Rough Times Cake

Rough Times Cake

Watch a video of this recipe at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_aMmz_nhhE

This is a simple and not-too sweet cake, sometimes called “Depression Cake”. So easy to make, it is free of eggs or milk, so it’s vegan friendly, easy on the budget and delicious.

Ingredients

2 Cups Raisins

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Water

1/3 Cup Margarine

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

1/8 tsp Allspice

2 Cups Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Round Tbsp Baking Powder

Sift dry ingredients together or stir well. Mix the wet ingredients in a big cup or bowl, add to dry mixture to make an easy-to-stir dough. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry.

Suggestions: While it’s still warm, spread a thin layer of corn syrup over the top for a nice glazed, elegant-looking cake. Freezes really well if it’s wrapped twice; since it’s such a big cake, I usually freeze half for later). Add nuts, raisins, currants, sweet cranberries, chopped apples or coconut to the dry mix… use mashed bananas, a little less water and make it a banana cake… forget the spice and add chopped strawberries, peaches or blueberries… use less water and a beaten egg or two for a rich texture – there’s no limit when you use your imagination!


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Baked Beans

Home Style Baked Beans

Click here for Baked Beans Video recipe

An all-time, slow-cooked favorite with country and city folk alike. It’s amazing how many cultures claim to have the best baked beans – and how mouths can be fed from one little bag of dry beans – this is Rough Times Cooking at it’s finest! To make sure that you get complete protein without eating meat, add a “grain” food to the meal (flour-bread/cookies/pie/cake, rice, corn, etc.). I like to serve mine with Corn Bread or Bannock.

2 cups navy beans soaked in water to cover 3-4 in. above beans, overnight
1 cup molasses
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp. Prepared mustard or 1/2 tsp. Mustard powder
1-2 strips of bacon (or small piece of pork fat) – optional
1 tsp. Salt (added after cooking, so the beans cook nice and soft)

Discard soaking water from beans, add water to cover and cook until almost tender (Hint: adding boiled water at this stage speeds up the cooking.)
Add rest of ingredients, mix well, and place in an oven proof dish. Bake all day or overnight if you can, or at least 3-4 hours. Serve with home made bread or bannock.

Options: Vegetarians can skip the meat entirely and add a little soya sauce, smoke flavoring and/or tomato sauce. Keeping kosher? Use smoked turkey for that nice smoky flavor. Yellow eye or other small, light colored, mild flavored beans work well too.
Hints: Some folks add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water to make them less “gassy” – the beans will cook quicker, but tend to get mushy. I like to put a little piece of dried seaweed (kombu, kelp or dulse) in the soaking and cooking water, and remove it before baking – I find that it makes the beans more digestible too!
If you don’t have time to soak the beans, add them slowly to boiling water, keep them at a rolling boil for 15 minutes, simmer until tender.

Corn Bread

Quick to make and soooo good! Make it instead of popcorn for movie night, serve with chili, soups, stews or toasted for breakfast, lunch or snacks. A big hit with old folks, children, teens and the growing numbers of people known as “foodies.”
The following recipe gets you started into the wonderful world of corn bread; you may find yourself surprised at the long history of corn bread, from ancient, old-fashioned and traditional peoples to the settlers in native lands who expanded the uses of this amazingly simple and very nutritious staple food of the ages.

Watch how to make Corn Bread on video!

1 C. corn meal
2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 –2 C. milk or 1/2 milk 1/2 water, or part canned or powdered. (Hey you vegans! – you can replace the milk with plain water and 2 T. cooking oil.)

Mix dry ingredients together, add milk or water, stir well, adding enough liquid so that the mixture is not too thick, like a cake batter. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan (or pie tin) and bake 35-50 minutes until done (a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and quite dry). Cornbread should be nicely browned on the sides, but not too brown on top. Great as is, buttered, and with jam for breakfast and snacks.

Suggestions: Add canned corn and/or jalapeño peppers for a Mexican flavor; make it Italian-style with a few finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Add soy flour to the dry mix or grated cheese to the wet for extra protein. For corn cake, increase the sugar, add an egg or two, mix in a little oil or vegetable shortening, beat the batter very well until smooth. I love using frozen berries in my corn “cake-bread” in wintertime. Tastes really great toasted and buttered; try it under poached eggs. Mini cornbread pizza slices? Garlic corn bread? – why not?
Hints: Instead of plastic, use a clean kitchen towel for wrapping leftover corn bread to keep it soft. You can make a double batch and freeze one for later. Great for pot luck suppers and a really nice gift for your favorite friends and neighbors.

Corn kernels remind me of nature’s generosity – so many seeds from one corn cob! Corn plants will grow well with good earth (shred and add last year’s stalks to the earth – nitrogen!) and some care and give you many more seeds to feed many more people. The best whole brown corn husks can be harvested and dried – pull back the husk, tie and hang until the seed kernels are hard, then twist them off and store a non-plastic bag or envelope – want to grow your own popcorn or grind your own cornmeal?
Good seed growing and saving information is easy to find – e.g., check out the Long Island Seed Project. Share and trade your seeds to keep them strong.

