Toffee Apple Cake!

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I had a Wright’s (<click here to see their site & more delicious bread and cake mixes) cake in the cupboard, I actually bought it with the intention of making a cake with the wee one. Oops!

 

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It’s ok though, he was busy with the play dough I had made, we’ll bake a cake another day ūüôā

I wanted to bake something that was not just the regular toffee cake and I had some bramleys kicking about that I felt I should use up. Simple, let’s make a toffee apple cake!

Easy, tasty and quick what more could you ask for? By the way, this is MUCH yummier than you imagine a packet could ever taste, nobody will ever guess it was from a mix, honest!

 

What I used:

1x Wright’s Toffee Cake mix
3 medium Bramley apples, chopped and then stewed in 1tbsp water until soft
40mls Rape seed oil
100mls Milk
80mls Water
1/4 tsp Vanilla paste
1/4 tsp Baking powder
Small handful of pecan nuts, chopped
 

For the top:

4-5 Pecans, chopped
1tbsp Demerara sugar

 

What I did:

First off  stew the apples, until soft but not completely smushed*, set aside to cool

Tip baking mix into large bowl

Add other ingredients(and apple)

Pour into 9″x9″ lined pan

Sprinkle on the topping

Bake at 350(180) for about a hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

Remove from oven ad place o rack for 1-15 mins before turning out to completely cool

Eat! ūüôā

*actual technical baking terminology

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An Old Book and Some Good Advice.

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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..

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A  thrifty tip..

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or two..

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I’ll post more as I discover them..

ūüôā

My Favourite Cake(ever)!

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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! ūüôā

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!

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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)Plain Flour/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 

 

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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 ‚Äď 1 ¬ľ hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

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

ūüôā

 

Rice Pudding with Rhubarb

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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! ūüôā

 

 

 
 

American Eggs from The Silver Spoon Italian Cookbook

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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! ūüôā¬†

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Icecream Bars

 

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

AND it’s pretty darned tasty but then, you knew it would be with a name like that, right? ūüėČ 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?

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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! ūüôā

 

 

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My “Kind of Carmelitas” *EDITED*

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I sort of stumbled upon this while searching the web, a carmelita is an oat bar with chocolate and rather obviously, as the name suggests, caramel. Poring over the photographs on Google images I knew I wanted to make them, but instead of being gooey and squishy, I needed them to be a bit more stable seeing as I wanted to pack them off with the menfolk for lunches etc.

I tweaked the recipe and the result is a bar that is quick and easy to make,  tasty AND holds up well to traveling!

 

What I used:

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Crust & Topping:

2 cups of Bisquick

1 3/4 cups of oats(I actually used Stoats Sunflower & Poppy seed Porridge-a mix of oats with sunflower, poppy, linseeds & pumpkin seeds. If you use plain old oats it will be ok, just not as awesome)

3/4 cup soft brown sugar, packed

170g butter melted(I used unsalted, you could make it salted and have Salted Carmelitas!)

 

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Chocolate Caramel Layer:

3 Mars bars

1 oz butter

 

 

What I did:

Set your oven at 350f/175c

You will¬†need a 9×9″ baking pan

Mix all these ingredients together

Take half of the mixture and press into your pan

Cook for about 15 mins or until golden.

Set on rack to cool slightly as you prep middle layer.

Break the Mars bars into pieces and place in a glass bowl, microwave in 20 second bursts until melted, stir together. Also you should note here, it’s kind of weird trying to mix the bars & butter together, it will look all buttery & like it’s not going to ¬†work. I does so stuck with it, there is nothing wrong. By the way you will probably think this layer is too thin, it’s really¬†not, trust me! ūüôā

Working quickly(otherwise it will start to set) spread the Mars bar & butter mixture over your base.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top(it doesn’t matter if there are gaps, in fact it’s nice!) of the choc/caramel layer, pressing it down slightly.

Bake for another 15 mins or until the top is golden.

Take from oven and cool on a rack before cutting into bars.

 

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Yum! ūüôā

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 *EDIT*

I tried making these delicious bars again substituting the Mars bars for some of my favourite fudge(made locally too)! 

It was sublime! I would even go so far as to say, even better than the original version.

If you want to do as I did ad swap candy bars for fudge, just carry on as¬†normal and when making the middle layer use 200g of chocolate fudge(Ochil Fudge Pantry’s Death by Chocolate is what I used) chopped up and softened in a pan(on the cooker) with 1tbsp double cream, then spread over crust ¬†ūüôā

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What’s SO Impossible about Impossible Pie?

Holy Moly this is great!

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It’s not even a little bit great, but a whole big bit great! Yes, we like pies in this house but you know sometimes I find a the whole making pastry etc thang a bit of a kerfuffle. I’m going to introduce you to the kerfuffle-free “pie” of your dreams(possibly).¬†You’ll make it, then be cursing that you didn’t find the recipe sooner!

If you are having guests and have¬†no idea what to make for dessert but still want to look like you’ve put a bit more effort into it than buy a pie, do this. ALSO it would be fabulous for someone who is watching their carb intake as only the smallest bit of flour is used in making it.

