Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Basic Small Cake Recipe/Formula

this cake is a little darker and treaclier as I've used Demerara sugar
All ingredients - roughly the same weight
- eg: if using 3 eggs - increase the other ingredients accordingly to same weight
Oven: approx. 180deg. C - fan.

4ozs. sugar (caster, demerara, etc.)
4ozs. butter - softened
1 tsp. vanilla
or 1/2 almond and 1/2 vanilla
4ozs. self-raising flour 
(or plain flour + a good heaped teaspoon of baking powder)
2 eggs - weighing approx. 4 ozs.  

favourite jam, preserve or jelly US :o)

Beat the sugar, butter and essence together till creamy.
Beat in 1 egg plus a tablespoon of the flour.  You can sift the flour, though not essential.
Repeat with the 2nd egg.
Stir in the remaining flour.

If the mixture is too heavy, whisk in a little milk or some warm water.

Place mixture in a greased tin, or use a paper liner. 
Put some dollops (teaspoons) of jam on the top - smooth over if wanted.

I have found that my jam always seems to sink to the bottom!  However, the taste of the cake is still really good.  
If anyone knows a method of making the jam 'not sink' - please let me know :o)

Bake for approx. 40/50 mins, but do check to see if cooking ok.  If browning too quickly, but still not cooked through, place some foil lightly on top.  Check again during cooking.

This is a fairly basic cake recipe so you can add -
some dollops of jam on top
fruit on the base of the tin so you have an upside down cake.
Split the cake when cool and have jam and/or whipped cream in the middle
.... your imagination here :o)  .....

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Portuguese Custard (cake)

*This is made without a pastry case.  It's really good served at room temperature.  If you chill it in the fridge, it does become a bit rubbery, but you can zap it in the micro to 
improve the texture - and it is nicer warm(ish).  
Good served with stewed fruit/compote.

Oven: 200 deg. C
25g salted butter + little extra for greasing
100g plain flour (or SR will do)
500ml whole milk
200g. caster sugar
4 beaten eggs
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Icing sugar to sift over, when cold, - if wanted

1.Grease your ovenproof dish

2.Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until just below boiling point.
3.Remove from the heat and add the butter - stir until dissolved.
4.Combine 100g flour and 200g. sugar (or little less if you want).
5.Add the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla and whisk until a smooth batter.
6.Gently pour in the hot milk, beating at the same time until you have a lovely smooth custardy batter - (thinnish).

7.Pour into your buttered oven dish and bake for approx. 40 minutes.
Check to see whether the custard has set all the way through,  specially in the centre.
If not, just continue baking until all is set.
If it is getting too brown on top, place  sheet of foil over.  When cooked, remove from the oven and cool.
It will sink! dont worry about this - it still tastes really good.

*Original recipe from Sunday Times magazine - but tweaked by me.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Quick/Easy Cheesecake

250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
110g (approx. 4ozs.) softened butter
125g Greek Yogurt - approximate measurements, little more or less is fine.
125g Double Cream - as above.
1 tsp. vanilla essence
75 - 110 g. (3 or 4ozs.) caster sugar
2 beaten eggs
2 tbls. self-raising flour
approx. 6 digestive biscuits - choc/plain or mix of both - crumbed

Crush the biscuits and place in the base of an ovenproof, well-buttered dish.

1. Cream the cheese and butter.
2. Add the yogurt and double cream - cream all together nicely.
3. Add the sugar, vanilla, flour and eggs - cream together. The mixture should be lovely - creamy and smooth.
4. Pour on top of your crushed biscuits and bake for approx. 1hr. or longer, until the cheese mixture is set nicely - no wobble in the centre.  

5. Leave to cool in the oven, with the door open.
If the cake sinks, while cooling, dont worry - you can fill it with sour cream, (while still warm).

When it's still just warm, you can put some sour cream/creme fraiche on the top.  The warmth of the cake will slightly set the sour cream.
Chill in the fridge before eating - (demolishing!)

