Monday, 23 March 2015

Fridge Spy (For Tinned Tomatoes)

Jacqueline Meldrew of the awesome blog Tinned Tomatoes issued a fridge challenge a couple of weeks ago: "I'll show you mine if you show me yours": so here's ours, perhaps a little tidier than usual after our weekly shop:

  1. Top shelf, l-r: Concessional block of cheese (I'm being honest here so let's get that out of the way now!) because our teenagers still eat it, fresh dates from a Turkish grocery, ground linseeds, tamarind concentrate, miso, tomato puree, lemon juice, 4-seed mix, salad dressing made from olive oil and lemon juice and a container of various pickles and chutneys, including fiercely hot Chinese fermented soyabean and chilli much loved by my stepsons, and my far milder homemade date and tamarind chutney.
  2. Middle shelf, l-r: Home made cashew cheeze spread made earlier in the day to go with some soda bread and soup, peppers, aubergines and a container of chillies, ginger root and lemongrass so I can lay my hands on them fast when I'm making stir fry.
  3. Bottom shelf, l-r: Spring greens, cauliflower, pointed cabbage, celery (no room in the salad drawer at the moment or I'd keep it there to stay nicely crisp) and 3 packets of asparagus. The asparagus was only in there for about an hour before I made asparagus tart with it!
  4. Salad drawer: Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and a whole bunch of chopped-into things to be used up that you can't see in the picture.
  5. Bottom drawer: Home grown pumpkin, organic broccoli, organic carrots, Brussels sprouts and orange sweet potatoes. 
  6. Inside door, from top: vegan margarine, stepson's wheatgrass powder, shelf of various jams including blackcurrant, strawberry, marmalade, and home made clementine marmalade. The bottom shelf from l-r: amla juice, stepson's Hershey's chocolate sauce from the States, 2 cartons of soya milk, 2 bottles of sriracha (the boys love it!) and some ginger drink we were given.
The veggies are either homegrown or from Aldi, and bought condiments are from a variety of local ethnic groceries. There's usually some home grown beetroot in there too but I'd used it all up the day before, and it's not unusual to find a jug of home made hemp milk, a jar of olives, home made hummus or some leftovers from previous meals.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Wholemeal Swedish Apple Cake

Firstly, an apology- we have not posted here for a couple of weeks because I've been ill; germs are an occupational hazard when you work with young children, and unfortunately these were pretty nasty germs! But I'm well on the mend, and getting back into the routine with blogging, so here's something I made quite a while ago now...
Swedish apple cake has long been a favourite of mine, since my mother used to make it using a Marks and Spencer recipe back in the late 70s. Basically, anything involving apples and cinnamon has to be a winner! I also added some raisins for extra fruity sweetness. We got some wholemeal organic self-raising wheat flour from Suma Wholefoods a few weeks ago, so it was only a matter of time before we got round to trying it out in cakes. I don't think it rises quite as well as the white self-raising flour, but it seems to work beautifully in "brown" cakes which don't have to be really fluffy, like this apple cake. As you can see from the picture above, it still makes a good crumb and the cake is not at all heavy. Wholemeal flour has extra flavour, extra fibre and added nutrients like B vitamins so it makes sense to use it whenever you can. This cake was a delicious addition to our lunchboxes for several days, and while still warm, it was an excellent dessert paired with custard. 

Makes 12 squares
400g wholemeal self raising flour
200g soft light brown sugar
4 tsps baking powder
400ml plant milk (we used unsweetened soy)
150ml organic cold-pressed sunflower oil
2-3 tabs mixed fruit (those bags of raisins, currants, sultanas and sometimes peel you can buy in most supermarkets)
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps mixed spice
2 large apples
  • First preheat your oven to 180C and prepare a rectangular cake mould or tin.
  • Wash, core and slice the apples; don't bother to peel them. Set them aside.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl or jug, mix the oil, and plant milk.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and beat for about a minute.
  • Spoon it into your cake mould and lay the apple slices on top. Make sure the layer is no more than one deep, or the cake might not rise so well. Don't spend too long making your cake look fancy either;it's more important to get it into the oven as soon as possible to ensure a successful bake.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, and slice when cooled. I'm not sure how this recipe would work in a round cake tin- I'd recommend a shallow rectangular one to make sure it bakes evenly.