Lemon drizzle cake #2

Last Saturday I made a lemon drizzle cake for a bake off at work. I received positive comments from colleagues which was a good sign. I tried a little slice myself today from what was left over- it was soft and moist, and rather lemony but not too overpowering. I felt proud of myself, as I think it was the first time that I had made a lemon drizzle cake, or it’s been a very long time (I can’t remember).

Tomorrow night I am going to a ladies night in/sherry evening with my mother. My mother asked me to make a lemon drizzle cake for tomorrow, so I decided to leave it until tonight to make one, after finding out the verdict from work. I used the same recipe, but used plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder instead, as I had run out of self-raising flour. I also used a metal loaf tin instead rather than a silicone one, as my mother bought a metal one on Sunday.

Lemon drizzle cake ready to cook

I greased the metal loaf tin and put some greaseproof paper in as well to stop the cake from sticking.

Fresh out of the oven

Same as before, I poured over the lemon drizzle icing on the cake as soon as it came out of the oven. Again I had to pull the cake gently away from the edges of the tin to let the icing pour down the sides of the cake. After it had cooled down a bit, I took the lemon drizzle cake out of the tin.

Yummy!

I must admit, I prefer the look of my second attempt at lemon drizzle cake. You can see the drizzle icing on top of the cake and it looks more of a golden brown. My father said it was to do with the fact that I used plain flour with baking powder instead of self-raising flour. The shape of it looks better as well since I cooked it in a solid metal loaf tin, rather than a silicone one.

Hopefully it’ll taste as nice as my first attempt. I will find out tomorrow night!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear 🙂

Lemon drizzle cake

As you all know I love cooking, but I don’t bake very often. I’d love to bake more however, baking involves sweet sugary treats and I’d weigh a lot more if I made cakes on a regular basis. The only time I’ll make a cake is for someone’s birthday, a party or a charity event.

At my new place of work a bake off has been running for a while now and there was a gap for the week commencing the 8th May. So I decided to volunteer and offer to make a cake. Tonight I made a lemon drizzle cake ready for work on Monday.

I used a recipe book which I’ve had for 10 years now! I won it when I was at secondary school. The book is called ‘The Classic 1000 Cake & Bake Recipes’. It’s a brilliant book which I’ve used on many occasions. I referred to the recipe for Lemon Drizzle Cake.

One of my favourite recipe books

Firstly I creamed together 100g of butter and 175g of caster sugar until there was a light and fluffy mixture. Then I gradually whisked in two beaten eggs, followed by 175g of self raising flour, 4 tbsp of milk and the grated rind of 1 lemon. I mixed it altogether until there was a smooth texture. I then poured the mixture into a silicone loaf tray and baked in the oven at gas mark 4 for 45 minutes.

Lemon cake ready to bake

While the cake was in the oven, I mixed together 4 tbsp of icing sugar and 3 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice. As soon as it came out of the oven, I poured the icing mixture over the cake.

Lemon drizzle cake fresh of the oven

The only problem was that the icing kept on sitting round the edge of the cake, so I had to pull the silicone tray at the edges to let the icing run down the sides. Once the cake had cooled down a bit, I took it out of the tray and placed some sliced lemon on top for decoration.

Lemon drizzle cake ready for work

I think that the cake looks a little bit overdone, but hopefully it’ll taste great. I tried a little bit of the cake that was stuck to the silicone tray and it tasted sweet and lemony, which is always a good sign.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Many thanks,

Clare Bear 🙂

Update #16

It’s the month of May- how did that come around so quickly?!

I’ll admit, the past few weeks have been hard for me. I won’t go into details, but it always seems to be the case that when your life is looking up, it’s going to come down at some point. I’m at the down point currently, but I’ve had the comfort of my family and friends and I know what I need to do to move forward. My blog definitely helps me in this respect, as I can look back on what I’ve achieved and how I’m developing as a person.

April saw the end of lent, which meant that I could start eating meat again! I have enjoyed being back on the carnivorous diet, but I continue to opt for vegetarian options when I fancy it or when it sounds particularly tasty (I had a spinach, cheddar and butternut squash tart this weekend, which was so good!). As per tradition (for the past two years), I had bacon in a hot cross bun for breakfast on Easter Sunday and then a lamb roast dinner in the evening.

Before the end of lent I made two vegetarian quiches which worked out rather well. One was spinach and ricotta and the other was made with Mediterranean vegetables. Since starting my new job I’ve not had as much time to cook in the evenings, but hopefully I’ll be creative one night (or during the weekends) and make something new to post on my blog. I like to maintain the foodie aspect of my blog all year round, not just around lent.

