Thursday, 29 November 2007

Lovely Lemon Loaf

As I have just finished the grade 7 exams, I am an expert at parts of speech. To prove this I am giving you a good example of alliteration - Lovely lemon loaf.

You know by now that I love lemons. Sweet and savoury they hold their own in any dish. I did a little research to prove that lemons are good for you and include here some very practical uses for lemons.
  1. They were used as ornamental plants in early Islamic gardens.
  2. In ancient Babylon they were used for enemas.
  3. Medieval Egypt introduced lemonade.
  4. The acid in lemons is a good meat tenderizer.
  5. It has no anti-biotic effects, but does have antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
  6. It is used as a natural hair lightener, insecticide and acne treatment.
  7. The Japanese have proved that lemon essential oil reduces stress in mice (Now that is useful if you have stressed mice in your home).
  8. A good source of Vitamin C, and was what they used to prevent scurvy in the old days of sea travel.
  9. Neutralizes the odour of fish
Now if you don't feel like lightening your hair or treating yourself to an enema, you could just make this lemon loaf and enjoy it with a nice cup of tea.

Lovely Lemon Loaf
60ml milk
200g soft butter
250ml sugar
3 eggs
500ml of flour
10ml baking powder
1 large lemon - zest and juice separate (the juice is for the frosting)
80ml icing sugar

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour, baking powder, the milk and the zest.
Spoon into a loaf tin and bake for 55 mins, or until done.
Turn out and cool on a rack.
Once it is cool, make the drizzle by mixing the juice and the icing sugar and pour over the loaf.
Wait for the drizzle to set and serve, or if you're like me, you have a slice before it has set.

This can be frozen before frosting.
You can make this as a muffin, and reduce the cooking time to 20mins.

God doesn't call the qualified,

He qualifies the called

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Pretty Food

I often make coleslaw. It is one way I can get my family to eat cabbage without them thinking about it being what it is - Good for You!

I got a baby red cabbage in my Wild Organic box last week and knowing that making braised red cabbage was out of the question, I whipped up a bowl of coleslaw. I mixed it half and half with green cabbage and it was the prettiest coleslaw I have ever made.

Rose's Family Favorite Coleslaw

1 cup of very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup of very thinly sliced green cabbage
½ cup of grated carrot
½ cup of Mayonnaise
30ml of Honey
15ml of Wholegrain Mustard
15ml Caraway seeds
Lots of black pepper

Mix the cabbages and carrot in a large enough bowl.
In a separate bowl make the sauce.
You can adjust the flavours to suit your own taste. Add more honey or if it is too sweet a little vinegar will cut through the sweetness.
Blend the sauce into the cabbage mix and leave for about an hour before serving.
This is a salad which will last very well in the fridge and is even better the next day.

As fashionistas are all claiming that pink is the new black, this salad will fit very fashionable on any table.

Some things you should know about Caraway. . . .
  1. Caraway aids the digestion, good as a anti-flatulent. (Good reason to have it with cabbage).
  2. It is a member of the parsley family.
  3. It is thought to have been used longer than any other condiment in Europe.
  4. It is used in Liqueurs, perfumes and mouthwashes.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Enough Chocolate

Is it possible to have enough chocolate cake? I have tried this, and I am still not convinced that you can ever go wrong eating chocolate cake.

I have posted a fool proof chocolate cake, but I don't think having two chocolate cake recipes is a bad thing, so I here is the cake I bake most often. So far I have never had a complaint, and that it good enough praise for me.

I am writing this in the same way it was given to me, by a wonderful lady, who is famous for this cake.

My Martha's Chocolate Cake.

Separate 4 large eggs.
Whisk the whites until they come to soft peaks.
Keep the whisk running and . . . .
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder,
Add 1¼ cup of sugar,
Add the egg yolks and whisk for 1 more minute.
Stop the whisk

Put 1 cup of milk and 200g of soft butter in the microwave for 1 minute.
Sift together 1¾ cups of flour,
2 dessert spoons coco powder (do yourself a favour and buy the expensive one -
Dutch process if you can)
1 dessert spoon of corn flour (cornstarch)
3 teaspoons baking powder

Now alternatively add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, stirring well after each addition.

Pour the mixture into 2 prepared cake tins and bake for 35 minutes at 180°C.

If you don't want chocolate, you can simply leave out the cocoa and replace it with 2 dessert spoons of cornflour and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Once it has cooled you can sandwich it together and frost with your favourite topping.
This is a very moist cake, and when you use the Dutch process cocoa it comes out very dark and chocolaty.

And just remember. . .
A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tyre!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Water Facts

I read this and thought it might be worth while sharing. I do not know if it will work, but what the hell.....

New research shows that drinking water revs up your metabolism helping you burn more body fat even without changing any other behaviour.

