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Coffee & Walnut Cake - Super Fast - Super Easy!

Here's the easiest recipe for coffee and walnut cake - why buy from the shop when you can whip something up really fast?  I've made these this morning in the space of about 30 minutes all in. Now the way I cook is slap dash and I absolutely cannot be bothered with following a proper recipe. As long as you follow the basic ratios in cake ingredients you are going to be fine.

Victoria Sponge Cake Ratios - your need to know facts!

The ratios of ingredients are:
8oz SR Flour, 8oz Sugar, 8oz Fat to 4 eggs (add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder)
6oz SR Flour, 6oz Sugar, 6oz Fat to 3 eggs (add 1.25 teaspoons of baking powder)
4oz SR Flour, 4oz Sugar, 4oz Fat to 2 eggs (add 1 teaspoon of baking powder)

Get the idea? In my head I just think half the no. of eggs to the ounces of flour if you get me. 

Using common sense, choose your amounts according to your sandwich tin size. Or if you wish you can use the same recipe and make fairy/cupcakes in cake cases.

Quickly Make A Coffee & Walnut Sponge Cake:

Right, so I'm assuming you greased and lined your sandwich tin, or chucked your cake cases in your muffin tin, and you've turned your oven on to 180c.

Boil the kettle and in a cup add 3 teaspoons of instant coffee. Now add the smallest amount of boiling water you possibly can and mix together. Allow to cool.

Roughly chop up some walnuts.  As many as you fancy...around a handful?

Throw all the ingredients (except the coffee & nuts) in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric hand held mixer until its light and creamy. Now add the coffee, nuts and mix. Divide it into your sandwich tins or cake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes are done when golden brown and you can insert a knife and it comes out clean. Leave on wire rack to cool.

How about the Coffee Icing?

Boil the kettle and in a cup add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee. Now add the smallest amount of boiling water you possibly can and mix together. Allow to cool.

I never weigh out icing sugar it's too messy. Spoon a load into a large bowl (or even better put it in your food mixer). Now add some butter or margarine - about a tablespoon or less, the idea is just to blend the icing sugar together you don't need a lot.  Now add small amounts of the coffee mixture until you have a thick, smooth blend of icing. Never add liquid in large amounts otherwise you will end up with watery icing and it's very hard to get back to a stiffer mix.

When the cakes are cool, with a knife smooth the icing on to your sandwich cake base, pop the top on and ice the top too. Or just ice the top of your fairy cakes. 

All sorted?  Enjoy with a fab cup of tea or coffee!

Quick Pasta in Peanut Sauce Recipe!

Last night I wanted to use up lots of mushrooms and some spring onions I had left in the fridge. I came up with a yummy Peanut sauce to go over the vegetables and pasta. Here's the recipe:

Quick Pasta in Peanut Sauce Recipe for 2 People

For the sauce
1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
good slosh of Dark Soy sauce - around 2 dessertspoons
about 1/8 pint boiling water
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Freshly Ground Sea Salt
Mix together

75 gram of pasta spirals per person

fresh ginger
chilli infused oil
Button mushrooms (I used 2 small packs)
Bunch spring onions cut into chunks
1 sweet red pepper sliced
few sticks of celery sliced
(or other vegetables you like)

Ground cashew or peanuts to sprinkle on the top if liked

Set the pasta to boil.  Then gently fry all of the vegetables in a pan. In a jug mix the ingredients for the sauce. When the vegetables are golden pour over the sauce and fry off until it has reduced and coats all the veg nicely. When the pasta is cooked, drain off and stir into the pan with the vegetables and sauce. Serve in a serving dish or the pan itself, so people can take as much as they'd like and sprinkle with the nuts if using. Why not pop into yay retro! now to find yourself some vintage cookware from the 1960s/ 70s?

Quick Easy Low Cal Quiche Recipe

Here's my very much loved cookery book - The New of Art of Cooking published by Stork margarine in the 1970s. Everyone taking my O Level cookery course between 1976-1978 at my school had to have a copy and we all seemed to get our recipes for our exam from the book.  In the past 40 years this has been my number one cookery book and I know many of the page numbers of my favourite recipes by heart. This doesn't stop me from adapting the recipes to suit what's in my cupboard and the low fat diet I like to follow however, so I tend to use it as a guide more than anything.

