Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Sausage Salad for a Sizzling Summer

Summer Sausage Salad with avocado, asparagus, potato salad, bean dip & green herb dressing.

Sausage salad is one of the best meals to prepare for a sizzling summer. It’s my summertime take on a comfort food classic – sausage and mash. There are plenty of flavours and textures to keep everyone interested and the zesty lime & herb dressing makes this salad sing. It’s quick and easy to put together, makes a tasty family meal but is also impressive enough for entertaining.

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Matcha Cupcakes with White Chocolate

Matcha Cupcakes with White Chocolate

Cupcakes | 21st March 2012 | By

If you’ve not tried baking with matcha yet, these matcha cupcakes with white chocolate are a good place to start. The flavour is intriguing, but delicious. The green tea notes are nicely offset by the white chocolate.

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Orange and Cardamom Birthday Cake

Cake, Celebratory Layer Cakes | 15th November 2009 | By

Goodness, I have got my first commission! My cupcake adventure around town during National Chocolate Week created a few waves and this was one of them – to make an enlarged version of one of my cardamom and orange cupcakes for a birthday. This is exciting but also rather scary and not the same as making a cake for a friend at all – it could all go horribly wrong and then what?

This is what I ended up doing:

  • Remembered to get butter (200g unsalted) out of fridge early and put it over the heater to warm.
  • Ground up seeds from 17 cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar.
  • Infused pods in 4 fl oz hot water.
  • Creamed softened butter with 200g of soft brown sugar, grated rind from 2 oranges, 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt and the ground cardamom until pale and fluffy. Then creamed it some more.
  • Beat in 4 large eggs (from customers own smallholding) alternately with some of the flour (which I’m just about to get to).
  • Sifted in 250g flour (1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white spelt), 2 level tsp baking powder, 1 level tsp bicarb of soda and 50g cocoa.
  • Stirred in water (with pods sieved out) whilst still warm.
  • Mixed in 6 fl oz sour cream.
  • Divided mixture between 2 22cm silicone cake pans and baked at 180C for 25 mins.
  • Melted 200g 35% milk chocolate & left to cool slightly.
  • Creamed further 100g unsalted butter with 100g icing sugar.
  • Mixed in chocolate together with 2 tbsp orange liqueur.
  • Used half of the mixture to sandwich the cold cakes together, then spread remainder over the top.
  • Used minstrels to decorate.

Sadly, neither myself nor my chief chocolate taster got to taste this one, so I’ll just have to assume it was completely delicious!

Update December 2009

Hooray, the cake was indeed delicious, or that’s what the recipient told me anyway. She was delighted and the orange and cardamom birthday cake was just what she’d been hoping for.

Sour Cream and Chocolate Cake

Large Cakes | 10th March 2009 | By

This recipe came from an American friend who was so impressed with the cake she’d had in Port Townsend WA  that she asked the chef for the recipe.  He duly sent it to her and having read my blog, she subsequently passed it on to me. It sounded really interesting with its use of sour cream and vinegar -neither of which I’d ever used in cake baking before.

I didn’t want to make quite such a large cake and also had to work out American conversions, so my measurements are actually rather different to the original recipe.
As the original chef emphasised the importance of creaming the butter and sugar in this recipe, I tried to overcome my reluctance and give my least preferred method of cake making a go (deep sigh).  I do this from time to time to see if it really does make that much of a difference.  To be honest, I’m not convinced that it’s really worth the effort involved.  True, if the butter is nice and soft, it isn’t really that much work, it’s just the butter always seems to be rock hard, either because our house is so cold there is no where to warm it up, or I fail to get it out of the fridge early enough to soften it!
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 8 oz soft brown cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 duck eggs
  • 6 oz plain flour (I used 4 oz wholemeal + 2 oz gluten free flour)
  • 2 oz cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 fl oz warm water
  • 6 fl oz sour cream
  • 4 oz 70% dark chocolate
  • 4 oz sour cream
Method
Sieved dry ingredients.  Creamed (and creamed and creamed) the butter, sugar and salt.  Added the eggs 1 by one alternately with the flour & cocoa mix.  Then added the vanilla, vinegar and water alternately with the remainder of the flour.  Finally stirred in the sour cream.  Spooned this into a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan and baked for 35 mins at 180°C.  Put cake to cool on a wire rack and then made the icing.  Melted the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, allowed to cool a little and then stirred in sour cream.  Spooned this immediately onto cooled cake and decorated with Minstrels (thought contrasting coloured sugar flowers would have been better here, but didn’t have any).
I have to say I am very impressed with this cake.  Maybe all that creaming paid off after all (oh no!) – the cake was both moist and light as well as tasting great.  The sour cream icing was fantastic, not sweet but highly flavoursome – a good foil for the cake.