July 12, 2021
June 18, 2021
Once I was reminded of it I couldn't wait to make it again myself - I first made it years ago and wrote about it here. It's a delicious cake with a lovely texture, so quick to rustle up but doesn't hang around - it's very moreish (as my mum used to say). Highly recommended.
Well, at long last we will soon be on our way to France! It's been a trial getting organised as you might like to read here and there is still much to do. The blog will be going to sleep for a while and hopefully my next post will be from our house in France!
June 4, 2021
June 3, 2021
I used the same recipe for this cake as for the summer fruit streusal cake which I first made last year. It's one of those endlessly adaptable recipes that never fails to please and comes from the excellent little book "The Weekend Cookbook" by Catherine Hill.
This time I used a few slim stalks of rhubarb from the garden, choosing the reddest ones in preference to the green, and a handful of strawberries. The golden caster sugar gives it a slightly caramel flavour and the demerara sugar topping a bit of crunch. I did wonder about adding a little vanilla extract but it didn't need it. Rhubarb and strawberries go well together and it was a delicious cake with a nice texture.
The crunch was diminished after a couple of days as I stored the cake in the fridge because of the fresh fruit, but it was still good to eat. It really is a lovely cake to have either with a cup of tea, a glass of chilled rosé or served warm with custard for dessert. Highly recommended.
May 3, 2021
Following on from the previous post about soup weather, another soup that I made recently is pea and ham soup.
One of my dad's favourite things to eat is gammon. If we were to take him for a pub lunch he would mostly have gammon with egg and chips. At home we usually have a small smoked gammon joint that you simply bake in the oven, roasted in an old fashioned enamel roaster just like Mum used to use for the Sunday roast every week. (I spotted one of them in a local charity shop in immaculate condition for 75p a while ago and it's been in regular use ever since.)
When the weather turned chilly again we reverted to comfort food and had cauliflower cheese and mash with our gammon joint. There is a generous amount of meat on these joints and the leftovers can be used in a multitude of ways - not least of which sliced, in a excellent ham, cheese and pickle sandwich. The other thing it's good for is soup.
I cut the gammon into thick slices then small dice. Most went into the pot and I reserved a few for garnish when the soup was cooked. The quantity of meat does not need to be precise and you can use more or less any kind of cooked ham.
It was delicious!
About a third (250g) of a small gammon joint, cooked, or a couple of slices of thick ham
350g frozen peas
1 medium potato
1 medium onion
1 vegetable stock pot
Peel and chop the onion and potato. Chop or cut the gammon or ham into small dice.
Tip the peas into the machine, then the chopped potato and onion. Reserve a few bits of meat for garnish if you like, otherwise add all of it to the machine with the stock pot.
Cover with water to the lower line. Season with pepper (ham is quite salty enough) and cook on smooth.
Add a swirl of cream or crème fraîche and a sprinkle of chopped parsley before scattering the reserved chopped ham on top. Otherwise just dig straight in!
Serves 4 generously.
April 30, 2021
In the early part of April the weather was lovely and warm for several days. Lulled into false sense of security we got the bbq out and even had to use the umbrella (the sunshade kind) for a couple of afternoons. I donned t-shirts and cropped linen trousers, stocked the fridge with Italian rosé wine and looked forward to the kind of spring we had last year during the early part of the lockdown.
Then over one weekend winter returned. Cold winds, hail and dull, grey skies. Out came the soup maker again!
Having found that some soups can turn out slightly bland, I've been looking for ways of adding flavour and spotted this product on the supermarket shelves amongst the stock pots and cubes. I decided to give it a try. I expect it's very similar to the Maggi seasoning that you get in France.
This soup is one that was doing the rounds of the soup maker forums and I was dying to have a go. It uses frozen cauliflower cheese. I never knew that such a thing existed! The finished soup was very much like drinking liquid cauliflower cheese, which is hardly surprising! Delicious!
I put the cauliflower straight from the freezer into the machine and used hot water, although some recipes said just use cold water as normal. Most said that either way there was no need to defrost the cauliflower.
1 680g bag frozen cauliflower cheese (mine came from Tesco at £2 a bag)
1 small onion
1 small potato
1 full tsp Knorr liquid seasoning
Peel and chop the onion and potato and add to the machine. Tip the bag of cauliflower on top. Season with salt and pepper (I added my pepper afterwards). Add the liquid seasoning, fill to the top line with hot water and cook on smooth.
Serves 4 generously.
April 14, 2021
It's a lovely, moist cake and less like a full-on fruit cake than many of the internet recipes I found. Date and apple are truly a lovely combination. Great to go with a cup of tea in the afternoon or, of course, served warm for dessert. Many thanks to Angela for giving me the idea.