Monday, 6 April 2015

Hot Cross Sausage Pie


I attempted to make hot cross buns; somehow, even though I was excitedly hopeful, I knew even before I began that they would not work.  They were too dense and would not rise much. Sometimes, despite sticking by the recipe, and using fresh ingredients, things just do not work out.

Silver linings and all... I used them up to make gorgeous stuffing for Easter Sunday.  We had made spinach and lemon sausage rolls for the previous day's teatime out visiting, and the leftover mixture mixed with the hot cross buns made into crumbs just worked beautifully - so tasty and fruity and spicy!  It was put into a greased pie dish and baked at 180C for 30 minutes.

We just knew the same mixture would make a lovely pie - something about the mixture of suet, sausage, warming spices and fruit all encased in pastry has a very pleasing feel of ancient fare about it.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Low Potassium Easter Simnel Cake

Traditional Simnel Cake without marzipan

I like to make a Christmas Cake for my grandmother, who needs a low potassium diet.  She loves fruit and fruitcakes, but most of that is a no-go.  I adapted this recipe from St George's Kidney Patients Association, also making it suitable for vegans.

This Easter I adapted it further to make a Simnel version.  The prunes and mixed peel give a great flavour - I took the glace cherries out to further differentiate from the Christmas gift, but they would work nicely with the marzipan flavour if you were to add 110g with the other fruit. 

We have tried the various mock marzipan recipes but they are always just too heavy- only natural, I suppose, when making it from semolina.  Almond essence added to the batter instead gives that marzipan-flavour without the potassium, makes it lighter on sugar, and lighter on calories too.

Cinnamon gives a nice light flavour, especially as the salt is missing, and is a variation on the heavier, headier spices of my Christmas offering.

If you miss the look of marzipan and balls around the top, you can use ready to roll fondant icing - look for it in yellow.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Outdoor and indoor activities from an Easter Egg Hunt with a difference


Easter Hunts usually mean collecting as much chocolate as possible, as if there was not enough around at this time of year!  So we like to do something a little different (as if that was unheard of!)...

Good Friday, Good Food



When I was growing up, Good Friday meant a trip to the fish and chip shop. Being completely unaware of the point in this tradition, I used to order a Beanie! (for anyone unfamiliar with this heart attack, it is baked beans encased by sausage meat and batter.)

Nowadays, I like the idea of observing the ancient tradition that saw Good Friday's meal based around seafood.  If we are being very traditional, we like these breadcrumbed steaks (some of the kids prefer Fish Fingers, and some like Fish Cakes) done in the oven, homemade potato chips in the oven, and mushy green peas - plenty of vinegar!

This is a fair outlay though, and these other meals would make the protein go further..

Easy Homemade Edible Easter Gifts (including Fondant Creme Mini Eggs!)


Okay, so Easter Eggs can be picked up pretty cheaply now;  around 80p for a fair sized egg + sweets is common. 

So why make our own?  Well...

 1) since they are easily and cheaply picked up, doesn't this somehow take the excitement and personal touch out of it?
2) dairy free eggs are still at premium price, so you can cater for animal free and allergy/intolerance diets for a lot less
3) a supermarket chocolate bar is only 30p for 100g, so it can still more frugal to make something than to buy readymade

So, how about those easily made treats now?  Read on!

  • Home made fondant crème mini eggs: