Monthly Archives: May 2014

Lime drizzle cake

lime drizzle cake header

Decided to take a wee break from the “What I Ate Wednesday” post this week – mostly because I forgot to take a breakfast pic on Monday (it was a banana & summer fruit milkshake if you’re interested) then went out for lunch and again only got a quick and badly-lit snap before we got started wolfing it down.

Instead I have a nice wee cake recipe for you.  You know I don’t make cakes often because of the unhealthiness, but I was roasting some tofu in the oven (more on that tomorrow) instead of stir-frying it and felt like it was a bit of a waste to turn the oven on just for a wee bit of tofu… so you see, I HAD to make the cake to save on energy.  Ahem.

Drizzle cakes are possibly my favourite type of cake.   The usual lemon is always acceptable, but I’ve found mixing it up with lime or orange both works really well too and are a really easy way to make the cake sound fancier and more impressive.  Lime is my favourite but Dave prefers orange, even though it lacks the tang of the lemon or lime versions.  In fact he LOVES orange cake so much that that’s what we had as the middle tier of our wedding cake (iced with chocolate buttercream… the other tiers were a plain chocolate and a pistachio cake.  All made by my baking genius of a sister.  The memory even now makes me drool).

Anyway, lime drizzle cake is seriously tasty and sounds much more impressive than it is to make.  You can of course use lemon when following the recipe – you’ll only need one or one and a half, depending on size.  For orange cake, use one big orange or a couple of wee tangerine/satsuma type ones.  I daresay you could even make it with grapefruit if you’re the type of person who likes grapefruit (which, urgh, I am not).

lime drizzle

Lime drizzle cake (makes 10-12 slices)

  • 4 eggs, weighed in their shell (I used medium ones and got 254g)
  • Self-raising flour, same weight as eggs
  • Caster sugar, same weight as eggs + 85g kept separate (I used granulated this time because I was out of caster and got a good result so you can try that too)
  • Baking fat or butter, same weight as eggs (used own brand baking fat)
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes (or 1-2 lemons/oranges)

Well-grease a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180C.  Cream the butter and sugar together (I used my fancy new KitchenAid mixer we got as a wedding present, but you can do it by hand too), then beat in the eggs.  Sift in the flour and then fold in gently, along with the zest.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (note – I burnt the one in the picture slightly.  You want to take it out just before it looks like that at the edges!).

While the cake is baking, mix the remaining 85g of sugar with the lime juice and set aside.  Once baked, keep the cake in the tin and stab all over with a skewer (I used a chopstick) and then slowly pour the drizzle topping all over, allowing it to soak into the cake.  Use all your willpower and let the cake cool in the tin before removing and slicing.  Freezes well if needed.


Mealplan and Spending Update 26/05

mealplanning This is a day late because we were up in Aberdeen this weekend, visiting my grandparents and having a night out with some friends too. We had a lovely time and didn’t need to do the shopping until today. As with last month, I decided to try and stock up on the heaviest things in my delivery now, hopefully meaning I won’t need another delivery for the next few weeks.  I didn’t stock up quite as much as last month though – it was a bit tight getting the shopping the rest of the month when I’d spent so much upfront.


Mon 26 – beef goulash soup with dumplings and cabbage Tues 27 – roasted veg arrabiata Wed 28 – tofu and vegetable noodles Thurs 29 – breaded cod with chips and veg Fri 30 – chorizo and bean casserole with potatoes Sat 31 – chickpea and squash tagine with couscous

Spending (£78.41 / £180)

delivery charge £4

fruit & veg £14.90
cauliflower £1
savoy cabbage £1
beansprouts 60p
frozen corn on the cobs 875g £1.50
e'day value frozen sweetcorn 907g 99p
lemons x4 £1
limes x4 £1
bananas x6 75p
cucumber 49p
fresh coriander 80p
salad potatoes 2.5kg £1.50
e'day value carrots 1.5kg 89p
e'day value onions 1kg 63p
butternut squash £1
e'day value peppers £1.75

meat & fish £14.23
bacon 8 rashers x2 £4
beef brisket £8.23
finest chorizo ring 225g £2

dairy & eggs £2
whole milk 4 pints £1
free range eggs 6pk £1

general £29.51
tofu 396g £1.60
balsamic vinegar £1.50
granulated sugar 1kg 79p
e'day value spaghetti 20p
e'day value plain flour 45p
e'day value porridge oats 75p
e'day value penne 29p
tinned tuna 4pk £3.99
east end yellow split peas 500g 53p
e'day value golden syrup £1.18
e'day value tinned mandarins x2 70p
east end chopped tomatoes x8 £2
pistachio kernals 100g £1.64
blue dragon egg noodles £1.39
aasani cashews 750g £6.50
e'day value tomato puree 40p
e'day value passata 43p
e'day value tinned pineapple x2 72p
cola x10 £4.45

household £13.77
e'day value kitchen roll 2pk £1.18
e'day value cat litter x3 £4.65
cif floor cleaner £1
lynx shower gel £1.50
enrituals laundry liquid £1
pomegranate shower gel 95p
whiskas wet food pouches £3.49

Spinach, walnut and pumpkin seed pasta

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We ended up having to change the mealplan a bit this week, having the spag bol yesterday and not doing the dhal at all – it’s because Dave ended up having an unplanned driving lesson tonight and as I was at the gym, there was no-one in to cook!

