I think I must have been a bit over-excited about watching the quarter final of The Great British Bake Off last night as I thought to myself “ooh I think I’ll just get a cake into the oven before it starts”. Fifteen minutes before it started.

I know, I know, I said I was planning a month of lighter cooking but I’ve had the dry ingredients for Nigella’s Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake weighed out and taking up space in a container on the top of my fridge for a couple of weeks now, since I weighed out the ingredients for a third loaf cake when I made the fire engine cake. Just in case there was a need to avert disaster late in the proceedings.  Then there was the fact that my Mum brought me some dark purple plums and I couldn’t stop thinking about plums and dark chocolate in combination.

So, I had lots of reasons to come up with a variation on this moreish cake and call it Plum and Chocolate Loaf Cake with Sloe Gin Syrup.  Well, why not?

I replaced the sour cream and all but 20ml of the boiling water in the Nigella Lawson recipe with 210g of cooked plums (simmered gently for 25 minutes with nothing added).  I also replaced most of the dark chocolate chips with chunks of Roasted Almond Dark Lindt chocolate and 25ml of the water in the chocolate syrup with 25ml sloe gin which I added after removing the reduced syrup from the heat.  I cooked it for ten minutes longer than stated in the recipe but I always find this cake needs a little longer in my oven.

The result is pretty good but, well, it is not quite Nigella.  A bit like chocolately Christmas Pudding really.

Lesson learned: don’t mess about with what is already good, I decided to follow the recipe to the letter for this evening’s meal and made Marcus Wareing’s Sea Bass with Cauliflower Puree from October’s Delicious Magazine (the link will be added when the recipe has been published on the website).  The recipe was included as part of a feature about the Action Against Hunger Campaign promoting specific ingredients in its fight against child malnutrition (in this case, fish).

This is an excellent meal for young families – not only is it really tasty (the baby gleefully covered himself in the cauliflower puree and my eldest, who wasn’t so keen on the cauliflower, was asking for more fish before I had even taken my second mouthful) and nutritious, but much of the preparation can be done in advance and it only takes just over thirty minutes to make.

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