Monday, 31 May 2010

Dinner Rolls

Lets just say I have been in the mood to play with cooking this weekend and I have really enjoyed it. Rooted me down, given me perspective after weeks of not being able to settle to anything. But I love cooking and I love food and lets just say the bread machine has been dusted down a little.

Dinner Rolls makes a dozen

1 1/4 cups water
4 tablespoons of butter
1 egg beaten
3 cups white bread flour
2 tablespoons of dry milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Plus 1 egg beaten to brush the top of the rolls


Follow the general instructions for your individual bread machine

Using the normal or dough mode put the ingredients into your machine in the recommended order for your machine

Take the dough out when it bleeps

Divide the dough into 12 balls and shape

Place on a greased baking sheet cover with cling film or with a clean tea towel

Leave to rise/prove somewhere warm for about 40 minutes

Brush each roll with beaten egg

Bake in a pre-heated oven 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown

Pang Pang Chicken

We have roast chicken for tea tonight together with Jersey Royals, Spring Cabbage, Bread Sauce, Roast sweet potato, cauliflower, peas, carrots and Asparagus (we like our veg and Sunday lunch albeit a day late is always padded out a bit more).

I am back at work tomorrow, so I want something quick to have for tea on Tuesday night using what I have to hand. I have the ingredients for this recipe without having to buy anything in. (Plenty of chicken left overfrom tea tonight) This recipe I haven't tried before but it sounds promising. The quickness of making this also appeals to me and means that I will be able to get on with other bits and bobs without having to do loads of cooking or washing up, like the ironing! I will probably serve this with some jersey royals and a side salad as well as some home made breadbuns


4 Spring Onions finely chopped
4 tablespoons of Tahini Paste
1 tablespoon white rice vinegar (I am going to use white wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons of English Mustard
400g cooked chicken shredded
375g cucumber shredded
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Handful of pea shoots


  1. In a large bowl mix together the spring onions tahini paste and vinegar and English Mustard then add the chicken and combine well.

  2. Put the cucumber slices on a large plate and toss with the dressed chicken. Finish off with toasted sesame seeds and the pea shoots.
Voila tea is served

Serves 4

Home Made Pizza

I love Pizza but the prices they charge really do take the biscuit. (Excuse the pun) I have therefore been experimenting with doing my own home made versions. They are also a good way of using up all those bits and pieces that accumulate in the fridge and end up getting thrown away.

1 cup of water
3 cups of white bread flour (I Used Waitrose Canadian Extra Strong Bread Flour)
1 1/2 tablespoon dry milk powder
2 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp of salt
2 teaspoons of dried easy action yeast (I used Allisons)

(I have to use a breadmaker as I cannot knead very well because of the arthritis in my hands. I wish I was able to but I just cannot even though I have tried). I therefore use the dough hook on my Kenwood or the bread machine for doing the kneading.

Always use your own individual breadmakers general instructions
set the breadmaker to the dough setting the machine I have used a Pizza setting which is the dough setting for this particular machine.
  1. put the ingredients in the pan as specified by your manufacturers instructions

  2. remove the dough from the machine when it beeps

  3. divide the dough into 6 balls

  4. put one ball on a floured board, roll it to the shape of a circle.

  5. place on a lightly greased pan and prick with a fork.

  6. Repeat with the other balls.

  7. Garnish with your chosen toppings i.e. ham and pineapple, tomato onion and basil

  8. bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes

  9. Serve eat and enjoy
Makes approximately 6 individual pizzettas or use the same quantity to make individual pizzas but divide the dough in half rather than 6 balls.

The actual dough process took about 45 minutes in the machine from start to finish.

You can get/make the toppings relatively easily and the dough is not difficult to make.

  1. I fried some onions in some butter as one topping.
  2. segmented and skinned about 3 ordinary tomatoes and added some basil and oregano and some mixed herbs, garlic and black pepper with a dash of water and then simmered until a sauce. Then left to cool as another.
  3. I Had some left over smoked ham from sandwiches that I used.
  4. I Grated some dried cheese
  5. Sliced a yellow pepper.
  6. Opened a tin of pineapple.

I then mixed the ingredients as far as they would go between the pizzas.

I must say they were quite filling but very enjoyable


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Things yet to come

I have been pottering away sowing seeds, some haven't come to anything others have. But at least I am having a go and trying to grow a few bits to supplement my kitchen and I quite the fact that I can go into the garden and pick a few bits and pieces and take them straight to my plate My troughs of sown seeds are starting to get a wriggle on and if the weather is good tomorrow I will sow some more seeds.

