Strawberry Tragedy Cake

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Strawberry Tragedy Cake

Hi everyone,

I made this cake as a way of willing myself out of my feelings of despair on Saturday morning. I was upset because my Dad was back in Hospital having had a minor stroke. My flat mate wanted me to use up some strawberries he had forgotten about and this is what I made. Baking is my therapy.

INGREDIENTS

250g self raising flour

1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

200g punnet of strawberries – half diced, half sliced

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

135ml sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

100g soft brown sugar

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to a mixing bowl, mix together

In another bowl add the eggs and sugar and then whisk to a fine batter

Add the cinnamon and vanilla bean paste, plus the oil and sour cream to the egg/sugar bowl and whisk all together again until combined

Add the wet mix to the dry mix and bring together

Add half the batter to a spring form lined (greased and lined) then add the diced strawberries

Add the other half of the batter, then on top place the sliced strawberries cut side down

Put on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for around 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean

Enjoy!

Apple Flapjacks

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Hi everybody,

I was always a big campaigner for preventing food waste, but it became more important during lock down. So when I saw 4 sad apples in my fridge going a bit soft I knew I had to do something with them.

I also found some nuts in my cupboard expiring soon, so I incorporated them into the mix.

INGREDIENTS

4 apples, diced

45ml golden syrup

300g oats

100g walnuts, ground

100g sugar – optional

Small amount of water and butter

METHOD

Place the diced apple in a pan and cook with the golden syrup and water and butter over a medium heat until soft.

Place the walnuts in a food processor and grind

Add the walnut grounds and oats to a bowl

Add the sugar to the walnut/oat mix if using

Place the soft apple mix into the food processor and mix to a puree

Add to the oat/walnut mix and combine all together

Press into a greased square baking tin

Cook at 180 degrees for 20 minutes

Enjoy!

Banana Loaf Cake

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Banana Loaf Cake

Hi everybody,

I’ve finally given in to the call of lock down bingo and made banana bread.

I have jazzed mine up slightly, to make use of things expiring in my cupboards. This is always the way, I usually end up creating a recipe to make use of things I have in stock.

INGREDIENTS

225g self-raising flour

60g soft brown sugar

75ml rapeseed/vegetable oil

3 squishy bananas

50g coconut, ground

75g dates, chopped

A splash of water

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. mixed spice

2 tsp. baking powder

 

METHOD

Mix the dry ingredients – flour, spices, coconut, and baking powder – in a bowl.

Add the chopped dates to a pan with some water and heat up until it forms a paste.

Mash the bananas together, then add to the dates and add the oil.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.

Add to a lined and/or greased loaf tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool (if you can contain yourself) then eat!

 

Flo’s Nostalgia Jam Tarts

Hi everybody,

Lock down has made me appreciate a more frugal and old style way of life. I have been thinking about my grandparent’s generation a lot, they knew how to survive things. My last living grandparent is in his 90s. His kitchen is filled with old coffee jars that are used to store things like biscuits. He has a small larder which as a girl I thought was cool and as an adult I am deeply envious of.

I too reuse old coffee jars to store things. I currently have nuts, dried fruit, sugar and rice in old Kenco and Douwe Egberts jars. I find them delightful to look at and they always make me think of my Grandpa when I see them.

I first cooked with my Grandma. That’s not to say no other grandparent or parent played a part in my culinary journey, because they all did, but my earliest cooking related memory is making jam tarts with my Grandma.

This particular set of grandparents lived next door to me growing up. Now it is my Dad and Step Mum who live in my childhood home and my Grandpa is still next door. That reassures me during this time.

Since lock down started I have been craving making jam tarts. And to be clear, although I do like jam tarts from a taste point of view, my craving was to make them and remember my Grandma and my first cooking experiences.

This isn’t really a recipe, most people could make this and probably many people have a much more sophisticated recipe than me. But just in case you don’t here is mine.

