Ever since Masterchef Australia Season 6 has started, my bedtime has again gone for a toss. I had very effectively recovered from the World Cup fever, taken a much needed break to Kashmir and started my routine afresh. But Masterchef is again beginning to ruin everything. (For all those who are thinking that Masterchef is aired in India at 9 pm, so there’s really no possibility that I should be losing sleep over it, let me tell you that I come back from work well after midnight and only happen to manage the repeat telecast at 1.30 am).
But there’s one good thing Masterchef has done to me. And that is treat my fridge like a mystery box. I generally have very little idea about what vegetables, fruits or protein can be found in the fridge, except when I’ve personally bought anything for any particular purpose. My mother does the shopping for our household, and every morning when I open the fridge to find ingredients to cook, it literally feels like a mystery box challenge. Now a mystery box challenge is one where all the contestants are given a box which contain a few ingredients that may be related or completely different from each other. They have to use at least one of them (or more, if they wish), team it up with a few staples that’ll be given to them separately (like flour, eggs, sugar, butter, onions, tomato, greens…you get it), and cook up a storm. He who wins the mystery box challenge usually gets to pick the core ingredient of the invention test that inevitably follows.
So, a couple of days back even I thought of acting very Masterchef-y and playing a quick round of mystery box challenge. I opened the fridge to find a whole lot of apricots (which I had got from Kashmir and very conveniently forgotten about), some mutton pieces (that I had kept aside to make haleem in what will probably be during next Eid), an egg, a jar of blueberry jam and some cooked rice and dal. At the first instance, I thought of making a Moroccan Mutton Tagine, because I had in my stock most of the nuts, dates, chickpeas and saffron you need for that. But that would essentially mean going out of the mystery box zone. I then thought of sticking to the apricots and making them the heroes of my dish, with a generous helping of blueberry jam. I had recently made this cake, and wanted to do something on similar lines. I used only one egg, because my mystery fridge had only one. The texture, even then, was incredibly moist and soft. However, I would still recommend two eggs. You can also have it upside down with the apricot layer of top, but somehow I liked it this way more. I don’t know what Geroge, Gary and Matt might have to say about my Apricot Blueberry Cake, but I was pretty darn happy with it. 🙂
Butter, softened at room temperature : 125 gm + for greasing
Caster sugar: 125 gm + 2 tablespoons
Apricots, roughly chopped: 16-18 small or 10-12 medium
Amaretto (almond liqueur): 1 tbsp (optional)
Blueberry jam, melted and cooled: 4-5 tbsp (or fresh blueberries by all means)
Flour: 120 grams
Milk: 4 tbsp (or according to requirement)
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Bicarbonate of soda: 1/2 teaspoon
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a 8-9 inch round cake tin. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with the chopped apricots and then arrange the them evenly on top of the buttered base.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
3. Now put the butter and caster sugar into a food processor and blend till creamy, Add eggs one by one and blend after each addition. Add the sifted flour and blend further. If the batter feels too tight add milk to loosed it a bit. Add 1 tbsp amaretto and give a final blend. Make sure the final batter is smooth and has ribbon-like consistency. Now add the blueberry jam and stir with your hand just once or twice.
4. Pour this mixture over the apricot slices and spread it out gently to form an even layer.