Apple Cake

So I went apple picking at a friends house last week. She has a huge apple tree, which always produces several million apples, and she doesn’t mind me helping myself to 4 bags of them. Yippee!

My main mission with these apples is to make apple chilli jelly. I made this last year and it was a big hit, so am making more this year. However, that still leaves me about 3 bags of apples.

I found a great apple cake recipe on the bbc good food website (here) and thought i’d try it.

It was very easy to make, cooked well, and most importantly, after the first tasting, the husband and myself gave it the thumbs up!

I’ve had a fab couple of days at home, baking (buns, cakes, pies) and really would rather not be going back to work tomorrow!!

apple cake

cake slice

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm  Comments (1)  

Pear and Vanilla Jam

The other preserving I did with my mothers pears was a lovely pear and vanilla jam. I was a bit dubious about this at first, but having tried it the other day, it is gorgeous.

As an aside to this, I am really impressed with my phone. I take pics with it, then upload them directly to a Picasa album. When i view the pics in Picasa, online, at the right hand side is a little google map, showing me where the pic was taken. I’m impressed that when I upload a pic, it uploads that info as well!

Pear and Vanilla jam

1kg pears, peeled cored and cut into chunky slices

juice of 2 lemons

750g sugar

1 vanilla pod

Put the pears in the jam pan, with the lemon juice, sugar and 200ml water.

Slice the vanilla pod in half lengthways and add to the pan.

Leave all this overnight.

The following day, stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and boil rapidly until the pears are translucent, and it reaches setting point.

Remove the vanilla pod, leave to settle for 10 mins, the pour into sterilised jars.

I used half normal sugar and half preserving sugar.

Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

pickled pears

On a recent trip down to my mothers, she gave us a carrier bag full of pears. I had intended to make pear chutney with them, but a free leaflet I had gave a couple of fab looking recipes, one for pickled pears, and one for pear and vanilla jam.

the leaflet came with the November 2009n issue of cook veg magazine.

The jam is delicious – a pale toffee colour, with flecks of vanilla beans through it.

the pickled pears are even better. The syrup is ever so slightly spicy, with overtones of the star anise, and allspice.

pickled pears

The recipe:

500ml cider vinegar

600g sugar

juice and rind from 1 lemon. I used a peeler to peel the lemon, and thinly slice the rind

5 whole allspice berries

2 star anise

2 dried red chillies

6 black peppercorns

1.5kg pears.

pop everything except the pears into a jam pan, over a low heat to dissolve the sugar

peel, core and quater the pears and add them to the pan, to poach in the syup.

simmer gently for about 30 mins or until the pears are softened  and tender. lift the pears out with a slotted spoon and pop into sterilised jars.

boil the syrup until it has reduced by half, then pour over the pears. Seal and leave to cool.

the recipe suggests using the pears with cold meat and cheese, and the leftover syrup as a dressing for a goats cheese salad!

pics to be added asap….

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Easter goodies

With Easter fast approaching I thought it was time to make some Easter goodies. That and the fact that I was in need of an evenings comfort baking! I made banana cake,  and some Easter nests.

The banana cake is an unusual banana cake recipe. It’s a definite cake as opposed to a banana bread. It’s a bit sweeter than the usual breads, and moist and spongy.  It has 6 bananas in it, and cuts into 24 pieces. By my calulations that means that if you eat 4 pieces of my banana cake, then you’ve eaten a whole banana which counts as one of your 5-a-day!  I love making healthy cake!  The recipe is American, and so in cups which makes in really easy to measure everything out.




1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

6 bananas, mashed (or about 1 1/2 cups mashed nana)

1 1/2 cups SR flour

line a traybake tin. preheat the oven to 175c

beat the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and baking soda.

