I’ve just had a breakfast of Nigella Lawson’s Mother-in-law’s Madeira cake (from How to be a Domestic Goddess) spread with Nutella and dipped into a bowl of hot chocolate. Now, when I bake, it’s usually something with chocolate, but once I tried this for a picnic, and it turned out splendidly, so I make it once in a while. It’s better eaten on the next day and can keep for quite a few days.
Madeira Cakes are traditional English cakes, much like pound cakes or the French quatre-quarts, that are made of very basic ingredients (lots of butter, sugar, eggs,flour, baking powder and the grated zest and juice of a lemon or two), hence the name, I suppose, or as one of my cookbooks on Victorian cakes mentioned, named so because it went well with the sweet liquourous Madeira wine. The lemon note is quite subtle but aptly improves the butter flavour.
It’s fine eaten on its own at tea-time, but I find it delicious for breakfast, spread with jam or Nutella.
For lunch, I plan a sort of chop suey dish with vegetables and chicken breast. I’ll cut the free-range chicken breast in strips, and the veg (2 carrots, 1 fat courgette and a yellow pepper) in matchsticks, finely chop some onion, garlic and ginger. For the occasion I’ll dust my hardly-used wok, heat up some vegetable oil in it, and stir-fry the vegetables separately, the chicken and finally put everything back in together, season with some roasted sesame oil, some light soy sauce and a pinch of curry powder and eat it on my, and on its own. If I felt like celebrating, I’d pour in some coconut milk too, and perhaps would roast some mustard or sesame seeds and serve the whole with rice, but since this is only me, and only lunch, I’ll stick to the easy version.
Next on today’s to-do list and much more to my taste after cleaning comes grocery shopping. On a Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I would normally go to the local market and get inspiration from the stalls, but since he’s only back form a business trip tomorrow, I’ll just pop over to the supermarket and get food for tomorrow’s lunch, to celebrate his return!
I plan to roast a free-range chicken stuffed with green pitted olives, lemon, garlic and rosemary, and serve it with cheesy potato pancakes. The pancakes will be a first and I’ll let you know how they turn out. I might even bake a strawberry tart, bake the pastry crust that is, the crème pâtissière and the strawberries being spread cold over the cooled crust. Now that is one of spring’s chocolate-free pleasures! Will post the recipe soon.