Saturday, 1 December 2012

Everything's homemade!

Hello Dear Reader,

I'm so excited that I've been up for hours, I had the fire lit by five this morning to warm the house up for my workshop today. We're making bags today and I can't wait. Once you've made one, you'll never buy a bag again! Everything we eat is homemade too. Fostermummy is coming today and it's her birthday so, of course, I baked a carrot cake. It's still warm here but it will have an orange (juice) glaze when it's cooled. 

Here's the recipe and the how to (thanks to BBC Food - who ever needs to buy a cookery book ever again with this resource available?)

You will need: 

  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 175ml sunflower oil
  • 3 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 140g grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 100g raisins
  • grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated will give you the best flavour)

  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1½-2 tbsp orange juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan 160C. Oil and line the base and sides of an 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment. The easiest way to do this is to cut two long strips the width of the tin and put each strip crossways, covering the base and sides of the tin, with a double layer in the base.
  2. Tip the sugar into a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil and add the eggs. Lightly mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.
  3. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices, then sift into the bowl. Lightly mix all the ingredients - when everything is evenly amalgamated stop mixing. The mixture will be fairly soft and almost runny.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40- 45 minutes, until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. (You can freeze the cake at this point.)
  5. Beat together the frosting ingredients in a small bowl until smooth - you want the icing about as runny as single cream. Set the cake on a serving plate and boldly drizzle the icing back and forth in diagonal lines over the top, letting it drip down the sides.

Next, I made Sun dried tomato bread, in my machine. You simply add the following ingredients, set it to basic as you would a white loaf and let it do what it does. This make a 2lb loaf.

Water 1 1/3 cups
Oil - I used olive oil - 2 tablespoons
Salt - 1 heaped teaspoon.
Mixed herbs - 2 heaped teaspoons
Strong White bread flour - 4 cups
Fast Action Yeast - 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes - 1/2 cup

Switch it on - this is a three hour loaf. My bread machine was found the cheapest here and I will be writing more about getting the very best ways of stretching your hard earned cash by using this website. 

Here's a close up of the bread and cake and the smell is making my tummy rumble! I also made Spicy Butternut Squash soup. If you've never made this then what are you waiting for, it is utterly delicious. Here's the recipe and how to, again courtesy of BBC Food. 


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/2 medium chilli
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • celery sticks (I used a lot more - it makes it go further)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • pinch cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 pints veg/chicken stock


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add garlic, chilli, paprika,  and cumin seeds and heat for 30 seconds (do not colour, you only want to release the flavours).
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients apart from the stock.
  3. Saute the vegetables for 2 minutes until they are fully coated in the spices.
  4. Add the stock, turn down the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 45 mins.
  5. Allow the soup to cool and then blend with a hand whisk, until free of lumps. If the soup is too thick add a little more stock until you have the desired consistency.
  6. Reheat when ready to serve and eat with a big hunk of crusty bread, delicious!
Lunch is going to be soup, salad, bread, hummus (made by Fostermummy) and cake! I'm looking forward to the homemade food as much as the homemade bags!

I'll be back later with tales of the day.

Until then,

Much Love,

Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


  1. BBC food is great for recipes!
    I would recommend that site to anyone!
    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

  2. It sounds like a lovely day ahead - have fun and enjoy your yummy lunch xo

  3. Just logged on while I'm waiting for Arwedd to arrive - YAY!!! CAKE!!!! SO excited that...oh hold on I need a wee.....!!!xx

  4. Have a lovely day froogs, wish I lived near you!

    San xx

  5. Have a great day! Cheers Judy xx

  6. I make carrot cake from the same source, their recipes are so reliable.
    Have a good day!

  7. The food looks very delicious, have a great day x

  8. I loved the way Nigel Slater made crisps from his butternut squash peelings to serve with his soup the other week. Cheers! for the BBC Food website !!

    blessings xx

  9. I hope you all have a wonderful day. Lots of 'bag' ladies together :-)

    Sue xx

  10. Is it sinful for me to want to slather slices of that glorious bread in great slabs of butter? Oh it looks utterly glorious and the cake looks fit for a feast! Oh how I wish we had a fireplace, I think I would light it nearly every day of the year if I could!

  11. Sounds like a wonderful day ahead in your home! Please post pictures of all the different bags...I just love the pattern. And the food doesn't sound too shabby either!

  12. Good food, good conversation and great bunch of 'bag' ladies. Have a wonderful time xxx

  13. Please please take pictures of your bread and carrot cake when you slice them ; they both look delicious ! My december resolution : be frugal ; wish me luck, it's all thanks to your great blog !

  14. sounds amazing!!! It looks great too Happy Birthday to your fostermum!!!

  15. Hi froogs , wish I was coming to your workshop. The food all looks divine and thank you for linking the recipes.....must make that soup.
    Have a great time.
    Jacquie x

  16. Hi Froogs
    Looks like I may be able to comment using a computer but not the phone. Hope you are having a great day bag making. got the pay it forward stuff off in the post.

  17. Yum! Can't wait to see what you all stitch up? Did I miss a link to the pattern perchance?

  18. I make carrot cake but vegan! Happy birthday Foster Mummy! I was in the city today to drop off some gift we were donating to charity and had s shocking time getting through the shoppers in their frenzy of materialistic greed :-( It was truly awful! Would rather have had your day, it sounds great and I love your bags (I do have a terrible bag fixation)!

  19. Excuse the typos, was on a crowded bus on the way home!

  20. Looks lovely, I use the BBC Good Food website loads, Twiglet's favourites are the Smartie cookies. Hope you had a fab time.

  21. my mouth is watering looking at your baking, the cake looks so yummy, and yes what would we do without the BBC


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