Harvest (2) – Apple tea cake.

What to do when the so-called summer turns cold wet and windy? Make cake of course!



2large or 4small apples, peeled and sliced

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

250 g sugar

250 g butter, melted

250 g self raising flour

4 eggs.

Thankfully for me, this cake is easy-peasy. I really am not much of a baker, but this cake is so simple that even I can make it.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Combine eggs and sugar into a bowl and beat until very well combined. Add the melted butter and combine well. Put in flour a bit at a time, mix well and add apple slices and cinnamon.

Pour into a greased and lined (with baking paper) cake tin. Bake for approx 50 minutes. Check with a skewer in the centre…it should come out clean and dry.

Allow to cool and serve!



Harvest (1) – Greengage tartlets


Good friends of ours have just moved from The Mainland to The Island full time. They have found a gorgeous house with land, and my ultimate dream…… a small orchard filled with gorgeous fruit trees. They were kind enough to invite us for lunch and we spent a delightful time harvesting greengages and apples and took bags of each home with us.


Greengages – a type of plum.


Mmmmmmm….. apples, freshly picked.

We ate about 20 greengages fresh for dinner last night, and today Baby-Gusto and I made really simple and easy tartlets. First I roughly chopped the greengages and removed the stone.


I put a tablespoon of butter and sugar into a small saucepan and added the greengages. I cooked over a low heat stirring for 10 minutes or so until the fruit had a jam-like consistency. I then rolled out some ready-made puff pastry and cut out circles. I dolloped a spoonful of the greengage jam in the middle. These went into an oven on 180 degrees celsius for about 15-17 minutes.


Perfect with a cup of coffee, and a lovely snack on a cold day!

Interlude- Zen Zen coconut ice cream


Accepted wisdom in the Gusto household is that Baby-Gusto hates coconut. He refuses coconut water as a drink (nectar of the gods), refuses dessicated coconut on the raw chocolate truffles I very occasionally make. Refuses my vegetable, apple and coconut curry. Will not even tolerate the odd Bounty bar.

This, however, he wolfed down and asked for more. Gorgeous, delicious, unctuous, vegan coconut icecream made with 77% coconut milk.

Yum. Like Seriously Yum.



Zucchini Cake


I loved zucchini cake when I was growing up. Looking with some confusion and a lack of inspiration at two ancient and bendy zucchinis this week I thought zucchini cake would be perfect for them. I scoured the web for a nice recipe and came up with a recipe from Paul Hollywood.

The recipe makes two loaves, which I did not want so I set about halving the proportions. That resulted in a dry crumbly mixture, so I added egg number 3 and a bit more oil. Then it was a bit too liquidy so I tossed in some more flour. In the end I thought that I had stuffed the whole thing up, so would throw it in the oven and see what happened. Considering my anarchic approach, I was surprised that such a lovely light, tasty cake came out of the oven!

I made no notes of any of the measurements I used as it was all a bit of guesswork. So I post instead the link to the recipe I should have followed.



Seed Cake


This cake was immensely popular in Georgian and Victorian times. It also features heavily in my Famous Five-style retro picnic fantasies. The seed in question are caraway seeds. This version does not use yeast, so beating the batter hard is a must.


225 g self-raising flour

1  teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 tspoon cinnamon

25-30 g caraway seeds

225 softened butter

225 g golden caster sugar

2 large eggs separated.

line and grease your cake tin.

Sift flour and spices into a bowl. add caraway seeds. Cream the butter and sugar in and mix very thoroughly. Add the egg yolks and mix. Whip the egg whites until they are stiff and then mix in thoroughly. Pour into the tin and bake at 170 degrees Celsius for about an hour. Check though after 40 minutes or so by inserting a skewer in the centre. My cake took just under an hour but the oven I was using tends to run a bit ‘hot’.

The texture of the cake is very crumbly. Husband-Gusto said it would be perfect with a small glass of sherry. He ate it plain, but I spread it with  thin layer of butter and added a pinch of salt.

Now… for a hot summer so we can actually go on a picnic….



1 cup ground almonds

1 tablespoon flaxseed/ground pumpkin seed mix

1 heaped teaspoon pure cocoa

1-2 tablespoons agave syrup

1 tablespoon raisins.

dessicated coconut.

Mix all ingredients except for coconut together until you have a firm paste. (You may need to drizzle the agave syrup in gradually to get the right consistency.)

Roll into little balls in your hand.

sprinkle on coconut.