Monday, 18 August 2008

Iwade Plum Jam

Whilst walking the dog on Sunday evening I noticed some windfall plums in the old orchard at the end of my road. So after making sure my Jack Russel followed me I managed to collect about 4lbs. I collected some jars from my mum today, on the understanding that she would receive one back full of jam! And of course one for my sister Danielle.

So I search the internet for recipes and came across this one on the Lakeland website. It's easy to follow so I am going to give it a try today.

Makes seven 454g (1lb) jars2kg

4lb plums
500ml (¾:pt) water
4lb sugar ~ warmed on a baking tray in the oven

Wash, halve and stone the plums.
Crack a few of the stones; blanch, skin and halve the kernels.
Cook the plums and water in a Preserving Pan for about half an hour, until the skins are soft.
Stir in and dissolve the warmed sugar, then boil briskly, adding the kernels towards setting point. When a set is reached, skim if necessary.
Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

That's it!

Happy cooking. Amanda

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Carrot Cake

I was in the mood for baking this morning and searched the internet for a carrot cake recipe. I found this one and made it in under and hour. Shame it didn't last that long as it was eaten before it had time to cool properly! I took some round to my friend Paula and we ate it with a cup of tea sitting in her garden catching-up.

Fool proof recipe as I have never attempted to make carrot cake before and it was really nice. I missed out the icing for my first one but will try that next time.

175g light muscovado sugar (I used normal brown sugar!)
175ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs , lightly beaten
140g grated carrots (about 3 medium)
100g raisins
grated zest of 1 large orange
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I used mixed all spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg)
½ tsp grated nutmeg

175g icing sugar
1½-2 tbsp orange juice

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan 160C. Oil and line the base and sides of an 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment.

Tip the sugar into a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil and add the eggs. Lightly mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices, then sift into the bowl. Lightly mix all the ingredients - when everything is evenly mixed stop mixing. The mixture will be fairly soft and almost runny.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40- 45 minutes, until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. (You can freeze the cake at this point.) I forgot to use the paper and it didn't stick too much!

Beat together the frosting ingredients in a small bowl until smooth - about as runny as single cream. Put the cake on a plate and drizzle the icing back and forth in diagonal lines over the top, letting it drip down the sides. Yummy!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Summer spiced courgette chutney

Here is a good recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website this morning. I am going to make this today as I have lots of fresh courgettes and red onions from the vegetable patch. I kept a few clean jars and will buy a kiln jar to keep some for later in the year. It’s the easiest recipe that I have found so thought I would give it a try. I am leaving out the root ginger as I’m not that keen on it!

2 onions , chopped
tomatoes , chopped
courgettes , diced
300ml white wine vinegar
2 Granny Smith
apples , peeled and diced
250g brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp mustard seeds
thumb-sized piece
root ginger , grated
garlic clove , crushed

1. Put all the ingredients in a large pan. Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring to stop the mixture sticking.

2. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours until dark, thick and chutney-like. Pour into sterilised jars and leave for 2-3 weeks before eating.

My week off

I've had a busy week at home. On Monday I had breakfast in Minnis Bay with some friends and walked along the beach. We took my friends nephews who really enjoyed thier day. I was really lucky as the weather was warm, sunny and dry. On Tuesday my sister came over with my niece Yazmin and we went to the Lees in Minster to do some beach combing. We found lots of shells and stones and I put some together and hung them up in the garden. A nice reminder of my beach visits this week. In the evening I took my mum to see Mama Mia, it was a brilliant film. I decided to take the dog back to the beach on Wednesday morning and we walked for an hour and a half. Moss slept for the rest of the day! On Thursday Ian's parents came over for dinner and we had a big Victoria sponge cake for Jack's 16th birthday (08-08-08).

Then on Friday we visited London Zoo as we hadn't been for ages and it was one of our favourite family places to visit when Jack was little. We packed a cool bag with lunch and started eating it before we even got there! We were lucky with the weather with only the odd light shower. You can do lots of things in doors so it gave us a chance to visit the aquarium and bugs.

The best bits of the Zoo were seeing the giraffes and penguins being fed and quite a new place called Meet the Monkeys. That was really good as the monkeys climb all over ropes and trees and you get to meet them up close, really close! I've added a picture of Ian looking up at the monkeys. We are all tired from the fresh air and walking around so we decided to have a quiet day at home today. I need to pick some French beans and do some weeding and put in some other seeds.

Have a great weekend. Amanda