I've just had the loveliest weekend, baking, seeing friends and being out and about with my family. It almost sounds too perfect doesn't it. I'm not saying this happens every weeekend so when it does I feel compelled to tell everyone.
My eldest son is a keen cook and for his birthday I got him a 'proper' cook book. He's 11 now and outgrown those children's ones that teach you to make smiley face pizza and fish shaped fish cakes although I am rather partial to both. He has decided to make dinner at least once a week (fine by me) and started this week with a goats cheese frittata and a chocolate mousse cake. Both were a success and I can't wait for his next culinary achievement
Chocolate Mousse Cake with a shortbread base
We spent Sunday in Formby, just north of Liverpool and had a grand time searching for Red Squirrels at the National Trust Squirrel Reserve. Then I met with my pal Janet from GBBO 2. She's as lovely as ever, just like old times. It's such a shame that the friendship and comradery between all the contestants does not really come across on the show, but we're all still in touch and still laughing together.
Now, it's Sunday and what happens today? - cake and Little House on the Prarie. It's been a tradition since I made a new years resolution a couple of years ago that we should all sit down together to have tea and cake on a Sunday. Last year for christmas I got a box set of Little H' on the P' and it has become an integral part of this ritual.
Todays cake was a bit retro purely because it included glace cherries. I'm not that enamoured with them but onced chopped and added to ground almonds they're not half bad. Glace cherries have a tendency to sink to the bottom of cakes when baking. The trick is to give them a good rinse under a tap, pat them dry, coat in a little flour then add them to your mix.
CHERRY & ALMOND SLICE
150g Glace Cherries chopped, washed and floured
250g Self Raising Flour
200g Sunflower Margarine
1/2 tsp Almond Essence
100g Ground Almonds
4 tbsp Milk
Heat the oven to 160C Fan.
Put everything apart from the cherries in a free standing mixer and mix well. If you're doing it by hand, cream the butter and sugar, then add the flour, eggs and almond essence. Next add the ground almonds then when it's all combined add the cherries. If you've used a mixer fold the cherries in by had as they can get a little smooshed by the whisk.
Pour into a lined baking tin. Mine measured 25cm x 19cm, then bake for 35-40 minutes, turning round after the first 20 minutes to get a nice even bake.
I've covered mine with icing sugar mixed with lemon juice then topped with cherries for that proper 70's cake shop look but you could also have it warm with a bit of custard (or evap Sean say's)