Wednesday, March 5, 2008

For the Love of a Cosmic Travelling Dog + Berry Rustic Pear Cake



This post is dedicated to our lovely, lovable and loving dog-ward of five weeks, Tigi. Her 'mum' and I met through the English Forum of Switzerland. She said she needed a dog-sitter for a few weeks and I offered a trial weekend with the dog.

Tigi giving the Argus look (above right).


She knows better than to pee on art (right).

All went well, and Tigi came to stay with us for five weeks. During the twice or thrice daily walks, we got to know some neighbourhood dogs, the most notable of which are a giant-sized Malamute, a black and white Great Dane (whom we dubbed 'Horse Dog'), and a neighbour's cocker spaniel, whose 'hairstyle' was messed up by Tigi's wagging tail.

The funniest thing is that I was quite convinced Tigi is a reincarnation of my late beloved dog, Argus. (See the very first post of this blog named after her.) Tigi's face and front paws look so much like Argus'. The expression on her mug is exactly the same, not so much her colouring and waviness of fur.

One day, I looked deeply into her warm brown eyes and said, "Argus? Is that really you in there somewhere, Argus?" Tigi merely gave me a look that almost said, "Are you mad? For gnawing's sake, whom are you talking to?"

So much for clairvoyance and astral travelling. Sigh.

Whatever the case, at least Tigi appreciated my boiling her meaty bones with rice, which supplemented her premium dry dogfood diet every evening.

The mute swans like to hiss loudly at her -- in case she wants to get too close.

And so it came to be that I buried my sorrows in a spate of cake baking. And eating, of course. Here's another recipe I adapted from Rohani Jelani's (she's a chef and cooking teacher in Kuala Lumpur):

Rustic Pear & Berry Cake

80g butter
5 or 6 tbs raw sugar (depending on how sweet your tooth is)
2 eggs
50ml buttermilk or yoghurt
150g flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
one big ripe pear, sliced about 1.5x1cm and 3mm thick
1/2 cup thawed raspberries, blackberries, etc



Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Cream butter with sugar till fluffy. Add egg, mixing well before the next one. Add buttermilk or yoghurt and stir.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and soda and salt. Mix this gently into the butter mixture. Add the fruit. Do not overmix.

Line a deep longish loaf pan with baking paper. Scoop in the cake batter. Smooth down the surface. Bake for around 35 minutes (till a small clean and dry knife inserted into the middle comes out 'clean'). Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before placing cake on wire rack.


Eating it while it's still warm is heavenly. The next day, cut a slice and heat on low in the microwave for 13 seconds.

32 comments:

Kenny Mah said...

Hehe... Tigi was probably staring into your eyes and wondering when the next round of delicious meaty-bones-and-rice was coming...

And such a good-looking dog! Mute swans beware! Maybe Tigi was flirting with them... Lol.

Argus Lou said...

Oh, ja, I was the food-providing human. She loves tall men, not intimidated at all. Flirt? Of course. The more a swan hissed at her, the more she wanted to climb down some rocks into the lake for a "whassup?" face-off. (Any dog who looks like the late Argus is a pretty dog.) ^_*

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

In my dream, I would be running my fingers through that beautiful fur, and in the other hand there will be a slice of that beautiful cake. Bliss. Pure bliss.

wonda said...

I baked a gingercake bread the other day. I subsituted raisins for the dates. What a disappointment for me to find that the raisins (dusted with flour and deliberately put on top of the cake instead of mixing them in) ALWAYS sink to the bottom. The raisins I bought are from California.

Argus Lou said...

Awww, Lyrical, are you a dog-ophile, too? ^_^ Tigi likes cheese - she's a Swiss dog despite coming from S'pore.

Wonda, is your cake batter very liquid or soft? Did you coat the raisins with flour laced with baking powder? Try sultanas and dried cranberries - they've stayed in the middle and on top for me.
No need to feel bad - it still tasted good, I bet.

Argus Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xeus said...

Tigi looks a bit like Argus, except Tigi is a lot larger right? I think Tigi is thinner than Argus, Argus used to be more squat.

