Uncategorized

Milk sorbet

milk sorbet 2

I don’t eat out a lot but last year I was lucky enough to try milk sorbet TWICE at two different restaurants.

The first was at ‘The Peacock‘ in Rowsley where it was the perfect companion to a dense chocolate tart. The second was at the wonderful ‘John’s House‘ in Mount Sorrel where it came on top of a hot rice pudding – an odd sounding pairing but an absolute delight.

After these two memorable food experiences I decided to try and make it myself. This recipe from Donna Hay was the first that came up on a google search and I haven’t bothered to try any others because it is perfect.

We are divided in our family as to whether milk sorbet is preferable to a good old-fashioned vanilla ice cream but I’m totally convinced that it is better in some circumstances, such as with very rich deserts where it offers a lighter and more refreshing note of contrast. It is great just on its own though (I seem to say that a  lot on this blog).

You will need an ice-cream maker for this recipe. As I’ve said before, I have a Magimix Le Glacier ice cream maker – the cheaper sort where you have to freeze the bowl overnight before using. This remains one of my best used kitchen appliances*.

*PS. I have not been paid by Magimix to say this.

Donna Hay’s Milk Sorbet

  • 1 cup/220g of caster sugar
  • 1 cup/250ml of water
  • 3 cups/650ml of full fat milk (I used Tesco Finest Channel Island milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Set aside and allow to cool completely.

Once cool add the milk and lemon juice.

Churn in an ice-cream maker until firm (about 20 minutes) and freeze until required.

You will need to leave the sorbet at room temperature for around 30 minutes before serving.

Advertisements

Tea bread

Tea bread

Yes, it’s yet another cake…or is it a bread?

This recipe was kindly forwarded to me by one of my followers last year. I was thrilled that someone had engaged so directly with my site and me. I have baked this tea bread several times now and have tinkered with the amount of sugar in the recipe but it remains largely the same.

It’s a nice old-fashioned tasting cake/bread which makes a perfect elevenses or mid-afternoon treat with a nice cup of tea. There is hardly any fat in the recipe itself but feel free to slather slices of it with butter to make up for this fact. It is lovely by itself too though.

The cake is ridiculously easy to make and keeps very well – it actually seems to get better with age.

I like the idea of experimenting with the flavours of the tea the currants are soaked in – Earl Grey seems an obvious candidate (I think Mary Berry has a recipe that does this), but Green Tea or Theresa May’s favourite Lapsang Souchong could also be interesting.

Tea bread

  • 1 cup/140g of currants (not sultanas)
  • 1 ½ cups/330 ml of strong hot tea
  • 2 cups/260g of self-raising flour
  • ½ a cup/110g of demerara sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice

Start by soaking the currants overnight in the tea.

The next day, when you are ready to bake, heat your oven to 160oC.

Line and grease a medium-sized loaf tin (mine is 11cm wide, 22cm long and 6cm high).

In a large bowl measure out the flour, sugar, egg and mixed spice. Then tip in the currants along with their tea marinade. By now they will be all puffed up and tea flavoured.

Stir well with a wooden spoon then tip the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake for around an hour (or until a skewer comes out clean when poked through the middle).

Cool in the tin and store in an air tight container until you are ready to eat.

Two chocolate cakes

malted chocolate cake

I’ve spent most of January feeling ghastly and ill and it seems that everyone around me has been sick too, struck down by flu, hacking coughs, head colds etc. etc.

But it’s February now and I’m feeling much better. I even managed two glasses of white wine last night – having not touched a drop since the New Year (enforced, I might add, through illness not a dry January resolution).

To celebrate this more positive mood I’d like to offer you two more chocolate cake recipes to add to your collection.

The first – a Malty Chocolate Loaf – is elegant and velvety with a subtle hint of malt. It’s from my trusty Peyton and Byrne ‘British Baking’ cookbook. I don’t look forward to my trips to St Pancras Station as much now that they have closed their bakery there. Why did it go, it was such a joy?

