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Spiced Up

Chow Chow Preserve

Chow-chow/chayote is from the gourd family.  The flesh of this vegetable is firm but it’s easy to peel, cut and deseed.  There isn’t much in the way of taste to this vegetable so takes in flavour very well.  However, it adds texture and mellowness to an otherwise rich cake. It’s available in Asian grocery shops.…

Drunken spa for fruits and nuts!

Christmas Cake – My Mother’s Recipe

My mother is a natural cook.  She only ever used a written recipe when she baked and she used to bake a lot!! Like all natural-born cooks, she would adapt recipes and this one of those.  Her inspiration is from the Ceylon Daily News Cookery Book.  This daily newspaper publishes a weekly recipe which was…

All Mixed and Ready for the Oven

Christmas Cake – Part 2

The amount of brandy needs to be upped!!  The fruit mix over the few days it was ‘maturing’ needed to be feed more, so you will need 350ml of brandy. Ingredients 450g/1 lb sugar 450g/1  lb unsalted butter at room temperature 25 egg yolks 450g/1 lb semolina 60g/2 oz plai Method   Preheat the oven…

To be tucked in...

Christmas Cake – My Mother’s Recipe – Stage 3

The baked Christmas cake has had 4/5 days to rest and recuperate.  At this stage, you could feed the cake more brandy and let it rest for a further few days.  Or you could break up the cake, adding more whisky and jam to balance the rich flavours.  Since the cake is rather rich, this…

Shiny Chocolate

Delia Smith’s Chocolate Cupcake

I have found some really interesting books in charity shops’.  Recently I came across Delia Smith’s ‘Delia’s How to Cheat at Cooking’.  It looks like it’s never been opened. This recipe is adapted from there.  These cupcakes use frozen mashed potatoes. Delia suggests using Aunt Bessie’s, but I had some mashed potatoes left over and…

Tea Infused Pastry with Creme Patissiere and Poached Pear and Mint Flowers

Pear for One

When there is left over pastry from making a sweet tart, I am loath to throw the cut offs. The collection of cut-offs, bits and edges of pastry are brought together, I knead it into a rough ball, wrap in cling fling and store it in the fridge.  It will be used up quite quickly,…

Fannings in a Teabag

What’s in Your Tea Bags? Dust or Fannings?

Tea bags have a bad rep nowadays.  Not surprising given that some supermarkets and brands use grades of tea which gives your brew the strongest colour in the quickest time.  It’s convenient to use teabags at certain times.  Easy enough to plop a bag in, dip the bag a few times in hot water, take…

Tightly Sealed Lids(lips)

Where to Store Your Tea?

You have got some amazing tea and you want to make sure it stays fresh and tastes as good as the first cup. The tea may have come in a tin, glass jar, paper or foil packet, or you may have been given a sample in a reseal-able bag. The Ideal Spot Tea needs to…

Bee and Stillness

Tea and Mindfulness … and Love Island

I was at an event recently where the speakers asked if anyone in the audience meditated at all.  There was a wide range of answers; from those who set time aside usually at the same hour religiously every day to others who dip in and out or those who they (think) don’t meditate at all.…

Stir To Relase

Elderflower Cordial

It’s that time of year when going for walks can be very useful.  Walks that include a bit of foraging of elderflowers for summer coolers, ice lollies and flavourings.  Best to make the cordial within 2 hours of picking the flowers. Ingredients 1kg sugar juice of two large lemons Zest of 2 large lemons 15-20…

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