that eliminate refined sugars and processed flours and rely on vegetables to deliver the "nice and moist" consistency that's synonymous with good cake. In most of these endeavours I inevitably find myself undone. Presenting a rich, gooey chocolate cake, (and failing to mentioning the 200g of very finely chopped beetroot hiding beneath the crust) one of the family will inevitably take issue with the tiny pieces of unidentifiable matter and complain "Can't we just have normal chocolate cake?"
That doesn't mean to say I have given up in this pursuit. Last week as I was scrolling through Twitter, a fabfood4all.co.uk recipe for avocado and ginger cake caught my attention. I've mastered Becky Excell's gingerbread loaf cake and love avocado, so saw this as an opportunity to introduce a new, wholesome cake option for the weekend full of fibre and good fat. I tweaked the recipe a little to reduce the amount of sugar, replacing 200g soft brown sugar with 50g coconut sugar and 50g natvia, and I used organic brown rice flour instead of wholemeal spelt flour.
Despite my modifications to Camilla's already perfect recipe, my cake while unusual in taste, was a most respectable companion to a cuppa. A little dense, the avocado ensured it wasn't dry. But I did fail with my lemon drizzle icing, which was easily scraped off.
After a short interlude for lunch, I applied myself to the real task of the day; an evening meal of Hungarian goulash. A relatively straightforward affair, I was keen to ensure I'd turn out a good rich stew with lots of flavour, so I looked to see whether Felicity Cloake has covered goulash.
If you don't read The Guardian, Cloake's column 'How cook the perfect...' takes a dish and rigorously tests the recipes of a number of well known cooks and chefs in order to boil it down to the perfect ingredients and method. From mince pies to the perfect vindaloo, there's not much that hasn't undergone Cloake's close scrutiny. It was goulash's turn in April 2014.
Of course, I followed the instructions to the letter (unusual for me) to gratifying results.