Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quick Apple & Cranberry Cake

If there is one recipe I am doing to death and constantly chopping and changing the ingredients is my Apple Blueberry and Almond Cake Apple Blueberry & Almond Cake. This recipe is so versatile, you can add any berries you wish, or dried fruits or even chocolate chips. The basic cake mix is my 'go-to' recipe for a very quick and light fluffy cake.

Last week all my garden berries were ripe for picking. I had a tonne of cranberries. In fact more cranberries than than any other types of berries put together. I made a cranberry relish Quick n'Lazy Cranberry Raisin & Walnut Relish, a strawberry and cranberry balsamic sauce for the pancakes and french toast for the B&B; and today I made orange, cranberry and walnut muffins similar to Festive Cranberry, Pecan and Orange Muffins.

Over the weekend I used my basic sponge recipe to make a cranberry and apple cake. Simple to make! The cranberries are extremely tart and sharp and worked quiet well in this sweet recipe.


  • 225g self raising flour
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 125ml milk
  • 125g soft butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • Demerara sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a spring form tin or use a silicone cake tin
  2. In a food mixer, add all the cake mix ingredients and mix on low until combined
  3. Scrape it into the cake tin and level it out evenly
  4. Top with the apple slices evenly and scatter over the cranberries
  5. Finally sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake in the oven for 45 mins.
  6. Check that the cake is fully baked with a skewer before removing from the oven (Insert skewer to centre of cake if it comes out clean it's done, if not bake for a further 5 mins and try again)
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack before gobbling the whole thing up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Plum & Almond Crumble Cake

Needless to say when I arrived home from town one morning last week and found a bag of freshly picked plums hanging from my door I was more than chuffed. My good friend Lisa, kindly donated a whole bunch of plums that grows in her sister Gillian's neighbour's back yard. So Thank you Lisa. Thank you Gillian and of course thank you Gillian's neighbour!!!

I have never cooked with plums before, not even a tart tatin. I did want to cook/bake something with them for my guests in the Bed & Breakfast so I set about googling breakfast ideas with plums. 

I stumbled across the BBC Good Food website and found this gem of a recipe 

It turned out so well, I will do it regularly now, especially with raspberries or whatever else I have to hand. Its quiet a versatile recipe. I was so proud of the result I gave most of it away for guests, friends and family to try, which was a regret in the end as I only had one piece myself. 

It is a three stage baking method so not a quickie cake; which I am used to. But the effort is definately worth it. I'll be making it again tomorrow that's for sure!

  • 250g pack butter (this must be very cold)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 140g plain flour, plus 25g
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • approx 6 plums, stoned and cut into sixths
  • 50g flaked almonds


  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees. 
  2. Butter and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin with baking paper. 
  3. Put the butter, sugar and ground almonds into a food processor, then pulse until the mixture resembles very rough breadcrumbs. 
  4. Spoon out half the mix into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add 140g flour into the mix in the processor and whizz until it just forms a dough. Tip into the tin and press down with the back of a spoon. 
  6. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden. Leave to cool for 10 mins.
  7. To make the filling, put the remaining butter and the sugar and almond mix back into the processor, saving a few tbsp for the topping. 
  8. Add the eggs, the 25g flour, cinnamon and baking powder and whizz to a soft batter. Spread over the base.
  9. Top with the plum pieces and a little extra caster sugar and cinnamon. 
  10. Bake for 20 mins, then sprinkle with the remaining crumble mix and flaked almonds. 
  11. Cook for another 20 mins or until golden. Leave to cool in the tin before slicing.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Veggie Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry

I need to get myself back on diet track! It's fair to say I've kind of let myself go and relaxed the strict diet of earlier this summer. With weddings and all over, the diet was relaxed a little, and then a lot. I found each week was a slippier slope.

To try and combat this, I tried a new take on a light curry this week in an effort to kick start my healthy eating plan again. I found with this dish I didnt need rice or noodles or potatoes; the addition of the lentils was great as it really bulked up the meal.

This is a meat free curry. We should all try to eat more veggies. I say that to my husband and he'll look the other way, averting his ears. Even if he doesn't like vegetables, it never stops me cooking meat free dishes for myself. In fact usually I make it for two and keep the second portion for the following day's lunch. Well that's what I tell myself; however going for seconds in my house is a given and leftovers for the following day are slim pickings. In fact its the only thing that's slim these days!!

Here is my guilt free healthy curry!!

Serves 2-3 ( or just Serena)


  • 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 lemongrass bulb, bruised and sliced finely
  • 1 peeled thumb size piece of ginger
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 5-6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 courgette, sliced into half moons
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded
  • 1 tbsp of low fat natural yogurt
  • Juice of a lime
  • 100g of red lentils
  • 1 tsp of rapeseed oil
  • Chopped coriander to garnish


  1. Put a wok/saute pan on a medium heat and heat up the oil.
  2. Fry the onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chilli in the oil and the curry powder.
  3. Stir fry the squash, red pepper, mushrooms, courgette for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and a tbsp of water. Stir and allow the tomatoes to cook down.
  5. Cook the lentils according the instructions; usually you rinse them in water and then bring to the boil in a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes, before draining them.
  6. Let the tomatoes cook for 10-15 minutes and add the yogurt, lentils, lime juice.
  7. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve.

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