Friday, August 1, 2008

Apricot Crumble Cake

Made with dried apricots, this sweet yeast cake has a crunchy almond topping and a mascarpone filling. Recipe serves 6-8.


2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sachet rapid rise dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
2 ounces (50 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/2 ounces (40 g) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup apricot jam or conserve
8 ounces (250 g) mascarpone
8 teaspoons caster sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice


1. Grease a large baking tray. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the yeast, sugar and apricots.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the milk. Leave to cool until lukewarm, then stir into the flour mixture, using a wooden spoon. Stir in the egg yolk and mix to form a soft dough, adding more milk if required.
3. Put onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until smooth. Shape the dough into an 7 inch (18 cm) round, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Place on the prepared baking tray. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
4. For the topping, sift the flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and almonds.
5. Brush the top of the dough with egg white and place the topping evenly onto the dough.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
7. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally.
8. For the filling, spread the jam over the bottom half. Mix together the mascarpone, sugar and lemon juice. Spread over the jam. Replace the top of the cake and serve.

Tip: Sweet yeast doughs sometimes need more rising time than plain doughs.

Shrimp (Prawns) with Garlic and Wine Sauce

This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and great served with crusty bread and a squeeze of lemon. Recipe serves 3-4.


2 pound (1 kg) large shrimp (green prawns)
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped, thinly sliced or crushed
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 red chili, chopped
1 bay leaf


1. Shell and remove veins from the shrimp.
2. Heat oil. Cook garlic over medium heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add the parsley, bay leaf and shrimp and cook over high heat for 2 minutes.
4. Add wine and cook for further 3 minutes until the shrimp are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Marinated Button Mushrooms

Use the whitest, freshest, small button mushrooms for this easy recipe. These are delicious served as an appetizer with pre-dinner drinks or as part of an antipasto platter. Recipe serves 4.


6 1/2 ounces (200 g) button mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon (prepared) freshly crushed garlic


1. Wipe mushroom caps with a damp cloth. Trim stalks. If only large button mushrooms are available and the stalks seem woody, it may be necessary to remove the stalks.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Pour over the mushrooms, mix well and serve.