Gin and ginger

IMAG1333My new favourite way to enjoy gin – with slimline tonic, fresh ginger and a cube of brown sugar. In this case the gin was Jawbox.



Seeing Spots has set the challenge to write about Tips for attending events. (Interestingly, I’m attending a conference for work in Glasgow today, so have had to pre-write and schedule this post.)

I decided that it would be more useful to record my top 5 cooking related tips.

1. Use a teaspoon to peel ginger.

2. If your hands smell of garlic when you’ve been cooking, rub them on a stainless steel sink or tap for a few seconds before washing them to help remove the door.

3. Did you know you can freeze leftover coconut milk from a tin in icecube trays?

4. Read the whole recipe fully before you begin! (I speak from experience after making Scottish tablet for my brother-in-law and only realising part way through the process that 30 mins of vigorous stirring was required!)

5. This is one I’m going to try next time I’m making mash. The tip is from Wolfgang Puck, via the site. “When making mashed potatoes, after you drain the potatoes, return them to the hot pan, cover and let them steam for 5 minutes. This allows the potatoes to dry out so they’ll mash to a beautiful texture and soak up butter and cream easily.”

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.


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.



Vegan Sticky Ginger cake

I’ve not been posting much on this blog recently; the main reason being that we’re tackling a whole bunch of allergies in our household, which makes trying new recipes a bit of a challenge.

This recipe is for a cake, and it’s pretty good to say it cuts out a lot of allergens.


Sticky Ginger Cake (makes one loaf)

120g black treacle
50g vegetable oil
60g sugar
1 apple
1 banana
250g gluten free flour
1 tsp (gluten free) bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger
200ml soya milk
75g stem ginger, chopped into small chunks (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the treacle, oil and sugar.
  3. Peel and core the apple and grate it. Add to the mixture.
  4. Mash the banana and stir this in.
  5. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into the mixture.
  6. Stir in the milk and the stem ginger, if using. (The recipe works well without it, so I wouldn’t buy stem ginger specially, but it does taste great.)
  7. Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin. Bake in the preheated oven for at least 1 hour, but it might need up to 30 minutes longer, so keep checking in it. If you need to, cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it from burning.
  8. If you’ve used some stem ginger, drizzle some of the syrup from the jar over the cake while it is still warm to add to the stickiness. Otherwise, leave to cool.

(Next time I make this I’m going to make a lemon icing, which I think will be a nice addition.)


Bank Holiday weekend breakfast – Gingerbread waffles

One of my favourite things about long weekends is the opportunity to cook a delicious breakfast.  My mum bought me a waffle machine for Christmas.  At first I thought it was one of those bits of kitchen equipment that would gather dust, but I’ve used it lots.  It’s really quick and easy to whip up a batch of delicious waffles.


Gingerbread Waffles (Serves 4)

2 eggs
100g caster sugar
100g melted butter
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200ml milk
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Turn the waffle machine on so that it will start heating up while you make the batter.  Spray the surfaces generously with a cooking oil spray, such as Frylight.

2. Whisk the eggs with the sugar and whisk well.  Add in the melted butter and whisk again into a smooth batter.

3. Add the flour, baking powder and spices and stir the mixture together.

4. Gently whisk in the milk, making sure the batter has a smooth consistency.

5. When the waffle maker has warmed up, placed the required amount of mix onto the baking surface.  (For my machine its about 2 tablespoons of batter for each waffle.)  Close the waffle iron and let each waffle bake for around 3 minutes.  They should be golden brown.

Serve with sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup