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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kate’s Cooking: Hints, Turkey, Packet Mixes and Fruit Cake

Greetings everyone. The column this week is in several parts! Firstly I wanted to remind those of you who shop at supermarkets et al, to check the packets, cans, bags of flour, meat packets for the recipes that are printed on these products by their company cooking experts. There are some wonderful ideas for cooking and I have found some of my favourite things to eat, this way. I particularly like the recipes that you can peel off the meat packets in supermarkets like Vons and Safeway (located in the west of the United States). I think having a job as a company nutritionist or chef or recipe creator would be just about perfect.

Secondly, I was asked recently by the meat clerk in a supermarket to write down my method for cooking a turkey in a frying pan. It is fairly simple method. You do of course, have to judge the size of the turkey you buy by that of your frypan. For last thanksgiving, we had a 12lb turkey that fitted in quite well. You must wash your turkey inside and out, pat it dry and settle it in the frypan. Put about 2 to 3 cups of water in the pan and cover the turkey with foil and tuck the foil in as tight as you can. Then put about 2 damp towels (of appropriate size) over the top of this. Cook on a low to medium heat for most of a day. I cook my turkeys on a single burner element. It needs to be watched so the towels remain damp (but not wet!), safe from any element and the pan doesn’t dry out. It’s a nice way of cooking your turkey. Depending on the size of your frypan (and the turkey), you can put vegetables around the turkey and let them steam away.

Okay, now for number three. I just wanted to let those of you, who only have a microwave to cook with, that you can cook packet cakes like white cake, German chocolate cake etc and for that matter, brownies, in a microwave. I adapted these cake and brownie mixes when I didn’t have an oven for a while. It takes a bit of experimentation but for both I use a microwave-proof ring pan. For the cake mixes I generally do 10 minutes and for the brownies, about 8 minutes. I don’t have a powerful microwave – about 700w. For the brownies I like to keep them in the fridge overnight and they solidify more. This is, of course, a personal preference. A few days ago I made a white cake packet mix in this way and it was great!

Finally, today’s recipe is for those of you out there who live busy lives but might, like me, enjoy a piece of homemade cake with my coffee or cup of tea. It’s an easy-to-make light fruit cake. You can just throw everything a mixing bowl, stir it around until mixed well and bake it.


8oz. (225g) flour
6oz. (175g) butter or margarine
6oz. (175g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
4 oz. (100) raisins (sultanas are ok to)
2 oz. candied peel (about 1/3 cup) – orange is excellent
½ cup cherries (sliced into quarters)

Line and grease a deep 8xinch cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven 180C, (350F) or Gas 4, for about 1 ¼ hours approximately. Test the cake with a cake skewer to see if it comes out clean. If by some chance it looks as if it needs cooking for a bit longer and it is beginning to get a little too brown on top, then cover the top of the cake with some foil.

This is a nice cake and I am sure you will enjoy it. Take care out there, be safe and be well.

Happy cooking, Kate.

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