The troughs consist of Spring Onions, Radish, Sorrell, Mesdun (a mixed salad leaf) and a trough of pea shoots which is now ready for harvesting. The troughs are also ready to go out in the garden rather than just be in the cold frame. That will free up my growing houses for more seeds as those plants already through can now go into the cold frame and I have some herb plants to pot on grown from seed together with planting those potted herbs out that I bought the other day.

I have four cherry tomatoes and two tomato plants in the cold frame (the two tomato plants I was given as they had gone horribly dry, but I seem to have nursed them back to life and they are now thriving and instead of yellow are green and looking very healthy. The cherry tomatoes likewise look healthy.

I have five cucumber plants grown from seed (one of them is promised to a good friend) and there are some pattypan squash starting to poke their shoots through the soil.

The Cherry Tree is laden with hard green fruits (once they ripen the battle will be on to stop the birds stripping the tree before I get there) any ideas would be gratefully received!

The ballerina apples have some fruit on but not as much as I had hoped so I think the blossom must have got hit from a frost as I didn't get that many last year.

Tomorrow if the weather is good I will sow some Nasturtiums (the flowers can be eaten and the seed pods can be preserved), some yellow and green courgettes, beetroot, lettuce, carrots some more herbs and whatever else I can find. I am going to have a good rootle around to see what I can come up with. I like growing things from scratch and I like my food. I am sort of investing some time now doing the spade work to put something onto my plate a little later on. Still only baby steps but I intend to get there eventually.

Light Fruit Cake

I have spent this afternoon trawling through my old Recipe notes book which is a scrap book of magazine articles and hand written recipes and looking to reinstate them again for regular use.

This is very delicious cake and something I used to make on a regular basis. Looks like it needs ressurecting.


8 oz self raising flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
4oz margarine
4oz demerara sugar
6oz dried fruit mixture
2 eggs
3-4 tablespoons milk
Demerara sugar for topping

  1. To the flour add the salt and mixed spice then rub in the margarine until like a crumble mix.
  2. Add the sugar and dried fruit mixture and mix evenly so that the ingredients are distributed evenly.
  3. In a separate bowl beat together the eggs and then add the milk.
  4. Add to the rest of the ingredients combining well.
  5. Line a deep cake pan with greaseproof or baking parchment, making sure that you grease the lining well (I melt a little butter or margarine in a pan then brush on after I have the pan lined to my satisfaction).
  6. Add the cake mixture finishing off with a sprinkle of demerara sugar and cook at oven temperature 350 degrees F until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool.
  8. Serve at tea time or as a cut and come again cake.


  1. Remove wrapping

Creamed Chicken Soup

This is a good one to make if you have the odd chicken carcass hanging around and it is very tasty, its also something for nothing out of what most people throw away, but you will get all the goodness and flavour out of simple home made offerings, which is delicious served with wedges of a fresh bread loaf.


1 chicken carcass
1 bay leaf
1pint of milk
4 tablespoons boiling water
4 tablespoons cold water
4oz chopped cooked chicken
1 medium size onion
1 clove
1 chicken stock cube
1 level tablespoon conflour
1/4 level teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Break up the carcass and put into a large saucepan.
  2. Chop the onion add the bay leaf and clove
  3. Pour in the milk and the stock cube dissolved in boiling water
  4. Simmer slowly for about 20 minutes or so. Then strain away the bits of the carcass through a sieve returning the liquid to a clean pan.
  5. Add the slaked cornflour (cornflour mixed with water to form a paste), then add to the liquid stirring all the time until mixture comes to the boil and thickens slightly. Add the nutmeg; then the cooked chicken and season to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Ladle into soup bowls .

Eat and enjoy

Simple Pleasures

I love simple good food some of which my OH does not have an appreciation for (not the simplicity of the food just the sort of food I tend to go for naturally). He is not keen on omlettes, certainly let alone a herb omlette but different people, different palettes.

For tea this evening I have had herb omlette with a mixture of fresh gathered herbs out of my little herb garden,tarragon, sage,french parsley, mint, thyme, chives, oregano and rosemary. Each mouthful of the omlette was like a taste explosion and because I had used a variety of the chopped up herbs, each mouthful was exploring virgin territory.

Take a couple of eggs and break them into a bowl

Beat them together with a whisk

Add fresh ground black pepper to season to your taste I tend to use more pepper than salt in cooking.

Add some milk and/or a dash of cream

Pick your chosen herbs - I tend to use a bit of everything but that's me, suit those herbs that you like.

