Sunday, 8 May 2011

Strawberries and Cream

Thought I would share these! They are a celebration of the last day of our holidays and the wonderful month of MAY! (click to be linked to the fabulous Eat the Seasons site)

They are from Primrose Bakery Cupcakes Recipe Book and stupendously easy to make!

  • 110g (4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar, preferably golden
  • 2 large eggs, free-range or organic
  • 150g (5½oz) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 125g (4½oz) plain flour, sifted
  • 120ml (4fl oz) semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
  • 1tsp good-quality vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray or 3 x 12-hole mini muffin trays with cupcake cases.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine the two flours. Put the milk into a jug and add the vanilla extract. Add one third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (regular size) or 15 minutes (mini size) until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes - it should come out clean.
Once cool, make a small hole in each (I used the end of a teaspoon) and spoon in a 1 tsp of strawberry jam. Warming the jam, makes this easier.

*I swirled a dollop of shop bought vanilla frosting on top and a sliced (dried off) strawberry. But they would be wonderful with a good splodge of whipped cream if you were serving immediately. Summer treat bliss!*
Perfect with your afternoon cup of tea in your May garden


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Wholemeal Honey Cake

Just the title of this cake made me happy. It spoke to me of warm, reliable comforts of home, of sweet respite from a days work, a perfect something to have with a cup of tea. A little wholesome, filling and rich, with a hint of sunshiney sweetness.
Make it and 'bee' happy!
300g unsalted butter, softened
250g unrefined caster sugar
4 organic eggs
150g ground almonds
150g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g flaked almonds
3-4 tbsp runny honey

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/ gas mark 3. Grease a 23cm diameter, springform cake tin with a little of the butter and line the base with baking parchment.

Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, and cream them together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the ground almonds, then sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold these in, too.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, scatter the flaked almonds over the top, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife pushed into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, while it's still hot, evenly drizzle all over with honey. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

This is bee-utiful with a dollop of greek yoghurt!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Pick Your Own..... Make your own.....

I am thinking that this blog post needs little, if any, commentary??
What in the world can come close to the joy of Picking Ones Own soft fruit? - Look at that face of pure excitement? Children are really good at this job....
Mummy's little Scarecrow all ready for the challenge of the Raspberry Rows. We took a friend each so we could have a good ole natter whilst picking. I am equally as happy to pick my own, alone... so to speak. But it is good to have company too.

These years are, so far, small... but there were plenty left to come back to in a week or so.
I was disappointed my local farm has stopped the PYO strawberries but every year they were less and less successful.

I only had to tell my Little One off 3 times for eating punnets of these fruits - it would have been more if they'd been strawbs i feel....

Joy of fruit.
Joy of being outdoors. and being active.
Joy at the excitement and the *potential*......
COME ON people..... what do you take me for??? i didn't *only* make Raspberry Gin and Raspberry Vodka. Shame on your low opinion of me.
There were a couple left to make Rasberry Vinegar for later pickles and i froze some to make ice-cream with... to eat with my vodka.....
JOY i tell you.
Pure Joy x

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Thankyou Little Blossom

Such a perfect little thing! So English, so Summery, so prolific! It is weighing the hedgerows down! I watched it swoosh past the train on Sunday and just wanted to jump off and start gathering!

So on to the tale of the Elderflower!

I always miss it....always! I talk about it endlessly and then never quite get there! Well Mr B and I had a bit of a where we didn't make up before sleep....grrrrrr! He left very early for work (5am) so it was not till I opened the door at 6pm did I see him again! There he was all green with pollen, random bits of shrubbery sticking out of his beard, a big satisfied grin on his face and a plastic bag held outright! Full of Elderflowers!
Now that, that is L.O.V.E. x

So I followed Hugh F.W.'s recipe for Elderflower Champagne!

Makes about 6 litres


  • 4 litres hot water
  • 700g sugar
  • Juice and zest of four lemons
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • About 15 elderflower heads, in full bloom
  • A pinch of dried yeast (you may not need this) I did...perhaps this is due to when it was picked as I think that does affect natural yeasts that are needed to get the fermentation going?
It is not a classy process and if like me you had it in the kitchen, it is a little unsightly......however look at what we have now!
Bottles of flowery, sprightly, Summery Bubbles! Pop one in your basket, with a punnet of fat June strawberries, a loaf of lemon cake and your tartan blanket! Picnic Bliss!


M&S have lovely vintage style, nostalgic 'Pop' bottles! Save these up and they are just perfectly pretty labelled up with your Vintage in!
Cheers, MrB x

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

First.... French Onion Soup...

I did, indeed, promise you Molly's "Bouchon Au Thon".... i have it ready to talk about. But i wanted to mention the French Onion Soup i made for dinner. The French Onion Soup was great as a Summer Supper. The weather was so hot here today. I had made the soup in the afternoon, prior to going out for a few hours. This proved a good idea as it only needed heating through and finishing off on our return. It was also 'hearty' to have soup but being 'French Onion' - it was light and quite refreshing.
I used Sophie Dahls recipe. Which was 'okay', but.... it needed all sorts adding to it that wasn't suggested by my friend (my friend being Sophie - ya know.....) I'd never made this soup before but i remember it clearly from my pre-vegetarian days from hoilday restaurants. It is something i have wanted to make for ages.

