::Coffee, Banana and Cardamon cake – Country Living Magazine::


I was recently at the Doctor’s and being a bit naughty, I tore this recipe out of the magazine.

20150212_124854It was a Country Living magazine from April 2014, and the cake looked and sounded so good I thought I’d give it a Gluten-free and Dairy-free try!

Here is the recipe that I made.

225g raisins

150ml Hot strong coffee

2 tablespoons of French Brandy (I use Sainsbury’s value and it’s fine)

110g sunflower dairy-free margarine (I use Pure)

140g Dark brown Muscavado Sugar

1 teaspoon of crushed cardamon seeds (about 15 pods)

2 medium eggs

2 ripe bananas (180g peeled weight)

225g Self raising Gluten -free flour (I use Dove’s farm)

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the icing

275g icing sugar

2 teaspoons strong coffee diluted in hot water

I soaked the raisins in the brandy and hot coffee for  about 4 hours. Mix the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, slowly add the eggs (beaten) and spoonfuls of flour until well mixed.Add cardamon seeds then bananas. Add bicarbonate of soda then the raisins and their liquid. I used a 23cm square tin, like a tray bake tin, and lined it with baking parchment.

20150210_162615Pop all of the batter into the tin, it was quite loose but spread well. I baked it in the top oven (roasting) of my Aga, about 180c/200c. It only took about 35 minutes and I checked it after 25 minutes and gave it  a half turn to even up the colouring. I skewered the centre and when it was a lovely golden colour and the skewer came out clean I put it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Then for the icing. I mixed the coffee granules with some hot water, not much just enough to mix the icing sugar into a thick but moveable paste.


I cut the cake into  16 squares about 2 inches square.


It’s absolutely delicious with a lovely cup of proper coffee (as my mum would say!) A great pick-me-up and so very moist. A real treat. :O)xxxxxx

::Food fest at our house::

I love summer food. A food fest. Salad, coleslaw, especially red cabbage coleslaw, and lots and lots of lovely juicy fruit salads. Then there are the savoury salads, oh my! Avocado, walnut and peach – yum yum. Feeling inspired to try a new salad courtesy of my blogland friend Loopy, I decided to team it with some homemade pizzas too. Here is the post that set me off on this food fest at our house extravaganza.

20140805_185434Look I made it- however I didn’t have pumpkin seeds so I used toasted walnut pieces instead and I used cider vinegar (not as sweet or sugary). It was yummy. Hmmm… but what to have with it? A good fest needs to have … more food!  So I started some gluten free bread in the bread maker – I know cheating but I was busy packing for my holiday and writing this post!

I used 450g of gluten free bread flour,  270ml of warm water, pinch of salt, 1 yeast sachet, 1 teaspoon of sugar, knob of butter and that was it.

If not using a bread maker then mix and combine, and once mixed put in a warm bowl and cover with cling film for about 1 1/2 hours. then knead it until soft and forgiving. I used it to make two bases by rolling it out. I covered two large baking trays and then left them for about 15 mins whilst I did the rest.

20140805_184047I fried off some red onion and some portobello mushrooms which were not going to last a three week holiday, no they weren’t. Added garlic to some chopped tomatoes and whizzed them up to make a tomato sauce for the base.

20140805_184100This one had the tomato base, the onion and mushroom mixture, olives, and some ricotta cheese blobs. I added the rest of the grated cheddar towards the end.20140805_191900Then I made one for the boys with plain pepperoni, ham and cheddar- they don’t do olives and ricotta!20140805_190335

It was all so very delicious and food fest like. So a blogland friends post about her well-being and recipes turned into a food fest at our house! Oh how lovely it all was, and there is even a bit left over for lunch tomorrow. Hmmm… what to have then- I’ll be checking with Loopy to see if she has anymore ideas!


::Easter Simnel Muffins::

ImageHappy Easter everyone!!

Here is a little treat post, won’t be a long one I promise, for those of you who enjoy a Simnel cake but find the cooking of it takes an age! These Simnel Muffins are amazing and are from the BBC Good Food cookery Book. I discovered them through a Facebook friend, who posted a picture of her muffins fresh from the oven. Ooooooh I wish I was able to smell them as they promised to be AmAzInG!!I have included any dairy or gluten free adaptations.  Anyway here are the recipe and the pictures.

They really are easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!!!!!Image

Soak 9oz Mixed fruit for an hour with the juice & rind of an orange, (keep back 2tbsp juice for the icing) – or microwave for 2min if you forget!

Beat together:
6oz butter (or free from margarine)
6oz golden caster
3 eggs
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
10oz self raising flour (I use gluten free)
5tbsp milk ( I use rice milk)

Add in fruit.


Half fill muffin cases then put in a flattened ball of marzipan ( I put in small chopped chunks). 6oz will do all 12 muffins
Top with remaining mixture.

