Friday, 25 September 2009

Another Cake

This recipe is for Sticky Marmalade Cake, a cake that I make regularly and it is so easy.


225g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
175g butter or margarine
3 eggs
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp mixed spice
1/3 jar orange marmalade
1tsp baking powder

Firstly heat the oven gas 4 / 350 F / 180 C then line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

Next put all of the other ingredients (except 1 dessert spoon of the marmalade) into a bowl and mix together, this is easier with an electric whisk.

Once mixed, pour into your lined loaf tin and put in the oven for about 1 hour. Once cooked, cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled then put the reserved marmalade into a small saucepan and heat gently until syrupy then brush the marmalade over the top of the cake to make a sticky topping. Lovely with a cup of tea.

Butternut Squash Cake !

How yummy is this cake, I made it a few days ago and it lasted just that day, even Sammie who is a fussy 14 year old loved it !!

So, this is how I made it ;


300g self-raising sugar
300g light muscovado sugar
3tsp mixed spice
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g sultanas or mixed fruit if you prefer
1/2tsp salt
4 eggs
200g butter, melted
zest of 1 orange
1tbsp orange juice
500g (peeled weight) butternut squash flesh grated

Firstly heat oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ gas 4. Line a baking tray approx 30 x 20 cm or a small roasting tin, with baking parchment.

Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt into a large bowl and mix together. Beat the eggs into the melted butter and then stir in the orange zest and juice and mix together.

Then add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine and then lastly add the grated squash.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes (but check after about 30 minutes) until golden and springy to touch

This cake cuts into about 12 or 15 pieces.

You could, if you prefer, use pumpkin for this recipe and also you could cover with an orange frosting which is made as follows;

Ingredients for frosting:

200g pack of soft cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange and juice of half

Beat together the cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and 1tsp of the juice until smooth and creamy then put in the fridge until required.

Once the cake is cooked and has cooled for about 5 minutes turn it out onto a cooling rack. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the rest of the orange juice while still warm and then leave to cool completely.

Then, give the frosting a beat to loosen it, and using a pallet knife, spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Yummy.

This cake is nice both with and without the frosting and will keep well in an airtight container for a good few days. Remember though that if you use the frosting, then you will need to keep the cake covered in the fridge and it will keep this way for up to 3 days - if it lasts that long !

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Gone Bananas

I noticed this morning that some of the bananas that I bought last week were still there and not looking their best, so I decided to use them for a very easy loaf / cake.


3oz (85g) butter or margarine
4oz (100g) light brown sugar or regular caster sugar is fine
1 egg
2 large ripe bananas mashed
8oz (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt

First of all, cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg and whisk until incorporated into the mixture. Then add the bananas and whisk again. The mixture will look as though it has curdled, but this is ok.

Then add the flour, salt and spice and fold in until all mixed together.

Line a loaf tin and then pour in the mixture and spread with a spoon.

Put into the oven gas 5 /190C / 375F for about 40 mins.

Enjoy with a cup of tea! Or coffee !

Moussaka !

I decided yesterday that I would make a moussaka. I didn't have any aubergines so I used ............. courgettes instead, well one very large courgette to be precise

Although I had made moussaka before, I had always used pre-mixed spices and herbs, but as I didn't have a pack of these I just threw a few things together and it was delicious, this is what I did;


500g lean lamb mince
1 very large courgette, cut into 1cm slices
1 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed or chopped
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2tsp mixed herbs - I used dried herbs
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 lamb stock cube
and a glug of red wine, about half a glass

Firstly I top and tailed the courgette and sliced it into 1cm thick pieces. Lay the courgette circles on a baking tray (I used 2 trays as there was a lot of courgette) and drizzle with a little olive oil (I used spray oil), season with salt and pepper then place in the oven gas 5/ 190C / 375F for about 20 minutes until soft.

Next I browned the lamb mince in a frying pan, by cooking it over a low heat for about 5 mins. I then drained the mince through a colander to remove the excess fat.

Return the mince to the pan and add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for further 5 minutes or so until the onion is just soft.

I then added all the other ingredients and cooked this uncovered for about 25 minutes until most of the liquid in the pan had gone.

For the White Cheese Sauce;

This is a low fat white sauce.