Tonight we are having a Quick Easy Low Cal Quiche, which basically means it's a quiche without any pastry. yay! so much easier, speedier and also lighter on the tum (especially with my dreadful pastry making!) Here's the recipe for you to give it a go, it's brill with new potatoes, salad or any kind of grain. We've got a barley, apple and nut salad to go with this tonight.

Low Cal Quiche Recipe:

1 small onion chopped finely
1 sweet red pepper sliced (I like the Palermo Sweet Pointed Peppers from Morrisons)
Bowl or small punnet of regular mushrooms
Dash of chilli oil or use fry light spray
1/4 pint red top milk (you can use any milk, even single cream if you fancied upping the calories)
2 medium eggs
2oz Feta crumbled or Low fat Cheddar Cheese grated or a mix of both (or other cheese of your choice)
Fresh Herbs (I used dill) to your taste
Salt & Pepper

7 inch greased and lined flan dish set on a baking tray (in case of spills)

1. Fry the onion, pepper and mushrooms in the oil / spray until soft and golden (if using Fry Light you may need to add a bit of water to cook the vegetables right through, letting this cook off thoroughly)
2. In a bowl beat together the eggs and the milk, add the salt & pepper, the chopped or milled herbs and the cheese
3. Pop the veg in your flan dish, pour over the milk & cheese mixture, then bake at 190c until golden brown and set (check with a knife to see if it is set in the middle).
4. Can be eaten hot of cold

Why not nip in to the yay retro! online vintage shop for a browse? You never know we may have some lovely vintage cookware for sale which is right up your street!

Moist, Chewy Almond Loaf Cake Recipe

Here's a wonderful recipe which I've just tried out for an Almond Loaf Cake. I am sure you will love this moist, chewy cake. It's the perfect way to get almonds into your diet. Almonds are valued for being a source of magnesium, vitamin E, good unsaturated fatty acids and also they are high in protein. Some health professionals even say almonds can reduce heart disease as the fats in them are similar to those found in olive oil. 

Whatever, this is a truly yummy 'grown up' cake and worth cooking up as it is terrifically easy!  See below for the recipe and instructions...

Moist, Chewy Almond Loaf Cake Recipe:

175gm/5oz Half Spoon Sugar (or the real deal up to you)
1 tbspn Soft Brown Sugar
150gm/5oz Clover Light Spread (or normal margarine up to you)
2 medium eggs
1/2 to 1 tspn Almond Essence ( to your taste)
3 tbspn Milk
125gm/ 4.5oz Self Raising Flour
1.5 tspn Baking Powder
Few grinds of Sea Salt
150gm/5oz Ground Almonds (Or make your own as I did by putting flaked almonds in a food processor - this makes for a more satisfying, chewier bite)

Oven Temp 175c   /  325f  Baking Time 45 minutes

1. Grease & line a 1lb Loaf Tin
2. Cream the Clover (margarine) and sugar together until light and fluffy with a hand held mixer
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time
4. Stir in the almond essence and milk
4a. If using Flaked almonds, put them through your blender first to create a fine mix
5. Now add half the almonds, half the flour and the baking powder and whisk
6. Then add the rest of the almonds and flour and whisk again to a soft dropping consistency
7. Spoon into your baking tin
8. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (check with a knife, if it comes out clean it's done)
9. Allow to cool and serve on a vintage cake plate as a cake or in a sundae dish as a dessert with custard and cream
10. Once cool, store in an airtight container and this should remain moist for several days

Why not pop in to yay retro! now and take a look at the wonderful vintage cake plates we have for sale? These include Royal Tudorware, Washington Potteries, Empire, Staffordshire Potteries and many more.

