Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Lemon and Almond Cake and a Giveaway #33

5 Star, Giveaway, Large Cakes | 10th August 2013 | By

 This cake is the one I had wanted to make for CTs birthday – he likes these flavours and they seem sort of light and summery somehow. Fates conspired as they often do and he ended up not getting a birthday cake at all – well not until now anyway. I’ve been awaiting delivery of a much coveted silicone cake mould from the ingenious Mustard. I have seen several cakes made with it on the internet over the last few weeks and I was keen to try it for myself. Its scalloped edges resemble a daisy flower which cunningly, when cut into six slices, comes out in a series of heart shapes. As well as being quite sturdy for a silicone mould, it’s nice and deep too, so it can make one very deep cake or can be cut into two or even three and sandwiched with something delicious.


Made in Mexico – Vegetarian Enchiladas

Mexico is, as we all know the home of chocolate. This is one, among many reasons for my love of Mexican food. So when I was sent a selection of Mexican ingredients to try from MexGrocer, I got quite excited. And what better way to express my excitement than by adapting the accompanying recipe and creating some vegetarian enchiladas using the chocolate mole sauce – something I’ve never made before. 


Chocolate Blackcurrant Buckle

Large Cakes | 6th August 2013 | By

Blackcurrant Buckle is one of the cakes I grew up with, but I haven’t made it for many many years and indeed I don’t even know where the recipe is – buried in one of my mother’s piles of clippings somewhere I suspect. When I was unexpectedly given a punnet of blackcurrants the other day, I decided on the spur of the moment, now was the time to try blackcurrant buckle once again.


The Glorious Glynn Valley with Brownies for Pudding

Whenever we head west out of Liskeard, we have the delight of driving down the Glynn Valley. Glynn is the Cornish word for a deep wooded valley, so the name is a bit of a tautology, but an attractive one. This eight mile stretch of the A38 links Liskeard to the A30 and runs along the edge of Bodmin Moor. It mostly follows a particularly attractive stretch of the River Fowey on its twisting and fast flowing way to meet the sea at Fowey. The interlocking hills either side are mostly covered in trees with intermittent glimpses of beautiful scenery. I always look forward to this part of the journey.

Nice car, but not the one we did out trip in

This particular day, we were celebrating CTs birthday and taking a trip down west to visit a garden we hadn’t seen before. As soon as I heard about MoneySupermarket’s £50 Road Trip Challenge I knew immediately this would be the trip I would be writing about and the Glynn Valley would be the main feature. It was virtually impossible taking pictures from the car, so we stopped off in a couple of places to have a mooch about and take photographs. The grand views turned out to be too awkward to capture.

Not only is the Glynn Valley beautiful, it’s also remarkably interesting with much to see and do; you could spend a couple of days here doing your sightseeing dreckly (as we say down here). It starts with Carnglaze Caverns, which we passed by on this occasion. Famously used to store the Royal Navy’s supply of rum in the 2nd World War, it started life as a slate quarry. It is now a visitor attraction with cavern tours and a fairy dell. It is also a rather spectacular concert venue with excellent acoustics and a very steady temperature. We once had the pleasure of attending a Show of Hands concert there and can certainly attest to the sound quality.

Driving on a little further we came to the glittering spires of the pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap retail park which is Trago Mills. A visit here can only be described as an “experience”. To get a taste as to what’s in store, here’s one of the many statues that adorn the site.

Just up the road on the right is a lane leading to Pinsla Nursery. It’s run by the appropriately named Claire Woodbine (aka honeysuckle) and looks down over the valley. It sells some unusual plants and has an interesting and arty garden.

Travelling on further, we had fleeting glimpses through the trees of the rather magnificent Glynn House. Rebuilt in 1805 by Edward John Glynn, High Sherif of Cornwall, it became a biological research institute in 1962. Rather sadly I feel, it has now been converted into luxury homes.

The road curves, bends and weaves alongside the mainline railway on its way to Bodmin Parkway station. Then the railway parts company with the Glynn Valley and follows the River Fowey to Lostwithiel. Unusually, for a mainline station, Bodmin Parkway is set in rural isolation at the foot of the Lanhydrock Estate. Here you can depart the modern age , get cinders in your hair and take a ride on the Bodmin and Wenford steam train to Bodmin Central station. We pulled in to the car park to see whether there were any steam trains in the vicinity. There weren’t.

