Squidgy excitement

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE MARMALADE TEAPOT!

A little belated I know but as we say goodbye to 2017, the beginning of the new year has been keeping me on my toes, it’s been an exciting time full of unexpected opportunity, adventure & happiness I’m glad to say.

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2017 was a year where I got to check new places off my travel bucket list (cuisine included), ruled the kitchen (for the most part) & met some truly wonderful people. Unfortunately in life you can’t have the good without the bad &, like most people I’m sure, I’ve been through some stresses & I’m still a poor 20-something year old lacking a career, who refuses to check her bank account frequently, just looming upon her thirties.

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Luckily the older I get the more I realise that life is what it is, you can’t change these experiences as this is what we learn from & what helps us grow as people… just like when your very first carrot cake comes out of the oven like a pancake, you cry, you learn & you get it right the next time around (with no one none the wiser might I add).

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Generally I’m not a fan of new year (January, aka limbo month, does not sit well with me) , in particular the habit of making resolutions. Luckily this January is unexpectedly full of excitement & promise for this spoiled baker but I believe that if there’s something that requires changing in my life then I can do this during any of the other 364 days of the year just as effectively. Plus this glutton has no room for new year diets in her life, particularly when there are new tastes to experience & recipes to be discovered (my kitchen would never forgive me). 

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This is why I will be entering 2018 with absolutely no expectations. I’m going to live my life the only way I know how… simply enjoy & make the most of it (& bake the stresses away). No I may not be the richest baker in town & dream of travelling the world one day but until then I’m enjoying the little things… the sense of pride when a cake successfully comes out of the oven in all it’s golden glory, laughter with friends sometimes over nothing at all, sharing & creating memories with those you care about & the excitement of not really knowing what’s to come. There’s plenty of time for all of the thing’s I want out of life & I know that they’ll some my way if I truly want them to. But until then there’s always carrot cake or wine (both help).

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So as we enter a new year, a new chapter even, comes the ever difficult decision over which recipe to bring you first, setting the scene for the blogging year ahead. In keeping with my resolution loathing ways, rather than set the standard with a ridiculously ornate, complicated bake made from only the finest & most expensive ingredients I’m staying true to myself & bringing you a simple, seasonal little loaf made with one of my favourite things & covered in pink icing (now doesn’t that sound good?).

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Honey makes an appearance most days in my life, I adore this sweet, golden nectar more than I ought. Winnie The Pooh himself (a fellow glutton), although a little more rounded in the middle, managed to evade diabetes on a diet consisting of little more than honey alone, so I cling on to hope & take much comfort in the wise words of Pooh:

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

Taking my favourite natural sweetener, few store cupboard ingredients & a spare hour  you can have a gloriously pink, squidgy, spiced little loaf to cheer up those January blues.

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SPICED HONEY CAKE WITH LINGONBERRY
(makes one 2lb loaf)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 125g butter
  • 125g honey
  • 60g light soft brown sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 60g yogurt
  • zest x2 oranges
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves

For the icing:

  • 3 tbsp lingonberry jam
  • 75-100g icing sugar

Method:

  • Grease & line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  • In a large saucepan melt together the butter, honey & sugar, set aside & allow to cool
  • Using a jug, mix together the yogurt & eggs
  • Add the yogurt mixture, flour, bicarbonate, spices & lemon zest to the cooled honey mixture & mix until smooth
  • Bake at 180C for 1 hour
  • Allow the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes before removing & allowing to cool fully on a cooling rack
  • To make the icing, gently heat the jam in a microwave for 30 seconds
  • Sift over the icing sugar & mix together (I find using a small whisk best for this), adding enough icing sugar to make a thick icing
  • Once the cake has cooled, pour the icing over the top & allow to set

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