cake

Well hello again, how you doin’? I haven’t written a food blog since before Christmas, not because I haven’t been cooking but because I guess life has just got in the way! Anyway, to paraphrase Gloria, so now I’m back from outer space…

Easter is upon us, so I should probably dazzle you with a perfect batch of glistening homemade hot cross buns and a twee be-ribboned simnel cake, but I actually buy my hot cross buns from a well-known high street store, just because I like the flavours and besides, I am really not getting up at the crack of dawn on Good Friday just to have a batch ready for breakfast.

So what have I been making lately that’s worth sharing? Well I had a go at making cloud bread, having heard about it on This Morning. Cloud bread???, I hear you cry. Apparently (although I was blissfully unaware) it is the latest internet/2016 trend that is sweeping the nation – well, delis in London anyway. It’s gluten-free, grain-free and carb-free but surprisingly edible, and is quick and easy to make, having just three main ingredients: eggs, soft cheese and cream of tartar. Basically you make a fluffy batter-type mix and then bake it, producing a kind of fluffy, chewy pancake. I sandwiched them together with flavoured soft cheese and salad, but you could use them instead of a burger bun or to replace bread with most fillings, sweet or savoury. I quite liked them but would see them as a treat/novelty rather than a permanent bread replacement. Great for those watching their weight or with allergies though, plus they’re made with eggs, so why not give them a try this weekend?

Still being driven by Hugh’s War on Waste and Jamie Oliver, I am far more careful about not buying more than I need and thinking of interesting ways of using up leftovers. I rounded up all the veg in the fridge that was a bit ‘worse for wear’ and threw it into a pot. As there was mostly butternut squash, carrot and sweet potato I thought I would add some spices to cut through the sweetness a bit, so added a good tablespoon or so of what I thought was sumac, only to find the labelled pack in another cupboard… I have no idea what I added, but suffice to say it was quite tasty and only needed a bit of balancing with lemon juice at the end – had a bit of a kick, though! Note to self: always label your herbs/spices! I also had a tub of ricotta on date but didn’t know what to do with it but inspiration comes from the strangest places sometimes…

To end on a sweet note, I have recently become slightly addicted to Beanies flavoured coffee (other flavoured coffee ranges are no doubt available). I had read a lot about them but it was only a couple of weeks ago that I found some Cinder Toffee and Amaretto Almond so, unable to choose, bought both. The company tweeted about making recipes with their coffee and, as the Amaretto Almond is so moreish I decided to make a ricotta marble cake with it. I adapted an online recipe by Dan Lepard by replacing marsala with vanilla essence and ground coffee with strong, dissolved Beanies. I need more work with the marbling technique, as it came out more ‘patchy’, but the smell and taste are amazing, and the cake is lovely and moist.

It doesn’t matter whether you go traditional or trendy this Easter, just use one of those days off to get in the kitchen and make something! Kids love making things and it gives you a great chance to pass on really useful skills and spend some quality time together having fun. Plus you get to eat at the end – what’s not to love? Whatever you do, have a very happy Easter and enjoy the break.

 

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