I had a dog named Tiki, not Tigi, who died 3 days after he came to live with us :( But he was really sick when he came to us.
Now I'm down to 8 dogs only :(

Argus Lou said...

Tigi is about 30 percent bigger than Argus, but is not slimmer. Couldn't feel her ribs! Argus had a rounded abdomen (too many snacks, ate everything that smelt like food!) but skinny legs.

shashi kala said...

Your posting reminded me about the first time I ever saw Argus. She was just a little fur ball and you and Viv brought him to see me when I broke my shoulder. Argus clambered all over the tops of the sofa cushions - a wee bundle of energy. She grew up to be a fine dog and, like you I miss her very much and wonder if she's made her way back to this plane as another super dog.

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Shashi. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. You know, somehow or other Argus never got to meet my other half. It's like the cosmos brought him to me to take her place as Resident Chief of Security.

Tunku Halim said...

Argus - I have a small confession. I was bitten by a dog as a child and, since then, I've been terrified of dogs. I'm sure they are very loving creatures and give great joy to your life but, unfortunately for me, my affections have to lie elsewhere. Even a photo of a canine friend gives me a slight shiver inside. Maybe that's why I prefer horror stories!

Argus Lou said...

That's quite understandable, TH. No worries. ^_^ Just look at the cake and swan (and pretend the back of the furry head is mine).

Big Boys Oven said...

the cake looks gorgeous, must be nice! I will be first wanting to taste your next bake!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, BBOven. Thanks for dropping by. This fresh-fruity mildly sweet cake is one of our current favourites.

SteamyKitchen said...

Tigi is soooo cute! I hope you get to dog-sit her more often!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Jaden. I hope so, too. (It amazes me that you can find time to visit my tiny blog when you've a great new career as a major newspaper columnist.)

Ricki said...

Argus Lou,
Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! It is much appreciated.

Your photos here are absolutely stunning--you are so lucky to live in such a beautiful location. And that pear cake looks pretty yummy, too!

My "Girls" thank you (or was it your dog?) for the comment, as well. They are currently grounded for sneaking onto my computer when I wasn't looking, so they can't answer right now. But they will do their best to fill the request!! ;)
Ricki

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Ricki. Welcome! You and your furry girls are capital.
The dogs have a great life here - lots of walks, rolling in snow and running through meadows, not to mention digging for moles and voles. ;-P

Lee Ping said...

I love pear in desserts. Our local store sells a tart with pear, cranberry and walnut as the filling.

Argus Lou said...

Pear, cranberries and walnut - that's also a great combination for cake, Mrs HBT. ^_^

Cynthia said...

This post is as wonderful as the sunshine drenched pear and berry cake you have made there.

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Cynthia. You're as usual full of creatively positive comments. :-)

wonda said...

My cholestrol level has gone down due to medication. So I reward myself last night with cheese biscuits from the recipe taken from this blog. http://www.deliciousasianfood.com/2008/03/15/cheese-biscuits/#comments
I improvised a bit by substituting shredded mixed cheese for cheddar cheese. Ah, now I have to fight the temptation and the guilt of self-indulgence 'cos I still have some left. It's addictive!

Argus Lou said...

It's hard to think of cheese biscuits as an Asian cookie, Wonda, but you're right, they can be addictive.

Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Argus Lou said...

Done. Thanks, Cynthia.

Kenny Mah said...

You should so read my reply to your comment on my latest entry, dear. The coincidence is scary... does this qualify as serendipity?

Argus Lou said...

I saw it! As one of my good friends loves to say: "Nothing happens by chance."

fatboybakes said...

mmm, the rustic pear thingie looks divine. so many pear recipes to try. problem is my family not big on pears. sigh.

Argus Lou said...

FBB, you can use apples instead. Works a treat! (My other half is not big on pears either.)

jesse said...

Tigi is absolutely perfect. I just want to nuzzle in all that beautiful fur...

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Jesse. She is. And welcome to Argus World. Do drop by whenever you like.

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)

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