I picked up a copy of A Table in the Orchard by Michelle Crawford earlier this year while attending Perth’s Writers’ Festival. I was flipping through the pages, as you normally do when you get your hands on something new and exciting, then I started reading the first chapter and by the time I got to the end of the page I was just about ready to book a trip to Tasmania.
This is such a beautiful book. Recipes for every season entangled with stories from living in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. It might not be everyone’s dream to leave city living for apple orchards and rustic sheds, but it was Michelle’s and for so many of us this would be a dream come true. Her book will speak to so many of us slow living enthusiasts and those looking to be inspired.
A Table in the Orchard is filled with personal stories, recipes, photographers and anecdotes about raising chickens and joy that comes with having a wooden stove. There are plenty of recipes for baked goodies such as the cherry pavlova, Victoria sponge, apple lattice pie and so much more.
Quince and Walnut Cake
Because I am a huge fan of all things quince, I had to make this quince and walnut cake. There were only a few changes to the recipe, for instance, mixing spelt and regular flour, reducing sugar, adding maple syrup and substituting eggs with flax meal. I was worried that this would result in a disaster, but this is one resilient cake and it worked out perfectly.
For the cake
3 tablespoons linseed (flax) meal
80ml soy milk
80 grams raw sugar
250ml coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
300 grams spelt flour
80 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch ground cloves
500 grams poached quince, diced
80 grams walnuts, toasted and chopped
For the cashew cream
3/4 cup cashews, soaked overnight or in hot water an hour prior
80ml coconut cream (add more if needed)
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the salty sugared walnuts
120 grams walnuts
60 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon salt falkes
1. Preheat oven to 170C and grease a 20cm spring form cake tin.
2. Mix 9 tablespoons of warm water with flax meal, let sit for five minutes then whisk together with milk, sugar, oil, maple syrup and vanilla in a large bowl. Or use a hand-held mixer for best results. In a another bowl, whisk together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves, then add flour mix to the wet mix. Stir till just combined. Add quince and walnuts to batter and fold through.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour or more if needed. Allow to cool before removing from the tin and before icing.
4. Blend cashews, coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract till smooth and creamy. Leave in fridge to cool while you prep the walnut topping. Place walnuts and sugar in a frypan over low heat and toss while the sugar is melting. Once the sugar has melted, transfer onto a baking tray and spread so they don’t stick together.
5. Once the cake has cooled completely, frost the top with cashew cream then sprinkle with chopped salty sugared walnuts.