I chopped mine with my Mezzaluna

Beat the herbs into the egg and milk mixture

Cook in a frying pan on a gentle heat until there is no liquid showing, but use a gentle heat as you don't want to burn it.

Turn out onto your plate. I served mine simply with some brown bread and butter.

For sweet I have had some strawberries chopped in half, a sprinkling of sugar, broken meringue and fresh cream mixed into a mini Eton Mess.

Very Scrummy.

Elderflower Sorbet

This is a lovely and refreshing sorbet and one to take advantage of when the Elderflower bracts are available, but if you make cordial you can also use this as a base to make the sorbet "out of season"

175g/6 oz sugar
450ml/ 3/4 pint water
10 elderflower heads
juice of 1 large lemon
1 large egg white


  1. Gently heat the sugar in the water in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat add the elderflowers, cover and remove from the heat.Leave to infuse for 35 minutes.

  2. Stir in the lemon juice then strain the liquid into a metal container/plastic box Chill for an hour then place in the freezer until the mixture is beginning to freeze or pop into your ice cream machine if you have one and follow instructions for your machine. If you don't have an ice cream machine. Whisk the egg white separately until stiff but not dry. Beat the iced mixture to break up the ice crystals but do not allow it to melt. Carefully fold in the egg white. Return the mixture to the metal container and place in the freezer until firm.

  3. Serve within a day or so. Place the sorbet in the refrigerator for about 35 minutes to soften before serving. Decorate with elderflower sprigs and leaves.

Seasons Bounty

Walking home from work on Friday night I passed a large clump of elderflower bushes and I am pleased to report that the blossom is coming out so time to get those recipes out and to get busy in the kitchen. I missed out on the Elder flowers last year but this year I intend to take advantage of this wonderful blossom which gives a lovely muscat flavour and which goes well with gooseberries. Haven't seen any gooseberries yet. But I am busy sorting out some recipes.

However on Friday I had the first of the local grown English Strawberries and they were heavenly - they were £1.80 a pound, but then yesterday I got some more from my local veggie shop at £1.50 a pound (last week they were on the market at £3.50 a punnet). I do so adore English Strawberries. But then I also love the abundant wild gifts that we get from the hedgerow. (Sorry not the best photo too near with the flash).

Hope you all get your own English Strawberries soon (and for those of you who are further afield if you ever get the opportunity to try English Strawberries - you won't be disappointed as when in season they just can't be touched).

As a little treat and because it was pay day I have spent out a little on the veggies this weekend as it is good to have seasonal food but you cannot always afford what we would like. However a little of what you fancy now and again doesn't do any harm and helps lift the spirits and helps you feel truly blessed.

OH is away fishing so we will be having our Sunday lunch tomorrow. I have Roast Chicken with garden herb stuffing, sage and onion stuffing, bread sauce, Jersey Royal potatoes, Asparagus, Carrots, Peas and Cauliflower together with Roast Sweet and Ordinary potato planned, together with the Strawberries with either cream or vanilla ice cream. I am getting hungry just thinking about this.

Catch you all later

Friday, 28 May 2010

Herb Plants

I have indulged today and been to the market they had quite a lot of lovely plants. In the end I bought 2 six plants for £5 = 10. Because I am using more and more herbs (not just in cooking) I have increased the amount of plants that I usually get - it may be that I will increase them even more next year.

Today I have purchased 4 French Tarragon
2 French Parsley
2 Ordinary Parsley
1 Oregano
4 Upright Rosemary
and 2 Freebies a couple of overgrown French Parsley's so am going to give them a bit of a haircut and see if I can get them re-growing.

I have given them a good soak this evening and will plant them on tomorrow.

Now I need to locate some Lemon Verbena. I am very partial to this very fragrant herb it can be used in pot pourris and drinks as well as some preserves.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Last week commenced with me dealing with the ironing pile at long last. Matters didn't start too well as I had the ironing pile from hell to deal with and I ended up dropping and breaking my steam generator iron - fortunately I still had my old Rowenta one. I hate ironing it is a discipline for me and one I never try and shirk and I like a good sturdy iron to wield around the ironing board as it seems to give a much better finish to all my clothes and household items.
Then the last of my love birds went to the big birdcage in the sky. We worked out that we had had him/her for some 10 years or so. We originally had four of them. I do miss his/her chirping and chattering and pleased to see you greetings the house seems so quiet without him. I have had caged birds of one sort or another since I was a child.
By hasn't it been hot these past few days. Lovely to have such nice weather especially after such a cold winter but very unbearable at times. I have kept the blinds down in the front of the house where we get the sun first thing and then flung open all the windows to let the fresh air in later on together with the ceiling fan in our bedroom have managed to keep quite cool.

