Spiced Banana Cake, with Ginger.

So, we have a ‘Banana Cake’ thing going on at the mo,
(more details of why & where in due-course)
but for posterity, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients for our Spiced Banana Cake, with Ginger;

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1.25ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 2.5ml Salt 
  • 75g Unsalted Butter (If you’ve salted butter don’t add the salt above)
  • 150g caster sugar (for a different dark cake, use dark sugar!)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • About 4 bananas (~450g if weighed with skin)
  • Mixed spice
  • Crystallised Ginger – chopped.


  1. Heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease & line with baking paper a small loaf tin.
  3. Mix the flour, bi-carb & salt together.
  4. Peal and mash the bananas.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  6. A little at a time, mix in the eggs and some flour mixture.
  7. Add as much mixed spice and chopped crystallised ginger as you fancy.
  8. Stir in the remaining flour and mashed banana.
  9. Pour into your lined tin & bake for 60-75 mins or until a knife comes out clean.
  10. Cool for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.


As mentioned, the reasons for our Banana Cake adventures will be released in due-course.

For other cobbled together recipes (many Cornish), search ‘recipes’.


Chilli bread

On a 45 year-old’s bday, one might receive a ‘baking stone’ and a home baking book of recipes… and lo it came to pass…

2013-11-16 17.15.21
Bottom right half, no ‘stuff’, for the girls

Those who know me know that the girls often have a home made pizza on a saturday, the dough bashing and proving is therapeutic and I recommend it.

Now our pizzas are stonebaked! and it worked really well, no more soggy botts, but crispy! Thanks inlaws!

I also find bread making therapeutic, better than kicking the dog.


And the first recipe from my gift of  Gino D’Acampo’s ‘Italian Home Baking’, has been:

Filone All’Arribbiata (Spicy Loaf with Chilli and Paprika).
But my version, using ‘erps and spice brought back from Italy by the folks (‘cos I’m all out of paprika).


Makes 1 loaf
225g strong white flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
7g fast action yeast
210ml warm water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp spice ‘erb mix: flakes of oregano, chilli, garlic mix.
Nice… with strong cheese and cider!
Thanks all.

Daily Bread…


Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us… ?

Today was a normal Saturday.
Thankful to Em who did a 4 hour stint teaching swimming.
We had dancing first thing, or at least thought we did (Doesn’t start till next week).
So we did a small Tesco shop and a library visit to stock up on books for the next 3 weeks.
Soup and salad for munch. Nice.
Then the first trip out on the bike this year (except for the daily commutes).
Met up with Em at Gymnastics. Then a trip back…. Many roads and paths full if debris and in parts very slippy and dangerous. But the fresh air, nature, endorphins…. Gr8.
Endorphins kept buzzing on my return, and so homemade pizza dough (thanks to netmums) with the kids for their tea.
Then dough was pummelled and rested and a loaf of homemade bread was created! Thanks again to Holly’s recipe from GBBO. Gr8 therapy.
The kids tucked away and a curry from a jar was sizzled, ate and enjoyed.

I am thankful for our daily bread.

All u need is:

500g strong white flour.
10g salt
5g caster sugar
7g sachet of dried yeast
350mls lukewarm water

Simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a metal spoon just till it’s together, and leave for ten minutes.
Tip onto the table and knead it 10 minutes. This is therapeutic, enjoy it.
Put it back in the bowl and cover the bowl with clingfilm.
Leave on the side (in a warm place) until the dough has doubled in size, about 30 minutes…
Tip the enlarged size dough onto your table and push down a few times on the dough to release air bubbles. Do not knead it. Then fold and shape your dough to your preferred bread shape and place on a baking tray.
Don’t cover the bread. Leave the tray on the kitchen top till the loaf’s double in size, another 30mins. Top the loaf with seeds or supt if u want.
Make some quick cuts on the top of the loaf and put it on the middle shelf of a 200deg c oven.
Bake for about 35 mins. Check the bread occasionally and rotate or change shelves if it’s over/under doing.
Bread’s done when it sounds hollow when you knock the underneath.
Thanks Holly, full details here.


Choc Orange Fruit Brownies

Sunday afternoon therapy: make the below and then watch Tales from the Wild Wood.

Heat oven to 180ºC. Line an 8 in square cake tin with baking paper.

Over a simmering pan of water melt the butter, sugar, and choc in a large glass bowl. Stir it occasionally.

Remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave to cool.

Zest the orange and juice. Whisk these together with the eggs, vanilla, and salt.

