Sunday, July 20, 2008

Challenge Book #21 - Pineapple Tea Cake

This is a photo of a black swan swimming on a lake at the Tidbinbilla nature reserve just outside of Canberra. I took this photo when I was at Tidbinbilla for a picnic a few weeks ago. Australia has the only native black swans in the world. They are also found in New Zealand where they were introduced.

And here is Mum and Dad swan with a selection of their five adorable little babies. I was actually this close to them. I was standing on the edge of a boardwalk and they swam right up to me and then paddled around by the shore. As you can see by the little ones dunking their heads they eat weeds and things found in shallower water.

While I wanted to show off some of Australia's beautiful wild birds, I have an ulterior motive for posting these pics. It's to draw attention away from this cake.

In the normal course of events I wouldn't post it. But I'm kinda stuck by the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. When I started this challenge I knew it would come to this. I was going to have to make something out of this book - Day to Day Cookery (although mine is an earlier edition).

I really don't know how I came to own this. I have a feeling that it was an old home economics textbook of some ancient flatmate. They moved out and conveniently 'forgot' to take it with them. Somehow it gravitated into my belongings.

This always seemed to happen in share houses. There was always a pile of things everybody disclaimed. And a pile of things that everyone would swear was theirs. I had an almost knock down argument over a cake rack once. I won. I've still got it.

Anyway, back to this cake. It's a pineapple tea cake. And it's alright. I mean it is perfectly edible and okay. If you eat it straight away, because it turns rather rocklike after a few hours.

But really if you put this next to one of those mass produced cakes out of Woolworths or Coles supermarkets you could not pick the difference. And that's because this book and all its recipes are mean. Don't get me wrong I'm all for economy. But I can't help thinking that this book was written with the mindset of a population on war rations. You know the type - how to make the largest cake with the least amount of eggs, butter, milk and sugar. All the meat recipes are made with scraps of stewing steak. Desserts are tapioca, creamed rice, blacmange, sago and thin watery custards.

This is exactly in accordance with my own memories of home economics. The teacher didn't have much faith in the future prospects of the youth of today. She seemed to think we would all be ekeing survival out of welfare cheques.

There was one whole year where we just made tuna mornay, rice pudding and stewed apples over and over again. What's worse we had to take them home in old ice cream containers. So appetising. I remember my Mum getting mad because she had to keep spending money on ingredients for these dishes when the whole family detested them.

I'm not even going to bother posting the recipe for this cake.

Instead, I will leave you with a photo of Mr/Mrs Emu, another Australian native bird. The emu is unusual for being very large (up to almost 2 metres tall) and flightless, but even more so because the males hatch and raise the chicks. Those Mrs Emus have it all worked out. There was big kerfuffle a while back when two male emus co-shared a nest of eggs and chicks. Possible evidence of homosexual activity in the bird world apparently.

This particular emu and about four of its friends kept a handy eye on our picnic activities.


At 11:38 pm, Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, darling, I'm so sorry to hear that the cake turned out like that. I love pineapples and they go so well in cakes, don't they?
That is a nasty book. Toss it! :)

At 5:28 am, Blogger giz said...

I love the pictures - fantastic - what gracious looking creatures.

At 11:42 am, Blogger Unknown said...

emu is gorgeous! and black swans! how i dream to have a good capture of them. i just saw them on a stream somewhere when we were driving on the motorway (can't stop!).

At 12:41 pm, Blogger Laura said...

The black swan pic totally succeeded--what pineapple cake?

And may I introduce you to the concept of sunk cost? Get rid of the book if it is that terrible, no one should have to cook out of a book that they hate just to own a kitchen aid! :)

At 2:04 pm, Blogger KJ said...

Hi Patricia, you are so right, pineapple cakes are great. Not this one though. And yes, this book is going!

Hi Giz, thank you.

Hi Arfi, they are the most beautiful creatures. Hopefully you will get lucky.

Hi Laura, you are right of course. I was so tempted to throw this book out before I even started the challenge. But it seemed liked cheating. I thought I should give it a chance. I may have been pleasantly surprised. But I wasn't!!!!!

At 7:19 pm, Blogger grace said...

bummer about the cake. i guess you win some and you lose some. maybe the swans (i love that first picture) and emus (that one looks rather grumpy) would enjoy it in its rock-like state... :)

At 1:08 am, Blogger David T. Macknet said...

I love the swans, and particularly love that the little ones are white! Very neat!

I had a nutrition instructor like that ... but she was all hung up on the idea that everybody would turn out pregnant, so went overboard on the nutritional needs of the pregnant mother. Not much help, for a single guy, really.

At 5:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aww the black swan's picture is super stunning, and just forget the book, maybe I should challenge my self too to got a kitchen aid ;)

At 1:08 am, Blogger Deborah said...

Doesn't sound like the best cookbook, but at least you tried!!

And wonderful pictures. I especially like the first one - gorgeous!

At 12:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't like your cake but the birds are darn cute!

At 12:53 pm, Blogger Elle said...

Sorry the cake was a dud, but the photos of the birds are gorgeous! We have an emu a block away from us and when we get near he makes an amazing sort of drumming noise in his throat or chest.


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