Spiced Orange & Honey Cake

  This cake is light and moist.  It will keep for 3-4 days in a cake tin. Ingredients: 125g butter. 100g honey  100g sugar 2tbs marmalade. 250g s/r flour. 2tsp mixed spice. More »

Easy Peasy Pastry……go on have a go!

Are you like me, scared to make pastry? Please don’t be scared! I totally understand how that feels.  You think, all that effort for a possible disaster, so why bother?! I thought More »

Spring has arrived…..

It doesn’t matter where you are, you know when Spring has arrived.  New lambs are springing up everywhere, along with new spring blubs putting on a colourful display.  The temperature is rising More »

Cake aux Olives…. a delicious savoury cake to serve with drinks.

A savoury cake is not something we eat very often, and many of you will never have tried one. Most of us are more used to eating savoury scones, breads and biscuits. More »

 

Spiced Orange & Honey Cake

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This cake is light and moist.  It will keep for 3-4 days in a cake tin.

Ingredients:

125g butter. 100g honey  100g sugar 2tbs marmalade.

250g s/r flour. 2tsp mixed spice. 1tsp ground ginger  1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

150ml milk. 2 beaten eggs

Put the butter, honey, sugar and marmalade into a pan and warm gently until melted.

Stir in all dry ingredients.  Add milk and eggs.  Mix until smooth.

Grease and line a loaf tin.   Pour in mixture, it will look very wet, don’t panic it should look that way.

Bake in pre-heated oven 180c/350f/Gas 4 – for 40-45 mins.  Test with a skewer, it will come out clean when cooked.

It should be well risen and a golden colour.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10mins.

Warm a table spoon marmalade, 1tbs sugar with 100ml water, reduce a little.  Use to glaze the top of the cake.

Enjoy this cake with a great cup of tea or a fresh filter coffee!

 

Easy Peasy Pastry……go on have a go!

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Are you like me, scared to make pastry?

Please don’t be scared!

I totally understand how that feels.  You think, all that effort for a possible disaster, so why bother?!

I thought exactly that many times, until I found this perfect easy recipe and it works every time.

 

 

Time: 5 minutes to mix together by hand, 30 mins to chill it (very important to chill it) before rolling it out and using it.

Plus – A tip to keep the rolling out easy, place the pastry between cling film. You’ll wonder why you’ve never done it that way before.

While it’s chilling, you can make whatever filling you fancy. It is very versitle and perfect to use for pies, tarts, pasties, desserts or like me Empanadas with a spicy beef mince filling.

This is a light crumbly, short crust style pastry. The French call it Brisée.

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Easy Pastry:  Makes about 450g

250g plain flour

150g butter – cubed and slightly soft

pinch salt for savoury

pinch of caster sugar for sweet

1 whole egg

1 tbsp cold milk

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Place the flour on your work top or a large board.  Make a well in the middle.  Add the cubed butter, pinch of salt or sugar.

Now break the whole egg on top.  Use you finger tips to slowly break the butter down and draw the flour, egg together. Add a little milk to help bind it all together.  It will begin to hold together.  With the palm of your hand begin to work the dough and push it together and turn it around 2 or 3 times, until it becomes smooth. Roll it into a ball.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30mins.

Now prepare your filling and use it to make a pie, pasties or tart (blind bake tart base for 10-15 mins).

 

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I am confident you’ll find this pastry not only easy to make but, you’ll be surprised how light the texture is and how delicious it tastes.

It won’t be the last time you make it!

It would be great to know what you think??

 

 

Spring has arrived…..

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It doesn’t matter where you are, you know when Spring has arrived.  New lambs are springing up everywhere, along with new spring blubs putting on a colourful display.  The temperature is rising and daylight hours linger a little more each day.  We are all feeling better for the extra colours and warmth.

One of the nicest ways to enjoy this new fresh Spring air, is to share it.  There is nothing better than being able to enjoy a meal outside.  There is something rejuvenating  when you are able to sit in the sunshine for the first time and have a meal, especially with great food and good company.

We were able to do exactly that, this week.  Knowing the weather would be good, we planned a visit to a great local market to gather all we needed for a simple lunch.

image                                           Seafood, salad, bread, cheese and wine!

Scallopes, oysters and king prawns served with a salad garnish and fresh crusty bread.  We enjoyed the seafood with a chilled Pouilly Fumé, followed by a little cheese. The perfect holiday lunch, enjoyed outside in the first of the Spring sunshine.

