When I was a child I pondered and wondered on the origins of this cake’s name. Did it cost just a pound to buy the ingredients? Did you have to literally pound the cake? Was it only found in a dog pound? I can honestly tell you that I do not understand the real genesis of this marvel but I know where it will end if you were to bake or purchase this baked yummie. It won’t end well for the pound cake but your taste buds and your entire being will be enveloped in rapturous joy.

 

 

 

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I found a great recipe that was dead easy to follow that I could not resist trying it.

I had all the ingredients so it seemed like it was meant to be; a fabulous family friend, who is an impeccable baker, had given me tonnes of gourmet cream cheese and my best friend had just given me a Kenwood mixer – what other reason could there possibly be not to plunge in head-first?

 

Here’s what you need

 

3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (340 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup (226 grams) cream cheese at room temperature

2 3/4 cups (550 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste (you could use 2 ½ teaspoons of vanilla essence)

6 large eggs at room temperature

 

The “How-to”

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack in center of oven. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick spray and dust lightly with flour) a 10 inch (25 cm) bundt pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (with the paddle attachment), or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go along. Continue beating on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla and beat until completely incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then carefully add the flour mixture, in three additions, and mix until just incorporated (Ensure that the flour is well mixed in but do not over mix). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 55 – 70 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I split the batter into two bundt pans (smaller than the recipe called for) so my baking time was about 55 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 – 30 minutes so it has time to set. Remove the cake from the pan to finish cooling.

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Hubby hauled one of these delightful cakes to work and it was happy addition to their day; not a crumb was spared.

Look out for my next post show casing a more colorful side to this recipe. You will be pleasantly surprised; I know I was 🙂

There’s a predictability that comes at meal times that can make such periods tedious. Meals become a chore and there’s really no spark at the table. You can turn this around by taking bold chances in the kitchen.

I have been puttering in my Flab (Food lab) over he past couple of months since my last post and I have developed some truly amazing recipes using Nigerian staple foods.

A good example is the ube fruit. Ube is also known as bush butter or African pear. It is native to West Africa between Eastern Nigeria and Angola. Ube can be cooked by steeping it in hot water or roasting it. Traditionally it is paired with corn for a popular Eastern Nigerian snack but my interesting take on it converts it to a delicious nutritious spread or dip; a cross between a guacamole and a tapanade.

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Ingredients for Ube spread/dip
12 ubes
½ lime (just the juice)
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
½ cup of fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt (optional)
½ cup Flaked cooked fish (preferably a mild tasting one) (optional)
3 spring onions

METHOD
Steep ubes in boiling hot water for 5 minutes, drain and carefully scrape the cooked flesh into the a blender or food processor. Juice half a lime and add it in with black pepper, chopped spring onions, parsley, peeled garlic, flaked fish (optional).
Blend all ingredients in the blender/food processor until it forms a paste and then carefully add in the olive oil pulsing the blender/food processor until the paste loosens and becomes smooth. Taste for salt and serve.
This spread works well on a tortilla (or any flat bread) with a salad piled on: pictured below or as a delicious dip for your favourite snacks.

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You could also try stuffing tomatoes with the dip for an instant delicious snack or canape.

Stuffed Tomatoes Ingredients
6 firm ripe tomatoes
4 tbs of soft any soft mild cheese (like brie)
2 spring onions
4 tbs of sweet corn
4 tbs Ube spread (see recipe above)
Ground Black pepper

Method
Halve the tomatoes vertically and scoop out the pulp. Chop the spring onions and set aside. Then scatter some sweet corn at the bottom of each tomato reserving some for the topping. Scoop even portions of the ube spread into each tomato shell. Then add even bit of cheese, sprinkle with the reserved sweet corn.

Garnish each stuffed tomato with the chopped spring onions. To finish off, sprinkle each tomato with freshly ground black pepper. Now enjoy!
This spread really makes for a guilt free indulgence!

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Another great Nigerian food is plantain. The plantain is a staple meal in every Nigerian home and is so versatile that you can eat it ripe or unripe, boil, roast, and fry it. Boiled plantain serves as a great base for the Nigerian pottage, which could include any combination of yams and beans.
When fried plantain is known as dodo; a beloved meal by almost anyone who has eaaten it. Roasted plantain is a snack commonly enjoyed with a side of peanuts; roasting it intensifies its flavour.

But have you considered using it in a curry? The results might surprise you.

Ingredients for Nigerian Flair to a curry
3 tbs hot curry powder
2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
4 cups chicken stock
2 blades of lemon grass
3 potatoes
2 ripe plantains
2 tbs vegetable oil
4 hard-boiled eggs.

Chop onions and garlic finely. Peel and cube plantains and potatoes (keep the sizes even). Heat a pan with the oil; add finely chopped onions and garlic. After 2 minutes, add plantains and potatoes and give it a good stir.
Make a thick paste of the curry and add to the pan, coating the contents evenly. Then pour in the chicken stock and add the lemon grass. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over boiled eggs with cooked rice of your choice.

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Please note: the Curry powder used in this recipe was quite spicy and the chicken stock was well seasoned so no salt was required. Adjust your recipe according to the salt required.
In the serving suggestion below, the curry is served with jasmine rice and a side of cucumber which helps to cool and cleanse the palette.

Another amazing experiment was the one I made with pap. Also known as ogi or akamu. A fellow foodie friend (Dooney) and I loathe the stuff so we challenged each other to come up with recipes that we could abide. She made a creme brûlée inspired dessert and I made a pudding type dessert that was surprisingly good.

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Substitute yams for potatoes as I did in the recipe below; or use both potatoes and yams.

Crispy Rosemary Chicken and Fries
Ingredients
8 chicken thighs
4 potatoes, quartered
3 slices of yam cut lengthways into chips
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place chicken yams and potatoes into a large bowl. Pour olive oil over them, and stir to coat. Scatter the chicken and potato pieces in a large baking dish, or cookie sheet with sides. Sprinkle with rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, uncovered. Baste during the last 15 minutes for extra crispness.

Please note that the original recipe I followed called for chicken thighs but I used boneless chicken breasts which cooks a lot faster. So my cooking time was reduced.
Serve accompanied by a salad and dip of your choice.

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These recipes are so easy to follow that it should be a crime not to attempt them. So go on and add a surprising twist to your meal times.