Once owned by the Glynn family, Lanyhydrock is a vast and magnificent estate which now belongs to the National Trust. We decided to take a stroll up the old carriage way to the bridge over the River Fowey. Nice to have a station built just for you so you can travel in comfort to the ancestral pile after an all night blinder in London. The carriageway sports a lovely selection of rather grand trees and makes for a very pleasant walk through the estate.

Another mile or so further along the road, is the turn off to Cardinham Woods, a large tract of forestry, ideal for walking and mountain biking. For those less energetic, it has a nice cafe which is worth a visit if you are passing. It has also served as a venue for the Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club. Nice as it is, we decided not to stop this time.

Almost at the head of the valley is Cornwall’s prettiest crematorium!

Finally, we passed under the Halgavor bridge, a small but impressive suspension bridge used by cyclists following the National Cycle Route.

At this point we left the Glynn Valley and drove down the A30 to our final destination, Penrose Water Gardens near Truro. We wandered amongst the several acres of lily ponds and were entertained by the antics of damsel flies, butterflies and ducklings. The cafe serves local food, mostly grown on site: a tour of the polytunnels left us in no doubt thats our attempts at productive home growing are somewhat amateurish. It has a good reputation and was certainly busy when we stopped by for lunch.

We finished our meal with a banoffee pie for CT and a warm brownie with clotted cream for me. After all no road trip is complete without chocolate.

Chocolate Chelsea Buns

Bread & Buns | 1st August 2013 | By

Last week, I accompanied my mother to the bakers to buy some fresh yeast to make bread. She only wanted 1½ oz, but as they didn’t have any half ounce weights, she was only able to get 2 oz. It’s been a while since I made yeasted bread, other than my weekly sourdough, so on the spur of the moment, I said I’d relieve her of the extra ½ oz. Home I went, wondering what on earth I could make with ½ oz fresh yeast. I did what I suspect most of us would do and turned to Google. Three pages into the search, I was about to give up, when I spotted a recipe for Chelsea buns in amongst all the comparisons of the fresh and dry yeast equivalents. Marvellous, I thought: I’ve never made Chelsea buns before and I’ve never eaten chocolate ones at all. I’d been given a bar of dark chocolate with cranberries for my birthday and I thought this would be just the thing for these buns.

What can I say, they were very good and didn’t last as long as I’d planned. The chocolate proved to be an excellent way of counteracting the sweetness of the buns and adding a richness of flavour which was very welcome. They were definitely at their best on day one when the dough was soft and brioche like. By day two they had toughened, still good, but not as delicious. Note to self: remember to eat the whole lot on the same day next time.

As this was entirely made from scratch, I’m sending it off to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays.

print recipe

Chocolate Chelsea Buns

by August-1-2013
Sweet fruity buttery yeast pastries with dark chocolate to give extra depth of flavour.
  • 15g or 1/2 oz Yeast
  • 120 ml Sour milk
  • 225g Strong white flour
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 40g Unsalted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 70g Dark chocolate with cranberries – chopped
  • 60g Raisins
  • 50g Dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Honey – I used dandelion honey
1. Melt 25g butter in a pan and remove from the heat.2. Add the milk and crumble in the yeast. Stir until smooth.3. Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and poor in the milk. Add the egg and mix with a large metal spoon until combined.4. Knead for about 10 minutes. It’s quite a wet dough but I oiled my work surface rather than flowering it.5. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until doubled in size.6. Gathered the dough and rolled into a large rectangle on a floured surface (about 30 x 23 cm).7. Melt the remaining 15g butter and brush over the surface. 8. Mix the sugar, raisins and dark chocolate and spread over the dough, leaving a 1 cm gap around the edges.9. Roll the dough up as tightly as possible on the long side. Seal the edges and cut into 12 slices. Place onto a lined baking tray or in my case a 23 cm square silicone mould. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for another hour or so until doubled in size.10. Bake at 190C for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Warm some honey and brush over the hot buns. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Yield: 12