For extra warmth, just add Ginger

Padded jackets at the ready.  2 weeks before Winter is to officially begin and we are already freezing, snow on the mountains and frost on the lawns, but it’s that little snowflake that flashes on the car dashboard that drives home (sorry, pun intended) that it’s REALLY cold!

I feel warmer already 🙂

When I need extra warmth, I know what I reach for other than a rather large doona and a mug of hot cocoa,  it’s ginger.  Ginger has been an Asian staple for centuries and used medicinally as well as in cooking.  The heat adding properties do not stop at its spiciness but help to warm the body according to Chinese Medicine.   I love ginger and have found that for those persistent winter coughs that just won’t budge, hot ginger tea with a big spoon of honey is just the thing to help stave off the hacking for a little while.  Just, roughly crush and chop,  a knob of ginger about the size of your thumb and steep it in a mug of boiling water (preferably in a tea infuser or else you will be spending a lot of time picking out bits of ginger from your mouth!),  add a generous tablespoon of honey, cover and allow the flavours to develop for a few minutes.  If you are up to a bit of stronger medicine, add a measure of Dom Benedictine.  Sip slowly while wrapped up in your favourite blanket,  seated in front of an open fire.

Even if it doesn’t stop your coughing, and even if you have realized that there is actually no tea in my ‘ginger tea’ recipe, what a great way to spend half an hour!  🙂

On a more traditionally Aussie  front, my sister and I still crave an Arnott’s ginger snap with a cup of milky tea , when we think of 4 o’clock.  I can always tell the girl is back in Melbourne for a visit when I find an open packet of the old ginger snap biscuits in my Mum’s pantry!

Gingerbread cake made with freshly grated ginger and fragrant with golden syrup is my major weakness as far as ginger goes, and as far as I am concerned, I don’t make it often enough.  I used to follow recipes that used ginger powder and could never understand why you would use powder when fresh ginger was so abundant.  Supposedly the powder is more aromatic but I love the flavour and texture of fresh ginger and always use it in my cakes.  The other thing  I never understood as a kid was my Mum’s weakness for chocolate coated ginger, such a  weird combination!  But, don’t we live and learn, I am sure my Mum is getting the last laugh now!

So, is ginger winter seasonal produce?  Well, tender, new young ginger has been making its appearance over the past month or so, at my local Asian markets, so I am going with YES!

And so, on the back of that one great assumption regarding Winter produce, I am very excited to unveil my Winter

Chocolate swirled and chocolate topped, just begging for a cup of tea!

seasonal cake.  I just couldn’t go past gingerbread cake, and to make it completely indulgent I have swirled it with melted dark chocolate and ginger bits, draped it with a chocolate ganache and topped it all with Buderim’s ‘naked’ ginger and more chocolate, of course!

Serve with a cup of steaming hot tea…ginger, or otherwise!

Chocolate Swirled Gingerbread Cake, now this is how I like to stay warm!
Dripping ganache, ‘naked’ ginger and…more chocolate!

Available June 1st-August 31st 2011 only.

My seasonal cakes may not be the same every year so I hope that you take the opportunity to enjoy them while you can!  $45  for a 12cmx22cm loaf

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