Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Let them have cake........ Autumn style cake

My first attempt at photo editing!
Autumn is, it's really hard to miss it in blog world, I'm embracing it all - i love autumn.  One of my favourite scents that reminds me of my favourite season is cinnamon.......... and then that leads me on to Apples! Because Apples and Cinnamon are as perfect for one another as Salt n Pepper (Group or seasoning you wonder). In the past I’ve always gone for my favourite Autumn double act in puddings such as pie and crumble but I decided they would work perfectly in a cake. I did quite a bit of research across the tinternet and found all kinds of variations which included golden syrup and cream cheese in the ingredients list?! All that inspiration and here’s my own little recipe I came up with. It’s lovely and moist and crumbly and best served warm from the oven with a glug of cream…. Autumn on a plate

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

275g self-raising flour
125g butter, diced and best straight from the fridge
125g cinnamon sugar (if you don’t have this just use caster or light brown sugar with two tsp. of ground cinnamon
2 medium eggs (beaten)
6-8 tbsp. milk
2 - 3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced (granny smith would work here as well and maybe Golden delicious
2 handfuls of sultanas or as many – little as you want
Demerara sugar (optional)

 Preheat oven to 180C/ 160C fan and grease a cake tin (you can line it as well but I didn’t bother – I am a lazy baker).

Put flour into bowl (I didn’t bother sieving, again Lazy baker me) Add butter and rub until it looks like breadcrumbs, as if you were making a crumble.

Stir in the cinnamon sugar. Beat in egg and combine. You want to achieve a smooth thick batter and so add as many tablespoons of milk it takes. Then add in your apple and sultanas and make sure it’s all combined. Dollop into your tin and level it out. Sprinkle a layer of  Demerara sugar over (this will add a lovely crunchy topping to your cake.

Bake for around 40 mins, I checked mine after 30 with my knife and it defo needed those extra 10 minutes. Let it cool down a little, I think I lasted about 5 minutes before I had to get it out of the tin and serve it up to my hungry housemates!


P.S Your whole house will be filled with lovely cinnamon and apple scents when you bake this, it’s rather lovely and homely perfect when you’re home and its cold and wet outside. I LOVE British weather

Whilst cooking this cake I listened to Seasons of love from the fabulous musical Rent and a bit of David Grey including Babylon and This year’s Love (I have to be chilled when baking)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Carbonara Wars......

 A text message conversation happened between my good friend Paul and me yesterday afternoon:

Paul: You still coming over tonight?
Me: Sure, about 6ish, can’t wait to see you
Paul: Me too, I haven’t got anything sorted food wise tho! Minced beef is still there or we could do Carbonara?! Let’s decide over a glass of wine (how all good decisions are made)
Me: Ok mi amore! I make a mean Carbonara though. No cream anywhere near it URGH please note my correct spelling of the word though, I can’t abide text speak – I know I’m a snob!
Paul: Ha ha!! Me too! A traditional Sicilian recipe! A proper Carbonara never has cream never has a truer word been spoken
Me: Mines a traditional Roman recipe Leilo taught to me the first time I went to stay with them in Italy
Paul: My Sicilian friend taught me when I stayed there! *pokes tongue out* it’s probably the same recipe! Lol  I also never use LOL although the men in my life seem to
Me: Haha we will compare and together we will come up with the best Carbonara recipe ever and I will blog it!

 So here it is my friends bought to you from myself and Paul with the assistance of a couple of glasses of wine

Spaghetti Carbonara

This was for the two of us but there was enough to serve 4 people

Pancetta – you can buy the cubes - in this instance we had the rashers and I used about 6 finely sliced
1 onion, diced into small cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Glug of wine
Spaghetti, boiled in lots of salty water
Parmesan cheese, grated 
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, beaten together
Put your pasta on to cook. Add some olive oil to the pan and add the pancetta. Get this to start to brown (about 7 mins) and then add the onions. Stir regularly and when the onion has browned ever so slightly add the garlic cook for about 3 minutes before adding a glug of wine.

Drain the pasta and then grab you eggs and beat them into the pasta – this needs to be done when the pasta is steaming hot and you have to beat the egg in really briskly so it doesn’t go scrambled. You can always add a bit of the drained pasta water if you need more glossiness. Add the pancetta mix and some Parmesan along with lots of cracked blacked pepper and a pinch of salt and voila you have Roman / Sicilian / DELICIOUS Carbonara.  

You’re Welcome.

Linking up with Alesha for Delicious Dish Tuesday

 Full Time Mama

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

I hate wasting food - it's why my freezer's jammed packed of meals ready to be reheated. When preparing this soup I decided not to throw away the seeds form the pumpkin and instead make a healthy snack!

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

So take the seeds from the pumpkin and spread them out on some baking paper in a pan. Don't worry about washing them just shove them into the pan.

bake them on a medium heat for about 30 minutes (I put them in underneath the vegetables I was roating for the soup). Once they are nice and dry and roasted and then add a teaspoonful of coconut oil in a frying pan. Add the seeds with some cracked black pepper, some sea salt and some Cajun spice mix and stir over a moderate heat for 3 minutes of so. Put in a dish and allow to cool,

A healthy, delicious snack which uses up part of a vegetable that you would usually discard!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pumpkin Passion

It's been a while I know, a long while...... I'm still not really sure about blogging, I know it's hard work and I'm not sure I have the time to really dedicate to blogging but I do know I've missed cooking and I've missed writing about food. I was talking to my man (there's a change in my life already) last night, almost wistfully, about this blog and what I wanted it to be. He read some of my old posts and told me that I have a voice and I should use it. So this post is a bit for him but mainly for me, in the hope that this little old blog of mine comes back to life......

Pumpkin fever is the only way to describe my blog list, twitter, Instagram etc etc I think the Americans are a lot more into the whole pumpkin thing, it seems to be everywhere over there. Here in Blighty it is not so crazy, but Autumn (Fall) is my favourite season and I love that pumpkins are readily available in the produce aisle.

Today I was tired and cold and feeling not that great so I decided the best thing to do with the pumpkin that has been sitting in my kitchen for the last couple of weeks would be to make a soothing soup with a bit of a kick to help sweat out the cold I think may be coming.....

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


1 small pumpkin
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 1/2 red onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic
Some red chillies (I used the jarred ones as I wanted a subtle flavour rather then lots of spice)
Sprinkle of cumin
Sprinkle of Paprika
Approx 1 pint of vegetable stock (I used a low salt version)
Couple of bay leaves
Greek yogurt and chrizo for garnishing


Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds - DON'T waste these, I'll be posting a recipe for these tomorrow! cut in to chunks and add to roasting tin with the peppers, cut in to chunks as well, and the garlic cloves (don't worry about peeling them). Slosh a bit of olive oil in the pan and mix so all coated. Roast in oven for about 45mins, turning occasionally, until the pumpkin is soft.

In a separate pan slowly cook of the onions in olive oil until soft. Stir in about a teaspoon of the red chillies and the paprika and cumin. Place in blender and then add the roasted pumpkin, peppers and squeeze the roasted garlic in if you wish. add some stock and blend, adding stock bit by bit until you get the consistency you wish - I like mine quite thick. Add soup back in the pan and gently simmer with the bay leaves - ad more stock if you wish.

I served this with some cubes of chrizo I fried of in a pan and a spoonful of Greek yogurt - perfect!

This makes about 4 servings - some for lunch tomorrow and some for the freezer!