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The the new lambs are enjoying the Spring sunshine as much as we are!

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Cake aux Olives…. a delicious savoury cake to serve with drinks.

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A savoury cake is not something we eat very often, and many of you will never have tried one. Most of us are more used to eating savoury scones, breads and biscuits.

This cake is very traditional in France and, it is normally served as a snack with a glass of wine. It is a savoury delight, very easy to make, with all the ingredients mixed together in the same bowl.

This recipe was given to me by a French friend. The first time I tried it I loved it. It was served in slices with drinks, before dinner. A perfect savoury snack to serve to guests instead of a starter.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Cake aux Olives
Easy to make savoury cake. Delicious served with drinks.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Cake aux Olives
Easy to make savoury cake. Delicious served with drinks.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Now: Mix the eggs, oil and milk. Add all the other ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix together, until everything it is blended.
  2. Prepare a small loaf tin with baking paper in the botton and butter the sides. The mixture will be quite runny, don't worry this is how it should be. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
  3. Cook in a med oven; 160c / 300f / gas 2 - Cook 45 mins.
  4. It is cooked when it is a golden colour and firm to the touch.
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Parmesan Crisps

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Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Crisps are a deliciously unusual snack . They are also one of the quickest to make, with just one ingredient!
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Crisps are a deliciously unusual snack . They are also one of the quickest to make, with just one ingredient!
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Simply grate some Parmesan cheese using a ring to help keep the gated cheese in place.
  2. n a medium oven, bake for 3-4 mins until the cheese bubbles.
  3. Place the crisps on a wire rack to cool.
Recipe Notes

Serve with a chilled glass of wine.

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Hot Wine……….A perfect winter warmer

Hot Wine

HOT WINE.

I recommend you try this simple winter drink.  Hot wine is delicious and warming on a winter evening.  It’s a drink I offer anyone that pops in and my kitchen smells of the wonderful warming spices.  As soon as you come in through the front door the aroma makes you think of Christmas!

 

Hot Wine

 

 

 

For Hot Wine you need:

1 bottle red wine

1 sachet wine spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon)

3 tbs brown sugar

2 slices of orange

2 slices of lemon

Heat all the above in a large saucepan.  Bring to a slow boil, simmer for 5 mins.

Serve in heat proof glasses.

It’s that simple and tastes delicious.  I think you will be making more than one batch of this hot wine once your friends have tasted it.  They will definitely want seconds!

 

 

Tomato Tart

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imageAugust 25th…

How lucky we were to have a nice Bank Holiday weekend.  A BBQ on Saturday evening was not the wash-out we had all been dreading.  The sun shone until later than expected and, we all ended up sat around an improvised camp fire.  It was the perfect way to keep any late evening shivers at bay.

When I have visitors I try to be organised.  It doesn’t always go to plan, especially when a little wine tasting is involved.  I do however keep things  simple.  A freshly made Tomato Tart is the perfect quick starter or appetiser.  It can be on your table in 25 minutes straight from the oven or, prepare it in advance and serve when you fancy it.

Hot or cold it is delicious and tastes of sunshine!

You will need:

1 x sheet puff pastry

3-4 fresh tomatoes

1-2 cloves garlic crushed

large bunch fresh basil leaves chopped

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Roll out puff pastry and place it on baking paper and a baking tray. Mark the pastry with a knife line, 1cm in from the edges all the way around.  Do not cut right through the pastry, it just needs an indent.  The helps the edge to puff up and gives the tart a nice finish.

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Mix the crushed garlic and chopped basil leaves with a little oil.  Spread this mixture over the pastry, keeping inside the knife line.  Slice the tomatoes and arrange neatly on top of the basil.  Season the top with a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

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Bake for 20 mins, med oven 170-180C until golden brown with crisp puff pastry edges.

I like to serve this tart on a board, so guests can help themselves.

 

 

 

PESTO or PISTOU……..both delicious!

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August 8th……

 

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Even I have days when I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal.  Today is one of those days.  There are also days when you don’t know what you really want to eat.  Today is exactly like that.   When I want to cook something quickly pasta always springs to mind and, that’s what happened today.  Something with pasta?

With loads of basil growing in the greenhouse and it needed using, I thought I’d make fresh pesto.  Quick, fresh and tasty for supper.

