I could have given this blog post quite a few number of titles (I’m being totally honest with you here), such as:
- Yay! This is Not a Book Review, or
- Yay! This is Not Another Book Review, or
- Here’s Something Different and About Time, or
- Finally She’s Got Something Else to Say, or
- Juicers and Various Conundrums…
…and the list could have gone on forever, but I’ll spare you the agony. The thing is that I’ve immersed myself in cookbooks for these past few months, and haven’t really had the time or the ‘correct’ head space, for lack of a better expression, for anything else, including cooking, baking and documenting any recipes. I’ve just started my autumn cooking, as in cooking recipes which are usually reserved for cooler months.
Continue reading Carrot, Apple and Lemon Juice
“Please don’t make me choose just one!”
When people ask me about what I enjoy most about having a food blog, this is my unequivocal answer. If I had to choose something for just one day only – today – it would be, any guesses…you got it. Books. I just love to see what’s out there. It doesn’t really matter if they’re old or new, I can spend hours browsing the cookery section in Waterstones, and if I could I would spend days in a second hand bookshop. The hidden treasures are endless. Continue reading Book Review: Build Your Own Smoothie
There’s not a lot I can say here, except that I bought this beautiful veg and fruit box a few weeks back. I was so happy with it that I snapped a few pictures as soon as it was delivered to me, at around 9.30pm on a weekday night. You wouldn’t think so though because J immediately held up the flash and reflector for me when he saw me reach out for my camera. It turned out pretty well.
Continue reading Veg Box
One of the things I get asked for most by friends and family are good recipes for muffins. Now this is quite tricky for me because I’ve had my issues when it comes to baking the little beauties. I’m not referring to this recipe in particular – these have been a total success. I blame my inability to get used to different ovens quickly and efficiently. The oven in our flat in Woking was very powerful and loads of muffins were burnt! The one in Guildford had a smaller wattage (or whatever you call it) so things took longer to bake. Now I’ve returned to a gas oven and to test it I’m finding myself making loads of pizzas. Some have come out with black bottoms, whilst others have been spared, and ended up in our bellies.
Continue reading Peach Melba Muffins with White Chocolate Chunks
…and it’s nothing too exciting. Lately I have been making the so-called most important meal of the day a priority. I have to say I love milk. I drink it alone, preferably cold straight from the fridge. Filtered and semi-skimmed. Of course, everyone has their own preferences. This milkshake obsession started as soon as J, J2 and I finished a walk around the Arundel area (near Slindon to be precise). We stopped for a coffee at Pappardelle in the town centre before heading home. We did, and we liked the place so much that we stayed a bit longer than planned. So I ordered a simple vanilla milkshake and wanted to stay there forever. (P.S. This is *not* a sponsored post, just in case you’re wondering.)
This is my method. I warn you: my concoction is a no-frills thing, no sugar no nothing; you don’t need it here. Just a banana or two, topped with milk. If you like you could always add one scoop of good vanilla ice-cream for your sugar fix
if you really need one (preferably with those lovely brown specks of pods inside). A whiz in the blender and there you have it.
Now that I remember, I do have some vanilla pods waiting to be used. What is your favourite breakfast meal?
Making muffins (when I get the hang of it) is one of the most enjoyable things. You see, I find that they give me more excuses to bake…well, not that I *need* many of those. When they’re done well (and I’m not necessarily referring to myself here) they are little parcels of joy, perfect for an afternoon treat for you and for friends. I also have a thing for muffin cases. (Ask J about it – he’ll go on forever!)
Some time ago I received a lovely message from one of my readers asking me for this recipe when I posted a picture of these baked goodies on my Facebook page. I made these chocolate and banana muffins, (adapted from Nigella’s Kitchen) a bunch of times and they always turn out great…and the more I make them, the more I love them. Perhaps it’s because they are so simple and take minutes to prepare, with no fancy gadgetry; bowl, fork, whisk, spoon and muffin tin and you’re set. You can prepare the batter while chatting to your friends or listening to music – that’s how I do it anyway, and it’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon. You will need:
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100g light brown sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- one 12 muffin tin, lined with muffin cases or parchment paper cut in squares
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC and prep the muffin tin.
- Mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl with a fork or even with your clean hands. Take a whisk and beat the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar with the bananas. Now take a wooden spoon (to avoid over-beating) and slowly add and mix the flour, sifted cocoa powder and baking powder. Your mixture should be lumpy.
- Tip each muffin case with some of the batter, dividing it into 12, and bake for around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning. (I always take extra care when making muffins, I use to burn muffins a little bit more than I liked! But I’m getting there!) They should be done when their surface bounces back to the touch but insert a skewer in one of them to be sure.
- When the muffins have cooled for a little while in the tin, just take them out onto a rack, ready to cover in buttercream if you like.
Enjoy and as always Happy Baking!
Pretty weird as a title I know, but that’s how I felt when I baked this little beauty. My chocolate bakes which I have promised you will be posted soon, but today I thought about writing about a simple Madeira style cake which I love to prepare when I’m really up against it. I can never *not* have anything good to eat in this house, and neither should you – not that you must listen to everything I tell you but it’s nice to be prepared! Also there’s no need to remind my lovely readers that J eats for four, e di più!
I have been meaning to post this recipe for quite a while (I think I made this for the first time in the beginning of summer) but never came round to writing about it. Here it is today though. My inspiration comes from a recipe which you can find in Nigella’s HTBADG for Cherry Almond Loaf Cake. It’s a fantastic cake because you can replace the dried cherries with any other dried fruit you fancy. It’s as simple as that really. I love it because it’s easy and good for those days when chocolate won’t do either – a rarity, but it can happen. I used cranberries which worked really well. They are my favourites! One thing I will say is that since this cake is very moist, it has a tendency to take a bit longer than usual to bake completely. And it might remain moist in the middle, especially if you accidentally pierce a berry, but on the whole, a skewer or knife should come out clean. OK, here we go:
- 200g dried cranberries
- 250g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 225g soft butter
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
- 100g ground almonds
- 6 x 15ml tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 3. Grease and line a loaf tin.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar till they become creamy and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs slowly, then the vanilla extract.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and slowly fold them into the egg mixture, with the ground almonds.
Fold the dried cranberries and the milk and pour this cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Don’t worry if the mixture seems thick. It’s supposed to be that way.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, but most importantly when a skewer comes out totally clean. Leave in the tin on a wire rack until the cake cools completely.