Berry upside down cake

DSC_0461For me the phrase “upside down cake” evokes the memory of a Blue Peter presenter (Anthea Turner I think) making a pineapple topped creation. At the time I was very very little so I can’t say I really remember actually wanting to eat the cake. Anyway, for me the upside down cake is pretty much 70s throwback meets 90s childhood recipe and it appeals to me purely because you get a delicious cake that is ready straight from the oven. D and I both liked this cake so much I had to send us both into work with pieces to share as we were very much in danger of polishing it off by ourselves in a matter of days.

To make this cake you will need:

Approx 2 handfuls frozen or fresh berries,

2 tbsp golden syrup

115g salted butter

115g caster sugar

115g self raising flour

2 eggs

2tbsp milk

30g ground almonds,

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line an 8inch loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper. Drizzle this with 1 tbsp of your golden syrup and top with your berries.

DSC_0448Cream together your butter and sugar. Gradually add in your eggs. Following this sift in your flour and fold your golden syrup and milk into the mix.

DSC_0449DSC_0451Add your cake mix into your cake tin. As the mix for this cake is quite thick use a smooth knife (such as a pallet knife) to evenly spread the cake mix over the tin so everything bakes evenly. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer comes out of the middle of the cake clean.

DSC_0452DSC_0453Once the cake has cooled slightly peel off the greaseproof paper.

DSC_0454The beauty of this cake is that it can be served hot with something like custard as a pudding or cold on its own as more of a cake type thing.

Healthy breakfast ideas when you’re pushed for time

For the past year and a half or so; instead of being on a specific diet I have just been trying to make healthier food choices. Things like trying to eat well in general rather than trying to cut out a specific food. Lately I have been trying to mix things up at breakfast by trying different things to help me cut craving for sweet things in general and to stop me wanting to snack all the time at work – being on my feet all the time at work makes me think I need to eat more than I possibly do if I have had the wrong breakfast. All of these breakfasts take less than 5 minutes to prepare; something that is important for most of us on a day when we’re rushing out to work. But the result has been pretty wonderful. Something in the combination of more complex carbs, or healthier fats has put me in a happier mood in the morning, my craving for sweet things has dropped a ridiculous amount and my jeans fit better.

1. Toast with almond butter topped with sliced banana    DSC_0540

2. Muesli with grated apple and coconut milk

DSC_05422. Avocado on toast (an instagram favourite)

DSC_05513. Muesli with coconut yogurt, frozen raspberries and passionfruit (and a splash of coconut milk)

DSC_05545. Smoked salmon and cucumber on toast

DSC_0558In case you were wondering I switch between soya and linseed, buckwheat and poppyseed and sunflower and chia seed breads and I the muesli is one with a higher nut and lower fruit content (I think it’s the Dorset cereals one). When it comes to eating healthily I feel like its important to start your day well and to try to have a balance to keep your metabolism ticking over a bit.

Hopefully I will post some more breakfast ideas in a few weeks!

Quick lemon drizzle cupcakes

Quick lemon drizzle cupcakes

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I think I won some top girlfriend points this week. D has a new job and for his last day in his old office I whipped up a batch of these babies. (I think I get extra marks for not eating 1 and sending him in with the other 11). Anyway, these babies are perfect for when you really fancy a lovely lemony cake but you don’t have the time, or inclination to wait for a larger loaf to bake. Plus, I think lemon cakes are perfect for spring as they taste so fresh.

To make 12 lemon cupcakes you will need:

For the cake

the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1

4 eggs

225g sugar

225g butter (melted and set aside to cool)

225g flour

Lemon curd

To decorate

About 200g icing sugar (I didn’t really measure this out, I made it by eye)

The juice of 1 lemon

A bit of water

Preheat your oven to 180°C. In a large mixing bowl whisk your eggs and sugar until they leave a trail on the surface of the mix. To this add half your butter and sift in half your flour, Mix well and add the other half of both. Once all the ingredients have formed a smooth mix grate in your lemon zest and add your juice. Don’t be stingy on the zest – my parents have both told me that the flavour of the zest is more important than the juice in this type of recipe.

DSC_0569DSC_0570DSC_0571Separate this mix into 12 cake cases in a muffin tin. Once this has been done add half a teaspoon of lemon curd to each cake (this sinks while baking to create a lovely lemon filling).

DSC_0573DSC_0575Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown on top and are firm to the touch.