I knew I had olive oil, Parmesan and pine nuts to make the pesto.  I tend to use brown pasta at home as it’s the healthy option. Before I get cooking, I like to have everything to hand.  Frustratingly, I couldn’t find the pine nuts, I knew I’d bought some, I just couldn’t find them. I emptied cupboards, storage boxes, drawers and shopping bags……no where to be found!

Ok, no problem.  Change to plan ‘B’…… Pistou instead of Pesto.  Pistou is still a great tasting sauce for pasta, it’s the French version, leaving out the Parmesan and pine nuts.

I don’t  know about you but, at the end of the day, especially a Friday and when I’m cooking, I enjoy a glass of wine.  That said, I grabbed a glass went to the fridge to get the chilling wine.  There they were, the pine nuts!! In the fridge, don’t ask me why and it doesn’t matter why.  I really did think I was going bonkers……. I was smiling to myself, thinking in a ‘hello, hello’ frenchy accent, ‘you stupid women, why did you put those in the fridge’!  And poured myself a large white wine!

I returned to plan ‘A’… Pesto, with brown spaghetti.

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PESTO; for 2-4 pasta portions

Large bunch fresh basil

1 clove garlic

30g pine nuts

30g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

All the above need to be blended, either with a pestle and mortar or in a mini blender.  Leave the grated cheese out, add this in at the end and stir it in.  Season with a little salt and pepper. If it’s a bit thick, just add a little water to loosen it.

Cook your pasta, take the hot pasta to the sauce and mix in a large bowl while it is still warm.  Finish with a little more Parmesan and black pepper.

 

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Pesto will keep in a jar in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Keep the top of the sauce covered with some olive oil.

PISTOU;

The French version is very similar, without pine nuts and Parmesan.  It’s a very Provençal sauce from the south of France.  Served with grilled meats and fish.  They also add it to soups to add another layer of flavour.  There are many different versions using different herbs and fresh lemon zest or juice.

I think this is one of those sauces you can easily experiment with and, make it your own.  Use any herbs or rocket, watercress any aromatic herbs you have growing in your garden or use what’s in your fridge.

If you want to dish up a quick tasty supper with no fuss, this is it!  The fresh flavour is a party  in your mouth.

 

 

Bruschetta – summer deliciousness!

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July 31st…..

Bruschetta, a delicious summer lunch or starter.

Don’t waste your leftover bread!  Toast it, then rib it lightly with a little garlic.  Chop fresh tomatoes and  fresh basil leaves, mix them together in a bowl.  Add a little salt and pepper and some olive oil.

spoon over the toasted bread.  Finish with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

Deliciousness for a light lunch!

 

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Quick no fuss …..’BIRTHDAY’ cake

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July 28th,

You may have noticed it’s been a little quiet on my blog for a couple of weeks.

No I’m not away on holiday, although to be honest, most days feel like a holiday. I have however, had some problems with my computer! And, even now they are not resolved.  With some help from my computer guru, I can still post without my well worn computer for the time being.

Today is a good day to write on my blog.  I wanted to send Birthday wishes to my good friend Juli, who I know is having a wonderful birthday in Italy.

I also want to say a massive ‘Happy Birthday’ to our neighbour Bernard, 80 today!

Bernard is amazing, I call him Peter Pan due to his youthful looks and his activity levels.  He rides his bike several miles most days, he dances 3 times a week and is always helping others with their gardens.  Bernard is our mole catcher, if he didn’t keep them under control we would be over run with them.  He has told us that he never married, doesn’t have children and his sister is in a home and doesn’t know him anymore.

We couldn’t let his 80 birthday pass without a small celebration.  We invited him to come to us for cake and fizz.  Along with his other neighbours, they’ve know each other since they were at school in 1940s, we organised a small English style tea party.

I can’t wait to see Bernard’s face when we serve up his English style birthday cake.

 

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This is my recipe for a quick no fuss Victoria Sponge cake:-

4 large eggs

220g SR flour

220g caster sugar

220g soft butter

1 tsp baking power

1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients.  Beat everything together with a hand mixer, until you have a smooth, dropping  mixture. This takes 2-3 mins.  Divide the mixture between 2 x 8inch cake tins, lined and greased.

Bake in a med oven 180C/170C fan.  For 20-25 mins. Press the top of the sponge  lightly with your finger, if it springs back and is golden in colour, it is cooked.

 

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Cool completely on a wire rack.  Fill with jam or fruit and a butter cream or fresh cream.

Finish with a sprinkle of caster or icing sugar and, enjoy this lovely light cake with a nice cup of tea or a chilled glass of fizz!

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