Posted on Leave a comment

Mud Cake?!

chocolate mug cake

My daughters have been having healthy week at school the past week. With much excitement my oldest came home on the first day saying, ‘Mum, do you want me to make you a mud cake?’…well that’s what I thought she said – turns out she was actually saying ‘mug cake’.

So later on when she was speaking to her granny on the phone all I could hear was ‘no, mug cake’….’mugggg cake, granny’…..’MUGGGG’…….’cake in a MUGGGG’…!

She’s been making them all week. Three ingredients and no sugar! Just cocoa powder, banana and egg. This particular daughter will only eat eggs if they’re in a pancake or a cake so this is another great way to get an egg in to her now and then.

Later in the week she asked if I could share her new recipe with you all…turns out she’s up-ed it to 4 ingredients with the addition of grapes. Personally I suggest you stick with the original 3 but it’s up to you.

Mud Cake Ingredients:

1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 banana (eat the other half!)
(3 grapes – optional!!!)

Method:

Watch the clip!

Let us know what you think!

PS If you like this you’ll love Sugar-free chocolate brownies

Posted on 10 Comments

Sultana Cake

Sultana cake, dairy free

My husband’s favourite cake!

OK so it’s maybe not the prettiest of cakes or the most difficult to make but if you’re looking for a tea time treat then this is it. Plus it has fruit in it so it must be healthy right?

Phoenix Trading cards, chocolate warning, carla koala…and it won’t make dresses shrink like chocolate does will it?!

Ingredients

6oz butter (we use dairy free ‘Pure’)
6oz sugar (golden caster sugar, unrefined sugar is just bad not really bad like the white stuff!)
1/2 tsp vanilla or lemon essence – optional (the Sicilian lemon oil supermarkets are stocking is great!)
3 large eggs (free range of course)
grated rind of a lemon (unwaxed if you can find them)
6oz sultanas
8oz plain flour
2 tablespoons milk (we use oatmilk)
1 1/2 level tsp of baking powder

Method

Grease and line a 20cm round springform tin. As this is going to take a while to cook I would double line it to stop it burning on the edges.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (150-155 fan oven)

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Whisk in the lemon oil and lemon rind

Whisk in the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour to stop curdling (but don’t worry if it does, I find it always curdles with the dairy free stuff anyway, still looks and tastes just as good).

Whisk in the milk with a tablespoon of flour.

Fold in the sultanas with a metal spoon.

Fold in the remaining flour sieved together with baking powder with a metal spoon.

Put mix into cake tin, smooth top with back of spoon. Bake for 1 1/2- 1 3/4 hours till golden brown on top and cake tester comes out clean when inserted into middle.

Remove from oven, cool in tin for 5 minutes then remove tin to a cooling rack. Peel off paper when cold

Store in an airtight container, should keep a week easily, maybe two…like it’ll get chance!

Sultana cake, dairy free

Eat in big slices with your favoutite cuppa!

Dairy book of home cookeryThis recipe comes from one of my most used cook books ‘The Dairy Book of Home Cookery’. It was published and sold by the Milk Marketing Board about 40 years ago. My mother had a copy and I found mine in a charity shop for £1. While I find a lot of my recipes online now this is one book that I still use – simply because it has so much in it and all those recipes for basic cooking. Definitely one cookery book I would not get rid of. I wonder if you have it too?

If you like this you might like Elderflower, strawberry and almond cakes

PS Do leave a comment if you like this or any of my other recipes

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Lime and Courgette Cake

Courgette cake with lemon and lime marmalade

I took this to a coffee and cards and told everyone it was a lime cake, not a courgette cake, it was very strongly lime flavoured. It makes a lovely moist sponge and with the lime was quite ‘refreshing’ according to one taster. Courgette/zucchini cake with lemon and lime marmalade

The original recipe for this lime and courgette cake comes from Nigella Lawson’s book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’…but as usual I modified it quite a bit!

There are reasons why I modified it but they all hinged around making this a dairy free cake. That meant I didn’t try and do a cream cheese icing on top (dairy free cream cheese is, in my opinion, just yuk, though with plenty lime it might have been ok I didn’t want to risk it). Then there was supposed to be a lime or lemon curd filling and as I didn’t have the time or energy to make my own I shop bought one, only to realise seconds before putting it on that it contained butter, if I had made my own I could have made it dairy-free.

