Archives for the month of: October, 2011

Darth Grady


To continue the extravaganza with our bounty of pears, I found a pear and amaretto loaf cake recipe in Leith’s Baking Bible. Pear and almond are a fantastic combination, so I was really looking forward to trying this one. Loaf cakes keep and freeze well, which works well for my waistline as I don’t have to eat it all at once!

The recipe called for soaking the pears in 2 tablespoons of amaretto. I found that the amaretto flavour was quite mild after the cake was baked, so would probably add a bit more next time or soak the pears overnight in the liqueur.

pears in amaretto

Loaf cakes can be quite dense, but egg whites added a nice lightness.

egg white

This loaf cake recipe is a bit different to the usual fruited loaf recipes as it has a crumble topping.

ready for the oven

Mmm… cake fresh out of the oven and it smelled amazing!

finished pear and amaretto cake

Here is the finished cake. It was very tasty and the pear and almond/amaretto combination was lovely. My only criticism is that I think it could have used more amaretto flavour.

Pear and amaretto cake

Best served warm and with a dollop of greek yogurt.

We’ve been given a large quantity of pears from the in law’s garden, almost so many we’re not sure if we’ll be able to put them all to good use. I’ve been digging through my cookbooks to find inspiration. Thanks to Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, I decided to make a Pear and Almond Tart. We chose this one as it would be fantastic to eat but also freezable so that we can enjoy later on in the season.

To quote my husband, Martin, “When pears are at their best they’re one of the most indulgent fruit experiences you can have.”

With the decision made of what to make, we got started.

Tart batter

I enlisted the help of Martin to help cut up pears.


We assembled the ingredients into blind baked sweet pastry shell and topped with an apricot glaze.

Apricot glaze

The tart is ready to go into the oven.

Pre cooded

And now is out of the oven.

Finished Tart

We shared the tart at our first instalment of Pub Whiteman.

Pub Whiteman

The tart was very tasty. Pears and almonds are a fantastic combination. Since the pears weren’t pre-cooked, they still retain their shape and texture, rather than becoming a mush in the cooked tart.

I’ll definitely keep this recipe for future use. I’m also looking forward to enjoying the slices of pear and almond tart waiting in the freezer. YUM!

After a long day, I like to turn off my brain.

I get Mini G safely tucked in bed then I curl up on the sofa with Martin so we can enjoy a tasty meal and some TV crime drama. Through the TV shows we travel between Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC and New York City with some of our favourites like NICS LA, CSI, NCIS, CSI NY, Person of Interest and Fringe.  It’s a nice escape.

On our TV adventure, we enjoy a glass of wine and some chocolate.  Although some red wines do not go well with chocolate, we have found a pairing that was made to go together.  For the red, I highly recommend Pena de Pato from Portugal (currently on offer at Majestic Wines as part of their Portugal promotion).  The perfect accompaniment to this red is the Montezuma’s Lordy Lord, a dark chocolate with cocoa nibs.  The chocolate nibs add a bit of a crunch and the smokey chocolate goes very well with the spicy, fruity Portuguese vinho tinto.

Ahhh…. That’s better!


*These views are my own. I purchased the wine and the chocolate for my own enjoyment.*



My son is at the age where he can be, to put it mildly, disagreeable. Getting ready for school can be quite a production especially when it comes to brushing teeth. When I was approached to review the new My Way Kids Arm & Hammer Spinbrush, I jumped at the chance. I thought it would be a great opportunity for Mini G to embrace the act of brushing his teeth.

Arm&Hammer spinbrush


The Spinbrush is perfect for kids as they can decorate and personalise to their interests. It comes with over 140 stickers including enough letters to spell out names. If you have more than one child in your family, they can put their names on them too for easy identification.

sticker selection

Mini G is learning to read, so this was a perfect opportunity to get him to pick out the letters of his name and stick on the toothbrush.


He also loves stickers, so he had a great time applying them to the brush.

stickers on brush

As this is a battery operated ‘electric’ toothbrush, it helps clean his teeth a bit more thoroughly than just brushing with a manual toothbrush.

proud kid

Getting out of the house in the morning can still be a difficult task, but brushing teeth has become a lot easier.

brushing teeth

**I was sent the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush toothbrush free of charge for review. These views are my own.**

It’s that time of year for lovely autumnal fruits. We were lucky to receive some apples from a neighbor’s tree. I wanted a recipe that would use the apples in a way that would be suitable for freezing, so I trawled through my cookbooks and came across a Cinnamon and Apple Cake recipe from Leith’s Baking Bible. This recipe is for a whole cake, but I altered it to be suitable for smaller, freezable portions – cupcakes!


Apple Cinnamon Cake ingredients

Cinnamon and Apple Cake (my way)
200g peeled apples (I used Bramleys) coarsely grated
170g soft dark brown sugar
100ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg beaten
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

Grated apple

Line muffin tins with 24 muffin/cupcake cases. Heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
Place the grated apples into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, oil, vanilla and egg.
Sift in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Stir together until just mixed.
Drop the mixture into prepared muffin/cupcake cases about 3/4 full.
Bake in the oven for approx 25 minutes, or until well risen and the tops spring back slightly when touched.
A skewer through the center of a cake should come out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon with the flour

Cake batter

When cooled, you can divide them into freezer bags to keep for future treats and snacks.
They are great in lunch boxes with a bit of cream cheese.

Naked apple cinnamon cake

Alternatively, you could top the cake with a mascarpone frosting with a bran flake sprinkled with edible gold dust and demerara sugar for a very autumnal presentation.

Autumnal cakes

Silent Sunday 9 Oct

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