First Snowfall Chocolate Mud Cake.

Made last week, but writing it up now because all cooking has become very simple due to Jon’s dentist appointment.

The icing turned out delicious and quite cute and snow-like with the split between icing sugar and cocoa and the sparkles of plain sugar, though it was far too runny and looks more messy than anything. Need to work on my cake decorating skills!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 700g flour and raising agents
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped brazils
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped into chips
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3tbsp plain cocoa powder
  • 5tbsp sweetened cocoa powder, milk or white
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp each: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, coffee granules

For decorating:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate powder
  • water as needed
  • whole brazils
  • white grain sugar

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • small mixing bowl and whisk
  • greased, nonstick, lined cake tin

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Mix the dry cake ingredients.
  3. Stir in the egg and honey.
  4. Add water until a batter forms.
  5. Pour into the tin. Bake until a skewer comes out with sticky crumbs on it: not dry, but firm.
  6. Put aside to cool.
  7. Mix the icing sugar and white chocolate powder. Add water a few drops at a time and stir into a thick paste. I’m not too impressed with the melting snowfall look, so just blend it thoroughly and set aside to cool a little.
  8. Pour the cool-ish icing over the cold cake.
  9. Stick whole brazils on it.
  10. Sprinkle with white sugar before it completely sets.

snow-cake

Lebkuchen. German Xmas gingerbreads to practise.

There are some great recipes for Lebkuchen out there, but this is the one that works best for us. I decided to start practising making them when I found out ALDI may not have them this year and panicked. They have them now, but tbh I prefer the homemade ones.

Ingredients.

For the cakes:

  • 500g wholemeal flour and raising agents
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sugar, brown or cane
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4tbsp honey or 1tbsp molasses
  • 2tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1tbsp powdered ginger
  • 1tbsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2tsp allspice
  • 1/2tsp paprika

For the frosting:

  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 20g salted butter
  • 2tbsp chocolate sauce
  • 2tbsp honey

Utensils.

  • mixing bowl and fork
  • large ceramic bowl, small ceramic bowl and spoon
  • small pot
  • greased, lined or nonstick baking tray

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place chopped ginger, half the sugar and the lemon juice in the small pot and cook on a very low heat until the sting is gone from the ginger. Add a little water if it starts to dry.
  3. Mix all the dry cake ingredients.
  4. Incorporate the eggs, lemon and water until the dough is stringy, pourable, but retains some firmness.
  5. Pour into a baking tray and spread out evenly.
  6. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. At 1″ thick, ours took 40 minutes.
  7. Leave the cake to cool.
  8. Once cool, pour boiling water into the large ceramic bowl and place the small ceramic bowl inside it.
  9. Put the chocolate in the small bowl and stir as it melts. Replace the hot water as required to keep the chocolate melty.
  10. Stir in the other ingredients.
  11. Pour over the cake.
  12. Leave the cake to cool.
  13. Slice and serve.

I’m starting to worry I haven’t seen any turrón lately either… Maybe time to dig out another recipe.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Seeded Autumn Loaf.

Because however much I’m eating low-GI foods, there’s no way I’m going low carb with this appetite. :p And who doesn’t love a warm slice of bread and butter when the weather starts to turn cold? Just need to top it with some elderberry jam and pair it with a nice hot choc…

spiced autumn bread recipe

Ingredients.

  • 500g/17.5oz wholegrain flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-1.5 cups of nuts and seeds (I used walnuts, brazils, sunflower seeds and pinenuts in equal porportions]
  • 2 eggs
  • water as needed
  • 2tbsp honey (optional]
  • seeds for topping (optional]

Utensils.

  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • loaf tin

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly together.
  3. Mash in the egg and honey.
  4. Slowly incorporate cold water until the mix is a batter.
  5. Pour into a cake tin. Top with seeds.
  6. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. Ours took 45min, but it depends on how deep your cake tin is, how heavy your flour and how runny your batter. Far more variable than other loaves I have made!

Serve with butter and either cold cuts or jam. Or both.

Bonus: the last scraps from the garden. ^^

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Jon’s Quiche.

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Jon has changed his mind about quiche from when he insisted it was “an omelet for gay French people”. Apparently when they are homemade they taste better and are now suitable food for a straight English man. 😛

Anyway, here is a quiche made according to what Jon preferred, so maybe it will work for other pickier eaters who normally turn away from fancy food.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 quiches.

