1916 Trench Cake – Recipe

As this coming Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1, I decided to make, what is known as, a “Trench Cake”, made from the original recipe from 1916.

Whilst men were fighting overseas, they longed for pieces of mail from home, and it soon became a tradition where the women back home would bake a cake that would not spoil quickly…  They would wrap it up securely, and the soldiers would often share the cake with the rest of their regiment.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

8oz plain flour

4oz butter

3oz dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, dried cherries, etc.)

1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tsp vinegar (malt)

1/4 pint milk (full fat)

2 tsp mixed spice powders (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, etc.)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens).
  • Grease and line your cake tin (I used an 8 inch tin).
  • Rub the butter and the flour together with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles crumble.

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  • Add the fruit, sugar and powdered spices, and continue mixing together with your fingertips.

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  • Measure out the milk in a jug, and add the vinegar.
  • Add the bicarb of soda to the milk and vinegar, then quickly add the liquid to the dry mix and beat well.

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  • Pour the cake mixture in to your greased and lined cake tin, and place in the centre of the oven for anywhere between 1 and 2 hours – A big difference, I know, but you can tell that your cake is ready by inserting a skewer in tot he middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean, it’s ready.  My cake was ready after just 1hr 5mins.

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  • Carefully turn the cake out on to a wire cooling rack, and allow the cake to cool fully before slicing and enjoying.

As you enjoy this cake, give a little thought to all of those who fought, and lost their lives in the Great War.  Lest We Forget.

 

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Cowboy Casserole – recipe

It’s been a little while since I last posted, so I decided to come back with another classic type of post…  A recipe.  This recipe is called a “Cowboy Casserole” by my two boys, but others may call it a simple sausage casserole.  It’s super simple to prepare, and makes for a filling and beautiful belly-warmer of a meal – especially now that it’s starting to get colder!

This whole recipe cost me £3.50 to make, and easily serves 4 or 5 people, meaning each serving is between 70p and 87p.  What a cracker!

Ingredients

16 sausages (I bought a double pack of Richmond’s)

1 tin of peeled, plum tomatoes (I used Asda’s own)

2 tins of beans (I used Asda’s own)

1tsp dried chilli flakes

1tsp paprika

Splash of oil (for frying)

Method

  • Add a splash of oil to a frying pan, and part-fry the sausages.  I managed to fit 8 sausages in my pan, so this took me two “goes”.  Once the sausages are almost cooked, and are a browny colour, transfer them on to some kitchen roll to remove any excess grease from the pan.
  • Chop each sausage in to a “mouthful” sized piece.  I cut each sausage in to four.

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  • Leave the cut sausages on your chopping board, and add two tins of baked beans in tomato sauce, the tin of peeled, plum tomatoes, the chilli flakes and paprika to your slow cooker.  Add the sausages, and stir the mixture with a large spoon until all the sausages have been coated.

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  • Set your slow cooker to “HIGH”, and set the timer for 5 hours.  Don’t forget to put the lid on the slow cooker.

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  • You can serve your Cowboy Casserole on its’ own, or (my recommendation) mashed potatoes.

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  • Enjoy!!

Peanut Brittle – Recipe

So simple to make, especially for a quick and easy make, but a bit of a nightmare to clean the pan afterwards!

If you are looking for a traditional peanut brittle recipe, look no further.  This recipe literally has only two ingredients…  Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and is also (relatively) healthy.

Ingredients

 

120g granulated or caster sugar

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120g peanuts (shelled and “skinned”)

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The above ingredients are so versatile…  It is literally the same amount of sugar to peanuts, or you can really push the boat out and use cashews (yummy)!

Method

  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof / baking paper.

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  • Measure out your sugar, and put in a thick-based saucepan, over a low-medium heat.  Try not to stir the sugar until it starts turning in to liquid…  Instead, move the pan in a circular motion to move the sugar around.

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  • When the sugar starts to melt, it will start turning in to a caramel colour…  Stir, using a metal spoon until all of the sugar has completely melted.

