weekend eating




I made a big caesar salad. Tip – follow the recipe when it says ‘mild olive oil’ and don’t use the extra flavourful italian olive oil crushed by a friend of a relative in his very own olive grove. Its wonderful olive oil but far too strong for caesar dressing!

x

Weekend in pictures

Black Forest gateau, Mr’s birthday cake 🙂
recipe adapted from here, I used a lot less cream though!

Second haul of fresh cherries for black forest gateau
Dunes and seafront at Walberswick


Sweet red gooseberries (you can eat these raw, unlike their sharp green counterparts) and little blackcurrants. Bought from a little cart at the side of the road, with an honesty money box.

We had a lovely Sunday in Suffolk, spent some time walking on the beach and then a drink in a local pub on the way back – which had ales made just around the corner! I do like the Suffolk countryside, and its just on our doorstep.

grazing..


I’m a sucker for two things:

1. free things
2. food

So when I saw that Graze were offering customers their first order of their snack boxes for free, I had to try it out.

You can find out more about Graze here – http://www.graze.com.
They make little boxes filled with healthy and not so healthy goodness – dried and fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate, crackers etc – designed for office workers trying to eat something a bit healthier during the day.

This is something I am trying to do more, rather than reaching for the biscuit tin. Having said that, this box didn’t actually make it to the office, it stayed at home where it was promptly eaten up!

My first box didn’t contain any fresh fruit due to a problem in their packing, but I did receive a nice selection of japanese rice crackers, ‘fire nuts’ (not a male affliction by the way), dried raspberries and chocolate buttons!

Unfortunately the chocolate buttons were not of the best quality chocolate and had that supermarket own brand of chocolate taste to them, so they were promptly baked into cookies where they became much better 🙂

The fire nuts were my favourite, mainly because they contined Wasabi Peanuts, which is something I wanted to try for a while.

Graze seem to love their voucher codes so its pretty hard to pay full price for a box, they were even kind enough to give me a code to pass on to others, so you can use this code for a free box:

9ZD1RYBE
http://www.graze.com

xx

Cherry picking, pitting and er.. pieing?


Well I did have a rather lovely start to the weekend. Where I work there are several small farmers, nurseries and vegetable growers so every now and again something fabulously seasonal, local and yummy comes up food wise.

There is a chap who sells Asparagus in early May, the nursery next door has a fabulous selection of weird and wonderful squashes in the autumn and there is talk of raspberries in the summer from someone else.

This month it is cherries. I think amongst all the talk of Wimbledon and strawberries, cherries do get rather lost. They are just as great when in season and fresh, local cherries aren’t a patch on the rubbery supermarket types.

Driving into work last Thursday I saw a great big sign for ‘CHERRIES – 2MILES’ – hurrahing slightly to myself, I came prepared on Friday with change and flat shoes, with my sights set on cherry pie.

I picked a generous 1/2 kilo of during my cherries (£2! bargain!) during my lunch hour and returned to work just in time for a cuppa and a biscuit before the desk job continued – the kind of lunchbreak I like..

{stems on one side and pips arranged neatly on the other – weird?}

I found this recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie on my favourite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. I had a few pastry problems when preparing it, but we’ll gloss over that and I’ll show you this instead…


I’m going to go back at the end of the week with plans for a kind of black forest gateau. We also had cherries and pancakes on Saturday morning, which were fabulous, but I forgot to take a picture unfortunately for I am still a novice food blogger 😉

xx

Kitchen cupboard cupcakes..

I got a lot done on the jewellery front this weekend, fuelled mainly by a batch of long awaited cupcakes.

I haven’t made cupcakes successfully* for about two years, since my cupcake tins were lost during a house move. I kept forgetting to buy new ones, but I finally picked up some at the weekend and realised just exactly what I had been missing!

In an old oven like ours, where cakes take an age to cook through, cupcakes are just the right thing, they cook quickly and properly in about 15minutes, perfect. There isn’t a recipe per se for these as I made it up as I went along!

I had a bit of cocoa, a bit of dark chocolate and some coffee in the cupboard that I wanted to use.

I used a standard Victoria sponge recipe, 100g each of butter, sugar and self raising flour and two eggs. It makes quite a thick mixture so it is ideal for adding things too without making the mixture too runny. I added three tablespoons of coffee (2 teaspoons of instant dissolved in a tiny bit of hot water), about 3 tablespoons of cocoa and some chunks of about 100g chocolate cut into pieces. Mixed it up and spooned about a tablespoon in to 12 cupcake cases, gas mark 5 for about 15minutes and they were all done!

I lacked ingredients for icing but they would be perfect with a bit of buttercream on top.

* My unsuccessful attempt involved me thinking that cupcake cases wedged closely together on a baking tray would be absolutely fine. Result – lots of cake batter spilling out of cake cases and onto my tin – not good! You need proper cupcake tins.

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