Sea Buckthorn and Aronia “Eccles Cakes”

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Seabuckthorn and Aronia Eccles Cake

I know, it’s a strange one; what on Earth took me to decide to make Eccles Cakes? I have never been to Manchester, I actually never went to England either, one of these “too close yet too far” thing, it just never happened. I remember selling them in a cheese shop I used to work in, the owner was from London I think, very, very British if you don’t mind me saying and if that even makes sense… Something “very French” probably suggests a certain “je ne sais quoi”, a cliché, some guy on a bicycle with onions hanging out and a Mariner’s top… Hang on! Isn’t this the description of an “Onion Johnny” from Brittany? Well that’s just great! Something “very Irish” tends to be a bit pejorative, an unpleasant trait and thankfully only used and identified by the locals… So, very British uh? By Jove, I am not sure… All I know is that you don’t need to go too far to experience the echoes of the old empire around here, so when niece Tara visited last week, I suggested a little stroll on the grounds and garden of Tullynally Castle, three hundred and fifty years in the making… I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Irish mythology “The Children of Lir”? Oidheadh Chloinne Lir, tale of a jealous step mother who turns her King of a husband’s children into Swans… Well, that is pretty much there, over looking Lough Derravaragh in Westmeath…

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Foraging Cake

This lovely recipe is initially my Mother’s famous apple cake recipe; I have twisted it a bit a couple of times but the main frame remains the same. You just have to replace (or reduce) the amount of apples and replace or add some of your favourite berries. Here it goes:

You’ll need:

  • 150g of organic white flour
  • 50g of organic buckwheat flour (or just 200g of white)
  • 200g of salted butter (I prefer)
  • 200g of sugar
  • 3 large eggs (or 4 medium/small)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder/ soda
  • 4-5 apples

How to:

  • Mix the two flours in a bowl with the baking powder
  • Beat the eggs with the sugar
  • In a pan, gently melt the butter and cool a bit
  • Pour the eggs and sugar mix over the flour and keep whisking gently
  • Then do the same with the butter… Easy now.
  • Put in your peeled and chopped apples (Or berries, or quince paste…)
  • Bake in a floured and buttered tin at 200c for 30 to 40 minutes
  • Check with a skewer before cooling that it is cooked through. If not, leave it a bit longer!

Some examples…

Mixed berries and apple cake

Mixed Berries Cake

Apple and Quince Cake served with Bellingham Blue

Apple and Quince cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!!