I won't repeat the recipe, i'm sure you have her book / can google it, whatever you want.
The important things i wanted to share was that it was very quick and easy and satisfying. My daughter loved it too which is always a bonus.
I added Marmite to it (yes, Marmite, for those who are dubious to the intentions of Marmite during cooking) and SoySauce too. It didn't have the great depth of deep deep flavour that i wanted - so if anyone has other suggestions to add, i am listening....

The other GREAT thing i did was, that i toasted quartered slices of the Foccacia bread that was left over from yesterdays menu. I floated a large piece on top of each soup bowl, and i scattered the cheese on top of that. It was a great finish to, an otherwise average looking, bowl of soup.
Also, i had no Gruyere cheese left as i scoffed it all yesterday, so i substituted that for a bit of strong Cheddar. It worked well - so something to bear in mind if needs must? I was hungry, so forgot to photograph the soup.... but this last photo was amusing. SmallFish feeding the dog half of her Breadstick.... using her mouth.
Aaaaahhh, it's all fun and games here. We eat well but hygiene might slip down the list of priorities on occasion.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Forgive me THIGHS for i have sinned....

See her.... that woman there.... the one stuffing her face with freshly baked Brioche and homemade chocolate spread.....? That's me that is.
Forgive me Thighs, Stomach, Bottom = for today i ate like a King! In terms of food, i have a great deal to talk about. Mainly in conjunction with my new love of Molly *swoon* (see previous post) but rather than overwhelm with you my full days menu - i'll spoon feed you the MACAROONS for now and spare you the gluttony i indulged in.
These babies:::::::>>>> are Coconut Macaroons! Baking in the oven. Oh yum.... And i don't even 'like' coconut. Well, i didn't until today.
I was up early today and had a Brioche loaf baking by 6am - (ready in 3 hours or so) so i started my day with Tea and Fresh Pineapple whilst standing idle over the stove and the beginnings of the Macaroons.
By fortuity (or great sense of smell) by parents happend to be passing my home at 8.30am and wanted breakfast! luckily there were 5 egg yolks looking for a home as i had just used the 5 egg whites in my Macaroons. So they were treated to Scrambled Egg on toast. (i am slowly feeling smug and self satisfied at my domestic economics)
By 10am, my parents long gone, the Brioche was ready. And, like the pig that i am, i ate great slabs of it smothered in Chocolate Ganache that was left over from covering the Macaroons. Honestly, i almost turned into a French Native, it was such an extravagant breakfast.
Then i needed to taste the amazing Macaroons. They were a joy! and i love a recipe that i can adapt. As i was making these this morning i had a few different variations forming in my head. They didn't need the chocolate in my opinion. So my next batch will omit the Ganache topping and i am going to add finely chopped dried Cranberries or dried Sour Cherries.... great for kids snack packs.... the ideas are endless.....
Later, i ate "Bouchons au Thon" also courtesy of Molly Wizenberg with a salad of toasted Brioche croutons, blue cheese and masses of chopped tomatos, all on a bed of Rocket leaves.
Forgive me nothing my friends - who wants to be skinny when you can eat like this!?
And, if you are nice to me, i will share the recipe for the Bouchons x

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Salivating over Molly's Book...

I think it would be fair to say, i have "treated" myself of late. 2010 has, so far, proven to be a pretty nasty year in all. It is only May however and there might be a few months yet to reprieve. I have indulged, with a ting of guilt, in a few treats for myself in attempt to keep spirits from divebombing.......
I bought this book on whim - A HOMEMADE LIFE by Molly Wizenberg. It developed from a blog ORANGETTE (which i have yet to check out myself)
I bought the book thinking it was pricey at £11.99 - but with the hope that it would be filled with glorious photographs and crafty ideas..... that anticipation was so far from what i received.
But what i did discover was an entire book of magical new recipes and engaging writing. Quite honestly, i am HOOKED on Molly. This book is pure joy.
I am falling into bed at present, sooooo tired from what each day is launching at me, and i reach for Molly and slowly read a chapter before sleep. I don't do this with other books - i race through them all in one sitting. Not Molly's Book. It needs savouring....

The above recipe, i did actually buy the ingredients for today. I am hoping to make these tomorrow morning but i'll see how i get on with getting up and dressed first! There are so many great recipes in here and i can't wait to try these out.

AAaaaahh, there she is - Molly. On the back page of her book. She looks quite slim huh? How does that happen when you eat such great food all the time? (Note to self: Cook well, Eat well, Move more)
In the absence of having something good to cook and eat right at this moment, i shall lick the book. I am so needy right now, it's pathetic - but at least i can come back to cookery. The nurturing, soothing, comfort of Making, Baking and Eating xxx
Buy the book - or better still, order it from the library. It is so good!