This weekend’s recipe is another scrumptious and super-nutritious soup based on one in my original Cranks recipe book. I can’t recommend this tasty concoction highly enough – I was a bit doubtful about the addition of nuts, but they add a lovely flavour and a delicious velvety texture. I am afraid I used chicken stock again, but vegetable stock will work just as well. I really recommend giving it a try.
So, pretty much everyone has sent their card for the 8th round of the Very Berry Artist Trading Card Swap, and lots of people have received them too – hopefully it won’t be long until everyone has a card! Thanks, as ever to all who took part, and thanks especially to the lovely folks who wrote guest blog posts, and the two the very very lovely people who sent Angel cards this time round – you are so much appreciated, and make this swap a pleasure to run.
I wanted to share some of the beautiful cards that were swapped this time. There were beautiful birds, cosy fires and armchairs, fluffy cats and dogs, winter woollies, snowy fun and hot cups of tea (and cake!):
Hope you’ve all had a great time swapping along – you can find lots more ATCs in our Very Berry ATC swap Flickr group. If anyone wants to join up with the next one, keep a look out after Easter for the next swap sign ups.
I’d really like to welcome Black Sheep Wools as my new blog sponsor. If you are a knitter, crocheter or stitcher you will already know Black Sheep Wools as a fantastic place to go for yarn, threads, patterns, hooks, needles, cross stitch supplies and more. If you can drag yourself away from all that gorgeous fluff and stitchy goodness, the great news is that they’ve recently started stocking fabric too, so it’s definitely somewhere to bookmark to your list of great fabric shops. They stock fabrics by lots of favourites, including Denyse Schmidt, Nel Whatmore, Tim Holtz and Tina Givens. Amongst my favourites, they have loads of lovely Kaffe Fassett:
If batiks are your thing, they have a lovely range from Sew Simple and a really useful range of good value solids from Sew Simple too. Postage is a flat rate of just £2.50 with free delivery on orders over £25, which is just excellent value. Speaking of value, they also have regular offers, and lots of things going on (including fantastic workshops at their Craft Barn near Culcheth in Lancashire, and a great café too!), so it is definitely worth following them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, so you can stay up to date with all that’s going on.
Black Sheep Wools have great plans for their fabric, haberdashery and notions range going forward, so I’m so excited to be working with them, and am especially excited that they’ve commissioned me to design some exclusive patterns for them later in the year. I’ll keep you posted on those! Thanks to all at Black Sheep Wools(they’re such lovely people) for sponsoring me here on Very Berry – it’s hugely appreciated.
Here’s a lovely recipe for sticky ginger cake that I’ve adapted from an old recipe book belonging to my mum. I’ve tweaked it a bit so there’s less sugar and syrup, the original recipe calls for 50g of golden syrup, and replaced this with 25g of maple syrup and 25g of honey; the sugar (only 30g) I have leave out entirely. I also substitute 20g of the plain white flour with 20g protein powder to add some extra nutrition for my kids – feel free to ignore this if you like.
The dreadful thing about this cake is that, once it is made, you HAVE to leave it for 2 to 3 days to develop the necessary stickiness and flavour. It is a painful experience to have to wrap it up and put it away – try to have another cake ready to distract you in the meantime ;-)
The recipe calls for a 6 inch by 9 inch rectangular baking tin – mine is a square 8 inch version and it worked perfectly well, try to keep within an inch or 2 either way, and you may have to cook for a little longer if your tin is on the small side, and a little less time if you have a bigger shallower cake.
I have baked this a few times and it is a very liquid cake batter, so the sultanas always sink to the bottom. I am tempted to rename it sultana and ginger upside down cake… unless anyone can come up with a solution?
Line your baking tray with baking parchment and preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Sift the flour, protein powder and spices into a large mixing bowl (just throw the bran that’s left in the sieve into the mix when you are done – you are adding air rather than sifting for debris!). Stir in the sultanas.
Melt the butter, maple syrup, honey and treacle very gently over a low heat – don’t bring to the boil, just heat gently. Stir into the dry ingredients.
Heat the milk very gently until just warm, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda – make sure the soda dissolves or you will get white lumps in your cake. Beat the egg into the milk and soda mix, then pour it into the prepared mixture and beat until you have a smooth batter which is the consistency of double/heavy cream.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-45 mins depending on the size of the tin you’ve used and your oven temperature. If the middle of the cake is still a bit wet whilst the top is done, you can protect the crust from getting burnt by laying a piece of foil over the top of the tin. The cake is done when it is springy to the touch.
Cool slightly in the tin, then turn out onto a wire tray and remove the baking parchment. Wrap in greaseproof paper and/or foil and hold yourself back from cutting into it for at least 2 days.