Sponge Cake with grated chocolate and coffee icing

I took this cake to work earlier in the week and apparently it was ‘to die for’, so I thought that I ought to share it with you.

It is based on my go-to basic sponge recipe, Delia’s All-in-one sponge, which I find pretty fool-proof. The main difference between myself and Delia (apart from hair colour, age, lack of published cookery books, disinterest in football…) is that I use the ‘4 oz sponge mixture’ to make a single sponge cake, doubling it if I want two layers; Delia on the other hand, makes two cakes from her 4 oz recipe. I like my cake to be nice and thick :). wp-1454010834275.jpeg


  • 4 oz / 110 g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 oz / 110 g soft margarine, at room temperature
  • 4 oz / 110 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence (optional)
  • approx 2 squares of dark chocolate, grated

for the icing…

  • 1 dessert spoon of camp coffee
  • 6-8 heaped tablespoons icing sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 170oC. Line a lightly greased 7 inch / 18cm sponge tin (preferably with a spring base) with grease-proof paper.

There is a reason that this is called ‘all-in-one sponge’ – all you have to do is chuck all of the ingredients into a bowl and whizz it with an electric whisk. It does help to sieve the dry ingredients first though.

When the mixture is thoroughly combined, pour into your prepared tin and gently level the mixture with a knife (no need to be too much of a perfectionist in this).

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes.

When you remove the cake from the oven, leave in the tin only for about 30 seconds before turning the cake onto a cooling rack.

For the icing, put the icing sugar into a small bowl such as a pudding basin followed by the camp coffee. Turn on the tap to a slow drip, mix the camp coffee into the icing sugar with the back of a spoon and then add water a drip at a time, stirring continuously, until you have a thick spreadable liquid.

When you have spread the icing onto the cake, add another tablespoon of icing sugar to the bowl. Again, add a drip of water at a time, this time however you are aiming for a thinner consistency.

To make the pattern, use a teaspoon of the thin icing to make narrow parallel lines about an inch apart. Then take a fork and gently pull it across the cake perpendicular to the parallel lines, first in one direction and then the the other.


Kitty’s Soda Bread


It is over two weeks since I posted this taunting photograph with the Leftovers Soup, and I have finally got around to writing the promised (and much requested) recipe. Apologies for being a bit slack.


  • 125 g / 4 oz Bread Flour
  • 125 g / 4 oz Plain Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 15 g / ½ oz Butter
  • 225 – 250 ml / 7½ – 8 fl oz Plain Yoghurt
  • Beaten egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Poppy seeds (optional)

I usually use ½ wholemeal flour (i.e.  4 oz Wholemeal Plain or 4 oz Wholemeal Bread Flour).

If you do not have plain yogurt, milk can be used instead but make sure that you start with a much smaller volume and work up to the correct texture.



Pre-heat the oven to 200oC.

Sift the flours with the salt and bicarbonate of soda and then rub in the butter.

Add 225 ml / 7½ ml of the yoghurt all at once and mix quickly to make a soft dough, adding the additional yogurt only if necessary.

Shape into a 15 cm (6 inch) diameter ‘cake’ and place it onto a floured baking tray. Score deeply with the back of a knife into quarters.

Brush with beaten egg, then grind some salt and pepper onto the top. Seeds can be added at this point if you have them.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

This soda bread is best served fresh from the oven. Enjoy with some nice butter, cheese and a lovely soup – such as this rather yummy one!


Pasta! … a quick lunch for a busy, tired girl who is low on blood-sugar.

Note: this was an early post in my blogging ‘career’, and as you can tell I had not at that point got my head around food photography! It was considerably more delicious than it looks!

The intelligent amongst you will no doubt consider that I can’t be that busy or I wouldn’t have time to write a blog post. The truth is that I am having a ‘little lie down’ in between moving pots, pans, plates and food around Stroud and then heading to Cheltenham to pick up some more lovely donated food (don’t worry Mother – I am delegating the heavy lifting!).
Why am I doing this? Tomorrow we are launching an exciting project to feed the  people of Stroud using only lovely food which was going to be thrown away – read all about it here! 
Needless to say, I am rather tired from all the running around and was in need of a quick, high carb lunch followed by a little rest!


