Salsa Cat

Yesterday was the turning point. I’m sick of the rain. Now, don’t get me wrong, i love every excuse to sit in my cosy flat with my Minnie Mouse pyjamas on, wrapped in a blanket whilst watching re-runs of American sitcoms; but it’s got to the point where i am never leaving my house due to an addiction to sugar. Preferably in the cake form.

Rob came home from work and we both looked at each other and just moaned about how we wish we could escape right now on our holiday to Spain; we have 5 weeks to go and the waiting mood is not looking good. We’d planned to just do another carb to go with our fishcakes, or creamed spinach with cumin. God i love that. Rob paused and thought. Salsa.

I didn’t feel like dancing. Rob had to instantly correct me and ensure me that it was the edible kind. Why does my mind always go to dancing or maracas?

So last night we finely chopped up and mixed the following, but feel free to go crazy. (I made more the following day and just used what we had left in the fridge)

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 I present to you our Bright-eyed Salsa.

This will last you a good 3 main meals as a side, or 3 lunches for 1 person.

1 Green Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Orange Pepper
1 Carrot
5 Spring Onions
1/2 a Cucumber
1 Red Chilli (without the seeds)
3 Tomatoes or a medium punnet of baby plum tomatoes
Garlic Oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Teaspoon of Red wine Vinegar
Black Pepper

For days when you need a boost to become a bit more sprightly,  just like our Ashy :)

The cat that got the buttercream

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Although I hate to go on about my adorable kitten all the time, I was always taught to write about insights into your life in blog posts; so here I am doing just that. My relatives have been saying ‘You got Ash so your blog would get hits!’ so not true, but hey it hasn’t not helped ;p

I may have mentioned this on Twitter but as you know, I have a slight (okay huuugge) obsession for Tea. Any kind, Matcha, Fruit, English Breakfast… I could go on but I’ve found out that Ash’s favourite is Peppermint. I think, thrice now I’ve made a Peppermint tea and found it half gone after popping to the loo. How peculiar indeed!

And again, he was there eating my Jasmine Tea buttercream off my freshly, pretty baked cake. I’m sure the butter had something to do with it.

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Brought some coconut last week and hadn’t found time to use it and I mostly got inspiration from these Chinese, fresh cream swirl cakes that I used to buy at the Chinese supermarket when I could tolerate gluten; I really wanted one today.

I love tea, there I said it again. I love the variety I suppose, and even better now I’ve decided to write a load of recipes experimenting with different kinds of infusions. It really gives the cake a very slight fragrant taste, not as powerful as adding say lavender of which I dislike. I prefer all the flavours to blend together and then you just get this last hint of jasmine. Of course, do experiment yourself with the amount of tea you put in.

It really is about how you like your tea.

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Flower of the mountain Jasmine tea and coconut cake

 Cake Ingredients

200g soft unsalted butter, plus a bit extra for greasing pans

200g caster sugar

2 tablespoons of strong strained Jasmine tea

1 teaspoon of dried Jasmine tea crushed in a pestle and mortar

4 medium eggs

100g self-raising gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting

50g of dried coconut

50g almond flour

½ teaspoon of xanthan gum

Frosting Ingredients

200g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Tablespoon of dried Jasmine tea crushed in a pestle and mortar

Dried Coconut for topping (that’s been steeped in water for 10 mins, then strained)

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Place the butter, sugar and crushed,strained tea into a bowl and beat well to a creamy consistency.

Beat in the eggs gently then fold in the flour and coconut. Mix until all combined.

Divide the mix evenly between the cake tins, place into the oven and bake for about 20 mins until just turning brown.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack after taking them out of their tins.

Make your frosting. Add 50g of butter to 200g of icing sugar and the tablespoon of finely crushed Jasmine tea, mix until well combined and of a good icing consistency.

When your cake layers are cool enough for icing, put a 1/3 of the icing in the center for the filling and spread evenly, coat with a light layer of coconut.

Pop your other layer on top and ice once again, dusting with coconut and any other decorations you wish to put on! Flowers are nice :p

Serve with a cup of Jasmine, just after it’s rained and the sun comes through. Or indeed, to your cat.

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Let’s get ready to crummbbble.

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Apples and Sultanas

Sometimes you just don’t have a good cooking week. Mine happened this week. I got all the ingredients prepared for a lovely lentil pasty recipe which I was going to write up for a mid week blog after testing and I was sure that it would turn out perfectly. I made the mistake of putting too much quinoa flour into my pastry dough and it turned out to not come together as I’d hoped, more of a crumbly mess. So there I was, about to fold dough around my wonderful pasty filling I’d prepared earlier and it just collapsed and to quote Eddie Izzard ‘Like a flan in a cupboard’.
Ash looked at me demanding attention (an hours prep time is just too long to last without cuddles) so I sat down, made a cup of tea and felt perplexed at my failed attempt. As with most things, kittens can usually make you feel better.

My fiancé Rob text me and asked me what I’d made for him that was yummy today, and my heart sank-; this is how much I care about my cooking. I was so determined to get something done before he got home (and for own self belief). I immediately put together a crumble, without a recipe at hand, but a note pad incase I came up with something interesting for the blog. I also managed to get some last minute jam tarts in the oven too ☺

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Sometimes you have to say to yourself, why make so much effort for something that tastes just as good as a crumble on a cold day?
Voila. Here is my –If everything else goes wrong, store cupboard Apple and Sultana crumble. Perhaps not an inspiring recipe but undeniably, a savior and essential to most of the British.

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Apple and sultana crumble

Crumble

50g of plain gluten free flour

40g of gluten free rolled oats

50g of unsalted butter (and a knob extra for topping)

Pinch of nutmeg

Filling:

400g of cooking apples, cored-peeled and quartered.

2 tablespoons of Manuka honey

2 tablespoons of water.

Couple of handfuls of sultanas

4 Cloves

Tablespoon of caster sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Chop up your cold butter into cubes and rub this into the flour, oats and nutmeg until it forms a crumble. (I must add, that i am terribly lazy and that I’ve found a better crumble is actually made in a mixer or food processor as the butter is distributed evenly; but hey I like to stick to traditional methods, when I haven’t had a disaster previous.)

Pop the prepared apples into a saucepan with the honey, water, cloves and sultanas. Leave to stew for around 15 minutes on a medium to high heat. If you wish this to be slightly sweeter, and more of a caramel, add a tablespoon of caster sugar now.

Place the stewed apples into a pie or appropriate dish and top evenly with the crumble mixture.

Put dots of butter over the top of the crumble mixture to produce a golden finish.

Cook for 30-40 minutes dependent on how golden you like it.

Serve with cream, and more cream.

 

Tea, a kitten and a bit o’ lens flare never did anyone any harm.

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So cold and so sunny today.

I was there, sitting on the sofa, trying to conjure up another answer to another job application question. I was out of fuel.

Fuel being tea. What else.

Ash made it so incredibly hard to do anything but put my laptop down (after he was additionally gnawing at my laptop screen and hand for the past 30 minutes); he was just too cute, licking the remains of the tea from my favourite mug.

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‘Drink more tea, make more love’ indeed.

So i made more tea, finished applying for the jobs and got more love from Ash. Win Win.

Today this is a recipe for contentment. Enjoy.

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