Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Wednesday Chocolate Cake

Another busy week!  Am  the only one to be chasing my tail most of the time?  Still, I managed to finish the blinds for my sitting-room - only the year in the making!  And I have written my course notes for Professional Finishing Techniques (knitting) for the course on Sunday.  Not a lot of time to cook; we had fish fingers and mash yesterday.  But I am always after great recipes and have yet to find a really good everyday chocolate cake. Yesterday I just threw some ingredients into the mixer and we will taste the results for tea.  Tonight we are having Chilli.  Got to eat a bit less wheat.  Wheat causes an acidic state in the body which has been linked with cancer.  So although I won't be giving up wheat by any means, I am going to counteract its effects by getting more fruit and veg into our diet and by eating more pulses.  I already have a recipe in my blog somewhere for houmous....I'll look for it and post it again.
Have a good week!

Everyday Chocolate Cake

250g butter
250g caster sugar
75g cocoa powder
175g self-raising flour
1tsp each baking powder, instant coffee powder and vanilla extract
4 tbs milk or yoghurt

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Line and grease two sponge tins and spoon the mixture evenly into them. Smooth the mixture and bake for 25 minutes in a 180C/gas mark 4 oven.  Cool in the tins, then turn out.
Cream 100g butter with 100g icing sugar with 2 tbs cocoa powder.  Spread on the bottom cake, place the other cake on top and dust with icing sugar.

Delicious, well, it all went by the next morning!

Vegetarian Chilli non Carne with Guacamole and Roasted Vegetables

1 onion, chopped
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/3 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 spring onion, sliced
1 packet Quorn mince
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1small  tin kidney beans
Fresh coriander to serve

Fry the onion in the oil until transparent, add the chilli, spring onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the Quorn, tomatoes, cumin and beans.  Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Serve with rice and sprinkled with coriander leaves.

1 spring onion, chopped finely
3-4 slices of red chilli, chopped
2 avocados, peeled and mashed
juice of 1/2 a lime
Fresh coriander

Mix everything together and serve with chopped fresh coriander.

Serve with toasted pitta bread cut into slices.

Roasted Vegetables

Chop an aubergine, peppers, onions and mushrooms into 2cm sized pieces.  Mix with 3 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 200C/gas mark 4 oven for about 25 minutes until slightly charred.

What I have been cooking this week:

Spanish Omlette: serves 4.  Heat a pan with a large knob of butter, chop an onion, a yellow pepper, a tomato and some fresh herbs and add.  Stir until nearly cooked.  Break 6-8 eggs and mix with a fork.  Add to the pan.  Pull around a little to cook the underneath.  Season well and sprinkle cheese over the top.  Heat the grill, and as soon as you can run a spatula around the edge, place under the grill to finish off.
Puy lentils with tomatoes:  fry a chopped onion in olive oil until cooked.  Add a cup of Puy lentils with 3 cups of water, a bay leaf and lots of seasoning.  Simmer for 20 minutes then add a tin of chopped tomatoes.  This is a Nigel Slater recipe and is delicious for lunch with some salad or bread.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Long time no blog!


Hi folks!

After an exhausting term of all three children starting new schools, I now feel able to make a few blog entries again, hooray!

I have been getting a weekly veggie bag from Village Greens in Ockley (see above) and this week's looked so lovely with the beetroot and cabbage that I took a piccie. I think a beetroot and potato pie maybe with par-boiled and sliced potatoes and beetroot, layered in a dish with cheese and some dill and seasoning and a little soured cream and topped with a pastry crus.  Then coleslaw with the cabbage and carrots and a noodle dish with the ginger, perhaps chicken noodle soup for the others and some salmon for me. My lovely friend, Sally has just moved to Singapore so I will pick her brains. I also love baked potatoes, so those will be on the menu.  See above for my daughter's favourite 'Hedgehog Potatoes'.  Just slice nearly all the way through criss-crossing the potato, drizzle some olive oil on to each one and bake for about an hour in a 200C oven (Gas mark 5).

Meanwhile, a friend gave me 'Herman', a sourdough friendship cake. You leave the batter on the windowsill for about a week, feeding it with some milk, flour and sugar, and then divide into four, give three away and bake what is left with apples, sultanas and spice. It has that sourdough tang and is makes a very light sponge, something to do with the chemistry of the acid and the baking powder. That's why many scone recipes call for soured cream or yoghurt to help the rise.


I am also plugging that I have about 5 bin liners full of donated British yarn for the knitting of cushions for the Olympic athletes. Check out for more information, and come to The Fluffatorium in Dorking to get some free yarn. About 14,000 cushions are needed, so come on down! You can see a picture of my friend Yvonne Robertson (sorry about the fold Yvonne!) and me in the Surrey Advertiser this week!!!

Happy baking!