Last month I signed up for the Leicester half marathon. On Sunday 15th October I will be running 21km (13 miles) around Leicester, which will be my biggest fitness challenge yet. I need to go out long distance running at some point, since 5 months will soon whizz by before I know it!

I ran my fifteenth parkrun in April. It wasn’t my personal best but it was nice to run on a beautiful Saturday morning.

I’ve just thought of this target- it would be nice to be able to complete a parkrun in 30 minutes by the end of this year. I think that’s an achievable target, considering that my personal best so far has been 32 minutes and 19 seconds. All I need to do is run 2 minutes and 19 seconds faster then I will finish 5km in 30 minutes- I can do it!

The feminist front has been quiet for me last month, but I like to keep myself updated with what’s going on in the movement towards gender equality. I follow many feminist pages on Facebook, such as Women’s Rights News, My Favourite F Word is Feminism and Feminists United. Generally there is a lot of positivity and empowering posts which make my day.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Poclaretry- You are what you eat

As many of you know, I have a separate blog for my poetry. It’s been a while since I last posted on there, but the creative juices have been flowing again in my brain and I’m glad to have written a poem today!

I thought I’d share the link for it on here since it is linked to the foodie aspect of my main blog: https://poclaretry.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/you-are-what-you-eat/

The poem, You are what you eat, is about the societal pressures of seasonal treats and body image. It also incorporates how food shops and marketing play a big role in this ‘dog eat dog’ world of people being tempted to buy treats earlier than they really need to and how people should be looking after their body image by avoiding treats. It’s a double edged sword.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Hope you’re all having a nice Easter, whether you’re spending time with loved 0nes, gone away somewhere for the Easter break or stuffing your face full of chocolate!

Today I’m stuffing my face with meat! Easter Sunday marks the end of lent and for the third year running, I have given up meat. This morning, as I did last year, I had two hot cross with streaky bacon for breakfast. The fruity and sweet flavours from a hot cross bun works nicely with bacon.

Streaky bacon in hot cross buns!

While I enjoy the challenge of abstaining from meat during lent, I couldn’t give up meat completely and become a full time vegetarian. I love the taste of bacon in the morning and lamb for a Sunday roast. I also like pulled pork in BBQ sauce on a beef burger. I could go on with what meats I like, but I do enjoy vegetarian options.

I think that next year I should try something different for lent, since I’ve given up meat for three years. Maybe I could give up bread or diet coke, as I do like my bread and drinking diet coke when I’m at home. I’ll think about it when the time comes next year. For now though I’m going to have a relaxing Easter Sunday and enjoy a lamb roast dinner with roasted vegetables later today!

Lamb roast dinner

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Veggie quiche x 2

Sunday is the traditional day for a roast dinner in the UK. Last Sunday afternoon my parents invited some friends round for dinner. While they had an early Easter dinner of turkey (it felt more like Christmas day), I made myself a vegetarian quiche. My father had picked up some ricotta cheese and spinach, so I used those to make the quiche.

First off, I made some shortcrust pastry. I made 8oz of pastry using 8oz of plain flour and 4oz of butter. After rubbing the butter and flour together and adding a little drop of cold water to combine it altogether into a ball, I realised that I had made too much pastry. For a flan dish you only really need 6oz of pastry. I had realised this when I started rolling out the pastry and tried to fit it into the dish lined ready with grease.

Pastry lined dish with extra pastry on the side

After lining the flan dish with the pastry, I blind baked it for 15 minutes at gas mark 4. I used dry pasta as I don’t have ceramic baking beans for blind baking, but pasta works just as well. I then took off the pasta and glazed the pastry with egg wash, then baked for a further 5 minutes.

Ready for blind baking

For the filling, I used 250g of ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, 1/4 pint of milk, a dash of lemon juice, a sprinkle of nutmeg and I couldn’t tell you how much spinach I used. I loosely followed Delia Smith’s recipe for a spinach and cream cheese quiche from her book Complete Cookery Course. After washing the spinach I stirred it into the filling, then poured it into the flan dish.

Ready for baking

I initially cooked the quiche for 40 minutes at gas mark 4, but it took nearly an hour. I cooked it until the filling was set. I also used the knife test traditionally used for cakes, when you put the knife into the sponge and if the knife comes out clean, then it means it’s ready.