INGREDIENTS

2 ‘Parts’ Plain Flour

1 ‘Part’ Butter

Jam

Flour for dusting

Butter for greasing

1 – 2 x Muffin Trays

Large circular cookie cutter

Iced/cold water

METHOD

So why parts? It is simply because you can scale up or down this recipe according to your needs. I used 130g Butter and 260g Plain Flour. This made about 17 jam tarts, though the 17th was a bit ‘rustic’ and cobbled together from scraps. If you want fewer jam tarts than half the recipe, if you want twice as many scale it up.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4

Mix the butter and flour together till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add a tablespoon of cold water one at a time, mixing the breadcrumbs together each time. It is very easy to make the dough far too wet. About 5 tablespoons was all it took to bind my dough together.

Knead the dough, then roll out. If you don’t have a rolling pin, and I didn’t for ages, then use a wine bottle.

Cut out circles using the cookie cutter then line them in the greased muffin tray.

Place one heaped teaspoon of jam in each centre. You don’t need much.

Bake in the oven for around about 12-20 minutes until golden brown. Keep checking.

LEAVE TO COOL FIRST BEFORE EATING! – Hot jam is like lava in your mouth. Don’t do it.

 

 

Lemon, Blueberry and White Chocolate Tray Bake

Hi everybody,

I was really craving baking today. I hadn’t baked anything for a while but it is World Baking Day today so I felt I had to.

I once made a lemon and blueberry flapjack thing years ago and I hadn’t quite perfected the cooking style as it had a total soggy bottom, Mary Berry would put me in the kitchen corner of shame for sure. But, despite the soggy bottom, the flavours were divine.

So because I had some sad looking lemons, frozen blueberries and white chocolate chips I decided to make this today.

My white chocolate chips were mixed in a general jar with dark and milk chocolate chips, so I painstakingly picked out all the white ones. Note for future – don’t mix. I would say use fresh blueberries for this recipe. Using frozen will give you a definite soggy bottom, and no one wants to piss off Mary Berry.

INGREDIENTS

100G white chocolate (chips or a bar broken into pieces)

Grated zest of 2 lemons

200g blueberries

200g plain flour

1.5 tea spoons of baking powder

250g butter

200g sugar

3 eggs, beaten

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4

Grease a baking tin

Cream the butter and sugar together

Add the beaten eggs and combine

Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mix

Add the lemon zest, blueberries and white chocolate

Mix all together then spoon into the greased tray

Cook for about 45 minutes on a medium shelf, or until a skewer comes out clean from the cake

Enjoy!

Bonus tip – if you have no other use for the lemons then cut them into slices and freeze them. When you next have a nice beverage like a Gin and Tonic add a frozen slice as a nice alternative to an ice cube.

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Substitute Vegan Scones

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Hi everybody,

VE Day was a bank holiday in the UK and felt like the perfect day to make scones.

Well, it would have been, but I actually made them yesterday instead.

Oh well.

I call these the substitute scones because I didn’t have any self-raising flour, so I adapted my plain flour for this. The way you do that is by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 150g of plain flour. I used 350g of plain flour so I added 4.25 teaspoons of baking powder to it.

You add the plain flour and baking powder together and then sieve them together so they are all nice and mixed.

I also made a version of vegan clotted cream that wasn’t exactly the same as regular clotted cream, but did a nice job of trying.

INGREDIENTS

350g plain flour and 4.25 teaspoons of baking powder (or 350g of self-raising flour)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g vitalite or other vegan butter/margarine

175ml oat milk

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Squeeze lemon juice

Optional – 3 table spoons of caster sugar

CLOTTED CREAM (not my recipe)

4-6 tablespoons of coconut cream (you can make this by placing a tin of coconut milk in the fridge for a couple of hours and just skim off the top once you open it), plus 50g vitalite and 75g icing sugar, all whisked together.

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7/220 degrees/200 degrees fan assisted oven

Add the prepped plain flour and baking powder together and sieve into a bowl adding the salt and extra baking powder (or self-raising if you are using).

