Sponge a good dessert base

Last updated 08:17 29/01/2013

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A sponge may seem a little old fashioned, but it is actually a rather useful recipe to master. Aside from looking impressive and tasting delicious it actually cooks remarkably quickly and can be used for the base of other desserts such as trifle.

For 8-10 servings:

4 large (size 7) eggs

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup (170g) caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup (150g) maize cornflour

3 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp boiling water

To decorate:

strawberry or raspberry jam

about 300ml cream, lightly whipped

icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180'C (160'C fan bake). Line the bottom of two 20cm round baking pans with baking paper and thoroughly non-stick spray the sides.

Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a large clean bowl with the salt, and the yolks in another small bowl. Beat the white until they form soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture forms a glossy meringue that forms stiff peaks. Fold in the yolks and vanilla essence.

Sift the cornflour and baking powder onto a sheet of paper (or into a small bowl) then sift again into the egg white mixture. Add the boiling water and fold the mixture together.

Divide the mixture evenly between the pans, levelling the tops as much as possible, then place them on a rack just below the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cakes just begin to come away from the edges of the pans.

Remove the cakes from the oven, leave to cool for a few minute in the pans, then tip onto a rack covered with a clean tea towel to cool completely.

Place the first layer on a serving plate, spread the top with a layer of jam, then a generous layer of whipped cream. Top with the second layer of cake, then dust with icing sugar.

ASIAN-STYLE PORK PATTIES

If you make hamburgers regularly and want to try something a little different, why not try this delicious Asian-flavoured version. The shape doesn't really matter, but we like to make them oblong or oval and serve them in long buns to go with the oriental coleslaw (below) to emphasise that they are something a little different.

For 4 servings:

1 cup (2-3 thick slices) breadcrumbs

400-500g pork mince

2 cloves garlic

1-2cm fresh ginger, finely grated

1 egg

1/2-1 teaspoon minced chilli (optional)

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon Kikkoman soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly (clean hands work best for this). Divide the mixture into 4 balls, then flatten these into long oval patties - it doesn't matter if they're not perfect.

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Cook in a hot lightly-oiled pan, lightly browning both sides, then lowering the heat and cooking until centre is firm. (Barbecue instead if desired).

Serve in lightly toasted hotdog buns or french bread with oriental coleslaw (see below).

ORIENTAL COLESLAW

Dressing

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon Kikkoman soy sauce

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine (or wine) vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salad

2 cups shredded cabbage

2-3 sticks celery, thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, grated

1-2 spring onions, thinly sliced

handful beansprouts (optional)

chopped peanuts (optional)

To make dressing, measure all ingredients into a screw- topped jar and shake to combine.

Put the vegetables in a large bowl, toss to combine adding just enough dressing to moisten everything.

- Taranaki Daily News

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