Light as Air Ginger and Date Cake

I recently bought a copy of The Victory Cookbook which is full of nostalgic food and facts from 1940 - 1954. In it Maguerite Patten has provided recipes which would have been regularly baked during this time when rationing was in full swing and a waste not want not approach was imperative.  I simply cannot throw food away and I am always keen to eat healthy, low calorie, home cooked foods so this book was a great purchase.  At the weekend I decided to use up some dates left over from Christmas and tried the Ginger and Date cake recipe. I was very doubtful about how much we'd enjoy it as we are not big lovers of dates, also as usual with me I altered the recipe to a much lower calorie version, the result was a fantastic cake, which was light as air and totally scrummy.

Here's my updated Light as Air Ginger and Date Cake Recipe, why not give it a try?:
7oz Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1-2 teaspoons of ginger (depending on taste)

2oz Clover Light spread
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
2 teaspoons of Half Spoon Sugar

3 oz chopped dates
1 egg
3 tablespoons of skimmed milk
Water if needed 

Line a small baking tin approx 7 x 4 inches with greased proof paper.  

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
In a Saucepan melt the Clover Light with the syrup, and sugar over a low heat, then put to one side to cool down. 
Stir the chopped dates into the pan and coat them in the mixture, then pop everything in the pan into the dry ingredients with the egg.

Don't wash up the pan....warm the milk in it and then add to the mixing bowl of ingredients.

Now using an electric whisk mix everything together - this will also help to break down the dates into smaller pieces. If you need to make the mixture a little less sticky add a little warm water, you want a medium weight mix. You'll notice there will be a chemical reaction with the bicarb and the warm milk making it quite elastic.

Pop into the baking tin and bake at 180c (fan) for about 30 mins, check it's baked by inserting a skewer, if it comes out clean it's done.  We found this was light and delicious and lasted for 3 days. You could also serve with custard.
Serve your cake on a vintage plate for full effect, why not invest in a lovely cake server too? All pictured items and more are available in the yay retro! online vintage shop here, why not pop in?

Recipe for Quick Pineapple, Pecan and Maple Syrup Crumble

I love making up recipes which are healthy and fast to cook and prepare! Here's one I made which works brilliantly well....Serves 4

Recipe for Quick Pineapple, Pecan and Maple Syrup Crumble

1. Microwave this in a lidded dish until cooked and soft set to one side.
1 pineapple cut into small chunks
sugar or half spoon sugar to taste

2. Put all the ingredients below in a microwaveable bowl, blast on high, stopping every minute or so to stir. It's done when it looks relatively crispy
2 slices of bread grated or put through a blender to breadcrumbs ***
handful of Pecan nuts broken into small pieces
Couple of handfuls of oats
3 teaspoons of clover light or any other butter/spread
a big splurge of maple syrup - 1 to 2 tbspns.

3. Chuck the topping over the fruit and if you would like it warm microwave (with lid off) just before serving.
Serve with custard, cream, 0% yogurt or spray cream!

Perfect for Vintage Lidded Pyrex Dishes and Mixing Bowls!
***(this can be the ends of a loaf of bread and they can be stale! Why not prepare a load of breadcrumbs from loaf crust ends and freeze them for future crumbles? Never waste any bread again!)

Healthy Light Vegetable Bake Recipe

This is a very easy, lovely warming and light meal which has been developed from the 'Potato Jane' recipe in Marguerite Patten's wartime Victory Cookbook. I've added a larger range of vegetables to cut down on the amount of potatoes used, since these days we may not require quite so many calories. Perfect for an Autumn or Winter evening.

Healthy Light Vegetable Bake Ingredients Serves 2

5 or 6 small new potatoes sliced with skins on
Half a Cauliflower split into small florets
Half a Brocolli Head split into small florets
1 small onion finely chopped
3 oz strong cheddar cheese grated
3/4 to 1 pint skimmed milk
2oz Fresh Breadscrumbs or a Bread Roll grated
Salt & Pepper

In an ovenproof dish layer the vegetables with the cheese and breadcrumbs and pour over the milk. Ensure everything has been drenched with the milk by pushing the veg down. Season with S&P. Cover with a lid or aluminium foil and bake at 180c until the vegetables are soft (about 35-45 minutes). Remove the foil and allow the top to turn crispy and turn golden.

