Tag Archives: mixed spice

Stuffed Baked Aubergines

Baked Aubergines and Marrows (8213)

This week will be a stay-in week. Lucky you, I hear you say. Honestly, I would love to be out and about though, instead of being stuck with a very painful ear and throat infection that’s really making me lose both my patience and hours of precious sleep. I wasn’t even going to post anything for the next few days, but C&T really needs some love, care and attention right now, so here I am. I love being here, sharing recipes and cooking tips, and writing. Also I learn so much by reading comments and blogs by my favourite people. It’s totally worth being here. Even if half of my face is a mess and telling me to rest. Now.

However it’s going to be a rainy week they say, and what better excuse than to spend some time in the kitchen and bake. A very good friend of mine and her daughter gave me a couple of cake recipes which are the bomb. They are so good that I plan to share very soon. I just love it when people share their favourite recipes with me and in turn allow me to share them with you. I will give them a mention of course when I do just that, because that’s my style and I like to keep it that way. Come back for more later, but in the meantime onto today’s dish.

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Penne with Pancetta, Mushrooms and Bechamel (#PastaFriday)

Pasta-with-Mushrooms-Ham-and-Bechamel-Sauce-(5991)

I think the day has finally come. The day when I can dare to say that the air is crisp and fresh and autumn is here. Can this be true? I don’t know about you but to me this kind of weather makes me want to eat mushrooms. And pancetta. And pasta. Thank goodness these three stars go so well together. All they need is some kind of sauce. Now I’ve got a little confession to make. When I’m in a hurry I make a simple tomato one with a few other ingredients thrown here and there, but I’m not a huge fan. I will eat it because I like it. That’s all. What I really really like is a good cream sauce. Alas, that’s not the healthiest thing on Earth (what a huge disappointment) so instead, that is when I have the time I make bechamel.

Continue reading Penne with Pancetta, Mushrooms and Bechamel (#PastaFriday)

Butternut squash Lasagne (#PastaFriday)

Butternut-Squash-Lasagna-(6434)

This pasta recipe has practically written itself. I think this has been one of my busiest weeks so far, and one of the most productive, though not in terms of work. I’m really behind on my writing course work, so unfortunately I have to try to remedy that all day tomorrow. I won’t be able to finish everything but I have allotted the whole morning to that. Tough. But now we have aircon units in the office so at least I can continue working even through the afternoon heat. *Pumping fists in the air*

It’s been a fab Friday so far though. There’s a lovely cool breeze around. I spent my morning, taking a mountain of glass jars and bottles to the recycling bins down the road, then I caught up with an old friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in ages, spent more than two hours talking about everything under the sun over a nice meal, squeezed in a little veggie shop while comparing notes on various recipes, I also bought a new lime coloured dress…Shh and returned home right after lunchtime. Life is good.

Continue reading Butternut squash Lasagne (#PastaFriday)

Spice Cake

Apple-Spice-Cake-(6150)

Honestly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like cake…well…come to think of it, I do, but let’s not go into that. It hasn’t been *that* hot in Surrey but we had some summer weather lately so I wasn’t doing much baking. I made this cake quite a while ago and I loved it. I cannot take call the credit for it because it came to me via the National Trust, with little changes (found on their Teatime Baking Book). The story behind why I like this recipe so much is simple: I am always on the lookout for a good winter cake which resembles a Christmas cake but without the extra richness and without the extra faff. Faff here means making it 3 weeks before, putting extra booze every few days, and because of that the blessed thing usually lasts until July. Don’t get me wrong, you know that I *have* found the best ever fruit cake for Christmas, but this is a good alternative. Try it if you can and tell me what you think.

  • 450g plain flour, sifted
  • 4 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 225g white shortening, softened at room temperature (I used Trex)
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 175g sultanas
  • 175g currants
  • 1 small apple, grated
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons water (or milk)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease and line a square cake tin, preferably a 20cm one, but I made this in a 23cm one and it worked well.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, spice and rub in the shortening. Add the dried fruit, sugar, grated apple and mix very very well.
  3. Now add all the milk, the bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. When the dough is fairly wet, pour into the prepared cake tin and make the top smooth. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake for around 45 minutes. Every oven is different so the baking time may vary. Insert a skewer or knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, your cake is done.

Perfect with tea on a cold autumn day. Enjoy!

Rob x