Jam and Cake

9872832793_9ebac4e0d3_zOut of all the squash family, marrows are my least favourite vegetable but they are great for one thing and that’s making fabulous marrow and ginger jam, I have fond memories of my mum making this.  As we had a spare marrow growing in the community garden that hadn’t run away with itself and turned into a giant, I decided to make some yesterday. Last year was my first attempt and to be honest it is always on the runny side. The recipe suggests you sprinkle some sugar on the marrow and leave overnight. This acts the same as salt as it de-gorges all the water leaving you with a lot of liquid and shrivelled pieces of marrow. So when you make the jam it seems to consist mostly of syrup but what a delicious syrup with that ginger and lemon tang!

Last year I found a new use for it as well. When we had an open day to raise some money for the garden, I cooked my mum’s ginger parkin, (well actually it was my grannie’s recipe). This I turned into my recipe by substituting carob syrup for some of the golden syrup, much healthier. I had this idea last year when I’d finished it that I could adapt it even more by pricking the surface and pouring the marrow and ginger syrup over it when warm, sort of a nod to the many cakes you find in Cyprus which have a syrup over them. I guess this is how all recipes evolve by developing a basic great idea and making it your own. I have to say the result was very rich and added another depth to the taste.A lovely cake to use as pudding with ice cream. I am very partial to a bit of ginger nice and warming on the chilly nights.

Here is the recipe:-

CAROB CAKE

75 grams hazelnuts finely ground

200 grams medium to fine oatmeal

200 grams self-raising wholemeal flour

225 grams unsalted butter

225 grams dark Barbados or muscovado sugar

2 eggs

4 generous tablespoons of carob syrup

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

Melt the butter gently over low heat together with the sugar and when dissolved add the carob syrup taking off the heat. Beat the eggs. Sift the flour into a bowl add the oatmeal, baking powder and nuts. Pour in the butter mixture and mix thoroughly then add the eggs, mix well. Pour into a greased tin 22cm square and bake in a heated oven mark 4 gas or 180° centigrade for about 45 −50 mins until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. While still hot warm prick the surface all over with a toothpick and pour over the syrup.

One of the many recipes to be found in ‘Androula’s Kitchen-Cyprus on a Plate’

Two varieties of ginger as sold in Haikou, Hai...

Two varieties of ginger as sold in Haikou, Hainan, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Garden Frolics

After a festival weekend a couple of weeks ago, last weekend I had garden centred frolic. The community garden I belong to has a couple of open afternoons a year where we all bake a few cakes, open the garden to the public and invite them to have a cup of tea and a slice for a small donation. We have a tom bola and sometimes a raffle to add to the jollity and usually we get a good turnout which boosts our funds to pay for any new equipment and materials we might need.

Last weekend as it was men’s finals at Wimbledon on the Sunday we made it an open morning so as not to clash. The weather was perfect and all available umbrellas and gazebo’s from member’s gardens were brought into service. I donated a couple of copies of ‘Androula’s Kitchen’ for the tombola and made my version of Revani that’s written in the cake section, for the cake stall.  My good friend Gill of Paisley Pedlar fame has raved about this cake often and seems to find any excuse to make it, in fact she bought a new oven recently and the first thing she baked in it was Revani tis Sonia now that’s dedication! I also made some fig slices, I was looking for a very quick recipe using dates and found one online but realised I only had figs in my cupboard so these were duly substituted and I have to say they were a winner.

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The copies of the book were duly signed for the lucky winners. If you want a chance to win a copy, a lucky draw is ongoing at the moment on the Eugreeka website http://www.eugreeka.com/cyprus-on-a-plate it’s open to any one until 18th July and the winner will be announced in the newsletter out on the 19th July.

The same weekend, one of the member’s had a milestone birthday, it seems to be the year for them , and invited a few of our members to a birthday bash in her garden, and very lovely it was too.

I love it when the weather is lovely down at the garden and at the moment it is thriving and we are busy harvesting soft fruits, broad beans, spinach and chard, cauliflowers and cabbages, as well as digging up shallots, onions and garlic to dry off for storing. We also have masses of salad stuff on the go. I was recently delighted to find a community garden has been set up on the outskirts of Lefkosia in Kaimakli and it has been founded on the same principles as our own Tangmere garden: community and friendship and learning how to grow your own good food to live healthily.http://collectivebahce.wordpress.com/the-community-garden/

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