Simnel Cake

At Easter I always make a Simnel cake.

Simnel cakes are often associated with Mothering Sunday also known as Simnel-Sunday. According to historian Ronald Hutton in 17th Century Gloucestershire and Worcestershire the custom of live-in apprentices and domestic servants going home to visit their mothers on Mothering Sunday started, checking that their families were well and taking food or money if needed. This was a time of year when food stocks were low, and the high-calorie simnel cake was useful nutrition. The cake later became simply an Easter cake.

The ingredients are as follows:

  • 175g      light muscavado sugar or soft brown sugar (I also use coconut sugar)
  • 175g      butter softened
  • 175g      self raising flour (I used wholemeal)
  • 3      large free range eggs
  • 2      tablespoons of milk
  • 500g      sultanas,  dried apricots pieces, chopped dates, currants, raisins and dried cranberries
  • 1      teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 2      teaspoon of ground ginger

Preparation:

    1. Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas3
    2. grease  and line the base and sides of an 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment
    3. beat the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy
    4. add the eggs one at a time and beat
    5. add the milk
    6. add  the flour and all the dry fruit ingredients and fold in
    7. tip the mixture into the prepared cake tin
    8. place the cake in the oven and bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until golden brown and a skewer or knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    9. place the cake on a cooling rack to cool before removing from the tin
    10. decorate  as required (I put marzipan and chocolate eggs on mine)DSC03075

Some people brown the top of the marzipan under the grill but as I have added small chocolate eggs I won’t do that.  There are 11 marzipan balls which traditionally represent the 12 Apostles less Judas.

Not to be eaten until Easter Sunday of course.

Come and share some Simnel cake with us http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Goats and piglets

Yesterday we went to Emma’s farm in Ham to buy 4 more chooks.  We have brought from her before, the chooks are reasonable and good layers. We got 4 Rhode Rock black tails and brought them home to join the flock, as we have lost a couple of hens through natural causes recently.

Whilst there we went to see Emma’s other animals.  She has a turkey called Paxo who is just a pet, not for eating, several dogs and pigs and a few orphan lambs she was bottle feeding.

But her big goat was the one that got my attention.  He leaned up out of his stall and I got the impression he wanted to plant a kiss on me!!  I tried not to get too near, but he was a handsome fella.

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She also had 2 large white pigs who had just had litters.

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One pig had 10 piglets and the other had 12 really tiny ones, just a day old that were snuggled up to Mum under the heat lamp.

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I do love seeing all the animals and wish we had space for some pigs and lambs but for now 22 chickens will have to do.

Come and visit the chickens at our B&B http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Banana Cake, using up ripe bananas

Occasionally we get left with ripe bananas.  Rather than getting rid of them in the compost I make banana cake, and I made one yesterday for our guests. Here is the recipe:-

Ingredients:

125g butter

150g caster sugar (I used light brown caster sugar)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 egg beaten

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

190 self raising flour (I used wholemeal)

60 ml milk

Method:

  1.  Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Melt butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat.DSC02826DSC02827
  2.  Remove from heat and add the mashed bananas, mix well.DSC02829DSC02830
  3.  Add the egg, mix well.DSC02831
  4.  Stir in the flour and the milk.DSC02832
  5.  Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkle with a tablespoon of demerara sugar to give a crunch topping if liked.DSC02833DSC02834
  6.  Bake at 170 C / Fan 150 C / Gas 3 for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool and enjoy!DSC02841DSC02842Come to Lodge House B&B to taste a slice, all guests welcome. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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A lovely fruit cake for a 64th Birthday

I made a fruit cake for my hubby for his 64th birthday. DSC02808

Here is the recipe

225g of butter or margarine

225g of castor sugar (I used a mix of light brown and coconut sugar)

4 large free range eggs

225g of self raising flour

1 tsp of mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder

1 tsp of cinnamon powder

1 tsp of baking powder

450g dried mixed fruit (I used sultanas, chopped dates, chopped apricots and cranberries)

Mix the butter and sugar together to form a light fluffy mix. Add the eggs one at a time with a spoon full of flour to stop it curdling.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix slowly not to beat out the air.

Mix in the dried fruit until all is covered. Turn into an 8 inch greased and lined round baking tin and put in the oven at 160 degrees C for one and half hours.  Test to see that it is cooked all the way through, by putting a sharp knife into the middle of the cake and seeing that it comes out clean. If not return to the oven for a further 5 to 10 minutes and test again.

If you are not adding marzipan and icing to the cake you could finish like a Dundee cake by putting sliced almonds on the top of the cake mix before putting in the oven.

Result = Delicious and yummy!!DSC02802

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Snowed in for the 2nd time in a year!

Well the snowbomb hit the South West yesterday and we are snowed in again.  Being 750 feet high here, we are above the snow line. We watched it coming down thick and fast yesterday evening and woke up to the silence of the snow this morning.  Makes lovely photos though!!  We were snowed in last March and now its the 1st of Feb, so that’s twice in a year!

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Repair café Hemyock

On Saturday we went across to Hemyock to the Repair Café run by the Blackdown Hills Transition Group.  It’s such a good idea, bringing broken things to be repaired rather than throwing them away.  This particular café marks the 6th one the Transition group has held, over the duration of a year.  It has gone from strength to strength with more repairers and more people than ever turning up with stuff to be repaired.

Whilst waiting for their items to be repaired, people could avail themselves of a bacon buttie or cake with coffee and tea.  It becomes very social with people sitting around talking to each other whilst they wait.

Repair cafes started in Holland but the idea has spread very quickly.  Most of us old enough to remember, will know our parents used to repair items rather than throw them away, but recently manufacturers have been making stuff that is difficult to repair, and they would rather you went and bought a new one and threw the old one away.  This is no good for the environment and as an organisation the Transition group is about finding ways to reduce waste and keep things out of landfill.

There was bicycle repairs, electrical repairs, computer and furniture repairs, sewing, knife sharpening, watches and clock repairs, and upcycling of items. Additionally there were a variety of tools for sale that had been donated. It was busy, busy, busy and became quite difficult to park!  The Repair Café is a huge success now and will continue every other month in Hemyock, but we are trying to get them going in other parts of the Blackdown Hills too.

Come and stay with us and visit the Repair Café. http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

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Zandra Rhodes – 50 years of fashion

Last night we went to the Beehive in Honiton for a talk and fashion parade on the clothes of Zandra Rhodes.  It was a humorous and enlightening talk by a lady called Claire Branfield who was an avid collector of Zandra Rhodes fashion.

The first half was the talk and Claire produced garment after garment from her suitcase like Mary Poppins producing things from her carpet bag.  She explained the history behind each piece and it’s approximate age, and picked out detail to explain to us such as bead work or pearls.

After the interval various garments were modelled by some of Claire’s friends and staff of the Beehive and Claire made the commentary on each piece.

It was a fascinating talk and show and well worth going.

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