I realise this is a bit of a departure from my previous healthy living post but I just downloaded last week’s photos from my camera and wanted to share this recipe with you. Sockerkaka (meaning: Sugar cake) is incredibly popular in Sweden and it is the perfect cake to whip up when you have unexpected company as it’s so simple to make and pretty much all the ingredients are cupboard staples. I made this last week when my friend and her daughter came over, it took me no more than ten minutes to mix up the batter once the kids had gone to school and then I could get on with my work while it was baking in the oven. You could add other flavours such as cocoa powder or lemon juice and zest but this is the original (and in my opinion the best) recipe:
180 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
50 g butter
100 ml milk
220 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla essence until white and fluffy. Melt the butter and stir in the milk, then add that to the mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and carefully fold into the batter. Pour into a prepared ring cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes.
My friend made these raspberry oat bars for a cake sale at my son’s school last month and, after tasting one, I immediately asked for the recipe. They’re super easy to make and the oaty crunchiness contrasts nicely with the gooey jam. If you use sugar free jam they’re not too sweet and make perfect lunch box treats.
(makes approx 12 slices)
5 tablespoons light brown soft sugar
125g (4 1/2 oz) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
100g (4 oz) porridge oats
125g (4 1/2 oz) butter, softened
250g (9 oz) good quality raspberry jam
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/Gas mark 4. Grease one 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
2. Combine brown sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and porridge oats in a large bowl. Rub in the butter using your hands to form a crumbly mixture.
3. Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake tin, reserving the rest for the topping. Spread the jam over the base but not quite to the edges as it will spread.
4. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top and lightly press it into the jam.
5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into slices.
My husband and I often have wildly different tastes in TV programmes. I like glamour and drama, with a healthy bit of cheese thrown in (think Revenge, Gossip Girl – RIP, I still miss Chuck & Blair – and Made in Chelsea) while he prefers sport, Top Gear or worthy documentaries, which I think I should watch to boost my intellect but just find sooo boring. But now and again our tastes do overlap – we were both avid followers of Homeland (starts again on Sunday, yay!) The Bridge, Borgen and The Americans, to name but a few.
Most recently, it’s TV chef extraordinaire Jamie Oliver’s (is he ever off the telly?) latest series Save with Jamie that has caught our attention. Neither of us is usually that enamored with cookery shows but we both like the idea of roasting a big joint of meat or grilling a side of salmon for a family Sunday lunch and then eeking it out to make another two or three meals during the week. Last Sunday we had roast chicken with all the trimmings and then boiled the carcass to make chicken stock which, together with the leftover meat, was turned into a stew that lasted us two days.
Of course I realise that there is certain irony in a multi-millionaire chef showing us mere mortals how to cut down on our food spend, but if it saves us money and makes meal planning that bit easier then I’m all for it. And say what you will about the ‘Naked Chef’, he is a national institution and you do get the feeling that he does really care about the eating habits of the nation, even if he is laughing all the way to the bank.
Find the chicken stew recipe here