Did you know that it’s Chinese New Year on Sunday? I didn’t until I googled it just now, but then I am a little lacking in culture sometimes. Never mind, I realised just in time to cook up something delicious! Any excuse for a prawn cracker.

Actually, prawn crackers hold a bit of a special place in my heart. When I was at secondary school, my best (and basically only) friend was Chinese, and her parents owned a takeaway. Quite often I’d go round there after school and help fill bags with prawn crackers. Their house, which joined on to the takeaway, was always full of wonderful cooking smells and boxes of onions in towers against the walls. View Post

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Today you can win a copy of ‘Licking the Spoon’ by Candace Walsh.

My memory is not great. I can barely remember anything that happened as a child and am constantly letting my own children down by not being able to remember their first steps, first words, and other important occasions that mothers really should have etched in their minds forever.

A lot of the memories I do have are connecting with food, primarily the smell of certain foods and of meals being cooked. View Post

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Is it OK to have cake for breakfast? I’m not sure, but I just did it anyway, because I’m a grown-up and I can.

"Cake for breakfast"

Ha!

The cake in question was the Whitworths’ ‘Scrummy Ginger and Pear Cake with Toffee Sauce’. I made it last night, so if tomorrow you want to be having cake for breakfast, here’s what you need to do:

Ingredients

  • 150g ready to eat dates
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g Whitworths for baking fine caster sugar
  • 50g Whitworths for baking dark soft brown sugar
  • 125g butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm pieces

For the toffee sauce:

  • 100g Whitworths for baking light soft brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • Whitworths for baking twist and sprinkle icing sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Line a round 22cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper. (Or if like me you realise you don’t have any, greasing the pan and then covering it with flour works well.)

Coarsley chop the dates, place in a heatproof bowl and add the boiling water and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside to cool and then coarsley mash with a fork.

Beat the caster sugar and dark soft brown sugar and butter in a large bowl until pale and creamy. NB This takes longer if you can only find one of the whisks:

"Pear and ginger cake"

Add the egg and continue to beat for one minute.

Sift the flour and ground ginger into the bowl with the date mixture and pears. Using a large metal spoon fold until well-combined.

"Pear and ginger cake"

Pour into the tin and bake for one hour ten minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Check the cake after 50 minutes and if the top is browning too quickly cover with a piece of foil and continue to cook.

"Pear and ginger cake"

For the toffee sauce:

Place the cream, light soft brown sugar and butter into a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve the warm cake with a drizzle of toffee sauce and decorate with icing sugar. Or simply on a plate with a cup of tea at 9am.

Delicious!

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