Cooking Tips and Recipes

I have always enjoyed cooking and when I was with my husband it was my mission to cook something different every night. I am a great collector of cookery books and also a great inventor of recipes.

Having cooked for many different people old, young, sick and healthy I hope to share some tips and recipes on here.

Easy Sponge Cake

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125g/4ozs Butter (softened)

125g/4ozs Castor Sugar

2 Medium eggs

125g/4ozs Self Raising Flour (add through a sieve for extra lightness)

Drop of vanilla (optional)

Add an ounce of cocoa powder with the flour for a chocolate sponge

Pre heat the oven to 180c or Gas mark4

Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs alternatively with the flour so not to let the mixture curdle add a little milk if mixture is too stiff, it should be a thick batter consistency. Pour into two sandwich tins. I use the cake tin liners you can now buy which means no sticking or greasing of pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or springy to the touch. Leave in tin for 5 minutes before cooling on a rack. Sandwich together with jam and whipped cream or butter cream.

This mixture can be used for fairy cakes or a baked fruit sponge for dessert.


 Home Made Bread

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There is nothing better than homemade bread. For anyone who has been watching the endless cookery programmes will have gathered! I always used to make my own bread especially when I had a Rayburn. My father was a bread maker but sad to say his loaves were not always enjoyed by the rest of the family, brown, hard and dry and to be eaten when at least two days old!

I don’t use a bread maker (I don’t have one) as it does not take long to prepare and you can do something else or bake something else while you are waiting for it to prove (as I am doing now).

The following is a basic recipe which so far doesn’t fail.

750g Strong White Bread Flour

25g of butter

1 sachet of fast acting yeast

Teaspoon of salt and a pinch of sugar

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl, make sure you do not put the yeast and salt in together as the salt will kill the yeast. Rub in the butter. add 400ml of warm water gradually combing it with your hands. Put on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. shape and place into a loaf tin cover loosely with a piece of oiled cling film and place it somewhere warm. I usually put the oven on and sit it close by. Leave for at least and hour. Bake in a hot oven 220c middle shelf for 40 minutes. If you place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven the steam will create a nice crust. Once cooked remove from tin and pat its bottom if it sounds hollow its done.

This dough also makes rolls.

Here are some interesting tips on Cucumber usage:

cucumber 2

From Gina Richardson


Spice up your 8 glasses per day of water with a slice or two of cucumber. It’s wonderfully refreshing, but there are amazing benefits to cucumber as well. Cucumbers are cooler than you think …

1. Fat busting: Do you ever wonder why women put cucumbers on their eyes to relieve puffiness? The photochemical in cucumbers makes the collagen in your skin tighten, thus the lack of puffiness. Did you know that you can rub a cucumber on a problematic spot of cellulite anywhere on your body to lessen the visibility of it? Did you also know that it has the same effect on wrinkles? Wow, it makes purchasing those fifty dollar creams seem a little silly, doesn’t it? You can also rub a little bit under your kiddo’s eyes after a long bout of crying to avoid that puffy ‘I cried for an hour straight’ look.

2. Defogger: Do you get annoyed when you get out of the shower and you have to fight the fog on the mirror? Who has time for that when the kids will be awake at any moment? Try rubbing a slice of cucumber on the mirror before you hop in and not only will you get a fog-free mirror, but you’ll have a nice smell that will boost your mood.

3. Headaches: If you suffer from headaches from chasing your babies all day (or pets or your husband), or had a little too much wine with dinner and want to avoid a hangover, eat half of a cucumber before bed. Cucumbers are high in B vitamins, sugar, and electrolytes, and they replenish the nutrients missing in your body to help you avoid a hang over or to beat that headache that’s been threatening to take over.

4. WD-40 replacement: Did you know you can get rid of a squeak by rubbing a cucumber on the hinge? Wow, now you don’t have to tear your garage apart looking for that little can with the red straw, and the baby won’t wake up when you slowly open the nursery door to check on him.

5. Crayon on the walls: Take an unpeeled cucumber and rub the crayon off of the walls in the event that your kiddo left you some art. You can also use this technique to erase a pen mistake.

6. Halitosis killer: Take a slice of cucumber and put it on the roof of your mouth. Hold it there with your tongue for 30 seconds. The photochemical that you love for cellulite and puff reduction will also kill the bacteria that is causing your bad breath.

7. Tarnish remover: If you’re finding tarnish on your stainless steel kitchen faucets and appliances? Rub it off with a cucumber slice. Not only will it remove years of tarnish, it will leave it streak free and your hands will thank you, and your kids won’t be put at risk from a dangerous chemical.

8. Energy booster: If you’re feeling tired in the afternoon, don’t give Starbucks your five bucks. Instead, grab a cucumber. There are just enough carbohydrates and B vitamins to give you a longer-lasting and healthier boost of energy than soda, coffee, or those health hazard energy drinks.

9. Munchy madness: Did you know that European trappers ate cucumbers for energy and to keep from starving to death? If those big burly manly men can eat a cucumber to keep from starving, you can eat one as a healthy choice when the munchies hit. Slice some up and take them in a small plastic container to the movies if your theater doesn’t offer healthy alternatives to munching on butter soaked popcorn.

10. Frugal facial: Slice up a cucumber and boil it in a pot of water. The chemicals inside of the cucumber will mix with the steam. Remove the pot from heat and lean over it, letting the steam hit you. Your skin will be more radiant and healthy, and you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

11. Shoe polish: Cut a slice off of your cucumber and rub it on your shoe. It will not only shine it up, but it will repel water.

12. Pest control: Put three or four slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and place them in your garden. The chemicals in the cucumber have a reaction that pests hate. You won’t smell it, but it will drive them from your garden all year long. Replace them periodically.

13. Sunburn: Sometimes sun block doesn’t always protect your little ones from sunburn. If you have burnt little kiddos you don’t have any aloe, rub some cucumber on them. Many doctors even use cucumber to treat patients with irritated skin and sunburns.

14. Blood pressure: Cucumber has been long used to treat high blood pressure. If you have it, add cucumbers to your daily diet. There is also ongoing research into the use of cucumbers for lowering cholesterol.

15. Constipation remedy: The seeds of a cucumber are a diuretic. If you’re constipated, try eating a cucumber. If you suffer from chronic constipation, add cucumber to your daily diet

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