Tuesday 16 April 2024

Spiked Brown Cherry Cake

This is very similar to another German sour cherry and chocolate cake that I've been making for years (also on the blog).  This one is from Kindred by Eva and Maria Konecsny, two sisters who along with their mother founded Gewürzhaus, a spice shop in Melbourne.  Their cookbook has many family recipes that they are now sharing with the world.  

I made this one for Cookbook Club a while ago.  I love sour cherries, though I am feeling a bit dubious about them now, after having read a chapter in The Book of Difficult Fruit by Kate Lebo.  Apparently, they are made with lots of dyes and chemicals to make them look plump and red in the jar!  Eek!  But I will keep using them, I reckon.  I just like 'em too much to stop.  She also discusses how she uses the kernels of apricots or cherries to make an 'almond' extract - which contains cyanide.  She is either brave or stupid - you pick!

looking very edible :=)

Serves 10:


140g./5 oz. salted butter, at room temp.

50g./a scant 2 oz. coconut sugar    see Notes

4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites

3 Tbs maple syrup

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

a pinch of ground black pepper

90g./3.2 oz. dark chocolate, grated    see Notes

150g./5.3 oz. almond meal/ground almonds

50g./1.8 oz. dried breadcrumbs  see Notes

1 x 680g./24 oz. jar of pitted morello (sour) cherries, drained but KEEP the liquid

cream, to serve

Spiked syrup:

cherry juice (from above) - I ended up with 350 mL/12 oz.

2 Tbs raw sugar

1 cinnamon quill

8 black peppercorns

pinch of sea salt

Kirschwasser or liquor of your choice - I used 20 mL/0.7 oz. of spiced rum!


Whack on the oven to 170C/340F to heat up

Butter and flour a 23cm/9 inch round springform tin

Grab your electric beaters and cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl

Now beat in the egg yolks, one yolk at a time, beating well

Keep beating while you add the maple syrup and spices, then fold in the chocolate

Now grab another mixing bowl, and beat the egg whites till stiff

You now fold half the egg whites into the batter, then half the almond meal and half the breadcrumbs

And do it all again with the other halves :=) i.e. the egg whites, almond meal and breadcrumbs

Pour/spoon the batter into the tin and make it smooth

On go the cherries across the top of the batter; press them gently into the batter

Try to get some of the batter over the cherries; you want 'em just a wee bit drowning and submerged in the batter (hehehe)

Put the cake tin on a baking tray, and bake for 25-30 minutes (tho' my cake took closer to 40 mins.!).  I do have a recalcitrant oven tho'.

Once the skewer comes out clean, you know it's done

Leave it in the tin, on a wire rack till absolutely cool - the sisters suggest you leave it overnight in an airtight container so it gets all lovely and cured and juicy

Syrup making:

Don't forget the syrup, which you can make and leave in the fridge till you're going to eat the cake, or make it the next day after you've allowed the cake to 'cure' for a day - yeah, what the?! :) when the cake is screaming out: "Eat me now!"

The cherry juice and sugar go into a small saucepan over low heat; stir till the sugar dissolves

Now add the spices and salt, and increase the heat till the syrup starts to boil

Reduce the heat, and let it simmer away for 15-25 minutes (mine took 20 mins.) until lightly thickened

Let it cool down for 15 mins., then add your liquor of choice - I ended up with 125 mL/4 big oz./½ cup of syrup before I added the spiced rum

Serve with the cake!


I used light brown sugar as I had no coconut sugar, and some panko breadcrumbs

I use Lindt 70% dark chocolate as it is very easy to break up with your fingers, and you get big chunks!

fold the chocolate into your batter

spoon into the tin, and smooth over

cherries in, and smoothed over before baking at 170C

and baked!

and eat!

c. Sherry M.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Caramelised Onion And Garlic Jam

We don't eat a lot of sweet jam in this house, but luckily for us, we have a Tassie friend who brings us her homemade cumquat marmalade every winter, which is great on toast, or in bread and butter puddings.  (I made a pudding the other night with leftover Hot Cross buns and Easter eggs and her marmalade!)  We do love a savoury jam though, and this one goes down a treat.  

I hunted up the 'Net for a recipe and found one by CSR (The Colonial Sugar Refinery), which was a big sugar-producing company here in Queensland (now owned by a Singaporean company).  Oddly to my mind, they are also a construction company!  Something to do with them making their own sugar mills, it seems.

