Tuesday, September 30, 2008


i had such a lovely time along the green lanes recently that i thought i'd make a turkish delight cake. as you can see, it's pretty psychedelic, but has a wonderful wet texture and a scented icing that really is the icing on the cake.


75g 70% chocolate (Aldi do some good ones, that are dead cheap)
110g softened butter
110g golden caster sugar
2 medium free range eggs
110g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder

105g icing sugar
2 tsp rose water
a dash of pink colouring
chocolate hundreds and thousands

break the chocolate up into a heat proof bowl and place in a warming oven to slowly melt and butter a small loose bottomed cake tin. meanwhile beat the butter and sugar so that it becomes light. beat in the eggs and then add the chocolate when it is liquid, beating immediately so that it doesn't melt the cake mix. turn the oven up to 200C. now fold in the ground almonds and baking powder. spatula this out into the buttered cake tin and place in the hot oven for half an hour or until firm to the touch. remove and let it stand in the tin to cool.

to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and then gradually add the rose water, and finally the turbo colouring. when the cake is TOTALLY cool, spoon this over the cake and decorate with hundreds and thousands.

i also made wicked little cheese pastries that you'll be able to see on www.urbanjunkies.com
i'm off to France on thursday so will have tales of pate and wickedness on my return. x x x

Friday, September 26, 2008


so, our gypsy summer is finally here. crisp fresh mornings which keep inspiring me to bake. as a result, the deli seems to be covered in ridiculously iced and cherried cakes. it's all very gingham. this little cake is perfectly light, not to eggy with a really bitter sweet icing, and the final pop of a creamy hazlenut (and ground hazlenuts in the mix, to make a really wet texture). it's pretty simple too. even Alice (my darling friend who prefers to be catered to) has taken up this wonderfully feminine art, so i think everyone should be baking this wet little number on sunday afternoon, whomever you are...


110g softened butter
110g golden caster sugar
1 beaten egg
2 shots of espresso or the same amount of super strong cafetiere coffee
50g ground hazlenuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g self raising flour
100g icing sugar
some whole hazlenuts to decorate

preheat the oven to 170C. lightly butter a small loose bottomed cake tin that's about 18-20cm diameter.
beat together the butter and sugar using a good whisk. then add the beaten egg. this may look curled but don't worry, it'll all work out in the end.
add half of the strong coffee or espresso, the ground hazlenuts, baking powder and flour and throughly mix this all together. it's best to use a big slotted spoon. turn the cake mix out into the buttered cake tin and place in the oven for 40 minutes. then remove to cool.
meanwhile, make the icing by mixing the espresso bit by bit. it should be quite a thick icing, but spoonable. it always loosens more than you think.
when the cake is entirely cold, place it on the plate or stand you intend to serve it on. spread the icing right up to the edge of the cake and plop on the hazlenuts where ever makes you happy.
eat this cake with a nice pot of earl grey for tea, or with a cappuccino first thing. enjoy x

Monday, September 1, 2008


after a rather late night on saturday night, i was in need of some serious soothing.
luckily the shopping was done for me, so i could watch zezi on the tv in peace.
bags of food returned, and i was fed awesome mackerel pate on bread with cooling cucumber.
as i began to feel human, we devised a meal, a la ready steady cook.
a light lamb stew with some chilli, and cumin seeds, lamb, celery and carrot.
the culmination was the sweet potato mash.

4 lamb steaks
some plain flour to coat the meat
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
4 dried chillis
2 carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 mug of water
1 x 400g tin of chick peas
(next time i'll add a generous handful of parsley at the end)
maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper

4 sweet potatoes
a knob of butter
maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
a handful of fresh mint

preheat the oven to 140C. chop the lamb into chunks and coat in plain flour. heat the oil in a medium pan (which has a matching lid and can go in the oven). when the oil is hot add the meat to brown. meanwhile dice the onion and then after a few minutes add to the pot, with the seasoning. sweat off for a moment. peel the carrots and julienne. clean the celery and dice. now also add these to the pot and sweat for 5 minutes. add the tomatoes and water and bring the pan to the boil. add the lid and place in the slow oven for 1 1/2 hours. during this time, check each half hour and give it a good mix around. add the chickpeas, and turn the heat up to 180C. continue roasting for a further half an hour with the lid off.

for the sweet potatoes, peel and roughly chop into hunks. fully cover with water and bring this to the boil on a high flame. boil until the pink potatoes slip easily off a knife. drain and mash with lots of butter and seasoning. finely slice the mint and whip into the mash. season the stew and serve the whole warm bowl together.

another episode of family guy, and i passed out swiftly after eating this autumnal stew. but next time, i want to fold in a load of parsley.