Add the sugar if using.

Gently heat up the milk so that it is warm but not boiling, add the vanilla and the lemon juice and set aside.

Place two baking trays in the oven to warm up.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough and cut out 10 scones (more or less depending on size you want) with a round cutter.

Add to the baking tray, glaze with a little extra oat milk and cook for 10 minutes.

Prep the clotted cream as instructed above and serve the scones with that and jam.

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2 Ingredient Pizza Dough

Hi everybody,

I’ve recently joined a bunch of Facebook groups such as ‘Feed yourself for £1 a day’ and ‘Scrimping on a budget’ and I had heard about a great 2 ingredient pizza dough that was just flour and yogurt and I thought to myself that that was something I would really like to try. I’m really trying to get more into cooking during lock down, it’s not like I’m going anywhere.

Here we go

Serves 1 greedy person (me!) or 2 smaller stomachs

INGREDIENTS

2 ‘parts’ Self Raising Flour

1 ‘part’ Yogurt

So, I used cups to do the measurements and sometimes cups are really useful as measurements, but the trouble is they translate differently between wet and dry ingredients, so if you don’t have cups I would suggest trying about 120g self-raising flour and 60ml yogurt. I used soya yogurt for this recipe so don’t worry if you’re vegan and are worried it might not work because it does.

METHOD

Roll it out to desired shape. It’s a bit crumbly so I would suggest doing this on a piece of baking paper and that way you can just lift it on the baking tray.

Add your desired toppings. I had cheese, olives, anchovies, onion. Turns out I didn’t have any tomato puree so I just used a mix of ketchup and sriracha sauce. Wasn’t bad.

 

 

Store Cupboard Mango and Coconut Sponge

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As you may have gathered by now I care little for the rules given to me by a Best Before Date on a tin/jar/packet. Use by dates are different as they shouldn’t be ignored, especially in the case of meat and fish, though I have been known on some occasions to eat a vegetarian ready meal after its use by date, but do as I say not as I do! Best Before Dates are a case of using your judgment, does it smell or taste funny? Don’t use it if so, but usually a Best Before Date just means that the quality might be a little off, though tinned products rarely have this trouble. I’ve been known to use tins a year past their BBE date.

So all Best Before Dates do is prompt me into using the packets up first, so the tin of Mango in syrup in the cupboard was making me feel rather guilty. I had a think about what Mango goes with and inevitably ended up thinking about cocktails, and I had some coconut flakes in the cupboard that had also passed their BBE date, so that’s how this cake came about!

When I made this cake I used coconut flakes that I grounded up in my food processor to use, and you could do the same.

I made this cake when it was hard to get eggs due to Covid-19, so I made it vegan, but feel free to replace the oil with about 3 eggs.

Serves 8 ravenous people or 16 peckish people

INGREDIENTS

175g Vitalite Spread

175 Caster Sugar

150g Coconut Oil

325g Self-raising Flour

50g Desiccated Coconut

1 x 400g Tin of Mango Slices in Syrup

Optional – icing sugar and the syrup from the Mango

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4

Place the coconut oil in a pan and melt over a low heat, put to one side

Cream the vitalite and caster sugar together, then drain the mango tin (keeping the syrup in a bowl) and add the mango to the vitalite/sugar mix and mash together. It will looks lumpy and a little curdled, don’t worry about it.

In another bowl measure out the coconut and flour, then add to the sugar/vitalite/mango mix, then add the coconut oil

Combine well, add a little more flour if needed but it should be a wet and sticky mix

Add to a greased/lined square tin and cook for about 40 minutes, checking after 25 minutes with a skewer until it comes out clean

Optional extra – once the cake is completely cool mix the mango syrup with icing sugar (about 150g icing sugar and half the syrup or to your own desired consistency) and drizzle over the top. This will make the cake ridiculously decadent and sweet and I believe it adds something but you may prefer it without.