Serve with roasted carrots, brown sauce or pickle.

We found this a much lighter alternative to a cauliflower cheese or other vegetable bake which uses a heavier fat, flour and cheese sauce. It is the ideal meal to cook in a Pyrex dish like the one above.

yay retro! sell vintage home and kitchenwares from the 1940s to 1970s. Why not pop in to our online vintage shop now?

Wartime Cooking - Do Vinegar Cake or Coffee Potato Scones Taste Nice?

I have long had an interest in war time cookery. Drawn to the 'waste not want not' way of shopping and cooking I am definitely a product of my Grandmother and Mother's influence in the kitchen. I was brought up in the 1960s/70s by these 2 no-nonsense cooks who in turn had learnt all they knew from war time rationing and the Ministry of Food's way of doing things.

Rather than being an out of date way of cooking, War Time recipes are in my opinion the way to go in 2016. They tend to be low in fat and high in fibre and vitamins since they rely upon fresh fruit and vegetables and low amounts of meat, eggs, fat & cheese. This means Wartime recipes are also very cost-effective - a fantastic thing with food prices set to soar with the uncertainty of the coming post-Brexit years.

If like me you are keen to stay healthy and in shape you may be interested in a series of War Time recipes I am going to cook and try out from Margueritte Patten's Victory Cookbook which has a whole heap of interesting, weird and wonderful recipes designed to use cheap, wholesome ingredients.  I shall be updating them slightly to make use of today's modern foodstuffs in place of items such as Lard which is something most of us avoid nowadays!

To begin with I thought I would try the more unusual recipes such as Vinegar Cake and Coffee & Potato Scones to try and answer the question - Can these odd mixtures actually taste nice?  Come back soon when I cooked these recipes and posted my results!

yay retro! sell vintage kitchen and tablewares from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Pop in to the shop now!

Recipe for Wartime Vinegar Cake - an Eggless Fruit Cake

6oz of Self Raising Flour
3oz margarine
3oz sugar
1/4 pint milk lightly warmed
1 tbspn vinegar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3-4 oz dried fruit

This recipe has no eggs, the rise is provided by sifting the flour and mixing the milk & vinegar with the bicarb to make it react and froth. So sift the flour, cream the margarine and sugar. Pour the lightly warmed milk into a large basin and add the vinegar and bicarb so that it froths. Now blend in the flour, creamed marg and sugar. Add the dried fruit. Put in a greased small loaf tin and bake in a moderate oven for about 30 - 40 minutes if a fan oven, longer if not. Check it is done with a knife, if it comes out clean it's cooked!

This is a nice cake, we tried it both on it's own and served with custard. A good one to know about if you've no eggs!

 Unusual Wartime Recipe for Coffee Potato Scones

These use potato in place of some of the flour, potatoes were more plentiful than flour during rationing as most people grew them in their gardens and they were not on ration.

6oz Plain Flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Mix thoroughly with 4oz mashed potatoes (this would have been with skins on during the war, which gives it more flavour and adds fibre to your diet without you noticing which is great).
Rub in 2oz margarine
Blend to a soft dough with 1/2 cup of strong milky, sweetened coffee.
Roll to 1/2" thickness and bake for around 10 minutes in a very hot oven.

These were light and airy, but I personally made the coffee too strong. Am sure they would have been lovely had I not done this, so it's worth a try!

yay retro! sell vintage kitchen and tablewares from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Pop in to the shop now!

yay retro! makes a foray into the world of Wonky Veg

How do you feel about Wonky Veg? I had heard about the Asda campaign to introduce wonky veg boxes in to some of their stores with the 'beautiful on the inside' campaign. I thought this was a great idea as I am very into reducing food waste, being committed to only buying what I need, and freezing left overs straight after each meal. I also love making soups and casseroles to use up veg that is going over a little. 

