Archive for the 'Cakes & Food' Category

Creative cooking with Courgettes (Zucchini)

Since taking on an allotment plot in May this year we’ve now started to enjoy lots of fresh produce. I grew 8 courgette plants from seed – 50% too many I think! We’ve had masses of courgettes so have being trying all kinds of recipes to use them up. Here are some of the results…

Suffed Courgettes – not my favourite way of eating courgette, I think these look nicer than they tasted. The recipe used ricotta cheese as the base which was a bit bland for me. Too fiddly.

Stuffed Courgettes

Stuffed Courgettes

These, on the other hand, were scrummy. I love savoury muffins and these are packed with flavour – diced courgette and red pepper, brie, cheddar and chorizo. Packed with calories too!.

Courgette, Red Pepper, Brie and Chorizo Muffins

Courgette, Red Pepper, Brie and Chorizo Muffins

This cake recipe is so easy, I’ve made four already! I’ve tried freezing it and it works really well. The texture and flavourings are similar to carrot cake – a very satisfying eat. The recipe is from ‘Bake’ by Rachel Allenย (it’s actually called courgette/zucchini bread). You can find the recipe at Maine{iac} Baker.

Courgette and Walnut Cake

Courgette and Walnut Cake

Another muffin recipe, grated courgette and sesame seeds – not as tasty as the other ones but really good instead of bread to eat with cold meats and cheese (and homemade courgette chutney!).

Courgette and Sesame Seed Muffins

Courgette and Sesame Seed Muffins

Mr Sock made this excellent courgette and cheese bread. It should have been a plait but unfortunately by the time the oven was free for it to get baked, it had spread itself across the whole tin! Not a bad thing, we had long thin slices rather than short round ones.

Cheesy Courgette Bread

Cheesy Courgette Bread

We’ve also had them griddled with a coating of olive oil and seasoning, as fritters, in roasted veg tray bakes, as an alternative to aubergine in moussaka (that was very delicious – I like it better), thin strips raw in salads, I’ve even made spicy courgette chutney which goes very nicely with Indian foods.

If anyone has other suggestions please share them as the courgettes are still growing ๐Ÿ™‚

Rhubarb & Orange Cake

ย rhubarb orange cake2

rhubarb orange cake magAfter umming and ahhing whether or not to spend 3 quid on 400g of rhubarb (that’s an outrageous ยฃ1 per stick!) I decided to give it a go. And wow, this cake is so delicious, I’m glad I did. The recipe is in the May issue of Good Food magazine. Alongside the rhubarb some of the other ingredients you need are an orange, a 100g bag of ground almonds and almost a whole block of butter – naughty! It’s rich, fragrant, buttery, moist and very fruity. The rhubarb is chopped into good sized chunks and sits in sugar for about 30mins before getting stirred into the batter mix so you keep coming across lovely sweet pillows of soft fruit.

It took about 20mins longer to cook than the recipe stated but I think that’s more to do with our rubbish oven! That’s probably why it sunk a bit too much in the middle as I kept taking it out to do the skewer test.

We’ve been eating it with a dollop of mascarpone cheese sprinkled with icing sugar and a steaming cup of black filter coffee. Delightful – definitely one to bake again. I must keep my eyes open for a better deal on the price of rhubarb though.

If you fancy giving it a try but don’t want to buy the mag there’s a very similar recipe on the Waitrose site.

Berry picking for Booze making

Today we nipped up to Donnington Castle on a search for berries. The sun came out for a bit but it was very windy, so we put wellies & coats on to protect from scratches and possible rain.

Almost immediately we found sloes

And there were plenty of brambles all over the place, although it looked like there might have been quite a few visitors before us. As is often the case with blackberries they don’t just grow in the hedgerow, they often abound around dilapidated buildings – we found quiteย  a lot here…

Off home to give the sloes and blackberries a soaking in Miltons sterilising fluid – mixed with plenty of water of course. I only found out recently that it could be used to sterilise food and I’m glad we used it – there were some horribble wigglers that came out of the blackberries!

I spotted an article in the October Gardeners’ World mag for using any kind of berry, sloes, damsons etc with a spirit such as gin, vodka, tequila, brandy – and caster sugar. So that’s what we’ve done! One bottle of blackberry & sloe gin, one of blackberry & sloe vodka, then one each of blackberry gin & blackberry vodka. It looks such a pretty colour already…

For the first week you shake the bottles whenever you pass them, then put them in a dark place and shake them once a week for 3 months. I was a bit disappointed to find that you have to keep it for a year before drinking though… Until I re-read the instructions and realised that after the 3 month period you strain & decant and it’s ready. It keeps for up to a year!

