Summer cake with yoghurt and cherries

cherry cake

Another hot day, 31C inside (cooler than outside) and I am drinking iced tea and recovering after a sweaty walk to getting groceries. Even the locals were complaining today: “Madonna! Che caldo! E insupportabile!”. Now after lunch,  those who are not at the beach are secluded indoors, blinds are dropped and fans are on, it’s OK if you do not do much.

On the way, dragging my carrello (personal shopping trolley) along the bumpy sidewalk, I met a neighbour, loading her car on the street, with bags and dog, who explained that they were departing. “Buona vacanza! Mare o monti?“, I asked: sea or mountains? Those are the options from Rome. Oh, the mountains, she said, but actually it was only her dog who was going on holidays. He was going to her sister in the mountains, to cool off for a couple weeks. When the dogs get moved, it is definitely warmer then normal.

We even had mystery packet ramen noodles for dinner the other night. Cook three minutes? Perfect! Still, we had watermelon and peaches and cherries, and a friend arriving, so this impromptu cake was made – then the kitchen was barricaded off to block the heat.

Quick summer cake with yoghurt and cherries (and a peach)

3 eggs
120 grammes sugar
120 grammes yoghurt (I used banana)
80 grammes melted butter
100 ml semi-skimmed milk
250 grammes all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of vanilla salt

12 cherries, pitted
One small peach, chopped

Optional: icing sugar to serve

cherries

Whisk eggs and sugar, add the rest and whisk  (not too much after flour is added). Layer baking parchment on base of 24 cm springform tin. Add half the batter, then fruit dropped over, then spoon on rest of batter. Bake in middle of the oven at 200C for 40 min or so. Cool and serve; sprinkle over a little icing sugar if you wish.
image

I did not use much butter, which means the cake might be bit pale, but the structure was fine and the fruit comes through well (depending where you slice the cake…..). Wishing you all cooler days soon!

image

Banana bread with honey

View from Garbatella metro Rome is in the midst of a heatwave, and our cooking is diminishing, as the temperature rises. This is the view from Garbatella metro, with the new bridge and in the distance, the old Mercati Generali under renovation. On the way home in the afternoon, I stock up: watermelon, figs, mozzarella, striped melons: what to eat? Anything requiring minimal time in the kitchen. Still,  these collapsingly ripe bananas obviously meant it was time to make banana bread! Cold showers before and after entirely optional.

image

I’d bookmarked this recipe a while ago: Grov honning banana kake (in Norwegian), which is a banana cake with honey and wholewheat. It looks amazing. I tweaked it slightly, since I had three bananas, and it is actually rather nice.

Banana bread with honey and wholewheat flour

Banana bread with honey and wholewheat flour (2 loaves)

3 eggs
150 grammes sugar
150 grammes thick honey
140 grammes softened butter
3 very ripe bananas
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
220 grammes all-purpose flour
180 grammes wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Whisk eggs and sugar. Add honey, butter and mashed bananas. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Add milk and vanilla extract. Divide between two loaf tins, bake 55 min at 180C. If still pale, add 10 minutes at 210C to crisp it up a bit.

Banana bread with honey and wholewheat flour

This has a lovely honey-banana flavour. It was a little moist in the middle, so maybe bake at 200C next time? Or reduce milk to 180ml.  I will see what it is like when cake has cooled down properly. Still, very tasty, and well worth turning the oven on for!

Terrace party with the neighbours

terrace party GarbatellaI have been pondering: What to make for a condominium “Festa della Estate“? We have a lovely rooftop terrace over looking Garbatella, our neighborhood here. For several years there has been a ban on using it for anything but drying laundry, but there is an ongoing thaw. Last summer we had a summer terrace party for the building, where eveyone brought a dish and we enjoyed the sunset and evening breeze. Really nice!

We recently had the second annual terrace party, and I have been debating what to bring. Nothing Italian, for sure: we have some excellent home chefs in our palazzo, and each dish is tasted, scrutinized and debated, in a friendly, slightly competitive and very appreciative way. For the party last year we made an English summer pudding, very exotic and that went down well. Nothing too foreign either, and something that holds up in the heat. What to make? This year we contributed Pimm’s (an English summer apertivo with fruit and cucumber) and a cold, crisp Norwegian cucumber salad, as it is close to 30C even in the evenings.

IMG_20150605_194537The menu and contributions is below, as shared by email. Yes, after years of bad photocopies our building with 24 flats has embraced email! So we get updated on the collapsing sewer pipes, bicycle parking, possible rooftop gardening, and party menus. It is actually really improving communications. The menu contributions planned (in Italian):
– lasagne
– aperitivo + insalata
– torta salata + bevande
– vino
– insalata russa
– un secondo (a sorpresa)
– frittata di maccheroni
– pollo al cherry e rotolo di frittata
– arrosto in salsa al pistacchio e pane
– dolce
…niente male no? Aggiungerei del cocomero (lo porto io) se no che festa dell’estate è!!

IMG_20150605_202019

It was all really delicious — those ones just above are the frittata di maccheroni from our neighbour Mara.  Those were snapped up quickly, unlike my cucumber salad. It IS good though! Great with cold poached salmon as a summer dinner. And the Pimm’s was definitely a hit (though I know now just who is allergic to strawberries……)

image

Cold, crisp Norwegian cucumber salad
One cucumber
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
50 ml white vinegar
Enough water to cover

Make this the day before serving it, so the flavours meld and the salad is cold. .
Shave the cucumber thinly with a cheese slicer (invented by a Norwegian, did you know that?) and layer in a bowl with salt, sugar and vinegar. Add enough water to cover. Repeat, depending how much salad you want: I made a medium-sized bowl with four cucumbers, just add more salt, sugar and vinegar. Taste and add more salt, sugar and vinegar if needed. Fresh dill is nice too if you have it. Cover and store in fridge.

We sampled dishes, ate cherries, gossiped about the construction  works across the piazza, enjoyed amazing millefoglie contributed by the restaurant below, and it was a really lovely evening.

IMG_20150605_195805