Tag Archives: walnuts

The Household Sale: More bakings than takings

After the excitement of the reunion, Sunday saw the Household Sale in which I attempted to shed the unwanted portion of my possessions.  The dining room was full and I hoiked it over to the village hall, where I was joined by my friend Mrs Lincoln-Park who was also attempting to purge, and my sister-in-law Mrs Grable who is a wizard with a tea pot.

It was unfortunate that the only day I could possibly hold the sale was a beautiful summer’s day which just happened to coincide with the Wimbledon final.  All I can say is that a small profit was made which is better than nothing.  The Heart Foundation and Help the Aged’s shops have also been re-stocked.  Sadly, many things had to go to the tip because no-one will take electricals because they haven’t been PAT tested or toys without a CE stamp.

Regulation Village Hall tea set

Great Bowden also chose that afternoon to have a power cut and Boy the Elder was swiftly dispatched to fetch a couple of camping stoves which I keep for just such an emergency and we were only deprived of a brew for half an hour.  I was about to start a chorus of ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ when electricity was thankfully restored.   On the bright side, I was pleased to be introduced to the writer of Liberal England who was both charming and younger than I expected.

I spent most of Friday afternoon baking for the stampeding hordes of bargain hunters and consequently I will not need to bake again until the end of the week.  Boy the Younger’s school also benefited by a batch of Banana & Branflake Muffins and a small tin of fairy cakes.

This is what I made:

26 x Banana & Branflake Muffins

26 x Banana & Walnut Fairy Cakes

18 x Sponge Fairy Cakes 

1 x large Rich Chocolate Cake

1 x large Malted Cinnamon Cake

These were iced or filled with a triple quantity of Mock Cream

I was also given a batch of Eccles Cakes and I must remember to post this recipe because it’s so quick and simple and an Eccles Cake is a thing of beauty.  I’ve just realised I’ve already given you the recipe for Eccles Cakes – find it HERE.

Actually, I’m feeling quite peckish….

Walnuts are good brain food, bananas are full of potassium, ergo these cakes are health food

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Fruity, Nutty Apple Cake

I told you it would be fruity.  You weren’t expecting more stuff about bras and pants were you?  Shame on you.

This delicious cake is very filling and you can use a variety of fruit.  The cake pictured was made with apples, sultanas and raisins, but I have also made it with  a mixture of other dried fruit such as apricots, blueberries, prunes, dates and cranberries.  You could also vary the nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds – be wild and free.

Serve it on its own or with a dollop of cream, crème fraiche or marscapone for a serious teatime treat.  Just remember: it’s full of fruit so it must be health food.

FRUITY, NUTTY APPLE CAKE

Utensils:
1 x medium bowl
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x 8” / 20cm cake tin – ideally loose bottomed (who isn’t?)
1 x medium saucepan
1 x grater

Ingredients:
3oz / 90g mixed dried fruit – chopped if necessary
2oz / 60g butter
5oz / 150g white sugar
2oz / 60g dark brown sugar
1 apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
5oz / 150g plain (all purpose) flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4oz / 120g pecan nuts – chopped

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Grease and flour the cake tin
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour in some boiling water until the fruit is just covered
Leave it to soak for about 5 minutes then drain off any water
Melt the butter in the saucepan and stir in the white and brown sugar
Cook on a low heat for about a minute, stirring
Remove from the heat
Add the apple, orange rind and vanilla
Beat in the eggs
Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon
Stir in the soaked fruit and nuts
Stir in the apple, orange rind and vanilla and mix everything together well
Put the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes
If the top starts to brown too soon, cover the tin with a bit of tin foil and return to the oven
Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve warm or cold

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Two lots of cake from one recipe: Banana & Walnut Cake and Banana & Bran Flake Muffins

I have put these two recipes on here at different times and I discovered the other day that, with only a little tweaking, you can make two different cakes from one recipe.  Greengrocers are often left with over-ripe bananas that people don’t want to eat and they will often sell them to you very cheaply and the over-ripe ones are ideal for these recipes.

BANANA & WALNUT CAKE AND BANANA & BRAN FLAKE MUFFINS

Utensils:
2 x large mixing bowls
1 x food mixer
1 x stick blender or masher
2 x cake tins – greased and floured
6 x paper muffin cases

Ingredients:
8oz / 240g butter
8oz / 240g dark brown sugar
2 tablspn honey
4 eggs
2 good sized, very ripe bananas – pureed or well mashed
10oz / 300g wholemeal self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
ALSO:
4oz / 120g walnuts – chopped
1 good handful of Branf Flakes – the bits left at the bottom of the packet are ideal for this

