Purple Birthday Cake


Since last weekends little disaster, I have felt a little shy in the kitchen and uninspired to experiment.  I know every disaster can only lead to a better success, but I just can’t seem to find the will power.

However, I think I’ve finally come to the decision on which birthday cake I should try to make for my 30th.  I found it here, but super surprised by the colour the egg plants give to the cake.  I’m not completely convinced they will make my cake as vibrant a purple as you see in the image, so I thought that if I purée 200g of blueberries and add it to the batter they may produce a vibrant colourful cake.  I’m not too sure though.  I’m a little worried the cake will turn out a washed out grey colour.  Only one way to find out!

If you know what the results might be, please post your advice.  I will appreciate any help I can get.

I really want this cake to look and taste impressive.

I’m so excited it’s almost the weekend.  I know it’s a pretty scary birthday to celebrate, but I’m actually really looking forward to it. It is only a number after all.  Another excuse to splash out on some Champagne :D.

Anyway, here is the recipe I’m gonna try out tomorrow night for Sat.  Please advise if you know it definitely won’t work.

Eggplant and blueberry Cake Ingredients:

  • ½-cup margarine
  • ¼-teaspoon salt
  • ½-cup sugar
  • 1-teaspoon baking powder
  • ½-cup honey
  • 1-teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated eggplant
  • 200g frozen blueberries
  • ½-teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1½-cups white flour
  • 1-cup nuts (optional)

Frosting

  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 100g white chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat the rice cooker on cake setting to 55min.
  2. Cream the margarine in a medium-sized bowl until soft and whipped, then add the sugar and honey until mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. In another bowl sieve the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and nuts to thoroughly combine.
  4. Blend the frozen blueberries until smooth.
  5. Stir the grated eggplant and the blueberry purée into the butter/sugar/honey mixture
  6. Add the flour mixture to the sugary butter mixture and combine by hand to incorporate just until the flour has mixed in.
  7. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites to a firm peak then fold into the batter.
  8. Pour the mixture into a cake pan and bake for about a half hour to forty-five minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. This cake can be topped with cream cheese-vanilla icing made with a mixture of 3 ounces of cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, and 1 T of vanilla. Drizzle the icing over the cake and then top with a light sprinkle of nutmeg.  (I’m going to try a cream cheese and white chocolate frosting)
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Rice Cooker Blueberry & Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake.


I have tried to decide on a cake to bake for my big birthday night out on Saturday.

Here’s the criteria;

  • I’m not so fussed about it being healthy.  If it is then it’s a bonus.
  • I want it rich and decadent
  • Delicious
  • Amazing
  • Beautiful
  • colourful
  • Not too delicate as it has to travel 45 minutes to the restaurant.

My first thought was a red velvet cake due to its boldness in colour and style.  Unfortunately  none of my local supermarkets stocked enough red food colouring, so that was that option out of the window.  I actually can’t seem to justify using so much food colouring either.  They do look really pretty though.

Do you think the cake would turn a beautiful purple if I used grated aubergine skins and blueberry purée?

Anyway, whilst I was rummaging around other foodies blogs I stumbled upon a beautiful blueberry sponge cake with cream cheese frosting, which looked toooo good to pass by.   This one was quickly marked in my favourites.

The cream cheese in the frosting of this recipe reminded me that I have always wanted to try out a baked cheese cake recipe in my rice cooker.  You see, baked cheese cakes here in Japan are the best you will try.  They are so simple, containing the main flavours, cheese and the zest of lemon, but they just look too plain for a 30th birthday party.  I have never really liked the biscuit bases in the ones I have tried before and the filling is always too creamy for me.  However, they do look colourfully impressive, with all the various combinations of fruit don’t they?

Decisions, decisions.  Cheese cake or blueberry cake???

So, I thought, why not join both cake ideas?  It would have been too much of a risk experimenting on the friday night before the big night out, so today is the day the cake experimentation began.

The results?  So far so good.  It has risen at least, and looks promising.  I am now waiting for it to cool completely before taking it out of  ‘Benri’ for a photo shoot.

Ok, the results are in.  Just as I thought.   A superficial disaster!!  I will say this though, it is absolutely delicious.   Try out the recipe in a regular oven, it is yummy.

I’m going to try this one again, but not using a ring tin next time.  My tin was useless. It wasn’t stick proof and wasn’t greased enough 😦 I think I’ll save it for the fruit terrines in future.

At least you can always rely on the sun to make any disaster look pretty, ehe?

For the cake, which is beautifully rich and lemony, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • juice and zest from  lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your rice cooker on the cake setting.
  2. Grease the rice cooker pan with butter or oil.
  3. sift the flour 3 times, on the 3rd time sift in the baking powder and soda
  4. Beat cream cheese with milk to soften.
  5. mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy
  6. Add the egg yolks then mix until smooth.
  7. mix in the cream cheese mixture, vinegar and the lemon juice & zest to the butter mixture
  8. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy.
  9. Gradually fold beaten egg whites into the cream cheese mixture, stirring gently.
  10. mix in the blueberries
  11. Pour into the bundt cake tin (make sure it fits in your rice cooker first) then insert the tin into the rice cooker pan and smooth the surface.
  12. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a pick inserted in the middle of the center comes out clean.
  13. be careful not to open the lid until it has been in the oven for at least 20 minutes.

Blueberry Smoothie for breaky anyone?


Here is a modification of my earlier smoothie.  The tofu macha one.

This one is now my new favourite.  It’s stunning, delicious, wholesome, filling, satisfying, healthy, wonderful.  WOW!!