Well I have been very busy. I have spring cleaned my bedroom, my wardrobes, drawers etc and had a good old bottom out. I have returned the freshly ironed and aired clothing to the wardrobes and drawers and managed to match odd socks up with their missing partners goodness knows where they get to, but somwhere down the line they manage to grow legs and walk sometimes never to be seen again. I am sure there is a sock fairy somwhere as well as an employee who works in a paper clip factory happily stringing numerous paper clips together - but then again that is another story.
I have also got rid of the winter bedding (for the time being at least) washed and got dried all the heavy duty bedding and got it aired in this lovely weather and it is all smelling wonderful in the airing cuboard. I have super king quilts that just about go into the washing machine but are best dried on the line as it gets a tad expensive in the tumble drier,and my aim was to use what was natural and free rather than using the tumbler - I have to use that during the winter months, but there is nothing to beat the freshness of line dried washing. I have also had two heavy blankets that I have managed to get washed also.

For a while, we have known that our mattress had more or less had it, but haven't been able to afford to replace it. To tell the truth I loved the bed we bought (a big Victorian Style Cream Wrought Iron and brass bed ( a five foot one)but have never rated the mattress. Have never got quite comfortable on it. Well it got to the point that I think nearly every spring had sprung and it was on the hit list to deal with and save up for. So it was therefore very serependitious that a contact of my OH came up with a brand new mattress out of the blue (an end of line). Not any old mattress either a 5ft memory foam one at a bargain price. So have also been shifting mattresses about too. Last night was the first night on the new mattress, and I can honestly say it has been one of the best night's sleep I have had in the last five years and more to the point I hardly ached when I got up this morning it was brilliant. So if any of you need to replace your mattress and can afford it go for a memory foam one they are fantastic and the mattress moulds itself to your body. You also rotate the mattress you don't turn it like with a normal one so if you are doing this solo it makes things a little easier.
Today the clutch has gone wrong on our only mode of transport a little two seater van. OH thinks it may be the linkage to the clutch that has gone, and has someone coming to look at it tomorrow to see if anything can be done at not too great an expense will keep the fingers crossed and the toes plaited. Thats three things in the past week or so I hope that is an end to it. But hey tomorrow is another day, a new dawn to greet, new things to try and new experiences to work through, and at the end of the day we are all the sum total of our own experiences.
Take care everyone

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

2010.05.11 My Day

Its been a funny old day weatherwise. The sun has been out intermitently but we have had black clouds and rain on and off all day, but it is perishingly cold here again. And I hurt so, my legs and feet I really have not known what to do with today. The cold gets me like that. I have the heating on in the house as my hands keep going cold. Even the three cats that were out have all come running in one after another - they don't want to stay out. (Tinky was already in and Tyson I had already coaxed in then he bit me!) Grumpy old man that he is.

Whilst trying to get Tyson in I was collared by a new young neighbour who has a small kitten. Reminds me of a smaller version of Tinky. I have had to sex the kitten for her and it would appear that she has a young female called Charlie; she asked me because she was aware that I had Tyson but not that I had four more and a Jack Russell to boot. She seems very pleasant and the kitten was gorgeous.

Had a nice quick tea tonight chicken thighs in a pre-bought Jalfrezi sauce with Naan bread and rice. Very tasty and very quick for a week night.

Well I was at a loose end at lunch so I decided to go and check out the books that I had seen last week and which are now on my "Wish List" they are:

The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler

Grow Your Own Drugs new version and old version

One Pot of Jam Sonia Allison £8.99

Fruits of the Earth Gloria Nicol £14.99

Seasonal Preserves Joanna Farrow £12.99

At least now I have the titles so if they aren't in the shop when I eventually have the pennies together I will be able to order them. There is a method in my madness somewhere along the line.

Monday, 10 May 2010

With Some Trepidation Update

Well I faced my fears and went and took the assessment/test at the College. I did feel a little exposed and vulnerable but I am trying to take control of my fears so that they do not own me and to try and make progress on one of my weak subjects. I am also aiming to make progress as well.

Things did not start well as people sent me to the wrong room (personnel from the college) but we eventually found where we needed to be. It was a computerised exam, the mouse wasn'ttoo brilliant and the calculator kept disappearing so I sort of had to give up on one or two questions know what I need to put into a calculator but can't do it longhand very easily on paper. Anyway an hour and a half later I received my results.