Coffee in a Jug

2 good rounded tablespoons of ground coffee
pinch of salt
1pt (20 fl.ozs) (approx 2 cups) boiling water

Place your coffee in a heatproof jug and add the pinch of salt (if wanted), and pour in the boiled water.
Cover with double foil, to keep the heat in, if you don't have a lid.
Let it stand for approx. 3 to 4 mins.
Stir,  and let it settle for a minute, then pour out through a strainer.
If you want it white - add hot milk ..... but cold milk is fine, and cream is very good.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Butter Cake

Oven: 170 deg.C - 
Approx. 45 mins, baking time

200g. (approx. 7 ozs.) Butter- room temperature
130g. (approx. 4.5 ozs.) Caster Sugar - or Golden Granulated 
50g. (2 ozs.) Caster Sugar or Golden Granulated
2 tsps. Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of plain yogurt
200g. (approx. 7 ozs.) Self-Raising Flour + 1 tsp. Baking Powder

1. Whisk the egg whites until frothy.
Add the 50g. of sugar and continue whisking until almost peak stiff.
2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and 130g. of sugar together until pale and creamy.
3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking well in between.
4. Whisk in the Vanilla.
5. Gently fold in 1/3 of the flour and 1/3 of the yogurt.  Alternate until combined.
6. Gently fold in 1/2 of the egg whites, then the other half - do not overmix.
7. Pour the batter into a paper liner, or your tin, and level with a spatula.  Drop the pan a few times (gently) on your worktop, just to remove any air bubbles.

8. Bake for approximately 45 mins.  Your skewer should come out clean when inserted into the middle.  You can also 'listen' to the cake (!) to hear whether it is still cooking - if so - leave it a little longer.
Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chocolate and Bakewell Fairy Cakes - all-in-one recipe - quick

Bakewell Fairycakes – All-in-One mixture – Makes about 10 - 12.
Oven: 170deg. C – approx. 20 mins.
120g. Approx. ground almonds
10g. Approx. dessicated coconut
140g softened butter, flora or mixture of both
140g golden caster sugar
140g SR Flour
2 large eggs – beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Raspberry or cherry jam and paper cases

  1. Beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a nice smooth batter.  If it feels a little thick add some milk.
  2. Fill the paper cases, about ¾ way up.
  3. Place a small ‘dollop’ of jam on the top of each one.
  4. Bake and cool.

Chocolate Fairy Cakes – All-in-One mix. Makes about 10 - 12
Oven approx. 200 deg.C about 10 mins baking.
40g. Cocoa powder + 4 tblspns of boiling water
3 eggs - beaten
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
115g. SR Flour
1 rounded teaspn. of baking powder

Paper cases and choc icing of choice.

  1. Melt the cocoa powder in the hot water, cool slightly and add the other cake ingredients.
  2. Mix well together.
  3. Divide equally into the paper cases and bake.
  4. Cool and dollop with choc icing if wanted.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Banana Loaf - very easy and delicious

Oven: 180 C: Fan 160C : Gas 4 - preheated - approx. 1 hr.
All-in-one Mix
100g (3.5ozs.) softened butter
150g - 175g (5-6 ozs.) caster sugar
2 large eggs - beaten
2 ripe bananas - mashed
225g (8ozs) Self-Raising Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tablespoons of milk

Mix all the ingredients together until you have a nice creamy cake batter.
Lightly grease a 2lb. loaf tin and use either baking parchment or a cake liner and spoon the mixture in. 
Smooth over, and tap down gently on your surface to remove any air gaps.
Test to see when cooked through, and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes.
Peel off the parchment and leave to cool on a wire rack.

While it was still warm, I grated some chocolate over the top.

Easy - Peasy :o)

Mary Berry's Original Recipe

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Endive Baked with 2 Cheese Sauce - c/o James Martin

Oven 200 deg. C - preheated
1 brioche loaf - sliced thickly and cut into chunks
2 or 3 endive (chicory)  - end removed and cut lengthways
Compte Cheese (or cheddar) - grated

St Agur Cheese (or nice blue cheese)

For cheese sauce:
1 oz. butter
1 tablespoon of plain flour
1/2 pt. milk (semi or full fat is ok)
teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Buttered oven proof dish

1. Put a tiny bit of butter in the pan, and almost dry fry the sliced endive until just a teeny bit of colour on leaves. A non-stick pan is good. Place endive in a buttered dish.  Put cubed brioche pieces on top.

2.  Make your roux with melted butter and flour - stirring constantly so it doesn't 'lump'.  Remove from the heat and add the milk a little at a time, place back on a gentle heat and stir until thickened and smooth.  You may need to turn up the heat slightly.
3. Add the grated cheese, stirring in until creamy.
4. Add salt, pepper and Dijon mustard.