DSC_0576To make your icing combine the lemon juice and the sugar. Add a little water to the mix until the icing consistency is runny (add more icing sugar if you go a bit mad with the liquids). Drizzle the icing over the cakes while they are still warm.

DSC_0579I’m told these cakes were pretty popular at D’s work yesterday. Apparently there were sticky fingers all round! I can’t wait to make another batch so I can try one myself.

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So

Sun dried tomato, feta and spring onion turkey burgers

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I think sometimes the best thing about being a bit of a “throw everything together and see what happens” sort of cook has its advantages. Since I started blogging I am far less thrown when I race in after working later and I need to throw together a tasty meal. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that. I had actually planned this recipe in advance where I would have at least an hours chilling time for these while I prepared sweet potato wedges. However, the fates (or the Gods of Science) decided that I would rush home and throw everything together. But, I think it worked out really well and these burgers were juicy and tasted really good. Plus, while curly fries are perhaps not the most sophisticated meal accompaniment, they do put a smile on my face.

For 5-6 turkey burgers you will need:

500g lean turkey mince

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon sundried tomato paste or approx 6 sundried tomatoes chopped into small pieces

3 spring onions

100g feta cheese (crumbled)

Salt and pepper

Making these burgers is simple. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl. Use your hands to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Once the mixture has bound together make your burger shapes. At this point, if you have time chill for at least 1 hour. Otherwise get straight on with grilling the meat.

DSC_0455Heat up your grill onto a medium heat, or place a grill pan on a low heat. Once Whatever you are cooking with has come to temperature grill the burgers for 10 minutes on each side, taking care not to break the burgers as you turn them.

DSC_0457DSC_0458These burgers taste lovely when served in wholemeal pittas, but we had the leftovers with pasta salad and it was euwally enjoyable. As turkey is a lean meat, this is definitely a good alternative when you have a massive burger craving but you’re trying to be good. Sometimes the best healthy dishes are the ones where you enjoy it so much you feel like you’re not denying yourself a thing.

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BBC Good Food Show Spring 2015

So the BBC Good Food Show returned to Harrogate once more and I was lucky enough to get press tickets for the event again (a massive thank you for that, we had a very welcome day off work and very fun day today). This year the show was even more popular than last year and there was an overwhelmingly large number of foodies of all ages gathered together to buy food, kitchen gadgets, watch cookery demonstrations and of course catch a glimpse of the legendary Mary Berry.

If you live in Harrogate (or around Yorkshire) and haven’t yet been to the event, you still have opportunity to attend the Sunday! I would really recommend going, even if you went last year as there are a whole host of new trade stands, as well as a few people I have seen before at various events. This is one event where you certainly don’t leave hungry whatever your dietary requirements. There was one lady selling gluten free pork pies, while another stand served vegan pastry items. I took my favourite Kiwi DC to the event with me and together we had opportunity to try a whole host of different foods. We also managed to catch an interview with the Hairy Bikers who are hilarious and knowledgable in equal measure. It was also lovely to see Si and Dave reunited; if my memory serves correctly Dave was at the show alone last year, so it was wonderful to see Si looking pretty healthy (and flirting a lot with the interviewer, which was highly amusing)

I think the excellent thing about going to the Good Food Show is how enthusiastic everyone is about cooking and food. Just by watching cookery demonstrations I feel like I gain lots of useful tips for cooking that I take away and use day to do. Even when I don’t exactly follow a recipe given to me I take inspiration from other chefs and cooks with years of training and experience. I also enjoyed meeting lots of lovely people, both working on the trade stands and attending the event who I talked to about the show, food and my blog. It was a real privilege to meet so many lovely people and to attend the event as a food blogger. The BBC Good Food site is a regular inspiration of mine and I regularly go on their website and read the magazine (both of which I highly recommend).

Lastly, do wear your comfiest shoes, there is a lot of walking around and standing around straining to see (especially if you’re 5ft3) and I was certainly glad to be wearing my trainers. I would also talk a sturdy shopping bag, poor DC had to carry my sausage rolls as I had put on my smallest cross body bag.

For more information about the BBC Good Food Show and Upcoming Shows visit here

I started a herb garden – proof that even if you’re an absolute beginner you can learn the basics

I start this post with a confession. I am the worst person with plants ever! When I was housesharing I forgot to water my flatmate’s spider plant while she was away for 2 weeks until 2 days before she returned home. Whenever I had to water my mother’s peas when she went away it would get dark and then I’d remember I’d neglected my duties. I do not possess a green fingernail, left alone green fingers.

