I had slightly stalled on the ‘Alphabites’ series for a number of reasons, but not least because I was a bit stumped by ‘E’. I even did an internet search on food beginning with E and there was nothing that really jumped out at me. I thought about doing something to do with eggs, and then I remembered an excellent recipe I had recently come across and made for an Egg Free Cake, and I decided to share that.
After the discovery of decent food gels and the success of the Harlequins Battenberg two years ago, I decided to attempt a rubix cube themed Battenberg cake for Lionel’s birthday this year. The result of several hours’ work was a definite crowd pleaser – both visually (once it was cut in to!) and on the taste buds. Here’s the journey I went on, step by step so that you can travel it too.
I was intrigued having written my last post how different my choice to adopt Huel has made my nutritional intake. If lunch via Huel was really not that different from Subway, what about a comparison to my usual breakfast?
Last week I started using Huel for the first time. (It feels a bit odd to say “using” like that but I can’t really think of a better word. Technically I’m drinking it but telling people that I am drinking my meals makes me sound like an alcoholic.) I’m very conscious that I’m only at the start of my Huel journey and there is plenty of opportunity to become bored, frustrated by hunger, or even to have adverse reactions to having Huel instead of some of my meals. When I say adverse reactions, I’m not talking about anything serious, but there is always the possibility that the form of Huel disagrees with me over medium-long term.
I think I need to wait a little longer before making an assessment of its impact on me, but I have a couple of immediate thoughts. (more…)
A while ago I posted an article named It’s not people, but is it palatable? The article was about Soylent, the powder that you could mix with water and take instead of eating. I expressed interest, scepticism, and ultimately disappointment that I couldn’t try it myself. For a while I checked every so often to see if they had expanded operations to the UK, which they still haven’t.
A year and a half later, I’d forgotten about it, but then happened to come across something else: Huel. It’s a very similar concept (down to the minimalist website with an athletic-looking guy pouring beige liquid into a glass), and it was not just available, but originated in the UK. In fact, the two main players as far as I can see are currently Huel and Joylent, the latter of which not only comes from the Netherlands, but rather daringly posts their last three reviews on the front page of their website, which at the time of writing are not all positive. (more…)
Last year I made my first rainbow cake: in many ways it was a great success, but I felt let down by the colours. So I purchased some Sugarflair paste colours and it’s taken me until now to have a chance to try them out.
And WHAT a difference. The tiniest amount of paste (often less than 0.25 of a tsp) stirred into the batters produced a wonderfully vibrant colour. (Slightly terrifyingly vibrant in some cases – I was worried that people wouldn’t actually want to eat the ca
ke as it looked so artificial – but they did!)
I’m excited by the prospect of many bright cakes, icings etc.! Here are some photos of the process, and also one of the contrast between last year’s cake, using regular
supermarket purchased food colourings (where I had a use a large quantity to even achieve the slightly muted colours) and this year’s vibrant success! The colours I used were: Christmas Red, Tangerine, Melon, Mint Green, Baby Blue and Lilac.
Dates are another thing that I came to quite late in my life. For some reason I had them in the same category as prunes in my mind and had, therefore, never tried them. My dad used to eat them but I just wrote them off as something gross that I didn’t need to investigate. But then one day I ate one and could not believe what I had been missing out on for all these years. It tasted just like toffee. Sweet and delicious. They are now up there as one of my favourite treats (admittedly the list is quite long).
Recently my friend, who was expecting a baby, told me that there had been studies linking dates to timely and quick labours. A quick internet search confirmed this. She sent me a recipe of a date loaf that she made and ate the day before she ended up going in to labour. I made it last week and it was excellent. Tasted like sticky toffee pudding and went down a treat with everyone there. (Thankfully it didn’t cause anyone to give birth though!). A number of people asked for the recipe, so here it is:
Last year I began my Very Important Quest to find the best brownie recipe out there. This included a brief detour into the world of special diet brownies, the results of which were varied. My first attempt was a gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar, vegan ‘brownie’, made primarily of sweet potatoes and dates. Lionel wrote about our friends’ honest response here. It’s fair to say, they didn’t go down particularly well.
But I have a confession to make. I am guilty of having *slightly* adapted the original recipe – I didn’t use the specified type of dates, and I used cocoa powder instead of cacao powder (you swap a few letters round – how different can it be?!) So I decided it was only fair to have another go, this time following the recipe to the letter.
A friend recently asked me to bake a ‘festive traybake’ so I decided to add some Christmassy tastes to chocolate brownies, using just ingredients I had in the house (it was too cold to go out to the shops!). The result was a very rich and tasty brownie, with a hint of Christmas. Very easy too 🙂
150g dark chocolate
200g Stork (or equivalent)
215g soft brown sugar
150g self raising flour
40g extra dark cocoa powder
3 eggs (large)
50g dried cranberries
100g pecan nuts
80g cranberry sauce
- Heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4 and line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking parchment. Break the chocolate into chunks and melt it with the Stork in the microwave.
- Mix together the sugar, flour and cocoa powder and stir in the melted chocolate and Stork mixture, followed by the eggs. Stir through the dried cranberries and pecan nuts, followed by the cranberry sauce.
- Pour into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 35 – 40 mins. Allow to cool before slicing.
(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food).
Here’s another fun idea for Christmas themed biscuit decorating. Next week is National Christmas Jumper Day in the UK, so why not decorate some jumper shaped biscuits to celebrate? I made these two years ago for the occasion, creating my own jumper template and cutting around it with a knife, but this year I have seen jumper cookie cutters in the shops, which would make the job even quicker (and your jumpers will look a bit neater than mine!). I made them with a gingerbread recipe, but as with the reindeer biscuits, any biscuit recipe where you roll out the dough and cut out the shapes is just fine. I made the biscuits one evening and then spent a couple of happy hours decorating them the next evening. I picked a number of different themes – Santa, Christmas trees, candy canes etc.; made white, red and green icing and used a cocktail stick for the more precise parts; and used lots of other cake decorations: silver balls, mini smarties etc. Lots of fun and the results added to the enjoyment of Christmas Jumper Day at work.