Baking lemon marmalade cake

Hey peeps

I hope everyone is well. I added to my baking at the weekend by making some lemon cake. I was going to see my Nan after work on Monday, and she loves lemon things, so I decided that it was good timing as I could take some to her.

A while ago I was sent a lovely package from American Soda, and it included a mix for lemon cake. I love lemon and poppyseed, so I added some in, and I love marmalade cakes, and I had some lemon marmalade that my Mum had made, so I added some of that in too (about 2 tbs I would think).

The mix was very easy- add in oil, water and eggs, mix, and bake. I baked it in a brownie pan, but there were directions for other shape and sized tins.

When I am bringing cake to work I have found that people prefer it in cake cases, no idea why! But then it makes them look more pretty too. I left some plain, and wrapped them for my Nan, but I decided to make some icing for the rest. I mixed a couple of tbs of lemon marmalade with the juice from a small lime, and then added icing sugar (maybe around a cup) until it formed an icing.

The rest I boxed up to take to work today.

I tried a few off-cuts and it was nice- quite lemony. I don’t normally go for box cake mixes, but for when you are in a hurry they are good.

At the weekend I caved in and ordered from cream supplies as I saw they had pumpkin spice syrup in stock. Well, it arrived yesterday- I didn’t think the bottle would be that big! I really should pay more attention! I am thinking that is far too many lattes, so I think I will have to be adding it to icing and things. Any ideas, let me know! (Also some tea to have in my cupboard at work)

And finally, I also placed an order on i-herb, which I am most excited about. Last Christmas I took part in a blogger secret santa, and as part of that Jemma sent me some amazing gingerbread spice tea. I had seen other teas by the same brand in little shops over here, but never the gingerbread one, and I was so sad when I used all the tea-bags. I was browsing i-herb the other evening and noticed they had it in stock! It is a holiday one I think, or “seasonal”. Anyway, I have ordered some- it really is such a delicious tea and I am sure it would make yummy lattes too. (Code QOC914 for $5 off if you have never shopped with them before).

So, what can I do with all that syrup? I am sure I can add it to icing, but not sure what else!

Mini Pumpkin Pies with filo pastry (recipe)


I bought some tinned pumpkin when I went to use my almond breeze vouchers (from Waitrose magazine)- plus some yummy multi-grain thins and oatcakes.

I could not wait to get my bake on!

I decided to use coconut sugar to replace regular sugar (Ocado now stock it so I don’t have to order it from i-herb any more)- it seems to work in recipes just fine. The darker one is from i-herb, and the lighter one from Ocado (Tiana brand). Next time I am going to try coconut milk in place of the evaporated milk- I think it is there as a sweetener, and to make it a bit more creamy like custard, as the egg is there to set it I think. So I think it will work. As I am not a massive pastry fan I decided to experiment with filo pastry- then there is hardly any pastry and you get more filling. Although next time I might bake a couple in ramekins for a sort of pumpkin pudding/brulee thing.

Anyway, ingredients: (for 12 mini pies)

1 pack of filo pastry

1 tin pumkin puree

1 small tin evaporated milk (I think it is 170g)

1 egg

220g coconut sugar

1 tbs ground almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

grated nutmeg

First up, I prepared the filo by slicing it into squares. I then melted a little pure spread, and spread it inside cupcake tins.

In between each layer I put a little more melted spread (but not too much as it can go soggy). While this is going on, preheat the oven to 170C.

In one bowl combine all the other ingredients (pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, sugar, spices, ground almonds) and mix gently until there are no lumps.

Then spoon into the pastry cases.

They took ages to bake in my oven- they should not wobble when you gently shake the tray. I thought as they were small they would take 25 mins (so check after this time) but I baked them for about 15 mins longer- towards the end I turned the temperature down a little bit to stop the pastry from catching.

Remove right away (I think they will not crisp up otherwise) and leave to cool on a wire rack.

I sprinkled them with a little cinnamon sugar before serving.

