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FAB – Tangy Tomato Peas of Cake!

In Baking, Friday Afternoon Baking, Recipes on April 17, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I’ve always marveled at the amount of resolve pea pickers have. Yes, those diligent diggers who pick every single little pea out of their plates (even the puny Dutch peas and half peas and the pea innards that fall out of their skins). What is it about peas, really? What is it that makes kids say ‘pea-ew’ and parents say ‘eat your peas or I won’t let you have your ice cream’. Is it their flavour? Their freaky dimpled heads? Or their sheer numbers (the thought of fighting 100 peas vs 3 leaves of cabbage)?

A couple of days ago, I chanced upon an interesting muffin recipe while scouring the net for recipe solutions to the pea (or veg) eating issue. Here’s my list of criteria upon applying research lessons learnt from Food Choice course:

  1. Don’t give the kiddo a chance to pick the peas out. (common sense)
  2. Sneak the peas into the kiddo’s favourite food (but remember, the food still has to look good and taste good).
  3. Make sure the pea flavour is still recognisable, and the texture still fleetingly present (in order for flavour-flavour learning to take place)
  4. Divulge the identity of the peas only if the kiddo expresses a liking for the cake (positive reinforcement), otherwise blame it on adding too much sugar / fat (aversive learning). hurhur cunning.
  5. Stop telling the kiddo to ‘eat your peas, or else…’ (confers negative intrinsic meaning to the peas).

Unlike my usual kitchen adventures, this time I followed the recipe to the T, only reducing the batch size and making it into one cake in a loaf tin for easier dividing into bite-sized portions. I must admit that I was rather skeptical at first (peas and tomatoes in dessert?!) but I’m now absolutely won over. The tangy volcanic vermillion tomato layer with the sweet speckled pea layer was a burst of colours and flavours, with a wonderfully soft texture dispersed with nutty green bits of pea. Whoopidolicious! Excellent party food especially for Christmas and Halloween. And btw, it was wiped out at the dinner party I brought it to, despite the warning sign of PEAS AND TOMATO CAKE EXPERIMENT.


Sweet Pea & Tangy Tomato Cake Recipe originally in muffin form by Sylvia Regalado

  • 200g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 80ml oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 100g frozen peas pureed (not too fine because the bits add a really nice texture!)
  • 100g tomato paste

1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
2. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil, lemon juice and vanilla essence in a separate bowl
3. Fold in (2) to (1)
4. Divide equally into two bowls (about 300g each) and mix in pea puree to one and tomato paste to the other.
5. Pour the pea batter into an approx 30cm long rectangular loaf tin (better heat transfer to the centre than a square or round tin), then top with the tomato batter. Use a fork to swirl parts of the layered mixture or drag some pea batter from the bottom if you’d like to create a marble effect.
6. Bake in preheated oven at 190˚C for 25-30min!


Tastes great too with Greek Yogurt Vanilla Frosting! 🙂 A lovely healthy frosting recipe from the Cupcake Project.

World Peas.

Easy Peasy Pea Soup

In Recipes, Western on March 29, 2010 at 9:35 am

I must admit that for the 6 months I spent in the Netherlands, I never really took to having pea soup a.k.a ‘snert‘. That’s not because I don’t like it, but rather because I don’t really know it and friends are telling me ‘you’ve really got try it in the winter’ instead of ‘you’ve really got to try it now’. Well, specifying an undefined time frame like ‘winter’ (and the weather in the West went bonkers this year) only feeds my huge tendencies of procrastination, and I ended up waiting and waiting and waiting.… until I left the Netherlands, and until the first break of spring.

Being Asian, I’m definitely more accustomed to clear soups with loads of chunky ingredients tangled in a network of slick noodles. Western soups never really offered the same oomph factor for me, but since my FST (Food Science and Technology) project group’s soup new food product development company assignment in 2008, I’ve started to be a lot more open about pureed soups. Just to put things into perspective about how Asians like these types of soup, the sensory evaluation conducted on our 13 blended soups (incl. timeless favourites like pumpkin, potato, pea, beet, tomato, etc…) rated an average of 2-4 on a 9-point hedonic scale. A ‘9’ is a ‘like extremely’, a ‘5’ is a neither like nor dislike’ and a ‘1’ is a dislike extremely.

A few days ago a recipe for easy pea soup caught my eye and I decided to cook it to accompany my final surviving pretzel. What caught my eye was that the key ingredients of the recipe were just ‘peas’ and ‘vegetable stock’. Easy and cheap enough for a cash-strapped student. Since my course in molecular gastronomy, I’ve been thinking of ingredients in two categories: #1 the ones that makes the dish the dish, and #2 the ones that tweaks it to suit our personal tastes. I also have a convenient hand-held blender in my kitchen… so really, there was nothing stopping me from making this simple tasty soup. 🙂

The recipe inspiration was from Nigella Lawson’s Cheap Healthy and Good site, but I have made it to suit my own tastes i.e. not too thick, needs some chunks, invisible oil, and spicyyy oh yeahhh. 🙂 Also didn’t have cheese or cream or yoghurt on me… I like to work with the ingredients that I already have.

Easy Peasy Pea Soup Recipe

  • 1.5 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1/2 – 1 vegetable stock cube (easier to put less and adjust to taste with salt)
  • 1 large carrot, diced.
  • 1 onion and 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 slice of ham, chopped into bits
  • 1 chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli) or chilli powder , 1 bay leaf
  • dash of pepper, sprinkle of thyme
  1. In saucepan, saute the ham with the garlic and onion. The fat from the ham is quite sufficient for me. Sure, you can use any vegetable oil for a vegetarian option!
  2. Add water / vegetable stock when no.1 is fragrant.
  3. Throw in the bay leaf, carrots, peas and boil till soft (about 10-15min).
  4. Scoop out the bay leaf and half of the carrots out (or leave the carrots in), then immersed the blender in the soup and blend till smooth.
  5. Add the carrots back in, flavour with chilli, pepper and thyme to taste!

Recipe suggestions: I can imagine celery / potato / leeks tasting nice in there, or replace the bay leaf / thyme with some mint / parsley / marjoram / coriander. Take a sniff of whatever you have in the kitchen and have fun experimenting! Do adjust the thickness of the soup by varying the proportion of vegetable stock to peas.