Saturday, 7 December 2019

Old school weights

I've given up on digital scales, the battery kept running out. And I found these lovely weights that look like a pagoda when stacked.

Peanut butter flapjacks


A reorganisation of my kitchen revealed something that appears to be an intermittent habit of mine: repeat purchases. I buy the same ingredient again and again, even though I've already got a stash in store. My new larder layout showed what was what and rolled oats led me to flapjacks.

Peanut butter appears to be another weakness. 

Throw in some linseeds, currants and sunflower seeds. Yes, it's what modern marketing calls a power bar apparently.

I use a small roasting tin, lined with a silicone sheet. It measures 8x12" (20x30cm). So, adjust the quantities according to the size of your tin. Or use a tin the same size as mine.

Flapjack recipe

200g butter or margarine (in this case less the weight of two heaped tbsps peanut butter)
100g soft brown sugar
200g golden syrup
500g oats
50g sunflower seeds
2 tbsp linseeds
100g currants

Set your oven to Gas Mark 5/375/190

Line your baking tin with baking parchment.
  • Put the oats, nuts, fruit, in a large mixing bowl.
  • On a low hear, gently melt the butter/marg in a saucepan. Once it has melted. Add the sugar and golden syrup, keeping the heat low, stirring all the time. (If you let it bubble it may start to crystallise, and not mix completely with the oats).
  • Once everything in the pan is melted and mixed up nicely stir in the oats, until the liquid coats the oats evenly. Stir the oat mixture up well, so that the oats soak up the liquid well.
  • Put the sticky oat mixture into the tin, spreading it evenly to the edges and tamping it down, to make it an even depth. 
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes, until the surface of the mixture is slightly golden. 
  • Take out of the over and allow to cool. 
  • When flapjacks are tepid, cut into squares, using a sharp knife. If you cut from the outside edge into the middle, it'll be a cleaner cut.
Don't eat too much at once, because you might get tummy ache. Or, live dangerously, and eat it all at once. Or as much as you like. It's your life, your stomach. They're pretty good flapjacks.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Vintage 2008 Christmas Cake slow reveal

Just found at the back of the cupboard, cake baked and packed in 2008
Christmas is a time to eat rich food, and occasion cooking can be done in batches. I've just found a cake I baked in 2008 and put away. I am pretty sure that we ate the other one. I may have made three, it's hard to remember. This package shows that in a moment of culinary clarity I wrapped, tied up and labelled this cake and put it into a large tupperware box. I do have tins, but I wasn't feeling that scenic.
I used old string, and the string is now redolent of dried fruit, and seems slightly waxy. I used a granny knot. The greaseproof paper outer wrapping is folded over on itself, making a nice closure, and the paper is slightly tinged with a tan colour, leached from the brown sugar and dried fruit. The cake is heavy in its dry, aged state, and will be a good deal heavier once it has been doused with alcohol.

I hope it will cut into thin slices, like an english version of cakey panforte, but of course better. I want to eat it with a demitasse expresso. Or maybe a mug of strong tea.
folded over greaseproof paper 

The smell as I unwrap it is deep dark and fruity and the cake is so weighty. I imagined as I pulled the paper away that if I threw it across the room it would break into crumb and fruit - I didn't throw it.

The recipe I've used is the on my mother used, it's from a Times Newspapers cookery book, which I can't find right now, I'll add the recipe later. 

Here it is, bottom side up. slightly stained label. I'm please to see that I wrapped around the paper and tucked it into itself. The folding and tucking of the greaseproof paper is part of the ceremony of baking a cake like this. I'm trying to remember the smell in the kitchen as it baked slowly in the oven, with a gentle spice mix.

 The shadow stain of the cake is clear, marking eleven years of waiting.

Turning it over the cake is nicely shrouded, like a shy women in a voluminous scarf, or a poorly disguised fruity ET, bike and body omitted.

I'm using brandy. I've made holes in the base with a knitting needle. I'm getting slightly heady on the evaporating alcohol. Once this round of booze soaks in, I may put in some more.

It took four tablespoonfuls.

More follows....

Sally .Long shared 9 photos with you

Sally .Long shared 9 photos with you 
View photos
You received this mail because Sally .Long shared these photos with you. If you no longer wish to receive email notifications of shared photos, unsubscribe here.
Get the Google Photos app

Google LLC
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy
Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Slow cooked lamb, Greek style - Kleftiko

This recipe produces slow cooked tender lamb that falls apart easily and melts in the mouth. It makes the idea of being toothless not such a worry - a comfort to the ageing. It's gently flavoured with lemon and oregano backed up by the warmth of cinnamon, all of which soak into the potatoes sit under the lamb as it cooks. The resulting juice has a silky translucence.

I use Felicity Cloake’s Kleftiko recipe. I’ve edited it into steps to make it easier to plan the cooking. This is an easy dish with not too many ingredients, and the flavours are lovely, the lemon sings through.

I have failed to take any pictures both times I have made this meal - next time I make it…. pix to follow.

