Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Plum and Oatmeal Loaf Cake

Every summer we receive plums in abundance my granddad's orchard and a few from our back garden plum tree. Ripe plums are soft, juicy and not too sweet, but however delicious they are, there are only so many we can eat. So a large proportion get turned into cakes, my older sister and I each having a preferred recipe.  I was a bit rushed in taking photos but I thought I'd share this recipe anyway as it's such a favourite of mine.
It's always nice to use seasonal produce, especially when you know where its come from, and plums are perfect for cakes as they stay soft but not soggy. This madeira cake is made with oatmeal which gives it a really good texture as a loaf.

There's something I really like about loaf cakes, which I can't really put my finger on. They're a good size and easy to serve, a look nice plain and unadorned. The little drizzle of orange icing makes this a little more elegant and adds a small extra texture and sweetness. My drizzling isn't very neat, and the cake isn't a great looker, but often it's the more rustic cakes that taste the best. Sugary perfection in cake decorating doesn't always to taste as good as it looks! And I can promise you this delivers on flavour, deep plum with hints of orange. I added ginger to my last cake and thought it went nicely with the plums. 

Plum and Oatmeal Loaf Cake

250g English plums
100g butter, softened
1 orange, zest and juice 

2 medium eggs
125g self-raising flour 
1⁄2tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger, optional
50g medium oatmeal*
100g icing sugar

*To make oatmeal yourself, grind up 125g porridge oats and then pass through a sieve to remove any remaining whole oats.

   Preheat your oven to 170C and line a loaf tin. I've found these loaf liners from Lakeland very useful. Halve the plums and take out the stones, then slice them into medium pieces
   Beat together butter, orange zest and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, plus a tablespoon of the flour with each to prevent curdling. Sift in the remaining flour and the baking powder. Add the oatmeal and mix to combine.
   Stir in two-thirds of the plums and tip into the loaf tin. Scatter remaining plums on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Carefully remove from load tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. 
   While the cake is cooling make the icing: beat together the icing sugar and enough orange juice to make a smooth paste. Once the cake is cooled, drizzle over the icing and enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Evening Walk

One Sunday evening whilst we were on holiday my mum asked me if I wanted to go for a drive. It was wonderful just to get lost, to choose the road turn by turn, driving towards the sea with vibrant hedgerows and green fields on either side. At every turn you get a new display of the work of our amazing Creator God! We stopped off in a lay by and I perched on top of the car to take pictures of the gorgeous panorama: cow field, hedgerow flowers, wooded valley, green fields, the coast, rainbow, sky and clouds.

Walking towards the coast we were awed by the beauty of the sun beginning to set against the cliffs and shimmering water. Sometimes its hard to make out the horizon between sea and sky! It's funny how you don't always notice clouds, but that evening they added so much drama to the landscape. The tiny detail and bright colour of the wayside flowers is beauty on a different scale, but they too fill me with a sense of wonder and excitement.

"The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvellous display of His craftsmanship." Psalm 19 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Holiday pictures

However many drafts I have in my post folder I just never seem to get around the adding the finishing touches in time to schedule posts, hence the long absence of posts as I have been on holiday. I was in beautiful Cornwall for two relaxing weeks, it was such a great opportunity to practise with my camera! I've also got a recommended recipe that I tried out in the big farmhouse kitchen, but I'll test it again and try to take some better photographs.

I thought I'd write a post sharing some pictures from the holiday, but there are so many it was difficult to choose! These ones are from a walk up a big hill called Roughtor which was really beautiful and wild scenery. There were sheep everywhere, and loads of boulders and piles of stone, which are the remains from an ancient settlement. More holiday photo posts will be coming soon!

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post, it's really nice to hear from readers! I wasn't able to reply as usual because of being on holiday. Also sorry this post was so late, but I hope you enjoy the photos!