Juneathon Day 11: Cake and Run

Apple and Apricot Cake

Another day, another run and…
… another cake.

This time it’s American Apple and Apricot cake. Or it would be, if I had any apricots left in the Chook House.

Instead, I had to make do with sultanas. Still, it’s a truly delicious and simple cake from my favourite cookbook Mary Berry’s “Baking Bible”. And yet, it looks good enough to serve as a special dessert warm from the oven and with a little whipped cream on the side.

The teens didn’t wait about for the whipped cream, however. Instead, the cake was swiftly demolished in a cut and run approach. I have to confess to being part of that attack myself. And hmmm, I enjoyed every bite.

Here’s hoping I worked off all that damage with my three mile trot this evening.

Mary Berry’s American Apple and Apricot Cake

250g (9oz) self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
225g(8oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g(5oz) butter, melted
1/2 tsp almond extract
225g(8oz) cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced thickly
100g(4oz) dried apricots, snipped into pieces( I used sultantas instead)
25g(1oz) flaked almonds –

1.Pre-heat the oven at 160c / fan 140c / gas 3
2.Grease a 20cm(8inch) round loose bottomed cake tin and line with baking parchment
3.Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter into a large bowl. Mix well to combine then beat for 1 minute. Add the apples and apricots to the bowl and gently mix with a spoon
4.Spoon the mix into the prepared tin, gently level the surface and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 1-1.5 hour, until the cake is golden and firm to the touch
5.Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel of the parchment and put on a plate to serve.

Juneathon Day Ten: 3.00 miles
Juneathon Mileage 38.14 miles

Juneathon Day Four: Oat Biscuits



Oatmeal Biscuit

Juneathon Day Four and yes, I did get to run but didn’t get to brag blog about it. The Chook House presented other matters for my attention including three teens at risk of imminent starvation, a Himalyan pile of laundry and a broken iron. And all before I even had a chance to get my running shoes on.

I decided to deal with the teens first.

Within minutes, they had steaming stacks of pancakes under their noses. Each slathers their pile to their own taste: Teen Boy 1 is content with lots of lemon juice, cinnamon and just a little sugar. Teen Boy 2 holds the sugar and lashes on the maple syrup, while Teen Girl’s favourite is strawberries and cream.

But teenagers are hungry hounds, so, while they slurped contentedly, I threw together some oaten biscuits. These are, of course, from my favourite baking book Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and are turning out to be a such a great favourite here in the Chook House with teens and visitors that I usually make double the quantity. Gotta keep those hungry hounds at bay!

Mary Berry’s Oat Rounds

Ingredients (makes approx. 16)

  • 50 g(2 oz)caster sugar
  • 100 g(4oz) butter, softened
  • 100 g(4oz) porridge oats
  • 50 g(2oz) plain flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 2. Lightly grease two baking trays.(I usually just cover the baking sheets with baking paper instead)
  2. Put the sugar and butter into a large bowl and beat until creamy. Add the oats and flour and work them into the mixture.
  3. Lightly knead the mixture until smooth and roll out to a thickness of 5mm on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Cut into rounds using a 6cm cutter and place on the prepared baking trays. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until beginning to turn golden. Remove from the oven and lift onto a wire rack to cool.

I find it handy to cover the work surface with cling film, before rolling out a dough like this. Makes cleaning up a whole lot easier.

I don’t know what the calorific value is of these biscuits. But I can tell you, gentle reader, just so you won’t have to go through the hardship of discovering it for yourself, that one biscuit will help you make a start on a himalyan heap of ironing, two biscuits might help you finish it. But no amount of biscuits will fix a broken iron.

I tried, the teens tried, but the iron stubbornly refused to heat up. We even thought of force feeding it biscuits but were afraid that, in a fit of pique, the electricity supply might object.

Of course I knew the iron was merely letting me off the hook. In its own sweet way it was urging me on out the door.

Teen Girl came too. We meandered along the riverside, took in a little of Killer Hill and meandered down by the glittering waters again. Much, much nicer than ironing.

So Juneathon Day Four saw ironing and blog neglected but teens well fed, biscuit jar replenished, and four miles run.

Juneathon Day Four: Four miles.