Beat in the eggs, then the bananas. fold in the flour.

pour the batter into the tin and bake for 35-45 mins or until the cake is cooked. Turn out and leave to cool, then top with icing sugar and cut into 24 squares.

banana cake



My easter nests were also healthy. I made them with crushed shredded wheat, to make the nests more realistic. And as everyone knows, shredded wheat is made with 100% wholewheat, which is good for your heart! (never mind the chocolate, butter and syrup wihich goes with it)


Chocolate Easter nests:

300g dark chocolate

4tblsp golden syrup

5zo butter

shredded wheat

Melt the chocolate, either slowly in the microwave, or in a bain marie.  Add in the butter and syrup and melt them too.

when everything is melted, mix in crushed shredded wheat and mix until the chocolate covers the shredded wheat, but there isn’t loads of excess chocolate. Pop into muffin cases, and mould into nests.

Pop 3 mini eggs into each nests, and leave to cool and set.

easter nests

Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 2:15 pm  Comments (3)  

Valentine Lasagne

Valentine’s day, rather luckily, fell on a Saturday this year. This of course means the husband cooks dinner. I fancied a good lasagne, as vege lasagnes are in the main, quite disappointing in my experiece (maybe i’m just adept at choosing bad recipes!) There was a tasty, easy looking lasagne in the March edition of the new Cook Vegetarian magazine, so he decided to have a bash at it.

After informing me that he’s never really been fond of ‘skin and mince’ as he calls it, he set about his task. This was a foolproof recipe for mushroom and spinach lasagne, that tastes every bit as good as it looks. I only wish you could smell it.


2tbsp olive oil

180g pack spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves, chopped

250 mushrooms, sliced

400g can chopped tomatoes with basil

fresh lasagne sheets

400ml creme fraiche

100g mature cheddar

1/2 tsp nutmeg

heat the oven to 200c

fry the spinach and half the garlic in 1tbsp oil, until the leaves have wilted. remove from the heat, season, and set aside

in the remaining oil, fry the mushrooms until browned. stir in the remaining garlic.

Mix in the tomatoes, bring to the boil, and simmer for a couple of minutes. remove from the heat.

season the creme fraiche with nutmeg and ground pepper.

now layer up the lasagne:

put half the mushroom mixture in the bottom of the lasagne dish.

layer of lasagne

a third of the creme fraiche

half the spinach

third of the cheese

layer of lasagne

phalf the mushroom mixture

layer of lasagne

a third of the creme fraiche

half the spinach

third of the cheese

layer of lasagne

third of creme fraiche


popon a baking tray,t hen into the oven for 30 mins, or until the pasta is cooked, and the top is browned.

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 9:06 pm  Comments (2)  

On a roll

I thought it was time the husband tried something a little more ‘involved’ for dinner on Saturday. With that in mind, I suggested he make one of his favourites, and something I do when I remember – a vegetable filo roll. Basically this is roast vegetables, and feta cheese forming a sort of swiss roll with filo pastry. It looks like  masses of work has gone into it, but the hardest part really is rolling it all up, and that’s dead easy.

I dug the recipe out for the husband, then went through the alterations I usually make (this bit winds him up something chronic) then let him set to work. I’d intended taking various pics at stages of the cooking, but took the first one, then forgot until it was served up!

It all went well anyway, the husband was worried by the frailty of the filo, but reassured once he started working with it, and I’d showed him it wasn’t a disaster if one sheet tore, because you use several together, and so on.

When it finally came out of the oven, he looked really pleased with himself, and rightly so. He’d made a delicious meal.


1 courgette

1 red onion

1 sweet potato


2 garlic gloves, finely chopped

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

olive oil







chop all the veg into small pieces, or slices. toss them in a little olive oil, and roast at 170 for about 20-30 mins ro until it’s all cooked.

allow to cool, the drizzle over 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and about 200g crumbled feta cheese.

prepare the filo pastry:

you will need about 8 half sheets, with oil or butter brushed inbtween each layer.

spread the cooked veg over the pastry. Fold the long edges in a couple of cm, to stop the filling falling out.

starting at one short end, roll it up like a swiss roll. Transfer it to a baking tray, ensuring the seam is on the bottom. brush with oil or butter, and pop in the oven to bake and brown.