On a practical level I am between level 1 and level 2. Their level 1 is equivalent to a GCSE pass. So I am not as bad as I thought I was - I have some work to do and am going to follow through with an evening class to see if I can achieve a maths qualification, which unfortunately my CV does not reflect at the moment. It would be nice to balance things out a bit. I can but try and the Tutor I saw today said it is very much down to me when I take an exam or exams and that I can work at my own pace. So I was very pleasantly surprised and pleased and it has given me a little boost to my confidence. It seems that I have learned things on a practical basis day by day, but then they say that life is a great teacher. What was also encouraging was the Tutor said the fact that my hobbies cooking cross stitch etc all use mathematics of a sort means that I have something there. I have just got to bring it out and nurture it.

Wish me luck

Sunday, 9 May 2010

With Some Trepidation

I am not very good at maths, never have been, although I have tried. I have been humiliated in the process in front of my classmates and made to feel a fool.

I did try and do something about it and when I went to college undertook a course with the wife of my Chemistry teacher from school who had a very good reputation for teaching anyone maths. After six weeks she turned round and said I just didn't understand it did I. So I have always been a bit of a failure when it comes to maths no matter how hard I try.

I have been better since I have been at work, and am okay with things if I am shown how to do them, and with regular practice am able to complete the task in hand like monthly billing, but I am not quick and tend to err on the side of caution as I want to get things right rather than wrong.

Tomorrow I have to go to our local college to take a maths test and I am terrified. I have an hour and a half's exam to sit after which I will be given my marks and they will decide whether or not they will be able to help me, with a set of evening classes probably later on in the year. I am hoping that they will be able to help me as for one I am that much older now and I would really like to put this problem to bed and be able to get on with things rather than have a fear of them, getting all upset and stressed out.

So tomorrow in one sense I will be facing my fears in one sense - but then the hard work really starts.

Wish me luck

2010.05.09 My Day

Its been a much better day today than yesterday. Yesterday was too cold and it just rained and rained and rained. I had my nose pressed up against the window longing to be out in the fresh air, but in the end I gave in admitted defeat and spent a lot of time writing different articles for the blog - all of which will filter through eventually. This morning I decided to do the articles on the donut maker. But this afternoon I have been pottering in my growing sheds and cold frame and I am pleased to say that my salad crops and seeds are coming on well. I shall soon be cutting the pea shoots although it will be a bit longer for the radish, spring onion, Mesdun and mixed salad leaves but not that far away.

My Herbs are also coming through so will have to pot some of these on. I gave everything a good water today together with the nettle feed.

The mint has rooted extremely well and will go into a pot in the garden to restrict the roots they are now all tangled up.

I have also been busy processing the Sweet Woodruff,making little faggots for drying on my dressers, together with a face wash. I have also cut back my sage plant and have four large bundles of sage now drying on my dresser as well together with my bay leaves. I must say that hanging the woodruff has sweetened up the room even after only being in there for a couple of hours. I intend to use the dried woodruff to fill little sachets for scenting the undies and clothes drawers.

I went to look to see if there was any lilac left and there was and I ended up with three bunches of hand tied lilac to bring into the house. It smells glorious.

I have therefore had quite a productive afternoon.

For tea this evening we have had home made chips, fried onions, oyster mushrooms garlic and rump steak. It was very tasty.

Catch you all soon

Doughnut Machine (4) Care and Cleaning

Care and Cleaning

  1. Before commencing to clean your machine switch off your Donut maker and unplug from the power point.

  2. It is easier to clean the machine whilst it is still warm. Wipe the plates with absorbent paper or a soft damp cloth taking care near hot surfaces.

  3. To remove baked on foods simply apply a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda and water and leave overnight. This will soften the food and make it easier to remove with absorbent paper or a damp cloth.

  4. To clean outside the machine wipe over with a soft cloth which has been squeezed almost dry in warm soapy water.

  5. DO NOT USE steel wool, scouring pads or abrasive cleaners.



Doughnut Machine (3) What went wrong and why


Doughnuts not risen

Possible Cause

Machine not hot enough - Remedy Preheat for 5 minutes before use

Too much milk added - Remedy Follow either metric or imperial measures - do not mix quantities

Baking powder not active - Remedy check the use by date

Batter overmixed- Remedy The batter does not need to be beaten - stir ingredients together until gently smooth


Doughnuts too brown

Possible cause

Overcooking - Remedy Most Doughnuts cook in only 2 minutes - use a kitchen timer


Doughnuts are sticking or are difficult to remove

Possible cause

Breville Donut Wizard plates dirty - Remedy Unplug machine and clean plates according to instructions. Regrease the plates lightly before use (see separate section for care and cleaning)

Doughnut Machine Recipes (2)(f) Fillings for Savoury Doughnuts

Savoury doughnuts make a quick and hot snack and an ideal accompaniment to drinks before a meal served with a favourite savoury dip or as a finger buffet item. The flavour and texture of a savoury doughnut is improved by the brushing or spraying of the doughnut holes lightly with oil before each batch of donuts is made,. The quantity of filling to add varies according to taste so try these variations for practice and adjust as to your own palate as you get used to making them.