5. Pour the creamy sauce over the brioche and endive. Add some small chunks of St Agur cheese over.

6. Bake for about 20mins.until going slightly brown and bubbling.
6. Eat ASAP :o)

This recipe comes from a super programme called James Martin's French Adventure.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Jaffa Cakes

1/2 sachet of orange jelly powder
75ml boiling water (2.5 fl.ozs)
1 egg
50g (2ozs) caster sugar
15g (.5oz.) butter - melted and cooled
60g (2.5ozs.) plain flour
25g (1 oz.) ground almonds
75g (3ozs) milk or dark chocolate

1. Dissolve the jelly pwdr. in the boiling water and top up to 1/4 pt. (150ml) and leave to cool and beginning to set - stir occasionally.

2. Heat oven to 200deg. C (400 F) and place paper cases in 12 hold muffin tin.

3. Beat the egg and sugar together till light and fluffy and add the butter. Fold in the flour and almonds  and spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
Bake for 10 mins. until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

4. When jelly is just setting - spoon over the cold cakes and leave to set.

5. Mel the choc. in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and spoon the melted choc. over the top and leave to solidify.

This recipe is from Home Baking - Biscuits and Cookies by Wendy Hobson.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Blueberry Cake - with dried blueberries

Dried Blueberry Cake
Oven: 180 deg C – approx 45 mins to 1 hr. – check after 45 mins.

2 eggs – approx. 4 ozs. weight in their shells
4ozs. butter – softened
2ozs. soft brown sugar
2ozs. Demerara sugar
4ozs. SR flour or plain flour  + 1tsp. baking powder - sieved
Approx. ½ tsp. vanilla paste or essence
Tablespoon or so of plain yogurt
Small pack of dried blueberries

Small amount of hot water if mixture is too thick – if required

  1. Cream the butter and sugars
  2. Add vanilla – beat in
  3. Add eggs one at a time with a small amount of the flour
  4. Add remaining flour and other ingredients
  5. Mixture should be a nice ‘dropping consistency’
  6. Place in baking tin/dish and bake until becoming golden – test with a skewer to see if cooked through.  Place piece of foil over if going brown before completely cooked.
You can eat this spread with a little butter - - or not.

PS: Blueberries are low in Potassium.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

4 tablespoons of   Maple Syrup
1.1/2    "               Sherry VInegar
1.1/2    "               Ground Nut Oil
1          "               Hazelnut Oil

1. Boil the Maple Syrup until you have about half the quantity (2 tablspoons approx.)
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients.
3. Season with salt and black pepper - to taste

This is lovely served with duck or chicken.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Apple Crumble Cake

Oven: 180deg. C - 
Ingredients for the Cake:
125g. butter
125g. light soft brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tablespn Maple Syrup
2 eggs
125g. self raising flour
1 or 2 apples - peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Ingredients for the Crumble Topping: 
25g. cold butter
50g. plain flour
- 'crumb' the two ingredients together - you can add a little more cinnamon here if wanted.

1.  Cream together the butter and the sugar, add the cinnamon and Maple Syrup.
2. Add the beaten eggs, one at a time, with a little of the flour, then the rest of the flour.
3. Add the apples. Gently mix together.  Add a little hot water if the mixture seems too thick.
4. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tin/dish and smooth over.
5. Sprinkle the Crumble topping fairly evenly over the cake mix.
6. Bake until when tested with a skewer, the skewer comes out clean - approx. 45 mins.  Place some foil over the top if browning too quickly.

I adapted this recipe from here.

Cool and eat either reheated or cold.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Apple Cake - Sponge cake with oil

Oven: 180/190 deg. C - approx. 40mins to 1 hr.

12ozs. of apples - peeled and roughly chopped
3ozs. of butter
3ozs. demerara or golden caster sugar - - more, (or less) depending on how sweet your apples are
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon - (this seems a lot, but it's fine.)
pinch of salt

1. Melt the butter and saute the apples and sugar, add the cinnamon and  cook gently for a few minutes until the sugar has melted and the apples are just becoming soft. Set aside.

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil (sunflower is fine too)
1 tablespoon of hot, then cooled slightly, water
3 eggs
4 ozs. caster sugar
3 ozs. self-raising flour - sifted
finely grated lemon rind

1. Beat the eggs and sugar together.
2. Add the oil and water, and beat in.
3. Add the sifted flour and beat or stir in gently., adding the lemon rind.

