I absolutely adore snow. I know that people find it annoying but I just become an amazingly excitable child when the snow comes out. I managed to grab my boyfriend for a walk and these are some of the snaps I took. I love the contrast of the plants against the snow.
Baking Addict has started a new challenge to bake her way through the alphabet and has asked us to all join in. Titled Alpha Bakes, each month Baking Addict will pick out a letter from the alphabet and bake something related to that letter. This month's letter was 'L'.
It just so happens I have several limes that need using up and so I thought I would attempt a big lime and coconut cake. The Hummingbird Bakery 'Cake Days' book has a recipe for Coconut Layer Cake and this acted as inspiration for my cake and the basis of my sponge recipe. As an aside I am definitely falling in love with this book and would highly recommend it. My cake was only one layer and had the addition of lime zest and juice. I made a simple drizzle icing for the top. It was really tasty and I'll definitely be making cakes with coconut milk again as it made the cake really flavoursome and moist.
For the sponge
120g of unsalted butter softened
400g of caster sugar
360g of plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of baking powder
260 ml of coconut milk
100ml of milk
Zest of one lime
For the icing
Juice of 1 lime of lemon (or a mix)
Dessicated coconut for decoration (optional)
1. Mixed together the dry ingredients and the butter and zest with a freestanding whisk or electric mixer
2. Mix together the eggs coconut milk whole milk and lines together in a jug
3. Place in a greased and lined round cake tin
4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean and it is golden brown on top
5. Let the cake cool
6. To make the icing mix the juice of a lime or lemon with icing sugar and drizzle over the cake.
7. Add a little desiccated coconut if you had some.
This cake would also be really nice with a layer of homemade lemon or lime curd in the middle.
Since starting my blog and joining twitter I have met a whole community of lovely people. I have joined in baking challenges, followed craft tutorials and recently taken on a recycling and daily photograph challenge. Social media has brought me in touch with people that I wouldn't normally meet that share my interests.
The picture above is of a jumper that has been made for me by someone on twitter. I saw this jumper on pinterest and straight away fell in love with it. Unfortunately it was not available to buy, it is a knitting pattern by Kate Davies. Now I may be quite creative and crafty but I cannot knit at all. So I put a shout out on twitter to see if any kind person would knit me the jumper for a little bit of money and baking in exchange. Very kind Kirsty @mrsjollyjackstar offered to make the jumper for me. A couple of months later and I have this lovely handknitted jumper which fits me perfectly and is a great example of why I love social media.
This is one of our favourite ways to use up spotty bananas and considering it is World Nutella Day, so decided by Ms Adventures in Italy, Bleeding Espresso, I thought I would share this with you all.
All you need is a banana, glass of milk and blob of Nutella. Peel and break up the banana, add the milk and Nutella and mix it all up in a blender. So simple but my boyfriend Greg adores it.
This is also one of my suggestions for the February No Waste Food Challenge to use up bananas but as it is so simple I will try and come up with something else too!
I have decided to join in the eight week rubbish diet. This is organised by Karen Canard at www.therubbishdiet.co.uk. She has created a method for trying to become Zero waste in eight weeks. Pop along to the website to have a read and consider joining in. I'm not sure I will make it to zero waste but would really like to improve my knowledge on waste reduction and to make sure that I reduce my food waste and figure out what can be recycled.
To help reduce the amount of food that I throw away I have set myself the No Waste Food Challenge. Each month I will pick an ingredient commonly wasted in my household. Everyone is welcome to join in and hopefully we can provide some inspiration for using those leftovers.
Following Karen's guide the first step in week one is to find out what facilities you have for recycling in your borough. I am very lucky living in Woking because we have fantastic recycling facilities. We have a food waste collection bin together with the recycling which we can throw in foil, plastic and cardboard. This year they have also introduced curbside electronic recycling, building on the battery recycling they already offer. Much of the hard work has therefore been done for me.
Recyclable waste that was accidentally being thrown away.
I therefore brushed up on what can be recycled and then set about identifying whether some of our common waste is recyclable. I found out that the shampoo bottle I use is recyclable - this normally goes in the waste bin.
Something I noticed is that by having seperate bins in the lounge and bedroom we are being lazy and mixing our recyclable and non recyclable waste. This has meant that on average we have been throwing a small bins worth or recyclable waste into the non recyclable bin every couple of weeks. I have now taken these bins away so that we are forced to place out rubbish in the right bin in the kitchen.
One of the strugglers I'm finding is that because I'm on a budget many of the items I buy us which are cheaper, seem to come in nonrecyclable packaging. For example the things I bought from the pound shop or Sainsburys basic chocolate. I need to explore if there are any alternatives to these that don't cost me a huge amount more!
Week 1 weigh up
Half a black bag of non recyclable waste
Full recyclable bin
Full food waste bin
I wasn't really sure what to do for Sunday lunch today and then Karen from Lavender and Lovage pointed out that it was British Yorkshire Pudding Day the brainchild of Florence Sandeman of recipes4us.co.uk.
Using Karen's Grandma's simple recipe these Yorkshires turned out perfectly. I will definitely make these again. Thanks!
This month I'm making a call to food bloggers to come up with creative ways of using up spotty brown bananas. Sorry if the picture below puts anyone off! My colleague can't be near bananas like this she really hates them when they are spotty! I have a couple of basic banana bread recipes but would really like to broaden my selection of recipes using up bananas especially healthy or really different recipes. Think creatively and join in. The details for the challenge are below.
At the end of the month I will do a roundup post and hopefully we'll all have more imaginative ways of using up those things that we often waste from our food shops. I'm hoping that this challenge will help me save money and make me more aware of the food that I'm wasting and how to turn it into something tasty.
So as you may know one of my new year's resolutions was to stop wasting so much food and I hoped that a few of us could work on this together and share our recipes for common food items that are often thrown out. If you want to read more about the challenge pop along to the No Waste Food Challenge Post.
January - Cream
Three entries this month as I only started part way through the month and I was a little bit nervous about advertising my idea. At first I wasn't too sure if it was a good idea but I really want to find a better way of using up the food that is leftover in my fridge or that I throw away. I started with cream because this is one of the things I had leftover from Christmas.
Ren from Fabulicious Food made this amazing Nutella Bread Pudding with leftover cream and panettone. It looks absolutely divine and as Greg adores Nutella and I bought a Whitworths panettone kit in the Christmas sales I plan to make this with my leftover cream next time. Ren's blog is lovely and full of beautiful foodie photographs to accompany her recipes. She also runs the Simple and in Season link up and Family Friendly Fridays.
Helen from Fuss Free Flavours made these slightly Healthier Chocolate Pots with some leftover cream and chocolate. I think the trouble for me would be having leftover chocolate in the house! These look really easy to make. Helen shares a tip from Jean-Christophe Novelli (who she met after winning a prize) that you don't always need to use 100% cream and that can thin it down with a little milk to make these pots. This is fantastic news as it means you can still make scrumptious chocolate pots with leftover scraps of cream and you don't need to use or buy cream especially.
Lastly, I made my leftover cream into butter. I was really interested to try this as I always need butter for cooking and baking. I really dislike cooking with margarine or spreads. I was really pleased with how well this worked and will be buying the reduced cream the next time I see it in the supermarket.
Thank you to everyone for joining in and don't forget to look at this month's challenge.