Juneathon Total: 13.5 miles





















Another Winner from Mary Berry

Gateau Aux Amandes

Mary Berry’s Baking Bible is scarely six months in the Hen House, but already it’s a staple on my cookbook shelves. Most of her recipes are really easy to follow, but this cake is more of a challenge. That said, the end result looks great. And, more importantly, it tastes just delicious, especially if you are, like me, fond of the coffee and almond combination.

With Easter around the corner, or, indeed, if you’re welcoming special guests for tea, this cake will fit the bill.

Gateau Moka Aux Amandes


3 large eggs
100g/4 oz caster sugar
75g/3 oz self-raising flour

For the crème au beurre moka(coffee butter cream)
75g/3oz caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 large egg yolks
175g/6oz softened butter
1-2 tablespoons coffee essence

To finish
175g/6oz shredded or flaked toasted almonds
icing sugar for dusting(optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 190c/Fan 170c/Gas 5. Grease a nine inch deep round cake tin then line the base with baking parchment.

Measure the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and whisk at full speed until the mixture is pale in colour and thick enough to just leave a trail with the whisk is lifted. Sift the flour over the surface of the mixture and gently fold in with a metal spoon or spatula. Turn into the prepared tin.

Bake in the preheated over for about 30 minutes or until well risen and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

To make the crème au beurre moka measure the sugar and water into a small heavy-based pan. Heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then boil steadily for 2-3 minutes until it has reached a temperature of 107 Celsius on a sugar thermometer, or until the syrup forms a slim thread when pulled apart between two teaspoons.

Place the egg yolks into a bowl and give them a quick stir to break them up. Oour the sugar syrup in a thin stream on the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thick and cold. In another bowl, cream the butter until soft and gradually beat in the egg yolk mixture. Stir in the coffee essence to flavour.

Cut the cake horizontally and sandwich the slices together with a think layer of the coffee butter cream over the top and sides of the cake as well, retaining some for decoration. Press the toasted almonds all over the sides of the cake. Dust with icing sugar and, if you’re up to it(and frankly, I am lousy at this kind of thing) pipe rosettes with the remaining butter cream all around the top.


Yes, I am sure the rosettes would make this cake look even prettier, but even without, it was pretty much demolished on sight in the Hen House.

Another winner from Mary Berry. Bon appetite!

Looking for my Mojo with the Bishop`s Triangles

Bishop`s Triangles


I am hunting for my running mojo. Three days in a row without running! So far, I am having a pretty tough time getting into the groove for 2014.

Janathon helped. At least got me out there most days.

Losing a loved one, while it brought lots of blessings, probably didn`t help too much on the running front.

The fact that my feet still hurt, especially when I walk. is concerning. I did three four mile runs last week but two days of walking either side of it and boy, did my feet hurt after those walks.

But at least I`ve got my garmin back. Yay! for all those Garmin people.They don`t repair the item but, for a fee, will actually replace it, so I`m good to go again on that front.

And I have a couple of days off this week with which I will address the foot issue with new orthotics and a foot exercise regime. I am staving off visits to the experts for another while only because I am pretty convinced by Dr Google(yes, I know, I know) that I will be taking down the merry path of conflicting advice when really, I am best placed to know what works for me.

Meanwhile, I am putting the carrot in place again. I have lovely plate of shortbread ready for my afternoon coffee.  But first of all, I’m going to hit the trail and take my fully charged up and spanking new Garmin off on its first outing.

And I`ll leave the plate of deliciousness for you.

This is a shortbread type of recipe. It`s from one of my most favourite cookbooks Mary Berry`s Baking Bible.

Mary Berry bakes it in a square tin, hence she cuts it into fingers or rectangles. Since I only had a circular tin available this morning, mine is in triangles,

But I’ve no idea what any of it has to do with the bishop!

Mary Berry`s Bishop`s Fingers


  • 100 g plain flour
  • 25 g ground almonds
  • 25 g semolina
  • 100 g butter
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 3-4 drops almond extract
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • A little caster sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 7″ square tin.
  2. Mix together the flour, ground almonds and semolina in a bowl or food processor. Add the butter, sugar and almond extract and rub together with your fingers until the mixture is just beginning to bind together. Knead lightly until smooth. Press the dough into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a metal spoon or a palette knife. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30-50 minutes or until very pale golden brown. Mark the shortbread into 12 fingers with a knife. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool in a tin. When completely cold, cut into fingers, lift out carefully and store in an airtight tin.