Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cranberry and Marzipan tealoaf

This is the easiest cake recipe that I have in my repertoire and every time I make a variation of it I am always asked for the recipe. It was passed to me by my old college room mate Sally, years and years ago - I went to stay with her for a weekend and we had this cake and I expressed how delicious it was and she gave me the recipe and I have been passing It on ever since.

These are the basic ingredients but you can adjust the fruit etc..

Tea Loaf
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of sultanas
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 egg
1 cup of cold tea
2 cups of self raising flour

 In a bowl add the sugar dried fruit, mixed spice and give it a little stir
Then add the cold tea -I used some Lady Grey and steeped it for a while to get all the flavour

 I then added some marzipan and an egg - mix this and then fold in the flour
It then went into a lined baking tin ( I love these cake tin liners!)
Bake for about 50 mins and this is the end result...
Delcious with a cup of tea mmmmmmmmmmm

You can play around with this one no end which is fab - you can use any dried fruit, add marzipan or nuts, add more spices or change them for nutmeg or ginger for example. Change the flour to wholemeal and even change what type of tea that you use.
I guarantee that you will be vey pleased with the result and someone will ask you for the recipe!

I am entering this into a blogging challenge called Tea time treats that is hosted by Karen at Lavender and Loveage and Kate from What Kate Baked. Novembers challenge that I can just slip into is all about dried fruit and this little beauty fits perfectly.
Tea Time Treats

Monday, 25 November 2013

Meal Planning Monday

It seems that I can only meal plan every 2 weeks! I didn't manage to plan any of my meals last week and it was a bit of a pain - we had to have a takeaway one night which is something I hardly do as I was completely disorgainised! So here I am on Sunday tapping away on my computer with strictly come dancing on in the background - Feeling organised!I have also managed to do a shop today getting most of the ingrediens I need for the week which is also something that I never manage to do! I live on a second floor flat which doesn't have a lift so walking up the stairs with a heavy Molly and bags of shopping is a nightmare.
So here is my meal plan this week... I hope... Molly and I are off to the Good Food Show on Wednesday which I am very excited about as I won the tickets! I am intending to eat my way around the show!

Monday -Roasted vegetable pasta
Tuesday - WhatevervegetablesIfindinthefridge Lasagne
Wednesday - Off to the Good Food Show!!!!
Thursday - Fishcakes
Friday - Smoked Haddock rarebit

If you would like to see what everyone else is making this week and join in then head on over to Mrs M

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

Well it isn't really a carrot cake - even though there are some carrot decorations - I had to use them up!!

 I replaced the carrot for the pumpkin. In my October parcel I received a tin of Pumpkin Puree and after thinking long and hard ( I spent hours looking at Pinterest and googling for pumpkin inspired recipes!!) I decided on making it into a cake.
I made my favourite carrot cake recipe from the Humming Bird cook book and instead of the carrots I added just over half of the tin of pumpkin puree. It was so much easier to open a tin and pour out the contents rather than grate the carrots which is always a pain and I end up with it all over the kitchen!

For the frosting I added cream cheese to icing sugar, I have tried with low fat cream cheese before thinking that I could at least make the topping less calorific but it doesn't work -you have to use the full fat stuff!

I took the cake to a firework party that we went to - it was lovely and moist, the spices go really well with the pumpkin. You couldn't really taste the pumpkin but you knew that there was something In the cake if that makes any sense!

With the remaining pumpkin filling I made some 'cheats' Pumpkin Pancakes that you can see here,

Thursday, 14 November 2013


This isn't a food post as you can see ! But I also like to do other crafty things and thought that I would share these with you. I am one of those people who looks at things and thinks 'oh I can do that!'  and never gets round to making anything or I buy all the bits that you need to do a project and leave them in a cupboard for ages and then take them round to my mums and asks her to do them!! One of my 'projects' that I didn't quite do included Reindeer Candy Canes..

My mum has all the items needed for these ! She hasn't made them yet either !
I have a Board full of ideas that I hope to someday make


For a few months now I have been wanting to embellish some of Mollys' clothes with applique and I have a Pinterest board that I keep updating with designs that I would like to make - so this week I took the plunge and had a go - As I said I have been thinking about this for a while and have bought some plain tops from charity shops over the weeks and popped into material shops to get some sraps ( would love to have a go at quilting.. another project that I think about all the time...)
I am really pleased with the result - not sure how they will do after they have been washed but for the time being they look fab!

They are very simple designs as modelled by Molly

 She wasn't sure about being photographed here but it is the best one showing the heart.

You can't see the heart here but I love her smile!!
This is one I did for a friend who has just had a baby boy.

The Whale material is one of Stephens old shirts!

