Cookbook 139: Cooking 4 Change

I backed Cooking 4 Change: 101 famous Kiwis share their favourite recipes by Dick Frizzell (with all profits going to charity) on Kickstarter. I wanted to love this book the same way I love some of the Kiwis who provided recipes (Sam Neil, Taika Waititi, Jacinda Arden, etc). It’s a great idea, get some famous people together, ask them for one or two of their favourite recipes, raise money for charity. Sadly the recipes in the book needed to be tested. When people write down their favourite recipes, they skip steps because they know what needs to happen next. For the casual reader and cook, this doesn’t work.

One of the recipes I tried to cook failed so miserably (a chocolate tart) that I just gave up and didn’t bother making it at all.

I can’t rate this cookbook highly sadly, though I want to, because the things I baked from it just didn’t work in ways I’d expect. 1.5 stars out of 5.

Hilary’s Hummingbird Cake

Hilary's hummingbird cake

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (what type?)
  • 400g can crushed pineapple, drained of some of its liquid (how much liquid is drained? We don’t know)
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 cups mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream cheese icing

  • 60g cream cheese
  • 30g butter
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Place the eggs, oil and sugar in a mixing bowl and lightly beat together. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
  3. Pour into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, for the cream cheese icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together to soften, then beat in the icing sugar and vanilla essence.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When it is fully cool, ice with the creme cheese icing.

Notes on this recipe:

  • It’s important to list the type of oil, even if you’re not specifically naming an exact oil. You probably don’t want a strong tasting/smelling oil like olive oil or sesame oil in this, but would rice bran oil or peanut oil (allergy dependent) be suitable? We don’t know.
  • How much liquid should be removed from the pineapple tin? How much does the cake need? We don’t know.

Binkie’s chocolate biscuit cake

Binkie's chocolate biscuit cake

Ingredients

  • 225g plain biscuits (arrowroot, superwine or digestive)
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbsp good quality cocoa
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden or maple syrup

Topping:

  • 225g good quality chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cream

Method

  1. Grease and line a shallow brownie tin with baking paper. (what size?)
  2. Place the biscuits in a sealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break them into very small pieces (or you know, use a food processor or blender for even sized pieces – something I didn’t do because I was following the recipe). Place in a bowl.
  3. Place the butter, cocoa, sugar and golden or maple syrup in a pot and melt together over a medium heat. Add to the crushed biscuits and mix very well.
  4. Place the biscuit mixture in the prepared tin and press the surface down firmly with the back of a spoon. Chill for about 2 hours or until set.
  5. For the topping, melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water. Leave to cool for 1 minute and then mix in the cream.
  6. Pour the topping over the chilled biscuit base. Smooth the surface with a hot knife and chill to set.
  7. Cut into pieces with a very sharp knife and enjoy.

Notes on this recipe:

  • As much as getting your aggression out on some mostly innocent biscuits may sound like fun, the uneven size pieces you end up with make this recipe impossible (the photo above is the result you end up with if you just bang them, and these were the good ones).
  • You can have the chocolate and the cream melting together if you do it in a heatproof bowl over boiling water. I’ve linked to a video that shows how to do that if you haven’t done it before.

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