It was a hot morning, so porridge was not even considered.  This one fits the weekend breakfast perfectly followed by a small leftover toasted slice of my carrot cake.  Ok, so the intention to cut down on the sugar is there, but it is the weekend after all 🙂 Well… I did go swimming, so that may have burnt of the unnecessary calories, ehe?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 300g silken or firm tofu
  • 1 cup of spring water
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 ripe frozen banana
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients (not the ice) into the blender and pulse until smooth
  2. fill 2 glasses with the ice, pour the purple deliciousness into the glasses, sit back and enjoy.
  3. There is more for seconds too 🙂
  4. If you like it thinner, just add water until you reach your desired consistency

Strawberry and Blueberry Terrine


I’m more than happy with this one.   I still can’t get over how easy it was to make.   I used fruit, aloe and white grape juice, but next time I want to try a sparkling wine.  I adapted this desert from a Delia recipe, where she used a sparkling rose.  I didn’t want to waste a good bottle if this desert would just flop like some of the recipes I tried out those past few days.  Well, it didn’t flop and I am most definitely going to make this again!  I have some home-made plum wine I am dying to use. Watch this space.

Ingredients;

  • 1 tub of strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups grape juice (or any desired flavour of juice, clearer the better so you can see the fruit once it’s set)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 – 3 sachets of gelatine

Directions:

  1. Cut up your fruit and place in a loaf tin (I used I bundt cake tin), starting with the blueberries.
  2. dissolve the gelatine in 1/4 cup juice
  3. Heat the sugar and another 1/4 juice in a small sauce pan until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Turn of the heat then add the gelatine and the rest of the juice to the saucepan and combine.
  5. Pour liquid over the fruit, then cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate over night.
  7. When you want to serve the terrine, fill a bowl with hot water and dip the tin into it for 10-15 seconds. Doing this allows the terrine to loosen away from the tin.
  8. Turn the terrine on a plate.
  9. To cut, heat a sharp knife with hot water for a clean and beautiful cut.
  10. serve it with either natural yogurt or cream.

Tofu and Blueberry Scones



Toasted Scone Variation 2


Wow it’s almost March and it has taken me till now to write my first post of the year. Oh dear! However, my lack of posting hasn’t meant lack of cooking. Quite the opposite actually, although I do seem to return to the same dishes over and again. I can’t seem to part with tofu. This ingredient is my partner in crime. I’m just so excited by its versatility and lack of naughtiness. There’s no looking back it’s here to stay and I’m gonna make you love it as much as I do.
From looking back at recipes I have been using, I really need to start pushing the boat a bit more in terms of experimenting with different flavours, methods and styles. That doesn’t mean that I am going to try or even think of attempting more complex recipes or gourmet style. Convenience and nutrition is always going to be key in my collection of recipes. The recipes here will always be easy, always delicious and always healthy. If you are into that too, then perfect!
Just the other day Andy was telling me how much he is bored of his usual egg in the mornings. One a day for almost 2 years straight I’m surprised he hasn’t become allergic to them.
After browsing the Internet for ideas I stumbled upon yogurt scones. They are easy to make and freezable, they are the perfect choice for convenience. But, would they work in the rice cooker? Only one way to find out.
At that time I didn’t have any yogurt in my fridge, Only half a block of tofu a dribble of soy milk and about 60 g cooking marg. Hmmm…blended tofu it is then.
I made one big scone in the cooker, which rose beautifully. The taste test was next and OMG… ridiculous!! Maaaaan this stuff is amazing! Stays moist and fresh in the fridge for a whole week.
We toasted it under the grill to eat plain with green tea, beautiful, not too sweet, just a hint. Sooooo moist and melt in the mouth that you wouldn’t want to ruin it by smothering it with jam or butter. In saying that it would probably taste amazing with a runny poached egg!! 🙂

Toasted Scone Variation 2


Right, here’s the recipe.    I made them twice changing the recipe the second time around.   Both recipes are equally as delicious.
Scone variation 1:(apologies for lack of image for this variation)

  • 1/2 a block of blended firm/silken tofu 150 g (3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups of plain or whole grain sieved flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 g marg. /butter at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Directions:

  1. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together with the sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the margarine in pieces then rub into the flour with your fingertips making bread crumbs.
  3. Make a weld in the centre of the bread crumbs and pour in the blended tofu (if you are blending firm tofu, you’ll need to add a little water or soy milk to thin it).
  4. Fold in the tofu with a knife forming a dough.
  5. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and form into a round.
  6. Pierce a few holes in the dough with your knife and insert the blueberries.
  7. Grease the rice cooker pan and drop in the dough and close the lid.
  8. Set the cooker to 60 min and let the magic happen.
  9. When cooking time is over, cool on a wire rack before cutting and storing in the fridge or freezer.

When your ready to eat it, for best results toast it under the grill to crisp it up a bit. nomnomnom…

Tofu and Blueberry Scones Variation 2:


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60g butter/margarine at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup blended silken/firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • handful of raisins
  • Use the same methods as in variation 1 except with the oat meal, break it down in the blender to more of a powder then mix into the flour.

    This one is my healthier option.  You’ll find it’s a little heavier and dense in comparison to the variation 1 and perhaps a little less bready and more cakey.  Still, it is still worth trying out.   This one will definitely be the one I return to.  Enjoy!

    If you have any other suggestions to improve these, please leave a comment.

    I understand that not everyone owns a rice cooker, but all of my rice cookers can easily be adapted for the more traditional methods.

    For this recipe simply preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Dust a baking sheet with flour and lay out your scone(s).  Cook for 20 – 30 mins