You need to start preparing this dish the day before, because the meat needs to marinade at least 12 hours. You can leave it a bit longer. I’ve tried making it ahead - up to the last two steps (completely cooked, just needs blasting at a hot temperature) - and everyone was happy, but I preferred it cooked and served immediately.

I have scaled this dish up to serve 20 people, doing a whole shoulder cut into two, and that works fine. I’ve also included a bit more liquid and more potatoes and that works too. It's an adaptable and forgiving recipe.

If you're feeding a crowd keep them happy with some easy starters, watermelon and mint, hummus and pitta, sliced cucumbers, a simple herby salsa, tzatziki. Buy them in, why not?

I like to serve a green salad alongside the lamb, with crusty bread.


(serves 6)
1 lamb shoulder, about 2kg
Olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 heads of garlic
2 lemons
1 kg waxy potatoes
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
1 bay leaf
12 cherry tomatoes or 3 large tomatoes cut into quarters

Step 1 - day or night before serving

  • Make a paste with the oil, juice of one lemon, cinnamon, oregano, salt, half a head of garlic (crushed cloves)
  • Rub paste into the meat and leave for 12 hours
Step 2
  • Heat the oven to 160C. 
  • Use a large lidded casserole large enough for the shoulder and vegetables, or use a baking dish with a lid of double layer of baking parchment
  • Cut the peeled or cleaned potatoes into wedges and spread across the bottom of the dish
  • Cut the onion into wedges and the seeded pepper into chunky strips alongside the cherry tomatoes.
  • Cut the remaining garlic and lemon across their width, squeeze the lemon briefly over the potatoes, and put the hollowed out lemons, the garlic and a bayleaf into the middle of the dish.
  • Pour in 200ml of water and set the lamb on top of the lemon, garlic and bayleaf, pushing it in gently.
  • Seal in the meat and veg using baking parchment under the lid, or tucking the double layer of parchment around the meat to enclose everything. 
  • Bake for 4-5 hours until very tender.
  • Turn the oven up to 220C remove the lid or paper and roast, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes
  • Set the meat aside and cover
  • Roast the veg for another 15 minutes at the higher temperature so they brown and the liquid reduces
Serve the meat and veg together

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Vegan Mushroom Wellington

brush the pastry with plant milk
to make it golden brown
Preparing food for a vegan treat, to be eaten while others tuck into a roast is worth doing. Why should anyone lose out on an occasion meal. The aim, while preparing the vegan mushroom pie (Wellington) is for everyone to envy the person eating it.

What is needed then?
  • a dish that looks great
  • flavour packed into every mouthful
  • texture and moisture - to keep the eater's attention
  • nutritional value
Deep flavour 
- use a mirepoix or soffrito, celery, carrot and onion sweated gently in olive oil. Mix this with chick peas, a spoonful of nut butter or tahini and crush or blend it all together, adding garlic if you like.
- a rich stock, home made vegetable bouillon or ready made with added porcini mushrooms, peppercorns, cloves, bayleaf and other herbs all simmered gently for 30 minutes

This isn't a quick dish to prepare, it's a proper main to match any other Sunday Roast type main. I served this alongside roast lamb, and those eating the lamb still eyed up the veg wellington. You may want to add gravy to the list, although if you serve it with a dressed salad you won't need it.

Mushroom Wellington - makes two


  • Leaf spinach - one bunch
  • Mirepoix - 1 stick celery, 1 carrot, half onion
  • large onion
  • mushrooms (1 punnet)
  • half cup chick peas
  • parsley chopped fine
  • chopped mixed nuts (I use sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • half dessert apple peeled and finely diced
  • porcini mushrooms 
  • puff pastry block or ready rolled
  • 1tsp veg bouillon or veg stock cube (read label to ensure they are vegan)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (I like almond butter as it adds richness but not flavour)
  • nut or other plant milk
  • mixed herbs
  • oil


  • Take half the onion for the mirepoix mixture (see below)
  • Prepare the mirepoix, chopping celery, peeled carrot and onion very fine, put into pan over low heat with a spoonful of oil, cook gently until tender (this is sweating) check the heat and stir, you don't want the mixture to brown.... once it's cooked add finely diced peeled dessert apple and cook until soft, stir through the finely chopped parsley, season and then set to one side COMPONENT: MIREPOIX MIXTURE
  • Clean mushrooms by tapping out soil and removing stems, set caps to one side COMPONENT: MUSHROOM CAPS
  • prepare half cup of stock adding spoonful of porcini mushroom and stems from the other mushrooms - boiling all together to deepen the flavour. If you don't have any suitable stock the mushrooms will good favour in a cup full of water, add herbs to taste. Once the stock is flavourful turn it off. You can discard the mushrooms or keep them to add to the chickpea mixture BUT if you do you'll need to puree them very well
  • slice remaining half onion and fry gently in small amount of oil until brown, add herbs and chickpeas and stock and reduce until only small amount of liquid remain, then mash or puree chick pea mixture adding in spoonful of nut butter, pepper and salt to taste stir through the mixed nuts and set to one side COMPONENT: CHICK PEA PUREE
  • wash the leaf spinach and dry COMPONENT: SPINACH
  • you're nearly ready to put the mushroom wellington together 
you can prepare up to this point in advance
these are all the ingredients except the nut butter