4. Butter an ovenproof pan and put the apples on the bottom.
5. Pour over the sponge batter and spread gently so it virtually covers all the apples.
6. Bake until the sponge is cooked and firm - test with a skewer to see that it is cooked through.  It will be nicely golden.

This is lovely either eaten hot or cold - with cream/custard      :o)

*This is the same apple mixture as my Apple Upside Down Cake.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Speedy Sausage Parcel

Oven: 190 deg.C - approx. 45mins to 1 hr.
1 pkt of ready-made Puff Pastry Sheet
1 pack of good pork sausages (or package of sausagemeat)
1 onion (any variety) - peeled and chopped finely + clove of garlic if wanted
Small amount of sunflower oil and butter - for frying onions and greasing baking tray.
1 beaten egg - for egg-washing pastry
Small amount of cornmeal.

1. Lay out your sheet of puff pastry on a greased baking tray.
Prick the base of the pastry, all over, with a fork and sprinkle a little cornmeal over.

2. Remove, and discard, the skins from your sausages and 'mush' well together.

3. Place a rectangle shape of sausagemeat in centre of the pastry.

4. Place the softly fried onions evenly on top.

5. Wrap over the pastry to make a parcel, Trim the ends to neaten and pinch down so not too much fat leaks out.

6. Brush over the eggwash.

Bake for at least 45 mins to an hour - till the pastry is golden.

Eat either hot, cold, or reheated in the micro is fine.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Apple Upside-down-Cake

Oven: 180/90 deg. C - approx 45mins to 1 hr.

12ozs. of apples - peeled and roughly chopped
3ozs. of butter
3ozs. demerara or golden caster sugar - - more, (or less) depending on how sweet your apples are
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon - (this seems a lot, but it's fine.)
large pinch of salt
grated lemon rind or little juice - if wanted

Preferably a loose-bottomed baking tin 

4ozs. SR flour (or plain flour plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder) - sieved
pinch of salt
3 (or 4) ozs. sugar
1 or 2 eggs - beaten - weighing approx.4ozs.
3 - 4 ozs. of either butter, or, I have used 'Benecol with Butter' - suitable for baking.
plus a small amount of warm water if sponge is a little stiff.

1. Melt the butter in a large pan and saute the apples for a few mins - coating them well.
2. Add the sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt - over the apples,  stirring in gently.
Saute them for a few minutes, stirring so they dont stick - until they are just beginning to soften - they should be lovely and a caramelly brown. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. In another bowl sift the flour, (baking powder),eggs, sugar, salt and mix gently to make your sponge batter.
4. Butter the baking tin and put the apples in, dollop the sponge mixture on top, smooth out gently and bake.
Test to see that it's cooked through, using a skewer.
Leave to cool in the tin, then gently turn out.
When completely cooled, dust with icing sugar.

You can serve this either cold as regular cake, or warmed through in the micro as a hot apple pudding....... (served with cream or custard of course :) )

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Halloween Cakes

Delicious (and easy) Chocolate Cake - decorate how you fancy for Halloween .....
Oven: 190/200 deg. C

7 ozs.  Good quality cooking chocolate
7 ozs.  butter
1.1/2 cups sugar
3 tbls. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. vanilla essence
½ cup water

* other ingredients

1. Melt the above ingredients together in a bowl over saucepan of hot water (small double boiler is good). When ingredients are melted -

2. Separate 5 eggs* and carefully stir in the yolks only to the melted chocolate - (keep whites aside to whisk in later).
Remove 1 cup of the chocolate mixture and set aside to use for the Icing/Frosting.

3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

4. Add the stiffly beaten egg whites to rest of choc. mixture- and fold in carefully.

5. Add 1.1/4 cups of Plain Flour* + 2 tsps. Baking Powder (sifted) * -  
(or use Self-raising flour without Baking Pdr.)  Fold in gently.

Bake for approx. 30 mins in a greased and floured baking dish. 

Test with skewer to make sure it’s cooked through – it cooks quite quickly.  Don’t remove it from the dish. 
Remove from oven and let it cool for just a minute or two, and pierce all over with a skewer.
Pour the Cup of Choc.topping (icing/frosting) over the top of the cake – start in the centre and spread it out gently with a knife, dipped in hot water.  Leave cake to get cold.
Decorate and Eat :o)

(This keeps well wrapped in foil in the fridge, but may go slightly firm and the chocolate may lose its shine, just a little.)

