There’s been a bit of chatter recently among those of us who write culinary blogs about what is proper to publish and what the notion of writing a culinary blog represents. Some say it’s the world of a few élite people who try to represent a false world of class and perfection in what they publish. Others say culinary blogs should only be about the food. Leave any reference to lifestyle out and only focus only on the recipes.
My view is that I read and get the most from blogs that are honest and fresh. By that I mean, I read the work of others who I trust because it is clear from their photos, recipes, and writing that they put a lot of time and effort into what they choose to publish. It is true that one has to have the time and the financial means to write a cooking blog. Most of us earn our incomes in other ways. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Nor does it mean that we are putting ourselves above our readers. It means we love food and the connections it brings to the world around us. My goal in publishing Gathering Flavors is to share what I love to do with others. I love to cook. I love to create new recipes. Photography is a relatively new medium to me, but I love the challenge and the endless possibilities for learning through food photography. I write about family and friendship because they are deeply intertwined with food. Leaving out the people I share food with would be tantamount to leaving out key ingredients in a recipe. Eating isn’t a solitary experience. I hate eating alone. Family meals or get togethers with friends are a nurturing beyond the food that is set out on our tables. As far I am concerned, it is a basic part of our humanity. If my work inspires someone else to break bread with a loved one or try a new recipe, I am grateful. I don’t aspire to perfection. I aspire to connect.
What do you think about all this? What’s your take on the world of cooking blogs? What talents do you love to share?
I made this Strawberry Jam Cake this weekend for our family’s Sunday dinner. A dense cake, the batter is laced with corn meal for texture and cinnamon for spice. A strawberry jam filling adds a bit of sweetness for an otherwise not overly sweet confection. It’s delicious on its own with a cup of hot coffee or tea. Or, dress it up with a bit of whipped cream and fresh fruit at serving time. Enjoy it with someone you love. Do keep this recipe around during jam making season. It's immensely versatile and equally good with any of your favorite jams or jellies.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
STRAWBERRY JAM CAKE
Yield: 1 8-inch round cake, 8 slices
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 10 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces, plus a bit more for pan
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup strawberry jam
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Lightly butter an 8-inch spring-form pan.
- Place the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter then blitz for a few seconds until you have something that resembles breadcrumbs.
- Break the egg into a small bowl and mix with the buttermilk, then blend into the crumble mixture. Do not overmix.
- Press about two-thirds of the mixture into the cake pan. Spread evenly. Spread the jam on top. Crumble the remaining dough mixture over the top of the jam. Do not spread evenly. This will create a cobbled effect.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from oven. Allow to cool completely.
- Place the cake on a serving platter and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
- Serve and enjoy.
- This recipe was adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater. His recipe calls for rhubarb jam.
- You can use any jam you like for this recipe.
- For a full dessert serve with whipped cream, a pot of coffee and fresh berries.