Dave was in before me and got a chippy (paid for by himself so not affecting the budget) so when I came in, I only had to feed myself.  No chippy for me – feel like it negates the point of the gym really, and I always feel so greasy afterwards!

Any long-time reader will know that my go-to quick meal is some kind of pasta dressed in oil and tonight was no exception.  But somehow the random selection of ingredients I ended up putting together just tasted amazing so i wanted to share the recipe with you all.  Of course, you could adapt it a bit depending what you have in, and if you wanted you could serve with some grilled chicken strips on top and/or any extra veg.

Speaking of veg, I used frozen spinach as I had some in and it’s a nice cheap way to get some greens in.  But you could use most greens I think, sliced and added to the cooking water at the appropriate time – was thinking kale or chard could be nice.  Or even fresh spinach if you have some around.

P1030806 edited

Spinach, walnut and pumpkin seed pasta (serves 1)

  • 75-100g pasta (I used penne, but spaghetti would be even nicer, I think)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 big clove garlic or else two smaller cloves, finely sliced into slivers
  • 1 fresh chilli, finely sliced, or a couple of pinches of dried chilli flakes
  • 20g walnuts, chopped
  • 20g small handful pumpkin seeds
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 80g frozen spinach (or other greens)

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to packet directions – I do mine for about 10 minutes.  a few minutes in, add the frozen spinach lumps.

Meanwhile, heat 1tbsp of the olive oil in a small frying pan and add the walnuts, chilli and pumpkin seeds.  Cook over a medium-low heat for a few minutes, allowing to toast.  With a 2-3 minutes to go until the pasta is ready, add the garlic slivers and allow to cook until golden. Remove the pan from the heat.

When the pasta and spinach is cooked, tip into a sieve.  The spinach holds quite a lot of water, so I kind of smooshed it against the sieve to squeeze as much out as possible.

Toss the pasta and spinach in the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice.  Serve in a bowl topped with the walnut, pumpkin seed, garlic and chilli mix, and drizzled with the oil used to cook them.  Season as desired.

What I Ate Wednesday 21/05

What I Ate Wednesday is a blog link-up hosted over at Peas & Crayons, encouraging bloggers to post pictures of what they ate over a whole day.  Hopefully taking part will show you guys whether or not I stick to the mealplan and give a bit more insight into what I can eat on my budget.


Pretty typical day today – tried out a new combo in having apple in my porridge (that’s as adventurous as breakfast gets for me – but it was so tasty!), soup for lunch and vegetarian fajitas for dinner.


photo (21)

Sorry about the terrible pic – I wolfed down half of my porridge before remember I was supposed to be photographing it!  The porridge today was made with a small apple, half a bananacinnamonnutmegmilkbrown sugaroats and a pinch of salt and was seriously tasty (if a bit un-photogenic).  Need to do a post on porridge soon – don’t think I have yet 🙂


Had the other half of the banana and another small apple for a snack.

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Lunch was cream of mushroom soup (made with fresh and dried mushrooms, white wine, an onion, garlic, milk, vegetable stock and thyme) and homemade seeded bread with butter.



Vegetable fajitas for dinner – yum! 🙂

  • green and yellow peppers, frozen green beansonionscourgettegarlic, lime juice and lots of spices
  • homemade salsa (tinned tomatoesoniongarliclimechilli powdertabasco)
  • homemade brown wraps
  • cheese, natural yoghurt and jalapenos

Mealplan and Spending Update 18/05


You know those weeks – the last one before payday when you seem to have had a month full of bills?  That’s what this week is like.  The remainder of our budget was so low that I pretty much had to stick to things we already had in for the mealplan.  Luckily we’re away visiting my grandparents this weekend so only had to plan five meals!  You’ll notice that we’ve gone over by 19p – I’m counting that as a win though 🙂

Given all that, I thought I’d do a bit more of a detailed run-through of the mealplanning process this week to show you what to do in a really skint week:


So how did I decide what to have? First of all, I have a bit of a ‘framework’ in place when I’m mealplanning – meat twice a week, fish once, and the remainder veggie (sometimes we have meals like pizza where I’ll have a veggie option and Dave’ll have meat on his).  I also try and vary the carbs so we don’t end up eating pasta three times in a row.