We had this with a few new potatoes, and a green salad


Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 10:28 am  Comments (2)  

Sausage sandwich

We had a bit of a treat the other week – we went and bought some meat! One of the stalls at the farmers market sells venison, and his meat is lovely. He’s very local – I often see his deer running round the fields just waiting to be turned into bambi-burgers, and I know from past experience that all his products are lovely.

We decided to buy some sausages for a quick dinner one night, and got the venison and mushroom sausages that are my favourites. I like venison sausages because they have almost no fat, no grissly bits, and are very tasty.

The husband was flicking throught the good food website looking for a soup recipe for me, and decided to have a bit of a browse. He came across this very lovely way of doing sausages. I have to say, it’s very probable that now, every time I have sausages, I’ll do them like this.




ciabatta, split and toasted

1 onion, sliced

1 tbsp each of honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard


fry the sausages in a pan until they are cooked. pop them on a plate

fry the onions in the sausage juices, till they are soft and cooked as you like them.

stir in the honey, mustard, and vinegar and warm through

add in the sausages and coat well and warm them through too.

pile the sausages and onion mix into the ciabatta.


Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  

chips and cheese

My colleague at work often get treated to the sights and smells of my leftovers, as I tend to take them in to reheat for my lunch. My work colleagues also laugh at me frequently because I always have pictures of food on my phone (and regularly show them.)

Not very long ago, I forgot to take lunch in to work with me, and was reduced to going to the canteen for something to eat. The only thing that looked edible were the chips. So I got a portion of chips with grated cheese on, and a twix.

The work colleagues were puzzledat the lack of home-cooked food, and quickly suggested that the offending chips were put on the blog for posperity. So here they are. Thanks Anne for taking the pic.


Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Biscuit Cake

I found a leftover Christmas present the other day. The veg man at the farmers market had very generously, and totally unexpectedly given us a tin of Danish biscuits at Christmas.  Although I was touched by the thought, I really don’t like these biscuits, so they’d gone to the back of the cupboard. When I found them again, I felt the time had come to make use of them – the easiest option being a biscuit cake.

These are, of course, the easiest things to make, simply melt chocolate with a little butter and syrup, and mix with crushed biscuits, a handful of raisins, some chopped nuts, whatever floats your boat really!

To get this shape, I tipped a square tin up 45degrees, and lined it with clingfilm, then packed the mix into the corner at the bottom. When it was turned out, the coner became the top etc… Sweet chocolatey and more-ish, it ticked all the boxes, and didn’t last long!


Published in: on February 17, 2009 at 10:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parsnip Soup

I love parsnips, and I adore them roast. I have a sweet tooth, and roasting brings out the sweetness in the parsnips.

This soup was perfect after a long walk with the dog round our local wind farm – there was still snow on the ground and we all had an absolute ball. Of course, when we got home, we’df left it too late to make a loaf of bread to go with the soup, so I just used up an old loaf, and made chunky croutons.


The recipe comes form the New Covent Garden Food Co, and is from their ‘Soup for All Seasons’ book. I didn’t have the maple syrup it suggested, so used honey instead.

2 tbsp oil

4 parsnips, cut into lengths

2 tbsp maple syrup/honey

knob of butter

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tbsp plain flour

1 3/4 pints chicken stock

4 tbsp double cream

Pop the parsnips into a pan of water, and bring them to the boil. THen drain, toss in the olive oil, and roast at 190c for 15 mins.

Add the honey or maple syrup, and roast for a further 15 mins, until sticky and caramalised. Allow to cool

Melt the butter, fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the flour and cook for a further minute

Add the stock and parsnips, and bring to the boil. simmer for 10 mins.

Blend it until smooth, stir in the cream and season to taste.

Published in: on February 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm  Comments (2)