Old Orange Sponge

I did it again, we all have, I know you have too – I bought fruit for the family, put it out in a pretty bowl, and …. no one ate it !

I used to sigh and throw them in the bin, more recently thrown on the compost heap – now, when I get old oranges, I don’t throw them away – I make my delicious Old Orange Cake.

It does contain a good deal of sugar, it doesn’t make the cake taste overly sweet, (I actually prefer my cakes less sweet than most people do), and it gives a lovely crispy crust on top.

When you start making the cake the smell might put you off a bit and you might think that the cake will taste of orange peel. Well it will but it will be a very pleasant taste so don´t stop.   

Ingredients:

4 (old) oranges
3 eggs
3 cups of sugar
100g butter
3 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder

Method:

Make sure that your oranges are clean.

Cut the oranges in quarters, put in a pan and cover with water. The water is supposed to only cover the oranges, but you do need to end up with 2 cups of juice, after boiling down, so start with 2+ cups, you can always add a bit more if you don’t have enough at the end.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Pour liquid into a measuring jug.

Mash the oranges to squeeze out more juice.

Now you should have about 2 cups of orange juice. (if not add some water and let everything simmer another 3 minutes)

When you have started the juice  put the butter into a pan and melt over a low heat and allow to cool down.

Beat the eggs and the sugar until white and creamy.

Add the juice and the butter to the eggs mix

Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.

Add the flour, little at a time, to the egg mix. Stir well.

Pour into a baking tin and bake for 20-25 minutes 175°.

Serve as it is or with custard or ice cream.

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Hearty beef and bean soup

The important thing about this is it needs to cook for 8-10 hours – so you need a slow cooker, or in my case a stock pot and a slow cook setting on your oven.

  • You need to plan this a bit in advance as, besides the long cook time, the red beans have to be soaked for several hours, and boiled for 10 mins before adding to the pot.
  • When I am in a rush in the morning I just throw all the ingredients in the pot without all the browning off, and put it in the oven – it comes out just as well

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 beef bones or shins
  • 1 cup of dried Red Beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large or 2 smaller carrots
  • 1 diced potato
  • 1 chopped celery rib
  • 1 x 400g tin tomato
  • 1 litre stock
  • Fresh herbs – ie  rosemary, thyme, parsley, and a bay leave

Method

  1. rinse the soaked beans well in a sieve under running water.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan, fill it with boiling water, and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Rinse beans well. (This gets rid of the toxins in the beans.)
  3. Place beans in slow cooker.
  4. Fry onion in a pan, with a drizzle of olive oil, until translucent.
  5. Add garlic cloves and fry for a minute. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Fry your beef bones or shins in the pan until well browned. Add to slow cooker.
  7. Add 2 cups of warm water to the pan and simmer. After about 5 minutes, add the water to the slow cooker.
  8. Add diced carrots, potato and celery, the tin of tomato, the pearl barley and red lentils to the slow cooker.
  9. Add 1 litre of stock
  10. Place a twig each of rosemary, thyme and parsley on top, as well as a bay leave or two.
  11. Put the slow cooker on auto for the whole day.
  12. If you’re at home during the day, you can give it a stir or two every now and then. You may want to remove the herb twigs when the rosemary starts losing its leaves.

By the end of the day you will have a hearty, thick soup.

Butter Conversion US – UK

A lot of the recipes I use originate in America and I found the way they measure butter over there is different to how we do here in the UK.  The US measure in tablespoons and sticks, but I am familiar with ounces and grams.  I am not too sure how the rest of the world do it.  I wrote myself out a chart so when I am cooking I can easily convert from the recipe to what I can measure.

VOLUME

STICKS

WEIGHT:
US & BRITISH

WEIGHT: METRIC

1

Tbs

       

 

   ⅛   

     ½

Oz

 

13

G

2

Tbs

       

 

   ¼   

1

Oz

 

25

G

3

Tbs

       

 

   ⅜   

1    ½

Oz

 

42

G

4

Tbs

   ¼   

Cup

   ½   

2

Oz

 

57

G

5

Tbs

       

 

   ⅝   

2    ½

Oz

 

72

G

6

Tbs

       

 

   ¾   

3

Oz

 

85

G

7

Tbs

       

 

   ⅞   

3    ½

Oz

 

98

G

8

Tbs

   ½   

Cup

1       

4

Oz

¼ Pound

113

G

9

Tbs

       

 

1   ⅛   

4    ½

Oz

 

126

G

10

Tbs

       

 

1   ¼   

5

Oz

 

142

G

11

Tbs

       

 

1   ⅜   

5    ½

Oz

 

155

G

12

Tbs

¾   

Cup

1    ½   

6

Oz

 

170

G

13

Tbs

       

 

1   ⅝   

6    ½

Oz

 

184

G

14

Tbs

       

 

1    ¾   

7

Oz

 

198

G

15

Tbs

       

 

1   ⅞   

7    ½

Oz

 

212

G

16

Tbs

1       

Cup

2       

8

oz

½ Pound

227

G

17

Tbs

       

 

2   ⅛   

8    ½

Oz

 

241

G

18

Tbs

       

 

2   ¼   

9

Oz

 

255

G

19

Tbs

       

 

2   ⅜   

9    ½

Oz

 

270

G

20

Tbs

1   ¼   

Cup

2   ½   

10

Oz

 

284

G

21

Tbs

       

 

2   ⅝   

10 ½

Oz

 

298

G

22

Tbs

       

 

2   ¾   

11

Oz

 

312

G

23

Tbs

       

 

