Sunday, 17 May 2009

pumpkin seeds for snacking

these seeds make good snacking, and are great in salads, or if you want to grind them up you can sprinkle them as seasoning along with pepper, like on baba ghanoush or tomato salad


pumpkin seeds
soy sauce


use heavy-based frying pan

put pan on high heat

cover base of pan with pumpkin seeds
shake or push the seeds around til you start to hear popping
keep stirring or shaking until you smell a nice toasty smell and see some browning of the seeds
turn the heat off

drizzle a little soy sauce over the seeds and stir/shake until all are coated

leave to cool

eat, or store in jar

mixed salad

250g runner beans
250g potatoes
handful pumpkin seeds with soy sauce (previous recipe)
4 radishes

one lot of family dressing (previous recipe)

boil potatoes in their skins, when cooked drain and leave in pot with lid on

steam runner beans 4 mins, remove from heat, keep warm

peel hot cooked potatoes and cut into cubes, put in bowl

cut up runner beans to 3cm lengths, put in bowl with cubed potatoes

add salad dressing while veg is hot

add pumpkin seeds and finely sliced radish

eat warm or cold, good on bed of rocket leaves


chocolate brownies

There's a lot of debate about who makes the best brownies around here, and, I reckon it is me. Or Kit, now she's using my recipe. Some might say there is no way for me to know, since I am not the most chocolate focused person, preferring to spread my net wider, however I love these brownies. They have the chocolate intensity loved by many, as they are made with pure cocoa. They are good and chewy, and surely they must have less calories than their use-five-bars-of-chocolate cousin recipes.

This recipe is dedicated to all households where the cooking chocolate disappears before cooking can start.


125g Butter/margarine
40g Cocoa powder
250g Castor sugar 
2 Eggs 
50g Self-raising flour

… add if you like
handful of chopped walnuts
handful of chocolate chunks

also apparently some people like to put in dried blueberries or sour cherries


1 Set oven to Gas mark 5 or equivalent.

2 Grease and line 7” square line baking tin.

3 Melt fat in heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. When melted mix in sifted cocoa powder. Leave to cool slightly.

4 Whisk eggs 1 minute then slowly add sugar and keep whisking until egg mixture becomes thick. Use an electric whisk or your arm may fall off

5 Combine cocoa and fat mixture with egg and sugar mixture.

6 Fold in flour.

7 Pour batter into baking tin.

8 Cook for 25-30 minutes. Do not cut until cooled.

9 Don’t overeat.

Friday, 15 May 2009

wheat free american style pancakes

3 eggs
3/4 cup corn flour
3/4 cup rice flour (or potato flour, or wheat free flour)
3/4 cup milk (or water)
1 tbsp veg oil
1tsp baking powder
1tsp sugar
pinch salt

break eggs into bowl
add cornflour, baking powder, sugar, salt and beat
add other flour and beat
add oil and beat
slowly add liquid, beating all the time

heat pan, use a little fat, pour on enough mixture to make small round pancake
when pancake bubbles and looks cooked around the edges, flip and cook other side

this mixture will keep in the fridge, but stir well before using as flours tend to sink

to make British type pancake/crepe, leave out baking powder and double the liquid

Friday, 1 May 2009

how I cook rice

family cooking lore (source: my mother) offers this approach for basmati rice

pour a small amount of oil into pan
warm the pan on low heat
add required quantity of rice, swirling around in oil until covered
add double the amount of boiling water as rice
bring to the boil, add a pinch of salt
lower heat so that water just simmers
cover with lid
cook 15 mins


As a guide measure one mug of uncooked basmati rice is enough for two people, when cooked as described.

all rice is different, even different batches of the same brand/type. The original recipe from mum involved sealing the pan by wrapping a cloth around the lid andmaking sure no steam snuck out so that the rice got all of the moisture, on this basis you could guarantee wonderful rice in 20 minutes exactly. Since I learned this method something has happened to rice, it cooks quicker, hence the change in approach.

I like to put a bay leaf in the rice, which gives a gentle flavour, brilliant with curries. You can do the same with a curry leaf, or a kaffir lime leaf.

I mostly use basmati. I know it's limited, but I love basmati. If I branch out, I use japonese rice, and follow the recipe on the packet.

easy chocolate cake - wheat free

I've come up with another recipe for chocolate cake. It seems to satisfy chocolate lovers, and me. It's moist, but not too moist and it's got texture. It's a little bit chewy, not soft and melting, in case that's what you're looking for. If you can eat wheat you can substitute ordinary plain flour for the gluten free flour. 

you don't need chocolate for this, just cocoa powder

this cake doesn't need icing, and is great with ice cream and/or cream. It's also wonderful on it's own.


50g cocoa powder
50g gluten free plain flower
100g ground almonds*
125g margarine or butter
150g castor sugar
4 eggs
2tsp baking powder
few drops of vanilla essence

*you can make the ground the almonds yourself, which I prefer, with their skins on, it gives a bit more texture

prepare a 9" cake tin, lining the base with baking parchment and buttering the sides


  • sift the dry ingredients together, or break up any lumps by stirring them together thoroughtly using a whisk
  • beat the margarine and sugar together until smooth, or light and fluffy, if you're over 50
  • add eggs one by one, beating them in as you go
  • add a few drops of vanilla essence
  • stir in the dry ingredients until well mixed
  • pour into prepared, lined tin

bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes at gas mark 7 then 10 minutes at gas mark 4 - the cake is ready when a skewer stuck into it comes out clean

photo to follow