Usually people make a coconut version. I have don that before but wanted to try a chocolate version. I still used coconut, next time I will leave it out comepletely and add pecans I think.

Don’t go expecting some sort of miracle here, I mean the mixture does form a kind of crusty outer but it’s¬†not like a real pastry crust, what it does do though is create for you a custardy filling with edges set a little more firmly and it all mixes together and bakes in a matter of moments!

What you need:

35g(1/2 cup) desiccated coconut

2 egg

2 TBSP cocoa

30g(1/4 cup) flour

235ml(1 cup) milk

75g(1/4 cup) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla 

40g(3 tbsp) butter

Handful of raspberries(I used some lovely Scottish ones I had pin the deep freeze-no need to defrost!)

What you do:

Mix everything together apart from berries

Pour into a baking dish(I used a 7″ skillet)

Dot the raspberries over the surface

Bake!  350f(180c for about 25 mins)

Check the pie after this time you want it pretty much solid but with the “slightest” jiggle, it will firm on cooling.

This is tasty warm(I like the plain coconut version warm) but better left to cool and eaten at room temperature. The result is a dense chocolatey(it is more chocolate tasting if cooled) pie, cut through with the sharpness of the rasps.

Quick make this!

Ps. I should mention that it will look WAY too runny but have faith, this does work! ūüôā

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Maw’s sauce? it’s gid!

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OK so I took my time about it, but in my efforts to put Maw Broon’s(click the name for a link to the website!) sauce through it’s paces I had to take my time and give it a proper “road test” so to speak. I’d love to show you a better photo of ¬†the Tomato sauce bottle alas it arrived with the bottom sheered off, there was some I managed to save (fear¬†not, I did sieve before I offered it to hubby to make doubly sure glass shards were not present)!

The Broons family hold a special place in most Scottish folk’s hearts, It’s a tradition, a wee piece of history and dear to us. Along with Oor Wullie and The Beano it was the first thing me and¬†my class mates really were obsessed over in Primary school. Remember when Gnasher went missing? Traumatic, doesn’t even cut it!

However that said, since I am¬†no longer a bairn my tastes have changed somewhat, and if truth be told I am¬†normally quite wary of something with a celeb¬†name attached etc(want my bloke to smell like Peter Andre?¬†um…no thanks). About as close as I come is the occasional tin of Peppa Pig spaghetti shapes lurking in the shadowy bit in the pantry. I like to pretend I don’t buy them. And also like to pretend when someone does spot them that they are for the children, and¬†not me. I’m shameless I know.

My attention was still drawn to Maw Broon’s Sauces, not only for the¬†nostalgic trip down memory lane, but I was hoping for something more. If the sauce doesn’t stand up on it’s own merits¬†then it’s just cashing in on a name. It may appear to tourists or be a great gift for a ex pat friend, if it’s rubbish though I won’t buy it again.

Luckily having read through Maw’s cook books I realised this was¬†no ordinary stick-a-cartoon-character-on-the-bottle-to-flog-to-the-kids affair. ¬†The books have real recipes in them! I am coming to realise there is something “genuine” about seeing her famous form on a product and¬†the sauces are a reflection of just that. Made in small batches, and with the best tasty ingredients¬†these are the REAL deal.

The Tomato sauce is tomatoey with a¬†tang and is reassuringly¬†thick, nothing unlike the over processed, super smooth stuff I¬†normally stick on my fish finger butty(the true test of a ketchup in my view. Hubby disagrees and had it on his fry up for the “ultimate” test)! In short we both thought it delicious!

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We have since tried the Broon sauce, it was fabulously spiced and fruity on the haggis, black pudding and crispy onion panini we had for lunch(and the vol au vents I faffed about making too)!

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If you have a friend who loves The Broons, who happens to be a foodie type too, you could do worse than get them a bottle of this. It’s¬†no gimmick, just honest and¬†tasty, just as you expect from Maw.

ūüôā

Pancakes-Scottish style!

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This recipe is so easy that I can’t really understand why I don’t make more pancakes. My Granny Rose always had pancakes ready when we came home from school, and if she had been busy, you could be sure there would be some in the freezer. Incidentally Granny Rose never had a really had a proper recipe for so this is the one from my go-to book.

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They are simple, tasty and much better than a chocolate bar for the kids when they fancy a munch(yeah, ok me too!) In other words: the perfect snack!

You will need:

8 tbsp self raising flour

3 tsp(level) baking powder

1 tbsp caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1/4 pint + 5 tbsp of milk(perhaps a little more depending)

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Here’s what you do:

  • Put the flour, salt, sugar & baking powder in a bowl.
  • Crack the egg in
  • Add milk
  • Beat

Cook on a med hot girddle or heavy based frying pan until you can see bubble forming on the surface of pancakes(not bursting though). Flip them babies over and continue cooking until golden.

In our house these are generally eaten when cold with butter and jam. Yum!

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