June Sampler

7

Monday, 30 June 2014

June: lots of sun, lots of strawberries, lots of ice cream, lots of roses and lots of blogging. I liked June. I hope July will be as good.



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Coffee Cream Cake

26

Sunday, 29 June 2014


This is an old recipe my mum used to use when she was a cookery demonstrator in the sixties*. It was a particular favourite with the ladies who came to watch the demonstrations. It would make an appearance as weekend pudding throughout my childhood. I forgot all about it for years until the other day when something, I don't know what, reminded me of it. Mum has lost the original recipe but it turned out to be very easy to recreate.


It is simply a plain cake doused with coffee and covered in whipped cream. Moist and rich but much less sweet than a cake covered with icing.


I think that my mum and her colleagues would have made sure that every inch of the cake was soaked with coffee. As you can see there are patches in my cake where the coffee has not penetrated. I considered making a second cake and attempting perfection but as this is the cake my family ate with much enjoyment I decided that it was perfect enough.

Coffee Cream Cake

Grease and line the base of an 8 inch (20cm) deep cake tin

Put the following ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well
6oz (170g) self-raising flour, 
6oz (170g) soft butter
6oz (170g) caster sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 180°c (160°c fan oven) for 35-40 minutes.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for until it is cool enough for you to invert it onto a plate. This will give you a nice flat surface to spread the cream on, it's not essential though.

Make about 5 fl oz (150ml) of coffee. I used instant coffee and cold water, mum says the original recipe used Camp Coffee Essence which I think would have been sweetened.

Pour the coffee gradually over the cake. Tilting the plate will help the coffee penetrate every part of the cake. As you pour it's a good idea to carefully lift the edges of the cake to see if the coffee has begun to seep out of the cake. If it has, then you probably have enough coffee in your cake.

Next whip up about 7 fl oz (200ml) double cream and spread all over the top and sides of the cake. Store in the fridge until you're ready to eat it. Leftovers must also be stored in the fridge and eaten up fairly quickly because of the cream.

Freezing tip
The cake without the coffee and cream will freeze well making it handy for emergency Can't Be Arsed puddings (see previous post), just make sure you have some cream and coffee around.

Variations

I haven't tried it but I think there's probably room for alcohol in this cake -a splash of Tia Maria or rum with the coffee.

A mocha version. I haven't tried this either but I think it would be good. Make a simple chocolate cake with cocoa and proceed as above. Some grated chocolate sprinkled over the cream perhaps.




* A job which involved showing housewives how to use electric cookers and other appliances and also occasionally skivvying for the likes of Fanny Cradock (a bitch by all accounts), Marguerite Patten and Mary Berry (both very nice).

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Puddings For When You Can't Be Arsed

35

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sometimes there has to be pudding. And by pudding I do not mean fresh fruit. I mean sugar, carbs and cream. Oh yes.

When the urge for sweet carby comfort strikes and desire to make any kind of effort does not, try one of these ideas. 

1) Chocolate toasties


Make sandwiches of white bread and chopped up chocolate. Butter the outsides of the bread and fry them in a non-stick pan. Weight them down with a heavy pan to speed melting if you are really desperate to stuff your face. Cream on top is good, as is vanilla ice cream.


2) Jam toasties and cream
My mum used to make these for us when we were little. Same principle as the chocolate toasties but with jam. Cream is essential here I think, or crème fraïche. The jam will be very hot so try to restrain yourself for a while to let it cool.

3) Bananas and Cream

Another one from my mum. Sliced bananas, brown sugar, handful of sultanas mixed with whipped cream. Nuts are a definite possibility.

4) Bread, Syrup and Clotted Cream


White bread, clotted cream and golden syrup. Absolutely gorgeous.

5) Water biscuits, crème fraîche and quince jelly
A lovely little pud. Spread water biscuits with crème fraîche and top with quince jelly. Also lovely with greengage or apricot jam. Really, any jam or jelly you fancy.

Finally two from the blog vaults



Useful ingredients to keep at hand when you must have pudding
  • Bread -white is really what you need in these situations.
  • Frozen part-baked croissants. These ones from Waitrose are brilliant but you will have to wait 20 minutes for them to bake. Fill them with clotted cream and jam, fruit, squares of chocolate or Nutella.
  • Puff pastry -you can get this in a block or ready rolled sheets. It takes about 20 minutes to bake. Spread a baked sheet of it with cream or ready-made custard and top with berries or sliced bananas and chopped nuts.Or make little chocolate sandwiches with uncooked pastry and bake. Nutella would work here too
  • Bars of chocolate. There is an obvious danger here that you might eat them before they are needed for pudding emergencies. I find, surprisingly, that I manage to leave plain dark chocolate alone.
  • Jams and jellies.
  • Golden syrup, honey, maple syrup.
  • Nutella -just spread it on bread and you have pudding.
  • Sugar. Obviously. Dark brown sugar is very good with bananas and cream.
  • Dried fruit.
  • Nuts.
  • Desiccated coconut.
  • Creamy stuff -clotted cream, crème fraîche, double cream or thick yogurt.

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In My Kitchen

26

Sunday, 22 June 2014

In my kitchen last week.













~ Strawberries on a striped teatowel (again)
~ A breakfast of toast and homemade lemon curd.
~ Fluorescent chorizo meatballs made by mixing equal quantities of  skinned cooking chorizo and ordinary sausages.
~ Washing up to be done 
~ Cashew noodles
~ Hummus, carrot and salad rolls for lunch
~  Bacon. Yum
~ Leftover-spaghetti frittata
~ Cumbrian air-dried ham
~ Chicken in a bath of lemon juice and olive oil, rosemary, peppercorns and garlic waiting for the grill.
~ Cherry ripe
~ Goosegogs and elderflowers for a crumble.


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A Merry Midsummer

12

Saturday, 21 June 2014



A merry midsummer's day to you. We always celebrate midsummer because it's also Charlie's birthday, but the summer solstice is a lovely festival to mark birthdays or not. I like very much what Laura has to say about it here.


Flowers and food are good and simple ways of marking this turning point in the year. Roses, lady's mantle and feverfew.


For a perfect midsummer-birthday meal  marinate chicken for a couple of hours in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary and lots of cracked black peppercorns. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt before grilling. Serve with a salad of green leaves.



Follow with these easy strawberry tartlets. The recipe is from Eliza Acton's wonderful Modern Cookery For Private Families published in 1845. They are indeed good as Eliza says, especially so with clotted cream.



Midsummers Past

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Where I Blog

39

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

I've been lusting after a little workspace of my own, something like these. I already have the perfect desk, an antique scrubbed pine table with a drawer in it -a bit like this one. It was a birthday present from my parents many years ago. I would love to turn it into a little creative blogging space but unfortunately it has been appropriated by teenagers as a computer desk for our desktop pc. One day though, I will get my hands back on it and set it up against a wall with a pretty noticeboard or shelves above. I will stand a jug of flowers on it and have a line of empty Golden Syrup tins filled with pens and knitting needles. There will be a stylish desk lamp and post-it notes of every colour.

Meanwhile, I have my half of the sofa. Do excuse the poor photo, I'm better with close-ups.


My half of the sofa does the job. I have everything I need at hand plus I can gaze out of the window (or at the telly). What about you, do you have a workspace of your own, for blogging or other purposes? Perhaps you have a studio or do you make do like me?


Good heavens, someone with a huge arse has been sitting in my chair!



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