I took some to a friends’ house on Saturday evening, and then served up the rest today to mine and Andy’s parents who came over (I heated them back up in the oven for a bit as I think they are so much better served warm). They were delicious- I love the pumpkin pie filling- the nutmeg just goes so well with the pumpkin.

Back to the weekend ramblings:

On Saturday I went for my 11 mile run. I found it much tougher than the 9 miles last weekend, but for the most part I still enjoyed it. The weather was beautiful- the lake was looking wonderful, and it was nice and cool so good running weather even with the sun shining. I think I was more tired, plus I think I left too long a gap between breakfast and going out (lots of cleaning etc before) and so by the time I got home I was very starving- it was nearly 1pm I think. Plus I had not taken any water with me, which was a mistake when I was out for just over 2 hours- a bit too long for me really. I was hallucinating about coconut water for the last mile!

I had one of the rude health pumpkin bars. It tasted a lot like dates (no surprise, it is made mainly of dates, plus almonds, pumpkin seeds, ground pumpkin, apple, spices)- I liked the seeds as they added crunch, and I loved the spices in there (cinnamon and ginger)- it reminded me a little of a nakd gingerbread bar, but a bit more subtle. Verdict? I would like more pumpkin flavour, but it was very tasty and I liked the texture of it.

I had a nuun tab right away, plus some coconut water to help with the rehydration, but it was a bit late as I got a headache quite soon after. Ah well, at least I finished it, and although when I got home I felt exhausted, after a shower and lunch I felt fine; not too stiff or anything, so I think so long as I don’t go crazy this week I should be fine for the next half marathon.

Today started with some greek yoghurt (with raspberry and pomegranate sauce) , a nectarine and cereal. After some work I had a few jobs to do in town, so I treated myself:

Tall soya chai tea latte, with spiced pumpkin syrup. The lady at the till liked the sound of it too! It was very sweet, but I could taste the spices, and it was very creamy (I think there is condensed milk in the syrup?). Anyway, a nice change and I am glad I asked if they would do it because I don’t like coffee but I did want to try the flavour.

Lunch was a speedy affair:

A pitta bread with some honey peanut butter (courtesy of American soda). Delicious and very melty in the warm pitta. Then both sets of parents came over to watch the football- tea and pumpkin pies for half time 🙂

I had a 3 mile run planned so I headed out later in the afternoon. I wore my tights for the first time this year as it seemed a bit chilly, although I had forgotten how annoying they are- I need to wear shorts over them otherwise I spend half my run pulling them back up again. Anyway, 3.2 miles, 31 mins- I thought it would be slower as I ran so far yesterday, but I felt alright.

When I got home I had some of the coconut water that was on offer in Waitrose- it was almost creamy tasting. I liked it anyway. (I wore gloves with a vest- seems a good combo for the weather at the moment as my hands seem to stay cold when the rest of me is warm.)

I had a Rude Health beetroot bar- it was quite pink but I am not sure that the photo shows it up that well. Like the pumpkin one it was mainly dates, with almonds, seeds and 7% beetroot, but the beetroot flavour came through. The bar was still sweet, but had an earthy flavour to it. I liked it although I prefer the pumpkin one because of the spices. I suppose some cocoa powder would be nice (beetroot and chocolate cake is yummy after all) but on its own it was still tasty.

Now I am making a lemon and poppyseed cake to take to my Nan tomorrow. More on that another day!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Do you like the sound of the pumpkin or beetroot bar? 

Workouts this week and rude health

Hey peeps

I hope everyone has had a good week- the week has flown by!

Here is a quick run-down of this week:

Monday- 3 mile run after work

Tuesday- Aerobics! I have not been for nearly a year, but it was good to be back. The lovely instructor had a fab new CD with new stuff mixed with cheesy tunes. I found it tough but enjoyable.

Pre- Sweatshop run snack of  rude health mulltigrain thina, chocolate spread and a Reece’s pb cup from american soda.