The second is a hot, Magic Chocolate Pudding which creates its own sauce in the baking process. It’s a bit clumsy but comforting and delicious all the same – very school dinnerish. It’s my own concoction (with the aid of a little research on google).

Malty chocolate loaf

  • 125g of softened butter
  • 70g of light brown sugar
  • 110g of dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 140g of self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon of Horlicks (or equivalent)
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 110ml of milk (should be whole but semi skimmed seems to work just fine)
  • 50g of dark chocolate
  • 65g of milk chocolate chopped into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 170oC.

Butter and line a small loaf tin (mine is 11cm wide, 22cm long and 6cm high) with baking parchment.

Take a large bowl and tip in the butter, sugars, flour, Horlicks, egg and vanilla extract. With an electric hand whisk (or food processor) beat until light and fluffy.

Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave (on half power in short bursts) or in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add this to the mix.

Add the milk and beat to combine.

Finally, stir in the milk chocolate pieces.

Tip the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the tin. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Quick magic chocolate pudding

If you need a quick pudding then this is very easy to whip up with bog standard store cupboard baking ingredients and it doesn’t need any accompaniments (although a dollop of ice cream would not be out of place). Perfect for a Sunday night in front of the TV. This recipe serves four very generously.

Sponge

  • 110g of self-raising flour
  • 110g of caster sugar
  • 110g of margarine (I use Stork)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 60g of light brown sugar
  • 200ml of boiling water

Preheat your oven to 180oC.

Take a small baking or glass loaf dish (as pictured below) and butter well.

Measure out all the ingredients for the sponge in a large mixing bowl and mix quickly with an electric mixer until just incorporated, try not to over mix.

Tip the cake batter into the loaf tin.

Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce until the sugar and cocoa have dissolved and pour over the cake mix. This looks a bit wrong but don’t worry it will all turn out alright once it’s baked.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until just set and eat with greed and relish.

Ginger cake

ginger cake

Happy New Year!

Why does saying this seem so inappropriate in damp and dismal January?

If you’re struggling with the January blues (I am a little bit) then you might like to treat yourself by baking (and eating) this warming ginger cake.

The original recipe comes from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (the first one). It is a comforting, old fashioned ginger cake (tasting rather like the shop bought McVities Jamaica Ginger Cake, only better) and is very easy to make. To prove this point my daughter made the one pictured all by herself. She will not however be photographed for this blog anymore – she is nine and well aware of her rights.

The ginger flavour is quite subtle so if you want more punch then I suggest doubling the quantities of powdered and stem ginger. It is a very sturdy cake that keeps well for a week or so wrapped in foil. It actually tastes best after maturing for three or four days. Cut off a square and zap for 20 seconds in the microwave. It’s lovely by itself but even better served with ice cream, clotted cream or custard.

Ginger cake

Serves 9-12

  • 250g of self raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200g of golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of syrup form the stem ginger jar
  • 125g of butter
  • 55g (about 3 lumps) of stem ginger in syrup, diced finely (or leave larger if you like a good hit of ginger)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of sultanas
  • 125g of dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 240ml of milk (semi-skimmed works fine)

Set your oven to 180oC (fan).

Take a 20 x 20 cm tin and line with baking parchment. I like to take the baking parchment all the way up the sides of the tin with extra to fold over the cake when storing. When I doubled the ingredients once for a large party I used a 22 x 33 cm tin.

Sift the flour with the powdered ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

Put the golden syrup, ginger syrup and butter in a saucepan over a low heat until melted.

Then add the diced stem ginger, sultanas and sugar. Turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble gently for a minute, stirring often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.

In another bowl add the eggs and milk and whisk with a fork.

Pour the syrup and butter mixture into the flour and stir with a metal spoon, then add the milk and eggs and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Tip the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes (45-50 if you’ve double the quantity).

Leave the cake to cool in the tin and then wrap it up in the baking parchment and store in an air tight container. Leave to mature for a couple of days if you can.

