Spice Cake Deliciousness


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Just had to taste a bit before taking the photo! Spice Cake Deliciousness

The last few weekends I have been testing my baking skills – not always my strong point – as I am not really an exact science sort of cook – which I think good baking often asks for. Don’t let the one pot, easy and quick mind-set put you off taking the baking plunge though! This cake doesn’t require too much love and exactness – AND it can be made in the food processor. Double win. Mr MWCED gives it the thumbs up – and he is a pretty ace baker himself…..

  • 1 cup milk (I used long-life non-Dairy – it has been asking to be used for some time – so I thought I would experiment – and it turned out fine)
  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose preferably – but you could try gluten-free)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 6 oz (170 g) butter, preferably unsalted
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground nutmeg (or fresh if you have some)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon all-spice
  • (note – next time I will also try adding some cardamom)
  • a springform pan (about 9″/23 cm) – you could also try using a loaf tin.  Best to prepare the tin by rubbing a small amount of butter around sides and bottom and then using baking paper to line the tin.  Or after adding butter, put a tablespoon or so of flour into the pan,  jiggle around until sides and bottom are covered and tip superfluous flour out.  
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Mix the baking soda (not baking powder) into the milk. Set aside.
  3. Put flour, baking powder, spices and brown sugar into food processor. Pulse until mixed.
  4. Add in the butter cut into cubes. Pulse until mixed and mixture is crumbly.
  5. Pour HALF of the crumbs into your pan. Press out a crust using your fingers and knuckles.
  6. Crack an egg into the food processor with the rest of the crumbs still in it.
  7. Pour in the milk and baking soda mixture. Continue to mix until a slightly lumpy tan batter.
  8. Pour the batter over the crust in the springform pan.
  9. Gently sprinkle the walnut pieces over the batter.
  10. Bake for approx. 40 minutes at 350F (175C). It’s ready when the top is golden brown, and when it passes the toothpick test (comes out clean).     This took longer in my oven (which is old and tired) – probably about 60 minutes – so if you are finding it needs longer it’s a good idea to put a clean piece of foil over the top of the cake to prevent it burning.
  11. Cool the cake in the pan – then take out and cool further on a wire rack.  

Delicious with vanilla bean yoghurt if dairy is not your thing – otherwise whip up some cream!

Spicy Fig Jam


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Our espaliered fig had its first crop this year and I have been amazed at the abundance of the fruit. Last week I made some fig bars and yesterday made some spicy fig jam. The jam is delicious either on toast, bagels or with biscuits and cheese. Am sure you will be able to think of many ways to use it.

I used this recipe as a base – but though I had less fruit, I didn’t decrease the amount of spices. I love spicy mixtures – and usually up the levels in most recipes (though am careful on chilli side of things!). 700g of fruit made about 4 small jars – so not a huge amount – but definitely enough to keep us happy for a wee while.

Yummy figs ready for dicing

Spicy Fig Jam


  • 700 g fresh figs,  washed and diced
  • 700 g white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cooking apple cored, peeled and diced
  • A little water if required


  1. Place the figs, sugar and spices into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir to coat the figs well. Cover and leave for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  2. Put the figs and spiced sugar into a preserving pan or large wide-mouthed pot. Add the diced apple, land stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil and cook rapidly for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and setting point is reached. Stir as required.   If it is taking a while for your jam to get to setting point, turn heat down and let bubble away until it is ready.
  4. Let jam cool and if needed either mash with a potato masher or put mixture into a food processor and whizz until full broken down.   I left about 3 tablespoons out of the food processor and then added it back to the mix. 
  5. Add jam to previously sterilised jars. Seal.

Filo Pomegranate Pork Parcels


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Curry? No. Chicken? No. Pasta? No. Though the ingredients were available, they just didn’t rock my boat. We did have some pork mince in the fridge and Mr MWCED said “use that filo up”, so that was a start. I felt like something a little different to our usual, and found some great middle eastern recipes – it feels a bit wrong to use pork, but as (1) we don’t eat beef or lamb and (2) I had pork, well I’d just have to go with it (and absolutely no disrespect intended). I love pomegranate molasses flavour – though for some reason the bottle seems to sit at the back of the pantry and I forget about using it. So, out you come and flavour up tonight’s dinner!

I got the original recipe from here – though made a few alterations. After googling “znoud el-sit” the most common recipe seems to be a sweet deep fried pastry and not savoury. I don’t do deep fry – and the body doesn’t particularly like it either – but definitely want to try one of these one day – they look very bad but very very good.

I served the pork with Israeli couscous (cooked in a vegetable broth, then sliced spring onions, mint, parsley and coriander, s&p added) and a healthy green salad (freshly picked from the garden).

For those with moderation, one of these with sides would probably be enough. For the likes of people like me who just don’t have enough resolve to be moderate, then 2 was plenty. If I could have, I would have had 3 – because they were so good! At least there is something left over for lunch tomorrow!


  • ⅓ cup             pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup)             olive oil, plus extra, to brush
  • 1                      large onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g               pork mince
  • 1-1/2 tbsp        pomegranate molasses, plus extra, to serve
  • 6 sheets          filo pastry, fresh or thawed

Spice mixture:

  • ½ tsp               allspice
  • ½ tsp               black pepper
  • ½ tsp               ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp               ground coriander
  • ½ tsp               ground cumin
  • ½ tsp               ground nutmeg


To make spice mixture, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Place pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until browned, then remove from pan and set aside. Add oil to the pan with onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 6 minutes or until browned. Add the spice mixture and ¾ tsp salt and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in toasted pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface or chopping board, with a long edge facing you. Brush the half closest to you with oil, then fold in half lengthwise. Turn filo so that the short edge is facing you and brush with oil. Place 1/6th of the cooled filling along the short edge closest to you, leaving a 2.5 cm border on sides and bottom. Roll short edge over filling to enclose, then fold in the 2 longer sides and roll up to form a cigar shape. Place seam side-down on prepared oven tray and repeat with remaining filo pastry and filling to make 6 rolls.

(you can make these rolls larger or smaller.  If larger I’d use 2 sheets of filo pastry per roll)

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve pastries with extra pomegranate molasses and some hummus on the side.

Herby Israeli Couscous
Rocket & Cos, Red Onion and Garden Tomato Salad, dressed with Balsamic Syrup