So by my calculations we should have our lovely pink berry gin & vodka ready to drink on Christmas Day! We couldn’t have planned it better ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers

Homemade Lemon Curd

I had a hankering to get the ice cream maker out last weekend to make something to complement a very rich chocolate cake I planned on baking.

I came across a really easy Lemon Curd Ice Cream recipe over at No Fear Entertaining blogspot and decided I’d also have a go at making the Lemon Curd too. I’ve never tried curd or jam making before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but as it was called a ‘no fail recipe’ I thought I might as well give it a go. I’d definitely recommend it – it looks and tastes fabulous! It really was an easy recipe to follow and slowly stirring itย  into a thick silky curd was very relaxing!

I found the Lemon Curd recipe on the Big Fat Baker website. I used 3 lemons and 1 lime in my version and it filled the 2 jars shown in the pic with a mini pot extra.

I used one whole jar for the Ice Cream and the second jar is being eaten on toast and will probably get finished with a batch of homemade scones.

I even whisked up a tray of meringues with the left over egg whites which are now in the freezer along with a pot full of blackberries from a blackberry picking trip yesterday. I found a Berry Eton Mess recipe on the Good Food Channel site so I think I’ll try that out – I liked the idea of having a combination of greek yoghurt with the cream.

The Lemon Curd Ice Cream is just the right balance of tartness and creaminess and not too sweet to be a perfect match for the rich chocolate cake. It was rich in that 3 x 100g bars of 70% cocoa dark chocolate kind of a way! Oops & Yum at the same time! ๐Ÿ™‚

Dutch Apple Cake

When I got home from work today it was so cold in the house (we’re still resisting turning the heating on) I thought the best thing to do was put the oven on and bake something! As there are lots of apples lying on the ground in the garden I decided to make a Dutch Apple Cake from ‘Bake’ by Rachel Allen. It was very easy to follow and also had an alternate fruity suggestion of raspberries and pears.

We’ve just had a slice each straight from the oven with a pile of strawberries and whipped fresh cream flavoured with vanilla. Very delicious indeed. I don’t think it’s going to last very long – good job there are plenty more apples outside ๐Ÿ™‚

Apple & Custard Tea Cakes

Last week had a bit of an apple theme…

Delicious home made apple and custard tea cakes – the custard was hidden away as a surprise layer in the middle. The apples were from our garden – they were sliced and arranged on top of each cake. When they came out of the oven I brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled them with cinnamon & sugar. I think the recipe was from my giant Australian Womens Weekly cookbook. I’ll definitely be making more of these!

I also made a couple of crochet apples. The recipe was from a book I borrowed out of our local library. It’s called Gourmet Crochet – a yummy yarn cookbook and has all kinds of fruit, veg, sushi and cakes.


We had a mini baking session at The Sock Garden house this weekend. Me & young Sock chose the Fresh Strawberry & Cream Muffin recipe from my trusty ‘1 mix, 50 muffins’ book (which I bought from The Works for under a fiver). They tasted creamily delicious.

We were very indulgent and served them with whipped double cream laced with a spoonful of icing sugar and a splash of madagascan vanilla extract plus an extra juicy strawberry on the side. We also had a cup of Twinings Strawberry, Raspberry & Loganberry fruit tea.

If you fancy making a batch, here’s the recipe:


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/400F/GM6 & line a 12 cup muffin tin with 12 paper cases

150g fresh strawberries chopped
280g plain white flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
115g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
250ml single cream
6tbsp sunflower oil OR 85g cooled melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Sift flour, baking power & salt into a large bowl. Stir in sugar & strawberries.
  2. Lightly beat eggs in separate bowl, add cream & vanilla.
  3. Stir the liquid ingredients gently into the dry ingredients – don’t overmix.
  4. Spoon into paper cases.
  5. Bake for 20-30 mins until risen and golden.

That’s it! Try and wait 5 minutes before tucking in. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

On the other side of the kitchen Mr. Sock was weighing out ingredients to make a batch of Red Pepper & Sun Dried Tomato Bread. It’s so good – we ate most of the first loaf yesterday with boiled eggs.

He can definitely make that one again!

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