Monday, August 31, 2009

More from Ladies, a Plate
Alexa Johnston
Penguin - $45

Today, 31 August 2009 is a red letter day, Penguin Books NZ will publish the much anticipated sequel to Alexa Johnston’s multi- awarded 2008 best-seller, Ladies, a Plate.
In the same appealing format and with the same popular step-by-step approach this book will, I have no doubt, enjoy the same huge popularity as its predecessor.

Alexa Johnston that "as with Ladies, a Plate, the sources of the recipes are primarily New Zealand home cooks who have contributed them to community cookbooks, or whose handwritten recipes have been lent to me. Some others are from my own family and friends, and a few I found in recipe books from other countries. What they have in common is that I know they all work in a home kitchen, since I have tested them at home myself – often with the delightful company of my niece, Aphra Paine. I welcomed Aphra’s comments on recipe selection as well as those
of my husband, Malcolm Cheadle, and my other recipe-tasting friends – and I’m very pleased with the results".

The Bookman has had an advance copy of the book which has been read (from cover to cover) and enjoyed over the past two weekends. Annie made the delicious Marmalade Tea Cake, a triumph, while I made Honeymoon Sandwiches, so simple but so tasty.
With kind permission of the publishers I am reproducing below the recipes for the two dishes we made.
Marmalade Tea Loaf


4 oz sultanas 115 g
4 oz currants 115 g
4 oz sugar 115 g
4 oz marmalade 115 g
1 cup hot tea 225 ml
1 egg 1
8 oz flour 225 g
2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp
I found this fruity Tea Loaf in Recipes Old and New, compiled and published by the Moana Rua Ladies and Brighton Life Saving Clubs, probably in the early 1970s. The currants and sultanas are soaked in tea overnight, as is usual with these recipes, but with the surprising addition of some marmalade, which contributes a lovely sharp flavour. You can use bought marmalade, but if you have made your own – see recipe on page 124 – here is the perfect way to bring top-quality marmalade further into your day. Why limit it to breakfast time? Although a slice of this loaf would make a very fine breakfast indeed.

Getting ready
The night before you want to bake the loaf, put the sultanas, currants, sugar and marmalade in a large bowl (I chop the peel in the marmalade if it is in long shreds) and pour the hot tea over – any variety of tea will do. Cover the bowl with a plate or cloth and leave on the bench overnight. The next day preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Grease and flour your baking tin very thoroughly. You can use a 10 x 4½ in/25 x 11 cm loaf tin, in which case put a piece of baking paper in the base of the tin before flouring it, or a nut roll tin as I did. I like the look of the circular slices, but the recipe makes 3½ cups of mixture, which was too much for my nut roll tin, so I baked the extra as a mini-loaf. Bring the egg to room temperature and sift together the fl our and baking powder.

Mixing and baking
1. Add the unbeaten egg to the soaked fruit and beat well with a wooden spoon. Gently mix in the sifted dry ingredients.

2. Scoop the mixture into the tin or tins and bake for about 75 minutes. Roll tins should be placed upright on a baking tray or other shallow tin and so must be on a low rack in the oven.

3. Remove the tins from the oven and put on a rack to cool. Don’t try to remove the loaf from a roll tin for at least 10 minutes or it may break. Store airtight and serve sliced and buttered.

Recipes, Old & New, compiled and published by Moana Rua Ladies and Brighton Life Saving Clubs, includes a useful guide for ordering vegetables, fruit and meat to feed 25 people and a page of safety directions for Surf Bathers. These include, of course: ‘Don’t bathe directly after a meal.’
This is an extract from A Second Helping: More from Ladies, a Plate by Alexa Johnston. Published by Penguin Group (NZ). RRP $45.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide. Copyright © Alexa Johnston, 2009.

Among the most successful sandwiches I have ever made. This inspired combination of mint butter and shredded lettuce on brown bread comes from Michael Smith’s Afternoon Tea†.

Have the butter at room temperature and combine with the chopped mint and other ingredients in a food processor to create a soft, green-flecked spread. Michael Smith suggests sieving out the mint leaves but I leave them in. The tiny bit of sugar gives a very satisfying faint crunch.

Spread the butter on brown bread, cover with a thin layer of finely shredded lettuce, then top with another slice of mint-buttered read.
Remove the crusts and cut into triangles.

6 oz unsalted butter 170 g
20–24 large mint leaves 20–24
1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp
½ tsp salt ½ tsp
½ tsp granulated sugar ½ tsp

The above is an extract from A Second Helping: More from Ladies, a Plate by Alexa Johnston. Published by Penguin Group (NZ). RRP $45.00. Available at all good booksellers nationwide. Copyright © Alexa Johnston, 2009.

The Bookman warmly recommends both of the above dishes, and the book too, which I reckon, along with its predecessor, will become absolutely standard items in every New Zealand home kitchen alongside the famous, long-published Edmonds Cookery Book.

About the author;
After completing a master’s degree in Art History at the University of Auckland, Alexa Johnston spent 19 years as a curator at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and is now a freelance writer and curator. In 2002 she was the curator of the exhibition Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest and Beyond for Auckland War Memorial Museum and her authorised, illustrated biography, Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life was published by Penguin in 2005.
Her first cookery book Ladies, a Plate (Penguin, 2008) became an instant bestseller and has been reprinted several times. For Ladies, a Plate and A Second Helping she made all the recipes – and photographed all the results – in her home kitchen in Auckland.

1 comment:

Vanda Symon said...

I'm going to have to make the Marmalade Tea Loaf - sounds so yummy.