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Vintage Books & Italian Apple Torte

July 9, 2016


Last weekend I went to the Lifeline Bookfest for the first time after hearing people rave about it for many years.

It is a massive sale of donated books that raise funds to support the Lifeline 24-hour Crisis Support Line and many other UnitingCare Community services across Queensland.

I was not prepared for the enormity of the collection of books that were there! There were literally 4km of tables with millions of books ranging in price from $1 – $5. There were also magazines, puzzles, CD’s and vinyl.

Obviously, I spent most of my time in the cookbook section where I looked at a time capsule of my own entire cookbook collection, both past & present!  I drove my son mad with exclamations of: “I have this book! I had that book when I was your age!” or “Ooooh, that’s a good one! I have haven’t seen that for YEARS!!!”

My cookbook collection has shrunk over the years. At one stage I counted nigh on 800 books. A divorce settlement reduced it by half (it was the only thing we argued over!) and the 2011 floods reduced it by half again. I have to admit it is much easier to consult the internet these days than refer to a book – and many books I keep are for a single favourite recipe alone, which is space consuming in my small house. The bookfest reminded me about food trends and fashions; it was a nostalgic path of food memories, good and bad; and $hit food photography. I convinced my son to buy a Women’s Weekly Chinese Cookbook (c.1980) because I often cooked from my mothers copy when I was a teenager. The recipes are basic, really good and reliable enough to expand his repertoire. I hope he uses it!

I found a copy of the original Women’s Weekly Cookbook (c.1970) that was the textbook we used in Home Ec. at school for which I paid a $1! I was bemused at the ingredients listing ‘stock cubes’ and ‘canned asparagus/bean sprouts/potatoes’. Photographs of the chicken dishes show whole chickens with small breasts and legs.  In nearly 40 years the shape of a chook has evolved somewhat….

This whole experience reminded me of an old recipe from a vintage cookbook that I thought was very sophisticated at the time. It was described as an Italian Apple Torte but was probably closer to a cheesecake slice, (did you say cheesecake??) so I converted my very berry cheesecake recipe to replicate it. It is of course gluten and grain free and delicious served warm or cold.

1 tab sultanas

1 tab rum (optional)

75g raw almonds

75g buckwheat

½ teas cinnamon

½ teas ground ginger

50g butter

1 teas honey

1 large or 2 small granny smith apples

70g raw or light coconut sugar

rind of 1 lemon

250g cream cheese

250g sour cream

3 eggs

1 tab buckwheat flour

juice of half a lemon

extra cinnamon for dusting

Blanch the sultanas in boiling water and drain. Add the rum and set aside while you make the base.

Blitz the almonds, buckwheat, spices, honey and butter on SP 8 until soft crumbs form. Press into a 20cm x 20cm, lined square tin. Peel the apple and cut into 3mm slices. Lay these slightly overlapping, on the base to cover. Drain the sultanas and sprinkle over the apples.

Place the sugar and lemon rind in the TM bowl and grind on SP 9 for 5 seconds. Scrape down and add the remaining ingredients and mix on SP 6 until smooth. Pour over the apples and base and cook for 35 minutes at 170°C. It will still be a bit wobbly. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven until cool.

Dust with extra cinnamon  before serving.








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