Spinach and ricotta quiche

I had a slice of the quiche with the roast turkey trimmings including roasted Mediterranean vegetables, roast parsnips and roast potatoes. I must admit, the turkey looked amazing on the table surrounded with pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon). My father cooks turkey beautifully so that’s it’s moist with bacon on top. Only a week to go until I can eat meat again!

A yummy slice of the veggie quiche

So you’re probably wondering, where’s the other quiche? You’ve titled the blog ‘Veggie quiche x 2’. There were a lot of Mediterranean vegetables leftover, so I decided to make a Mediterranean vegetable quiche. I made another 4oz of shortcrust pastry to use with the extra pastry I had made beforehand. The filling for this quiche also had 3 eggs and 1/4 pint of milk, but instead I added a sprinkle of seasoning and some grated Red Leicester cheese. The Mediterranean vegetables included red onion, courgette, butternut squash and mixed peppers.

Vegetable quiche ready for the oven

This quiche also took about an hour to cook. It looked more golden than the spinach and ricotta quiche, which was due to the added grated cheese.

Mediterranean quiche

I had a slice of the Mediterranean vegetable quiche for my lunch at work during the week. All of the vegetables worked well together, with the added sweetness from the butternut squash, as well as the red onion. There were many options for what could’ve been made with the leftover roasted vegetables, but since I had the extra shortcrust pastry from the first quiche, I thought I might as well make another one.

As I’ve already mentioned, there’s only one week left until lent is over on Easter Sunday! I’ve still not made a cannelloni yet and I don’t know if I will get time during the final week of abstaining for meat. However, I can always make it after lent. I sometimes opt for vegetarian options when I’m out and about, and also when I make my lunch even when it’s not lent.

Even though this is the third year I have given up meat for lent, I don’t think I could ever give it up entirely. I do enjoy a bacon sandwich, a roast dinner and pulled pork on a burger. I enjoy the challenge of thinking of alternatives to eat during lent and my body has a brief rest from eating meat. I have thought about making it even more challenging next year by omitting fish as well and finding other sources of protein. The biggest challenge for would be becoming vegan, which I don’t think I’d quite be able to manage.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear 🙂

Update #15

Hello! Sorry it’s been a while. I hadn’t realised it’s been over a week since I last posted on my blog, but I have been rather busy recently.

Before I go through update #15 in my usual fashion, I thought I’d let you know that I started a new job on Monday. I finished my previous job last Thursday and went to Scarborough for the weekend with my mother. The weather was lovely and we both had a nice time, which was a sort of mini break before starting my new job.

View of Scarborough from the hotel

I’m glad to say that I’m back into walking to work again now! It’s a 45 minute walk for me to get to my new place of work. Luckily the weather has been on form this week which has made my transition into walking to work again pleasant. In my previous job I drove because there was no traffic and it took less than 10 minutes, so I used to have a lie in (or get myself down to the gym early in the morning).  For my new job, the traffic is quite the opposite so I find walking more beneficial. I can opt for the bus when the weather is poor or after work when I need to get back home quicker.

Gym wise, I’d like to have a go next week. The gym is a 15-20 minute walk from my new place of work, so I could walk or get the bus to the gym early in the morning, have a session there and then make my way to work. I used to get up at 6:15am for the gym when I drove to work, so I could still leave out at the same time and get to work on time after the gym.

Back onto the update. On the first day of March it was the beginning of lent. For the third year running I have given up eating meat during lent. During this period of time I become experimental in the kitchen. This is because I often have to do more of my own cooking as my parents carry on eating meat. I had a go at making a Spanish omelette, the first attempt I burnt it a little and my second attempt was much better and tastier. I also made a vegetarian pasta bake which was very tasty.

My biggest achievement fitness wise happened in March- I ran 15km for the first time! This was at the Resolution Run which was in aid of Stroke Association. It was certainly a challenge but it has made me more determined than ever to run the half marathon in October this year. I managed to finish 15km in 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Feminist wise, I wrote a quick blog about International Women’s Day on the 8th March. I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet, but on the 6th March the topic of wearing high heel shoes in the workplace was debated in Parliament. I had a quick scan through the transcript and the majority of people were in favour that forcing women to wear high heel shoes is outdated. I have been covering the story about Nicola Thorp who set up the petition in the first place on the site Viral Feminism.

I made some vegetarian quiches recently, so I will hopefully post about those very soon on my blog. But for now, happy reading and blogging!

 

Clare Bear