Friday, 14 October 2016

Cauliflower Cheese Baked - Retro Recipe

Oven: 325 deg.F, 170deg. C - Approx. 1 hr.  - till top becomes golden.
1 large cauliflower - cut into florets - (halved if very large)
1 white onion or shallot - peeled and finely chopped
2 ozs. unsalted butter  (50g.)
3 ozs. (approx.) fresh white breadcrumbs  (75g.)
1/2pt. milk (10.fl.ozs.)
2ozs. grated Gruyere (or cheese of choice)  (50g.)
salt, black pepper
Ground Nutmeg (optional)
5 beaten eggs

1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the florets, cover the pan and boil gently for about 8 mins. Drain.
2. Melt 1/2 of the butter and saute the onions until softened.
3. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish and sprinkle half of the breadcrumbs on the base.  Place the florets on top (pretty side up).

4. Bring milk to the boil, add the cheese and remaining butter, stir in the breadcrumbs, (nutmeg), seasoning and the onions.  Remove from the heat and add the beaten eggs, beating them in a small amount at a time so they dont curdle.

5. Pour this sauce over the florets, covering well.  If you have any spare breadcrumbs, you can sprinkle these on top.

Eat Hot.  Very nice as a light supper snack with a mixed salad.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Low Potassium Diets - Veg Soup, Shepherds Pie and Salad.

Since posting this article, I have since found out that (in the UK) directions for leaching vegetables seem to differ from the US.  We have been advised that peeling, cutting up veggies, bringing them to the boil and discarding the water, is sufficient to get rid of most of the potassium - (dont use the water to make soups or gravies, etc. for low potassium recipes).
I am trying a couple of recipes doing this, then continuing to make the recipe as usual, and will post if I have any success :).

This link is to the Edinburgh Renal Unit which seems to be an interesting website.

Recently my husband has been asked to go on a low potassium diet.  I immediately tried to do some research on the Internet for various low potassium recipes. There are sites, particularly kidney-related where you can find a good selection of recipes, but mostly I found the information and lists given, fairly conflicting.  One website would say you can eat a certain vegetable/product, and another would say 'not'.  I am in the process of trying out various things, and hopefully will collect a few interesting recipes along the way.

Unfortunately a lot of the root vegetables have to be leached, which means
peeling, slicing, soaking them for several hours, throwing away the water, soaking them again, boiling them, throwing away the water and reboiling them!
It's actually not as much faff as it seems, and I do a batch and keep a stock in the fridge or freezer - 'specially potatoes.  I do feel they lose some of their taste, but there are things you can do to make up for this - eg. frying them over or roasting them, or anything else you usually do with potatoes - except (apparently) chips.

Anyhoo ..... here is my first low potassium Veg Soup recipe. If anyone has any other interesting recipes, or contradicts mine, please let me know.

Vegetable Soup - Low potassium
Potatoes - leached as above*
Carrots - also leached*
1 raw white onion peeled and chopped - (onion and celery are low potassium)
few sticks of celery- peeled if stringy and chopped
I threw in some cooked cauliflower and some peas
garlic - amount to taste
Dried herbs are fine - eg. oregano, corriander, thyme - to taste
small amount of salt and pepper, and preferably home made stock, otherwise small amount of cube/powdered stock.
Water - hot
Olive or Sunflower Oil and a small knob of saltless butter

1. fry over the celery and onion until it begins to soften, and add the other (cooked) veggies, garlic and seasonings.
2. Saute all for a few minutes until nicely softened.
3. Add some stock/water just to cover and simmer for a few minutes, then add enough stock to make your soup - better to add less - you can always add more once you have liquidised the soup.  Cook for about 15/20 ins on a medium heat - bubbling gently - till the veg are soft.
4. Cool the soup, then liquidise to make a creamy soup, adding more liquid if needed.

This is a pretty basic veg soup, so you can add anything else that you know is ok.

Shepherds Pie
I have leached some potatoes, mashed them and frozen them - to use as and when needed.

Mince some cooked pork/beef/chicken, added sauted (chopped) celery, garlic, onion, courgette and any other allowed low potassium veg. (Apparently mushrooms are high in potassium).
Add some of the meat juices to moisten the meat mix - having removed most of the fat.

Season the mix well and place in a greased ovenproof dish with the mash potatoes on top. 
Bake for at least 45 mins to 1 hr (or more) at 190 ish. deg.C.

