Countryside Plum Cake

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day.

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day.Living in the countryside and finally having our own garden and an orchard means that we get to enjoy a lot of fresh produce straight from the source. We still can’t get used to this fact; it’s so surreal sometimes… In the past things had to be planned… I couldn’t just bake a plum cake on the whim, I couldn’t mainly because I had no plums in the house… I had to drive to the supermarket and purchase some, which 99% of the time were unripe and thus still too hard to use… now, I just walk out into the garden and pick some from my tree… how cool is that?!

Anyhow, after months of baking brownies and chocolate based cakes and muffins, it was time for a change… summer has finally brought us a lot of super juicy and extremely tasty fruit, so I thought it was about time we added them to our menu.

The recipe below makes one 8 inch square tin, just like you would use to bake brownies, which is as it happens the perfect size for just the two of us, but if you have a bigger family or you are expecting some guests then simply double the volume of the ingredients and turn it into a sheet cake. Also, I should add that this cake tastes the best on the 2nd day, so make sure you bake a portion big enough to allow for plenty of next days “leftovers”.

On the first day, you have a defined cake with plums – crumbly light cake with refreshing moist plums inside. However, on the second day, the cake is becoming much moister with fruity juices spreading throughout the cake part think of it as a self-drizzling cake. Try for yourself and tell me which day you like best.

Now, let’s get baking.

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day.

Ingredients:

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 15 large Damsons plums
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar – for decoration (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C fan and prepare an 8-inch square tin by lining it with baking paper.

In a small saucepan over a very low heat melt the butter, once melted put aside to cool.

Wash, halve and pit the plums then put them on a large baking tray to air dry whilst you continue with the rest of the cake.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the sifted flour, both sugars, and salt.

In a separate small bowl beat the eggs, then add the vanilla essence and stir well.

Once the butter has cooled down to room temperature combine it with the eggs and mix well.

Finally, add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and with a silicon spatula mix well until combined.

Pour the mixture into the earlier prepared baking tray.

Decorate however you want with the plums, or simply place them next to each other in a grid. Whichever way you go ensure that the skin side is pointing up. When your work of art is completed just pop into the oven.

Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.

Once totally cooled down, decorate with icing sugar (if using), then finally cut into portions and enjoy.

Light, moist and very refreshing this countryside plum cake is the perfect treat any time of the day. #plumcake #cake #fruitcake #baking

12 Refreshing Infused Water Ideas

Infused water is the perfect summer drink – super hydrating and with the addition of fruit and herbs can be extremely delightful, flavourful and refreshing.  

Infused water is the perfect summer drink – super hydrating and with the addition of fruit and herbs can be extremely delightful, flavourful and refreshing.

How to make it?

Well, it couldn’t be easier.

All you need is a jug of water and some fruit and/or herbs. Simply pop your herbs and fruit into the water (you might want to slice the big fruits like apples, lemons or grapefruits so the final flavour of the water is more intense) and then you just wait… Ideally you want to leave it to infuse overnight, up to 12 hours for best results but with a minimum infusing time of just 4 hours. When ready remove the fruit and herbs from the water, discard them and store the infused water in the fridge (for up to 3 days) ready to use.

For most people plain water can get a little boring especially if consumed regularly, but with the endless possibilities for infused water, everyone will find something they like and will enjoy.

I personally like the simple combo of lemon and mint – a few thick slices of lemon and a small handful of fresh mint left in the fridge overnight gives me an extremely refreshing drink in the morning.

With so many different fruits in season right now, I wanted to share with you some infused water ideas from other bloggers in the hope that they will inspire you to create your own infused water combos.

Blackberry Mint Infused Water

Cantaloupe Blueberry Infused Water

Dill, Melon, Lemon and Apple Detox Water

Fresh Mint Infused Water

Grapefruit Rosemary Water

Kiwi and Mint Infused Water

Lemon Ginger Water

Mojito Infused Detox Water

Orange Basil Infused Water

Pomegranate Lime Infused Water

Rose, Lemon & Strawberry Infused Water

Strawberry Lemon Infused Water

 

Which of those takes your fancy?

Which combo is your favourite?

 

Infused water is the perfect summer drink – super hydrating and with the addition of fruit and herbs can be extremely delightful, flavourful and refreshing. #infusedwater #water #summerdrink #fruitwater #recipe

What Fruit And Veg Shortage?

According to many market research studies, the general populous requires the following attributes when out shopping for food, especially fresh fruit and veg; a broad selection all year round and at a price that is deemed value for money (aka cheap). Now, as the world has evolved in our post modernisation era and as we creep into the digital age this “want” has become easier to achieve from a retailers perspective.

Gone are the masses of independent growers with their non-standardised shape, colour and prices replaced instead with a nice safe supply of perfectly formed identical looking cheap products, happy times hey. So how did they manage it….