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Cream the butter and sugar until it is light brown and fluffy
Beat in the honey
Beat in the eggs
Beat in the mashed bananas
Fold in the flour and  baking powder
Divide the mixture in half and put the other half into another mixing bowl
To one half, add the walnuts and mix well
Divide  this mixture between the two tins
Bake for about 30 minutes until the tops are golden and a knife comes out of the cake cleanly.
Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool
When completely cold, spread mock cream onto one of the cakes and sandwich  together.
To the other half, add the Bran Flakes and mix well
Divide the mixture between the paper cases
Bake for about 20 minutes until well risen and nicely browned

MOCK CREAM

Utensils:
1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x hand mixer

Ingredients:
3oz / 90g butter
3oz / 90g icing sugar (approx, you may like a little more – taste it and see)
1 tblspn white flour
1 tblspn milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Beat the butter, icing sugar and flour together until they form a thick paste
Add the vanilla
Gradually add the milk until it reaches the consistency you want.
*Remember that buttery fillings thicken up after a few hours

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Leftover Stilton (or the cheese that broke the camel’s back)

In which is demonstrated the uses for leftover Stilton Cheese in Cauliflower or Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Leek and Stilton Soup, Cauliflower or Broccoli Cheese, Huntingdon Stuffed Pears and Stilton and Nut Mousse.

* * *

If, like me, you have been left with a chunk of Stilton large enough to set up in business as a purveyor of fine fromage, you will, by now, be staring at your cheese plate with a mixture of admiration and fear.  On Christmas Eve, I went to Welton’s in Great Bowden to collect my Christmas order of a small Pork Pie, some Black Bomber, some Brie and a modest amount of Colston Basset Stilton.

A proportion of the Stilton was consumed at Christmas Tea with a chunk remaining that was manageable by a single adult over a period of a week.  But as luck would have it, I was given a massive chunk by Sister the Second who had been over-serviced by her supermarket.  It is sitting in the fridge glowering at me like The Cheese in the Railway Carriage so evocatively described by Jerome K. Jerome.

I was going to spin this out over a couple of days, but that would be too much like the Stilton. 
This is what you can do with it. 

HUNTINGDON STUFFED PEARS  have been featured earlier.  Click on the link for the recipe

CAULIFLOWER OR BROCCOLI CHEESE  use the cheese sauce recipe in the link but substitute Stilton for Cheddar. It’s rich but gorgeous. 

CAULIFLOWER OR BROCCOLI AND STILTON SOUP  **

Utensils:
1 x medium saucepan
1 x stick blender or ordinary blender

Ingredients:
1oz / 30g butter
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 medium cauliflower or largish head of broccoli – broken into florets
1 pint / 600ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tblspn mixed herbs or a bouquet garni
½ a medium potato – peeled, diced and cooked
½ pint milk
4oz / 120g Stilton Cheese

Method:
Melt the butter in the pan
Add the onion and fry gently until soft
Add the cauliflower or broccoli, herbs and stock and milk
Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetable is soft
Allow to cool slightly, add the potato and remove the bouquet garni if using one
Mix to a smooth puree with the blender
Stir in the cheese until it has melted
Serve

** Post post note:  Leek and Stilton also make an excellent soup.  Cook 2 large, finely sliced leeks in with the onions then add the stock and proceed as per the recipe.

STILTON AND WALNUT MOUSSE – serves 8

Utensils:
8 x ramekin dishes – greased & with a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom
1 x medium saucepan
1 x whisk

Ingredients:
1oz /30g butter
2 level tablespoons plain flour
7floz / 200ml milk
7floz / 200ml vegetable stock
1 sachet of gelatine
40z / 120g Stilton cheese
2 eggs – separated – whites whisked to form stiff peaks
¼ pint / 150ml crème fraiche
2oz / 60g walnuts – chopped

Method:
Melt the butter in the pan over a medium heat
Stir in the flour to form a thick paste
Gradually whisk in the milk and stock until it thickens and starts to bubble
Remove from the heat.
Sprinkle over the gelatine and whisk until it has dissolved and is thoroughly mixed in
Add the cheese and stir until melted
Whisk in the egg yolks and season to taste
Fold in the crème fraiche with a metal spoon
Then fold in the whisked egg whites and gently stir in the walnuts
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dishes
Chill until set
Serve with a green salad

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Alliterative Supper – Part 2: The Scones

Yesterday I told you how to make a warming Squash Soup with which I served these delicious scones.  These scones made a really nice change from bread and the soup was just the job to fight off winter chills.  I flavoured them with cheddar cheese and walnuts but you could also use chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, different kinds of cheese, other nuts or seeds, whatever floats your boat.

