Observe closely... this is not your usual carrot cake
Sometimes it takes the merest of suggestions.
Somebody says carrot cake and, before you know it, you have a grater in one hand and a familiar orange vegetable in the other.*
Something happens along the way, though. Your cake bypasses the well-travelled walnut and cinnamon route and takes a turn eastwards, where it discovers pistachios and cardamoms and dates – oh my! In these foreign climes, the familiar cream cheese frosting seems somehow out of place, and is quickly shed in favour of a generous lime drizzle. Before you know it, a new incarnation of an old favourite is born, admired and eaten – and you can’t help but wonder if it’s a touch of eastern magic that causes it to disappear at such speed.
*I hasten to add that I don’t always respond so readily to such suggestions – just in case you were gettin’ any notions, like
Will chocolate become the new caviar?
That was the question asked on NPR’s news blog last week.
With farmers in Africa abandoning cocoa for crops that are easier to grow and monetise, the piece painted a futurescape of ever scarcer cocoa beans and ever more expensive bars of chocolate (I mean really, as if our economic woes weren’t bad enough…).
Whether this grim prediction regarding our most beloved of confections holds up, I am not qualified to say. Whether it is worth paying a premium for any chocolate, on that, at least I have an opinion, which is that the very good stuff is often worth the extra (though, in the Irish case, we may have to go to the European Central Bank or the International Monetary Fund to get the necessary spondulicks).
If indeed it is the good stuff you’re after (and you’re feeling suitably solvent) you may want to consider the chocolate of Claudio Corallo, described (by people I can only presume to be more knowledgeable than I) as the best chocolate in the world. No pressure there, then.
Claudio Corallo 73.5% chocolate with cocoa nibs
If potatoes are my father, then apples are my mother.
And no, smarty pants, that does not mean that I am some misbegotten product of genetic engineering (the papple? the aptato?), I mean that there is no food I associate more with my Da than boiled potatoes and no greater sweetness than the Mammy’s apple tart or crumble.
Separate and individual, vegetable and fruit, they can, like parents, be happy cohabitants. Think potato pancakes and apple sauce.
Potato-apple parcels - a very happy marriage
So, too, with these potato-apple parcels. Lofty apples wrapped in earthy potato pastry.
Together, like all the best couples, they seem like they were meant to be. Continue reading