**Update Farmhouse Fruit cake**

 

Hubby asked if I would make this cake for him again. Last time I made this cake the fruit, disappointedly, sank to the bottom ( first photo) and even though it still tasted good I vowed that when I made this cake again I would get the fruit perfectly distributed through out.

The original recipe advised to use 450 grams of self raising flour and to use two tablespoons from this amount to toss the fruit in. However, this time I added the whole amount of 450 grams of flour to the batter. I then used an extra 2 heaping tablespoons of flour to cover the fruit in.

Once I had made up the batter, I mixed in some of the dried fruit, but keep a few handfuls back. I added some of the batter to the bottom of the cake tin, then added a layer of dried fruit, then added the rest of the batter on top and then added the remaining fruit on top. I then used the back of a spoon to carefully press down on the fruit so that it was submerged slightly into the batter.

The photo above left shows the previous attempt and the photo on the right shows the attempt with the above changes. So much better this time around, lovely fruit all dotted about the cake. It looks so pretty now as well!

 

 

 

Chocolate Orange Cake and Sunday Shenanigans

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How gorgeous is this location !

I dragged my hubbie to watch the horse trials at Floors Castle on Sunday, and according to him ” they were all guilty”. Groan……. him and his naff jokes. He says this one every time about horse trials.

 

He isn’t overly enamoured with horses ( to be honest most farmers/ agric’s I’ve met aren’t and he often refers to them as hay burners! ) so to appease him whilst there I treated him to a hog roast, which he said wasn’t as good as mine! Awww hubbie is a sweetie. I was very pleased with that compliment. He also got ice cream, which keep him quiet for all of 10 seconds.

Once home, I also decided to make him a cake to thank him for spending the whole day surrounded by horses. Cake is definitely the way we show love in our house! He loves chocolate oranges and chocolate orange flavoured desserts so I decided to make Chocolate Orange Cake. It is also a cake that I always have the ingredients for and its so simple to whip up that I don’t actually need to look at a written recipe,however due to this I’m not entirely sure were it originally came from. I have a feeling it could be a Nigella recipe but from which book or show I’m not sure! Also apart from the 50 mins cooking time, it really takes no time at all to make.

Now if you don’t like orange or marmalade then this is not the cake for you unless you substitute the marmalade for another kind of preserve or jam. Although I haven’t yet done this so not sure which flavours would work best,maybe raspberry or strawberry would work well with the dark chocolate or even substituting the dark choc for white choc along with the raspberry jam would add a whole new dynamic. Plenty ways to jazz this one up to suit individual tastes.

Ingredients

150 grams of butter, 100 grams of dark chocolate, 2 beaten eggs, 150 grams of caster sugar, pinch of salt, 300 grams of thick cut marmalade ( I prefer thick cut so you get lovely bits of yummy marmalade dotted throughout the cake) , 150 grams of self raising flour, tablespoon of icing sugar- see, very easy to remember!

Pre-heat  oven to 180°C and grease a 8 inch cake tin.

In a saucepan start to melt the butter, then once nearly melted add the chocolate. Take off the heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Then add the beaten eggs, sugar, salt and marmalade and mix until well combined. The mixture does appear quite lumpy at this point but that’s just the marmalade, no need to worry. Then add the flour in small amounts to the mixture and whisk until combined. See, very simple recipe!

Once combined add the mixture to your cake tin and bake for between 40-50 mins.

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Remove from oven, leave to cool and remove from cake tin. Using a sieve give the top of the cake a dusting with icing sugar. Then serve with a cuppa and enjoy.

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Creative Blogger Award Nomination

Wow, I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve not been able to properly thank Kristy from Palatable Adventures for the lovely nomination for Creative Blogger. So big THANK YOU Kristy!!!

When I started blogging I didn’t think any one would read my blog, so I’m over the moon that not only have I been meeting lots of lovely new people but that you guys have been following and enjoying my blog too.

I am really enjoying Kristy’s blog, and finding out about her life in Texas. Her love of her family really comes across in her posts. She has great recipes and is setting herself the challenge of teaching herself and her girls new recipes. What a great Mum! Oh and she’s not afraid to put up her wedding photo on her blog!