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  • Turn off the heat, and remove the pan to a “cool”, but heat-proof surface.
  • Add the peanuts directly to the syrup that you have made, and continue stirring, until all the peanuts have melded together, and it becomes difficult to stir any more.

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  • Spoon the mixture out on to the already lined baking tray.  Try to level out the mixture as you go, so it is only “one peanut high”.

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  • Leave to cool completely before you break it up to enjoy.

NOTE:

Melted sugar is basically lava.  DO NOT allow any children to come in to contact with it until it is fully cooled.

My Nan’s Bread & Butter Pudding – Recipe

Talk about a comfort food!  This is a perfect pudding to make and enjoy, whilst waiting for Spring to turn up.  I know, I know – it’s officially Spring already, but it’s still chilly out there!

This recipe takes about 15 minutes to make, and then a further 45 minutes to “bake”.  I asked for the help of Gning with this one…

Ingredients

100g sugar

3-4 tsp sweet mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)

4 eggs

1l milk (whole / full fat works best)

A few handfuls of sultanas

8 rounds of bread (approximately…  You may need more, depending on the size of the ovenproof dish you use)

Butter – to grease the ovenproof dish

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 190ºC (170ºC for fan assisted ovens).
  • Grease your ovenproof dish with butter.
  • Measure out your sugar, and combine the sweet mixed spice, stirring thoroughly.  I assigned this task to Gning.
  • Measure out your milk, and crack the eggs straight in to it.  Use a whisk to combine it…  This was another task assigned to Gning.

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  • (Optional) cut all the crusts off the bread.
  • Butter one side of each round of bread, and slice in half – side or diagonally, your choice.  Fill the bottom of the ovenproof dish with the sliced bread (butter “up”).
  • I asked Gning to sprinkle some of the sugar mix over the bread, followed by a handful of sultanas.  Repeat this step until the ovenproof dish is full.
  • Pour the egg-milk mixture over the top of the layered bread, and allow to “soak” for 10-15 minutes.  Don’t worry if it looks like you have too much milk…  You don’t.  It will all set wonderfully.

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  • Place in the middle of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Your pudding should be ready when it is a lovely golden colour.
  • Serve immediately – with or without cream; or you can leave the pudding to “set”, and serve it cold.  Yummy!

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Recipe – French Toast (my version)

Looks fancy, tastes absolutely delicious, and is incredibly easy to make.

French toast is one of those “posh” breakfast items that you think will take too long to make, but really – I just made 8 rounds in 5 minutes (minus the clean up – which I’m going to do after I’ve finished this post).

I first had French toast when I went to stay with my fathers’ friends, in Wisconsin, USA, and it was sublime!  However, when I got home, I couldn’t remember exactly how my host made it, so I winged it…  It worked out well, because now it’s a family favourite – even Donut (aged 2) has just wolfed down two slices!

Ingredients

3 large eggs

A good splash of milk (whole / full fat milk is best)

White bread (this recipe accounts for 8 slices)

Sweet mixed spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, mace, allspice, etc. – readily available in supermarkets, such as Asda, Tesco, etc.)

Coconut oil – for frying

Toppings – golden syrup, honey, seasonal fruit, icing / powdered sugar…

Method

  1. Mix the eggs, milk, and a good shaking of the mixed spice in a bowl – ensure the bowl is big enough to fit a slice of bread, without bending it.
  2. Heat the coconut oil over a medium to high heat, in a frying pan.
  3. Place a single slice of bread in the egg mixture, and turn it over – make sure the round of bread is fully covered.
  4. Add the egg-mix covered bread to the frying pan, and give an extra little shake of the mixed spice.  Leave for 30 seconds or so, then turn it over – repeat the process by adding another little shaking of the mixed spice.  After another 30 seconds, turn the bread over for one final couple of seconds – just to allow the second shaking of mixed spice “cook” a little.
  5. Repeat the process with as many rounds of bread you can…
  6. Serve with a helping of syrup or honey, fruit, such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or icing / powdered sugar.
  7. Best enjoyed hot / warm, although, rather lush cold too, ha ha.
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The French toast shown above is an image found on Google…  My French toast was scoffed before I could even think of getting my camera!

