Monday, 30 May 2011

Gluten Free Almond and Lemon Cake

I've been experimenting with variations of my Gluten Free Cake recipe over the past few weeks and recently discovered xanthan gum, which makes an amazing difference to the texture of the cake.
My recipe for Gluten Free Almond and Lemon Cake was completely accidental, all because of a shopping error, thought i was buying vanilla extract. Only realize my mistake when I was measuring it out and wondered why it was a bit thicker. I had bought french almond extract instead. But, it was a welcome error! The cake was tasty, so the next time I decided to add a packet of ground almonds and use less flour. The result was truly delicious. I've made it a few more times since, trying out different quantities of xanthan gum. I use between one and two level teaspoons, either way the results are just as delicious, just the texture is different each time. The reactions from friends at work was amazing, especially when they discovered it was gluten free.
Preheat oven Gas Mark 6 and grease a 22cm diameter cake tin. I use a springform cake tin. 

Cream together 8oz Stork Margarine and 7oz Caster Sugar in a Large Bowl. 
Beat together 3 Medium Eggs, 3 Tsp French Almond Extract and 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract. 
Add to bowl whisking until smooth. 
Grate the Rind of 1 large Lemon and squeeze 5 Tbls Lemon Juice into the bowl and give it a good stir. 
Add 100g Ground Almonds and mix in.
Sieve in 6oz Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour with 1 level Tsp Xanthan Gum
Stir until mixture is smooth but sloppy. 
Put mixture into greased cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. 
Leave to cool and enjoy the aroma.
Make a runny icing using lemon juice, drizzle and spread over the cooled cake.

Enjoy with a cup of tea, yum!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Little Piece of my Week

This past week involved a lot of cleaning and general tidying up. It's never ending.
I've been experimenting more with meals cooked from scratch 
and cooked up a delicious mild vegetable curry.
Served with rice and chunky sweet potato chips.
The leftover curry was turned into soup the next day, by mashing and adding a little water.
My daughter's idea. Very delicious served with toast!
I baked a gluten free almond and citrus cake using a new recipe which I created.
It's always trial and error, but this one turned out better than I thought. 
I always enjoy watching the birds feed at the window.
There seems to be a lot more Blue Tits this year.
 I've had the rose since my forty-something birthday and decide to be a liitle creative. 
I filled a glass, layering with white stones and soil and inserted the rose into it. 
I think it looks rather pretty. It has now finally dried out, but still looks lovely.
          The other day my mother gave me the most beautiful bouquet of roses from her garden.
They have the most amazing scent and she has the most beautiful garden!
My tomatoes are doing very well and should be happier since I repotted them.
I've been wanting a whistling kettle for ages and finally found one.
Brings back loads of childhood memories.
And, finally I would like to congratulate my daughter on her amazing blog. I am very proud of her.
She was recently chosen to take part in a mini documentary. Being followed around as she visits the Victoria and Albert museum and hunt for bargains at charity shops and car boot sales.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

My Bit of Outdoors, Indoors

I live in a flat on the second floor, so unfortunately do not have a garden, or a balcony. My dream is to own a small house with my own garden. In the meantime I am making the most of my indoor space. 
Mainly windowsills.


There are more than 300 species of Aloe, of which I have two. I love cactus plants, partly because they are so easy to care for. My mother gave me a cutting from an aloe vera plant many years ago and since then mine has grown and produced many babies. She still has the original plant. If I hadn't cut the aloe leaves, for medicinal purposes, the plant in the tall jug would have been enormous. All my other aloes come from this plant. The ones in the smaller pot are of a different variety and where babies from my brother's plant, which had actually flowered. Hopefuly mine will flower too one day.


My mum gave me this jasmine plant many years ago. I've almost killed it many times over, it's a wonder it is still alive. The giant begonia is a beautiful looking plant, again from my mum. The leaves are dark green with a red back, which looks absolutely beautiful in the sunlight. I'm also growing a variety of salads from seed.

The nasturtiums and tomatoes are from seeds. Last year I managed to get a small crop of very tasty tomatoes, so hopefully I will be as successful this year.
I've started repotting my aloes in tea cups after seeing a lovely post by 'a pair & a spare'

Outside the front door 

I've had the Yucca plant for seventeen years. It was my first houseplant. Sadly two stems fell off the following year, from the smaller trunk, when I accidently over watered it at the end of the summer season. It eventually started to take over my flat, so I had to be put outside.The spider plant, next to the yucca, was given to me about seven years ago, as a tiny cutting. All my other spider plants have come from this one and I've also given away many babies. The geranium, yet again from my mum, have somehow survived years of neglect. I plan to buy it a bigger pot soon.

 Through the Living Room Window
I've had a bird feeder at my window for about five years, which brings me even closer to the outdoors. I love watching the birds come to feed throughout the day. In the Spring it is just wonderful watching the juvenile tits and finches being fed in the silver birch tree outside my window. It can be quite comical when the young ones first try to use the feeder.

So there you have it, my bit of outdoors, indoors.

Monday, 2 May 2011

My Forty-Something Birthday

I had a very lovely birthday, last week.
Unfortunately, I had to work on the day, but it was so lovely walking into a classroom, playground or the lunch hall and being sung to by the children throughout the day. After work I went to one of my favourite resturants, Fish in a Tie, with my daughter and enjoyed our favourite dish, Breast of duck with leeks, honey and ginger sauce.

Presents from my daughter 
I love flowers in the home so it was lovely to find a small bouquet of roses and carnations in my kitchen. I recieved a bar of my favourite chocolate. For me dark chocolate is the best! I was also given a beautiful Gogo Philip necklace, black eyeliner and a really lovely craft book. The book was given to me before my birthday, which was lucky, because I was able to use it to create the lovely egg cosies in my previous post.
She also gave me a homemade voucher for a cup of tea/coffee whenever I want, for one week, regardless of the time. I was very tempted to wake her up really early to make me a cuppa, but I couldn't be so mean.
 Birthday hamper
I do love hampers! And, I absolutely loved this hamper. Perfect for me! They are so lovely and easy to create, and so pleasing to the eyes. I recieved this from my lovely sister-in-law, brother and the nephews.
The first thing I did was a couple of the sudoku puzzles. I love sudoku!

 My mummy gave me some beautiful pieces of lace and embroidery anglais fabric to add to my growing stock.
I recieved lots of lovely cards and gifts, including a pretty gold chain with a seahorse pendant.
Overall I had a very lovely birthday!!!