Monday, May 24, 2021

Updated: Super Simple One-Bowl Cake

Years ago I posted a recipe for my basic cake, and it's one of the most popular of all my posts. I've been baking a version of this cake for decades, almost half a century actually, soon after we got our first oven. I got the basic idea from a cookbook. Now all my cookbooks have been given away or trashed, so when I need one of my recipes, I check my blog.

This basic cake has morphed into all sorts of cakes. I've even used it as a base for ice cream cake. There was a time I made a lot of marble cakes, and when the kids were little I'd make it very low and later on pour jello to harden on it as a treat. Another version of it had cut up leftover apples baked into it. When the kids couldn't be relied on to finish their apples, I'd collect the leftovers in the fridge. 

In recent years I save mushy bananas in the freezer to be mashed into the cake batter, which also gets a generous dose of chocolate chips. After all these decades I must confess that I eyeball the liquids. The only ingredients I'm really careful about are the relative amounts of flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder. Water and oil are approximated, since I know how the batter should mix. I add enough until I'm satisfied.

I bake about a month's worth of cakes and freeze them. Today six cups of flour made five cakes in loaf/Englishcake pans. 

You may have wondered about the color of the cake. It's not white. I use extra fine 70% whole-wheat flour and dark brown sugar. 

Here's the basic recipe for a small cake copied straight from that original blog post. You can double, triple etc. Just make sure your bowl is large enough. If you're using whole wheat flour, you may need a bit extra liquid. I add an extra egg every three cups of flour. And nowadays I use canola oil, since we never find soy in the local store. And in my modern oven I have to know the temperature, 160 Centigrade.  

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 t baking powder
1/6 cup oil (soy)
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 t vanilla

mix dry ingredients
add oil and water
add eggs
pour in pan
bake medium heat
until pops up when gently pressed in center of cake

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Hip Set, A Police Mystery Set in Israel, Book Review

Hip Set  by Michael Fertik is full of surprises. Police/detective mysteries is a favorite genre of mine. Fertik's book didn't disappoint at all.

Hip Set is set in Tel Aviv, which isn't a city I know well, especially the neighborhoods he describes. As small as Israel is, it seems that many of us are pretty ignorant of cities and neighborhoods out of our comfort zones. And I can't imagine a situation that would require me to wander those Tel Aviv neighborhoods which are the refuge for Africans, who find Israel their safety net.

The main character is Oscar Orleans, a Congolese refugee and long-time resident of Israel. Oscar identifies as a Jew, though it's not clear if he has actually converted. With perfect Hebrew, Oscar is the liaison for the African refugee community and finds himself helping his good buddy Inspector Kobi Sambinsky of the Asylum Unit.

When a young African is found murdered, Oscar and Kobi work together to solve the crime and in the process clear up another very surprising mystery or two. The book ends with a teaser, which makes me think that there's another one in the works featuring the same team. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Yes, I definitely recommend Hip Set. It can be enjoyed by old and young readers.

Product details
  • Publisher : Tall Tree Creative Arts LLC (January 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • ISBN-10 : 0988413140
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0988413146

Monday, May 17, 2021

Super Easy One Step "Eggplant Parmigiana"


OK I must admit that I'm a lazy cook. I prefer one-pot, one-step recipes. I once watched someone make "real Eggplant Parmigiana," and I was shocked. First she soaked the slices of eggplant, then she coated them in beaten egg, and then bread crumbs and then fried them. Only after that complicated ritual did she do anything like my recipe.

So if you're anything like me you're not interested in the long complicated procedure. Nobody who has eaten my "Eggplant Parmigiana" has spit it out claiming it's "fake." So, here's the recipe.


  • sliced onion
  • sliced eggplant (thin)
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced pepper optional
  • cheese that melts well either slices or grated
  • garlic, oil, any spices you think will be good


  1. layer onion, then, eggplant, tomato then cheese, then onion, eggplant, pepper, tomato and top with cheese.
  2. add spices and some oil
  3. bake in medium oven 160 centigrade until bubbly
Yes, that's it. You can add some squash or zucchini if you want.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Back To "Pot Luck Dinner" Book Club, Thank Gd

 Last night I hosted our local Book Club.

The meeting was our second post-corona get-together, but the first time we got down to the business of literary book discussions. A couple of weeks earlier we just "partied," ate and hashed out how to best conduct meetings. 

Pre-corona our set meeting meant a book that all of were supposed to have read, usually facilitated by the same member. Some months it worked better than others. Buying, borrowing and sharing books can get complicated, even though a few members read most of their books on kindle. As we talked and ate, we realized that maybe we should change our meeting structure. On occasion we may manage to read the same book, but no longer always.

Our new plan is to choose monthly genres or authors. Each month a different member facilitates and decides on details. 

The member who facilitated last night wanted to read a couple of children's classics, Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables. I had never read either of them before, not even as a child. I borrowed Pollyanna from her. I surprised myself by enjoying it. There was a lively discussion about the books. Not everyone read both, and a couple didn't read either one. We agreed that even though we liked the books, we couldn't see our grandchildren reading them. The Harry Potter generation can't relate to the low-tech lives and innocence of Anne and Pollyanna.

Next month's book is The Brigade : An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WWII by Howard Blum. If I don't get a copy of the book, I'll try to research the history of the time.

I must admit that in the early days of our book club, we didn't have the pot luck dinner, and the club wasn't all that successful. Once we added the meal at an earlier hour and extra socializing, it really improved our meetings and attendance. I can't remember how many years our book club has been going on. Members are from Shiloh and nearby communities, and we're grandmothers and great-grandmothers, too.

There are book clubs all over the world which follow various "programs." We've even traded books with a few here in Israel. Not only do I enjoy the socializing and literary talk, but it has been good for me to stretch my reading to books I never would have touched if they hadn't been on our "list." What are your experiences with book clubs?