Mar 13, 2013

Apple Sour Cake, Poached Peaches and Cheese and Herb Souffles

by Michelle Douglas

Today’s post is a miscellany of food. I love food. No, I know what you’re thinking, but I really LOVE food. :-) And I realise that I use it a lot in my writing too—living vicarious through my characters, no doubt.

Miscellany One
I handed in the revisions for my October release The Redemption of Rico D’Angelo on Monday. Rico is a governmental project officer who needs a manager for his latest project -- a charity café. Obviously, that’s where my heroine Neen Cuthbert comes in…and she cooks the most utterly divine sweets. Her apple sour cake is legendary!

I have never had apple sour cake, which means there was a sad gap in my education. With the book leaving the house on Monday, the dh and I went out in search of apple sour cake on the weekend. After all, what if it proved to be one of those terrible letdowns? I didn’t want readers rolling their eyes and wondering why Neen wasn’t making caramel cream pie instead? There’d still time to change that detail if I had to.

We peeked in café windows. With mouths watering we pointed to any number of divine creations we’d have been more than willing to sample in the name of research, but we walked away until...eventually... there it was in a café window! We promptly planted ourselves at a corner table, ordered flat whites…and apple sour cake!

The result? I’m not changing a word. Neen’s speciality remains apple sour cake. The stuff is divine. If you haven’t tried it, do.

Miscellany Two
I have never ever poached or stewed fruit. I don’t know why. Maybe because tinned fruit is so readily available? Maybe because I thought it’d be hard and fiddly? I bought a bucket of peaches for a song the other week. Of course it all started to ripen at the same time and I knew we’d never get through it before it spoiled. So… I found a recipe in the Coles Magazine. OMG, talk about easy. Eat this stuff with very thick King Island Cream. Go on, I dare you.

Stewed Peaches
Cut 4 ripe peaches into quarters (I peeled them too) and in a saucepan combine them with 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Cook over medium heat. Poach for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until syrup is thickened and peaches are soft.
I think cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice could all be used to great effect here.

Miscellany Three
Rico and Neen also make a cheese and herb soufflé together. I‘ve never made a soufflé although it’s something I’ve always meant to do. I’ve found a recipe here. It looks easy enough and I mean to give it a go. Unless someone out there has a better recipe and wishes to post it in the comments below. ;-)

So what about you? Have you sampled anything new-to-you lately or experimented with a brand new recipe? Was it divine or a letdown? Or like me maybe there’s a recipe you’ve always meant to test drive and just haven’t gotten around to trialling yet? Hmm…anyone up for a cooking challenge?


  1. Michelle, I don't think I've tried apple sour cake before either. This must be rectified. I've also always wanted to try cooking a souffle, so I'll be interested in your results.

    Something new... nothing recently. Which means it's time! Might scour the recipe books. :)

  2. I'm still semi-kitchenless so no new recipes for me! But I'd love to give apple sour cake a try!

  3. Gonna have to look more into this apple sour cake!!
    I'm the Master Chef in the family but only through default. And I'm not really a master chef...more the nightly cook. But I am trying new things lately, mainly because of the real Masters Chefs on the tellie. Man, I love that show. Such talent. Wish we had taste-avision :)

    Way to go on getting those revs away!!

  4. Rach, when you get around to trying the apple sour cake, you'll be pleased you did. Ah, and you've always wanted to try a souffle too? I'll let you know how I get on. :-)

  5. Louisa, sometimes I like an excuse not to cook...but to be without a kitchen for any period of time would be excruciating , I think. Hope you're getting to try out new recipes in your BRAND NEW kitchen soon!

  6. I haven't watched Master Chef, Robbie. It sounds dangerously addictive. And pretty inspiring. :-) I used to love watching The Two Fat Ladies so perhaps I should give it a whirl.

    And I'll put in a vote for taste-avision too!

  7. Michelle, I've never heard of Apple Sour Cake but definitely want to give it a try now! Our vege garden has been going crazy these past few weeks. I swear that I can SEE the zuchinnis growing before my eyes. My twin girls have perfected a chocolate zuchinni cake that is absolutely gorgeous - moist, chocolatey and semi-healthy! They learned everything they know from Masterchef.

  8. Michelle, I'm with Robbie - taste-avision would be perfect. Love the fact that you went on a culinary hunt all in the name of getting your book right. Maybe I should write books like that - any excuse! Something new to me (relatively) are summer rolls. At last I know how to make them since a recent guest made a batch and left some of the ingredients. These are wrapped up in the soft clear/white Asian pastry and eaten cold, dipped in sweet chilli sauce or Vietnamese dipping sauce. They were so fresh with their filling of lettuce, avocado, prawns etc, etc. Yum!

  9. Oh, Barb, that chocolate zucchini cake sounds divine! Another vote for Master Chef, huh? And you have someone to cook it for you. That's sounds like a win-win to me. :-)

  10. Annie, as far as I'm concerned, any reason for eating cake will do. ;-)

    Those summer rolls sound truly delicious. On those too-hot summer days they'd be perfect -- light and refreshing. I may in fact have to get that recipe from you. :-) Though, I have to admit I'm hoping we hit soup weather soon.

  11. What is it about we romance writers and food? I love food and preparing it. I am trying a ratatouille tart tonight for the first time. Last week I went through my huge stack of food magazines and removed any recipe I thought I might like to make and now the challenge is to work my way through the pile.

  12. Sue, maybe there's something about writing and cooking that is compatible. :-)

    Love the sound of your ratatouille tart! Ratatouille is something else I've always meant to make. Must jot it down on my must-make list. Am drooling at the thought of all your food magazines too. Flicking through those would be pure bliss. :-)

  13. yum! Michelle, you've made my mouth water and I've just had a very late lunch!

    We recently tried a Jamie Oliver recipe that I can heartily recommend - frozen berry yoghurt. It was so nice that we branched out and tried adding melted chocolate and a little liqueur as an alternative flavour for a frozen yoghurt treat.

    Looking forward to hearing how your souffle goes!

  14. Ooh, Sharon, I've never tried to make yoghurt, frozen or otherwise. I do remember, however, being quite struck with ice cream machines at one stage. Now that could be an interesting investment. ;-) Oh, dear, I feel I'm getting just a little bit too much inspiration here. :-)