It is a little early to be talking about cherries in the UK… a few months early… but it is exciting to see cherries ready on the trees. We might even get some this year instead of the birds. They have already done an excellent job of eating the cherry and plum tree leaves – I had no idea they were that tasty…
We were given a bag of cherries from a friend who takes the left overs from a market for her chickens and gives us a huge portion of it to feed little piggy and chooks. Some were on the turn, queue cherry baking time.
I’ve got a favourite cherry cake recipe (find it here Cherries) but I was lacking in some ingredients and, to be honest, I wanted chocolate cake 😛
So I trawled the internet to find a chocolate one that had the ingredients we had in the house. I had just enough to make one from https://www.kitchensanctuary.com
It is most definitely not my own creation even though I would love to take credit for it, but it is so delicious that I think the word should be spread. It is a new favourite chocolate cake.
Flourless with ground almonds, fresh cherries, chocolate chunks in a chocolate cake, lovely gooey texture – what is not to like?!
Chocolate Chunk Cherry Cake
-225g butter, softened -200g granulated sugar -1tsp vanilla extract -4 eggs -200g ground almonds -50g cocoa powder -1tsp baking powder -100g dark chocolate -100g dark or milk chocolate cut into chunks -200g fresh cherries
- Preheat oven to 170C. Line a 20cm/9inch deep cake tin with baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time until well incorporated into the mixture.
- Stir in the ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder, mixing well to combine.
- Melt 100g of dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over the hob or in a microwave. Mix into the cake mixture followed by the chunks of unmelted chocolate.
- Scrape the contents of the bowl into the prepared baking tin.
- Remove the stems from the cherries and cut them open, removing the stones from the centre. Scatter the cherries over the top of the cake’s surface.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely. It is also delicious served warm.
- When completely cold, store in an airtight container for up to three days.
Some nice little berry biscuit treats. Very simple, only uses three ingredients, vegetarian/gluten/vegan friendly. Cooked blueberries are surprisingly delicious…
-4 medium sized ripe bananas -1-3cups of porridge oats -1 cup of blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a square tray with baking parchment.
- Mash the bananas in a bowl.
- Stir in the oats with a fork, a cup at a time, until the oats seem to have absorbed the banana. The mixture should cling together, like a biscuit mixture, and be a little sticky. Be careful not to overdo it with the oats so that it is too dry.
- Stir in the blueberries.
- Scrape the contents of the bowl onto the prepared tray. Using the fork, press down onto the mixture, smoothing it out over the surface of the tray. You want it to be thinnish and flat. Think flapjacks.
- Cut the flattened mixture into squares before placing in the centre of the oven and cooking for about 10-15 minutes, or until the oats are golden brown and the blueberries are cooked.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Happy New year everyone!
Here is a little winter/autumn warming treat to see you through January and February, and a great way of using apples left over in storage from the harvest of 2018.
Mum’s Baked Apples
-6 large baking apples -3/4 cup dark brown sugar -1/2 cup raisins -1/2tsp ground cinnamon -1/4tsp grated nutmeg -1tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Wash and core apples, then remove a 1-inch strip of peel around the middle of each. Arrange the apples in a baking dish, 2-quart shallow.
- Combine the brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Carefully fill the center of each apple and dot with 1/2tsp of butter.
- Add just enough water to the baking dish to cover the bottom. Bake, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, or until the apples are tender (larger ones will take longer). Baste the apples with the juices occasionally.
- Serve the apples warm. Left-overs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Christmas dinner can be a little tricky if you are vegetarian. Sure, you’ve got all the veg, bread sauce, Yorkshire puds and vegetarian stuffing if you like it, but unless you are splashing out on a nut roast, there isn’t a lot to make up a ‘main meal’. As a vegetarian – not just a vegetarian, but a fussy vegetarian who needs a balanced meal with all the groups for health reasons – Christmas dinner can be a pain when it comes to protein. I don’t like bread sauce, Yorkshire puds, stuffing or nut roast, so I’m basically doomed. This year, as I was catering for two vegetarians, I thought it was time to try a new recipe. I still had three pumpkins from the veg patch and I thought it was perfect for xmas dinner – I know they are traditionally linked with Thanksgiving, but in the UK we didn’t have it a month earlier so we could afford to use the pumpkin again!
I needed something quick and simple, with some protein in. I opted for cheese. As pumpkin is, well, bland, I also decided to throw some garlic in there too.
It is really basic and can be made in advance of the big day so it doesn’t take up space in the kitchen. Of course, you could make this any time of the year too 😉
Pumpkin, Cheese and Garlic Bake
-1 large pumpkin -Olive oil, for drizzling -260g cheddar cheese -20g Swiss gruye -2 garlic cloves
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Cut the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into large slices and place on baking trays. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked. Allow to cool completely.
- Cut the pumpkin up into small cubes and place in an oven-proof dish.
- Grate the cheese and dice the garlic up into small pieces. Mix together and then sprinkle it over the top of the pumpkin.
- Preheat the grill to high and heat the bake until the cheese has melted at the top is golden – it should only take a minute or two so keep an eye on it. Or, preheat the oven to 200C and bake for approximately 10-20 minutes, or until the top is golden and the cheese has melted.
- Serve. Store in the fridge when cold.
Anyone looking forward to the courgette/ zucchini season?
Recently made this cake in anticipation for it…
Bella’s Baking: Courgette and Sultana Cake
Who is brave enough to face the mighty vegetable cake?
-1 medium sized potato -2 serving spoons of Brussel sprouts -1-2 generous tsp of cranberry sauce
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- You have the option to either boil or microwave your potato. If you are boiling, cut the potato up into large chunks and place in a pan of boiling water. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft a cooked through. If you are microwaving it, pierce holes in the skin and microwave for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until the potato feels soft when squeezed.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and place in it the Brussel sprouts that have had their outer leaves removed and crosses stamped at the bottom of the stems. Boil for about 8 minutes or until soft.
- In an oven proof container, layer the potato, followed by the Brussels. Smear the cranberry sauce over the top, with the option to mix it in.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. The cranberry sauce will be hot an bubbling.
- Serve with a side of fried mushrooms or cheese for protein.
Cranberries <— original link to cranberry sauce recipe
Beautiful apples and pears from our garden.
Incase you have lots of apples, try this cake recipe Apples Apple and Almond Cake with Cinnamon. It is delicious. I’ve made some adjustments though: bake at 160C for about 2 hours or more, checking if it is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. This prevents the top from burning but gives you a lovely moist yet cooked sponge.