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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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.

yummy!

Kitty’s Soda Bread

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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.

Ingredients

  • 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.

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Method

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!

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Spaghetti with tomatoes and poached eggs

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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).

Ingredients:
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
Spaghetti

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

Enjoy!

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

Ingredients:

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

Method:
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.

Serve.

Nutella Biscuits

This is a fantastic store cupboard recipe with very few ingredients. These particular yummy looking (and, I can report delicious tasting) biscuits were made by my favourite little neighbour and she would like to share the recipe with you in her own words.wp-1453045864132.jpeg

Ingredients:

  • 200g Butter (softened)
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 100g Granulated Sugar
  • Nutella wp-1453045509683.jpeg

Method:

Preheat heat the oven to 180C.

Then, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth.

Add the flour and mix to a soft dough, you may have to add more flour to get the right texture.

Next, make the dough in to little balls about the size of a walnut. Put about half of them on a greased baking tray and push down with the back of a tea spoon, making a dent for the Nutella .

In the dent put about a third of a tea spoon of Nutella and cover with another piece of flattened dough. Sprinkle with some demerara sugar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and put on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy with a cup of tea and Doctor Who.

Roast new potatoes with garlic coconut dip (a sneaky Friday evening ‘snack’)

In (partial) obedience to a 10-year old who has the measure of me…

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Ingredients:
New potatoes  (as many as you want to eat!)
1 small onion
Olive oil
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds
Other dried herbs (I used some ‘Hierbas provenzales’ which my parents brought back for me from Mallorca)

2 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Chop the onion into quarters and the potatoes in half. Put in a small roasting tin with oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and herbs and roast for approx 20 minutes.

Put the coconut yoghurt in a small bowl and mix in the garlic, cayenne pepper and salt. If you don’t like things too spicy, add a little bit of cayenne pepper at a time,  tasting in between.

Serve in a couple of bowls in the centre of the table with a fork per person. Dip the potatoes into the yoghurt dip, making sure to fight over the last one. Enjoy with a Friday glass of wine!

I will make soup later, thereby abiding by the above instructions. The soup will be pretty similar to the carrot, lentil and cider recipe shared previously, although I may substitute white wine in for the cider so as to more fully do as I have been told by said 10 year -old.

Happy Friday everyone!

Kitty x

p.s. In case you were wondering, the coconut yoghurt was gifted to me by a friend who brought me a pudding when she came to dinner. No cheating!