Putting together the mushroom wellington - mounding the ingredients

whole nuts add crunch and the apple adds
pops of sweetness

Set the oven to 180 degrees to warm up
Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  • roll out the pastry if needed and cut  four squares, two about 10x10cm (4 inces) two about 14x14cm (over an inch larger than the other) and us the smaller squares as the base COMPONENT: PASTRY SQUARES
  • Line up the components: pastry base, mushroom caps, chick pea puree mixture, mirepoix mixture, spinach leaves
  • set out two smaller squares spacing them a couple of inches apart
  • moisten the edges of the smaller pastry square with nut milk using your finger or a pasty brush
  • cover pastry base with spinach leaves, keeping the edges clear
  • spread a spoonful of mirepoix mixture onto spinach leaves, spreading it like butter in a sandwich
  • spoon chick pea puree mixture on top of mirepoix mixture and spread thickly
  • stack sliced mushroom caps onto mixture, leaving a gap at the sides so the mushrooms sit inside the chick pea puree mixture
  • spread another spoonful of chick pea puree over the mushroom slices
  • spread mirepoix mixture over the chick pea puree
  • cover with spinach leaves
  • drape larger pastry square over the mounded ingredients and seal it to the base square using a fork
  • put some steam holes into the top so that the steam can escape during cooking
  • repeat with second mushroom wellington
  • pierce pastry with fork to let
    steam out while cooking
  • brush both wellingtons with nut milk
whole mushroom caps for the centre
chopped mushroom stems and onions for added richness
cook for around 40 minutes until piping hot and golden brown

serve with veg gravy, and steamed green veg or salad

crimp the edges with a fork

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Chocolate sorbet - vegan

Whether you're vegan or not, this chocolate frozen dessert is for you if you're a chocolate lover. It would work brilliantly as a ripple through a vanilla ice cream if you aren't vegan. 

It is very easy to make, using one pan and a freezing receptacle. If you have an ice cream maker it's an absolute doddle.

If you would like it a bit softer, add two tablespoons of alcohol after the chocolate, vodka or other flavour of your choice. If you want it lighter with bigger crystals add another 1/2 cup of water at the beginning of the method.

Chocolate sorbet

300g caster sugar
350ml / 2 cups strong coffee
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup cocoa powder
150g dark chocolate - that's about 1/2 bar


You'll need 

  • a saucepan
  • a whisk 
  • a large shallow fridge container (or an ice cream machine)

  • break the chocolate into small pieces and set aside
  • put water, coffee, sugar and cocoa powder into a saucepan, put over a medium heat and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
  • add the vanilla and chocolate, as they melt into the hot liquid beat together until smooth
  • let the mixture cool before freezing - if you're using a fridge container take it out of the freezer every 20minutes until it has the consistency you want

get the sorbet out of the freezer 20 minutes before you want to eat it

It's great with:

  • cantucci biscuits
  • orange segments
  • vanilla ice cream or yoghurt
  • banana bread

Vegan caramel sauce

I put together a vegan meal the other night including chocolate sorbet and caramel sauce. The chocolate sorbet had a wonderfully intense flavour, and the caramel sauce was plentiful and smooth and a wonderful contrast to the dark chocolate.

This sauce is truly delicious, fudgy if left thick, smooth and pourable if made thinner. You could use it in a vegan banoffee pie, or eat it with slices of a nice sharp apple.

In terms of dates, you can get lovely medjool dates to use, or you can use dried dates which you'd need to soak in hot water to help when you blend them.

I use a stick blender.

This is the recipe for the sauce

Vegan Caramel Sauce

10 dates, without stones
2 tbsp nut butter or tahini
1 tsp vanilla 
salt to taste

8tbsp approximately liquid to dilute (almond milk, water or coconut milk)

Blend the dates, nut butter, vanilla and salt until smooth
Add liquid is small amounts to get the texture you want

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Kitty's carrot and orange cake

Lots of people like carrot cake, and lots of people make it as a frighteningly sweet concoction. Kit came up with a beautiful recipe that didn't give you that sweet sickly cinnamon hit, but was a great textured cake with a hum of orange. This is my kind of cake.

You don't have to use the chocolate glaze, but it's worth knowing that it is fantastic. And I don't even particularly like chocolate. It was a shock.

25cm cake tin, liner
set oven to 180


3 large carrots, grated
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
2.25 cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Zest of 1 orange
2 big squeezes from half an orange

1/3 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

CAKE - method
combine and stir all the wet ingredients with the sugar until combined: oil, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, squeeze of OJ, sugar
stir in the grated carrot
stir in the dry ingredients: sugar, sr flour, baking powder, until combined

pour mixture into lined 25cm baking tin

cook in medium oven 180 for 45-60 minutes

GLAZE - method
put all the ingredients in a pan
bring to a boil over a medium flame/heat
stir and simmer until thick
set aside to cool, pour over cool cake