Back in Colorado, buried deep in a box in my parents’ attic, my carrot cake recipe is stashed and collecting dust. Sadness. Oh how I wish I had had it today. I have been craving a bite of moist and spicy carrot cupcake with perfectly tangy cream cheese frosting. So I made up a little half batch today, but because I don’t have my recipe with me, I borrowed a recipe from Martha — and I’m disappointed to say that while the felon’s cupcakes look a treat, they fall far from being perfectly moist and spicy and delicious.

carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

One thing Marf and I do agree on, however, is that these little cherubs cost just pennies to make. And once again I only had to go to the shop to get coconut (100g for 89p), walnuts (100g for £1.29) and cream cheese (200g for 75p). So this is a good one to make if you’re cleaning your cupboards. I made half a recipe but to make the full recipe it costs only about £3 — £1 for the cake mix ingredients; 20p for the carrots; 45p for coconut; 65p for walnuts; 75p for cheese — that’s only 25p per cupcake! (Now don’t you hate those trendy posh cupcakeries charging £2.50 per cake now??)

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It was just my birthday weekend! I had originally planned to spend Sunday baking four kinds of delicious little cupcakes and plaster my blog with tasty photos, but my social life trumped my kitchen activities for once, and I ran out of time. This is not to say, however, that I won’t be baking four kinds of delicious little cupcakes for myself — all in time, my friends. I did eat a lot of cake and enjoyed a lot of lovely meals to celebrate my 30th year over the weekend. But after eating out in London four days in a row, I was so happy to come home on Monday (my actual birthday) to enjoy a simple delicious meal prepared for me.

pan fried cod with mash and cheese sauce

Taking inspiration from his dinner at the Electric in Notting Hill, Jonny pan fried some cod and served it over creamy mash with a rich and smooth cheese sauce. Drool. (more…)

Cookies. Biscuits. Call them what you will. I love them. All of them. I’m a sucker for the classics but I’m always up for baking up new kinds, because who knows when you’ll discover a new addiction! I’m craving something delicious and dainty to go with a lovely cup of tea. Passion fruit is the seasonal food of the week, so I’ve decided to make up a new cookie.

passion fruit ~ the fruit of the gods

I picked up 4 passion fruits for £2.75 but you can find them cheaper if you buy a bulk pack. A 250g block of butter is about £1, and the rest of the ingredients I had on hand. But for budget’s sake, I figured the cost of the amount of flour used costs 13p; icing sugar is 15p; caster sugar is 15p; 1 egg is 25p; vanilla* is 5p.

Behold, Passion Fruit Angel Cookies. (more…)

a must have for any functioning kitchen

You might notice that I lack any real allegiance to a standard measuring system. It’s because I live in the UK but grew up cooking in the US. I’ve spent the last three years converting my US recipes into metric system and UK ingredients into US measurements. It’s like learning a new language, really. I finally got to the point where I mostly just eyeball things when I’m cooking. But baking is a different story (it’s science!) so I’ve had to convert most of my recipes for both — sometimes I have my US measuring cups with me, and sometimes I don’t.

So to bring some measure of sanity to this blog, I’ll do my best to provide you measurements in both systems for each recipe I put here. I use the conversion calculator from traditional oven [dot] com because it converts everything — I mean, it will give you a measure of dekagrams for one stick of butter — and is awesome in its accuracy. And look! Today I even bought this measuring cup that has both systems! Joy of joys.

As for the prices of things, I only buy things in the UK and I only pay with £’s and p’s, and I have no idea how much things cost in ‘merica these days. So for my American friends, I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to believe my theory on exchange rates and the price of goods: It’s pretty much (most of the time) the same. Units, I call them. It costs the same amount of units to buy butter in the UK as it does in the US. If something says £3.50 in the shop here, I’d expect the same product to be around $3.50 in the US. Maybe I’m delusional, and if so, please forgive me. But for now, it’s the way I’m operating things around here.

… Out of curiosity, how much is a pound of unsalted butter in the US these days? (Store brand, I don’t need fancy shmancy).

Sunday dinner seems like an appropriate meal to start this blog with. Jonny and I spent the day in the rain in Bath not doing anything we had planned to do, so coming home to Dorchester with a huge piece of trout and a sunny break in the clouds was a lovely turn to the evening. Jonny’s been doing push ups and I’ve been waiting patiently by the fridge ever since…

The things I love about cooking trout: It’s so easy. It’s oh so tasty. It’s good for you (omega 3s and protein, yeah!) And it’s cheap. The 365g filet put us back £3.60. That’s easily enough for three people, but Jonny is buffing up (pushups, etc.) so he had extra. And along side roasted sweet potatoes (2 for 50p) and some broccoli (400g for 64p) we’re comfortably under £5. (I don’t count mustard because the amount you use is probably a fraction of a penny.)

This isn’t really a recipe, so without further ado… (more…)