So here is my version:

Ingredients

250g courgettes (2 large ones – zucchini if you’re across the pond)
2 large eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g golden caster sugar
225g plain flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 x 20cm sandwich tins, greased and lined (I only lined the bottom but it is definitely easier if you line the whole tin!)

Filling
1 jar lemon and lime marmalade (in my case a last minute decision, and a home made marmalade found hiding at the back of the cupboard!)

Icing
300 g icing sugar, sieved
100g dairy free spread (I use ‘Pure)
juice of 1 lime

To decorate
2-3 tablespoons of chopped pistachio nuts
lime zest curls

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

Wipe the courgettes, don’t peel them and grate but not too finely as they can go a bit soggy. I squeezed out some of the excess juice before I added them but you can decide how squishy they are.

Put the eggs, oil and sugar together in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until creamy. Sieve in the flour, baking powder and soda and beat again until well combined. Stir in the courgette, pour mixture into tins and bake for 30 minutes. They should be slightly golden and firm to the touch. Leave in tins for about 10 minutes then cool on a rack.

To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and dairy-free spread with a hand whisk and add the lime juice. Add more icing sugar if necessary to thicken it. (To be honest I guessed the quantities above, I just made it up when I did it!)

Spread the marmalade over the bottom layer. Stack the second layer on top and cover with the dairy-free ‘buttercream’ icing.

Sprinkle with lime zest curls and pistachios just before serving (best to allow the buttercream to set a little first).

When serving you can decide what to call the cake. I started calling it lime cakeinstead of courgette cake and I did own up to the courgette after they’d eaten it!…and as for the lemon curd, well my husband loves the stuff and was delighted to be told he’s got a whole jar that’s been opened and needs to be eaten!no

Update August 2018, I can now get an Oatly dairy free creme fraiche which I think could be used to make an alternative topping with lime juice and some icing sugar. Haven’t tried it yet but confident it would work.

Posted on Leave a comment

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Linda McCartney recipe, altered slightly

These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever come across – Chocolate Chip Cookies from Linda McCartney recipe, altered slightlyI have been using this recipe for the past 20 years, since it was first published in Linda McCartney’s book ‘Linda’s Kitchen‘ 20 years ago. The recipe I use is slightly altered, just to suit personal tastes of added ingredients but these cookies are the most perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft and almost cake-like on the inside and I wouldn’t try anything different now.

Here’s my version of the recipe:

Preheat oven to 180 deg C (fan oven)

4oz (125g) Pure sunflower spread (we’re dairy free in our house, use whatever butter/margarine you prefer)
2oz (50g) Golden Caster Sugar
4oz (125g) Light Soft Brown Sugar
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
8oz (250g) plain flour (gluten free works but might need a little extra liquid and can be quite crumbly)
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
4oz (150g) dark chocolate chopped

Method
Cream the Pure with both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg with the vanilla. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt and sift into the bowl. Beat again – mixture is quite stiff. Fold in the broken chocolate pieces.

Use an ice cream scoop to drop spoonfuls of the dough on to a greased or silicon baking sheet, they will spread in the oven so leave space.

Bake at 180 deg C (fan oven) for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to allow to firm up, then, if you can resist, cool completely (rarely happens in our house!).

Lovely on their own or still warm with vanilla ice cream. Can add nuts if you wish but huge blobs of melted chocolate suffice us!

I should add that Linda also has a couple of great recipes for Crispy Ginger Nuts and Oat and Raisin Cookies too.

And if you like these chocolate chip cookies, you might like Chocolate Coconut Oil Fudge!

Posted on Leave a comment

Birthday breakfast brownies!

20150513_080808OK, so there’s not really anything breakfasty about them except that they contain marmalade and we ate them for breakfast as it was the only time today the whole family would be together. Anyway, as I can’t really share them with you I thought I could share the recipe.

As you can see I got lots of lovely Phoenix birthday cards! I must have my family well trained lol!

Ingredients

350ml pecans/walnuts (optional)

125g butter (we use dairy free Pure)

150g dark chocolate

225ml (or thereabouts – a small jar) of marmalade

1tsp vanilla essence

1tsp orange extract (or extra zest…don’t worry if you haven’t got it, you won’t need it with the marmalade!)

200g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs

250g golden caster sugar (we use golden cos unrefined is better for you!)

