Tag Archives: Victoria Sponge

Frittata, Sausages and Spinach (The spendthrift’s challenge, Day 1)

18 May

Day one of the challenge, and I have already had my resolve tested by an almost too good to turn down 15% off voucher from Ocado. I resisted and turned off the computer, only to receive a text from Sarah (yes, Sarah’s Lime and Ginger Cheesecake Sarah) trying to lead me astray with a report of £2 a bottle off one of our favourite bottles of wine. I returned to the ‘loosely drafted’ rules and noticed that there was  no mention of alcohol being included in the budget (trust a lawyer to try to find a loophole). However in the spirit of good housewifery, I will observe the spirit of the challenge and only use supplies from existing stocks.  

BREAKFAST  

A cinch. Cereal, bananas and toast for the children, fruit, yoghurt and muesli for me.  

LUNCH  

A fridge raid at 11.30 in the run up to lunch yielded the following ‘bounty’  

  • 6 or 7 slightly greying cooked jersey royals from Fridays lunch
  • 2 handfuls of grated cheddar
  • 2 little gem lettuces with a week old sell by date
  • a ‘dollop’ of preserved lemon mayo left over from Fridays lunch
  • a slightly limp looking cucumber

Not exactly a mouth-watering or inspiring collection. Yet this sorry list was wondrously transformed into a delicious lunch in less than 15 minutes, with some butter, herbs, and some delicious ‘Happy Eggs’ (yes there really is a brand called happy eggs, and I really do buy them).  

Method  

  1. Slice potatoes. Place in medium non-stick frying pan with a dessert spoon of oil and butter (the oil allows the butter to cook at a higher temperature without burning).
  2. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic and chives, and cook until the potatoes are golden brown.
  3. Whisk 4 ‘Happy Eggs’ with a tablespoon or two of yoghurt/cream/milk and add to the pan. Jostle and jiggle the mixture around then add the cheese and leave on a low heat for about 5 minutes, until the edges start to come away and the centre is still a little wobbly.
  4. Add a handful of grated cheese, then place under a hot grill for 5 mins. Keep a close eye to make sure it doesn’t burn.

While the top of the frittata was browning, I rinsed and chopped the lettuce (for me) and dotted the leftover mayo on to dress the leaves. For the children I chopped the cucumber into batons.  

For Mummyinahurry

 

Frittata Finale

 

For the children

 

 Once cooked, gently cajole the frittata onto a plate to serve. This was declared as ‘delicious’ by my almost 4 year old, and saved a few sad leftovers from the landfill. If it wasn’t for my undying attachment to my dishwasher and tumbledryer, I could almost feel like an advert for eco-mum!  

TEA BREAK 

The Cake. Mmmmm

 

I have been craving cake for the past week, and as we had guests after school, I took that as a perfect opportunity to make Nigella’s Never Fail Victoria Sponge, to have after the school run with a cup of tea. Annabel and I made the cake after lunch, and for the filling used up some apricot jam that had been skulking in the back of the cupboard since my hubby declared that he ‘doesnt really like apricot jam’  . That was about a year ago, but at least 5 years of me regularly buying it for him!!  

DINNER  

The starting point was a pack of defrosted Free Range Lincolnshire Sausages from the freezer (bought half price when on offer – yet more thrift in action). Although Mr Mummyinhurry is working late again, David had a school friend for tea, so I had an extra mouth to feed. For the children, I pan-fried the sausages, then served with mash, broccoli and (blush) tinned spaghetti. 2  out of 3 clean plates after dinner. A good result.    

After my mid-afternoon carb fest with the cake, I wanted something a bit lighter and healthier than mash to complement the sausages. I settled on a side dish of wilted spinach, butter beans and tomatoes. Easy, delicious and light.  

Sausages, Wilted Spinach with Beans and Tomatoes

 

INGREDIENTS 

1 bag spinach  

250g mini plum tomatoes  

400g tin butter beans  

chopped garlic and olive oil  

METHOD  

Place a little oil in a wok style pan with some chopped garlic and sweat it off for a minute.  

