Honey, ginger and oat cake

It’s a rainy day and amongst the admin work I have time to cobble together an experimental cake. This one is a little like the tray bake Yorkshire parkin and a little like the Jewish honey loaf made for Rosh Hashanah – which begins this weekend.

It’s not made to be looked at – I don’t worry about such things! Mix it like muffin ingredients – loosely and quickly then bung in the oven.

It’s also vegan!

You will need:

A greased tin

Dry ingredients:

1 cup of oats

1 cup of a plain flour – GF or not

1 cup of rice flour

2 tsps of mixed spice

Chopped fresh ginger – however much you like

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Wet ingredients:

1 tblsp clear honey

2 tblsps golden syrup

1 tblsp vegan margarine

1 cup of water

Do what’s necessary and there should be a sweet, dense cake filled with the flavour and aroma of ginger.

Or nip over to the Lake District …

grasmere

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Delights on a Weekend

Here in the North of England people tend to refer to all Indian Cuisine as ‘curry’. It’s still popular amongst many to go out drinking or to an event followed by a late night curry, especially after a week of hard graft.

I stopped doing this a long time ago and fell out with meaty, excessively hot dishes served for British palates, finding them all too rich and filling. I also discovered that ghee didn’t agree with me.

Instead I turned to perfecting the art of cooking Indian dishes  – vegetarian and vegan – with the help of Madhur Jaffrey.

Long-time favourite has been Saag Aloo, then Chana Masala, Baingan Barta and absolute supremo – Aloo Gobi Masala. I am lucky to live in a diverse place where spices and all kinds of vegetables are readily available, from around the world, at good prices. Stocking up, from turmeric to cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and more, has always been a delightful aspect to my grocery shopping here. Not forgetting large bundles of coriander!

To accompany I go for either brown rice fused with whole spices – cinnamon sticks, cardamom, start anise, saffron – or chapatis. Sometimes there are samosas, pakoras. Always minty yoghurt and mango chutney to make the palate tingle.

Essentials – onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, sunflower oil, turmeric, chilli. Then whatever grabs you. I learnt to be generous and adventurous when it came to Indian cuisine over the years. My early attempts were dreadful. I became less fearful of what I was creating and it stopped being a brown mush and slowly became full of heady aromas.

Fear doesn’t make for good cooking, like everything else in life. Love and savour every ingredient of everything made, when you can.

 

madhur

Late autumn weekend soup

It has taken me many years to get used to chunky vegetables in water! I used to prefer finely diced, whizzed up, cooked to a pulp. I can now eat carrots that have been cut in the round and enjoy them. Here’s a simple, hearty vegetable soup for a day like to day – icy, touch of snow, rather cold outside. Serve with a delicious herby homemade focaccia, warm out of the oven.

After a quick dash to the local market in the northerly wind – we have two veg stalls on a Friday and one on a Saturday – I came back with the following ingredients:

Turnip, leek, carrots, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower.

How much soup you want to make and what amount of veg you add, is up to you.

I add to the veg, some frozen spinach, dark green lentils.

Then a touch of olive oil, half a stock cube, herbs de provence, 1 bay leaf, pepper. I don’t put in salt – it’s a forbidden ingredient now. Water, of course.

Put it all in a large pan at the same time, bring to the boil then simmer. Stir occasionally  The lentils will take the longest to cook through, but they are worth the wait. In the meantime the focaccia is baking in the oven.

I think I’ll put together a sweet apple and walnut pita too. The rest of the day is for chores, geometric design, assignment writing and reading.

Matisse.