I believe anyone can cook.
I get very frustrated when I hear people say they can’t cook. Often the problem is they don’t have recipe books or the right equipment.
Take my nieces as an example. Whenever I look after them, I always do a cooking session. In our last session we made a Pavlova ,a lemon curd and Oreo brownies.
As a child I loved to bake. Luckily even though my mum wasn’t into cooking, she had all the essential equipment necessary. She had an entire collection of Good Cooking bound magazines. I used to spend hours flicking through them, choosing recipes to make.
I even badly burnt my hand after doing such a cooking session, when I left some fat on the cooker. It went up in flames and I moved it to the sink and it splashed all over my right hand.
I had to spend weeks having it dressed daily at the Doctors and I had to learn to write with my left hand for school. But it still never put me off cooking.
Now those girls above were inspired to bake after our session. I said, look how easy this was to do. But it turns out my sister has only one of those pre 1950’s rotary handwisks. You know the type that you turn for hours and nothing much happens apart from you are bloody knackered and your arm feels like it’s going to fall off.
I watch open mouthed the TV programme “Come dine with me”. I see people attempting to make a pavlova with a small, plastic jug and a handwisk !! Why make work difficult for yourself. No wonder they say cooking's not for them. The right tools make it a doddle.
What do you consider your essential tools for cooking ?
Now, I am going to give you one of my most favourite cake recipes. The cake is to die for. Probably for its calories alone. I have an Aga range oven and cakes can be a bit tricky to master. It has no temperature controls, so it can be a bit hit and miss. But this cake has worked every time. Its delicious and super easy. Even for someone who claims they can’t bake. It’s a cake I shall be making for my Tea Party. It looks very grand on a cake stand.
Now for my family I have to make two versions, as some of them HATE nuts in cakes. I also leave out the pineapple chunks as I don’t eat fruit, and everyone agreed they didn’t like them in the original version I made. But I have included the recipe as it is, in the fantastic original “the hummingbird bakery cookbook”
300g caster sugar
300ml sunflower oil
270g mashed bananas ( about 3 )
I tsp. ground cinnamon
300g plain four
1tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
100g tinned pineapple,chopped into small pieces (yuk !!)
100g shelled pecan nuts chopped (plus extra for decoration)
Preheat oven to 170c (325F) Gas 3 or Aga-mid shelf in baking oven
Bung the eggs, sugar, oil, bananas and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarb, salt and vanilla. Beat until everything is mixed.
Stir in the pineapple ( yuk) and pecans by hand .
pour the mixture into three 20cm cake tins ( or make a two tiered and a batch of nut free cupcakes as I do) smooth with a palette knife and VOILA, easy peasy.
Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the sponge bounces back when touched.
All you need to add once they have cooled on a rack is some cream cheese frosting.
Anyone interested in the cream cheese frosting recipe ?…………..