Sun 18 – honey & lemon chicken wings with couscous, coleslaw and salad

We’d collected 12 wing pieces in the freezer, from the last few whole chickens I’d bought. Normally I’d serve with wedges but we didn’t have any potatoes, so I went for couscous instead.  We actually had almost all of the ingredients for this meal in so all I had to buy was mayo.

Mon 19 – veggie fajitas

I wanted something to use the rest of the wraps I’d be making for the dhal, and we had cheese, veg, salsa ingredients and jalapenos in already.  Only needed to buy yoghurt.

Tues 20 – smoked mackerel fillets with rice, green beans and cabbage

We had a few different fish choices in the freezer but I just felt like the mackerel.  Ever since our honeymoon in Japan, we like fish served with short-grain rice and veg.

Wed 21 – lentil dhal, rice and wraps

This is a total store-cupboard meal.  I have red lentils, spices, onions, frozen spinach tomatoes and rice, and have made a batch of wraps.  Will serve with some of the yoghurt I bought.

Thurs 22 – spag bol and salad (if there’s any left)

Beyond a bit of bacon, the only other meat in the freezer was a small block of mince, so spag bol was an easy choice.  All I had to buy was mushrooms.

Fri 23 & Sat 24 – away both nights

Breakfasts – bran flakes for Dave and either bran flakes or porridge with banana for me

I had to pick up some bran flakes, as we didn’t have enough, plus bananas and milk

Lunches – tuna or ham sandwiches or pittas for Dave, with tinned fruit and maybe crisps; soup with seeded bread for me, with an apple

Had to get mayo, which I needed for the coleslaw anyway, plus an extra tin of pineapple and apples; I made bread myself and had soup and ham in the freezer and tuna in the cupboard

Spending (£180.19 / £180)

Meadow Park whole milk 2ltr 84p
Morrisons cola x2 90p
Savers bran flakes 88p
Savers tinned pineapple 25p
Savers mayonnaise 40p
Whiskas wet food pouches 12pk £2.50
Bananas x6 63p
Frozen sliced green beans 1kg £1
Pumpkin seeds 100g 75p
Savers apples 8pk 89p
Savers scourers 5pk 19p
Mushrooms 89p
Savers natural yoghurt 45p
Salad leaves 99p

What I Ate Wednesday 14/05

What I Ate Wednesday is a blog link-up hosted over at Peas & Crayons, encouraging bloggers to post pictures of what they ate over a whole day.  Hopefully taking part will show you guys whether or not I stick to the mealplan and give a bit more insight into what I can eat on my budget.


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Usual work breakfast of porridge made up with milk, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, a little brown sugar and banana.


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Snack of tinned peaches.


Lunch was some of the same lentil and coconut soup as last week with homemade brown bread and butter.

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For dinner we had a Middle Eastern-style feast (we didn’t manage all of this between us, there was some left over!):

  • homemade wholemeal pittas
  • peppers, courgettes and onions roasted in olive oil and sumac
  • homemade hummous (chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, peanut butter)
  • salad leaves dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • couscous with dried apricots, Za’tar spice mix, lemon juice, mixed spice and chilli flakes


This week seems to have flown by though I’m not sure why I’ve been so busy!  Can’t believe it’s Sunday night already.  I’ve kept the mealplan quite simple this week because we’re low on budget and I wanted to use things we already had in (the freezer seems fit to burst right now too for some reason).

Dave’s away this weekend so there’s just five meals to plan for the two of us.  I might go and visit family one night while he’s away, or else will just cobble something together out of leftovers, so only six meals to plan overall.


Sun 11 – beef & mushroom stew with dumplings, mash, carrots and spinach

Mon 12 – hummus, homemade pittas and salads

Tues 13 – veggie pasties with home baked beans and chips

Wed 14 – smoked salmon fillets with couscous & roasted veg salad

Thurs 15 – pork & veg stirfry with sticky rice

Fri 16 – fishcakes and salad (just for me)

Sat 17 – not sure if I’ll be in – leftovers if so

Spending Update (£168.63 / £180)

Fruit & veg £7.47
Lemons 5pk 99p
Peppers 4pk £1.39
Salad leaves x2 £1.98
RTC courgettes 3pk 75p
Bananas x6 62p
Garlic 4pk 99p
Baking potatoes x2 75p

Meat & fish £5.58
RTC breaded cod 2pk £1
RTC smoked mackerel 250g 90p
RTC smoked salmon fillets 2pk £2
RTC duck and orange pate x2 18p
RTC smoked haddock x2 £1.50

Dairy & eggs £2.38
Meadow park milk 2ltr 84p
Baking fat 55p
Savers butter 99p

General £6.63
Cola x4 £1.80
Tomato puree 49p
Princes tuna x2 £2
McCoys crisps 6pk £1
Fast action yeast 64p
Savers tinned peaches x2 70p

Household £2.50
Whiskas wet food pouches 12pk £2.50