Monday, 25 May 2015

Recipe: Apple Cake

When I was pregnant with Lyra I developed a huge craving/addiction to anything that had almonds in it...oh and cinnamon....together, separately, whatever...I wanted it. I still do. I could easily eat a batch of frangipane and not think anything of the stuff. 

Since I've had Lyra I've spent a lot of time eating bakewell tarts and cinnamon buns. A LOT OF TIME. I'm not interested in making either of those at home...I can't be bothered making my own pastry and most yeasty bakes don't fit into Lyra's schedule at the moment. So I buy, who cares. 

The other week, though, I really wanted to bake something almondy and cinnamony so I slightly adapted an old family favourite and whipped up an appley-almondy-cinnamony-cake. SWEET PERFECTION. 

Apple Cake 


4 eating apples
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup oil (any flavourless oil)
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp almond essence


PRE HEAT oven to 180C (fan)
Grease and Line a 23 cm round spring form cake pan

Peel, core and thinly slice apples.
In a large bowl toss apples with 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon.
Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar until combined, add oil and milk and beat until smooth.
Fold flour mixture into wet ingredients, don't over mix.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the cake pan.
Arrange apples in a layer over the batter and spread the remaining batter over the apples. It is ok if the batter doesn't cover the apples completely.

Bake 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.
Let cool completely before taking out of the tin.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Eating out in Edinburgh: Graze Coffee and Chocolate House, Dunbar

We bought a car last month. After years and years of relying on public transportation and grocery delivery we now own a car. It has changed our lives. Ok, maybe it hasn't changed our LIVES, but it has made it so much easier for us to go out and explore areas of Edinburgh/ areas around Edinburgh that have seemed too difficult for us to get to before. 

Last weekend we pottered down the A1 to Dunbar. The weather wasn't great, we wandered around the harbour and checked out a little play park on the way to the beach and then found pretty much the only place open on a Sunday morning for a snack, Graze Coffee and Chocolate House.

Luckily, we managed to snag one of the only remaining tables (and a highchair). The place was busy, and almost totally full by just after 11 on a Sunday morning. In fact, I think the whole time we were there (which wasn't too long since service was quick and Lyra eats like a speed racer) there wasn't an empty seat to be seen. 

In the back section of the cafe there is a dividing wall display of cakes and tray bakes and anything sweet you could desire...It was amazing. I was tempted by all the sweet offerings (there is also a pretty extensive food menu) but I had my heart set on a cheese scone. 

The scone was great, and came with plenty of butter. The coffee was also good and I have it on good authority that the Malteser tray bake was top notch. Lyra had a toasted bagel with butter and jam and that went down very well indeed. 

On an Sunday Dunbar is a little bit sleepy but still worth the trip for a beach walk and a lovely coffee and scone treat. In fact, I'd say it is worth the drive just for the treat! 

Graze Coffee and Chocolate House 

65 High Street 
East Lothian 
EH42 1EW


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Homemade Pizza

Ever since David and I moved in together we have had Pizza on Friday nights for dinner. For the most part we have had homemade pizza, with the odd frozen one and a good amount of Dominos. Actually, since Christmas I have been so lazy and it is fair to say that we have had more than just the ODD frozen pizza. Shame Shame double shame...I know. Anyway, while we were in France in March I started (didn't finish) Swallow This by investigative journalist Joanna Blythman. It is all about the prepared foods industry and all the stuff that goes into making our food.  Sadly (or thankfully) there is a whole section on frozen/prepared pizza and pizza can we are back to homemade pizza on Friday nights. 

Now that Lyra is determined to help prepare EVERY.SINGLE.MEAL I've been letting her make her own pizzas...rolling out the dough, putting on her toppings (usually just tomato sauce and ham) and helping grate and sprinkle on the cheese (which is the BEST bit). 

I don't use a recipe but I do follow these guidelines: 

00 flour (about 3 cups ish, added in 1/2 cup measurement) 
1 Tbsp quick yeast ( Doves Farm yeast is great) 
250ml warm water with 1 Tbsp olive oil added 

I start by combining 1 cup of flour, the yeast and the liquid until smooth and then just add the rest of the flour 1/2 a cup at a time until I've got a nice smooth dough. 

This dough doubles in about an hour so you can make it pretty much at the last minute. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Eating Out in Edinburgh: Starbucks, Quartermile

Although I try to frequent Edinburgh's independent coffee shops Lyra and I do enjoying sharing toasted fruit bread at Starbucks in the Quartermile. 

I know not everyone is a fan of this big brand, and their business ethics, but the Quartermile location has plenty of seating, loads of room for buggies and at least 8 high chairs. Say what you will about Starbucks as a big bad brand...they really know how to cater to parents with little ones. 


32 Simpson Loan 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Cake Talk: Oatbake With Berries from The Nordic Bakery Cookbook

It is no secret that I am obsessed with anything Scandinavian and also no secret that given the opportunity I will happily bake for guests (or just myself) Scandinavian treats.  I have yet to master the art of the cardamom bun, but I am adding more and more cakes to my Scandi repertoire. 

I made this loaf cake way back in January for a gathering of the Edinburgh branch of the Clandestine Cake Club.  The theme that evening was comfort cakes; Cakes to Feed the Soul, and I felt that this oatbake from The Nordic Bakery  fit the bill perfectly. It is basically a warm bowl of oatmeal with berries in loaf form...perfect for any time of the day or year! 

I love this loaf cake. It is dense from the oats that have been soaked in hot milk, and the fruit gets really squidgy and sweet when it is baked. I imagine it could be sliced once cooled and then frozen in individual portions making the perfect grab and go breakfast bar. 

I've managed to find a link to the recipe on the Fuss Free Flavours website so you can try for yourself!