25 – 30 min 160-180C


Make a thick ish icing with 8oz icing sugar & the orange juice then top with Mini Eggs

Then you can have your very own TA-DAH!!! moment and once the icing has stuck a little bit, enjoy them. They are really delicious!Image

:: First Quarter ::

It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that I was putting together my end of year review photos, of colourful makes, practical projects and little bits of my creative life. Here I am with the First Quarter of the year flashing by in images!! What a treat it is again, even though it wasn’t that long ago, to refresh, recap and revisit these happy snaps.


What an amazingly colourful and creative first quarter it has been; there have been trials and tribulations, illness, difficult weather and changes to our working lives. But as a family, and with the support of good friends and trusted colleagues, we have weathered it all and are happy, safe and positive about what the next quarter will bring.

Many new projects on their way, new yarn purchased and also my kaleidoscope blanket to continue- it’s a lovely surprise every month! And I can’t wait to start my poncho with my beautiful Cascade peruvian yarn too. Busy busy!!

Happy hooking people!!


Good for my tummy brownies


I love making hess brownies, especially as they are good-for-my-tummy, and I know I can enjoy them without feeling ill. They are gluten and dairy free so don’t keep so well (oh dear!), I just eat them and treat myself when they’re gone they’re gone.

How to make Good-for-my-tummy- brownies:

200g dark chocolate melted- no dairy (70% is good)

100g gluten free flour

100ml sunflower oil

2 eggs

100g sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp gluten free baking powder


Mix all the ingredients and put into a lined 23cm square tin and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180c. It should be a bit soft, but not sinking , in the middle. leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before devouring! :O)Image

::Breakfast pancakes::

Well it's the end of the official half term week, before the normality of weekend and back to work, so what better way to end the week than with a deliciously different breakfast.

We sometimes have them on the weekend but it's such a treat to have them in the week, being a working Mum and all that- so when I asked Little J if he would like pancakes for breakfast his response was sheer delight!

Not the french crepe style pancakes… no, no, the fat, podgy, spongy, american style pancakes, that I used to eat as a child covered in golden syrup, or lemon juice, sugar and sometimes a bit of banana and jam! Yum, yum!!


So batter up!!

I always make the batter up the night before- but you don't have to, you can just mix it up and splodge away!

150g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

25-50g sugar

2 eggs

100-125ml milk

25g melted butter

fruit of your choice, mashed banana, raisins, raspberries, etc

sunflower oil


Mix all of the dry ingrediants together and in another bowl place the milk, eggs and melted butter, then mix them together whisk the life out of it so it's really bubbly.


CAM00064I use my Aga warm plate- not the other one as that's the hot plate!You have to oil the plate slightly first. I just put desert spoonfuls of batter mixture on and use a pallette knife to slide them over once the bubbles start 'a' popping on the top!


CAM00067Silly me forgot that I have to put sunflower oil on the hot plate – not BUTTER- 'cos it burns the edges!!

CAM00070But, they must have tasted goooood, as Little J happily ate most of them with his juice and a sprinkling of sugar- he left the slightly 'darker' ones for his Dad who has them with jam! He said they were delicious!

So ready for anything now me thinks!!


More MixTures

::This week so far…::
::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::

::Something sticky, sweet and delicious – raspberry muffins::

It is half term, and there I am full of cold, feeling more than just a tad under the weather- (whatever does that mean?) and needing something that will cheer me up!

Check out the fridge…

Fresh raspberries, minstrels, plenty eggs and milk…. MUFFINS!!!!


I found a great little recipe here which I accessed on my MacBook on the kitchen island for quickness, instead of printing it out on the computer in the study, or evn worse running backwards and forwards to get it right – you can tell I’ve done that before!! Laptop in the kitchen it is.


Buttery melting lovliness.CAM00046This was quite a needy fix- sweet sugary muffin mix, butteryness, and sharp raspberries mixed with the lush lovely minstrels… Oh stop, drooling alert, they’re not made yet!!Buttery melting lovliness.CAM00047Don’t over mix or they won’t rise as much, they really do look quite messy when they’re ready.CAM00048Generous spoonfuls.

They smell GoRgEoUs – I wish you could smell them too..

Then for the smartie chocolate ones for ‘the boys’… I found this recipe here, but didn’t keep any smarties for the tops- J ate some so never mind!



15 minutes later…

CAM00056Ooooh can you smell them – they’re cooling just now, otherwise J would have scoffed the lot, and probably given himself tummy ache (that’s what my Grandma always said!)

CAM00057Hooky at the ready, CHECK, Chai Latte at the ready CHECK, homemade raspberry and chocolate muffins, it really is my very favourite drink at the moment, sweet, spicy, creamy and lovely. When I’m not near a Starbucks or a Costa, and lets face it I live in the middle of nowhere (7 miles to the nearest shop) I have to find the next best thing. Lucky for me Sainsbury’s deliver the next best thing and here is the website for it here. I love the pink one, spiced.

CAM00059That definitly hit the spot and did the trick ( and all those other phrases people say when they are quite satisfied).


P.S. J said the chocolate ones were good too. 🙂


More MixTures

::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::
::Homemade Artisan Bread::