Tag Archives: Food

Ricotta tart with fresh raspberries

7 Mar

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Give us this day…

22 Feb

Our daily bread…

It’s a cold and rainy day here but this freshly baked bread should help warm us up.

Let Him Eat Cake – The World’s Most Simple And Delicious Vanilla Sponge Sandwich With Raspberry cream

15 Feb

Two Valentine’s ago my husband presented me with this sweetly pink KitchenAid mixer

I don’t know what prompted this surprising extravagance, I can only think it came from the assumption that once equipped with the ultimate gadget of the Domestic Goddess I would forever and always be able to keep him supplied with home-made cakes. This was back  in the days when I had all the time in the world to bake and then decorate cakes, before the glorious days of Henry who either wants to eat cake straight out of its tin or seems to live in the belief that batter is better!


Made with love, this is what I managed to come up with!
Just looking at these photographs makes me nostalgic for baking and the memory of this most scrumptious heart-shaped number has got me really wanting to get back in the kitchen and find more time to pursue this delicious hobby.

Of course, with a little help from my cat London…
*** UPDATED WITH RECIPE ***

After receiving a few queries about my Valentines Day cake here is the recipe…

The World’s Most Simple And Delicious Vanilla Sponge Sandwich

110g unsalted butter
110g white caster sugar
100g self raising flour
2 medium eggs (beaten)
1 Tsp cold water
1 Vanilla pod

Two greased heart shaped or 8″ round tins
Pre heat your oven to gas mark 4

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and gradually add the beaten egg mix.
Gently fold in the flour, then the vanilla seeds and finally add just enough water to bring the mix to a dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture between both pans evenly and bake for about 20 minutes.
The cakes are done when they are spongy to the touch and have baked to a golden colour.
Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack before decorating.

If you haven’t got heart shaped pans (mine were charity shop find!) then you will need to shape your circular cakes into heart shapes using a sharp knife. One advantage of this is that you will get to eat up all the excess bits of cake in the process… yum yum.

For the filling you will need:

100 ml double cream or heavy whipping cream
1 ts vanilla essence
125g fresh raspberries
1 Tsp sifted confectioner’s sugar

Whip the cream until thick enough to hold its shape and fold in the vanilla and some  crushed raspberries. I use the back of a fork to crush the berries so they are just this side of smushed but not pureed.

Using a palette knife or the back of a metal spoon spread one of the cakes with about two thirds of the cream and sandwich the other on top. Add the confectioner’s sugar to the rest of the cream and using a piping bag with a flower shaped nozzle carefully pipe the flower star shaped thing a ma jigs all over the top. decorate with a few fresh raspberries.

Grab two forks, your other half (or not) and ENJOY!

A farm outstanding in its field…

23 Sep

Oh what a wonderful day out we had visiting Live Earth Farm on Tuesday! Henry and I drove to the Pajaro Valley to spend the morning on the farm to learn about the wonderful organic, local and sustainable farming they do there. We also got to hang out with some goats and eat Concord grapes until our tummies ached! This kind of outing was one of the things I always imagined doing with my children in my future fantasy life, so to see Henry chase the chickens about, pick his own strawberries and generally marvel at this stunning playground was such a thrill.



I believe its such an important element of raising children to educate them about food, to help them understand where it comes from, who grows it and what chemicals are or more importantly are not used. There is an ongoing discussion in our family about whether or not we should raise Henry on a vegetarian diet Continue reading

Last of the Summer Puddings…

13 Sep

I realize its getting a little late in the year for ‘Summer Pudding’ but I thought it would be nice to squeeze one more out of the season before we embrace autumn with open arms. Here in California we are blessed with long seasons and plentiful sunshine so berries grow right on into September and of course its only right to make the most of them!

When I describe a pudding I’m referring to what the English call Continue reading

Tartlets for two…

3 Sep

Supper this evening was mini homemade pastry tarts filled with a yummy mixture of mozzarella and tomato with lots of black pepper and herb filled goat cheese with red bell pepper. Do you ever cook something so delicious that you just want to tell the world about it? Now, what shall we have for dessert?

Summer Strawberry Harvest…

19 Aug

If you are wondering what to do with a bumper harvest of summer strawberries from the farmer’s market or from your own back yard then this is the post for you.Our Californian garden has bestowed upon us a ludicrously generous amount of beautiful strawberries this year, so many that I have been struggling to use them up fresh before they go bad! So, I decided to do some preserving and a little investigation in to the difference between a jam and a traditional preserve…First up, strawberry jam. I used 2lbs of the bigger berries and 4 cups of sugar and the juice of one lemon to yield three generous sized jars of deliciousness.

I added a mix of brown and white sugar to the rinsed and sliced strawberries in a heavy based pan added the lemon and brought the whole lot to a slow boil.Once all the sugar had dissolved I set a timer for 8 minutes until I did my first wrinkle test*. Because I wanted the fruit to really breakdown to a nice spreadable consistency I kept the pan on the heat for another 5 minutes and then left it to cool.Here is the result of my labors…On a different day once my bountiful plants had had a chance to recover and produce lots of new little fruit I started again with the preserve. The difference with a preserve is that the fruit are used whole and remain intact and hopefully suspended in the sugary mixture looking wonderful. So that’s the theory…First I gently removed any dirt form the smaller and slightly under ripe fruit with a damp piece of kitchen towel and placed them and the white sugar and lemon juice (all in the same quantities as the jam recipe) in the pan and brought them to a boil without disturbing them.Once all the sugar had dissolved I gently stirred the mixture and left it to boil for six minutes until its crinkle test. The berries needed more time so I boiled the mixture for a further two minutes until I was happy with it. During this second time on the heat my mixture really lost some of its bright red vibrancy which is a shame as the clearer the mix is the better to see the floating berries.I added a little pat of butter which dispersed the scum that had collected and it helped to clear the jam a little. Once it had cooled a little I poured the mixture gently into the slightly warmed jars. I used the jars fresh out of the dishwasher but I wonder if the berries would be better suspended in truly warmed jars. I have heard the rule of thumb about warm preserves going into warmed jars but I didn’t ever see the point. I think I may have just found it…Hey Ho, the preserve still looks pretty great and you know what, it tastes delicious and full of lovely Santa Cruz sunshine! I think this haul should last us until next Summer but if you’ve got any tips for me between now and then, let me know…

* A wrinkle test is the way you can have a preview of the consistency of the set jam without having to cool the whole batch. Before you begin, put a couple of saucers in the freezer and after the first boiling put a little jam on one of them. Once its completely cool you can push the jam with your finger and if it crinkles up nicely and looks pretty convincingly like jam then you are good to go!