1 pint milk - I used skimmed
2 tbsp cornflour
1tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper
100g cheese grated - reserving some to sprinkle on the top

First, put most of the milk into a pan and heat gently, reserving about 4 tbsp. Mix the cornflour and mustard powder with the reserved milk until you have a paste. Once the milk is nearly boiling, add the cornflour mix and stir continually until it is incorporated into the milk, then bring the milk to the boil still stirring to avoid any lumps. This needs to be cooked for about 2 mins. After 2 minutes, remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and add about half the grated cheese.

So now is the time to assemble the moussaka, start by lightly greasing the dish, then lay the softened courgette in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Then add the meat mixture and then another layer of courgettes and finally cover with the cheese sauce and sprinkle with the remainder of the grated cheese.

Place in the oven for about 40 mins at gas 5 / 190C / 375F it should be bubbling and golden brown on the top. We had it with salad, yummy.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Courgette Chutney

I was wondering what to do with the remainder of the courgettes, and decided to make some chutney;


1kg (2 1/4lb) Courgettes, chopped
4 large red onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1tbsp ground coriander
2tsp mustard seeds
200g (7oz) sultanas
350g (12oz) white granulated sugar
2tsp salt or to taste
500ml (16floz) white wine vinegar
1 level tbsp ground ginger
2tsp chilli flakes

Put all the ingredients except the sugar into a pan and heat gently to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the veg is soft.

Then, add the sugar and stir gently over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has gone. The courgette should still be quite chunky.

Pot into jars and seal.

Although we tried this chutney on Sunday and it was very nice, I believe it would be much better once matured, so I will try it again in 2-3 weeks. I will let you know how it tastes then.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Courgette again

Well I have lots of courgettes and I was looking through a Rosemary Conley cookbook and found a recipe for Courgette and Basil Soup, so thought I would share it with you;


2lb courgettes
2 medium onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 pint of vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 pint skimmed milk
salt and pepper
approx 20 fresh basil leaves

So, first of all top and tail the courgettes and roughly chop. Place them into a large pan with the other ingredients, except the milk and basil. Bring the pan to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 - 20 mins until the veg is soft.

Allow the soup to cool slightly and then liquidise in batches until smooth, adding a little milk and a few basil leaves to each batch

Return the soup to the pan and season to taste.

You can adjust the consistency of this soup by adding more or less milk, depending on how thick you like it.

You could of course add any veg that you like to the soup, not just courgettes.

This soup also freezes well so is a good way of preserving your courgettes to enjoy in the winter months.


Hubby went to the allotment yesterday to water the plants and came home with a bag of courgettes from another plot holder who had too many so this is what I made today;

Courgette, bacon and cheese muffins


8oz self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt (I used just a small pinch as the bacon is quite salty)
freshly ground pepper - to taste
1tsp mustard - I used powder
2oz soft butter or margarine
2 courgettes, around 6 inch long, grated
6 rashers of bacon, finely chopped
3oz cheese - whichever you prefer
2 medium eggs
6floz milk

Firstly, sieve the dry ingredients together into a bowl and then add the butter. Rub the butter into the flour until you have fine breadcrumbs. Then add the courgettes, bacon and cheese.

Secondly, lightly beat the milk and eggs together before adding to the dry ingredients and mixing gently until all the ingredients are mixed together.

Next, spoon the mixture into muffin tins and put into the oven and bake at Gas 6 /200F / 400F until light brown - approx 25 minutes.

These are really tasty, but I think that next time I make them, I will add some herbs and spices, maybe some cayenne pepper or paprika would be nice.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

What about Beetroot !

Decided I am fed up with plums for now, although I still have a lot to use..... more on this later.

So, a few weeks ago I made some beetroot chutney. I opened a jar today and it is lovely, so thought I would share the recipe with you;


1kg uncooked beetroot
500g onions
750g cooking apples
500g seedless raisins
3tbsp ground ginger
1kg granulated sugar
1l malt vinegar

So, firstly you need to peel the beetroot - messy I know - then you need to grate it - even messier. I found it easier to use my food processor to grate the beetroot, but you can do it by hand. Peel and chop the onions and apples.

Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil slowly, then simmer until thick. Put in jars and seal. I found that it took a few hours to become thick. This recipe makes about 2kg of chutney.

