A few weekends ago, I led my first popup. FIRST. EVER. POPUP. Something I’d fantasised about for years. Always admiring those who’d had the guts to put themselves out there on temporary display. For all to see. All to judge… A terrifying prospect really. But my goodness was it one of the most rewarding.
AND I CANNOT BELIEVE IT FINALLY HAPPENED.
People cannot lie. When they eat something, for some reason even the strongest poker faces falter. It’s too personal an experience, perhaps. Which is why as a maker of food, it's a daunting prospect to face. That someone might blaringly dislike what you've just fed them. What you've poured your heart and soul into.
I can happily report, that there were no such instances. NONE.
Yes a compost cake and juice pulp granola can seem a little bit, unusual, at first. But for all you readers who may not have had the chance to make it all the way to London... now you know. Bestovers are worth the fuss ;)
A couple of days before the event, a friend gave me bucket loads of overripe - starting-to-ferment-in-places - fruit. So I compote-d it. With a healthy glug of leftover white wine (because that had also been left unattended for far too long). Resulting in my new favourite compote recipe. Ever. If I could compote all the fruit in this fashion, I would (for flavour AND bestover inducing qualities).
But I can't. Even with 2 fruit compotes - served at the nibs etc. popup atop nut butter and a Juice Pulp Breakfast Loaf - I still ended up with leftovers. That needed rescuing. Fast. So I tossed it all into a cake, shoved it in the oven and crossed my fingers. Topped it with my (current) favourite yoghurt in the world - The Collective, Straight Up - and the last of the compote. To make a now favourite Tea (I don't drink coffee) Cake, that I've ever made. Ok so I've not actually made that many Tea - coffee - Cakes. And that's a lot of world favourites. What I'm trying to say... IT'S JUST THAT GOOD. And made entirely from fridge and store cupboard finds. #ThinkBeforeYouToss. Nailed it.
pps. I made/found myself a new food-shoot setup, got VERY excited about it, and took too many photos...
Pear & Ginger Compote Cake
nibs etc. original recipeServes 8-12.
For the compote
1 kg overripe Pears
1/2 cup / 107g White Caster Sugar
1 cup / 250ml leftover White Wine
1/2 - 1 tsp Black Pepper
Rinse, core, and chop your pears, removing parts that are overly bruised, fermenting, powdery. Cut into roughly 1cm cubes. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Bring the sugar, ginger, white wine and pepper to a boil. Let it boil aggressively for about 5 minutes, until the alcohol has evaporated, and the liquid is starting to reduce/thicken.
Pour the pear cubes into your saucepan, stirring briefly with a wooden spoon – carefully so as not to break up the pear – ensuring all pears are coated.
Allow to come back up to a boil, before reducing to a high simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the majority of the liquid has reduced and caramelized.
Turn off the heat, and with your wooden spoon mash up about 1/3-1/2 of the pears into the compote. Carefully pour into sterilized – washed with boiling water, and dried – jars, seal with the lid, and leave upside down on a dish towel, until completely cooled.
For the cake
175g (about 3/4 cup) Butter
3 tbsp Honey
1 1/3 cup / 150g Ground Almonds
2/3 cup / 100g Buckwheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/3 cup / 395g Pear + Ginger Compote
for the yoghurt
1/2 cup Plain Yoghurt
2cm – 3cm worth of Vanilla Pod Seeds
Pinch of freshly cracked Pepper – to taste
Pinch of ground ginger – to taste
Preheat your oven to 160*C Fan/170*C/350F, and butter and flour your 20cm round baking tin.
Whisk the eggs until light and frothy, before beating in the room temperature butter with a wooden spoon or whisk.
Add the honey, then ground almonds, making sure to fully incorporate.
Mix in the buckwheat flour, salt and raising agents – this should help bring together any butter that’s separated, and help with the creaming of it.
Finally, fold in the compote, making sure it is well dispersed but not over beating, before pouring into your baking dish. Bake for 50-70 minutes – should be golden brown all over, knife should come out mostly clean and top bounce back slightly when prodded (if browning too quickly, cover with foil).
Allow to cool completely – I know it’s hard, stick it in the fridge if impatient, like me – before serving.
Meanwhile, scrape the vanilla seeds with the back of a knife and drop into a bowl, along with the other spices, and whisk in the yoghurt. Leave in the fridge until the cake is ready for serving.
To serve, gently dollop the yoghurt atop the cake, spreading slightly so that a 1-2 inch rim of cake is still visible. Top with any remaining compote – I had about ¼ cup left. Dust in icing sugar, and serve with your favourite cuppa and an episode of GBBO.
For breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, dessert, midnight snack, you get the picture...
While I've not yet tried, I certainly plan on substituting other fruit compotes. Alter the spiced yoghurt accordingly (to complement/match what's in the compote).
If you have no yoghurt, sour cream, greek yoghurt, crème fraîche, cream cheese will all work well.