In My Kitchen


Monday, 12 October 2015

In my kitchen last week.
There was green food, and red food but it seems that the food I chose to photograph was the orange and yellow food.

A particularly delicious coleslaw heavy on the carrot, light on the cabbage, with chopped apples, red onion and toasted sunflower seeds. The dressing was mayonnaise, cider vinegar, whole grain mustard and a bit of honey. Lots of black pepper and some salt. It made very good sandwiches with an equal quantity of grated cheese.

Potato, butternut squash, chorizo, onions and eggs all baked in the oven. The eggs are added at the last minute although I always manage to overcook them.

Enormous cheese scones to eat with soup.

Everyone's favourite -roast chicken and roast potatoes. The leftovers will be made into some sort of stew for supper tonight and the carcass will be made into stock, or 'bone broth' as I believe it is called  these days. I left some of the fat in the roasting tin to make the gravy but the rest I poured into a little dish and put it in the fridge where it will keep for several weeks if not longer. It will make fabulous fried potatoes.

An almond version of the cheap and cheerful cake on my previous post. I replaced the cocoa with flour, and the vanilla with almond extract and sprinkled the top of the cake with flaked almonds before baking. Very good.

Cheap and Cheerful Cake


Monday, 5 October 2015

My new favourite cake recipe happens to be one of the cheapest I've ever made. It also happens to be accidently vegan. No eggs, no butter, no milk. How I wish I'd known about it when Katie was little and couldn't tolerate eggs, it would have made the perfect birthday cake. It's an old American recipe dating from the depression era. Sometimes called wacky cake or crazy cake, or just depression cake. I promise it isn't depressing at all, it's very, very cheerful. It's a piece of cake to make as well.

Many versions of this cake instruct you to mix all the ingredients directly in the cake tin. I found it easier to mix them together in a roomy bowl rather than trying not to splash cake batter over the sides of the tin. Also if you stir in the tin you disturb the layer of butter or oil you have used to grease it.

The original recipe is measured in American cups. I like my American cup measures but I've weighed the ingredients for you in both imperial and metric.

Cheap and Cheerful Cake

Makes about 16 pieces depending how big you cut them.

Grease an 8'' (20cm) square or a 9''(22cm) square cake tin with butter, marge or oil.
Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c fan oven)

Mix together in a bowl

1½ cups/9oz/250g plain flour
1 cup/9oz/250g granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ cup/ 1oz/30g/4 tablespoons cocoa powder 


1 cup/8fl oz/240ml water
⅓ cup/3fl oz/90ml/ 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of vinegar (any will do)

Mix well and pour into the prepared tin.
Bake for 30-35 mins. 
Leave to cool before turning out. Ice if liked once it is completely cool.

Wet ingredients ready to be mixed with dry ingredients

The batter is quite runny

After baking

This cake is incredibly moist and is delicious without any icing, but I like to smother it with buttercream. Of course this makes it not vegan but you could ice it with a simple water icing made with icing sugar and water, or you could make a chocolate icing using dairy-free chocolate.

Liberally iced with buttercream made with 3oz of butter, 6oz of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and a dash of vanilla extract


To make a plain cake omit the cocoa powder but increase the amount of flour by ¼cup/1oz/30g

Add chopped nuts or a handful of desiccated coconut. Glacé cherries, chocolate chips or dried fruit are other possibilities. Instant espresso powder added to the batter and the icing makes a lovely coffee cake.

The Missing Months


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Thank you Lucille, why didn't I think of recap samplers?

The following six samplers are made using my instagram photos because I stopped using my big camera while I was away. I only post photos I have taken with my phone on instagram - I think using a dslr is missing the point of instagram. So, apologies if you have already seen these images. By the way it is really easy to upload your instagram pictures onto your computer, I used Instaport.







To make my samplers/collages/mosaics -whatever you like to call them, I use PicMonkey which is a free photo-editing site which you can use straight away without having to create an account. I also use PicMonkey to edit my photos before posting them on the blog. By edit I mean I click auto adjust, crop if necessary, resize and occasionally lighten a bit.

How to make a photo collage using PicMonkey

1) Select the collage option at the top of the page which takes you to your photo files and from there  select the photos (click on the photo then click 'open') you want to use in your collage. 

2) When you have enough photos go to the little layout icon on the far left of the page, it's underneath the images icon (the one that looks like mountains). Select the 'square deal' option and click on the one you want, I use the 3x3 one. This layout will appear on the middle of your screen. 

3) Click on the images icon again to get back to your photo selection and then simply drag your pictures to the squares you want them to go in. Sometimes extra squares will appear but you can easily dismiss these by hitting the cross in their top right hand corners. You can move the pictures around as much as you want. 

4) When you are happy with your creation click save at the top of the page and follow the instructions to save it to your computer.

I hope that makes sense and of use to someone. There are other photo editing sites worth having a look at. Big Huge Labs is one which I have used in the past but PicMonkey is my favourite..

Another fun thing you can do with your instagram pictures is to get them printed. Photobox is really easy to use, you don't even have to upload your pictures to your computer, just hit the instagram icon and there they all are. These 5''x 5'' prints cost 20p each. No idea what I shall do with them yet but I'm very pleased with them.

Just Now I Am......


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Picking a few of my quinces. I shall bake them this weekend with lots of sugar and serve them with thick cream.

Getting used to cooking for four again now that George is back at university.

Enjoying the rugby world cup, The Pickwick Papers, and the lovely sunny weather we have been having lately.

Knitting a green shawl.

Having fun making a photo sampler for September. Regretting not making them from March to August.

Very glad to be blogging again. Hoping my enthusiasm doesn't wane.

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