Bit of an experiment

I still have a load of plums and again I made some jam, but just to make it a bit more interesting, I added a chili to the mix !

I used a basic jam recipe 3lb fruit and 3lb sugar, but I also added a chilli which I pierced with a knife to release some of the heat. Before the sugar was added I tasted the tart fruit pulp and it was very hot with the heat of the chilli, but once I added the sugar, it seemed to take some of the heat away. I passed the mixture through a sieve to remove the chilli and its seeds after it had been boiled with the fruit. Don't want any nasty surprises!

When I was putting the jam into jars and I tasted it, I noticed there was a little heat from the chilli but not too much, I may leave this jam to mature for a while before using.

Now, what other combination's could I use .........

Monday, 7 September 2009

Plum Cake

This recipe doesn't use many plums, but it is very tasty.


8oz self-raising flour
1tsp ground cinnamon (or you could use mixed spice if you prefer)
3 1/2oz butter or margarine
2oz sultanas
2oz soft brown sugar plus 2tblsp for the topping
2 large eggs
4tblsp golden syrup
8oz plums, stoned and chopped

So, firstly preheat oven to 160C/325F /Gas 3. Then grease and line an 8 inch square cake tin.

Rub the butter and the flour together with half the cinnamon until you have a fine breadcrumb mixture. Add the sultanas and sugar and stir together.

Beat the eggs and golden syrup together in a separate bowl and then add the plums, stir and then add to the flour mixture. Mix together and then transfer to your cake tin.

Mix the 2tblsp of reserved sugar with the remaining cinnamon and then sprinkle over the top of the cake mixture.

Place in the centre of the oven for about 40-45 mins. It should be risen and just firm to the touch when cooked.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then cut into squares and enjoy.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Relish the Thought !

So, apart from jam, what else can you make with plums? What about chutney or relish.

Apple, Plum and Onion Relish to be precise. A lovely relish that would go well with cold meats, burgers, sausages or even a nice mature cheese !


5 plump garlic cloves
fresh root ginger about 4 inch piece
2 green chillies
2 1/4 lb cooking apples
1 1/2lb onions
1lb 2oz plums
12fl oz cider vinegar
10oz granulated sugar
1tbsp salt (or to taste)
2tbsp chopped fresh sage

So, firstly using a food processor (if you have one) or pestle and mortar, work the garlic, ginger and chillies into a paste. Once this is done, put all the ingredients except the sage into your pan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Then, over a fairly low heat, simmer the relish for about 40 minutes or until reduced and quite thick. Then stir in the sage and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.

Pot the relish into hot sterilized jars and cover with vinegar proof lids. Store this in a dark cool place. This relish keeps for up to a year!

Friday, 4 September 2009

A lovely mix

When hubby picked some more plums yesterday, he also came home with a bag containing Elderberries, Damsons and Blackberries with a total weight of about 2lb. Not enough of each to really do anything with, so I decided to make some mixed fruit jam.

So having put Ruby to bed I set about washing the fruit ready for the pot. I put the fruit in a large pan with about half a pint of water and simmered for a good half an hour until the fruit was really soft and pulpy. At this point I then strained the fruit through a sieve (I really don't like the pips). Once strained I then added the sugar to the juice, stirring until the sugar had all dissolved. Once dissolved, I then increased the heat until boiling and then boiled for about ten minutes until setting point was reached.

This made 4lb of mixed fruit jam plus one small ramekin for the fridge! Wow! Just had some of the jam on toast, really different , but very nice.

Yummy Jam

Well, here is the first of hopefully many recipes......

Plum and Cinnamon Jam


2kg (4 1/2lb) plums
2kg (4 1/2lb) white granulated sugar
about a level tablespoon of ground cinnamon
3/4 pint of water

Firstly, I stoned and chopped the plums and put them into a large pan with the sugar and water. This was heated gentle over a low heat stirring until the sugar had dissolved (about 10-15 mins) . Once the sugar had dissolved completely, I then increased the heat and boiled rapidly until setting point was reached. I found this took about 30 mins, but do check at regular intervals. I used a cold plate to check for a set. Once a set had been reached, I turned off the heat and stirred in the cinnamon. I then potted into warm steralized jars and labelled once cooled. Enjoy !

Thursday, 3 September 2009