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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My Food Prep for the Next Few Days

Hi everybody,

I’ve been looking through my cupboards and although I’m running low on some things I’ve still got plenty to keep me out of the shops until later this following week.

Things I have in stock

Fresh

Potatoes, Onions, Apples, Bananas, Cucumber, Carrots, Orange Juice, Beetroot Juice

Eggs, Margarine, Dairy Free Milks, Soya Yogurt, Some Cheese

Sauces – Various

Bread – 4 Slices

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Store Cupboard

Plain Flour, Bread Flour, Corn Flour, Fast Action Yeast

Tuna, Mackerel, Sardines

Marmite, Peanut Butter, Jam

Baking Supplies – Various

Coconut Milk, Chickpeas, Baked Bean, Chopped Tomatoes

Teas, Coffees, Hot Chocolates – Various

Sultanas, Cranberries, Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews, Chia Seeds, Dates, Coconut Flakes

Oils – Various

Pasta –Various

Rice, Couscous, Lentils

Spices and Herbs – anything and everything

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Freezer

Vegetarian Products – Mince, Sausages, Burgers, Nuggets, Meatballs

Vegetables – Broccoli, Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Peppers, Peas,

Fruit – Raspberries, Strawberries and Blueberries

Bread – 10 Slices

Alcohol

Lots of Beer, Prosecco, Gin

 

MY FOOD PLAN

My food plan for the next few days won’t be very exciting.

Tonight I’m going to make a veggie burger and have it with potato wedges, onion, sauerkraut and mustard.

Then the next few days will be:

Breakfast

Bran Flakes, Almond Milk and Orange Juice

Lunch

Hummus and Carrots, maybe on toast or in an open sandwich

Dinner

Home Made Fish Cakes with Vegetables

 

I get paid on Wednesday so may look to do a bigger and better food shop by then. I’m really trying to make do with what I have in the house so I spend less time out at the shops.

 

 

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!

Food Prepping for the Week Ahead

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Hi everybody!

I’m still running down my stores at home and I have had a look through my cupboards and by my calculations I can go till Wednesday before needing to do any shopping at all.

Another reason why I am running down my stores is because I’ve noticed my freezer could do with defrosting and now seems as good a time as any to do it.

The UK is under lockdown for another 3 weeks that will take us up to the beginning of May, though I suspect it is likely to be extended again, so I might as well prepare for the worst case scenario.

Here is my rough food plan for the next few days. I’m trying to get my five a day fruit and vegetables and am making my choices around that.

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SATURDAY

Breakfast – Bran Flakes and Almond Milk

Lunch – Egg and Spinach on Toast with Orange Juice

Dinner – Black Bean Veggie Chilli and Rice

Snacks – Oat Milk, Home Made Cherry Frozen Yogurt

SUNDAY

Breakfast – Porridge with Grated Apple and Sultanas

Lunch – Egg and Spinach on Toast with Orange Juice

Dinner – Vegetarian Chicken Satay with Noodles and Vegetables

Snacks – Oat Milk, Home Made Cherry Frozen Yogurt

MONDAY

Breakfast – Porridge with Grated Apple and Sultanas

Lunch – Egg and Spinach on Toast with Orange Juice

Dinner – Vegetarian Chicken Satay with Noodles and Vegetables

Snacks – Oat Milk, Home Made Cherry Frozen Yogurt

TUESDAY

Breakfast – Bran Flakes and Almond Milk

Lunch – Egg and Spinach on Toast with Orange Juice

Dinner – Salmon Piperade

Snacks – Oat Milk, Dried Fruit

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast – Porridge and Fruit

Lunch – Egg and Spinach on Toast with Orange Juice

Dinner – Tuna Pasta Bake

Snacks – Oat Milk

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It is around that point next week that I will need to do another food shop for things like bread, orange juice, milks, fresh fruit and vegetables. My plan is to go to the shops as little as possible and do my bit to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and to prep my freezer for defrosting. And when I do go to the shops it will be with a detailed food plan for the weeks ahead, making use of what I already have in stock to not only save money but to reduce panic buying in the shops.

Apricot, Almond and Pecan Granola (3 Step Granola)

I am ill with a cold, but luckily haven’t had any time off work ill since the end of February. I’ll take small victories where I can.

I generally have stomach issues, colds I get about once a year, so hopefully this is all I will have to put up with in 2018.

I have had trouble sleeping because The Boy has been away on a stag do and as soppy and as silly as it sounds I can’t get to sleep easily without him there. And being ill with a cold always gives me insomnia, so when I woke up at 4:50am this morning I knew attempting to get back to sleep would be futile, so I got up, watched some of the Commonwealth Games, and made Granola.

 

INGREDIENTS

350g Oats

70g Flaked Almonds

70g Pecans, chopped into small pieces

2 tsp Cinnamon

140g Dried Apricots, chopped into small pieces

250ml Honey

60ml Rapeseed Oil

METHOD

Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and then add the honey and oil.

Mix together and spread out across two baking trays as thinly as you can.

Bake in an oven at Gas Mark 4 for about 30 minutes, mixing half way through (I also like to swap the trays around the shelves)

I think this is my best granola recipe yet.

 

Food Shelfie’s: What is revealed when you do a Food Inventory

I always try and do a full food inventory at least once a month, most usually after the online delivery and main shops have been done, but this month I have been slacking.

I get a bit obsessive over it. I have a notebook that is now the household notebook, where anything relevant to the home gets recorded within its pages. I also bring out the electronic kitchen scales and weigh the odd half opened packets so I can get an accurate idea of how much I have left.

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I’m having to do a bit of emergency cupboard re-arranging, as we are entering Winter. My kitchen is an extension tacked onto the house and as a result has 3 external walls. This means in Summer it is sweltering hot and in Winter it is freezing and damp.

Damp is a major issue in our house, one we are having an ongoing argument with our landlord’s over. As a result I have to have interior dehumidifiers in most of the cupboards that contain foods and I’ve had to move certain things out of the cupboards and on to the work surface to prevent mould building up. This week I had to throw away a few things that were no longer usable due to the damp conditions affecting them, and others I had to use up quickly and I know I won’t replace until the next season.

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As I love baking and am also a food hoarder I tend to buy anything and everything on the basis that I might need it one day. This is why I have 6 different dried fruits, 5 different nuts, 2 different types of  seeds and several types of sugar/sugar extracts.

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You may have heard me earlier this year refer to my ‘tin collection’, well the good news is I have mostly got that under control and only have 4 tins each of chopped tomatoes and chickpeas.

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The boy has the top drawer of the freezer, this is the meat drawer (I don’t eat meat).

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I have the next drawer down – the vegetarian food stuffs drawer. I also did it this way as when I was growing up my Dad would arrange our dinner plates in order of descending ages, so I do the same in this house with things.

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The third drawer down is the frozen vegetable drawer, and any miscellaneous items that didn’t fit in the bottom drawer.

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The bottom freezer drawer is the miscellaneous drawer, it currently has 7 slices of bread, 3 salmon fillets, a tiny bit of ice cream and about 9 individually frozen bananas. It is where the odds and sods go.

I do a food inventory each month as it helps remind me of what I actually need, and what I definitely don’t (fruit and nuts by the looks of things). I often try and set myself a challenge of using up a certain amount of things before the next food shop.

My items to use up before the next food shop are the potato waffles, the ice cream, the bananas and the salmon fillets.