Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carrot Cake ... Cooking is my new creative path....for the moment.

My creative ‘Mojo’ has, as many of you may know, gone walkabout but as I sat there musing over the disappearance I realized that I had discovered a  creative culinary  path. The family meals have been a little more inventive and I have turned my hands to cakes again …with my twist. I don’t do ‘Fancy’ …I like to call them  ‘Rustic’ cakes and I thought I would share with you my take on Carrot Cake.

I wanted to create one that had no need for icing and contained no nuts …the former tends to make it a rich delicacy rather than  a more everyday treat and the later gets stuck in my teeth.
This is so moist  yet not stodgy and you don’t need to get the mixer out …not even the hand one. If you feel the need for a frosting there are so many on the web to choose from and if you really need nuts in it you could reduce the sultanas to between 50g and 75g and stir in 50 g of  chopped Walnuts or Pecans, when you add the carrots.


Pre-heat oven  ….200C … prep 2x 1lb tins. Or I x 2lb

1 lime …Zest and juice
100g Sultanas
90g SR flour
85g Wholemeal SR Flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Allspice
(Use more, up to 4tsp in total, if you desire ….Mixed Spice would work well too as would a grating of  fresh nutmeg.)
140g Soft dark brown sugar ... (or light brown)
140g grated carrot ..this is about 2 medium carrots grated on the large holes.
150 ml sunflower oil ....(I used a light one)
2 eggs

Zest the lime into a small bowl …add the juice and then the sultanas …stir well and set aside for a few  hours (or over night if you are that organized)…or pop in micro for a minute if disorganized, ...stir well, and then use when cool.

Weigh out the flours into a large bowl …add the spices and Bicarbonate of soda.
Add the sugar and mix gently into the flour  with your fingers, followed by the grated carrot.
Set aside and prepare the eggs and oil …. and have the sultanas ready, giving them a final stir

Using a balloon whisk ( or a fork if you have a good wrist)  mix oil and eggs together thoroughly …. they become creamy.
Stir the sultana mix gently into the flour mix and then stir in the egg mix quickly and thoroughly.
As soon as everything is mixed together, divide into the two tins and cook for about 40 mins ..
If using one tin, cook for about  1hr but test with a skewer , which should come out clean.

This has a flat top …well mine does …but it is still  fluffy and moist….and yummy ... if I say so myself.

Take Care xx

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Marmalade Cake ...with a twist

I read the other day that Marmalade Cakes originated  here in Scotland and that the first Marmalade made with Oranges was made in Dundee in the 1700’s….before that it probably was a spread made with Quinces.
In my 70’s recipe collection, that I found the other week, I have a Marmalade cake recipe which I will try out again and put  on here if I’m happy with it, but today  I made this one, which I made because Vicki is allergic to Oranges.

                                 MARMALADE CAKE …with a twist (Lime and coconut)

1lb loaf tin  …170C …I hour .... in middle of oven

200g SR Flour
Pinch salt
115g Margarine or butter
30g desiccated coconut
2tsp boiling water
85g Caster Sugar
The finely grated peel/zest of a lime
2 eggs
2tbs Milk
2-3 rounded tablespoons Lime Marmalade

Pour the boiling water over the coconut stir to moisten  and set aside
Add the grated lime to the  eggs, milk and marmalade and whisk together …set aside
Rub in the margarine to the flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and  then the coconut , rubbing gently for a few seconds, in between the additions so that they are well mixed.
Finally stir in the milk mixture and as soon as the batter has formed , spoon into the lined loaf tin.

Cook for 1hour middle of the oven ….check at about 50mins if going a dark golden….mine was ready about 10 mins early today
Always check to see if cooked with a thin wooden skewer ..
Leave in the tin for 5 mins before removing it to cool on a rack .

While warm  the top can be topped with a lime drizzle….Just dissolve a little caster sugar in the juice from the lime and brush it all over the top….I tend not to bother but it does enhance the lime flavour.
My tin is a smallish 1lb tin so it just goes over the edge …I think I might try it in a 6” round cake tin next time.

If you try this, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Take Care xx

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For my 'Cat People' Friends ....So Many Vet Bills ...but we love them.

With twenty cats it is not surprising to have had several sick cats over the past little while …poor Felix, our perfect tuxedo cat, got in a fight out side, which we were aware of by the chunks of missing hair appearing on his head but a few days later he seemed to be having trouble with his eye …we bathed it for a few days but eventually we took him to the vet …his eye had been scratched  and there was a scar forming ….sadly the creams didn’t really help his sight and he is now almost blind in that eye and it affects his depth perception. He is a cat who is only happy out side and sleeping on top of the kitchen cabinets at night …several times a week he falls, as he tries to jump up on to the cupboard ….and  I worry about him out side …. but he just could never be a totally inside cat even though he is a softy at heart.