Five Facts  ( not very interesting ones!) about me

  1. I love horse riding.
  2. I practically mainline coffee.
  3. I am terrified of flying!
  4. I’ve stayed in a Yurt.
  5. I wear my mums engagement ring on my right hand.

Nominations- this was the difficult bit as there are so many great blogs that I follow!

I don’t know if you guys take part in nominations and if you can’t or don’t want to that’s cool.  I must admit I wasn’t too sure about doing nominations/ Award thingies as there is an element of chain letters about them ( remember those??) and I didn’t generally do those. I do remember some chains would threaten bad luck if you broke the chain! Eck!!!

However, I would imagine that the spirit behind nominations and these awards are to encourage bloggers and show others how much you enjoy their blog. Its a acknowledgement of all the hard work that goes into blogging, and it’s brill that other bloggers have taken the time to tell you ( me) this, so I decided to give it a go.

Also I am using it as an opportunity to let you guys know that I think your blogs are fab. Keep up the good work everyone!

  1. Frugalhausfrau– She comes up with great, mouth watering recipes. I’ve tried a few of her recipes and loved the results.
  2. Lynzrealcooking– Her writing captures her emotions and paints the events in her life so vividly. She is one brave woman.Not too mention her recipes are awesome.
  3. A Texans view of upstate New York– Great blog about the life and adventures of an musical army wife.
  4. Life in mud splattered boots– Anne lives in the country too, but at the opposite end of the country from me. I love reading about she gets up to on her farm and her recipes. Photos are great and captures the lovely countryside she lives in well.
  5. Pennys food blog– Every post looks so so yummy and the recipes are varied and easy to follow. Have book marked many of her recipes and hope to get around to making some soon.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Share five facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate 5 bloggers and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you included.
  5. Keep the rules in your post.

 

No Churn Crunchie Ice Cream and No Scottish Summer!

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I was very premature in thinking a couple of sunny days meant Summer had arrived and of course Summer meant eating ice lollys and ice cream to cool down with. Unfortuntely Scottish Summer lasted all of about 5 seconds and in the same day we had wind, rain and snow! It reeks havoc with my wardrobe decisions I tell ya!

However, while the sun was in the sky I did manage to whip up some home made no churn ice cream. I’m also fortunate that my hubbie will eat ice cream come sun, rain or snow. He has even been known to get an ice cream cone from the local ice cream shop on a Winters day and go for a walk eating his ice cream. According to him its the best time to eat ice cream because the temperature is so cold, it doesn’t melt and drip all over your hand before you’ve had a chance to eat it all! There is crazy logic there somewhere which has me thinking  ( and not for the first time) that hubbie is either an evil genius or slightly mad or,  since in most movies the evil genius that trys to take over the word is mad, both.

This is a great recipe if, like me, you don’t own an ice cream maker ( I stay in Scotland, so refer back to first paragraph for the reason why I don’t own one!).

Ingredients

600ml Double cream

200 grams of condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

3 crunchie bars ( chocolate covered honeycomb)

Combine the cream, condensed milk and vanilla in the mixing bowl on your stand mixer and mix until thick.

Place the crunchies in a sandwich bag and use a rolling pin to bash into chunks, a mix of big bits and small bits. Fold the crunchie bits into the cream/milk mixture.

Pour the mix into a container that you can put in the freezer. If you have crunchies left ( I didn’t) you could sprinkle some over the top before covering container with cling film and with the container lid. I usually place in the Freezer overnight.

The cream and condensed milk is your basic recipe, which you can add anything to, to make different flavours of ice cream such as the variations below:

Coffee: Make up some coffee and add a tablespoon or so ( dependant on your tastes and kind of coffee) to the cream and milk and mix together well until thick.

Chocolate: Add some cocoa powder, about 3/4 cup to the cream ( add more to taste depending on how rich you like your chocolate ice cream), condensed milk and vanilla, then mix well until thick. Fold in chopped chips.