GARLIC AND HERB 1 clove of garlic crushed and 1 x 5 ml spoon (1 teaspoon) dried mixed herbs

GARLIC AND CORIANDER 1 clove of garlic crushed 1 x 15ml spoon (1 tablespoon) fresh chopped coriander

CHEESE AND ONION 2 chopped spring onions and 25g/1 oz grated Parmesan or other strong flavoured cheese

BACON AND MUSHROOM 1 x 15ml spoon/1 tablespoon of finely chopped mushrooms and crispy fried bacon

PRAWN COCKTAIL add 2 x 15ml spoons (2 tablespoons) finely chopped prawns and 1 x 15ml /1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup

CURRIED VEGETABLE add 2 x 5ml spoons (2 teaspoons) curry paste and 2 x 15 ml (2
tablespoons) cooked peas.

And of course you can always put your own combinations together

Doughnut Machine Recipes (2)(e) Coatings for Sweet Doughnuts

To Decorate your sweet donuts


Sweet doughnuts can be transformed by dipping in different coatings

Plain caster sugar is quick and easy but can be made extra special by adding the grated rind of a lemon or orange about an hour before it is needed.

For a finer finish icing sugar can easily be flavoured with a variety of spices. To every 50g/2 ozs of icing sugar add 1 x 15ml/1 teaspoon of spice such as cinnamon nutmeg mixed spice or ginger


For a chocolate dust add 2 x 5 mkl spoons (2 teaspoons) of cocoa to 50g/2 ozs icing sugar


Mix icing sugar with water to make a fairly stiff spreadable glace icing and spoon over the doughnuts. Decorate with glace fruites, edible cake decorations, chocolate strands or chopped nuts or cover teh whole doughnut with a thinner glace icing and roll in hundreds and thousands or sugared strands

Dip cooked doughnuts quickly in melted chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate plain or milk chocolate is good and serve the doughnuts with ice cream

Sprinkle chocolate coated doughnuts with finely chopped nuts or drizzle white chocolate onto a plain chocolate coated doughnut and vice versa


Warm 2 x 15 ml spoons (2 tablespoons) of jam, golden syrup or honey and use to brush over hot doughnuts this is best for plain versions as a change from caster sugar.

Doughnut Machine Recipes (2)(d) Fillings for Sweet Doughnuts

The basic recipes for the doughnut machine are very easy to adapt by adding all sorts of different ingredients.

As a general rule add 2 x 15 ml/2 tablespoons of filling per batch of mixture

Add the filling to the batter and mix well before filling doughnut moulds/rings/holes or doughnut wells

JAM strawberry or apricot are particularly good but any flavour will do

DRIED FRUIT sultanas raisins or currants are good standbys but try chopped apricots, dates,, pineapple, mango, blueberries glace cherries, sour cherries

FRESH FRUIT - mashed banana,grated eating apple with a touch of cinammon mashed strawberries raspberries poeaches apricots blackberries and cherries

CITRUS FRUITS add the finely grated rind of half a lemon or orange and 2 x 15 ml spoon (1 tablespoon) of the juice

STEWED FRUITS pureed apple, blackberry and apple any kind of tinned pie filling

NUTS finely chopped walnuts hazlenuts almonds pistachios. These can be used as the only filling or combined with other ingredients such as date and walnut cherry and almond chocolote chip and hazlenut

CHOCOLATE add chocolate chipes, white, plain or milk or for double choc doughnuts mix in 2 x 15 ml (2 tablespoons) drinkinking chocolate into the dry batter ingreidents before adding the liquid then add chocolate chips after adding the liquid

SPICES use 1 x 5 ml spoon (1 tablespoon) of spice for each batch of batter. Cinnamon can be used in doughnuts either as the only flavouring or mixed with some of the other ingredients aboe such as the pureed apple. Or try a mixture of lemon, sultanas and cinnamon. Ginger is good and works well with dried apricots fresh raspberries or chopped walnuts.

JELLY CRYSTALS these are now available sugar free and in a variety of flavours they make an excellent cupboard standby for instant colour and flavour for the doughnuts. Add 2 x 15 ml spoons (2 tablespoons) to the dry ingredients before adding the liquid. They can also be used in conjunction with fresh fruit for added texture and flavour

YOGHURT substitute an equal amount of flavoured yoghurt for the milk in the basic batter.