Whisk the orange and egg mix into the cooled chocolate mix.

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking powder onto the choc mix and fold it in. Fold in the white chocolate chips and juicy raisins too.

Pour into the baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.

  • 225g butter
  • 275g soft brown sugar
  • 200g Green & Blacks dark chocolate
  • zest of a large orange
  • juice ½ orange
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 110g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 110g white chocolate chips
  • Good handfull or two of juicy rasins

No Crust Coconut Pie

Our choir, Global Harmony, sings a ‘warm-up’ song about Coconut Pie.
This is the pie, thanks to Mary – with my added twists.

4 eggs
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar – I’ve reduced the amount of white and added some soft brown sugar and tangy honey also!
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 cups milk
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
and I’ve added a teaspoon of ginger.

Mix all together. Pour into 10- inch buttered dish. Bake at 180 C / 350 F for 50mins. approx.

It’s NOT supposed to look like this, but it tastes goooooood!




OK, latest fad that might become routine – Yogurt*.

It’s one of those things we’ve always thought about but never ventured into.

We’ve been given an Easiyo Yogurt maker, and have started ‘growing our own’.


We have previously spent about £4.50 a week on yogs for the four of us.

We now make a kilo of yog for £2.50 – that lasts us the week.

The processed yog we bought previously might contain:

  • Modified food starch, corn starch: Used as a stabilizer, thickener and emulsifier. This gives yogurt an extra creamy texture.
  • Gelatin or Pectin, used as a thickener.
  • Potassium sorbate: A preservative.
  • A significant amount of sugar.
  • Aspartame: An artificial sweetener.
  • Fructose syrup (HFCS): A sweetener.
  • Tricalcium phosphate: A calcium supplement.
  • Whey Protein Concentrate.
  • Sodium Citrate.
  • Malic Acid.
  • Colourings? and flavourings?

The yogs we are now growing contain:

  • Each sachet contains only milk powder and live yogurt making probiotic strains of bacteria.
  • Then… whatever fruit and honey etc. we put in it. (Rhubarb from the garden this week)

The milk powder is spray dried which means that only the water content is removed. Once you add water, it is the closest thing you can get to pure fresh milk.

Your yogurt is made over a range of temperatures so that each bacteria has its “moment in the sun” when the temperature is just right for optimum growth of that particular bacteria.

It’s quick and easy! No pre-heating of milk. No electrics, just make use of boiling water.

I guess we’ll see how long this fadtine lasts.


Note: Every day, 1.3million unopened yogurt pots are dumped…

*In English, there are several variations of the spelling of the word, including yogurt, yoghurt, yoghourt, yogourt, yaghourt, yoghurd, joghourt, and jogourt. In the United Kingdom and Australia, yogurt and yoghurt are both current, yoghurt being more common while yogurt is used by the Australian and British dairy councils, and yoghourt is an uncommon alternative.


Cornish Pasties – on a budget?

Being 300+ miles from the homeland can cause a fading Cornishman to suffer from Pasty Withdrawal, and this is not a good thing.

We have been known to send for emergency supplies from Warrrens, which I have to say are good. Even ‘ansome’ when the withdrawal is severe.

But this time, with budgets an issue more than ever, I was forced to think how much our usual homemade pasties cost?
It’s easy to click click from the smartphone and order 10 Medium Steaks for £26, that’s what it was on the last time we weakened. But now 10MSP from Warrens is £31!

16 Homemade Pasties

1.15kg Cubed Beef – 6.95/kg  Gamble & Hollis Syston: £8.00
Pastry – OK, I could make it myself, yeah yeah, but I’ve 2 kids pulling at my trouser legs so this is easier!
So, 4 packs of Jus Rol Pastry (I re-bash Puff cos I like Puff!), that’s 8 rolls: £8.00
8 potatoes, half per pasty: 50p
5 Onions: 40p
One Swede (which the Cornish call Turnips): £1
’bout 20 Mushrooms, 1/3 Kg: £1 (Oh yes! Mushrooms!)
Eggs: we occasionally get ours fresh from the friendly hen lovers up the road. (Thanks A&K)
Pepper and Salt

So, that’s £18.90 for 16 Pasties: £1.18 each
Warrens by Post £31 for 10 Pastes: £3 each

So here’s our simple Cornish*Pasty Recipe again:

A JusRol ‘roll’ will do 2 medium pasties, cut the roll in half, screw the bugger up and roll it out to a circle and put on:

A handful of chopped potato,
A handful of chopped onion,
A handful of chopped swede,
A handful of chopped mushroom,
A handful of cubed beef (1cm sqs),
Shake a pinch of salt,
Shake a good dash of pepper,
Eggwash around the edge.

