Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Now we are FOUR

It doesn't seem twelve months since I was here announcing that This Vintage Life was three years old and yet it is and now we're four. Where does time go?

Once again my thanks to everybody who has visited over the years to make a purchase. There will be a new upload of stock very soon so look out for an email if you've subscribed to the newsletter or just pop in here and there's bound to be a mention.

The house is looking very floral this week, due in no small part to flowers from my 'Valentine' but also because I treated myself to some potted Hyacinths at the supermarket and then a few days later couldn't resist the daffs at the market. Both ridiculously cheap for the amount of pleasure they bring.

I'm dead against buying roses with over inflated prices on Valentines day and am more than happy with a few bunches from the market. A picked them out himself so they may not be perfectly matched but at least it's from the heart and he does get me my favourite Freesias. I tried to grow them in the garden once but they didn't come up. Pfff!

As we can't get a decent vegetarian meal without a two hour drive, I offered to make whatever Mr Valentine wanted and so he decided he'd like a Moussaka. I don't know why but I've never actually made one before. After a quick squizz through the cookery books and the internet I came up with a cobbled together version {it tasted a lot better than that sounded!} It contained a combination of lentils and Quorn mince with the other usual ingredients and topped with a really easy all-in-one pan Bechamel sauce. We just had a green salad on the side and it was delicious.

We wanted to save a bit of space as I'd made this cake. It is just gorgeous. One of the best cakes I've ever made. I'd urge you to try it. I made it with apple but it's even better with plums. I also can't remember where the recipe came from...somewhere on the internet I think. Sorry I haven't got a picture. We were too busy eating it and then the rest went in the freezer to help us avoid temptation!

Fresh Plum Cake


225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g (3.5oz) margarine
50g (2oz) sultanas
50g (2oz) soft brown sugar plus 2 tblsp for sprinkling
2 large eggs
4 tblsp golden syrup
225g (8oz) plums, stoned and chopped
Preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin. I don't have one of these so use a round spring form. Works fine.
Rub the flour, half the cinnamon and the margarine together. I use soft or block. Doesn't seem to matter.
Add the sultanas and 50g (2oz) brown sugar and stir. I leave the sultanas out as I don't care for them and just add a few more plums/apples.
Beat eggs and syrup together in a separate bowl, add plums, then stir into flour mixture.
Transfer to tin and level surface.
Mix rest of brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of cake mixture.
Cook in centre of oven for 45-50 mins and then test. It should be risen and just firm to the touch when cooked.

Serve warm with custard, creme fraiche, plain yoghurt or best of all cream {we like extra thick Channel Islands cream from the Co-Op!} but have also used Soya cream/custard. It's great cold too and freezes really well.

And we don't need much of an excuse to indulge in a bottle of bubbly in this house. We'd not tried this one before but were pleasantly surprised. It's from the Co-Op, is reasonably priced and is vegan. Cheers!

Edit: I've just found this picture of the plum cake from a previous occasion!