SAVOURY SCONES – makes 8

Utensils:
1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x baking tray – greased and floured
1 x grater
1 x 2” / 5cm cutter
1 x rolling pin
1 pastry brush

Ingredients:
6oz / 180g self raising flour
½ tsp mustard powder
salty and pepper to taste
1 ½ oz / 45g butter
3oz / 90g cheddar cheese – grated (keep a little back to sprinkle on the top)
2oz / 60g walnuts – chopped
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 220 / 425 / 7
Mix the flour, mustard and seasonings together in a bowl
Rub in the butter
Stir in most of the cheese and all the nuts
Mix in the egg and milk to form a stiff dough
Lightly knead the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl
Lightly flour your worktop
Roll out the dough to about ¾” / 2cm and cut into eight rounds
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top
Place on the baking tray and put in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Leave to cool slightly and serve with butter and  yesterday’s Squash Soup

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I’ve gone completely bananas and a little bit nutty! A recipe for Banana and Walnut Slice

Oh yes, we’re all completely mad here (doesn’t your heart sink when someone really says that to you?  “Don’t mind me, I’m completely mad!!!!” They never, ever are).

On this occasion, however, I have not so much gone bananas as been inundated with bananas.  The ones that are so ripe that you have about a minute to eat them before they turn into alcohol.  Coincidentally, I was also given a carrier bag full of walnuts at Christmas, some of which were used up in some delicious Huntingdon Pears for my last dinner party, but a large amount still remain and must be dealt with.  And remember that the other things you’ll need are storecupboard ingredients.

The only avenue left open to me was a large and rather marvellous Banana and Walnut Slice.  The great thing about this cake, is that you can bake it in three tins and fill it with buttercream or mock cream, or you can bake it in one tin and, when it’s cool (of course it’s cool, I made it), just slice it and spread it with butter.  This recipe makes a substantial cake that will last a few days, so halve the quantity if you only want a small one.

BANANA AND WALNUT SLICE

Utensils:
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x food mixer
1 x stick blender or masher
3 x loaf tin – greased and floured

Ingredients:
8oz / 240g butter
8oz / 240g dark brown sugar
2 tablspn honey
4 eggs
2 good sized, very ripe bananas – pureed or well mashed
4oz / 120g walnuts – chopped
10oz / 300g wholemeal self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Cream the butter and sugar until it is light brown and fluffy
Beat in the honey
Beat in the eggs
Beat in the mashed bananas
Fold in the flour, baking powder and walnuts
Divide the mixture between the three tins
Bake for about 30 minutes until the tops are golden and a knife comes out of the cake cleanly.
Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool
When completely cold, spread mock cream onto the first and second cakes and sandwich all three together.
Ideally, leave for a couple of hours before serving as the mock cream will have firmed up and makes it considerably easier to slice.

If you are baking a loaf that you are not intending to fill with butter cream
Preheat the oven to 160 / 325 / 3
Prepare the mixture as above
Put all the mixture into one tin
Bake for 45 minutes, then cover the tin with foil and bake for about another 15 minutes
Keep testing the cake with a knife until it comes out cleanly

MOCK CREAM
very popular when real cream was not available and less sickly than buttercream

Utensils:
1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x hand mixer

Ingredients:
3oz / 90g butter
3oz / 90g icing sugar (approx, you may like a little more – taste it and see)
1 tblspn white flour
1 tblspn milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Beat the butter, icing sugar and flour together until they form a thick paste
Add the vanilla
Gradually add the milk until it reaches the consistency you want.
*Remember that buttery fillings thicken up after a few hours

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A Very English Dinner Party in Three Parts. Part 1 Huntingdon Stuffed Pears

On Saturday I had my lovely friends Rev. and Mrs Marple and Baroness Benefield over for dinner. I had determined upon a menu of traditional English dishes and, as it is winter, I felt that comfort food was the order of the day.  I also had a sizeable slice of Stilton left from new year that was crying out to be eaten up.  The dishes I chose were these and I will give you the recipes over three days.

Huntingdon Pears
Cumberland Tattie Pot
Treacle Tart and Custard

Of course the Tattie Pot and the Treacle Tart are perfectly acceptable every day food and are surprisingly easy to make.

HUNTINGDON PEARS

Utensils:
1 x stick blender
1 x mini chopper (a large sharp knife is just as good)
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
2 large ripe pears (or tinned pear halves if you can’t get fresh – well drained)
4oz / 120g ripe Stilton cheese
1oz / 30g softened butter
2 tblspns double cream
freshly ground black pepper
1oz / 30g walnuts – finely chopped
4 walnut halves
crisp, sweet salad leaves
lemon juice (for use with fresh pears)

Method:
Peel, core and halve the pears, allowing a hollow for the filling
Mix together the,cheese, butter, cream and black pepper using the blender.
Stir in the chopped walnuts
Fill the centre of the pears with the cheese mixture
Arrange a few salad leaves attractively on plates and place one pear half in the middle of each one
Place a walnut half on the top of each stuffed pear
If using fresh pears, drizzle lemon juice over the exposed fruit to stop them going brown

ANOTHER USE FOR THE FILLING

The filling can make a delicious dip for crudités, crisps or bread sticks.  Just add a few more tablespoons of cream to the mixture (depending on how firm the Stilton was to start with) and beat it for a bit longer.  Celery is particularly good with this dip.

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