Ginger and rhubarb cake

I bake cakes a lot, but don’t often blog about them as I’m usually following someone else’s recipe rather than creating my own. On this occassion, I couldn’t find one single recipe that worked for the ingredients I had, so I was forced to concoct a recipe of my own, and I was very happy with the outcome.

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Ginger cake with a rhubarb fool filling

225g Self-raising flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
120g butter, chilled
120g golden syrup
120g black treacle
120g sugar (I used granulated but muscavado would be good here)
275ml milk
1 egg
2 stalks of rhubarb (around 300g)
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
200g double cream

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Stir together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, making sure there aren’t any lumps.

3. Dice the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a sandy consistency.

4. In a saucepan gently heat the golden syrup and black treacle, stirring them together. Set aside to cool.

5. In another saucepan heat the sugar and the milk, stirring frequently until the sugar has all dissolved. Set this pan aside to cool too.

6. While the two pans of ingredients are cooling to a lukewarm temperature you can prepare your cake tins. I used two 20cm round tins and I lined the bases with a circle of baking paper.

7. When the wet ingredients have cooled sufficiently mix them both into the flour along with one egg. Stir well to corporate all the ingredients into a smooth batter. Transfer the mixture to the cake tins.

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

9. For the filling, chop the sticks of rhubarb into 2 cm chunks and heat in a pan along with the sugar. When the rhubarb has cooked down into a lovely pink pulp leave it to cool and get on with whisking up the cream. Finally, fold the rhubarb into the cream and use the mixture to sandwich the two halves of the cake together.

 

 

Carrot, sage and honey soup

I’ve posted a surprising number of soup recipes on this blog, considering I rarely look at recipes for soups in cookery books. For me, soups are primarily for making something delicious out of ingredients that I have left in the kitchen. It’s not often that I would go out specifically to buy ingredients to create a soup. (Having said that, I heartily recommend the book ‘A Soup for Everyday’ by the New Covent Garden Soup company, as a great source of inspiration for using up leftover veg!)

I want to record this recipe as it was delicious and includes ingredients that I usually have in my kitchen. I made my soup in a Morphy Richards Soup Maker, but you could easily adapt this recipe if you are making the soup in a pan.

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Carrot, Sage and Honey soup (serves 4)

5 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks
1 stick of celery, cut into chunks
750ml vegetable stock
5 sage leaves
1 tbsp dried sage
1 heaped tablespoon honey

  1. If using a soup maker, add the vegetables and stock to the machine and turn it on to do it’s thing. I use the smooth blend option.
  2. At the end of the cooking time, stir in the sage and the honey.
  3. Enjoy!

Flapjack

The fact that the ingredients in this recipe are measured in ounces will give you a clue to it being a classic recipe from my childhood!

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4oz butter (100g)
1oz sugar (25g)
2tbsp golden syrup
8oz rolled oats (200g)
A pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm square tin.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan, stirring until well combined.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and mix in the rolled oats and a pinch of salt. Stir well until the oats are evenly coated.
  4. Press the mixture into the baking tin.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Leave to cool slightly before cutting into fingers. Leave until it has cooled completely before removing the pieces from the tin.

I also made this recipe for Chocolate orange tart from Jane’s Patisserie for Mother’s Day dinner and it went down a storm, so can highly recommend this recipe.

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Blackcurrant, rosemary and chia seed jam

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This recipe is an amalgamation of two things, the inspiration comes from a very naughty but extremely nice treat, while the ingredients list focuses on things that are good for you. So overall a fairly balanced approach I’m sure.

To start with the inspiration…

I was lucky enough to receive a box of fudge for Christmas from Wonky Kitchen. They offer the most amazing range of flavours and the texture and taste of the fudge is unbelievably good. They had a stand at the Winter Food Festival in Harrogate and while I’m so happy they travelled there from Devon it’s a shame they aren’t based a bit closer to Yorkshire. (Luckily you can order from them online!) My box of fudge contained the following flavours; Cherry Brandy, Strawberry and Balsamic and Blackcurrant and Rosemary.

Next the ingredients …

I’ve been hearing lots about chia seeds and when I saw them in my local Home Bargains store I thought I’d give them a try.

I’ve put them to use here making a jam. The great thing is that there is no cooking involved so it’s very easy and quick to make.

Blackcurrant, Rosemary and Chia seed jam

100g blackcurrants
1 tbsp chia seeds
Leaves from one Rosemary stalk, very finely chopped
Honey

  1. Blend the blackcurrants in a food processor.
  2. Stir in the chia seeds, 1 tbsp warm water, the chopped fresh rosemary and around 1 tsp honey (more if you require your jam to be sweeter).
  3. Mix well.
  4. Chill in the fridge to allow the seeds to swell and create the jammy consistency.

This doesn’t keep for too long. Store it in the fridge.

 

Vegetarian Paella

I’m sure this recipe isn’t very close to it’s Spanish origins, but it’s a lovely meal and easy to prepare. When holidaying in Spain I’ve always struggled with finding appetising vegetarian food and have even been given ‘vegetarian’ salads containing ham and fish! I’m therefore not going to worry too much about it’s authenticity.

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Vegetarian Paella (serves 4)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 finely sliced onion (red or white works equally well)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp tumeric
300g paella rice
750ml vegetable stock
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp tomato puree
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 red pepper
4 sticks of asparagus
A handful a mushrooms
1 x 400g tin of artichoke hearts in water

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently cook the onion and garlic until the onion has softened.
2. Stir in the smoked paprika and tumeric with the paella rice.
3. Pour in the vegetable stock, tablespoon of tomato puree and stir well. Allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring the mixture often. While the rice is cooking, chop the remaining vegetables and the fresh rosemary and add to the rice, stirring in well. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

My husband’s recommendation is to cut some 1cm cubes of vegetarian manchego cheese and stir these into the paella just before serving – definitely not an authentic way to serve paella but very tasty!

White chocolate Eton mess slice

Here’s a lovely summer recipe that’s really easy to make.  It’s inspired by slice of traybake that I had from Selfridges Food Hall and haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  These are almost as good.

White chocolate Eton mess slice (Makes 9 large slices)

Eton mess slices - close up

100g unsalted butter at room temperature
200g plain flour
A pinch of salt
100g caster sugar
4 tbsps strawberry jam
Three shop bought meringues crumbled (of course you could make your own if you prefer)
300g white chocolate
Freeze dried strawberries

1. First begin by making the biscuit base.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Grease a 20cm square tin.  In a food processor, mix the flour, salt, butter and caster sugar until it begins to come together. Press the mixture into the tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon.

2. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Leave in the tin to cool.

3.  Spread the strawberry jam evenly over the biscuit base.

4.  Top with the crumbled meringues.  Melt the white chocolate and generously cover the meringues.  Sprinkle freeze dried strawberry pieces over the top.  I found mine in the Cake decorating aisle in Sainsburys.  I also piped some more strawberry jam on the top in swirls, although you could just swirl some jam into the melted chocolate.

Cut into giant squares to serve.

Freeze dried strawberriesEton mess sliceEton mess slices