Tag Archives: easy

Raspberry and Almond Cake and Cherry Bakwell mini-cakes

29 Jul

Pop the kettle on…


It’s been forever since I shared a recipe with you and I hope you aren’t too miffed. My time was swallowed, almost in it’s entirety, by my wedding which took place in June.  The last months have been hectic. There were playlists to compile, bunting to sew, table names to cross-stitch, vows to practice, flowers to pick, dresses to squeeze into, booze to buy, invites to post..  and thank goodness it was all worth it. What a day – I’m still on cloud nine. Following a mini-moon on the Isle of Wight, where the food was local, sustainable and delicious by the way, we’re in the middle of few weeks wait until we head off, in August, for a mega-moon roadtrip in the USA. It’s going to be epic… and very tasty. I’ll let you know what I eat!

In the meantime, here are a couple of easy recipes for cake that goes nicely with a cup of tea. The best kind of cake, right? I baked them this weekend in between walking my Godmother’s dog Lucy along with my Mum, Godmother and new husband (still feels weird) in the beautiful countryside; and after a long walk in the hills and sunshine this cake will recharge your batteries.

Almond and Raspberry Cake (serves 8 – 10)

You will need:

* 140g ground almonds   * 140g unsalted butter, soft   * 140g caster sugar   * 140g self-raising flour   * 2 large eggs   *1tsp vanilla extract   *250g raspberries   *2 tbsp flaked almonds

Lovely Lucy

To make:

1. Heat the oven to 180Oc/ 160Oc fan/ gas mark 4 and line a deep 20cm cake tin.  In a food processor, by hand or by a hand-held whisk combine the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and eggs until well-combined.

2. Spread half of the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top.  Scatter the raspberries over the mixture and then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and spread to cover the fruit. I used my fingertips to do this.

3. Scatter flaked almonds on top of the cake and then bake for about 50 minutes or until the cake is golden and doesn’t wibble if you shake the tin.  Cool and remove from the tin. Enjoy.


Cherry and Almond Mini-cakes (makes about12)

* 60g ground almonds   * 75g butter   * 75g sugar   * 75g self-raising flour   * splash of milk   * 2 large eggs   * a couple of handfuls of glace cherries   * small splash of vanilla extract   *12 flaked almonds (optional)

Dinky little cake.. so why stop at one?

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190OC/ 170oC fan and pop your paper cases on a tray.  Combine the flour, ground almonds, flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, milk and butter and whizz with an electric whisk, by hand or in a food processor.

2. Tip the finely chopped glace cherries into the mixture and give it a nice stir before dolloping the cake mixture evenly into the cake cases.

3. Pop in the oven for around 10-15 minutes until the cakes are golden, have risen and are springy but cooked through.  Leave to cool or heat whilst still warm with a cool glass of milk or a big mug of tea.



Recipe: Chocolate Cat Cake. It’s purrrrrfect, etc.

2 Dec

We need to talk about Kevin

My boss turned 40 this week and it was only right that this happy day was marked with a cat-shaped chocolate birthday cake, right?  Our chum Laura christened him Kevin and at a cake-fest in the office, Kev bravely gave his life for the enjoyment of us hungry office-workers.  Way to go Kevin.

This cake is very simple to make and keeps for a few days if you don’t hoover it up before then.

To buy:

For the cake –  *200g plain flour   *200g caster sugar   *1 teaspoon baking powder   *half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda   *40g best-quality cocoa (I used Green and Blacks)   *175g soft unsalted butter   *2 large eggs   *2 teaspoons real vanilla extract   *150ml soured cream

For the Icing –  *150g icing sugar  *100g  soft unsalted butter   *1 teaspoon vanilla extract   *a few teaspoons of cocoa   *splash of milk

For the topping –  *Bassets Licorice selection

To bake:

1.Take all of the cake ingredients out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.  Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180oC / 160Oc fan and butter 2 20cm sandwich tins.

2. Now, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream.  Use a food processor or a hand whisk and beat until it’s smooth and thick.

Feline hungry?

