Lunches, Sinks and Ginger Cake for 16p a square
The lunching lady theme continued right through last week, right up to yesterday! I have been out for seven days on the trot, I can’t tell you just how much I need to catch up on. I was going to say I have a much less sociable diary this week until I glanced at it. There is WI book group on Wednesday, coffee with a friend on Thursday, coffee group on Friday and Fitstep class on Saturday! So maybe not. I should be able to catch up with a lot of stuff even so this week.
It’s also (even more) utter chaos here today as DP ploughs on with the kitchen. The plumber is here to commission the under floor heating in the new part and to assist with sorting out the plumbing needed to re-fit the sink and do a few more things that need doing. So the water is off, the sink is out and there is stuff, everywhere.
Following on from Monday & Tuesday’s lunches, Wednesday was the regular WI meeting day. We had arranged a miscelleny of crafts and as at the same kind of meeting that we had last year, there was a happy buzz all afternoon. We had our watercolourist back, and another tutor as well from the same art club. I wanted to do everything, but had to choose only one. I wandered round looking at what everyone else was doing a couple of times. Barry, the artist, had brought along some prepared stuff, including these delightful little flower sketches which I am hoping to be able to copy. By the time I got home, it was well gone 6.
On Thursday, I spent the day with DD2. When we enjoy a day together, we always have lunch somewhere, and this time we went all the way over to East Dean to the Tiger Inn. It was a lovely day and we wandered around admiring houses and chat chat chatting, as we do. There are several lovely places to poke around in on the green here, including admiring a blue plaque where Sherlock Holmes reputedly stayed, make of that what you will!
On Friday, I was out most of the morning at a regular coffee meeting with a big group of pals, did several chores in the town while I was down there, and didn’t get back until the afternoon.
Saturday, DP and I drove the 30 miles to Maidstone to visit my Mum who is down from Northampton, staying with my brother over there for a few weeks. Lots more chat, chat, chatting and catching up, then Mum treated us all to an Indian takeaway
And finally yesterday, DP and I went down to Eastbourne to visit DD1 and DGD. We had a lovely walk down to the harbour and decided to have some lunch at the Harvester there. Not so good this time. The place was heaving and after an extremely long wait, a couple of hours, our mains arrived and had obviously been sitting on the pass for at least half an hour. We were so ravenous by then that we devoured it anyway, and an email got fired off today telling them that it simply wasn’t good enough and what did they propose to do about it. We shall see.
As I can’t cook anything right now, and it’s lunchtime, I have just had a straightforward cheese sandwich with one of the very last Brandywine tomatoes from the greenhouse and a beautiful fresh apple, straight from the tree. Simple pleasures.
So, to a recipe. I thought I’d do one of my favourite cakes for you today. I haven’t got a picture, as I can’t get in the kitchen to make it, but you probably know what ginger cake looks like anyway. It’s brown, sticky, and it’s a cake!
Here’s a picture of one from Nigella Lawson. Nigella also uses half treacle and half golden syrup. If you wanted to do that, it would make it a bit cheaper as own brand golden syrup is 19p/100g as against 25p for the treacle. She also has an icing suggestion if you want to top it with icing. Personally, I like it as it is.
200ml veg oil, £1.25/litre, 25p
400g black treacle, or a whole, small, tin, £1.15/ 454g tin
250ml milk, any kind, £1/2.27litres, 11p
400g self raising flour, sieved, 45p/1.5kg, 12p
100g brown sugar, I like to use muscovado, Asda £1/500g, 20p
2 tsp mixed spice Asda 77p/33g, 10p
4 tsps ground ginger, Asda Rajah brand, 65p/85g, 10p
4 eggs Asda mixed weight eggs, 8.3p per egg, 33p, or Asda free range mixed weight 13.3p per egg, 53p
Total of £2.56 using free range eggs, cuts into 16 squares, 16p each square
I use the whole tin, as I only use black treacle for this and I really can’t be naffed to keep a tin with 54g of treacle in it. All the supermarkets on mySupermarket were selling the treacle at £1.15, except Aldi, who don’t stock it.
Line a 20cm square tin and heat the oven to 140C fan, 160C non-fan, 325F, Gas Mark 3
Warm the treacle gently in a saucepan, add the milk and oil and set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Do make sure the flour is sieved otherwise the lumps simply refuse to come out. When the treacle and milk mix is cool enough, whisk in the eggs.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients just mixing it enough to stir them together. The mix is like a batter. Pour into the tin and bake for 50 minutes, the cake doesn’t rise very much. Leave in the tin until cool, then in a greaseproof paper lined box/tin for a few days if you can so the cake develops the distinctive sticky top.
Nuts, raisins, glace cherries and fine chopped preserved ginger can all be added. This cake keeps for quite a while, so is great for lunchboxes, and makes a good pudding too with a bit of custard, cream or ice cream.
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one