And speaking of sugar mills ... there are sugarcane farms and a sugar mill just over the Queensland border in Northern Rivers.  I love watching the pure white smoke come out of the stack when they are processing the sugar.  And when they are burning the cane before harvest, the fires are huge and bright and burn into the night.  Very magical! though not very environmentally sound.  In fact, most Queensland sugarcane is harvested "green" (i.e. without burning), while New South Wales still burns the crops first.  I do like the fires I have to admit :=)


image Wikimedia Commons (author: Rob & Stephanie Levy)

They burn at dusk, when the winds have dropped.  The fires get rid of vermin, and the debris from the canes.  It is always a magnificent sight with flaming fields burning into the night.


delicious onion and garlic jam   (bronze kingfisher by Dion Parker)

Makes 2 smallish jars:


1.5 Tbs EV olive oil

3 large red onions, finely sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely sliced

65g./2.3 oz dark brown sugar

250 mL/1 cup red wine vinegar  (I used my homemade blood orange vinegar)

1 Tbs yellow mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

1.5 tsp sea salt flakes

1/2 dozen grinds black pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

a wee bit of cold water if needed


Grab a large and deep frying pan, and throw in the oil and onions over a low heat

Cook for about 15 minutes till tender and just turning colour, stirring now and then

Add the garlic, stirring for 3 minutes

Stir 1 Tbs of the sugar over the mixture for 1 minute, till it starts to bubble 

Now turn the heat up to medium, and add the vinegar, mustard seeds, bay leaves, salt, pepper, paprika and the rest of the sugar; let it cook for a couple of minutes then - 

Reduce the heat to medium-low to low, and let it simmer away for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, till you have a thick and luscious jammy mixture  (add a splash of water if it's starting to go too thick)

Take out the bay leaves, and spoon into hot, sterilised jars

Makes 2 smallish jars


I halved their recipe, except for the garlic and bay leaves, so double this recipe if you want to make a full amount

ingredients gathered

stir that onion and garlic

and stir some more till jammy and fragrant

et voilà!   (figurine by Denise Murray)

(Joining up with Min from Write of the Middle blog - for the #WWWhimsy post.)

c. Sherry M.

Monday 1 April 2024

In My Kitchen - April 2024

I hope you had/are having a wonderful chocolate and family-filled Easter, my friends.  I think I've eaten my body weight in chocolate and sweets!  So I've been walking it off each day, tramping up the hilly road near us, wielding my trusty umbrella.  As usual, we've been 'enjoying' a wet Easter.  It's also school hols here in Queensland, and everybody heads off to go camping, even though they get damp and soggy :=)  

Also every Easter you can take yourself to the Byron Bay Bluesfest, a massively popular music festival (always a mudfest).  Our dear friend Rob (owner and player of many guitars) who died last January, usually attended with his son, so I've been thinking of him and his family over the break.  Hard to believe it has been over a year since he died.  We were fortunate enough to spend a few hours with him on his last day, keeping vigil.

Some people have asked me about the talk I gave to our local Historical Society late last year.  (Mr P. is now the President and I am the co-archivist.  Not sure how that happened ...)  So here is the link for those who would like to watch it on YouTube: 

Hist. Society Talk


In My Kitchen:

I strained and bottled the raspberry vinegar

I bought more Japanese goodies from Genki Mart - matcha, matcha!

I made a 3 egg omelette for our 92 year old neighbour - 'cos protein!

I bought a Japanese hand-carved wooden spoon. Yep, naturally I need more spoons!

of course I made more pickled cukes!  Probably the last till Spring

and I bought Mr P. a biiiiig smash Easter egg; cannot resist 100s & 1000s!

and for myself these fab Koko Black choc bites

this was a Christmas gift from the cuz

and this is an early birthday gift from our Tassie friends for Mr P.

more gifts from our Tassie friends

here are those 1960s orange enamel dishes I mentioned recently

and the curveball ...

I've started painting the bottom storey of our house.  Our painter has done the top storey (very slowly), so I decided enough was enough, and got out the brushes and roller.  Half a wall done, and three and a half left!!  Mr P. did the top bricks, and helped with the cutting-in, but I've done the majority of it.  So much cutting-in to go ...

c. Sherry M.

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