German researchers measured resting metabolism of a group of test volunteers before and after they drank 16 ounces of cool water. Within 10 minutes, resting metabolism began to rise, and after 40 minutes the average calorie-burning rate increased 30% and stayed elevated for more than an hour.

Researchers determined that if you drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day you can burn off almost 10 pounds of fat a year, even if you don't change your eating or exercise habits.

Just think how much more fat you could burn by adding in regular exercise.

But I do have some better advice.

Kindness is difficult to give away,
because it keeps coming back.

The Will of God will never take you where the

Grace of God will not protect you.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Pork Vinda Who

I love to make curry but I love to eat curry even more. Every mouthful tastes different. They only thing is, when I look at the recipes they seem to entail more stages than the launch of the space shuttle.

I found a recipe for Pork vindaloo yesterday. It has no less than 17 ingredients and about as many steps in the method. This certainly does not suit my life style, especially when I am in the middle of writing grade 7 exams. I actually can not think of an occasion when I would be prepared to do that amount of work for one meal, especially since the pay where I chef is very bad.

When I produced this dish, I "did it my way" (AKA Frank Sinatra). This is the reason I have called it Vinda Who curry, also because when I told my 13 year old we were having Vindaloo for diner, his first comment was - "From who's loo?" (I think toilet humour is an adolescence thing).

Roses's Pork Vinda Who Curry

1 kg Shoulder of pork, well trimmed and cut into pieces
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons brown sugar (or palm sugar)
100ml dried onion flakes (or one large onion thinly sliced)
2 heaped teaspoons garlic and ginger paste ( mine comes from a bottle)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 big pinch of saffron (this is optional, but I love the colour it gives)
2 tablespoons of buttermilk (you could use heavy cream)
2 cm stick Cinnamon
1 410g tin chopped peeled tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon garam Marsala (this has a natural thickening agent it it, as well as the spices)
8 baby potatoes (another optional)

Brown the meat on high heat, and then remove from the pot.
Add a little oil and fry the onion until nicely browned, this will go quicker if you use the dried flakes.
Add the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for 1 minute, be careful not to let it burn now.
Put the meat back in the pot.
Add all the spices and fry for 1 more minute, and keep stirring.
Add the tomatoes, the buttermilk, the vinegar and the sugar. Add about 100ml water.
Turn the heat right down to a simmer and let the meat simmer for about 1½ hours. Keep checking on it and add a little water when it starts to get dry. Don't be impatient and drown the meat, otherwise you won't have a nice thick gravy.
Once the meat is tender, stir in about 100ml of water and the Marsala.
Put the potatoes in and cook for a further 20 -30 mins, still on simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.
Check the seasoning, you may need a little more salt.
Serve with plain white rice, and if you really like it, some chopped fresh coriander leaves (I don't because my family hate it).

A very impressive dish, tons of ingredients, but alot easier preparation doing it the "WHO" method. I am sure you will find a more authentic recipe but be prepared for lots more work.

There are many clever people in the world. I have to share with you some comments made by people who actually said these things aloud for others to hear and write down.

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not
live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever,
then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever,
which is why I would not live forever."
Miss America 1995 from Alabama
Heather Whitestone (and she won??!!)

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's
the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
Vice President
Al Gore

Thursday, 15 November 2007

What lovely Plums

I have two plum trees in my garden. They were planted very lovingly by my father. Since he left the trees no longer enjoy the kind of love they should get.

My back garden is paved, with not a blade of green anywhere (except the few stubborn weeds which push up between the cracks)! So the area under the plum trees is the only place which can now be used to wash paint trays, spades with concrete on and any other toxic waste which can not go down the drain.

Would you believe that in the 5 years of total abuse, that is not counting our "scientific" approach of pruning, which is very simple - "if it sticks out, cut it off", these two plum trees have never failed to yield a beautiful crop of the sweetest red plums every year.

Yesterday while walking past them, I noticed the first signs of fruit, and so I am posting the pictures as proof to all you gardeners out there, in case you are wondering why your fruit trees don't bear the standard of fruit you long for.

I have considered publishing a book on fruit tree growing, but I know that Green Earth may lodge a protest as to the harmful effects of genetically modifying fruit with cement and paint!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Much Work = Little Blogging

This last week has been a whirlwind of activity. None of which I would consider pleasure.
Markwin is writing exams and this means that yours truly has been learning everything she needs to know, and has long forgotten, about triangles, the American revolution, punctuation, earthquakes and volcanoes. Nothing about baking exotic cakes or preserving the peaches I bought and now are too soft for anything except the bin!

I did manage to make one of my favorite suppers yesterday, in between learning about the American Indian Wars and painting my bathroom windows.

I pause for the loud applause I am hearing from everyone reading this.

Chicken Korma is a lovely meal, and only takes a few minutes to put together and then you can leave it to simmer until you have memorised the Bill of Rights!!!