 

 

Chocolate Avocado and Lime Cake

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Store-cupboard Chocolate Orange Cake’ as it works on the same premise of using a jar of lime marmalade to get the bulk of the flavor. This version of the cake is not vegan, but it could easily be adapted to be vegan by replacing the egg with a flax egg, aquafaba, or some other egg substitute.

If you want to be playful with the truth, you could say this cake is almost healthy as it contains good fats from the avocado, and if you use strong dark chocolate you will get lots of nice antioxidants.

This cake came about from wondering how I could use up some leftover frozen avocado and what flavours go well with it, and then thinking about lime, and then wondering if I could throw chocolate into the mix. This is one of my favourite cakes.

INGREDIENTS

125g Avocado – either frozen defrosted or the fresh equivalent

100g Dark Chocolate – I used 85% cocoa

300g Lime Marmalade/Conserve – if all you can find is a lemon/lime mix this is fine to use and usually cheaper

150g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs, beaten

150g Self Raising Flour

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4

Cook the avocado over a low heat in a pan until soft, then add the dark chocolate and mix until melted together

Add the lime marmalade to the pan and mix until you have a sticky mess, take off the heat

In a bowl add the flour, sugar and salt, then add the egg, mix

Add the pan mix to the bowl mix and combine together

Place the mix in a greased/lined 20cm springform tin and cook for around 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out from the cake clean, this cake always seems to take longer than I expect in the oven so don’t be alarmed if it takes up to 75 mins

Cool on a rack, and then enjoy!

How to make oat milk, plus 2 uses for the leftovers

Hi everybody,

I recently had a go at making my own oat milk due to having a case of it on order and not wanting to spend any more money than I had to at the shops. I thought to myself ‘How hard can it be?’ as I heard lots of people online say it was just 2 ingredients.

It is very simple. The hardest part was setting up the sieve/muslin cloth on a jug so I could leave it.

Even though it’s only 2 ingredients I do feel it’s best to make with a lot of kitchen equipment. I used a blender, a muslin cloth, a jug, a sieve (or funnel) but I have heard lots of people say they just use a bowl and a spoon to release the ‘milk’ from the oats.

If like me you’re used to a particular barista brand of oat milk then this won’t be quite the same, but it’s good to know if you are in an oat milk pickle you can rustle up something to keep your coffee tasting nice.

OAT MILK

INGREDIENTS

200g Oats

800ml Water

This makes about 400ml of oat milk. For this I used a 17p 2 litre bottle of filtered water from my local Tesco as I thought that would make it nicer, but tap water is fine. You don’t have to use these exact measurements, you can scale up or down but the key is to keep it one part oats to four parts water.

METHOD

Add the water and oats into a blender jug and then blend for a good minute or two.

Set up a sieve and muslin cloth over a jug and pour the blender contents over, being careful not to spill or upset the sieve like I did on my first attempt. Whoops!

Leave it. You may have to come and poke it occasionally to get all the milk out but that’s about the hardest work you’ll have to do.

You will now have delicious oat milk!

But wait, that’s not all.

I’m a passionate believer in reducing food waste, and the oat pulp is not to be wasted.

Here are two things you can do with it.

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CAKE!

I made this cake with all of the oat milk pulp, about 60g of sultanas, 50g sugar, 150g self-raising flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger and a bit of vitalite greasing the cake tin. This is just one idea, you could make flapjacks from the pulp, or any other cake treat.

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OVERNIGHT OATS!

The leftover milk pulp was placed in a jug, then I added 240g frozen cherries, 90g vegan chocolate protein powder and about 150ml almond milk and mixed it all together. I divided it into three containers and that’s been my breakfast this week, this dish also contains one of your five a day!

In this time of food shortages in the supermarkets and the need to avoid leaving the house too often these are little hacks to save some pennies and spend more time indoors doing nice things for all the family like baking and cooking.

Do you have any other suggestions for oat milk pulp?