Are you someone like me who loves to keep your grocery cupboard fully stocked at all times?
When I make a dish following a recipe, I try and use all the ingredients mentioned, to get my dish to taste as close to the original as possible. Due to this very reason my grocery cupboard, almost always remains over stacked, almost to the point of things toppling over when I open the cupboard to access anything. I have all sorts of things hoarded - sweet chilli sauce, black bean, honey plum, dark soy, light soy, barbecue sauce, Acetic vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, oils, spices, dried herbs, condiments, pastas, cans and boxes of this and that, you name it and you are likely to find it in my mini supermarket. Not to mention the different kind of chocolates and sprinkles stashed up in my refrigerator.
The advantage is of course that it's very comforting to me to have all the ingredients easily available 'on hand' when inspiration strikes me to cook and saves me the trouble to wait to run to the store to pick up the ingredient, so in actual no time is wasted. But there is a huge downside too. There have been times when lot of items get duplicated, even triplicated(if that is a word), as sometimes I tend to forget whether the particular ingredient needed was already in the stock and of course most of the other times Murphy law strikes when one will never be able to find a thing at the time when you actually need it. (Somehow it happens with me all the time).Then it may mysteriously turn up the next day at the very spot you were looking for it.
So its really a merry mess. But no complaining. I love being surrounded by all my foodily treasures.
It just so happened that my husband announced sometime back that there might be a possibility of us moving to US for a new project that his company will be handling. He told me that nothing was definite and everything was on hold till the deal came through. As things were moving really slowly, I also took things easy and continued, as always, shopping and collecting things for my culinary adventures. Just last month the bomb was dropped!! "The deal had been finalized and we might be moving by early October!!"
That was great news for everyone but my heart sank. My first thought was what will I do with all my precious ingredients stocked up in the cupboard which I had so carefully selected and lovingly collected (almost obsessively) over a period of time. There is no way that I could carry all my supplies with me or be able to consume them completely in such a short time. I guess some friend is going to get very lucky!!
So right now my race is on. There are so many things that I have bought for a particular recipe and have been able to barely use once or twice. Right now, my foremost project is dig through my pantry for things that are lying unused and forgotten at the back of my cupboard which I might have earmarked for a particular recipe but never got around to using it.
So here is an Apricot and Prune cake that I baked with my excavated treasures from my cupboard. It is moist, lightly spiced with a lovely bite coming from the chopped prunes. I preferred to puree my apricots as I thought the puree would result in a softer texture (which it did) and with the addition of the fruit puree the amount of oil used would be less. Also be careful to fold in the prunes gently and don't stress too much about it settling in at the bottom.The prunes actually tastes great at the bottom
. Now while you enjoy this recipe I am off to dig out some more goodies from my treasure trove to decide what my next adventure in the kitchen is going to be.
1/4 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried Apricots
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
Cover the apricots with boiling water and let it stand for 10 -15 minutes till the apricots become soft and puffed up.
Drain and puree the apricots.
Preheat oven to 170C.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar for 4-5 minutes till thick and creamy.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternating with the butter milk.
Pour in the oil, apricot puree and whisk till well mixed.
Add in the chopped fruits and incorporate into the mixture gently.
Bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.