Wednesday- Sweatshop run. We did the same route last week (with the dreaded hill), and I was tired from aerobics the previous day. However I ran with another girl (who is usually a bit ahead of me- but we were scared of the underpasses on our own!) and we finished in 31 mins- not bad.

Thursday- Body pump. I was not really feeling it- I was shattered when I got home from work (Poetry day with performances and things), and during the chest track I was feeling quite annoyed with myself because I needed a rest. I wanted to be careful because after all the digging at the allotment on Sunday my back was a bit sore and stiff, so I knew I would go slightly lighter for the back track- perhaps that put me in a more relaxed state of mind. Plus the abs track is so weird- my arms are not strong enough by the end of the class to hold my body up, so I am not sure I do the moves right.

Friday- Glorious rest day!

Phew! Tomorrow I have planned an 11 mile run- I just hope the weather is as wonderful as last weekend- my final long run before the Oxford half next weekend.

Some food highlights from the week:

Yummy post Sweatshop dinner of baked sweet potato with sunflower seed butter and pb, spinach, and butternut squash roasted in a teeny bit of coconut oil and cinnamon.

I roasted up some fruit (for cheap in Asda)- plums, nectarines and peaches with a little coconut oil, a little coconut sugar and cinnamon and cloves. I had some warm with an Ecomil chocolate almond dessert (Ocado now stock them!) and sprinkled with coconut.

Apples from my garden! There are some more on my tree but they didn’t want to come off yet.

Porridge with some of the roasted fruit, plus blackberries from my garden! Only a few, but still. (With my pb+j sandwich, pot of fruit and nakd bar as my work lunch/ snacks ready to be packed up). And my micro-mitts!

Finally I was excited to receive a parcel in the post- Rude Health are now making veggie bars! The pumpkin ones sound especially amazing, and they sent me some to try!

The pumpkin ones have cinnamon in there- I am going to have one tomorrow 🙂

Have a lovely weekend- any nice plans?

Excitement and almond milk

Hey peeps,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Sunday morning started off for me with a trip to the allotment:

It was super weedy! We let the grass grow on the paths between the beds, but the weeds were not paying attention to my rules. Anyway, about an hour and a half later, I was very satisfied with how it was looking:

Much better!

My Dad planted those leeks for me a few weeks back, so that bit only needed a teeny bit of weeding. I also managed to pick some raspberries 🙂 I am amazed they are still going strong.

I spent a bit of time envying the plot next to mine:

Amazing pumpkins- they are massive and there are loads! My pumpkin plant still only has teeny flowers on it- no chance of one this year.

After that I was in need of breakfast!

After some work, Andy and I popped into town as we needed to get a few bits- we also popped to Starbucks 🙂 He tried a pumpkin latte (and made me try a bit even though I don’t like coffee- the coffee taste overwhelmed anything else, but Andy quite liked it)- I had the usual chai tea latte- sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg. I heard someone order a vanilla chai tea latte, so I am sure I will be able to ask for the pumpkin syrup with that- has anyone done that before?

I also went into Waitrose, and picked up a copy of the Love Life magazine.

I have bought it a few times and it is OK, but I saw a sign saying it was free with a My Waitrose card (I was persuaded to have one a while back, but usually you get 1p off each shop!)- anyway, inside was a little Almond Breeze booklet, plus vouchers for free plain and chocolate almond milk! Result!

As it has been getting colder I have been having porridge (with almond milk or coconut milk)- this week was with pumpkin purée  molasses, spices and sometimes a nectarine too. Nice and warming 🙂 It is so dark in the mornings now- pitch black outside when I have my breakfast 🙁

Then, when I got home from work today, I had this on the door mat! Less than 2 weeks til the next half marathon!  It spurred me on for my 3 miler- managed 3.1 in 31 mins, so keeping up the speed 🙂

What are you excited about right now? Anyone tried the pumpkin latte (without coffee?)?