Monthly Archives: April 2014

An Old Book and Some Good Advice.



When Granny passed away last year we found this book when sorting through her things. Given the age of the book my partner thinks it probably was his Great Grandmother’s book(it was published in 1936).

It’s falling apart, the spine barely holding the cover around the yellowing leaves within. But I love turning the thick old pages, wondering what household tip or piece of sage advice I will come to next. I “read” it not by turning to the correct date, nor by even reading cover to cover, I kind of just flick to a page and see what’s there. I truth I am frightened to actually read methodically from start to finish, I don’t really want to find I have come to the end as it were(perhaps me over thinking, but a bit of my mind thinks the end of the book just would remind me again of how Granny is no longer here to pass along these wee gems herself).

I was reminded last night thanks to Jen Gale and her (insert hashtag here>) makedoandmendhour that it is fit to bursting with frugal tips, thoughts for the day and thrifty ideas. So here we go…

A thought..






A  thrifty tip..


or two..



I’ll post more as I discover them..



My Favourite Cake(ever)!


This really is my all time favourite cake recipes. It’s lovely, even my Granny Rose likes it, high praise indeed! It’s not too sweet, it’s just right. Be sure to add the cinnamon sugar to the top it really does add a lovely wee crunch! 🙂

I was given this recipe while on holiday in the beautiful Perthshire Highlands. The lovely lady who gave me it told me it was given to her by Scot Herbs. I was curious about the use of the herb rosemary in it(if I’m being frank, I thought it was a bit weird sounding).  Worry not though Dear Reader, it’s fabulous!

Here is the recipe, tweaked slightly(and added measurements in US cups[SO much easier than grams, right?] to my taste but click here for a link to the original Scot Herbs recipe!



Blueberry and Rosemary Madeira Cake


What I used:

250g(1 cup/2 sticks) Soft Butter

200g(1 cup)  Sugar/white super fine

3 Large Eggs

300g(2  1/2 cups)PlaiFlour/all purpose

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract Paste

2 tsp Fresh Rosemary Needles, chopped finely(I use a pair of scissors for this)

4 tsp Milk

Two handfuls of frozen Blueberries

Cinnamon Sugar(for top)
2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
A  big pinch of cinnamon 



What to do:

Preheat the oven to 170oC/Gas Mark 3.
Grease and line a loaf pan, or if you’re like me cheat and use a liner(life’s too short to always grease pans)
Cream the butter adding the sugar until it is pale and fluffy
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour after each egg.
Add the vanilla.
Fold in the rest of the flour and chopped rosemary needles
Thin out with the milk
Fold in half of the frozen blueberries
Pour into  loaf pan
Add a few more berries on the top(helps so that not all of them are at the bottom of the cake)
 Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the top
Bake for 1 – 1 ¼ hour or until a toothpick comes out clean




It’s got good staying power this cake if, like the Scot Herbs site says, it lasts that long! Freezes well too. 



Rice Pudding with Rhubarb


This Easter been has been fabulous, I mean really fabulous, in an usually blue skied, warm sun kind of a way. That being said, it was the obvious time to make a rice pudding, right? Thought so!

Until now it never really occured to me to pair pale creamy luscious rice pudding with pink, tart rhubarb, but as they say “better late than never”! This food combo works and on the warm Easter night we ate it the stewed rhubarb lifted it from winter comfort food to an all season dessert.

Normally I use full fat milk and if I am feeling outrageous I might add double cream(wow! Living life on a knife edge eh?) This time however I substituted 1 cup milk for evaporated milk. It gives the rice an almost “caramel” flavour, but watch out you cannot leave the lid on unattended(like the recipe) you must stir it or it will stick to the pan and you will have ruined rice pudding on your hands.


What I used(enough for two people, double up as required):


1/2 cups of pudding rice(or risotto rice)
Small knob of butter(about 20g)
2 1/2 cups milk (or as I did 1 1/2 milk plus 1 cup evaporated milk[or double cream])
1 cup sugar(if using evaporated milk you can decrease sugar by 1/4 cup)

What to do: 

For the rhubarb:

You can do this one of  two ways in the oven or on the hob. I choose easy and the stove top method.
Chop 1 big stalk of rhubarb into chunks
Add about 2tbsp water
Add 1 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
Bring to boil, turn down to simmer and cook until tender. Easy.

For the rice pudding:

Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat until foaming, add the rice and stir to coat. Continue to stir rice for 2-3 mins.
Add milk. Stir again to sort of evenly distribute the rice.
Bring to boil. Stir again.
Cover and simmer on low for 20-25 mins.
Take lid off pan, stir rice again. Add sugar. Stir. Turn off heat.
Ladle into bowls top with some rhubarb and devour! 🙂




American Eggs from The Silver Spoon Italian Cookbook


This month saw the glorious return of the @belleaukitchen #randomrecipe challenge, hurrah! (incidentally, he’s teamed up with  Ros  and  Caroline from AlphaBakes for this one.)



I picked, the quite cool sounding American-Style Eggs from The Silver Spoon cookbook.

Looking at the ingredients list I was feeling rather underwhelmed, the curse of choosing a recipe by chance I guess… *shakes fist at Dom and the girls

Now given that there are only 3 constituent parts of the “recipe” it’s hard to not feel somehow it’s a bit cheeky to even call it one,  but considering the age of this Italian cooking bible I guess we can let off the writer for what basically amounts to bacon and egg, with a tomato on the side.

I’m not about to write out all the steps for frying an egg, or the steps for frying pancetta, OR the steps for grilling a tomato, I’m pretty sure Dear Reader, that you know how. I have however posted my photograph and now leave you with the thought that, even though ridiculously easy, the recipe for American Eggs is proof positive that sometimes the simple things are the best. It was DELICIOUS! 🙂 


Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Icecream Bars



Wow, this “recipe” is easy! In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say it’s amazingly ridiculously easy 🙂

AND it’s pretty darned tasty but then, you knew it would be with a name like that, right? 😉 It’s a bit like a frozen version of Scottish Millionaire’s Shortbread-yum.


Get a dish of some sort, not too big but not too small a 1lb loaf tin would be perfect, or like me you could use a long thin one( to be precise).

Line your pan with cling film or seeing as I had none I used foil backed parchment, or is it parchment backed foil?…I digress…

Get 100g of cookies and crush them into crumbs, I say crumbs because we don’t want dust here, it’s not a cheesecake base so you can be a little chunking if you like, texture is good!

I used a delicious oat one from Borders Biscuits, but depending on the combo you’re going for the sky’s the limit! Their strawberry shortbread with strawberry cheeesecake ice cream anyone?


Next take 65g of butter( I used unsalted as the ice cream I chose was salty enough) & melt it. Combine the melted butter with the cookie crumbs.

Tip about half of this into the tin, I may have been a little heavy handed at this point resulting in a mere scattering over the top, but really it doesn’t matter, just make sure you have a good layer on the bottom. Press into the base and stick in the freezer while you do the next bit.

Take the icecream about half the tub(500mls) and soften. I don’t mean melt it, but you want it soft enough so that you can spread it over the base. Return to the freezer.

Next, in a pan over a low heat, combine 100g of fudge (I chose Ochil Fudge Pantry‘s Death by Chocolate) which you’ve chopped, with 2tbsp of double cream. Stir until melted and glossy. Let cool a little, give a last stir, then pour over the icecream. working quickly so that it doesn’t melt scatter the remaining cookie crumbs over the fudge layer, press down slightly and return to freezer until needed.


When you want to eat it, simply take from deep freeze and cut off a bar! 🙂



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