Category Archives: baking

chocolate cake

Ingredients:
250g/8oz/1 and a half cups of flour
50g/2oz/1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
200/g/6oz/1 cup sugar
75g/2oz/half a cup of mixed, chopped nuts (optional)
150g/5oz/1/2 cup vegetable oil
120ml/4 fl oz/half a cup cold water or soy milk
120ml/4 fl oz/half a cup of orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift dry ingredients into 8″ square or 9″ round baking pan. Mix liquids (except vinegar) and whisk into dry. When batter is smooth, add vinegar and stir quickly, until it is evenly distributed. Put it in the oven, don’t let it stand around (that has something to do with the vinegar) Bake for 25-30 minutes…or longer until done.

A gorgeous ‘steamed pudding with chocolate sauce’ variation of this cake was sent in to us by Bracken: put broken up chocolate bar pieces in the bottom of a microwavable basin and put the chocolate cake mixture on top. Microwave for 2-4 minutes depending on machine. It is something similar to the M&S (and several other companies) steamed chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce. Its also very quick and you dont need to use the oven (so saving electric).



cookies

This recipe makes about 40 small (2 inch/6cm) cookies

Ingredients:
150g/5oz/three quarter cup caster sugar
150g/5 oz/three quarter cup vegetable margarine
5 tablespoons of soya milk
300g/10 oz/1and a half cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C/400F and grease cookie sheets. Cream together the sugar and marg. Mix in the soya milk and vanilla and then the flour. The mixing of the flour is best done with your hands (messy but fun!). You should have a workable dough (add more flour if it’s too wet or more soya milk if too dry and doesn’t hold together well). Roll out on a floured board (to just under 1 cm thick) and cut into cookies (if you don’t have cookie cutters you can use an upturned glass). Lay on cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes for soft bake cookies or a little longer for dryer, crunchy ones.

Variations:  Add choc, nuts or/and dried fruit  Half dip the cooled cookies in chocolate – choccy biscuits! Crushed chocolate beans are a colourful replacement for chocolate chips. They can also be pressed all over the top prior to baking. Plain cookies with a handful of sesame seeds or desiccated coconut added into the dough are delicious. Jewel biscuits: make a hole in the middle of your uncooked cookie once it is placed on a baking tray and place a boiled sweet in the space – this will melt down and fill the hole in the oven and then reset once cool – lovely for Christmas tree decorations! Plain cookies with a square of chocolate pressed onto them before baking work well too.

Don’t miss our Frugal Christmas section!

potato bake

Extremely simple and cheap – even if you’ve never cooked before you should manage this one!

potato bake in a Halogen oven

Ingredients:
6 or 7 medium sized potatoes, peeled
1 large can of baked beans in tomato sauce (approx 800g – you could use 2 standard size tins instead)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 or 3 sliced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of margarine for dotting over the top
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds for sprinkling on the top
other optional layers:
1 or 2 cups of left-over rice mixed with some soya milk and herbs
sliced mushrooms mixed with a little veg. oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 can of sweetcorn
1 can of spinach

Part-boil the potatoes for 5 or 6 minutes until starting to soften. Thinly slice them. In a large casserole or lasagne dish place a layer of potatoes then a layer of beans, then onion and repeat until all used up. That is the basic dish but you can add any other layers you like (experiment! Any tins lurking in the cupboard?), such as the garlic mushrooms, sweetcorn, spinach or rice ones above, making the last layer potatoes. Spread the sliced tomatoes over the top, dot with the marg. and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft at 190C/380F.

Pictured Bake cooking in an energy saving Halogen Oven.



baked potatoes

or potatoes in their jackets!

Yes – this is hardly a recipe but it may be useful to those with little cooking experience.

Ingredients:
Large baking potatoes
Olive oil
Seasalt

Wash the potatoes well and then prick all over with a fork. Coat them with the oil and salt – messy but fun! Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 180C/360F. Alternatively you can cook these in a microwave in minutes (follow manufacturers guidelines for timing). Nice served with a green salad and your choice of topping or filling.

Suggested toppings: Baked beans, hummuscasserolecurryrice salad, sweetcorn, stir fired veg – let your imagination run wild!!