Cypriot Village Bread

Cypriot bread

It’s embarrassing to admit but there’s going to be a gap in my life now that Bake-Off is all over. The children and I have loved the show so much this year (watching it curled up on the sofa in our dressing gowns).

We’ve not been bothered by the swap to Channel 4. I like Sandy and Pru and the children think Noel is hilarious. Even the adverts give us a welcome break for trips to the toilet and to make hot drinks.

With the Bake-Off theme in mind, I wanted to share with you this recipe for Cypriot Village Bread based on the recipe in Paul Hollywood’s ‘100 Great Breads‘. Now I’ve tried a few of these breads and they’re not all great (the croissant recipe is dreadfully disappointing and bears little resemblance to his croissant recipes elsewhere).

This one however has become a bit of a family favourite when we want a smorgasbord style dinner where a nice loaf of bread is the star of the show. It seems to go well with cold meats, dips, soup and cheeses alike.

The seed combination on top is amazingly delicious. You will probably find that you have some seeds left over after soaking and covering the dough (even though the recipe here uses half the amount that Paul suggests). Don’t throw any leftovers away but dry the seeds out again in a hot oven and sprinkle them over salads or noodle dishes.

Cypriot Village Bread

Makes one loaf which will feed a family of four as the main part of a dinner.

  • Pinch of mastika (ground first with a pestle and mortar)
  • Pinch of mechlebe (ground first with a pestle and mortar)

I have never heard of or seen these spice for sale. Paul recommends using ground fennel seeds instead which is what I do.

  • 500g of strong white bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 20g of yeast (I am going to experiment with reducing this quantity, I usually use instant action yeast and I think this is the quantity for fresh yeast)
  • 50ml of olive oil
  • 300ml of water
  • 50g of sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of black cumin seeds (or use regular cumin seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Put the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil and water in a large bowl and mix together. Add the mastika and mechlebe, or fennel, then knead for 5 minutes.

Leave to prove for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size (the time here will depend on your room temperature). I find it needs at least 2 hours.

Tip the sesame, cumin and caraway seeds into a cup and pour over a little warm water. This will puff up the sesame seeds help them to release their juice.

Line a baking tray. Tip out the risen dough and shape it into a ball.

Spread the seeds thinly onto a flat plate and roll the top of the ball of dough in it until well covered with seeds.

Place the dough on the lined baking tray and leave it to rise again for a further hour. I cover it with a large upturned bowl, my husband prefers to place a tea towel lightly over the top.

Preheat your oven to 220oC.

Using a very sharp knife, make a cut all the way around the middle of the ball and two large cuts across the top.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. I like to remove it from the tray after 20 minutes (and place is directly on the wire rack in the over) to make sure that the bottom is crisp.

Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting (if you can wait that long).

Nigella’s Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shwarma 2

I’ve avoided  posting this recipe because I didn’t want you to think I was some sort of crazed Nigella fan/stalker such is the large number of her recipes on this blog.

However, this has become such a ‘go to’ recipe when I have to feed lots of people for a buffet type spread (and so many people have asked me for the recipe) that I’ve finally caved in.

This is a wonderfully simple recipe and whilst you do need a well stocked spice cupboard there’s nothing really specialist involved. It also makes good use of chicken thighs which still remain economical even if you buy them from a quality butcher (which I always do).

I cut the chicken into thin slices which makes it go along way and serve either with rice (easy) or homemade flat breads (a bit more effort). As an accompaniment Nigella mixes up a tahini and garlic flavoured yoghurt bejewelled with pomegranate seeds but I don’t bother with this.

Nigella’s Chicken Shawarma

Serves 6 (or more if you’re serving as part of a buffet with other dishes)

  • 12 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (I like to remove as much of the visible fat as possible)
  • The grated zest and juice of two lemons
  • 100 ml of regular olive oil
  • 4 fat or 6 smaller garlic cloves grated
  • 2 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • ¼ a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Take a large bowl, tupperware or freezer bag, tip in the chicken thighs and add all the other ingredients.

