Wednesday 19 June 2013

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum

The official summer season kicks off in two days but this blog owner has been suffering its effects for a couple of months already. Due to the prolonged cold weather we had after March when spring should have arrived, pollen has appeared later than usual. And that goes for tree pollen and pollen from flowers. So, you could say that I have been under a double attack in the last ten or twelve weeks, except for my fortnight holiday in Cuba back in April.

This is the reason why my recipe tonight carries sugar up its sleeve, to me summer is sugar, I have no idea why. This is one dessert I will be making very soon if I can just get over the fact I have to include rum. You see, I’m teetotal. But I confess it’s the pineapple that’s done the trick for me.

I came across this pudding in the pages of The Guardian’s new(ish) Cook supplement and knew immediately I had stumbled upon one of those delights my family will be asking for again, again and again. Words by The Soul Food Girls Supper Club, by the way.

Pineapple and rum upside-down cake with hot buttered rum sauce

For the cake

435g pineapple rings, drained
2 large eggs
125g golden caster sugar
150g plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g unsalted butter, melted
Zest of ½ a lemon
75ml semi-skimmed milk
3 tbsp dark Jamaican rum
For the sauce
100g light brown muscovado sugar
120ml double cream
120ml dark Jamaican rum
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Grease a round cake tin and preheat the oven to 175C/350F/gas mark 4. Line the bottom of the tin with pineapple rings – you may need to squeeze them in a bit to make them fit. Cut the remaining rings in half and line the sides. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the eggs and sugar, and combine well. Add the butter, lemon zest, vanilla extract, milk and rum and mix well. Pour the cake mixture on top of the pineapple rings and bake for about 40 minutes until it has risen, is a light brown colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake sit for about 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely. The bottom (the top when it's upside down) of the cake will look underdone: this is because the pineapples are so moist, but the rest of the cake will be fine – so don't worry! To make the sauce, stir the sugar and cream in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted and it has become well combined. Add the rum and allow to simmer until slightly thickened. Add the butter and stir until melted. Pour over the cake while hot and serve immediately.

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The music to go with this recipe has to make the listener melt like the sugar and cream in the saucepan. The kind of melody that makes you go: “I’m easy like Sunday morning”. That’s why I am going to start with the still little-known Alice Russell. What must Alice do to be better known by soul and jazz lovers? There was a time when her albums Under the Munka Moon 1 and 2 were played back to back to back in my house. Breakdown is the reason why. Beautiful harmonies with a strong voice.

From Alice we go to a duo of whom I haven’t heard anything for ages. Jazzyfatnastees is summer and vanilla extract, in all their sultry glory. Enjoy.

Why is it that a lot of social uprisings and riots take place in the summer? Gordon Lightfoot wrote about the Detroit riots in the 60s in his immortal song, Black Day in July. It’s only a couple of years ago that London was ablaze in the summer and look at Turkey and Brazil now (although it's autumn time in the souther hemisphere, I hasten to add. But I'm looking at it from our "summer" point of view). That’s why my third musical offering tonight comes from the godfather of rap, the late Gil Scott-Heron and one of his more consciously social compositions, B Movie, inspired by the also late former US president Ronald Reagan. Timeless tune.

Yasmine Hamdan is a new singer in my music collection. I love her voice, her projection, her arrangements. To me, here’s someone who doesn’t want to be labelled as “exotic other”, which is, sadly, the attitude I find very often amongst lovers of the wrongly called “world music” (I thought all music was world music!). Anyway, Samar, from the album Ya Nass, is beautiful.

We finish with Stevie, or rather his daughter Aisha Morris joining her dad in a duet of a song that needs no introduction. This is summer, mi gente, it might not be my favourite season, but with that pineapple and rum dessert I can put up with anything. Bring it on!

© 2013

Photo taken from The Guardian

Next post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 23rd June at 10am (GMT)


  1. Hola Cuban, you went home to Cuba? I have to catch up with your old posts. I listened to Yasmine and Aisha and Stevie Wonder, they were wonderful.

  2. Recipes too look at you and quite the tunes at your dunes

  3. I love the cakes with pineapple and this sounds delicious CIL:))
    nice music!:)

  4. Debe de estar muy bueno, pero intento hacer pocos pasteles por no coger más peso.
    Un abrazo

  5. I MUST try these cakes as soon as I return home. They look absolutely delicious!
    Love the music too...:)
    Many thanks.

  6. Well my sweet tooth is most definitely intrigued!

  7. Yes, indeed, you're in the mood for some hot music and sweet food. Summer time and the living is easy! I do appreciate how you set the mood here, a bit of this, a bit of that. The music, the music really gets us going. Muchas Gracias!

  8. great recipe and great music - that cake looks really delish!! tomorrow is La fete de la musique here when bands take to the streets throughout for France for a night of music on the summer solstice...Greetings from Nice!

  9. Many thanks for your kind comments. I will be baking this cake a week on Saturday. We have visitors coming over and they're Caribbean brothers and sisters (Jamaican roots). So, let's put them to the test, shall we?

    Greetings from London.

  10. oh that cake sounds delicious...and alice have made me a new that sound....

  11. I know how unPC this is, but Stevie Wonder's movements usu make me faintly nauseous. Thankfully, I am in the minority with this.

    The cake sounds splendid. There is an artificial rum drink that is used in cooking, but discerning taste buds may be able to tell. At least the liquor burns off from the real thing. ~Mary

  12. Oh, that recipe reminds me of school and upside down pudding, but without the rum sauce...

    Your recipe looks so delicious! Over here, summer is connected to berries, lots and lots of berries!

  13. Thanks for the songs - and especially the recipes. The cake sounds incredibly delicious. I am sorry for your allergies - have you ever tried a netti pot? Kind of a weird device, and I must say I do not use it all the time but I have in the past and it is quite effective (if a bit uncomfortable). Better if you are someone who likes to swim.

    Take care, k.

  14. think I have to try that pineapple cake. :)

  15. I hear you on the teetotal conundrum, A. I tend to use substitutes such red grape juice instead of red wine ;-)

    Alice Russell is very popular amongst soul-heads I find. I personally can't see what the fuss is about but she's definitely got a loyal following and garnered much acclaim. I think she's as successful as any underground artist could be although she's yet to 'crossover'.

    So strange you include the 'Jazzyfatnastees'. I sometimes think of them but just the other day I heard them on internet radio and thought 'Long time!'. Now they were definitely underrated. They were one of the better neo-soul/post neo-soul outfits.

    Aisha tours with her dad sometimes. It's a sweet combo although as a fan of Brazilian music I'm sick of 'Garota de Ipanema'. Tom Jobim wrote far more beautiful songs and the country's songbook is full of worthier contenders in general. But it's the one to which people gravitate. Brazilians feel over-exposed to it too. You won't impress them by knowing it. The musical director of the Brazilian group with which I sing refuses to play it.

    It's a shame you don't like Summer...those extended nights. It's my favourite season (if and when it actually shows up) closely followed by Spring (for the blossoms and the promise of good things to come) and Autumn (for the colours and bittersweet sentiments). Get well soon.

    Shalom, Miss T x

  16. A wonderful collection of music today....and the pineapple and rum upside-down cake looks delicious! And sweet as summer.

  17. I can always do with a pineapple upside down cake! Love me some cake!!!

    That's cool that you're teetotal. I don't drink either. I'd leave out the rum and use something else but that's just me.


  18. now this cake is impressive we were blessed with good weather in the UK hope it picks up for you now



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