Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tea Brack

Can not have Halloween with out tea brack.

This is a recipe I got from a friend, She thinks it came out of a Avoca cookery book.

Liz Orr's Tea Brack.

450g dark brown sugar.
2.5 cups of cold tea.
half cup of whiskey.
450g sultanas.
450g mixed fruit.
3 eggs
450g plain flour.
3tbp baking powder.
3tsp mixed spice.

Makes 3x900g loaves.

Dissolve the sugar in the cold tea. mix in the whiskey and soak the fruit overnight.

Next day:
Preheat the oven to 170C, Gas mark 3 and line 3 loaf tins.
Mix the flour, baking powder and mixed spice together. Beat the eggs.
Mix them all into the fruit.

Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour. or until a skewer comes out cleanly.

I ended up with 2 large and 2 small loaves.

1 for now
1 for Halloween.
1 to go back to the Isle of Man with my Son and 
1 for my Dad.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last Week

 Last week I got to the allotment to plant out the garlic. I could only spend about a hour there. The cold coming up through my boots left me with frozen feet for the rest of the day.

Got 25 good sized cloves.

Garlic covered with net to stop the birds pulling it up. 

 I know it is October but there is a asparagus spear growing. I think the poor plant is very confused. I lost count of the number of times I replanted the asparagus, I don't know if it was the birds or kids who kept digging them up.

 The tomatoes were finished in the garden so I dug them up and filled the pot with bulbs.

 I got enough raspberry off the canes in the allotment to make 3 pots of jam.

Ugly Vegetable.

Celeriac was on the cheap in Lidl. So I had to buy 1. What they lack in looks they make up for in taste.

Celeriac and potato layers.

1/2 a celeriac thinly sliced,
2 -3 large potatoes thinly sliced.
1 onion, thinly sliced, Soften in a little butter until golden.
Vegetable stock.

Butter the dish
Place a layer of celeriac on the base of the dish. Add some onion, followed by a layer of potato. onion celeriac, until you finish with a layer of potatoes. Season as you go.
Pour in the stock until it comes about half way up the dish.
Cook in the oven Fan 190C for about 40 minutes until the layers are soft and the top is crisp.

I know this is not very precise but I was working it out as I was making it. adjust to suit yourself.

I cooked the other half of the celeriac in water and mashed it. It was used the next day with bean stew.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Graffiti Cake

I had a go at the Graffiti cake from Lorraine Pascale programme Home Cooking made Easy. The recipe is on the BBC Food website.
I was pleased with the results. The only liquid food colouring I had was green. I was afraid to stir colour paste into the caramel in case it crystallised.
I need to work on my graffiti I was a bit heavy handed.

I am very pleased with the way it worked out.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Roast Sweet Potatoes with Lentils and Spinach

800g small sweet potatoes
Olive oil.
2tbsp maple syrup
150g French green lentils.
1tbsp balsamic vinegar.
2 cloves of garlic,peeled and thinly sliced.
1/2 red chili, cut into thin strips.
400g spinach.    ( I used chard from my allotment)

Preheat the oven 240C, Gas 9, Fan 220C

Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes lenghtways. Toss in 3tbsp of olive oil and season. Place in a large roasting dish in a single layer.

Roast for 20 minutes, then drizzle with 2tbsp of maple syrup and roast for 10-15 minutes until golden and sticky.

At the same time, cook the lentils in boiling salted water for 20-25 minutes until tender.

Drain into a sieve. Return to the pot and stir in 2tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. and season.

Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 1/2 the garlic and chili and once sizzling add 1/2 the spinach and cook, stirring until wilted. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the rest. Season and drain off excess liquid..

Add the lentils and spinach to the sweet potatoes and lightly mix together.

Serve hot or warm.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Opreation Christmas Child

It is the time of year to collect and fill a shoebox or 2 for Operation Christmas Child. It was something I use to do with the Boys when they were in primary school. My friend is involved with her Family Mass Group and I pass on 2 boxes. 1 for a boy and 1 for a girl. When I look around and see how much my family has 2 shoe boxes is very little to give.

Boy.....age 10-14

Girl....age 10-14

I am sure there is other group or school support this charity if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And We're Off

While shopping in Tesco this morning I noticed that Shamrock dried fruit was on special. So not been one to miss a bargain I stocked up.
I spent the afternoon in the kitchen getting a start on Christmas.

I now have a lovely jar of boozy fruit for my Christmas cake. It is a pink whisk recipe.
I made it last year and it turned out lovely.

2 jars of mincemeat.

Not a bad start

Monday, October 10, 2011


I make my own granola because  I feel it is better than the shop bought type, plus I know what is going into it.

The recipe is adapted from Rachel Allen's home Cooking

 Heat the oven to 160C fan

125g butter,.
220g honey,
1tsp vanilla extract.

Put these in a pot and slowly melt

500g rolled oats
200g nuts, roughly chopped. Almonds, hazelnuts, pecan, Brazil. Any combination you like.
50g linseed.
75g sunflower seeds
75g pumpkin seeds
100g coconut.

Mix together in a large bowl

Pour on the melted honey, butter mix and stir to coat everything. This works best by mixing with your hands but be careful it is hot,.

Spread it out on 3 trays and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Rotating the trays and given them a good stir every 5 minutes.

When cooked. It is golden brown in colour and feel dry. Leave to cool completely. Pour into a large bowl and mix in 300g of mixed dried fruit of your choice.

Mine differs every time depending on what I have in the press.

Store in an airtight container.

Once you have made your own granola you will never go back to shop bought again.