Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cherry and Almond Loaf

Another loaf recipe - this time Cherry and Almond.  I never manage to stop the cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cake - any tips are welcome.  I cut them into halves and washed them, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  It still tasted good and is another easy cake - it keeps well too because of the ground almonds in it.

Cherry and Almond Loaf
Spot the cherries!


  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 200g soft butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g glace cherries - halved, washed and dried.


  • Preheat the oven to 150' Celsius.
  • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  • Mix all the ingredients apart from the cherries with an electric whisk until well combined.
  • Stir in the cherries.
  • Bake in the oven for 1.5 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Rugby Weekend in Cardiff

No food in this blog entry, just some pictures of my weekend in Cardiff.  We were there to watch the rugby - Wales vs Australia at the Millennium Stadium.  

Welcome to Cardiff sign
Welcome to Cardiff!

We stayed in the Maldron Hotel - highly recommended and in a great position.

Maldron Hotel Cardiff
My room in the hotel.

 The room was on the fourth floor and had good views of the city and stadium.

Millennium Stadium
View of the stadium from my room.

St Mary's Street Cardiff
St Mary's Street from my room.

Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle in the distance.

 Some pictures from the game:

Wales v Australia Cardiff
Pre match build up.

Wales Australia Goat
Both teams and the goat sing the anthems.

Wales v Australia 2012
Fighting for the ball.

Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips.

We were in the lead until the final 30 seconds, when Australia scored their try.  Back to the hotel for food and drinks to drown our sorrows!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Classic Flapjacks

More flapjacks, this time a traditional recipe.  I made them to have in the car on the way to Cardiff to watch the Wales v Australia Rugby game.  This is an easy recipe, it only takes minutes to put together then its just a matter of waiting for them to cook.

Classic Flapjacks
I'm still getting to grips with the new camera.


  • 250g oats
  • 150g butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 75g golden syrup


  • Preheat the oven to 160' Celsius.
  • Line a 8" square tin.
  • Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the oats until well combined.
  • Put the mixture into the tin and press down.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • Cut into 16 while hot and leave in the tin to cool.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


I have made Moussaka a few times in the past, and each time I try and improve on the previous recipe.  This one got positive comments, so here's it is.  It may look complicated but the component parts are simple to make, and a lot can be done in advance.  This serves 6 people and is good with a Greek salad and some bread.

Moussaka - worth the effort.

Meat Sauce

This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge overnight until needed.  The key to having a final dish that keeps its shape when served is to cook this until all the liquid has evaporated.   


  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500g minced lamb
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • In a large pan, heat the oil over a medium heat.
  • Add the lamb and onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until browned.
  • Add the tomato puree and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, on a low heat for 45 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated.  
  • Discard the cinnamon stick.


Some recipes use just aubergines, but I like a mixture of aubergine and potato.  Some (or all) of the aubergines can be replaced with courgettes if you prefer.  The vegetables can be prepared  in advance: keep the grilled aubergines in the fridge and the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water.


  • 3 medium aubergines
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Cut the aubergines into 0.5cm width slices.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season well.
  • Cook under a hot grill until browned (you may have to do this in batches).
  • Turn the slices over and oil, season and grill.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into 0.5cm width slices.

Cheese Sauce

This can be made in advance and kept over night in the fridge.


  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain four
  • 500ml milk
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs 
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Melt the butter, take off the heat and stir in the flour.
  • Gradually add the milk and stir over a low heat until it has thickened into a smooth sauce.
  • Add the Parmesan and stir in.
  • Season well.
  • When the sauce has cooled, whisk in the eggs.



  • meat sauce
  • vegetables
  • cheese sauce
  • 25g Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 160' Celsius.
  • Layer half the aubergine slices in a large rectangular dish.
  • Cover with half the potato slices, the half of the meat sauce.
  • Repeat, aubergines, potatoes, meat sauce.
  • Cover with the cheese sauce then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, checking occasionally, and turn down the heat if it is browning too much.
  • Take out of the oven, and let it stand for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Almond and Honey Loaf

This is a similar recipe to the lemon drizzle cake.  It has the same proportions of ingredients, but half the sugar is replaced with honey and some of the flour is replaced with ground almonds (the amount of baking powder is increased slightly because of this).  It is an easy recipe and the cake goes well with a cup of coffee.

Honey and almond loaf
Honey and almond loaf



  • 50g ground almonds
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g softened butter
  • 87.5g caster sugar
  • 87.5g honey
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence 
  • 50g flaked almonds


  • 2 tbsp honey



  • preheat the oven to 160' Celsius.
  • line a 2lb loaf tin.
  • mix all the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds together with an electric whisk for a few minutes until well combined.
  • put the mixture into the tin, level out then scatter over the flaked almonds.
  • bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.


  • while the cake is still warm drizzle over the honey.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Individual Mini Lemon Drizzle Loaves

This is the first blog post I've written in a while.  Its been a busy few weeks.  Also, I dropped and broke my camera so its back to photographs taken on my phone until I get a replacement.

Mum was organizing a fund raising Coffee Morning for the local RNLI.  This was my contribution to the sale.  The individual mini loaf cases were from Lakeland.  The recipe makes 12 individual mini loaves.  I must thank nephew E and niece G for their help with this recipe - they are hoping to see me one day on the Great British Bake Off!

Individual Lemon Drizzle Loaves
Not the best photograph but they still look quite impressive!



  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder


  • 100g granulated sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon



  • Preheat the oven to 160' Celsius.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder and lemon rind with an electric hand whisk until well combined.
  • Place the individual cases onto a flat baking sheet - I had to use 2 small sheets to fit them all without squashing.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases - each one took roughly 3 teaspoons.  Fill them as equally as possible.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.


  • Mix the sugar with the lemon juice until well combined.
  • Make approximately 6 holes in the top of each cake with a skewer.
  • While the cakes are still warm, divide the icing evenly over the cakes. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bakewell Flapjacks

This was another new recipe for me - a flapjack combined with a Bakewell tart.  I found lots of different variations on line so picked bits from recipes that I liked the look of.  I like flapjacks to be chewy so I cooked them on a fairly low heat.  They were a success - sweet and soft with a good almond flavour - a recipe to make again.

Bakewell Flapjacks
Bakewell Flapjacks.


  • 200g oats
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 150g butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 75g golden syrup
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • 50g flaked almonds 
  • 4tbsp raspberry jam


  • Preheat the oven to 160' centigrade.
  • Line a square 8" tin
  • Melt the butter in the microwave then add the syrup and brown sugar and almond extract.
  • Mix well until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the oats and ground almonds and mix again until well combined.
  • Put half the mixture in a thin layer in the tin, push down till flat with the back of a spoon.
  • Warm the jam in the microwave then roughly cover in the tin.
  • Cover with the remainder of the oat mixture and press down.
  • Scatter over the flaked almonds.
  • Cook for 25 - 35 minutes.
  • Cut into 16 while hot, but leave in the tin to cool before taking out.