Cake, bread and more cake

I made my mum’s 60th birthday cake on Sunday using the recipe described in my last blog, and also decorated it on Monday. In fact, the sponge was a slight disaster, because I added a packet of caramel chocolate drops I had been given at last year’s Cake and Bake show, and I forgot to coat them in flour first so they all sank to the bottom of the cake and made it stick to the silicon pan.

Luckily icing can hide a multitude of sins and when cooled I cut the cake in half through the middle (to make a sandwich cake) and the bottom (now a layer of solid caramel chocolate!) became the middle of the cake. The amounts proposed last week (200g butter, 200g melted chocolate and approx 3 spoons of icing sugar) made plenty of icing for the middle and outsides. I topped the cake with crumbled flake, white ferrero rocher type sweets and drizzled melted chocolate. As you will see from the picture at the bottom of the blog, the cake looked pretty fabulous, and it tasted great as well. My mum was chuffed, which is the main thing.

To accompany my soup for lunches this week, I decided to make a friend’s Irish soda bread. The recipe is below – it makes a very tasty bread which I sliced when cool and took a couple of slices out of the freezer the night before I planned to eat them. Delicious, but beware of potential windy side effects.

Annette’s irish soda bread

2 eggs

½ tbsp. of sugar

¼ tsp. salt,

2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

550ml of milk

500g wholemeal spelt flour (this is the one I found in the supermarket but I reckon health food shops would sell it)

Whisk eggs, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda, add milk and flour and whisk well. Butter 1lb loaf tin and cover with flour (I used a square cake tin as there was so much mixture, my loaf tin looked too small, but it doesn’t rise so you only need to use a tin big enough to hold the mix). Pour in mixture and bake in oven for 1 hr at 180c. The mixture is very wet like porridge, but it does end up like bread!

I am a bit fed up of soup and bread for lunch, so am making a vegetable curry to have with brown rice for lunches this week. To make the curry I chopped 2 onions and 2 aubergines and put them in a saucepan with a tin of tomatoes, a tinful of water, a chicken oxo, crushed garlic, chopped red chilli, tumeric and garam masala, salt and pepper. When cooked down, I added some cauliflower florets and once fully cooked I stirred in a bag of spinach.

For dinner tonight, I was intending to make beef cheek stew and so defrosted the cheeks in preparation. However, this morning I realised it is Chinese new year today so I have decided to make an Asian style stew with the beef cheeks. If the experiment is successful I’ll post the recipe later. All smelly signs are indicating it is going to be a good one!

For the rest of the week I am planning a chicken stirfry tomorrow, salmon fillets with leek mash on Tuesday, Jamie’s chicken enchiladas on Wednesday, possibly a valentines day takeaway on Thursday and we have friends over on Friday so I am going to cook them steaks in my lovely sous vide machine. I have to plan the week quite well because we have a Valentines Day charity bake sale at work on Thursday so I need to bake a cake on Wednesday. On Thursday night I need to prepare for my friends coming over on Friday (I plan to make profiteroles for pudding on Friday). Of course, it’s also pancake day on Tuesday so I’ll need to make some lemon and sugar pancakes for pudding, but for the rest of the week I have made a spiced apple cake for a vaguely healthy (hmmmm, I think I am just kidding myself) pudding.




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