 Rusty is our main problem …the vet is pretty sure he has severe Irritable Bowl Syndrome …it is a familial complaint which means Barnaby and Ellie may suffer to a lesser degree, as he is their uncle. Ellie’s only symptom  is wind …unbelievably smelly gas from both ends. Barnaby still has to eat kitten food or he gets diarrhoea that is more like water..  Rusty has to have a diet of chicken and rice …the sachets are not cheap so I tried preparing my own …worked out less than half the price …. would he eat it???? …who was I kidding. We will try again and then later try to wean him off the chicken but so far, it just results in his bowel bleeding. The vet has intemated he could be on it for life.



and                                                 ELLIE

    Rosie also has similar problems but we find by giving her bowel a rest for a few days,  she is fine for quite a while…not sure whether its IBS or that she eats things she shouldn‘t, when  out side.
Smudge has so far only had one seizure …not sure what caused it but the vet said it was quite common in cats around  7 years old …he may never have another but if he does he will have to become an inside cat and be medicated. It took a week for him to get over the effect …he just wanted to sleep and be with Jay, his ‘mummy‘. When it happened we had no idea except that he threw himself into the tiniest house space on the climbing pillar, which we thought was funny and Jay took photos …which we now feel bad about …it was only when he emerged and walked as though he has had a stroke that we realized there was a problem. I didn’t know, until the vet told us, that cats try to run away from the fit and want to be in a tiny area. They ignore all the signs that tell them the space is too small and so many get stuck …for this reason we should keep him in but as he has not had another fit and cries so pitifully to go out we decided to let him out before meals, which the vet said would be OK unless he fits again. So far he only stays out for a short time in this cold weather and is happy to spend the rest of the day sleeping.


Just thought I'd keep you Cat Folk in the loop as you all have been there and have the T-Shirt.
Sorry about the spacing ...blogger was playing up ...maybe its me !! Take Care xx

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Recipe from the 70's ...American muffins

I found some old recipes of mine, from when I was a young Mum in the 1970’s …thought I would try a few again and share them with you.... this is the first one ....Muffins ....nearly forgot to take a photo though.... half already had been eaten..

 My American Muffins

8oz S R Flour
1 ½ oz caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 ½ level tsp baking power
4oz dried fruit …any mixture
4 tbs melted margarine
8 fl oz milk
1 egg

Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan…either oil and flour or use cupcake cases

Heat oven  to 190C, (400F, Gas mark 5)  and then melt the margarine in a pan …set aside, but keep warm
Put all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and give them a mix.
Whisk the egg until it is frothy and then  stir into to the milk
Pour milk mixture into the dry mix and stir rapidly
As soon as it is mixed, pour in the margarine and incorporate it to create a batter.
As soon as the batter is formed spoon it into the cups or cases …about ¾ full makes the 12.

Bake for about 20 minutes …ovens vary …test at 15 mins with a  skewer, if unsure

These are not too sweet ...great for breakfast if you use dried cranberries.... great with a cup of tea if you need a snack ...there was a note to use chopped dates as a variation ...think I must try that too.

Take Care xx.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Friday Smile

I may not be into crafty things at the moment and I am just getting back into  the swing of blogging but I felt it was time to join in on Twiglets/Wipso's Friday Smile posts ...everyone needs to smile.


Several times yesterday, I removed a Playmobil helmet from Barnaby ...those with children/grand kids will know what I'm talking about ... but as I was sitting by the laptop he thought I wouldn't notice him retrieving it...was he kidding. ...luckily the camera was at hand.

And this is what was going on behind me ...the green is my butt ...Ellie and Rusty think the chair is theirs. Taking the photo was no mean feat.

Hope these made you smile

Take Care xx

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Dining Alone ... and feline ailments

Having a meal out when you are single ...especially a widow, as once you had a rock to sit by and aimlessly chat to ... can be a difficult experience. Waiters quickly pounce ... in order to get you served and away as soon as possible ...after all you are using up a space that could seat two and  thus produce twice the cash.
 Of course if you are under a certain age and 'eye candy' to those serving, you might not be rushed .... if you take the waiters fancy. 
I am naturally a fast eater... main and a dessert could be completed in less than 30 mins so something had to be done. I began to create a plan of action to enable me to enjoy at least an hour in a restaurant and I thought I would share it with you.

 Firstly the menu slowly least twice ...but do not catch the waiters eye until you are really ready. I find a rummage in my handbag a useful delay....a little note book and pen might be useful later... a book tends to suggest you are often it in full view, before you order
.When appraoched to make your order, be ready to ask questions ....sensible informed ones.
While waiting for your meal to be served take in the surroundings and those around you ... observations fill in time without you looking like a spare part. long as you dont stare too hard or look as though you are listening in on some ones conversation... I love being secretly nosey though.
Learn to eat slowly if you are a fast eater normally can actually put your knife and fork down during the course!!. Always have a drink there, even if its water a reason to slow the intake of food, as one sips at the liquid on and off.
When the meal is over it is useful to partake in a coffee to delay the bill paying and susequent departure.  This however may not be required so this is when the note book comes into play. If you enjoy writing, jot down any observations that might be useful in the future ...if not, jot down the meal you had and your favourite bits. I find that while you are writing, waiters steer clear ....after all you could be a critic and they really wouldn't want to rush you.!

Must get back to posting more often ...some of our felines have not been well which has delayed things. Did you know cats get IBS? well I didn't ....or  that they rush into dangerously tiny spaces when having a feline epileptic seizure escape the fit.? ....more about this on a later post

Take Care xx