Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Favourite Hymn

I recently found a free CD and popped it onto my computer. This wonderfully encouraging hymn was there. This hymn has been one of my favourites since early childhood, for both its faithful, comforting words and its slightly melancholy, peaceful tune.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To his feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me his praise should sing?
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise him for his grace and favour
To our fathers in distress;
Praise him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless:
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!
Glorious in his faithfulness.

Father-like, he tends and spares us,
Well our feeble frame he knows;
In his hands he gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes:
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!
Widely as his mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore him;
Ye behold him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
Dwellers all in time and space:
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leek and Potato Gratin

1 large baking potato
1 large leek
100g of tasty cheese (I used a vintage Cheddar) -
About 600ml-1L of white sauce (I made mine up by eye, so can't tell you the exact amount, nor the exact ingredients, but a suggestion would be: 25g butter, 25g flour,
600ml milk)
1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash the potato thoroughly (as you will be leaving the skin on). Slice the baking potato into half, and then into thin slices (about 0.25cm thick)
2. Wash the leeks to get rid of any grittiness, and slice thinly. If you're paranoid about grit like me, wash them again in a sieve.
3. Make a white sauce. I used the roux method: melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and bouillon powder. Stir until a paste forms (which is lump free). Add the milk *very* slowly - say 10ml at a time, stirring until all the milk is absorbed in between. Making a roux method white sauce is easy, but prone to lumps if you add the milk too quickly. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the leeks and simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. While the white sauce is simmering, grate 25g of cheese and set aside. Cut the rest into small 0.5cm dice.
5. Layer the half of the potatoes into the dish, and scatter over half of the diced cheese.
6. Pour over half of the white sauce with leeks.
7. Repeat - layer the rest of the potatoes, sprinkle over the rest of the diced cheese and the rest of the white sauce with leeks. Top with the grated cheese.
8. Put in the oven at about 160C for 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and easily pierced by a knife and the cheese is browned and bubbling.
9. Consume!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My absolute favourite thing to bake.

Mostly because they're a challenge, and just that little bit unpredictable.

One batch of lemon, with lemon buttercream, and one batch of chocolate with cherry jam.

(Photo credit to The Computer Geek)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Whoopie Pies

Whilst the Amish may be very familiar with them, they are a relatively new discovery to me. This is the most basic recipe from The Whoopie Pie Book, which the Fisherman and his wife Lady Pink gave to me for my birthday. Even though I had never made them before I took a few liberties with the recipe (mostly because I don't have any cocoa powder since I almost always cook with actual chocolate and I'd run out of bicarb of soda and golden syrup! I also used dried egg whites in the marshmallow filling because I don't have to figure out what to do with the yolks then!)

They turned out quite well, very sweet and tasty, and they freeze brilliantly (even when filled)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Chocolate Banana Loaf

100g butter
100g dark chocolate
50g dark brown soft sugar
50g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
2 big bananas or 4 smaller ones
250g self-raising flour

1. Grease a loaf tin and preheat oven to 180C
2. Mash bananas in a bowl, with a fork.
3. Melt chocolate in another bowl.
4. Cream butter and two types of sugar together in yet another bowl. Beat in the eggs.
5. Pour banana sludge and melted chocolate into the bowl with the butter-sugar-egg mix, and mix thoroughly.
6. Bake at 180C for 20 mins, then reduce oven temperature to 120, continue baking for another half an hour or so (my timing might be off, I cannot remember how long I baked for) until a skewer pushed into the loaf comes out clean. If the top begins to colour too much, cover with foil after 30 minutes.