Food Bloggers Unplugged

I've been tagged by Suelle of Mainly Baking to join in 'Food Bloggers Unplugged'. This was the idea of Susan at A little bit of heaven on a plate to get to know something about other food bloggers.

Here goes:

1.What, or who inspired you to start a blog?

I was living in France, a bit homesick, and started my blog for my family and friends to read about some of the things I was cooking and baking. It made me feel closer to them.

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?

My inspiration was my mother; she was a superb cook and her speciality was baking. I helped her from a small child, filling tarts, rolling pastry, weighing ingredients. I especially remember my birthday parties, as my friends always talked about the great bakes Mum made - chocolate eclairs, iced slices, fondant cakes etc.

3. Your greasiest batter-splattered food/drink book is?

It's Marguerite Patten's 'Every Day Cookbook'. I was given this as a present [together with her 'Book of Cakes and Baking'] and I used it regularly when I was first married in the late 60s. It's rather old fashioned now, but I still use a few recipes from it.

4. Tell us about the best thing you've ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?

Living in France for 7 years, I ate some great food, but my most memorable thing is a stew with wild boar which we ate with our neighbours. He was a keen hunter and his wife did justice to what he caught. The flavours in the stew were so delicious, but Nadine refused to divulge her great-grandmother's recipe!

 5. Another food blogger's table you'd like to eat at?

There are several food blogs I really like, but my favourite one is The caked crusader. I love the variety of cakes she makes and her knowledge of baking.I enjoy learning about the history of cakes too.

6. What is the kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year [money no object of course]?

I'd love a new breadmaker, as my old one's not doing its job properly! I'd like a top of the range one this time, as the one I have was bought in my local Lidl in France and has been well used.

7. Who taught you to cook?

I wasn't really taught to cook; I learnt by watching and helping Mum. I did go to evening classes when I was a keen new bride, and learnt to make a wider range of food. We had an inspirational tutor who'd been a cookery demonstrator for British Gas!

8. I'm coming to you for dinner. What's your signature dish?

I make a great coq au vin! But you'd probably only have it once, as I keep a notebook and jot down what I give people to eat, so hopefully they don't get the same thing twice!

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?

Nutella - on toast, in a sandwich, any how!

10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn.

I love eating raw Brussel sprouts! Haven't tried them with Nutella yet - mmm, an idea!

I have to tag 5 other food bloggers so I've chosen:

Anna at At Anna's Kitchen table
Phil at As strong as soup
Jean at Baking in franglais
BG at Brownieville Girl
Kate at It's the Norm

There's no obligation for you to join in if you don't want to.


Cranberry and apple crumble pie

One of out favourite desserts is a crumble, so thought I'd try out this recipe as it's a crumble pie.

175g oats
150g plain flour
125g brown sugar
1/2tspn bicarbonate of soda
175g butter or margarine, melted
2 large cooking apples, peeles, cored and sliced
75g dried cranberries
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tbspn lemon juice

Preheat oven 190C/375F/gas5

Grease a 20cm springform cake tin or metal pie dish.

Mix together the oats, flour, sugar and bicarb. in a bowl then stir in the melted fat. Mix together well.

Press 2/3 of this mix into the bottom and sides of the tin or dish.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together - the apples, cranberries lemon juice and cinnamon. Spoon this into the crumble base keeping away from the sides of the tin or dish.
Starting at the edge and working into the middle, cover with the rest of the crumble. Then firm around the edges to seal the top to the sides.
Bake for 30 mins till golden.

What a great idea this is! I love a crumble topping, so having a pie of it is even better! You could, of course, use any fruit you fancied.


Tyler's cinnamon squares

My favourite spice is cinnamon, so when I found this recipe I had to try it.
It comes from a very old copy of 'Home and Freezer Digest' magazine, which is sadly no more.

250g caster sugar + 2 tbspns
1tbspn + 21/2 tspns cinnamon
11/2 tspns instant coffee
175g plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
175ml milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
140g butter, melted
Bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven 180C/350F/gas4
Grease and line a 20cm square tin.

Put the 2 tbspns of sugar, the 21/2 tspns cinnamon  and the coffee in a bowl and mix together.
In another bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and the cinnamon. In a third bowl beat together the milk, eggs and vanilla.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and beat them together.Fold in the cooled, melted butter.
Put half of the batter into the tin, smooth then sprinkle over the chocolate chips and the cinnamon sugar. Put the rest of the batter on top.
Bake for about 35 mins. Leave in tin for 15 mins then put onto a wire rack.

The cake is delicious as it is, but it's even nicer with a chocolate topping. Use your favourite ganache or whatever you fancy. I used 175g plain chocolate and 45g butter - I put them in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and then let them melt, stirring. Don't let the mixture get too hot or it won't be nice and thick to spread over the top. Swirl it over with a small palette knife.

The cake has a real cinnamon flavour and a soft texture.


Austrian cinnamon and sultana cake

100g soft margarine or softened butter
50g caster sugar
2 tbspns thick honey
225g sr flour
1 tspn baking powder
100g sultanas [or currants or raisins]
1 tspn cinnamon
150ml milk

Preheat oven 160C/325F/gas3
Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.

Beat all the ingredients together in a bowl then put the mixture into the cake tin.
Bake for 50 mins to an hour. Leave in the tin for about 20 mins then turn onto a wire rack.

A nice simple cake which has a good flavour. You can really taste the honey. It's quite a moist cake, but as it's not rich, it needs to be eaten in a couple of days. That's not a problem in this house!
I'd use more cinnamon next time and try a flavoured honey.

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