Side Salad
Fresh cooked sweet corn (or tinned sweetcorn rinsed well) - (this can also be kept covered in the fridge for a few days).
Finely chopped: celery, red onion, garlic, cucumber (peeled), dried oregano, dried corriander, small amount of peeled apple - chopped + mayonnaise or vinaigrette (or mix of both).

* I think soaking the veg for a couple of hours, discarding the water and soaking again for a couple of hours, maybe ok - and not needing to precook them.  I am not sure about this.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Honey and Apple Cookies

This recipe can be used for Jewish New Year.  Usually you make a honey cake for a sweet New Year and everyone has their own honey-cake recipe, 
so I thought this would be nice too.
1/2 cup of shortening or butter
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of honey (or maple syrup)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 cups of plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp. of each: baking powder, salt, cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and powdered cloves (if wanted)
1.1/2 cups of finely chopped peeled apples - (mini chopper works well)

1 .Cream the fat and sugar and beat in the honey (maple syrup)
2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Stir in the sour cream.
4. Sift in the flour, baking soda, salt and spices - combine well.
5. Add the apples.

Grease a baking tray and

6. Drop teaspoons about 3" apart

Bake at 350 deg. F, approx. 180 deg.C for about 15 minutes until the edges are brown.

 These cookies are probably more cakey than a crisp biscuit, but are very nice. 
You could also sandwich them with jam (or similar) in between.
Original vintage recipe

I think next time I make these, I will bake the batter in a shallow rectangular tin and lightly cut them into squares while they are still warm - I think they may look nicer.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Natural Remedies - Mint, and Apple Cider Vinegar


It would seem that mint is a natural insect repellent.  I usually keep a small jar with some mint in water on my kitchen worktop as I like the smell, and thought maybe it was just coincidence, but it seemed to keep the flies away!  Link here to lots of other uses.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Reading an article recently, it would seem there are a lot of claims for using Apple Cider Vinegar - amongst other things, helps as an anti-inflammatory and reduces cholesterol.  Apparently it can be taken diluted - I haven't tried this, but I do use a good cider vinegar in my Vinaigrette:

In a screwtop jar ...........
2 tblspns. Apple Cider Vinegar
4-6 tblspns. of olive or sunflower oil
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
salt, black pepper,
clove of crushed garlic
Replace the lid (tightly) and shake well.  
This will store in the fridge almost indefinitely.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Smoked Mackerel Pate - very easy

1 pack of smoked mackerel - 0.286g. (approx.)
1 pack of cream cheese - 200g.
1/2 lemon - juice only (you could add some finely grated rind if wanted)
black pepper and small amount of salt
olive oil

1. Blend the ingredients together and add some olive oil, blending until you have a smooth, creamy texture.
This freezes well, but you can store it in the fridge, covered, for several days.
Serve with a green salad and toast-triangles (no crusts!)  :o) ....... or just dip into it when you fancy.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Cornmeal Soda Bread

Oven: 200 deg.C - preheated
Baking time: approximately 30 mins. (maybe longer)
6 ozs. fine cornmeal
6 ozs. self-raising flour (plus extra if dough is too sticky, and also for kneading)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. bi-carbonate of soda
1/2 pt. full fat milk + 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
(dried herbs of choice - optional)
little knob of soft butter

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
2. Add the wet ingredients and gather together to make your dough. If it's a little too sticky, add some more flour, or just sprinkle a goodly amount of flour on your worktop and knead gently until dough feels soft and not too sticky.
3. Place on a baking tray, make a shallow cross in the top, and spread some of the butter over.
4. Bake until bread feels firm - check underside - tap for a hollow sound - which usually means it's done :)

this is really easy to make and tastes delicious warm :)
The only slight problem with Soda Bread is that it is really best on the day you make it.  It doesn't keep that well. If it does go hard you can either toast it - - -  or make croutons or breadcrumbs and store these for future use.

Avignon - Market Day


Friday, 12 August 2016

Prawn and Potato Quiche


Oven: 180 deg.C (fan)
6ozs. plain flour
2.75 ozs. butter (hard)
1 large egg,
salt, pepper.
1 egg for egg wash - you can then add the egg you haven't used to the Savoury Custard. 

