here and there

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lava Cake, A Canadian Love Affair

The theme for the Canadian Food Experience this month is a Canadian 
Love Affair! 



Initially, my thought was that since it was February, the theme would be on Valentines and with this all the delightful memories as young child and all the excitement of preparing for Valentines's day.  In school, the classrooms were all decorated with red hearts.  Everyone was given two large pieces of red construction paper with a heart outlined on the paper.  The hearts were cut out and personalized than either stapled together or bond together with yarn to form a pocket that would hold all the Valentines from classmates. 


Every student would exchange Valentine cards that were cut out of a huge Hallmark Booklet with an assortment of Valentines along with envelopes that also needed to be cut out.  Great care was taken in picking out just the right saying on the cards for different classmates. 





Valentine Heart people


Valentine cards for the grandparents!


Art classes before Valentines had students making Valentines cards out of red construction paper, trimmed with ribbons and paper doilies for parents and grandparents.  When my son competed internationally in Biathlon, he found out Valentines was not a tradition in many countries.  He had great fun running a Valentine poetry contest on Valentine's day in Poland.  Can you guess what the prize might be? 


Making valentine treats for school





My Mom's favorite Valentine gift was a crotched pineapple design to form a cushion trimmed with folded satin ribbon.  How I wish she had made me one of these beauties!

Pineapple Valentine Cushion

While in Puerto Rico on Valentine Day in San Jose.     All the store windows were decorated for Valentine's day with street venders selling valentine balloons, red baskets filled with chocolates, teddy bears and/or flowers.  Old San Jose was buzzing with families lined up for all the restaurants.  San Jose celebrated Valentines day as a religious holiday and family day.   In the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St Joseph located in old city, the congregation was invited up to the round altar under the skylight dome.   Although the mass was in Spanish, my husband and I followed the congregation and were given a church blessing of love- in English, after the priest asked us, where we were from!

As I reflect on this month's topic for the Canadian Food Experience and the direction it might take me.  A love affair that is Canadian! 

Love affair is defined as either an intimate sexual relationship or episode between lovers or a strong enthusiasm.  Thoughts of intimate dinners with oozing chocolate desserts address the love affair part but the part of Canadian stands out for me. 

To mind comes my Mom and Dad's love affair with being Canadian.  In spite of my parents being first generation Canadians, English was not their first language.  In fact, they were punished and strapped with a leather belt if they spoke their own language in the school yard.  English was not only to be spoken on the school grounds but also to and from their home on their walk from the school.  Mom spoke of road monitors that would report to the teacher anyone that did not comply to this rule.  

Yet, my parents embraced Canadian ways and were most proud to be Canadian first!

Ethnic food was something that was made for feast day such as Christmas and Easter but generally speaking food served were local products from one's garden and farm.  Meat and potatoes  with vegetables  were the norm.  Ingredients used were seasonal.  One remembers well the first crop of lettuce, radishes, onions and spinach.  Raspberries and rhubarb  were another sign of spring that  ended up in pies.  That first taste of honey in the spring from the dandelion blooms.  Some of the tastes are not as wonderful as is that taste of milk in the spring! Yuck!  


  I grew up eating food that where greatly influenced by Le Cordon Bleu trained chef and nutritionist, a Felician sister my mom worked for in the hospital kitchen.  Only recently do I appreciate the expertise of my Mom's cooking that was so greatly influenced by French Cooking at a very young age.   


Nellie mixing up a lemon pie filling in a bain-marie
My recipe is one that I came across only recently but have wooed those that I have prepared this winter for birthdays and celebration.  To me, valentines is a celebration of family but mainly loving life, self and those around us! 


This recipe is perfect to make for a dinner party, for those you love or just for yourself!!  The storage of uncooked batter in the refrigerator makes it perfect for one's self indulgence!




Microwave Lava Cake

One Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/4 c oil
1/4 c water


Follow the recipe on the back of the Brownie Mix, but use an extra egg for the batter and you can also use rum as the liquid in place of water. 

Prepare the custard cups or  canning jars.   The wide mouth jam jars work well!

Pour in about 1/2 cup of cake mix into each prepared dish.  Stack two pieces of chocolate together and push the chocolate into the centre of the batter, making sure the chocolate is covered. 

Bake one cake in a Microwave for one minute at full power.  Cooking times will vary depending on your microwave.  In my Panasonic microwave, 2 cakes cook at full power for 1 1/2 minutes.   When I cooked 2 cakes for 2 minutes, the cakes were not as moist as I would have liked them to be.



These cakes can be decorated in many ways.  With vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream and fresh fruit.  The end of the Butterscotch sauce that was made for the Christmas Pudding was used in the below picture!  





The best thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time, covered and refrigerated up to a week. How perfect if you are using jars as you can easily use the lids from the jars.   Do remove from the refrigerator to warm up to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.



Happy Valentines to all the bloggers for the Canadian Food Experience and my wonderful family! 



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