Thursday 25 June 2015

Make a date with Matrimony Cake

This glorious traditional recipe, which is basically a date biscuit sandwich, originates in Canada where it’s called Matrimonial Cake.  Anne from Huddersfield brought it from Canada. It’s a firm favourite in her family and another of those old fashioned recipes so easy to weigh out with a cup of this and that.
Matrimony Cake
450g/1lb chopped dates
4 tbsps lemon juice or water 
2 large cups of oats (I used 225g/8oz)
1 large cup plain flour (I used 110g /4oz)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar      
110g/4oz butter
3 tbsps golden syrup

Warm the dates in the lemon juice or water in a pan for around 10 minutes until soft and thickened. Leave to cool slightly. Put the oats, flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and sugar into a large bowl and mix together. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pan. Then add this to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Grease or line a flat tin approx 25 x 18 cms /10 x 7 inches. Spread half the mixture from the bowl on the bottom of the tin and then spread the date filling on top. Put the other half of the mixture to cover it all. Bake in a preheated oven 190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5 for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Cut into bars or squares when cool.

Meryl’s tip : Anne had used black treacle to the mixture which gives more flavour but I preferred the recipe with golden syrup – but either will make a good cake.
Canadian tradition says that the origins of Matrimonial Cake were because the two layers of the cake which sandwich the dates together  symbolise the marriage bond. Whatever the custom, they are a tasty treat so thanks to Anne for bringing it over the pond.

Let me know if you have you got a family favourite recipe to share?

Monday 1 June 2015

Make the most of a bag of Mangoes

 Mango & Apple Chutney
Spotting a bag of over ripe mangoes on the market, I set about making Mango and Apple Chutney. It’s a recipe adapted from one of Grandma’s easy Chutney recipes. This amount make about 3 small jars. It's out of the ‘Waste not, want’ repertoire.
2 apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
3 mangoes (stones removed, peeled and chopped)
2 onions (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
200g demerara sugar
125ml white wine vinegar
3 tbsps root ginger (grated)
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt

Combine the chopped apples, mangoes, onions, garlic, demerara sugar, vinegar and grated ginger in a large pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Allow to simmer uncovered for about an hour until the fruit is tender. Add lemon juice, mustard powder, spices and salt. Continue to simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes until the chutney leaves a clear trail when a spoon is drawn across. Allow to cool and then spoon into clean jars.

Meryl’s tip : You can eat this Chutney straightaway. It doesn’t need a long time to mature but keeps well for a couple of months because of the high acidity content.