Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

Don’t Think Twice

… cause it’s all right! All hail, Bob Dylan, you are The King!

2016-06-17-12-08-07Anyway back to normal business. My Chocolate Pear Cake, with its off-piste variations, worked out really well. So well, in fact, that it all got eaten before I remembered to take a photo! Let me describe it to you … round, 20cm diameter, 5cm high; rustic or, as Mary Berry would say, informal; dark brown as in chocolatey, not as in burnt. As if! In fact I thought it would turn out raw inside because I mistimed it all and had to switch off the oven 10 minutes before it was due to finish cooking. I left it in there and went back later and lo! perfectly cooked cake. ‘Perfect’ being a subjective quality of course.

As noted in last post, this is based on a recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘Fruit’ book but I made certain amendments based on what I had available at the time. Here’s the recipe as I made it:


Peel, quarter and core 4 pears. Melt 35g butter in a frying pan and add 2 tbsp. soft brown sugar, and a tsp of crushed coriander seeds. Let it all meld together a bit then add the pears and let them cook gently for a few minutes till tender. Set aside.

Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Combine 100g toasted ground hazelnuts, 100g self-raising flour, and 25g cocoa powder. Set aside.

Beat 150g softened butter with 150g caster sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in 2 large free-range eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the nut mix with each, then fold in the rest of the nut mix with a metal spoon. Stir in a tablespoon or two of milk to give a soft, dropping consistency.

Spread the mix in the prepared tin and arrange the pears on top, pouring leftover buttery juices from the pan on top. Bake for 45 mins (or you can do it the risky way like I did, above) – a sharp knife inserted in the middle should come out clean. Let it cool in the tin.

Make a fabulous gooey sauce: put a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Put in 75g dark chocolate, broken up; 75ml double cream; 25g caster sugar; and 2 tbsp. water. Let it melt slowly, giving it the odd stir; it’ll all come nicely together in 5 mins or so. Serve the cake with the sauce. HFW says it serves 4-6 but mine served 12 … and I’m certainly not one for bijou portions. His finger must have hit the wrong button on his laptop; an occurrence with which I am familious …

‘Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about’

My title comes from Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘And Bob Dylan Too‘.  We read it in our discussion group after the service yesterday, and like all her poems it shouts out ‘Inclusive! Connected!’ I love Bob Dylan too but I don’t recognise the quote, will have to go seeking. One of the lines in the poem is about the sheep ‘honouring the grass by eating it’, and we had a good wee blether about nose-to-tail eating and not wasting food and being lucky to be so well-fed.

I told them about my previous day’s outing to Loch Leven’s Larder with Hilary. We’d been for a (short and windy) walk along the lochside and then needed sustenance while we caught up with all the news. After said sustenance (egg mayo sandwich, very good indeed) we were strolling back to the car when we spotted a new hut with a big sign outside, ‘Smokery! Welcome!’ (or words to that effect’. In we went for a nosey, and met Andrew Miller who has just started up his business with four shiny new smoking towers and a pile of fabulous fresh Scottish produce. The towers look a bit like gym lockers; I half expected a pile of smelly trainers to fall out when he opened the door to show me – but instead there rested a side of coral pink salmon, quietly absorbing some gentle fumes. I like to think it’s a nice place for such a proud beast to end its days.

I bought some smoked cheese, hailing from Aberdeenshire and nearby Anstruther – Andrew has Scotland cornered – and enquired about the three gleaming salmon he had been pin-boning as we arrived. Well, to be more specific, I asked what he was planning to do with the heads. With a certain embarrassment he said he was just going to throw them out, as he doesn’t have time to deal with all the extras at present. So I offered to take them off his hands, and very generously he filled a bag for me. And here is their portrait.
2015-05-16 17.23.39 I poached them up with some fresh and dried fennel, bayleaves and peppercorns, and came up with a good plateful of salmon-endy-bits which for the present I have frozen and will in due course concoct into some kind of a mousse.

The cheese also was a delight so well done Andrew on having the courage and vision to set up a new business in the tail end of a recession. Your produce is great and I wish you well. So long and thanks for all the fish …