Lemon Almond Cake With Honey

I found this recipe in this months The Simple Things magazine, which I treated myself to for Easter instead of an Egg! It’s very straight forward to make & tastes absolutely lovely!!

Lemon Almond Cake With Honey, Cake Recipe


225g butter at room temp, 225g sugar, 4 medium eggs, 30g self-raising flour, 35g polenta, 200g ground almonds, 1 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt, 3 tbsp of honey, zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1 lemon, a handful of whole almonds for decoration (optional), icing sugar for dusting.

1. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C (140 deg fan), 325 deg F, gas 3. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin, preferably a spring form.

2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. In a new bowl, mix the flour, polenta, ground almonds and baking powder with a pinch of salt. Combine with the butter and egg mixture, then mix in the honey and zest.

3. Transfer the batter into the tin and bake for 70 mins. After about 45 mins, remove and put the almonds on top, then continue baking. You may have to bake it slightly longer, your cake is done when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

4. Take out of the oven and drizzle with lemon juice. Let the cake cool in its tin.


Sarah’s Flapjacks

These flapjacks tasted SO GOOD, I had to ask my friend Sarah for the recipe. They are quick to make and brilliant to have ready for hungry children after school, after swimming sessions or just for lunch boxes, be warned though, with boys who are hungry all the time, they do go fast, so it’s worth making a double batch!Flapjack RecipeAllow them to cool in the tray to set, before cutting them into squares. I’ve added pumpkin seeds today but you can add chopped apricots or anything else you fancy.


The Little Paris Kitchen

We are very fortunate to meet some fascinating people in our Bed & Breakfast,
we met one such person this weekend who was down here for a wedding at the lovely Pickwell Manor.  Whilst chatting we got onto a couple of our favourite subjects, travel and food, the conversation started off, as it often does, with how to cook the perfect poached egg, this then led onto a common passion of food and tv chefs, who we like and why, one which seems to be a current favourite with our guests and us at the moment, is Rachel Khoo of The Little Paris Kitchen. One to definitely try is the Croque Madame Muffins Rachel Khoo style, delicious!

Little Paris Kitchen Cook Book, Rachel KhooUnfortunately we missed most of her series on BBC 2, so thanks to You Tube we have been able to catch up, she creates some amazing food in that little kitchen of hers,  I now have to buy her book as we’re off to France for the summer and we haven’t the wonders of the world wide web there yet!

The best Banana Muffins…in my opinion

Today we have the Eggstravaganza over at Pickwell Manor, this is in its fourth year & is a fund raiser for our school in Georgeham  and another chosen charity, this year it’s Georges First Steps.

So in the fashion of ‘Bring a Cake’ today I will be taking our ‘Home House’ banana muffins, made by the Mr and our guests have had to go without them today!

Banana Muffins Recipe

Makes 12

3 or 4 Large bananas, mashed (the more bananas the moister, so I use 4)1/2 cup white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup, but I don’t like them too sweet)

1 slightly beaten egg

1/3 cup melted margarine or butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour

Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and margarine together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix wet and dry ingredients all together! Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 180 degrees c oven for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Mulberry Gin

My friend Claire, is very fortunate to have a beautiful garden & stood within it is a large gnarled mulberry tree.

I popped in last week after school drop off for a coffee (as you do) and we then went and foraged for some mulberries that had fallen from the tree, after a very windy storm, this was easier than climbing up the tree! If you’re anything like me who’d never even seen a mulberry, let alone tasted one, I’ve included a pic of some.
Claire had a recipe for Mulberry Gin & has kindly shared it with me, as you can see it’s very straight forward to make and I now have a jar stored away for December

For a 750ml bottle:
450g/1lb mulberries
710 ml vodka or gin
150g/5½oz caster sugar
1 handful of roasted almonds
Put the fruit into a large sterilised jar with the vodka or gin and the sugar. Add the roasted almonds.

Close the jar tightly and put in a dark place for two to three months, turning it as often as you remember – ideally every few days – until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Then strain off the mulberries and almonds. Taste the liqueur and check that it is sweet enough. You can always add more at the tasting stage. When adding more sugar, turn the jar regularly until it dissolves.

Pour the liqueur through a funnel into a dry, warm sterilised bottle and seal. The discarded fruit is absolutely delicious when eaten on top of ice-cream or yogurt, or used as a filling for a tart or a pie, apparently!

Bring a cake

Before I moved to North Devon, I didn’t bake, I didn’t have the time or occasion to ever have to bring a cake.

I’m not sure whether there has been a baking revolution in the cities,in the country there always seems to be an excuse or need to eat cake, so much so after living here for four years, my first question whenever I’m invited to anything is “will I need to bring cake” the answer is usually yes. So whilst I don’t class myself as a baker my cakes seem to go down very well, on the bank holiday weekend we have a fundraising event for Croyde Surf Lifesaving Club, the annual Croyde Duck Race and I took along two of my favourites, Bread Pudding & Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Bread Pudding

My Nanny Olive used to make bread pudding and every time I make it, I’m reminded of her, this is the closest recipe I can find that reminds me of hers, always a winner with the men & washed down with a strong cup of tea, you can’t beat it.

500g white or wholemeal bread
585g mixed dried fruit, with peel if you can find it
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 pt milk
2 large eggs beaten
140g light muscovado sugar
zest 1 lemon
100g butter melted
2 tsp demerera sugar

Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl & add the fruit, peel & spice. Pour in the milk, then stir or scrunch through your fingers, to mix everything well & completely break up the bread.
Add the eggs, muscavado & lemon zest if using. Stir well & set aside to soak.

Heat oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4.
Butter & line base of 20cm square cake tin (not loose base). Stir the melted butter into the pudding mixture, tip into the tin, then scatter the demerara. Bake for 1.5 hours until firm & golden, cover with foil if it starts to brown too much. Turn out of the tin & strip off the paper. Cut into 9 squares, serve warm with a cup of tea.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I came across this recipe in “The Great British Book of Baking”, my friend’s OH has been known to kidnap the cake & hide it for later when everyone has gone & today when I placed it on the table, someone bought it whole for a fiver, I could start a business! Very simple to make preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. You’ll need a 20cm springclip tin or deep round cake tin, greased with butter & lined with greasproof paper.

Cake mixture
200g unsalted butter, very soft, but not runny
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp, beaten
finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml milk at room temp

For the topping
100g caster sugar
juice of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
finely grated zest of 1 medium unwaxed lemon

Put the soft butter, sugar, eggs & lemon zest into a large mixing bowl, sift the flour & baking powder into the bowl, then pour in the milk. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric whisk, or food mixer on medium speed, until all ingredients are fully combined & completely smooth.

Pour mixture into the prepared tin & spread evenly. Bake in the oven until the cake is golden brown & firm & a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean – 50 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile make the topping. Mix the sugar with the lemon juice & zest to make a runny glaze. As soon as the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven & stand the tin on a wire cooling rack. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cocktail stick, then quickly spoon the lemon topping over so that it trickles down into the holes. Leave to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin & discarding the lining paper. Serve cut into thick slices.