Doughnut Machine Recipes (2)(c)

Basic Savoury Doughnuts

Follow the recipe for the basic sweet doughnuts, but only use 1 x 5 ml spoon/1 teaspoon of sugar instead of 50g/2ozs of sugar and add a twist or two of freshly ground black pepper.

This recipe is best when combined with savoury fillings - the stronger the flavours the better the results

Please see the separate list of appropriate flavours to play with or create some of your own

Doughnut Machines Recipes 2(b)

Traditional Sweet Recipe

For a more traditional doughnut try this easy to make yeast recipe

50g/2ozs plain flour

2 x 5ml spoons(2 tablespoons) caster sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 x 5ml spoon/1/2 tesapoon easy blend dry yeast

1 egg

2 x 15ml spoons (2 tablespoons) warm milk

25g/1 oz melted butter

  1. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

  2. Beat in the egg and milk until smooth then beat in the melted butter.

  3. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for approximately 20 minutes (or prove in a microwave on defrost for 1 /2 minutes) until the dough has doubled in size.

  4. Pre-heat the doughnut maker for 5 minutes,

  5. Fill mould with 1 x 10 ml spoon (1 dessertspoon) batter into each doughnut hole/mould. Close the lid, lock and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.

Fill or decorate as per the ideas listed under separate section,

Doughnut Machines - Recipes (2)(a)

Basic Sweet Recipe (Makes 18)

75g/3 ozs plain flour

50g/2ozs granulated sugar

2 x 15ml spoons/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 x 5ml spoon/ 1/4 teaspoon of salt

75ml/3 fl ozs milk

1 large egg

2 x 15 ml spoons /2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or melted butter

100g/4 ozs caster sugar - for coating

Pre-heat the Doughnut maker for 5 minutes

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl

  2. Add the milk, egg and oil. Stir until batter is smooth.

  3. Fill each donut ring mould with 1 x 10 ml spoon (1 dessertspoon) of batter

  4. Close the lid and lock the latch on the machine. Bake for 2 minutes.

  5. Remove cooked doghnuts and toss quickly in caster sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter

  6. The doughnuts are delicious as they are but they can be given different fillings or they can be coated with a variety of different toppings.


1/2 metric cup of plain flour

1/4 metric cup of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 metric cup of milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 metric cup caster sugar for coating

Then follow the method for the basic sweet recipe above

NB one metric cup = 250 ml

Do not mix imperial or metric measures use one or the other

Donut Machine - Instructions for Use (1)

Do you have one of these machines lurking in the cupboard. They remind me of a mini flying saucer to look at. I have had a sort out recently and managed to locate my donut machine, so I thought it was about time I used it again.


Do you have one of these and have lost the recipe booklet, so the machine is in the cupboard not being put to good use and cannot find any instructions anywhere or recipes. That's what happened to me until I re-found my recipe booklet which was stored in a safe place. Never mind you will find the instructions and the recipes below, as from my original instruction book so you can bring your machine back into use.

My machine was made by Breville but I understand that there may be more modern versions around.

Step by Step Method to Making Doughnuts in the Doughnut Maker

Lightly oil the doughnut moulds in the base and lid of the machine before use.

  1. Close the lid of your Breville Donut Wizard (or similar machine) and switch the power on.

  2. The neon thermostat light will come on immediately and then switch off after approximately 5 minutes when the cooking temperature has been reached. You can use this time to prepare the batter mix. The light will then cycle on an doff as the doughnuts cook.

  3. Fill each of the doughnut moulds with a rounded 10ml spoon (dessert spoon) of batter. Do not exceed the stated quantity. Prepare amount recommended then make fresh batter for a second batch.

  4. Care should be exercised when filling doughnut moulds ensuring not to spill batter onto mould surface for round even shaped doughnuts.

  5. Close top cover down over base and lock handle into place.

  6. As each recipe has a recommended cooking time i.e. 2 to 3 minutes it can be helpful to use a cooking timer.

  7. When cooked the doughnuts will be golden brown. Carefully remove the doughnuts being sure not to scratch the non stick surface of the cooking plates. The Non stick surface provides even baking and easy cleaning.

  8. The recipes for this machine make small batches (except when noted) - Please see Recipe section for further details the purpose of this is sto that the doughnuts can be eaten hot and fresh. If you wish to store any of the Doughnuts keep in a plastic bag and seal tightly. Keep for one day at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

  9. The Doughnuts can be re-heated in a microwave. Place 6 Doughnuts on a paper towel cover with a second paper towel. Microwave for a few seconds only - the time will vary depending on whether doughnuts have been at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator.