I've now found out that the wonky veg campaign is in response to Jamie Oliver approaching the store during their 'Friday Night Feast' show on channel 4. Apparently Asda have been selling 'ugly' veg since January 2015 at a 30% reduction. However, with no Asda near to me which were stocking the wonky veg box range, I was initially disappointed not to be able to partake in the wonky veg campaign. Happily this morning I found that Morrisons now have bags of wonky veg on sale, so I bought a bag each of parsnips and onions to see what they might be like.

Wonky Veg it turns out, look just like normal veg (no real surprise!) I already regularly bought Morrisons small onions in bags, and these appear to be no different. Maybe a few are smaller, and perhaps some of them have a little soil on them. However, with the skins removed this will have no impact whatsoever. 

When it comes to the parsnips in my particular bag, they appear slimmer than their counterparts. Some have a few blemishes, but really this is not in the least bit off putting nor a problem. If you grow your own, or have freebies from those who do, you are almost certainly going to be used to such things. Plus my Mum always told me that slimmer parsnips are sweeter than their larger woodier counterparts.

Thinking about costs and savings, the Asda Wonky Veg Boxes are £3.50 each and could apparently feed a family of 4 for a week, they include a variety of veg from peppers to cucumbers and potatoes. However, only 20 boxes are apparently available per day, in just 25 of Asda's stores across the UK (see Asda's blog).

By contrast the Morrisons Wonky Veg Bags offer a smaller range of veg, namely potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips. Freely available on their website, I would imagine they are in every store. Comparative prices are as follows:

Wonky Carrots Bag 60p (40p per kg)  -  Normal Bags of Carrots at Morrisons are 47p per kg
Wonky Potatoes Bag £2 (40p per kg)  - Normal Bags Potatoes at Morrisons are from 57p per kg
Wonky Parsnips Bag £1 (£1 per kg)     - Normal Parsnips at Morrisons are £1.70 per kg
Wonky Onions Bag 60p (40p per kg)  - Normal Onions at Morrisons are 56p per kg

So a cost saving to be had if you opt for wonkiness. 

On Sainsburys blog, they say that the unseasonable weather has caused a glut of 'ugly' veg, and are using it in their freshly prepared chiller foods such as mashed potatoes & potato salad. Currently, it seems they are not selling wonky veg directly and ask would customers be happy if they did. Meanwhile, Tesco's group food sourcing director Matt Simister, tells the Telegraph:'the supermarket is exploring opportunities to put more products like wonky carrots and imperfect apples on offer to encourage people to buy them'.

Have you tried wonky veg? If you have what were your thoughts and would you buy it again? Why not leave a comment or email to let me know?

Pop into yay retro! to browse vintage home and tablewares by clicking here.

Recipe for a Vegetable 'Not-a-Pie' Pie

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I love to make up recipes which are cheap, easy, healthy and cheerful. Today we had a fab dinner with my new invention - a 'Not-a-Pie' pie! It's so simple to make, it's almost 'not a recipe'.
To cut to the chase, it's a Suet Pastry disc which is cooked separately and then placed on top of any kind of cooked food. We had ours on top of roasted vegetables, but you could easily pop this on top of a meat stew or vegetable casserole. If you have no potatoes in the cupboard, never despair - making up suet pastry is a super-fast potato replacement!

Here's what you'll need to make this super-fast suet pastry:

Self Raising Flour (I used wholemeal)
Vegetable Suet (eg Atora or supermarket's own brand)
Freshly ground S&P
Cold water
Oats or flour to press out the pastry

**For suet pastry you use half fat to flour. For two people you would need 50gm of flour and 25gm Suet. Simply multiply the amount up for the number of people you are cooking for 
1. Weigh out the amount of flour and fat you need as per my note**, and pop in a mixing bowl with S&P.
2. Run the cold tap and add a little amount of water at a time to the bowl, mixing with a knife until everything has formed together and you have a nice firm dough.
3. Sprinkle oats of flour onto a dinner plate, take a portion of the dough (i.e. half of it if making for 2 people) and roll in the oats or flour then press to about 1cm thick disc. Repeat until the dough has been used up.
4. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 200c until golden brown
5. Pop on top or to the side of whatever food you are serving. This makes a nice crunchy, chewy topping/side which is extra tasty!

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