So, what to tell you about pasta and  pesto that you don’t already know?!
It’s very quick and filling and there isn’t very much washing up; once you have cooked the pasta and drained it you can throw everything else in, let it heat through and eat.  There are a number of variations on this theme; I like to add Creme fraiche if I have some  (I didn’t), a handful of pine kernels gives some added protein  (I didn’t have any of those either, so I used sunflower seeds), I usually also add frozen peas, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and grated cheese. This time, I had a little bit of leftover red cabbage salad which already had peas in it so I chucked that in.

Onwards and upwards,

busy busy!


No recipe tonight I’m afraid; I am too busy cataloguing boxes of food donations for the cafe event on Saturday. Cornflake cakes anyone?! I am excited to see what fresh food we get on Friday – catering by the skin of your teeth!

If you are local to Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK, please do come and join us for the launch of this exciting new project! http://stroudfoodsurplus.org

Over and out,



Spaghetti with tomatoes and poached eggs


Cheap, quick, easy and yummy – four of
my favourite things!
This fed two adults and a child (approximately 1/2 a tin of tomatoes per person and an egg each).

1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
A few mushrooms, chopped
Black pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 & 1/2 Tins tomatoes
A couple of squirts of tomato puree
3 eggs
A handful of grated cheese

If I had them I might also have included bacon or anchovies, olives or capers.

Fry the onion, garlic, black pepper and herbs in olive oil until beginning to soften. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and mushrooms and simmer until the mushrooms have cooked.

While the sauce is simmering away put the spaghetti on to cook, following the instructions on the packet for the quantity and cooking time.

When the pasta is nearly done crack an egg into a mug, make a little well in the sauce and pour in the egg; repeat so that there is one egg per person. Note, if your pan is not non-stick you will probably need to put a bit of oil in each well before you add the egg.

After about a minute, turn each egg with a spatula and then sprinkle the cheese over the sauce.

Drain the pasta and divide between shallow bowls. Put an egg onto each serving of pasta and then share out the rest of the sauce.


Kitty’s Vegetable Curry

This was rather good. I made it up on the spot but it was based on numerous other curries that I have made in the past.
As usual, there are things that you can add/ substitute if the contents of your fridge is a bit different from mine; I wouldn’t play around with the core spices too much though.
If you want this curry to be vegan then use coconut milk instead of the coconut yoghurt; the only reason that I had coconut yoghurt is that someone brought me a pot to go with a yummy pudding (thanks again Penny – I’m making it go a long way!). wp-1453118274768.jpeg


These amounts would serve 2 to 3 people; I ate two portions last night (couldn’t resist seconds!) and then had the rest for brunch this morning.

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vegetable stock/ 1 vegetable stock-cube
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 6 small new potatoes, halved
  • 1 large mushroom, chopped
  • 1/2 tin of chickpeas
  • 1/2 tin tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
  • Rice (1/2 cup per person)
  • Cardamom pods (approx 1 per serving of rice)
  • a pinch of Saffron wp-1453116265020.jpeg

Fry the onion, carrot, potatoes, garlic and spices in a high smoke-point oil (groundnut or rapeseed/canola); you need to be reasonably generous with the oil and keep a good eye on it.

After a few minutes add the tinned tomatoes, the chickpeas and about 1/3 pint veg stock. When this is bubbling nicely turn it down to a low simmer and leave until the potatoes and carrots are cooked (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Next add the chopped mushroom and coconut yoghurt; at the same time put the rice on, I use 1/2 cup per person and add a little veg stock, cardamom pods and saffron if I have it. A good rule of thumb for cooking rice is for the ‘height’ of the rice in the pan and the ‘height’ of the water above the rice to be approximately the same; then, when the water is gone the rice should be cooked (I’m sure that some of  my Asian friends would contradict me there, but that’s how I do it).

When the the rice is cooked take it off the heat and taste the curry, seasoning with a bit more salt and chilli if required.


A Quick Sunday Lunch for One


This was delicious!

I first defrosted some part-cooked stuffing wrapped in bacon which was in the freezer from my pre-Christmas food preparations; I’m pretty sure it was Delia’s chestnut stuffing.

Then, I roasted new potatoes, onions and carrots at 180oC in a very similar way to how I cooked the potatoes on Friday. After about 20 minutes I added the stuffing balls, followed after another 5 minutes or so by a handful of walnuts (at this point I added a little more olive oil).

When it all looked nice and roasty I cooked some frozen peas, took a pretty picture for you and then scoffed the lot!