Fold the top edge forward to the bottom edge and crimp.

Make the other one. One is never enough!

In a greased baking tin, eggwash (or milk, or egg & milk) the pasties.

Cook on high 220° for 30mins and then lower to medium 170° for 30mins.

If it’s burning (cover with tinfoil).


And don’t let any northerners mention gravy!

(*I’m Cornish, I was brought up on these things, so I’m calling ‘um Cornish – even with the personal touch of mushrooms!)

Eat me!! Mini Meat Pies!

Christmas Eve, (Annie’s) Mini Meat Pies!

It seems every Christmas I remember from Cornwall included these mini marvels! But take my word for it they don’t hang around, soooooo morish – ansome me lover! From what I recall, this is me mum’s recipe with a few twists.

– Pastry, whatever you fancy either shortcrust,  flakey or puff (above’s with Short and Puff mixed! ‘cos we ran out). Sorry, didn’t make me own, it’s too easy to take of off the shelf.

– 1 large finely chopped onion.
– 6-7 mushrooms, finely chopped.
– pack of mince 500g.
Lea and Perrins.
Balsamic Vinegar.
1 Oxo Cube.
1 egg.

(i) with a yummy knob of butter fry onions, mushrooms till browning.
(ii) remove the above to a bowl.
(iii) in same pan fry mince (with a touch of salt and a good grind of pepper) till browning, then add the fried onions and mushrooms.
(iv) add to the pan, a shake and a bit of Lea & Perrins, a shake and bit of Balsamic Vinegar and sprinkle on one Oxo Cube. If too dry add a splash of water.
(v) fry till mixed and cooked.

(vi) Roll out your pastry and cut out appropriately sized circles with top of a glass/cup and place into greased pie/muffin/tart trays.
(vii) Cut out circle lids from same cutter.

(viii) put filling mix onto pies.
(ix) brush the inside edge of the lids with egg and place the tops on the pies.
(x) I use a smaller egg-cup to push down the lids on the pies to ensure the egg ‘glues’ the edges.
(xi) brush the tops of pies with egg.

Cook for 20mins in a 200deg oven.

Eat! over the coming days, warm or cold. But to be honest they’ll be gone in a few hours.

Bike Uncategorized

A good old crusty loaf!!

With the challenge set after tweeting GBBO’s Holly a fellow Leicestershirianite(?), I set to bashing some dough round!

A good old crusty loaf!
As I pummelled the dough I was reminded of the muppet in the white van that terrorised me on the way home the other day.
I was in ‘my space’ on the road, with a car in front of me, and they (the white van) seemed to have had a bad day and were not happy (i guess) that I was in front of them? Sor-rry! Revving their engine and blasting their horn behind me, they followed me for a good 900 yards unable to get by. They did eventually overtake me when there was room, and broke infront of me as if to make a point. It left me a tad shaken and seriously wondering if all this cycling malarky was worth it!?
Yes, on the way home a few dozen drivers race-off accelerating away like missled lemmings after being inconvenienced for 10 seconds! Oh I do hope they get there in time!!
But cycling IS worth the occasional encounter with a ready-sliced roadster! Life is worth living. Breath is worth breathing! Time is worth spending! Bread is worth cutting!
I do wonder why so many people are in such a rush to get somewhere? Life’s too short to get their early!
Driving home from work used to take me 25 minutes. Riding takes me 35.
OK some may think I’m a bit of a crusty old loaf for cycling to work but take if from me – it tastes good!!!
Ta Holly!


Chocolate Brownie with mmallow topping

Tonight’s therapy… a magnificent creation! 22 left… and going…

100g marg

50+g choc
175g dark soft brown sugar
2 or 3 eggs beaten
cap of vanilla essence
100g sr flour
good shake of cinnamon powder
good shake of ginger powder
pinch salt
50g chopped nuts
good hand full of juicy raisins
topping of mini marsh mallows

1. melt marg and choc over hot water, remove from heat and cool
2. stir in sugar, add eggs mixed with vanilla ess.
3. Mix in Flour, salt, nuts, spices, and raisins
4. stick it in oiled tin, lined with baking or gp paper.
5. Top with mini marsh mallows, and bake for 25-30mins 190deg.
6. leave in tim until cold before removing and cutting to squares.

Try not to eat too many at a time!