Monday, 28 July 2014

Chocolate Cake with Courgettes.

You may need to use up your courgettes. We have a glut of courgettes at the moment. I decided to use some in my baking this week. so for those of you looking for a way to use up those courgettes this is a great recipe.  You seem to get a much bigger cake and it is lovely and moist.

Chocolate Cake with Courgettes
You need
350g S.R. flour
50g Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon salt
175g olive oil
375 castor sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 courgettes grated. (If you grate them and put them in a measuring jug they should come up to about the 500ml mark) Here is a useful little grater.
140g roughly chopped walnuts

1. Place the grated courgettes in a clean cloth and squeeze out some of the liquid and discard the liquid.
2.Heat oven to 180C/160Cfan/gas mark 4.
3. Combine flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and 1 teaspoon salt in one bowl.
4. In another bowl mix olive oil, sugar,eggs, vanilla essence and the grated courgette.
5. Combine them all in one bowl until just combined and then fold in the walnuts.
6. Line a 24cm cake tin with greaseproof paper (yes, that's right - it makes a large cake.)
7. Bake it for  about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of it comes out clean.  It may take longer.
8. Cool in the tin for a little while and then cool on a wire rack.
While it is cooling make the icing:
Icing Ingredients
200g dark chocolate
100ml single cream

Break the chocolate into really small pieces. Bring cream to boil in small saucepan.  Pour boiling milk onto the chocolate in a bowl and stir till smooth and melted. Cool slightly then spread over the cake.

Lick bowl!! Eat cake!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Honey and Banana Teabread for Afternoon Tea

Do you have a fussy eater in the family?  When my children were growing up they weren't fussy eaters.  They ate just about everything I put in front of them. I wasn't prepared to mess about and they knew it. Now I have grandchildren the situation is quite different.  The youngest grandson was even fussy when tiny about the texture of food.  Even now he will eat raw carrots but not cooked carrots but he will eat carrot soup.  It isn't about taste it seems to be about texture so I think I get it!
     He doesn't like  to eat raw bananas but loved this Honey and Banana tea bread.  As his grandmother I feel it is my duty to spoil him and so it is now virtually all gone! This is also absolutely perfect for afternoon tea.

Honey and Banana Tea Bread

225g SR Flour
Pinch grated nutmeg
100g butter
225g bananas
100g castor sugar
grated peel of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons of thick pale honey
You need to line the bottom of a greased 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and preheat the oven to 160C , 140C fan or gas mark 3

Measure the flour and nutmeg into a bowl and rub in butter until it is like breadcrumbs

Peel and mash the bananas with a fork and stir into the flour mixture together with the sugar, lemon peel, eggs and the honey and beat.
Put into the prepared tin.
Bake for approx 1 hour 15 mins and test with a skewer stuck in the centre comes out clean. You might have to cover loosely with foil towards the end if it browns too much.
Cool for a few minutes in the tin then turn onto a cooling rack.
Topping (optional)
Warm another 2 tablespoons of honey in a small pan (very gently), brush over top of cold tea bread and sprinkle with sugar.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Garden and Park Picnics. How does your Garden Grow?

How does your garden grow?  There has been quite a lot to do in ours recently but it is producing a few vegetables and herbs recently. We have broad beans and courgettes and salad leaves all of which are ready and which we have been using.
We have some beautiful roses

Some lovely pots of flowers

containing begonias, bizzy lizzies, petunias etc.

we have hanging baskets

And gorgeous lavender.  next week the lilies will be out and so will the agapanthus. It is lovely to sit in the garden and watch the bees on the lilac.

We went to Belper River Gardens this week and took these pictures of the riverside walk


Lovely time to have meals in the garden and picnics in the park.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Grandad Behaving Badly and the Shed Picnic

We took a couple of our grandchildren to the park at the weekend.My husband also promised them one of his special picnics.  It is a lovely park and is a child's paradise.
Pirate ship and edge of boating lake

Climbing frame

 They had a lovely time and so did my husband. Because it is also a Grandad's paradise and he is still a child at heart.
Grandad behaving badly

It's supposed to be for children!

 He is a real fun grandad.
 After we had been to the park he promised the children a shed picnic. They loved it! So did he! Now why on earth anyone would want to have a meal in his shed? It was  a glorious summer day! Why not in the park or in a field or in the garden?  It absolutely baffles me but we did!!!
Getting ready for the shed picnic

In fact it was more than a picnic it was sausages, egg and chips. I try to  disapprove of this because I don't see it as healthy but he spoils them when they come and stay with us.This was coupled with the fact that we were going to have a family bbq in the evening  anyway!
So here are the pictures of the day.
Dining In.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

 Brilliant blog posts on

Monday, 14 July 2014

Belper Food Fayre

We went to Belper Food Fayre on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the day. There was a wide variety of stalls selling all kinds of food and drink. We were not expecting it to be so big.  In fact there were crowds of people and lots and lots of stalls selling every kind of food and drink you could imagine.
Real Ale
Who ate all the pies?

Some of them had virtually sold out.  I am sure they all had a good day.

There was street entertainment too.

Brass Band at Belper

Afterwards we went to listen to the wonderful brass band playing in Belper River Gardens.
Adventure Playground at Belper

The children enjoyed the playground and the well dressings decorated in the traditional way with thousands of petals.

Walking by the river at Belper

We enjoyed the flowers and walks.

We know exactly how to do it next time.
1. Arrive early
2.  Buy food, buy drink.
3. Put in coolbox in car and remember suitable cutlery for picnic and cups.
4. Explore some of the shops etc. in Belper
5. Go to River Gardens with deck chairs and cool box.
6. Eat wonderful picnic of food and drink purchased at the Food Fayre.