Sticky Toffee Ginger Cake!

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It is cold, I hear in some parts of the country it is snowing… here it is just cold, but a bitter cold, made colder by the fact that we have just moved house, and the house we have moved into doesn’t have a working boiler! In fact as I sit here next to my small portable radiator dreaming of ginger cake, I am in fact waiting for the boiler man to come around and offer to fit a new working boiler so that I may have heating…

So distract myself from the cold here is an amazingly warming, tasty and indulgent Sticky Toffee Ginger Cake!!

Dry Ingredients

  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 200g Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp backing powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 225ml boiling water
  • 2 tbsp treacle – Tip, put metal tbsp into jug of boiling water, then into treacle jar(stops it being so sticky!)
  • 100ml Oil

Base

  • Large handful of crystallized ginger
  • Golden Syrup
  • Margarine for greasing

Method:

  1. Put your oven on to 180c
  2. Grease your baking tray… I would suggest a large Pyrex dish approx 8in x 8in
  3. Coat the bottom of the tray with Golden Syrup then sprinkle over your crystallized ginger
  4. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a jug or bowl.
  5. Mix together all the dry ingredients them combine wet with dry, then pour over the ginger and golden syrup in the tray.
  6. Put in oven for approx 35-45mins.
  7. Tip cake out onto a large plate or board, serve warm – with custard!! (If you don’t tip the cake out when warm, you will need to reheat before you do, because the ginger and toffee will set hard.)

Perfect for family gathers and cold winter nights, (also great reheated in the microwave with custard!)

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Vegan Pizza

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So after 4 months without internet we are finally connected again… I have loads of things to catch up on, but here is one of my favorite meals… Pizza!

Pizza has to be one of the meals that so people assume that vegans cant eat… it is simply not true, pizzas are great, wither made at home or out in a restaurant, leave off the cheese and you can have a traditional Italian pizza, none of this over fatty, greasy American style pizza, but proper traditional Italian pizza (Italian restaurants are great!)

Now of course if you are short on time you can buy pizza bases and tomato source from the supermarket and there is nothing wrong with this, but if you have time then nothing can beat a fully home made pizza!

Pizza Base – What you will need (2 pizza bases)

  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 160ml warm water
  • 250g Strong white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Tomato Topping:

  • 1 tin tomato
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Handful fresh Basil & Marjoram  (if possible)
  • Dried mixed herbs to taste

Pizza Topping:

  • 4 – 6  Mushrooms
  • 1 Pepper
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 small tin sweetcorn
  • Handful olives

How to bake?

First you need to make your dough, this will take at least 1 hour to prove, but since the rest of the meal wont take long, and cooking time is only 12-15mins the overall cook time is only about an hour an a half.

  1. In a large mixing bowl add your yeast to the warm water, and leave for around 10mins until it starts to froth.
  2. Add the flour
  3. Add the salt (make sure the flour is between the yeast and the salt, otherwise the yeast will stop working properly)
  4. Add the oil.
  5. Mix well, then knead the dough for around 5 mins. The dough should be quite soft and smooth.
  6. Put dough back into bowl with a drizzle of oil and leave to raise for around 1hr.
  7. Start on the tomato source….
  8. Separate the tomatoes from the tomato juice in your tin of tomatoes.
  9. Put the tomatoes into a blender, add the sun dried tomatoes, and herbs. Blend until smooth.
  10. Transfer the blended tomato mix into a small pan, and simmer the tomato source on a medium heat for about 15mins,  add the tomato puree and dried mix herbs to taste. Once reduced  take off the heat and leave to cool down.
  11. Prep all your veg!
  12. Once your dough is ready its time to have fun… But first turn your oven on, it needs to be at least 200c Pizzas cook hot and quick!
  13. Half your dough and knead and stretch your dough into shape. Lay out on two trays. 
  14. Once your dough is in the required shape (this can take a while, the dough will stretch and move around, and if your trying to be fancy and twirl it, well it might take a long time!) But once happy, cover in the tomato source and then top will all veg.
  15. When the pizza is ready, I tend to sprinkle a few more dried mixed herbs on top, and then spritz with a little oil, since there is no cheese to cover or protect the veg.
  16. Put into oven and cook for around 12-15mins
  17. Remove and enjoy!

Other great tried and tested toppings….

  • Tinned Pineapple
  • Fresh spinach
  • Red Onion
  • Fresh Tomato
  • Sun dried Tomato
  • Courgette
  • Vegan cheese