They were so easy to make and I feel very envigorated and want to do more! Will try using a sewing machine next time and add more material bits and maybe some buttons , maybe some pom poms....maybe some eyes...could go on forever...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Smoked Haddock and butter beans in a creamy mustard sauce - Dish of the Month

I love smoked haddock and generally just use it for fish pie so I decided to search through my hundreds of cookbooks for a new recipe. I found a lovely one in Nigel Slaters Kitchen diaries - the recipe is smoked haddock with flageolet beans in a creamy mustard sauce but I love butterbeans so decided to use these instead.

It was very easy to make - I don't tend to measure things out which is why each time I make the dish it tastes different but I love that!
Here are the ingredients you need for 2 peeps...
 2 fillets of  smoked haddock
butter for greasing the dish
 milk ( enough to just about cover the fish)
a couple of bay leaves
2 x  tins of beans ( butter beans , flageolet or whatever you have)
a carton of  double cream ( I used reduced fat in the hope of making it not so rich!)
a handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 heaped Tbsp wholegrain mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the skin from the smoked haddock and place the fish in a lightly buttered baking dish. Pour over the milk, then add enough water almost to cover the fish. Tuck in a couple of bay leaves and grind over some black pepper. Bake at 200C for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Drain and discard the milk.Rinse and re-butter the baking dish, making sure you remove any bits of skin from the milk left behind. Rinse the beans in a sieve under running water, then empty them into a mixing bowl. Pour in the cream and a couple of tablespoons of milk, then chop the parsley and add it together with the mustard, a grinding of black pepper and a little salt..Spoon the beans into the dish and lay the fish on top, spooning some of the creamy beans over the top to keep it moist. Turn the oven down to 180C and bake for about forty minutes, until the cream is bubbling and the sauce has thickened around the beans . I added some spinach that I had wilted to it for a little colour
Then eat!! We had this with some crusty warm fresh bread. Its a lovely meal to have on a cold Autumnal evening.
I am going to enter this into a food blogging challenge that I have discovered and would like to take part in - its called Dish of the Month and is hosted by Farmers Girl Kitchen and A Little Bit Of Heaven On A Plate

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

In my October food parcel I received a tin of Pumpkin Pie filling. I have made a cake with It ( to be blogged soon!)  and had some left over and decided to make a little experiment and add them to some pancake mix.

I cheated and used a pancake mix from a supermarket - I know ... They are easy to make but it was only 10p and it is all measured out for you!
To my cheap mix I added a couple of tablespoons of the pumpkin pie filling, then about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a teaspoon each of nutmeg and cinnamon.
They came out a lovely orangey brown colour and smelt delicious.
As the mixture was quite thick I made little ones - Molly loved them and had them for her tea! I even had some left over that are in the freezer for another day..

Monday, 4 November 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Gorgeous crisp autumn day today! Love days like this - although it is a little blowy and the leaves are going everywhere!!
Last weeks meals were lovely - My favourite was the Paneer curry , haven't used this before and it tasted delicious and I found another recipe in this months Sainsbury magazine that uses paneer so shall have another go.. Its a bit of an unintentionally Nigel Slater recipe selection this week.

Monday - Smoked Haddock with butterbeans and mustard -from Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries
Tuesday -  Veggie sausage stew
Wednesday - Aubergine and Paneer with tomatoes - from this months Sainsburys magazine
Thursday - Chicken casserole for me and Quorn Casserole for Stephen
Friday - Chickpea and sweet potato curry - also from Nigel Slater Kitchen diaries.

If you would like to join in or have a nosy at what everyone else is planning this week click here..

Friday, 1 November 2013

Foodie Penpals - October

I have missed my monthly parcel and decided last month to get back into Foodie Penpals. My Food-pal for October was the lovely Kate, we had some fun email exchanges  and I had a great time  finding Autumn inspired items to send to her , You can see what I sent her by looking at her blog here.
I am pleased to see that she liked the things I selected! It's always a bit nerve racking wondering whether your food-pal will like them.
My parcel was from Carol of Corpulent Capers   This was Carol's first month participating and we exchanged some lovely emails and discovered that we both have large collection of cookbooks!
Carol sent me some delicious items and none that I have used before so I was very pleased to be able to try them.              

Pumpkin puree - I have heard of this and wondered what it would be like and now I have the opportunity to try it ! In her card Carol advised me of the recipe for Pumpkin Pie on the side of the tin so will have a go at this.
Pepper and Chilli Jelly - Carol said that this would be good in gravy which is something that I wouldn't have thought of doing.
Blackcurrant Coulis - Looking forward to trying this on vanilla ice cream or on pancakes mmmmmm.

A fab parcel and I am pleased I am back in the Foodie Pen Pal loop! Roll on next month.....

If you would like to take part click here and if you would like to see what other people have received in their parcels this month then click here