2   ⅞   

11 ½

Oz

 

327

G

24

Tbs

1   ½  

Cup

3       

12

Oz

¾ Pound

341

G

25

Tbs

       

 

3   ⅛   

12 ½

Oz

 

355

G

26

Tbs

       

 

3   ¼   

13

Oz

 

370

G

27

Tbs

       

 

3   ⅜   

13 ½

Oz

 

384

G

28

Tbs

1   ¾  

Cup

3   ½   

14

Oz

 

398

G

29

Tbs

       

 

3   ⅝   

14 ½

Oz

 

412

G

30

Tbs

       

 

3   ¾   

15

Oz

 

427

G

31

Tbs

       

 

3   ⅞   

15 ½

Oz

 

441

G

32

Tbs

2       

Cup

4       

16

Oz

1 pound

454

G

 

Oven Temperature Conversion Chart

I thought people may like to have a chart of sorts for the conversion of oven temperatures.  A lot of recipes will show all 3 sets, but some will show only 1 or 2 so this is the one I use.
I have it written out and stuck on the inside of a kitchen cupboard door with blue tack so when I am cooking I can just open the door and see what temperature I need.

fahrenheit

centigrade gas mark
80 30
100 40
240 115 1/4
265 130 1/2
290 140 1
300 150 1 — 2
310 155 2
325 160 2 — 3
335 170 3
350 175 3 — 4
355 180 4
375 190 4 — 5
380 195 5
400 200 6
425 220 7
450 230 8
470 245 9

Tacos

If it’s taco night at your place and you don’t have any pre-made hard shells you can just bake regular floppy flour tortillas in your oven.

Coat both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray and drape each tortilla over two bars of your oven rack allowing the sides to dangle down and bake at 375F/190C/Gas4-5 until crispy, which should be 7-10 minutes.

Taco Seasoning

1 tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Method

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together Store in an airtight container.

*********************************************************************************

1 recipe of taco seasoning (see above)
1lb minced meat (I like turkey, but beef or any other works just fine)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 or 2 tsp cornflour to thicken sauce if required
tomato, lettuce, cucumber salad to serve
grated cheese to top

  1. Sauté chopped onion and garlic
  2. Add minced meat
  3. Cook until meat is browned and onions soft.
  4. Add taco seasoning  and continue to cook for a couple of minutes
  5. Add tin of chopped tomatoes and heat through until tomatoes are warm.
  6. Continue cooking until desired sauce thickness is reached, or you could add cornflour if you prefer
  7. Fill your taco shells and top with some grated cheese, and serve with salad.

I like to mix the mince up in advance as I think the flavour improves when it is allowed to stand and go cold, and then reheated.

 

American Style Banana Pancakes

If you don’t like bananas then you can substitute another fruit (berries, or chopped apricots, etc), but the banana is the secret ingredient that adds the right amount of sweetness to balance out the whole-wheat flavour. If you really want some berries in there consider adding them in addition to the bananas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarb of soda
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • 2 tbs  unsalted butter, melted (+ more butter for frying)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • maple syrup for serving

Method:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, and salt.

Stir until well mixed and then make a well in the centre of the bowl.

Pour the honey, eggs, milk, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter into the well, then gradually whisk from the centre outward until the ingredients are well combined but still a little lumpy.

Do not over mix the batter.

Very gently fold in the mashed bananas (and/or other berries).

At this point you can leave the batter to rest if you wish.  I think it makes a lighter pancake when it is allowed to rest, but if you are in a rush you can carry on without doing this, they still taste great.  If you do let it rest, give the batter a gentle stir before ladling into the pan.

Preheat a non-stick or cast iron griddle (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat.

Your cooking surface will be ready when a drop of water flicked onto the surface dances and evaporates instantly.

Allow some butter to melt then ladle the pancake batter forming circles on the griddle or pan.

When the pancakes have begun to bubble in the centre and the underside is golden brown, use your spatula to flip them.

Cook until the 2nd side is golden brown, and then keep warm on a plate in a warm oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes.

Serve with warm maple syrup and a side of fruit.

The leftover pancakes freeze beautifully. Just layer them in-between pieces of greaseproof paper inside a zip lock bag. Then one morning when you are racing around trying to get the kids out the door for school just pull a couple of pancakes out of the freezer  and heat for a minute or two!  Convenience food can still be healthy.

Granola

Today I am making my breakfast cereal.  Since I started making this I haven’t been interested in getting boxed cereal.  My other favourite breakfast is porridge, hot in winter and cold in summer.
You can substitute other nuts and seeds for the ones suggested here, just keep the total quantities more or less the same and it will be fine.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 250oF/120oC/GasMark¼to½).  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Heat the butter and honey together in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Stir in vanilla. Remove from the heat.
  3. Place the oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, seeds and spices in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  4. Pour the hot liquids over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are evenly moist.
  5. Turn the granola into the prepared pan and press firmly with a spatula to create an even layer, about 1/2 inch thick. Bake until the granola is firm to the touch and a deep golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (The granola will become crisper as it cools.)
  6. Cool completely in the pan, then lift an edge of parchment and break the granola into pieces (if making bars) or break it up into small chunks by pounding it in a zip lock bag (if making cereal).
  7. Store in plastic bags or air tight container at room temperature. It will keep for 2 weeks.

Serve with milk or natural yogurt, or eat out of hand.

Add fresh or dried fruit/berries, whatever you have.  If you are making cereal bars you may like to mix in dried fruit before cooking. I leave them out for cereal as I like to use different ones each day to add variety.

Makes about 3 pounds