Squish everything about (hands are best for this) until the chicken is well covered with all the marinade ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.

When you are ready to cook heat your oven to 200oC fan and take the chicken out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.

Spread the chicken thighs out on to a large baking tray – you may need two because you don’t want them to overlap.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden and slightly crispy on top. I like to turn mine halfway through for an even colour. Sometimes they need slightly longer than 30 minutes.

Take the chicken out of the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes covered with foil.

Slice the cooked thighs thinly with a sharp knife and place in a sharing bowl for everyone to help themselves.

Pork meatballs with grapes and a whole roasted cauliflower

meatballs with grapes

You can never have too many meatball recipes in your culinary repertoire and this one which uses sweet black grapes in a sauce to accompany a nutty pork meatball is wonderful.

The flavours are very Middle Eastern and although I used to be sniffy about fruit in savoury dishes my more mature self is starting to enjoy the combination.

The recipe is from the ‘Good Carbs Cookbook’ which I’ve already mentioned on this blog. My husband Ben agreed that the dish was tasty but then asked where the carbs were? Like Ben, I always thought that grapes were low in carbohydrates, but a quick google search suggests that they are one of the highest carb fruits there are, alongside bananas. Not that I care too much about that.

I accompanied the meatballs with a whole roasted cauliflower using a recipe from the same cookbook. I couldn’t believe that I had not tried this before – it was incredibly delicious and so very easy. The nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower went perfectly with the sweetness of the meatball dish but I think it would also make a great addition to any standard roast dinner.

Pork meatballs with grapes

For the meatballs

  • 600g of minced pork
  • 2 shallots or small onions, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons of hazelnuts, crushed with a pestle and mortar or a sharp knife
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • A little plain flour to coat

For the sauce

  • 100g of sultanas
  • 150ml of freshly brewed black tea
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 270g of black seedless grapes (cut in half if they are large)
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

To make the meatballs put the pork mince, half the chopped onion/shallot, garlic and hazelnuts in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to your own personal taste. I like a lot of seasoning but you may not.

Form the mixture into balls a bit smaller than golf ball size. Coat lightly with plain flour.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Then brown the meatballs until a dark golden colour on all sides. This will take around 10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining onion/shallot. Put a lid on and leave to soften for a couple of minutes. Then add the sultanas with the tea, the stock and the grapes.

Simmer gently without a lid for 10 minutes, there is no need to stir. The sauce will reduce and thicken during this time.

Scatter with fresh, chopped parsley and serve.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

whole baked cauliflower

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon and a good pinch of sea salt
  • 60 ml of olive oil

Set your oven to 220oC.

Trim away the green leaves of the cauliflower and chop off the bottom so that it stands up straight.

Take a pan large enough to fit in all the cauliflower and fill it with water until it comes to ¾ of the way up the cauliflower. Add a teaspoon of salt, put a lid on and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down to a rolling simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Drain well.

Line a baking tin with baking parchment. Put the cauliflower in the middle and drizzle over the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt flakes.

Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.

Vegan chocolate cake

vegan chocolate cake

A very honest (and bad) photo!

I hosted my book group this week. We talked about Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’ which divided opinion and prompted a good debate. I thought it was rubbish.

I have only recently entered the Book Group World and always imagined it to be just an excuse to drink white wine on a school night. Whilst this may be true of some, ours is more a decaff tea and cake affair. This makes a nice change as most of my other social groups only seem to function when accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.

One of our members is vegan which set me a welcome challenge to find an edible cake recipe that used neither eggs or dairy. A quick google search bought up thousands of options but I had to search hard to find one that used regular (albeit dairy free) store cupboard ingredients (no agave syrup, medjool dates, coconut butter or flax eggs here please!).