  10. Following the care and cleaning instructions below

Please also see: Recipes - 2(a) to (f)

What went wrong and Why - 3

Care and Cleaning - 4

Friday, 7 May 2010

This Evening

Its cold here again in Peterborough and has been chucking it down with rain quite heavily. The cats went out for a fleeting second and then came flying back in again. They do not do cold. They are all snuggled up in their favourite places warm fed and content.

I don'tdo cold either.. No wonder that I have had difficulty moving around the past couple of days. My hands do not want to type and going up and down stairs has been heavy going. So I am hoping that the weather is going to cheer up and warm up in the next few days or so. The rain is needed to nurture the soil and feed the crops and give us water to drink.

I peeked in to look at my seedlings earlier on, the herbs are through, so are some of the Globe Artichoke seeds I set and the beans. The cucumbers are also through. The herbs in troughs are coming on a bundle and will soon be ready to start harvesting from. I am hoping that we have some warmer weather tomorrow in order to open up the grow houses to let in some fresh air. I also want to sow some more seeds.

Well will have to see what tomorrow brings - I hope its some sun to warm my bones.

Take care



Sweet Woodruff

Woodruff in blossom

I have this growing in my garden. It obviously likes where it is because it seems to have colonised. This is the plant that I didn't know what it was last year. Since then I have been reading up a little bit on what I can do with this pretty plant and the following is one I intend to have a go at. Its from the Countryside Cookbook by Gail Duff ISBN 07221 3079 1. The Woodruff should give the ice cream a nutty vanilla like flavour.

Woodruff Ice Cream

1 pint thick cream
6 spriggs Woodruff
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons honey

Put the cream into a saucepan with the Woodruff.
Cover it and set it on a very low heat until it just comes to boiling point. This will take about 15 minutes. Take the pan from the heat and strain the cream. Whisk the egg yolks with the honey until they are frothy then whisk in the cream in a steady stream. (It is suggested to use an electric whisk to achieve this). Whisk the mixture to a light froth put into a freezing tray or bowl and put into the coldest part of the freezer or in a freezer compartment. Freeze the ice cream to a slush at least 2 to 3 hours. Take it out and whisk it again. Freeze it completely. Take out the ice cream and leave it for 45 minutes. Either serve immediately or put into plastic containers for storing in the freezer. Will keep for about three months.

Serves approximately 6

Probably one of the best known uses for Woodruff is in a Maibowle/German Wine Cup. I haven't tried this but it sounds promising. The recipe comes from A Country Harvest by Pamela Michael ISBN 1-85052-070

1 small bunch Woodruff

1 bottle Moselle or Rhine Wine

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 pint water

1 orange

Remove any damaged withered leaves from the Wodruff and put the whole bunch including any stems and the flowers into a punch bowl or tall glass jug. Pour over the wine. Gently heat the sugar and water in a small pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cool a little then stir into the bowl of wine. Cover closely with a plate or sheet of foil and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or longer. Before serving peel the orange and slice the flesh thinly add the orange slices to the punch - you can take out the Woodruff at this stage if so wished or leave it in to let your guests see where the flavour comes from.

To dry the Woodruff:
Bunch together several stems of the Sweet Woodruff and then tie with string forming litle faggots as below.

Hang a double string somewhere practical and accessible I use my dressers and have used pink clothes pegs here as I could not locate my wooden ones for a more natural look. It not only serves a practical purpose but also gives a different decoration to pretty your room up whilst the chosen material/herb is drying.

Or Hang up a few stems (in bunches) in a warm room such as the boiler room or an airing cupboard or from a ceiling airer until dry and crisp. Crumble the mixture when dry and store in a screw topped jar.

I must say they do have a lovely scent and have freshened up my dining room where they are hanging already.

Woodruff Sweet bags

Only small amounts of dried Woodruff are needed to fill little muslin bags which are lovely to put with your undies or in the linen cupboard as you would lavender bags.
Or a tea can be made from dried Woodruff and the dried leaves crumbled and stored in a jar.

To make sweet washing water for the face:

Infuse half an ounce of bruised Woodruff leaves in 1 pint of boiling water until cool.

Strain. Store in a bottle in the fridge carefully marked until ready to use.

Wash the face with the infusion and let it dry on your face (I poured a little into a small bowl and then used cotton wool to wipe/wash the face with the infusion). This can be made all year round as it is only the leaves that are used.

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)