3. Divide the mixture between the two greased tins and spread flat.  Bake until a skewer comes out clean but the cake has a springiness to it.  Will take around half an hour or so but check regularly.

4. Remove the cakes from the oven and press and tap out onto a wire rack and cool entirely.

5. Place one of the cakes on a drum and cut 2 triangles out of the other cake.  Using cocktail sticks fasten the triangles (ears) to the other cake (face).

6. To make the icing combine the icing sugar, butter, vanilla and a splash of milk in a bowl.  Leave a small amount of the white icing in one bowl and transfer the  lion’s share to another bowl and add cocoa to taste to this batch of icing.

7. Using a palette knife cover the cake with the chocolate icing.  Then add some of the white vanilla icing to the ears and the middle of the cat’s face.

8. I used licorice to make the cat’s eyes, heart-shaped nose and whiskers.

9. Ice a birthday message onto the drum if you like.  Add a few candles and say a special wish for the birthday boy or girl. x

Recipe: Chips. Just simple, frickin’ tasty, chips.

18 Sep

Daddy or chips?

 Unsurprisingly,  I spend a lot of my time thinking, talking and reading about food. Nigel Slater’s recipe books double as bedtime stories, Olive magazine keeps me company on dreary bus-rides home and over glasses of home-brew and super-strong party punch I natter with mates about London’s best cafes: the kind that chef-up breakfasts certain to slay even the gnarliest of hangover.

Early weekend mornings, late at night, and hunched over a bowl of soup in my lunch-hour I ogle other foodie blogs and marvel at how beautifully people are able to write about food – the passion they have for baking bread, tales of their sleep-encrusted early-morning trips to Billinsgate market, or eye-popping descriptions of the mountains of food scoffed in dusty Puglian streets or sunbaked vineyards in California.

It can make me feel overwhelmed:  the talent that other people have for cooking and writing about food. I am still a total amateur. An enthusiastic and terribly greedy amateur, but an amateur nonetheless. But that’s ok. What is cool is to have a go. To explore, experiment, indulge, satisfy, play and to even make catastrophic mistakes, which my gosh I do and do and do. My food hero, Nigel Slater, talks about not being ashamed to have guilty food pleasures and not to feel swept up in the pretension and snobbery that can disarm the budding gourmand and he is bloody well right you know. To quote another of my heroes, with food – as Jez from Peep Show would say – if it feels good, do it.

And these home-baked chips feel good. They taste good, and gosh darn if they don’t smell good too. Now that Autumn is wrapping us in it’s golden embrace, I am turning once again to comfort-food, to stodge and bowls of stew served with buttery, crusty bread. I can’t wait for roasted carrots and parsnips and hot chilli broths. On cold days I crave potatoes too. Pillowy mountains of mash or piping hot baked spuds overflowing with cheese and beans and cracked black pepper. And I never ever tire of chips. These chips take only a few shakes and are wonderfully spicy and hot. Ready to be submerged in mayo and eaten with greasy fingers. They taste good made with sweet potato too and it takes an awful lot of willpower not to make them if I ever find myself peckish with half an hour to spare.

To buy:

* A handful of potatoes per person   *A big glug of olive oil   *Loads of salt and pepper   *Lots of cumin   *Big pinch of chilli   *Huge pinch of paprika   *Another huge pinch of smoked paprika

To make:

1. Pre-heat your oven to about 200oC and grease an oven tray with a big glug of oil.

2. Wash and slice your potatoes into the size you like your chips. I like mine quite thin but tend to mix it up so that some are juicy and some are crazily crispy. I keep my skins on but you do whatever you jolly well like.

3. Cover the chips in oil and give them a good jiggle on the tray.

4. Now, in a Jason Pollock-esque fashion, throw the herbs and spices all over the chips, covering them in the fragrant cumin and beautiful paprika so that they look bright and beautiful. Season really really well with the salt and pepper.

5. Pop in the oven for about twenty minutes or so. Make sure you turn them over now and again and that there is enough oil to stop them from sticking to the pan.

6. Serve with mountains of mayo, dollops of ketchup, or your sauce of choice, bad telly or a terrible Nick Cage movie and a good friend.