  1. Add spinach until it wilts
  2. Add chopped mini plum tomatoes
  3. Add a can of drained butter beans
  4. When all is warmed through, strain, season with salt and pepper then add a drizzle of olive oil
  5. Serve

As the sausages were already cooked, once the salad was made, dinner was served.  I had the children in bed and the kitchen tidied by 7.30pm, leaving me time to catch up with a neighbour over a glass of fizz (her treat of course!!)

Nigella’s Never Fail Victoria Sponge

10 May

Let me dispel a few myths. You don’t need to be any sort of domestic goddess to make a good Victoria sponge. You don’t even need much time. If you have all the ingredients in the house, you should have it all prepared and in the oven in under 5 minutes. And the washing up is  courtesy of the dishwasher.

I am not sure that any cook can honestly claim the rights to a ‘recipe’ for a Victoria Sponge, as the ingredients and quantities seems to be almost identical in a number of cook books. On this subject I am slavishly devoted to the teachings of Ms Lawson in her first (and to me her best) book, How To Eat. Since I first made this speedy, all in one, processor method of making a Victoria Sponge, I have resisted the siren call of all other cookery prophets and remained loyal to this easy peasy never fail recipe.

To those of you that buy your cake in the supermarket, or make your cake from a packet mix, I would like to prevail upon you to cast aside your prejudice and to try this, just once. You will not look back. You are likely to have everything you need without even stepping into a shop. Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, vanilla essence, Jam. All storecupboard staples.

Just follow a few simple rules and you cannot go wrong

  • Use the size of tin that is recommended or the cooking times will change
  • Know your oven temperature. They can vary widely. Cooking it at the right temperature is key.
  • Relax. Even if it does not look as pretty as a shop perfect cake, the first bite will have you hooked.
  • To make life easier I use pre-cut cake tin liners. This saves the step of greasing and lining the tin..

So successful and easy has this cake been, I have made it on numerous occasions, to cheer up a sad friend, to fuel a tired new mum, and when I am calling in on friends for coffee and realise I have not even a packet of biscuits to take.  And I made it for myself twice a week, when I was an almost sleepwalking tearful and tired new mum, just to give me something to look forward to in the afternoon.

A few tips

  • The recipe suggests room temperature/soft butter. Not many people are so well prepared that they get the butter out of the fridge a day early in anticipation. I use the defrost facility on the microwave, until it gets soft but not runny and melted. It takes about 60 seconds on defrost in my microwave. Try it in 20 second bursts. You are looking for a glossy, gooey, about to melt texture.
  • I recommend keeping your eggs in a cupboard at room temperature, then you don’t have to remember to take them out in advance.
  • If you are using fridge cold milk I would recommend 15 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off.

You can find Nigella’s recipe at page 26 of her book.

I have adapted the quantities to suit the size of tins that I have (18cms)

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (or 160 degrees for a fan oven)

INGREDIENTS

6 oz  or 170g plain flour

6 oz  or 170g soft unsalted butter (but you can use salted if thats all you have – it just alters the taste a little)

6 oz 170g sugar

3 large eggs – if you only have medium eggs just add a little more milk

2tbsps (ish) milk.

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not essence)

Place all ingredients into processor. Blend until combined, adding enough milk to give the mixture dropping consistency.

Put in oven for 25 minutes. If you are not sure if it is cooked put in a skewer (or knife if you don’t have one). If it comes out clean (ie without sticky cake mixture on it) it is done.

Just out of the oven

Once the cakes are out of the oven, leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then turn out on to a cake rack (or grill rack if you don’t have one)

Allow to cool for about 45 minutes.

On the rack

Add jam to one sponge then put them together. Sprinkle with caster sugar. Serve

I don’t generally add whipped cream, unless I know it will get eaten that day, as it doesn’t keep well.If you have just used jam, it will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Ready to eat