It’s another Blogiversary!

Today celebrates my 6th year of my Insanely Normal blog.

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It’s been fun, although a little slack, and I know that I have said it time and time again, but that can now change…  I have a lot more time to be able to publish, and I have all sorts of ideas!

So, without further ado, let’s revisit my top three posts…

At number 3…

This post has somewhat amused me since I published it in 2014.  It was a review (a negative one at that!  And badly wrote, haha) about a local franchised café.  I can remember visiting the place – it was bloody awful, and I imagine nothing has changed, because I’m still receiving messages agreeing with my post!  You can read about the Pound Café in Huyton here.

At number 2…

2015 seems to have been the year that brought in most of my subscribers (hello stalkers!), and top of the shot (again), was my Christmas Ham post!  My second most popular post in 2015 was for my slow cooker sausage casserole…  With just under 10,000 reads throughout the year, it definitely got the attention it deserved, ha ha.  You can try the slow cooker sausage casserole recipe here.

Drum roll please, because at number 1…

Every Christmas, I make a ham.  It’s by far the best thing I have ever made, and you all seem to agree, as the amount of views that post has received is amazing!  I first published the post in 2012, and it seems to be a recipe that is used right throughout the year, as it’s always my most read…  My “best” stats for this recipe was on 1 December, 2016, when I had a little over 4,000 views – just on that day!  You can read my Christmas Ham here.


So, it seems that my stalkers like recipes and negative reviews!  Ha ha.  Yes, those were my top three posts in the past six years, and other posts in my top ten include more recipes, a holiday post, and how parenthood drives me crazy.

So, here’s to more exciting times – more recipes, more random stuff, and I may even through in a mini-comp somewhere…

Peppermint Creams

I was so frustrated the first time I made peppermint creams, and was almost throwing the mixture in the bin, ha ha.  So pleased that I stuck with it, because now I have successfully made them a few times, and they just keep getting better on each occasion!

This recipe is certainly not recommended for anyone who suffers diabetes, as it is probably 95% sugar; so with that in mind, ensure you limit the amount of these you give to your kids too…  Unless you want them bouncing off the walls, ha ha.

I made these today with my 5 year old, and he needed very little help, so another easy recipe for the kids to make 🙂

This recipe cost me just shy of £1.50 to make 24, however it would have cost about £2 to double (if not more) the quantity.

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Google image used – I didn’t take a photograph of my mints!!

Ingredients

1 egg white (you won’t need the yolk…)

Lemon juice

400g icing sugar (otherwise known as powdered sugar / confectioners sugar), plus extra for rolling

Peppermint flavouring

Method

  1. Prepare a “resting” area for your finished mint creams…  I used a sheet of baking / greaseproof paper on top of a baking tray.
  2. In a large, clean bowl, add your egg white, and mix with a fork until it begins to foam slightly.
  3. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the egg white, and mix for a little longer.
  4. Gradually add the icing sugar – I added the sugar in two sections only, and in between each section I added 1 teaspoon of peppermint flavouring.  Continue to mix combine the mixture with the fork (you’ll have difficulties if you’re using a spoon).
  5. When the mixture becomes too difficult to mix with your fork, that’s when you need to get your hands in there.  Combine the mixture in to an icing dough ball.
  6. Turn the icing ball out on to a clean surface, sprinkled with icing sugar.
  7. Roll to approximately 1-2cm thickness, and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.  Place your shapes on to the resting area that you made up earlier.
  8. You can decorate your mints, if you like, or leave them plain.  I used a fork to decorate mine…
  9. Now this is the hardest part.  Your mint creams are technically ready to eat within 10/15 minutes of resting, however, if you want the “real deal”, you need to wait for up to 24 hours for them to “set” properly.

Enjoy!