Pastry:

  • 500g flour
  • 300g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 2tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1tsp salt

Filling:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 rashers of smoked bacon or ham
  • 2 sweet onions
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tsp crushed black pepper

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • frying pan
  • 2 greased or nonstick baking trays

Recipe:

  1. Mix together the pastry ingredients, crumbling in the cheese nearer the end.
  2. Mash half the mix into each pan and shape it to the pan, ensuring a robust crust at the corners. Put in the fridge and leave to chill.
  3. Chop the bacon, onions and green pepper and fry lightly. Stir in the salt and black pepper and leave to chill in the fridge.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  5. Once the pastry is set and the bacon is cold, whisk the milk and eggs together thoroughly. Stir in the bacon mix and pour evenly into both pans. Scooping with a spoon may work better for even distribution.
  6. Place in the oven and cook until the top of the quiche is puffed high and no longer jiggles when shaken.
  7. Leave aside to cool. The top will deflate a bit, but this is normal. It is cooking in its own heat and slowly setting into shape.
  8. Serve cold or hot.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Meat in bread II: Beef and Butternut Squash.

Jon is loving the “meat in bread” things I’m making. It is literally just a bread roll with meat and other fillings inside it. Here’s how to make one!

Recipe: how to make stuffed bread.

Ingredients:

  • 500g flour and raising agents
  • 300g steak
  • 200g butternut squash
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 egg
  • 5tsp sugar
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tsp pepper
  • water as needed

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and fork or whisk
  • greased, floured or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper and egg together.
  2. Add water while mixing until a firm, smooth dough is formed.
  3. Leave to prove.
  4. Peel and prep the squash and onion.
  5. Chop the beef, squash and onion. Mix with the remaining salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the flour into quarters. Roll into small balls and gently pull to stretch out, like pizza dough.
  7. Place a quarter of the meat and veg into each disc. Fold the disk around it. Be sure to leave no holes.
  8. Bake at 160C for 1h 30min.
  9. Leave to cool thoroughly before serving.

It really is that simple! They make great festival food, great picnic food, great travel food and can be made smaller to create less messy sandwiches for small hands.

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Triple Chocolate Marble Cake.

Not low carb, not Paleo, not vegan. Just chocolate.

Ingredients:

Makes: too much cake.

  • 700g flour and raising agents
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 100g brazils
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 4tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3tbsp white chocolate mix
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2tbsp cinnamon
  • toppings

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • 2 mixing bowls and 2 spoons
  • 2-4 small kitchen bowls
  • 1 large greased or nonstick cake tin

Recipe:

  1. Roughly chop the brazils and dark chocolate. Put aside, separately.
  2. Whisk the eggs in one bowl.
  3. In one mixing bowl, mix half the flour, the white chocolate mix, 2tbsp of sugar and half your raising agent.
  4. Add 150ml of milk and half the egg mix.
  5. Stir in the dark chocolate and set aside.
  6. In the second mixing bowl, add the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, 3tbsp of sugar, the cinnamon and the remaining raising agent.
  7. Add the remaining milk and egg.
  8. Stir in the brazils.
  9. Alternately spoon large scoops of each mix into the tin until they are layered nicely.
  10. Bake at 170C until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the tin and cool before decorating.

This is a calorie bomb, stodgy and delicious. It was also too much cake. Halve the recipe for single people, couples and ordinary humans, or use the whole one for large families, parties or an ogre.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Valentine’s Day Sweet-Hearts.

Well, my attempt at returning to blogging is still a bit weak, so I have written up a new schedule and designated myself a weekly blogging day. That means a few things will be in arrears, but at least I’ll get on with everything.

Sweet Hearts Jam Tarts Easy Recipe

As a little thank-you for returning to read the blog, here is a simple recipe from my pantry, perfect to make for your sweetheart, to give your kids or for them to give their classmates, to jazz up a work space, to make together with your partner or just to eat because you’re a daft romantic who doesn’t care whether or not there’s anyone free to share them with because Valentine’s day is adorable.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong flour
  • 200g salted butter
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 200-300g of any kind of jam (I used homemade damson and homemade raspberry jam from foraged fruits, because I’m a hippie little weirdo with too much time, but, seriously, anything is fine, you could even use chocolate icing instead)

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl
  • rolling pin
  • heart-shaped cookie cutters or a bit of patience and ingenuity
  • teaspoon
  • greased or nonstick baking trays

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and spices together.
  2. Add the eggs.
  3. Add the butter. Mix very well.
  4. Add water as you fold until the dough is smooth, elastic and only a touch sticky.
  5. Leave to rest.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  7. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough to 1-2cm thick.
  8. Cut some hearts and lay them on the trays.
  9. Use the teaspoon to make a little bowl in each bow of each heart. Just press down a bit for an indent.
  10. Add just enough jam to fill each bowl.
  11. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  12. Put in the oven for around 20min, or until the Sweet Hearts are browned, still a bit tender, but hold firm when you lift them.
  13. Cool.
  14. Eat.

TTFN and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.