Culinary chemistry

Our holidays were chock-a-block with entertaining, catching-up with long distance connections and playing outdoors. Every moment in between was filled with whipping, dicing and nibbling in the kitchen. Interludes of strong coffee brewing throughout the day, all while sporting a holiday apron as a permanent garment. I love it. Already I feel a lull as we are back full force into our routine. Who can I bake for, what large group can I cook for? Don’t we eat turkey every Sunday? Hence why I pulled out a favourite gingerbread cake recipe for last Sunday’s family dinner. I thought it may make a repeat performance for my birthday, as one slice just wasn’t enough. However my stomach ache from the lip-smacking torta I consumed for lunch at Las Tortas kept my appetite on low right until the aroma wafting from Les Faux Bourgeois‘ kitchen hit my nose. A Kir Royal, soupe a l’oignon gratinée (a meal in itself if you eat an entire baguette alongside it comme Mr. Dandi) and the savoury portabello parmentier, all washed down with a hearty Chateau de Cabriac GSM. And in the end, the gingerbread cake wasn’t needed; I was surprised with a wedge of Panaderia Latina Bakery‘s dulce de leche cake as well as their tres leche cake. A perfect cap to a perfect evening. After a bon anniversaire full of palette pleasers it got me thinking about the added enjoyment of good food with great company. I wouldn’t pick up a spatula or whisk as frequently if it weren’t for family and friends joining me in the kitchen, sharing their recipes, and treating one another to new concoctions and old stand-bys. Christmas with my mom side-by-side in the kitchen, Saturday nights with a bottle of wine appearing during prep, potluck planning and recipe hunting with friends…I get excited about these moments because of the chemistry brewing in the kitchen. Story-telling and laughter go into each meal. I think this is why I often pick up the phone and call someone if I am preparing something solo. It’s the extra ingredient if you will.

Salt Spring Island Cooking : Gingerbread Cake
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ginger
1⁄3 cup oil
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp vinegar

I highly recommend these additions from my mother’s kitchen:
½ cup brown sugar (this isn’t a sweet cake – I either add the brown sugar or make a warm lemon sauce to top)
1 tsp Keen’s dry mustard
½ cup finely diced crystallized ginger
1 – 2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift the dry ingredients together. Stir all liquid ingredients until blended. Mix the liquids into the dry ingredients slowly and throughly. Add fresh and candied ginger at the end if including. Pour the mixture into a well-greased and floured 8×8 pan (or 8×2 round). Bake for 40 minutes. Once cool enough to handle remove from pan to finish cooling. Serve plain or with a warm lemon sauce (I like the clear lemon sauce in the Joy of Cooking).

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2 Responses to Culinary chemistry

  1. Veronica says:

    As your last recipes were a resounding success in the Boraas and Collins extended households, I shall have to try these!

  2. jennifer says:

    Potluck planning, recipe hunting & sharing new wine finds… how I love thee! But most of all, with you Mrs. DANDI!

    Seriously, anyone who doesn’t plan for a pastime, is truly missing out.

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