My supplies of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda have dramatically decreased since the children started using them in their ‘Kitchen Science’ experiments. But it’s the same reaction between the vinegar and bicarb that propels plastic rockets and creates mini volcanoes that makes this cake rise in the absence of eggs.

The cake is disappointingly bland until you add the silky, sticky glaze which transforms it into something rather delicious. I would serve it quite happily to non-vegans who I don’t think would complain. It’s not a looker though (as the photo above demonstrates). You could work the presentation if you like with rose petals. Nigella does this in her version.

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

For the cake

  • 180g of plain flour
  • 200g of caster sugar
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ a teaspoon of salt
  • 215ml of warm water or coffee (I used decaff coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 70ml of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar

For the glaze

  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 60g of vegan/dairy free margarine
  • 2 tablespoons of soya milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC.

Line a 20cm x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) square baking tin with parchment and grease with vegetable oil or vegan margarine.

Into a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork until there are no lumps.

Measure the warm water/coffee, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and vinegar into a jug and pour into the dry ingredients.

Mix the ingredients together with a metal spoon until incorporated.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, in a small saucepan melt the sugar, margarine, soya milk and cocoa powder and bring to a boil stirring all the time. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and stir for an additional 5 minutes until the mixture is cooled and thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the glaze onto cake and put in the fridge to set.

vegan chocolate cake 1

Unglazed

Spaghetti with green tomatoes

Green tomatoes

I feel like I’ve been away from this blog for a long time and it’s nice to be back.

I think I might have over-egged the custard when I said at the end of my last post that my local library had reopened with a “stunning array of cookbooks”.

On closer inspection the bulk seems to be by new celebrity chefs such as Kirsty Allsop and Fearne Cotton (seriously!!!) and the old guard – Nigella, Mary, James, Jamie, Rick etc. But hidden amongst these largely style-over-content tomes there are a few more interesting books that I’ve never seen before. One called ‘The Good Carbs Cookbook’ seemed to speak to my rebellious, carb-loving self and this recipe, which promised to use up some of the green tomatoes currently refusing to ripen in my greenhouse, caught my eye.

It’s a good recipe that takes just as long to prepare as it does to cook a pan of spaghetti (about 10 minutes). So it’s perfect if you’re short of time on a midweek evening.

It’s not dissimilar to a regular herby pesto with the acidity of the green tomatoes taking the place of the usual lemon. It’s not a dish that’s going to blow you away with its complex flavours but the result is a perfectly tasty bowl of pasta that will make you feel virtuous and happy that those green tomatoes haven’t gone to waste.

Below it is the only other green tomato recipe I know – a chutney by good old Delia. It is wonderful (one of the best chutneys I’ve ever tasted) but in contrast with the pasta recipe it takes a great deal of time and effort to make and needs to mature for at least a year (preferably longer) before it’s at its very best. Not a great one then for the impatient. It’s sometimes difficult to see the advantages in putting the effort in now if the rewards are not to be enjoyed for such a long time.

Pasta with green tomatoes and fresh herbs

Adapted from ‘The Good Carbs Cookbook’ – Dr Alan Barclay, Kate McGhie & Philippa Sandall

Serves 2 greedy people or 4 normal ones

  • 6 medium green tomatoes
  • A generous handful of mint
  • A generous handful of basil
  • A generous handful of parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Half a pack of spaghetti or linguine (250g)
  • 50-100g of ricotta (I think 50g between two is more than enough)
  • A light olive oil (not extra virgin) – between 50 – 125 ml (the original recipe uses the full 125ml but I think this is too much personally)

Roughly chop the tomatoes, mint, basil and parsley and place in a food processer with the olive oil and crushed garlic. Pulse for a few seconds until you have a chunky mixture.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water until done to your liking. Purists would say it should be al dente but I prefer it a little more cooked than that. Drain but reserve a ladle full of the salty cooking water for the sauce.

Return the pasta to the pan over a low heat and add the tomato mixture. Tip in the reserved water and give everything a good stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper to your own personal taste. I refrain from giving exact measures because I like a lot of salt and you may not.