1.Crumb the flour and butter, add the egg, seasoning -
bring ingredients togther to make pastry and chill - (the pastry that is :) ) - for about 30 mins.
2.Roll out fairly thinly, and line a greased flan tin/dish with your pastry* and prick all over with a fork.
3.Place greaseproof paper on top and pile in your baking beans, spreading them evenly.
4.Bake blind for about 20 mins.
5.Remove beans and paper, wash the pastry with beaten egg and place back in the oven for approx. 10 mins. (You may need a little longer).

1 pack of large cooked prawns (roughly chopped)
1 large cooked potato (roughly chopped)
small amount of smoked salmon - optional

 Place into pre-baked pastry case.

Savoury custard:
5 eggs - beaten
3.5 fl.ozs. milk
7 fl.ozs. double cream
salt, black pepper
small amount of dried or fresh thyme/oregano
small amount of grated hard cheese, if wanted

Pour over the savoury custard, and bake until the custard is set and just beginning to golden.

I think this is nicest eaten cold with a good salad.

* some people dont trim the pastry until it is baked, but I find the edge is neater if trimmed when the pastry is raw.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016



I love using up bits that I find in the fridge ... (that is providing it doesn't have green mold on it!)  Let's face it the "sell-by" may work for the supermarkets, but there are many products you can use long after the sell-by dates have expired.  You do of course have to be sensible about certain produce, but I think most stuff lasts a lot longer than we are led to believe.  Dont chuck stuff out willy-nilly, think about what you could do with it first .....
a few basic ideas ................

Soups - soup can be made with almost anything!  If you have one carrot, an onion, a potato, (garlic), stick of celery - you have the basic ingredients for a veg soup.  Also cooked leftover vegetables can be made into a thick blended soup by just adding some stock and seasoning.

leftover fish/potato - adding a few other ingredients and you could have some good fishcakes.  I made some recently with a small pack of brown shrimps, a roasted potato and two smallish pieces of cooked salmon.  I whizzed them up in the food processor, added 1 egg and seasoning, made them into patties, coated them in fine cornmeal and shallow fried them.  They were very tasty.  (You could also add a can of salmon/tuna.)

leftover rice - you can really add this to most patties (and rice isn't really hard to use up as a leftover), but if you have just enough for a couple of portions you can place it in a shallow buttered bowl, pour a little liquid butter over the top (or olive oil) and bake it till it's hot.  Turn it out from the bowl, and you have a nice little round mould of rice as an accompaniment.
You can of course fry over the cooked leftover rice, adding fried mushrooms, little chopped garlic, pinch of thyme, pinch of oregano, seasoning, spring onions, (cooked peppers, peas), etc.  This is lovely served with chicken.

leftover chicken - is so versatile - there are just tons of things you can make with it. chicken pie or pudding, with added onion and mushrooms and a creamy sauce made with stock - (not milk) (or tinned mushroom soup) : chicken patties : curry : chicken salad bowl - with any leftover fresh veg. cut small or grated

Chicken  Also when portioning up a whole raw chicken, dont throw the carcass/bones away - you can make a decent chicken stock with it by adding some fresh root veg, seasoning and water - you may need a stock cube.

If you have any great ideas for leftovers - please let me know.

Prawn & Potato Quiche recipe

Monday, 18 July 2016

Quick Currant, Almond & Coconut Cake

3 or 4ozs. Demerara Sugar
3 ozs. of Suma Olive Spread (dairyfree)
1oz. butter - - (or 4 ozs of Suma Olive Spread in total)
1/4 tsp. Almond essence and 1/4 tsp.Vanilla essence
2 eggs
3 ozs. Self-Raising Flour
1 oz.  Ground Almonds
approx. 3/4cup of Currants - (doesn't have to be exact)
Approx. Tablespoonful Desicated Coconut - (also doesn't have to be exact)
Paper Liner for ease - or - grease and flour baking tin.

1. Cream the sugar and fat together with the essences.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating together with a tablespoon of the flour*
3. Add the currants to the remaining flour and Ground Almonds and mix in well.
4. If the batter is a little heavy, pour in some slightly cooled boiled water, and stir/beat until you have a good cake consistency.  Dont overbeat the cake batter.
5.  Pour into your baking tin, sprinkle with the Desicated Coconut and
Bake at 160/180 deg.C, for approx. 45 mins.  
Test with a skewer in the centre, to make sure it comes out clean and the cake is cooked through.

Cool and eat.

*adding a small amount of flour with the eggs, stops the mixture from splitting.
If your cake batter does split, a small amount of boiling water, beaten in, usually does it.