~ Sometimes I pray that it becomes impossible to contaminate corn;
I am careful about it. ~

Apple Crumble

Rough Times Cookbook Recipes

This dessert smells and tastes like apple pie, but is a lot quicker and easier to make. It’s one of my standard contributions to pot luck dinners and “emergency” fancy dinners when unexpected hungry guests drop in.


Filling:
5-6 large apples, washed, cored and diced or thinly sliced
cinnamon and brown sugar to taste

Crumb topping mixture:
2 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. rolled oats
1-2 tsp. cinnamon, to taste
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4-1 1/2 C. brown sugar (depends on sweetness of the apples and your taste)
3/4-1 C margarine or butter

Lightly grease a regular sized cake pan or small casserole dish.
Mix the dry crumb topping ingredients really well with a fork in a large bowl. Cut in the margarine or butter with the fork and mix until crumbs are even sizes, not too large. Spread 1/3 of the crumb topping mixture on the bottom of the pan, press down with the fork; top with the chopped/sliced apples and sprinkle them lightly with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.
Add the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the apples, pressing lightly with the fork, especially in corners. Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes to 1 hour (until it smells just right the apples are nice and soft and the topping is golden brown).
Serve as is or with whipped, thick or ice cream (Maritimers will probably enjoy a little canned milk on top.)

Hints: You can use white sugar if you have no brown; add a little extra cinnamon to improve the flavor… this makes a great breakfast in a bowl topped with yogurt or heated with warm milk. A great way to use up apples that are past their prime; no one will notice wrinkled skins or little bruises once the apples are all baked and smelling soooo good – I promise! This recipe is easy to double or triple.
Variations: You can vary this recipe by adding dried raisins, currants, fresh or dried cranberries, even frozen fruit like strawberries to the filling. Add flaked coconut, sunflower seeds or other nuts to the crumble topping for a nice texture, flavor and extra protein.

Bread – Bannock

Baked Bannock

This is our family recipe, rooted in the traditions of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s easy to make and delicious …a good reason to keep a bag of flour in the cupboard. Why run to the store for bread?

3 C. Flour
2 T. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
2 T. Oil or shortening
2/3-1 C. Water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stir well with a fork or sift dry ingredients together. If using shortening, cut it well into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl, add water (and oil), mix quickly to get a firm, but not too dry consistency. Pour into a greased pie plate or 9 x 9 in. baking pan (glass is best). Bake 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and dry. Serve warm with butter or margarine, jam, peanut butter. Enjoy!

Options: Use unbleached flour, half & half whole wheat and white flour, bran. Substituting 1/4 C. soy flour and adding milk powder adds extra protein.
Add 1/2 C. sugar to mix and: On top of half the batter, add any of the following fruits: blueberries, apples, strawberries – sprinkle 1/2 C. sugar over fruit. Cover with rest of batter and bake.
Mix raisins into dry mix and drop biscuit-size spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet – a great favorite with kids for breakfast and snacks!

Suggestions: Warm leftover bannock in a slightly damp kitchen towel, paper bag or paper towels in the microwave for 2 minutes or for 10 minutes in a low oven.

Rough Times Cookbook

RoughTimesCookbook.jpgAbout The Book

ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK: How to Cook, Eat and Shop on a Low Budget. By Willi Nolan

Written by a former welfare mother and legendary human rights activist, Nolan’s cookbook is a labor of love and a chance to help low income people to eat well for life. People on the smallest budgets will find ways to stretch their food dollars and make delicious, gourmet-quality, quick and easy, meals at home with this timely, simply written book. Sure-to-become a kitchen classic, The Rough Times Cookbook teaches common sense, tried and true ways to shop on a budget, stock a kitchen, store good food and eat healthier.

Although it was written to meet the needs of people who live on very low incomes, anyone who wants to eat well and still have money left to enjoy life will appreciate The Rough Times Cookbook’s no-nonsense approach to eating and living well. Drawing from grandmothers, students, and single parents, The Rough Times Cookbook gives plenty of great tasting, inexpensive and nutritious recipes, from main dishes and soups to quick breads and desserts using ingredients found in most kitchens.

Its great combination of home-style and unique recipes include low meat, no meat, East Coast, Asian, Jewish, wartime and Native Indian cookery. An entire “Meatless Meals” section is devoted to vegans and vegetarians. The thought-provoking section on “Healthy Foods” takes the mystery out of health food, while the mouth-watering recipes provide plenty of helpful hints and suggestions for saving time, substituting ingredients and putting your personal touch to any dish. Most main dishes will feed 4 people and can be prepared for $2.00 -$5.00

The Rough Times Cookbook makes a great gift for anyone who wants to get the most out of their food dollar, and is especially useful for the budget-challenged. $20.00.

Contact: Willi Nolan, The Backwoods Writing House