DSC_0441Still, things change and our garden is looking far less neglected for having some flowers. I also started a herb garden. I go through so many fresh herbs cooking, my parents have a decent herb garden and its so much nicer and so useful just being able to take cuttings from outside.

DSC_0442I bought the beginnings of my herb garden already grown and repotted them, as you can be. I took the advice from my parents and D’s mum. Things like mint take over so keep them to separate pots. Currently I have chives, rosemary, thyme and oregano but I am hoping for mint and sage too.

DSC_0443As you can see I also took advantage of the availability of bedding plants and I got mostly violas and French marigolds. I admit this was partially as they were cheapest (there’s no point buying the expensive stuff when there’s no guarantee I won’t kill things). To be honest our garden already looks better – despite the neglected bits with the flowers and leaves brightening stuff up.

DSC_0444DSC_0445I also planted some sunflowers and tomatoes using those handy kits (aimed at children) that you can find in most supermarkets. Following the instructions maybe I can hope for a tomato or two at some point?

DSC_0440Gardening in the sun is actually pretty soothing and I sort of realised through doing it, it’s not really something to be avoided or afraid of. Once you have a few things planted it makes everything look so much prettier and cared for. Plus, once the hard part is done most of the work is watering and a bit of weeding. I look forward to sitting outside with D holding a nice glass of wine over the summer.

Fingers crossed I don’t forget to water everything!

Love a bit of Ed Sheeran? Other music recommendations to help keep you happy and sane

Love a bit of Ed Sheeran? Other music recommendations to help keep you happy and sane

DSC_0428Living with a music journalist has some major perks. I get to go to more live gigs and shows that I ever had opportunity to go to before (75% of the time as D’s plus one). The other thing is, having someone around who always knows about the latest album releases, up and coming bands and generally lesser known people who would otherwise have passed me by. Somehow as well, it has made me more aware of what others listen to and its made me want to spread the word about my new loves with others.

(Note; I’m not being snobby about people liking Ed Sheeran, the man is so damn likeable! I just thought I’d start with more acoustic style music as Ed Sheeran is so popular on the blogosphere).

1. Allison Weiss Literally the most adorable woman I have met. I watched her perform at the end of January and her songs just gave me so many feelings and hit me harder than music generally does. I ended up mopping up a couple of tears during her cover of “Call your girlfriend”. I have not done that before or since. Bonus points for her as Ma and Pa Ferg both wholeheartedly enjoyed themselves when she played.

2. Rob Lynch I have probably (by chance) seen this man perform more than any other musician. All of his songs tend to be stories about his life – the one in the link is based on a night with his late Father. You can tell he is truly genuine with his songwriting and I doubt anyone could experience his performance without at least doing the strange little jig of someone who is reluctant to dance in public. There’s something really touching about a performer sharing personal parts of his life through song, but I have never walked away from listening to him not feeling a bit happier, or finding something new to talk about.

3. The Lion and The Wolf So one time, my boyfriend was interviewing Billy the Kid (see below) at the Brudenel Social Club in Leeds and I started talking to the loveliest man, with the most wonderous beard about the pie and cake I had been making that afternoon. As you do. I did not, however, realise he was also performing and I was making him hungry. Anyway, enough about that. The Lion and the Wolf is the sort of lovely, chilled out music you want to listen to on cosy Sunday mornings when you’re thinking about doing something productive but you don’t know what (how about Spotifying some of this music, eh?). Plus, you have to admit, someone who can do a cover of the theme tune from the Raccoons (a classic 90s cartoon if ever there was one) and make it his own is pretty cool.

4. Billy the Kid Any person who can rouse and audience with a stinking cold is pretty awesome in my book and the second time we met Billy play she looked pretty in need of some Lemsip and a comfy bed before the show. She rallied miraculously and I take my hat off to her. She has one of the sweetest voices and is one of the loveliest performers. Somehow she manages to sound completely effortlessly polished (but not clinical) and still give a performance that feels intimate all at once. Please give her a listen now, you won’t regret it.

I know part of finding music is time. I know so many of my friends have a genuine love of music, but as they get older and have more commitments the time to pursue it lessens compared to when you’re younger. But it doesn’t have to be the end. Now you can use Spotify to listen to music before committing to buying things and Youtube is massive (and a great tool for watching hilarious animal videos) I think the music industry is changing again. It makes music so much easier to share and enjoy and that’s a wonderful thing.

(Mind you so is screeching along to the Greatest Hits of Fleetwood Mac in your car which I categorically deny that I do).