The rich scent of freshly baked chocolate cake wafting through the house is mesmerising, and reminds me of the sweet, sweet memories my parents gave to me. Staring at the potted geraniums through my kitchen window, I'm transported to summertime weekends in the 1960s and the front porch of my childhood home.
The recipe for chocolate beetroot cake in one form or another has done the rounds of many a kitchen table over the years, except mine that is. I first read about this cake in the 1990s, when it appeared in Jill Dupleix's book, New Food: from the new basics to the new classics. Versions have also appeared in books by Nigel Slater and articles by Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart, among others.
The cool change of late has seen me spending more time in my kitchen and, to Peter's delight, I've been baking almost every day. As I whisk and stir, I'm reminded often of my mother, and in my heart I sense that I'm morphing into her likeness. Sure enough, when I catch a glimpse of my own reflection in the glass on the oven door, I see a contented old duck in bare feet and a comfortable house dress, tea towel in hand... just like my lovely mum. The only things missing are an apron and bandana. Oh, and a vast ocean view through the kitchen window.
Oh, how I love this time of the year! Here we are zooming through January, and I know that many of you are still catching your breath after the festive season. Yet there is still cause for celebration. Australia Day falls on January 26, and this is followed by the beginning of the apple harvest in our local orchards.
For the longest time, the printed version of Celia's recipe for chestnut fudge brownies has been at the top of the stack in my 'must cook' folder. I've simply been waiting to get my hands on some chestnut flour.
'So many recipes, so little time' are words that spring to mind every time I browse the many wonderful cookery blogs and recipes pages on the web. For this long time collector of recipes, bookmarking a web site for later somehow doesn't promise that delicious sense of anticipation that comes from flagging the pages of a cookbook with coloured tabs, or indeed tearing a page from a magazine, with a firm plan to try your hand at making the dish yourself.
'Sssshhh, I'm having a moment,' Peter said, as he took a second bite from the slice of freshly baked brownie. I do believe my beloved was actually having a choc-gasm, for he closed his eyes and added: 'These are up there with the very best!'
'Mmm, that was good,' Peter said licking his lips, as he walked back into the kitchen with the empty cake plate in his hand. 'It is really good, isn't it,' I replied. 'Would you like another piece?' I added. 'Yes please,' came the quick response. 'I should have baked two, shouldn't I?' He nodded and answered with a smile, 'Yes, absolutely.'
No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
Allow me please to introduce you to 'Chocolate Fluff' — a soufflé-like, delicately-flavoured chocolate sponge cake — one of the absolute favourites on my baking repertoire. Every time I make it, I'm reminded of how very, very good it is, and I always find myself going in for seconds, as do my guests who sample it. It's simply one of 'those' cakes.
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes; postcards and morsels from my travels; conversations with cookery writers
and chefs; and news on food, cookbooks
- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.