Economy of scale is one factor, after all one mega grower only has one set of overheads whereas 100 little growers have an equal number of cost burdens. Also let’s not forget that our mega grower has huge negotiating power when fixing prices of overheads with other businesses, the more money you bring to the table the more the other party will concede to get a slice of the action. On the other hand, when taken to an extreme as is the case today it can become awe-inspiring just have a look at the greenhouses of Almeria in Spain where the “greenhouse” is the size of the Isle of Wight and can be seen from space.

Quick global transportation is another, you can get anything to any corner of the world in 24hours or less nowadays. Just browse your local veg section and see the huge diversity of originating countries involved in helping create that awesome display of colour and freshness. So those items grown in Almeria can be on your local supermarket shelves in a matter of hours.

The cost of the produce being the other pillar of support for this global mega-industry has its consequences too. Sticking with our example of Almeria you will find that no longer does the nostalgic memory of our veggies being nurtured by a friendly, wise old man from the soil as the adverts would have you believe. No, it is more cost effective and indeed essential (if you want fresh tomatoes in winter) to do away with the soil part completely, oh and ditch the old man as he is not efficient enough. Now we need miles and miles of identical rows of plants grown from fertiliser bags and drip fed the exact volume of nutrients at the right time to promote growth. Lob in a computerised system to monitor it and an automated picker and you can ditch the staff, more cost savings.

Finally, you are there with a mountain of produce that has cost the absolute minimum to produce and is due in the UK this afternoon, no problem, just need to do one more thing…

Ditch the “ugly” ones, after all no one wants to eat an ugly lettuce, it must look like the ones on TV or in our cook books, perfect, green, round and the correct size. So the ugly ones don’t get to go to the UK, only the beautiful ones. It has been calculated by many sources that around 1/3rd of all fruit and veg grown gets disposed of because it is not deemed beautiful, think on that for a moment.

So there is a lot a play when you go to your local supermarket and browse the fruit and veg section and it is awesome you can have a green salad in the depths of winter… that is until Mother Nature has a strop as she is oft prone to do. Back to Almeria and we are looking at over a billion pounds worth of produce heading to the skip and a void in your local shelf space.

So members of the UK populous think on these issues when you look at your reduced or even empty veg sections over the coming weeks and wonder if a partial return to the classic scene of our wise old man in the garden growing your seasonal produce wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all…

Morning Fruit Booster Smoothie

A fresh and zingy morning smoothie which will wake you up and help you stay energized for those busy hours to come.

A fresh and zingy morning smoothie which will wake you up and help you stay energized for those busy hours to come.Sometimes it’s really hard to wake up in the morning and once we are up even a cup of coffee can’t always help us to stay awake. Well, next time you have one of those mornings, try my fruit booster morning smoothie. It will definitely help your energy levels peak and it will also provide your body with some much-needed vitamins and microelements.

One thing to remember: quality over quantity! Good quality ingredients are becoming harder to come by. Low-quality food, including fruit and veggies, is cheap but at the same time worthless to our body. I know it might sound like a no brainier to some but always buy organic ingredients… yes, I know they cost more but we are what we eat… I think it is better by any measure to buy less of something and get to truly enjoy its real taste rather than a big plastic-wrapped bag of intensely farmed produce at a knocked down price. That’s not to mention the benefits obtained from eating healthy naturally grown foods. Thus ends the sermon, now what do we need for that pick me up smoothie…

Ingredients:

  • 250ml chilled coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 large red grapefruit
  • 1 orange
  • 1 pear
  • 1 red apple
  • Ice cubes (optional)

A fresh and zingy morning smoothie which will wake you up and help you stay energized for those busy hours to come.Method:

Wash and quarter the apple and pear.

Wash and peel the banana and orange then chop into smaller chunks.

Chop in half and remove all the red flesh from the grapefruit. If you have a sweet grapefruit or you don’t mind an abundance of zinginess you might just peel and chop it. I normally just add the fleshy parts without any of the white pith bits which separate the segments as these can be very bitter.

As for the preparation part of the process simply add the coconut water into your blended, pop all your prepared fruits in and blend for 10-15 seconds on a high speed or until it is visibly smooth.

Serve over ice if you fancy a colder refreshment.

Enjoy!

Morning Fruit Booster Smoothie. A fresh and zingy morning smoothie which will wake you up and help you stay energized for those busy hours to come.

My Top 9 Delicious Dairy Free Homemade Popsicles

My Top 9 Delicious Dairy Free Homemade PopsiclesToday I would like to share with you a selection of delicious, dairy free, healthy, nutritional, tasty and super easy to make popsicles, which will be perfect for the coming hot summer days. They are so good they can literally become life changing whether it becomes the perfect bargaining chip whilst negotiating with difficult kids, a shared moment between lovers as they sit in the garden bathed in the light of a lovely sunset or becoming the best ever dog owner (with the sugar free version) when your hot pooch pounces onto one and licks it all up for the next hour.