Bad ass blueberry cake

Cake is always good. Fact. Scottish soft fruits are generally known to be amazing. Fact. What better to do then than combine the two? There are three parts to this recipe, if you like you can cheat and buy jam instead of making your own. An extra bonus of this recipe is that the batter alone makes great blueberry muffins.

For the cake:

250g Salted butter
200g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
250g Plain flour
2 tsp Baking powder
250g Blueberries

For the jam:

250g Blueberries
35ml Water
150g Caster sugar
1 tsp Lemon juice

For the icing:

110g Cream cheese
50g Butter
200g Icing sugar
1 tsp Lemon juice

First make up your cake batter. Cream the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy then add the eggs one by one mixing though before adding the next. Mix for five minutes until the batter is reasonably smooth. It’s hard work to do by hand so we thouroughly recommend using an electric beater of food mixer (thank you KitchenAid!) although if you can tough it out it’s great for bingo wing eradication. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth. Last but not least fold in the blueberries by hand (so they don’t all pop) and set aside for a couple of hours. If you’re making muffins for brekkie make the batter before going to bed and bake in the morning.

Next up is the jam, this is easy peasy and a good base recipe for any summer fruit jam. The recipe makes one small jarful and takes hard any time to set. Quite simply throw the ingredients into a pan, bring to the boil and keep it boiling for 25 minutes. Transfer to a sterilised jar or small container and put it in the fridge. Ready to go after about an hour. What you don’t use in your cake will keep for two months in the fridge.

When you’re ready heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 or equivalent. Pour the batter into a large sprung cake tin, or muffin cases if you’re that way inclined – there’ll be enough for 16 muffins. Bake for 45 minutes for a whole cake, 20 for muffs.

Once cooled split the cake in half through the middle, spread the bottom half liberally with jam and pop on the top. To make the icing cream together all of the ingredients then spread a good thick layer on top of the cake.

Make a nice cup of tea, sit down and enjoy.

And yes, we forgot to do a photo of this one until it was almost too late!

Bang bang bang!

What better comfort food than bangers and mash. We love this method because it only involves one pan for the meat merriment with no separate gravy making – a perfect recipe for midweek munching and lazy weekend TV dinners.

Ingredients to serve 2-3

6 good quality steak sausages

2 onions
250ml red wine
100 ml beef stock
1tsp mustard
2tsp flour
good dash of worcester

5-6 good sized floury potatoes
100g butter
1 tbsp creamed horseradish
100 ml milk

Preheat the oven to gas 5 or equivalent. Finely slice the onions then fry gently in a small amount of oil using an oven proof pan. As the onions start to colour add the flour, sausages and a touch of salt and pepper. Stir through until the flour goes claggy. Pour in the red wine and stock, bring quickly to the boil and put in the oven, it’ll take around 15 minutes for the sausages to cook through depending on their size.

With the sausages in the oven peel and boil up your spuds. Once they are cooked, drain them and mash in the pan you used to boil them, this will still be nice and hot so will keep them warm. We use a ricer to mash our tatties as you get a lovely fine texture. Add in the rest of the ingredients, mix well, season and serve.

Et voila, yummy beefy sausage and mash with a rich onion gravy.

A humble little crumble

Yes, crumbles conjure up thoughts of autumn with wafts of cinnamon and lashings of hot custard but here in Stovies’ kitchen they’re a great way of using up fruit when we’ve not been too good at eating our five a day. This recipe is great because everything is done in one dish, meaning less washing up and not much elbow grease. The topping is super crunchy thanks to the oats and the star anise gives a light, aromatic spice to the fruit. In winter though we can’t help but swap it out for a little cockle warming cinnamon. This crumble will easily satisfy six.

For the filling:
10 apples and pears, peeled and cut into chunks
1 handful sultanas
3 tbsp apple juice
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 star anise
1 tbsp golden syrup

For the topping:
100g salted butter
100g light brown sugar
175g plain flour
25g oat bran, if you don’t have oat bran grind some porridge oats in a pestle and mortar
a pinch of salt

Put the sultanas and star anise into the bottom of a baking dish then put the apples and pears on top. Pour over the lemon and apple juice and drizzle the golden syrup over the top. Cover with tinfoil then bake in a medium hot oven – gas 5 – until the apples start to soften, about 20 mins. Stir occasionally. The idea is that as the apples and pears soften the sultanas will plump up with some of the yummy residue.

Mix together the butter, sugar, flour and oats until you have a breadcrumby texture. It doesn’t matter if you have some goops of butter as they’ll melt away. Rubbing in with your hands instead of using a food mixer makes for fewer dishes. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping, it’ll be quite thick – this is good. Put the whole lot back into the over and bake until golden on top, 40 mins should be plenty.

Serve up with your choice of cream, custard or ice cream. And the natural fight over the crispy edge bits of course!

Stovies finally make….stovies!

Some nice beef mince that needed using up lead to a rather tasty alternate take on stovies. Now don’t get us wrong, we aren’t trying to ponce up stovies, just trying different things… This one is well worth a try and the base recipe can be altered to use any meaty (or veggy) treats that you fancy. This should serve 4-5 hungry tummies.

500g good quality minced beef
1kg potatoes (floury, waxy, whatever)
2 onions, diced
500ml beef stock
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1tsp dried herbs (something nice and earthy like thyme, or whatever goes with your meat of choice. With lamb try oregano and avoid mint)
salt and white pepper

Start by frying your onion in some oil over a gentle heat, you want them to be nice and soft but not coloured. Chop most of your potatoes into bite size pieces but with two spuds dice them very finely. These will help to really thicken the sauce without the using flour which can make the stovies claggy.

Add your mince to the onion and allow to colour, breaking it up slightly in the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for an hour or so. Stir well, the small diced potatoes should break up. Season to taste, lots of pepper is always a winner in our house. Serve with oatcakes (if you’re leaning towards poncey) or lashings of brown sauce if not!

As mentioned the basic recipe can be altered to your taste, try swapping the mince for good quality sausages (either whole, or skinned and broken up). Mr Stovies’ mum used to have sausage stovies waiting on the Aga after rugby training and it’s one of his fondest childhood memories. Then again, she also likes ‘raw stovies’ which is the above recipe but without ANY meat. Weird. Mrs Stovies, being a Fifer believes that stovies are only stovies if the meat is corned beef.

Whatever meaty (or otherwise) goodness you choose, just stick to the quantities and timings and all will be ok.