Saturday, 8 November 2008

Silly Hat Day BBQ & Cake

I've been meaning to post this for a few days now, but I've mislaid my USB card reader for my camera. So here it is without pictures. I'll add them in later. (Later: not found, but replaced. The cats must have hidden it. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

Last Tuesday was a public holiday here, and we hosted a small BBQ party. I made a couple of salads and a couple of desserts, and our friends brought bread, and more cake, and things to cook on the BBQ. In honour of the day I wore my chicken hat. For a little while, anyway. We made up a sweepstake, and went inside to yell at the horsies for a few minutes around 3 o'clock. All of mine lost, chiz chiz. But apart from that, it was a lovely day.

I made a potato salad and a silverbeet salad, and we barbecued lots of mushrooms, and some saltbush lamb sausages and steaks. For desserts or afternoon tea we had Robyn's mini muffins, Sandra's moist lemon cake, a raspberry spice cake, and the wattleseed pavlova that I described in my last post. People were trying to guess the flavour, and coffee was the most common pick. It was pretty good, though it came out more chewy and less crisp than I'd intended. I had been pretty slack about monitoring the oven temperature and time, so this surprise result was, well, really not a surprise. The raspberry spice cake was very successful. Read on for the recipes.

Recipe 1: Potato Salad
1 kg small new potatoes
1/2 red onion
3 hardboiled eggs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons seeded mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
watercress to garnish

Boil the potatoes whole, in their skins, for about 20 minutes or until done. Drain and cut into large chunks.
Meanwhile, chop the onion finely, and blanch it for 30 seconds in boiling water.
Mix onion with mayo, mustard, tarragon and vinegar in a large bowl.
Add the hot potato chunks to the dressing and stir gently to coat.
Stir through chopped hard boiled egg.
Refrigerate, and garnish with watercress when cold.

Notes:Like all salad recipes, this is flexible! And here is the evidence: another version, that I forgot that I'd written up before.

I'd have liked to use tarragon vinegar, but I didn't have any. Lemon juice and dill would work very well instead of vinegar and tarragon. You don't have to blanch the onion, if you prefer a stronger flavour. Light or whole mayo works, or a blend. Oh, and special thanks to Fiona's chooks for the eggs.

Recipe 2: Silverbeet & Orange Salad

1 bunch silverbeet
4 medium oranges
1/4 medium red onion
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
pinch salt

Wash the silverbeet, and trim it by cutting off the stems at the base of the leaf. Pick over, and save largest outer leaves for cooking if they're a bit imperfect.
Shred the good leaves and place in your salad bowl.
Slice the onion finely, and add to bowl.
Peel and slice 3 of the oranges, discarding seeds. Add orange slices to bowl.
Toast the pine nuts, and add them.
Juice the last orange.
In a small jar, mix 2 tablespoons of the juice with the olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Shake vigorously, and pour over salad at serving time.

Notes: Just drink the leftover orange juice, OK? To toast pine nuts, you can put them in the oven, or in a dry frying pan, but you can also microwave them. Place on a saucer, and nuke on high setting for a minute. Stir them, and continue to heat in 30 second bursts until they brown.

Recipe 3: Raspberry Spice Cake

450 ml self-raising flour
300 ml brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
250 ml raspberries
2 eggs
200 ml cream
50 ml melted butter
50 ml sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 160C.
Butter and flour a 25cm cake tin.
Mix all the dry ingredients, except fruit, in a large bowl.
Melt the butter, combine with the oil and cream.
Beat the eggs together in a small bowl, then mix in the butter, oil and cream mixture.
Add the wet mix and the raspberries to the dry mix, and stir well to combine.
Dollop into the cake tin, and bake for an hour, or until done when tested with a skewer.

this is a fairly thick mix, and the fruit stays nicely suspended instead of sinking to the bottom. I found the recipe when browsing some US election blogs and following odd links. Mine is different from the original, in that I used whole frozen raspberries instead of mashed cranberries, and swapped some spices (2 tsp ground cloves? Srsly? I don't think so!) Also I misread a couple of lines, and used ten times more cream and butter than I was supposed to. But this recipe here is what I actually did, and it worked well. Here's the original: search the page for "cake" and it's the second match.


Market Girl said...

Hi Cath,
I am holding Handmade Canberra's Uomarket. It will be a quarterly event, the first on Sat 22 Nov at Albert hall. I have over 50 fabulous stall holders but am lacking in fine food. I know Canberra is abundant in this so am a bit confused. Do you have any contacts that may be interested in Handmade.
More info on the event is at

P.S I would love to see you there!

Cath said...

Sounds nice, I'd like to drop in.

I don't really have food producer contacts much, I'm just a customer myself. I'd suggest wandering around the EPIC and Kingston markets with flyers, but I'm sure you've thought of that yourself.