Recipe: Marmalade Cake

My friends J and J make the most delicious marmalade. Just the thing for this quick and easy cake. I’ve had the recipe scrawled in my notebook for so many years I’ve no idea where it came from. It’s my Sunday afternoon “bung a cake in the oven” kind of recipe, no frills, no fuss just 8 slices of lovely cake in time for tea. Equally delicious cold, or serve it warm with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Ingredients:

200g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

100g soft butter

75g soft brown sugar

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons marmalade ( a great way to use leftovers or use your favourite)

Method

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz for 15 – 20 seconds. Pour into a smallish loaf tin (lined) and cook at gas mark 5 for 40 mins to an hour (depends on your oven). It’s cooked when it has begun to shrink from the sides and a skewer comes out clean when pushed into the centre. Will keep for several days in an airtight tin –  but to be honest it never makes it to the tin in our house – unless I double the recipe and hide one before the family see it!

Make: A simple crochet scarf

I made this yesterday as an antidote to a rather complex lace knitting pattern. It only took about 3 hours from start to finish, using a rather lovely self striping yarn from Erika Knight’s jazz colours collection. You can easily make it yourself if you can do double and treble crochet (English terms).

Make 2 strips of 250 chains (or to your required length), Double crochet (DC) 10 rows. The centre panel is a variation of a design in last month’s edition of Inside Crochet magazine called Circles Scarf (read a blog post from the designer here:

http://www.lindamade.com/wordpress/2010/11/circles-scarf/

).

There is also a Ravelry link:

(http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/circles-scarf-2)

The centre panel is joined to the outer panels with a final row of DC. I added a short fringe to each end.

There is a very similar pattern in the Fall Edition of Interweave Crochet (http://www.interweavecrochet.com/issue/2010/fall/materials-fall-2010.asp#pink-asters-scarf)

* Sorry – WordPress doesn’t seem to like my links today so I’ve put them in brackets so you can cut and paste to see more info on the patterns – the perils of having  slow internet connection!!

Pimp my cookie…

I love to bake for friends, and birthdays are a great excuse to plug in the mixer. Sometimes, you have the perfect recipe, but it just needs a little “something” to make it look like you made an effort.

“Nigella” has a great recipe for these biscuits in How to be a Domestic Goddess (or try this version), they’re easy to make, taste amazing, but don’t really look that great as a gift.

Not to worry, a bowl of vanilla butter cream…

…a bar of white chocolate and here you have it, the ultimate girly birthday gift – loaded with calories, but made for sharing.

Enjoy x

Recipe: Elderflower curd

eldeflower curd ingredientsThanks for visiting, you can now find my eldeflower curd recipe here.

Recipe: Elderflower Champagne

The elderflowers are here! Just a few sunny days and they’ve gone from tiny, tight buds to full bloom and I’m ready to spring into action. First up is the annual batch of Elderflower Champagne. Always a big hit at summer barbeques, I try to make plenty, but there are so many delicious things to make with this crop that there never seems to be enough. This June seems to have been  so much warmer and sunnier than last year, let’s hope that’s a good indication of how summer will be this year. So, in anticipation of  glorious summer evenings sitting outside with good food, friends and family , here is my 20 years old and never failed yet recipe for elderflower champagne:

6 – 8 heads of elderflower, picked warm from the sun on a dry day

4 litres of boiled and slightly cooled water

500g granulated sugar

juice and finely chopped zest of 2 large organic  and unwaxed  lemons

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Method

In a non metallic container:

Dissolve the sugar in the water, add the lemon zest and juice allow to cool, add the remaining ingredients, cover and leave for 4 – 5 days in a warm, dark place (I put mine under the sink as the airing cupboard gets too hot).

Then, strain through a double layer of muslin into a jug and pour into glass screw top bottles. Don’t screw the lids too tightly (I screw mine on then undo a quarter turn just to be sure). Leave for 4-5 days in the dark. Check the contents are beginning to fizz, if not leave and check daily. After a week or as soon as the bottles are effervescent, tighten lids and store in the fridge.

Ours get drunk quickly so I’ve no idea how long the bottles last unopened. But according to River Cottage, they should last several months. And, if you aren’t used to making your own wines or cordials, this might prove helpful.

Just a couple of tips if this is your first time making hedgerow drinks, cordials etc:

Do make sure you shake the flowers thoroughly to dislodge any bugs – and do rinse the flowers thoroughly! (2015 update – the Elder tree is full of Cockchafers!)

You might find it easier to strip the flowers from the stalk if you rake them with a fork (hold the flowers over a large bowl to catch them as they fall).

Finally, whatever you do, don’t be tempted to try and stuff the flowers into a narrow necked bottle.I’ve seen lots of these photos on Instagram this year –  and while it makes a great photo – it’s a real chore to try and strain the liquid. Keep your pretty bottles for storing the finished drink or giving as gifts!

Don’t forget to sterilise your bottles (any decent preserving book will advise you).

I’ll be sharing some of my other  favourite elderflower recipes later, including a flavured gin, cordial and the ever popular elderflower curd.

And yes, I have blogged this recipe before. Some readers said they had trouble finding it, so here it is again in full.

Enjoy x

 

 

 

 

Make: A crochet bag

Here is the finished bag I made for a friend’s wedding. The pattern is simple and this would make an ideal beginner’s project. You can find more details of this pattern in Debbie Stoller’s Book “Happy Hooker” or on Ravelry, where there are some lovely interpretations of this pattern.

Knit: A scarf

A photo of a modern take on the old Dr Who Scarf.
It just grew and grew.
This one was knitted on 5mm needles using Rowan Click with 24 stitches and a colour change every 14 rows. Knitted in garter stitch, I just kept knitting until I ran out of wool! Fancy making your own? Take a look at these examples on Ravelry