I don’t know if it’s the same in the UK, or the USA, but here in France it is becoming more and more difficult to find cereal without chocolate in it – whatever the type of cereal, there’s a version of it with chocolate. Even Special K, that well known dieter’s brand has a chocolate version!
Mr FD did the shopping on Thursday, and as we were unpacking he muttered an oath of annoyance – he’d bought chocolate meusli instead of fruity meusli by mistake.
Never mind, I said, I’ll make cake. And so, this morning, I headed to my trusty recipe book…
When I was young, and newly married and eager to be the “perfect wife” (whatever she looks like!) I decided to keep a recipe book with cuttings and favourite recipes from magazines stuck into it. I even had sections (here’s pretentiousness for you!) labelled “Cellar Book” and “Dinner Party Menus” I wasn’t really very committed to these pages though…I only ever wrote one thing in them:
Apparently on 31st December – but I don’t know what year – Paul, Sharon & Judith (my BiL, his wife & my SiL) came for a meal. We had Paté (courtesy of Sainsbury), Oriental style salmon, Camargue red rice and mange tout. Pudding (no idea what it was!) came courtesy of Paul, who is a chef. And that’s it…No other record of dinner parties – although we did have friends for meals at regular intervals.
I stuck some very random recipes into this book, which I have never used and can’t imagine I ever will! For example, here’s the recipe for Fillet Steak Royale:
I’m not going to be buying fillet steak for anyone!! Although the sauce looks rather good – it might work with extra mushrooms as a pasta sauce!
There are however some less showy, or expensive, recipes that I turn to every now and then – Michael Barry’s Duck with apricots is one that was featured on BBC “Good Food” way back when the TV show started in 1984. Quite simple, but rather nice.
DUCK au Michael Barry
- 1 biggish duck breast
- 1/4 pint water
- 1/4 pint stock (chicken works best)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 orange
- zest 1/2 orange
- 4 oz soft dried apricots
To serve: tagliatelli, mange touts, carrot batons
- Fry duck breast quickly, then trim off skin. Cut duck breast into chunks.
- Pour away most of the duck fat. Replace duck in pan with everything else EXCEPT the lemon juice. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook tagliatelli, and then stir fry quickly with the vegetables (I usually just cook everything normally…)
- Remove duck, & keep warm.
- Stir a slake of cornflour made with the lemon juice into the sauce to thicken it.
- Put pasta & veg into serving bowls, add duck & pour sauce over.
- For a finishing touch, add toasted almonds, if desired.
But in my recipe book, it’s the “Baking” pages that I turn to most regularly as there are one or two recipes there that are my “go to” recipes. As the pages testify, I’m not the tidiest of cooks
And so the recipe that I used today is one that can be very easily adapted. Here it is:
OAT & ORANGE TEA LOAF
Tea loaf in the sense that you have it with tea, rather than it’s made with tea – although I have a recipe for that kind of Tea loaf too (see below)!
- 6 oz Crunchy Oat Cereal
- 6 oz soft brown sugar
- 4 oz SR flour
- 4 oz wholemeal flour
- 2 oz sultanas
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 6 fluid oz orange juice
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tsp mixed spice (or to taste)
- Mix dry ingredients
- Beat egg into juice.
- Add to dry ingredients & mix well
- Put into 2lb loaf tin
- Bake for 1 hour at 180°C/350°F/GM4
And there you have it! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Sorry the weights and measures are in UK “old money” – it shows how old the recipe is!
This time, however, instead of the Crunchy Oat cereal I used the Carrefour Chocolate & Nut meusli, that Mr FD had bought by mistake, I added some nuts instead of the sultanas, and used milk instead of orange juice. All finished and put into the oven, I then realised I’d bought two very brown bananas in order to put them in the cake…So I made another one, using two mashed up bananas in the milk/egg mixture as well. Here are the results of my Domestic Goddess-ishness:
Two chocolate-and-nut Meusli tea loaves (one with added banana), and 14 adapted recipe Anzac biscuits. Jan told me, in no uncertain terms, that if the Anzac biscuit recipe was messed about with, the results no longer had the right to be called Anzac biscuits. Fair enough. These are therefore Choc-nut-meusli biscuits. The recipe that I adapted can be found at the end of this post
At the same time as I’ve been baking, I also had a pan simmering away for two hours with a tin of condensed milk in it – I’m making a banoffi pie to take up to Richard’s tonight. I’ve already crushed chocolate/coconut granola biscuits for a base, and that is chilling in the fridge. The toffee sauce is now cooling, and the bananas waiting to be sliced. I kept a sharp eye on the water level, and had the timer set on my mobile…I once had a disaster with making toffee sauce like this, when I forgot about the tin of condensed milk, it boiled dry and then exploded, leaving toffee spattered around the kitchen. Mr FD has not let me forget it!
And, to end with, here is my super-simple recipe for Tea Bread with tea in it. It’s yet another “old money” recipe.
- Soak 12 oz dried fruit in 1/2 pint of cold tea for about an hour.
- Add 12 oz SR flour, 6 oz sugar, 1 beaten egg.
- Put into a 2 lb loaf tin.
- Bake for 1.5 hours at 180°C/350°F/GM4
You can use any tea for this – your usual builders’ tea, yes, but also a red fruits tea, or a Rooibus work quite well. I’m not sure mint tea would work, however. Lemon tea might bring an added citrussy note to the finished cake.
Do let me know if you try any of these recipes!