Method (preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 170 fan oven)

  1. Toast the nuts if you’re using them, by laying them on a baking tray in the oven for a few minutes, or toast in a frying pan (no oil!) but watch them! They will go from toasted to burnt very quickly! You don’t have to toast them, you can just add them in as they are.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate together (I do this in a pan on low heat, you could use a double boiler or microwave, make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn but with the butter in as well it shouldn’t)…then take off the heat.
  3. Stir in the marmalade, vanilla and orange extract (if using) in to the melted chocolate mix until marmalade has melted and mixed in.
  4. In a separate bowl beat the eggs (use an electric whisk – it’s just easier!) then add the sugar and beat well until thick.
  5. Add chocolate mix to eggs and sugar and beat on low speed just to combine them.
  6. Sift the flour and salt into the mix and fold in until the mix has just combined (don’t beat!).
  7. Stir in the nuts, or sprinkle on top if using.
  8. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the top is firm but the mix is still soft.
  9. Allow to cool completely in the tin – no eating straight away – this is the really hard bit!
  10. Cut into squares (when completely cool – honestly – hands off till then!)
  11. Scoff!

20150513_074455

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Flamingo Paperie and what’s cake got to do with it?

why flamingo paperie

People often ask me why Flamingo Paperie?

There are a lot of reasons but here are today’s top 5 reasons why Flamingo Paperie ticks my boxes

1 – Potential

TF22-butterfliesThe UK card industry is huge and growing. Despite what you might think, “that no one sends cards anymore because we all just Facebook each other”, the Greeting Card Association UK (GCA) reports that sales of greeting cards are actually increasing! In fact we spend more on cards than we spend on tea and coffee put together!

2 – Charity

I am passionate about giving something back. Having previously worked in areas like Darfur and Sierra Leone I cannot escape the reality that I am hugely blessed in life. I don’t believe in just giving handouts. On the whole these don’t better someone else’s circumstances. But giving people the tools they need to take control of their own lives and situations – that’s worthwhile. Flamingo Paperie as an organisation always looks to share their success, to give out, not keep it all to themselves. The people who run it have done this since they started as the company, Phoenix Trading in 1995. All our Christmas cards are charity cards. Some of my team donate all their profits to charity, and I love to help people raise some extra money for their cause, be it their Scout group or their local hospice.

3 – Being my own boss

I’ve done the working for a big company and having to work overtime to make more money for shareholders with no personal gain. I’m through with that! Anyone with children will value flexibility in life as planning even a day can all go to pot with a sick child, a well timed nappy change, an unexpected nap (from the child not me…though often I wish!). Working from home and being in charge of my tasks and goals, with no one saying “I know it’s tough and we don’t want to push you over the edge but we do need you to work the overtime” (as a previous boss said to me after I had disclosed that I had depression and was struggling to make it through each day), is a key reason why Flamingo Paperie is best for me and my whole family.

4 – Flitter

What is flitter? Why do I go on about it so much? Flitter is that wonderful stuff also known as fairy dust or magic sparkle that people sometimes mistake for the poor imitation that is glitter. Many of Flamingo Paperie’s cards are flittery – and at no extra cost! If the cards aren’t flittered the illustrations are still stunning. When I first became an independent Phoenix Trader I thought I might send them some of my designs but I’ve since been privileged to see some of the original artwork and, no – I won’t be sending mine in. The artists who illustrated for Phoenix Trading and now Flamingo Paperie are in a league of their own…if you are in that league you might want to look at the info for artists.

5 – Cake!

Sorry can’t get away from it…I’ve tried to eat less of it but there’s no getting away from the fact I love cake. Flamingo Paperie Partners eat a lot of cake, drink a lot of tea – and when we can we love wine with our cards too. Being a Flamingo Paperie Partner is about people. Whether it be listening to what someone wants out of their business, seeing how I can support someone with fundraising or helping someone choose the right sympathy card. These conversations often happen over a cuppa and if possible a slice of cake. I’m not fussy what kind of cake, any will do!

B030-sugar-and-spiceThese are my reasons for today and probably in today’s order why Flamingo Paperie ticks my boxes.

They might change because being an independent Flamingo Paperie Partner means I can be flexible like that. If you’d like to find out more do get in touch. I’ll be happy to send you some information with no commitment on your part. Except possibly the requirement to eat cake if you come to a team meeting. But as I say I’m flexible – you choose how big a slice you want!