Mamma is the word!
This post is dedicated to all Mums, and my mum was the perfect host for it. As you can see from the pictures she is a 69 year old larger than life character.
She is utterly inspiring for her uncomplicated way, honest and sharp eye for the things of life!
She was the one that started me in the kitchen by putting me on a chair in front of our kitchen hob to stir the risotto. I cannot even begin to tell you how boring that is for a 5 year old…
However, mamma managed to make me feel on top of the world by tying her prettiest apron just under my armpits and making me wear a pretend chef’s hat (actually it was more like a pirate’s…) from a crispy linen napkin.
In no time at all, and with her singing in the background to help keep the tempo of my stirring, the risotto was ready. Ta da!
Little girls always have a special relationship with their mums and the chemistry of mixing cooking ingredients can only improve it!
Even though my mum was born just before the second world war, listening to the stories of her growing up in the countryside of Bologna seems like listening to the tales of a hundred of years ago.
Her connection to the land and its bounty is so much stronger than any of us seem to have now. In today’s world, organic food sometimes appears to just be the lastest food fad and Gucci-healed professionals get squeamish when they see that a cabbage at their local farmer’s market has a little slug in it!
What is it happening to us?
One of my mum’s best recipes is her apple, lemon zest and vanilla cake. She used to wait for the apples in her garden to be ready, pick them and then bake this delicious cake.
She thoroughly enjoys baking it and it is extremely popular with our customers. So much so, in fact, that apple cake is never missing from our daily choice in the deli!. Even if I have to say that sometimes it’s a challenge to bake it at the speed that it sells!
For all the mums and daughters out there here is our much-treasured recipe:
Ingredients: (Serves 12)
- 1 lightly greased 23cm spring cake tin with a base lined with baking paper.
- 5 large organic eggs.
- 300g caster sugar.
- 200g ’00’ flour or else just plain flour.
- 120g melted butter.
- 3 apples, pealed and thinly sliced for the topping.
- 7 apples, pealed and diced.
- 1 rounded teaspoon of baking powder.
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Juice and zest of 1 untreated lemon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla exctract.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4).
- Beat the eggs and the sugar until fluffy.
- Mix the baking powder and soda with the flour and sift the mixture into the eggs and sugar batter.
- When the flour has been incorporated well add the melted butter, the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- In the meantime pour the lemon juice on top of the cubed apples and let them marinate for a few minutes.
- When the apples are ready fold them into the cake batter.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin, making sure to keep it level.
- Top the cake with the thinly sliced apples and bake for 50/55 minutes or until the middle is firm to the touch.
- When the cake is cold, if you wish to have a shiny finish spread a thin layer of melted apricot jam and water on top or sprinkle the cake with icing sugar.