A catch up weekend.

This weekend has been a catch up weekend, which is good as the weather is STILL pretty lousy.
We have emptied the loft of my Son’s stored belongings as he and his girlfriend move from Winchester to London next weekend. Because we don’t have to help move them (horrrrraaaaahhhhhhhh!) we washed all linens and clothes and ironed them. We are good like that, but in reality it is just our way of helping, which as I’ve mentioned is infinitely better than driving a lorry to the centre of London.

We have christened the new Kitchen Aid by making a Blueberry Cranberry and Almond cake. Oh so easy and very delicious.
I used cranberry and blueberries as that is what we had left in the freezer.

Summer fruit and almond cake.
Serves 10
Prepare :10 minutes
Cook : 1 hour 15 minutes plus cooling

150g self-raising flour sifted
100g ground almonds
175g unsalted butter
150g golden castor sugar
2 eggs
2tbsp milk
1tsp good almond essence
380g summer fruits (if frozen they need to be thawed and drained)
25g granulated sugar

1: Preheat the oven to 170degC, gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm spring form or loose bottomed cake tin and line with baking parchment.
2: Put the flour and almonds in a bowl, add the butter,castor sugar and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the milk and almond essence, mix, then fold in 200g of fruit.
3: Spoon into the tin and level the surface. Scatter with the remaining fruit and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until golden and firm, and a skewer comes out clean. Scatter with the granulated sugar, cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For ages I have not known what to do with a whole stack of magazines. They have stayed in the loft or sat in the conservatory for ages. and generally got on my nerves.
Finally all the nice bits have been removed and found their way into folders so that I can be inspired.
I have gardening, home, food, craft and a book of cuttings called nice stuff. A flick through them will inspire me to do all things lovely.
Although it looks like the folders are as big as the stack of magazines, believe me they are not, the pile of magazines in the photograph is a small fraction of what I had! I promise to not hoard magazines anymore.


  1. Ali

    The cake looks good karen, although i don’t like almonds in anything ! As for bread making…you probably know more than me….i do a plain white loaf with the kitchen aid…but i also have a bread maker which turns out pretty good loaves when you just want to add ingredients and press one button !…cheating…yes…but quick !…makes a very nice herb and tomato loaf !
    Where did you purchase your mixer from ?….i would love to get the waffle maker too but it’s too pricey to justify buying it for the two of us here !…..boys aren’t home too much these days !

    • Karen

      We purchased the mixer from John Lewis in Southampton, they were cheaper than anywhere else and the cream one (which was the one we wanted anyway) had an extra promotional £60 off, so all was good. I also like buying from John Lewis as if anything goes wrong they are excellent about an exchange. Also if the item is heavy you can have it send down to their delivery point and go and pick it up in the car. I love no hassle!
      A lot of people think John Lewis is an expensive shop but in most cases it’s not the case, I love Waitrose as well, they actually serve you and their monthly magazine called Waitrose Kitchen has some fabulous recipes in it.
      They can be expensive but you get what you pay for.
      Aldi’s for the boring things like tin tomatoes and Waitrose for nice stuff.
      As for the bread I’m a bit stuck, it’s the starter yeast I’m stuck on, I will have to look at my Bourke street bakery book again. I love nice bread and would love to make my own providing it turned out well. We shall see!

  2. Julie

    Yummy recipe please! Will I ever be as organised as you, I don’t think so, does it happen when the kids leave home? I will have to wait and see.
    I agree with Ali re the bread a bread maker is great, it’s a real faff and a bit too scientific for me to make bread by hand but have a go you may have more luck
    Will await the photos!

    • Karen

      Recipe now included in the blog.
      I don’t function well if I’m not organised, sometimes I wish I could be more laid back but I do have slob day’s just not for very long!
      As for the bread we tried to make a yeast starter but it went very wrong, I am going to try again as I really like nice bread and you can’t always get hold of it. I’ll post how I get on even if I fail! I dream of making caraway seed bread, they had it at Church Landing I really miss it.

  3. Ali

    …i agree karen about your views on John Lewis…..excellent customer service…and products etc. We have bought a kettle from them about 3 years ago and this is our third exchange since then…and no hassle whatsoever !….we don’t seem to be very lucky with kettles….we have tried them all !!!!…..cheaper ones…mid range ones…and the pricey ones….which we are on now….this is our third £80 ish kettle and still they don’t last !!!
    love just browsing John Lewis too….but could buy sooooo much there…all very tempting…particularly love alot of their pictures.
    My Dad usually pops into Waitrose for me once a week as it is just down the road to them…Chandlers Ford….when i go i end up buying half the shop !!

  4. Erika ❤

    Where did you get those binders? So much prettier than the standard school binders.

    • Karen

      Hi Erika they came from Paperchase, then I stencilled on the lettering.

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