Serve immediately with blobs of ricotta on top to be stirred in when eating.

NOTE: I think some green chilli would also be a good addition and you can play around with the quantities of herbs and oil depending on your personal taste.

Green tomato pasta

Delia Smith’s Green Tomato Chutney

Makes 8 x 450g jars

  • 1kg of green tomatoes
  • 1kg of cooking apples
  • 900g of onions
  • 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 450g of raisins
  • 625g of soft brown sugar
  • 25g of pickling spice
  • ½ tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 level dessertspoons of ground ginger
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 1.75 litres of malt vinegar

Wash the tomatoes and cut them into quarters.

Peel and quarter the onions.

Peel and core the apples – keeping them in water so that they don’t go brown.

Mince the tomatoes, onions, raisins and apples and place them in a very large pan. Now I don’t have a mincer and I don’t know of anyone that does these days. An alternative is to use a food processor and this is what I do.

Now add the garlic, cayenne, salt, ginger and sugar and mix everything together thoroughly.

Tie the pickling spice in a piece of cloth and attach the string to the handle of the pan so that it dangles down into the mix.

Now pour in the vinegar and bring to a simmer, removing any scum from the surface.

Simmer very gently for 3.5 hours without covering, stirring now and then to prevent sticking.

It is ready when the vinegar is absorbed and the chutney has thickened to a smooth consistency. The chutney should leave a trail on a metal spoon when it’s done.

Pour the chutney into 8 sterile 450g jars, filling them as full as possible.

Cover with wax sealing discs and seal with a tight lid immediately.

Store in a dark, cool place and leave for at least 3 months before eating. I have found though that this chutney is best when left for at least a year and the very best when left for 3 years!

 

Cornflake cakes

cornflake cakes

Someone once told me that when you reach 40 your musical tastes stagnate. You no longer consumer new music but rather spend the rest of your life buying records that you wish you’d bought earlier in your life.

Well this seems to have happened to me with regards to recipes. I keep cooking the same old things and seem unable to get excited by anything new. I can often be found scrolling aimlessly through recipes online admiring the pretty photos but failing to find anything that I actually want to eat. If anything they seem to curb my appetite. I find myself looking longingly at the toaster and the egg cupboard.

I am still cooking, it’s just that right now I seem to be keeping to my current repertoire a good percentage of which is now on this blog. I am definitely its biggest user and that’s really why I keep it going. My collection of courgette recipes has certainly proved useful with our current glut. I’m always on the lookout for more but just not ones involving pickled samphire, or freekeh!

Now here’s a recipe for something I definitely do want to eat. I’ve turned 40 and I may now be heading backwards, but seriously, who can resist the lure of a good old fashioned cornflake cake. Made simply with cocoa powder, butter and golden syrup.

I used to make these in the school summer holidays as a child and now I encourage my children to do the same. I’ve never actually made these from a ‘real’ recipe it was more a case of approximation in our house but I’ve now made an effort to attempt to write it down (for future generations – if anyone is still cooking by then!).

Cornflake Cakes

Makes 18 (using muffin size cases)

  • 150g butter
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 200g of cornflakes (any brand will do or use rice krispies if you prefer)

Take a saucepan and measure in the butter, golden syrup and cocoa powder. Heat gently until all the ingredients have melted and stir with a wooden spoon until the cocoa powder has no lumps and you have a nice smooth mixture.

In a large mixing bowl measure out the cornflakes. Pour over the chocolate mixture and stir well until every last bit of cornflake is coated in chocolate.

Take a muffin tin and line with muffin cases. Fill each case with the cornflake mixture pressing down well with the back of the spoon to compact a little.

Put in the fridge to set for at least an hour.

PS. I hope to get my experimental, forward-looking self back soon. I have been writing this blog for nearly four years now and I have a feeling I’ve been here before? My local library in Beeston has reopened with a stunning array of cookbooks which will hopefully inspire me.