Chicken Korma - use the quick recipe as per Madhur Jaffrey

4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
5 cm cinnamon stick
8 cardamom pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar
¼ tsp cumin seeds
130g/4½oz onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1.5 kg/3lb 5oz chicken pieces, skinned and cut into serving portions
¼ - 1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
12 Button mushrooms (this is not authentic, but I had to use them before they went the same way as the peaches)
3 tbsp single cream
250ml/8 ¾fl oz water

Put the ginger, garlic and 3 tbsp water in the container of an electric blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste.
Put the oil in a wide frying pan or saute pan and set over high heat.
When very hot, put in the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds. Stir once or twice and put in the onions.
Stir and fry for about three minutes or until the onions turn brownish.
Put in the paste from the blender, and the ground coriander and ground cumin and fry for a minute.
Put in the chopped tomatoes and fry for another minute.
Add in the chicken, chili powder, salt and 250ml/8 ¾fl oz water.
Bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over now and then.
Add the mushrooms if you are using them.
Remove the cover, add the cream and cook on high heat for another 7-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir gently as you do this.

I serve it with Basmati Rice. You can top it with toasted cashew nuts and coriander, but as I had neither, I just used a little parsley. This is a very impressive meal and excellent for a party as you don't have to stand in the kitchen cooking while everyone is having a good time without you.

Friday, 9 November 2007

A Picture worth 1000 Words

I got an email this morning and it had the caption "Some pictures need no words".

Because it is Friday and I know everyone needs a good laugh I am sending you the best.....

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Banana Rama

I'm a 80's kid. I have walked like an Egyptian, know the moves to "Achy Breaky Heart" and even know who Andrew Ridgeley is! So when I say Bananarama I am thinking, Cruel Summer and Love in the First Degree. When my son hears Bananarama he thinks it must be a new flavour smoothie!

I always seem to buy too many bananas. I have this idea that everyone is going to just gobble them up, long before they turn brown, and make the whole kitchen smell like a tropical island. But the great thing about really (really) ripe bananas, is they' re perfect for banana bread.

This is exactly what I made yesterday, and once again it was a success.

Banana Bread

300g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
5ml Bi Carb.
75mg butter
100mg sugar
3 beaten Eggs
3 ripe Banana (Less for a drier cake)
15ml Lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon (the zest is optional, but it really is worth trying)

Grease and line loaf tin. Preheat oven to 190°c.

Cream butter and Sugar.
Add eggs.
Mash bananas and add lemon juice and the zest.
Add the bananas to the butter mixture.
Add sifted flour and baking powder and salt and vanilla.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.
Bake for 50 – 60mins, until golden brown.

This cake is suitable for home freezing, so you can make more than one, cover with foil and clingwrap and freeze. It is totally
delicious and can be described as health food, if you count the bananas.

I hope you all enjoy your day, and your banana bread, and if you are an 80's kid I say "Girls just want to have fun".

Monday, 5 November 2007

Chrunchie Munchie

Sometimes you want to have a biscuit that is tasty and that you can convince yourself is good for you too. This is when I make crunchies.

Sometimes I make them soft and chewy, and sometimes they are hard and crispy. They are always filled with nuts, never fruit!

They are simple (surprise-surprise) and you can add anything from nuts to choc-chips, depending on how healthy you feel.


2 cups of Oats
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup of Flour
2 Tbsp. Golden Syrup
½ cup of butter

½ cup of flaked almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp. Bi- Carb

Melt butter and golden syrup, add bi-carb and mix together well.
Mix dry ingredients separately. Pour in butter mixture. Mix well.
Press into baking tray. (A shallow tray makes a crispy crunchie
And a deep pan makes a chewy texture).
Bake at 200°C for about 25 minutes.

Everyone in my family likes these, which is unusual, but it does prove just how good they are.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Wild Organic

The organic food market is growing, (excuse the pun). In the beginning I thought that it was really only for people who don't wear shoes (or perhaps only moccasins) and lived in communes, where no one was quite sure what day of the week it was.

Well,the organic thing has really caught on, and I am the first to agree that in certain things you can taste the difference.

I was very excited to find a company that is now selling organic vegetables, at a reasonable price. Every Thursday they send an email telling you what will be in next week's box, and then the following Wednesday your box is delivered to a collection point of your choosing. The place where I collected is 1 block away from my office, which is very convenient.

I am very happy with the first pack I got which included :

Broad Beans
Carrot Bunch

Lettuce Head
Mixed Herb Bunch
Mixed Salad Pack
Radish Bunch
Spring Onion Bunch
Valencia Oranges
Vine Tomatoes

Everything in the bag was wonderfully fresh.

I have signed up to receive a box every two weeks, and look forward to seeing all the lovely goodies I can make with them.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Greetings in Rugby

Keith sent me this picture this morning, and I just had to post it to show everyone.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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