Rocky Road: Make the chocolate ice cream. Fold in some chopped chips and/ or chopped nuts and bashed digestives to the mix along with mini marshmallows

Mint Choc Chip: Replace the vanilla with some peppermint extract and also add some green food colouring to the cream/ milk and mix well. Fold in some chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.

Caramel: Add some caramel sauce to the already mixed cream/milk mixture and fold well. You could add some salt too to make Salted Caramel.

Oreo: Fold in some bashed up Oreos to the basic ice cream mix.

Or just add your favourite sweetie or candy!

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Good Gingerbread

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Some of my cookery books, can you spot two books that are clearly not cookery books?? Not sure how they found their way onto that shelf!

 

Forgive me fellow bloggers, its been 15 days since my last blog post! Life has been hectic recently and the days and hours seem to be running away from me. Not enough time in the day, I need more than 24 hours to function in my crazy life. I also apologise if I’ve not responded to comments or tags, major catching up to do!

Despite being incommunicado, I have still managed to whip up a few recipes to share with you. I have also found some new ( well new to me) cookbooks to add to my ever expanding collection.

I have found that, along with cooking and baking, my new hobby also involves browsing for and collecting cookery books. I have always loved reading and books, hence why my Masters is in Library studies, but I have also started to comb charity shops and secondhand books shops for interesting cookbooks to add to my collection as well as still searching for history books, classic literature and the odd Jackie Collins or Jilly Cooper book ( don’t judge me!).

My recent finds include Delia Smiths, Book of Cakes, 3rd Edition ( 1991) for the bargain price of 1p and Mrs Beatons Everyday cookery for £1.99 ( 1977). I love finding old cookbooks and whilst some of the recipes I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, such as Fried Cows Heal ( my hubbie would probably eat that!), there are still alot of good and classic recipes and they are great for developing cookery skills.

I do also love that these older books as they often have scribbles from their former owners,such as recipes, handwritten dedications  and even signatures from the author themselves. Delia’s book was obviously originally gifted as the scribble in the front indicates.

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Whilst picking up these books I also managed to get a sweet denim jacket by FCUK for £4.99, Bargain!

From Mrs Beetons Cookbook, I decided to make, “Good Gingerbread“and it is aptly named ‘cos this stuff was goooooddd, even with substitutions I made.

SAM_6681The recipe calls for 8oz of plain flour, however I had run out of plain so I used 8oz of self raising flour and omitted the barcarbonate of soda, 2 level teaspoons of ground cinnamon,1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 level teaspoons of mixed spice, 2 level teaspoons of ground ginger. The original recipe used crystallized ginger however as I didn’t have any I added another 1/2 teaspoon of ginger , 2 oz of raisins, 2 0z ground almonds ( the recipe calls for blanched and chopped, but ground was all I had), 4 oz margarine or butter, 4 oz of treacle, 4 oz of sugar and 2 eggs.

Grease and line a 7inch round tin. Preheat oven to about 160C.

Mix the flour, salt, spices, raisins, almonds together in a bowl.

Melt the margarine, treacle and sugar together in a saucepan then add to the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and also add to the dry ingredients. Mix together well. If the recipe is stiff, then you can add some warm milk to get a more dropping consistency, however I didn’t require to do this.

I love the vivid yellow of the eggs against the black of the treacle!

Pour mix into the prepared tin and place in the oven.

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I could eat this now, spoonful by spoonful!

 

The recipe stated it would bake for 1 3/4 – 2 hours! However, when baking using old recipes always take the times with a pinch of salt, as modern ovens are much more efficient so recipes usually require less time.

I checked the cake at 58 mins and it was still wet, I checked 15 mins later and it was slightly over done. The top sides of the cake were slightly blackened and some the inside of the cake towards the edges were dry. In hindsight I should have checked the cake again after 5 minutes, then if it still wasn’t not ready then checked again after another 5 mins. So between 1 hour 5 mins- 10 mins probably would have been adequate time for this cake ( well in my oven anyway!)

Despite this, the cake had a really lovely flavour to it, and a wee drop of butter spread on top sorted out any dryness!

By the time I got around to taking a picture of the cake, hubbie had attacked it and this was what remained……

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