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The Virtual Café

DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,784

To start the ball rolling ... my friend Scully's

Sweet Cucumber Pickle

2lb cucumber
1 large green pepper
2 large onions
2 oz salt

½ pt cider or wine vinegar
8 oz soft brown sugar
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp celery seeds
1 dsp mustard seeds

Wash cucumber but do not peel.
Peel onions.
De-seed pepper.

Thinly slice all prepared vegetables and place in a large bowl.
Add salt and mix well.
Cover and leave to stand for at least 3 hours.
Rinse vegetables well, in a colander, under running, cold water.
Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Place in a large pan, add vinegar and bring to the boil.
Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 mins (well, I found it a bit longer).

Add sugar and spices to the pan, stir to dissolve and boil for a further 10 mins.

Pour hot pickle into hot, sterilized jars and cap immediately with sterilized lids.

“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh



  • Quick off the mark there Chef Dove!imageimage

    Right then......

    Plum and apple cake

    125g butter or baking marg

    1 egg

    200g caster sugar

    150g self raising flour

    1 tsp baking powder

    1 tsp grated nutmeg

    1/2 tsp salt

    1 tsp cinnamon

    100g nuts(pecans or brazils, well chopped)

    3 eating apples,5 medium plums, peeled and chopped

    Cream butter & sugar, add egg and beat, then beat in the flour & other dry ingredients, followed by the fruit and the nuts. Put mixture into greased/lined 7" tin, and bake for 50 min to 1 hour, until skewer comes out clean, at 170degrees.

    I do a cucumber pickle as well Dove, but you recipe seems much nicer. I am going to try that as I have loads of cucumbers.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,215

    OK - I'll start with chocolate carror cake which was Possum's favourite birthday cake for years and everyone else loves it too.  If you find the white chocolate icing a "death by chocolate" too far, just use a normal ganache.


     This can be done in a food processor as it is an all-in-one sort of cake.   It's quite a lot of mixture so if you have a small goblet, use half the quantities and a 7" square tin.   It can also be cooked as small buns in which case each takes about 12 minutes to cook.   A full quantity makes about 32.  These freeze very well and make a healthy snack for handing out each day for the morning break at school.   Do not ice them.   It could get very messy.

     310g                        grated carrot

    150g                        grated dark chocolate (70% if poss)

    250ml                      grape seed, safflower or sunflower oil

    185g                        soft brown raw cane sugar

    3                             large eggs

    215g                        self-raising flour, sifted

    5ml (1tsp)                bicarbonate of soda

    30ml (2tbs)               cocoa powder, sifted

    110g                        golden syrup


    250g                        Philadelphia Light or equivalent

    40g                         icing sugar

    150g                        white chocolate

    Start by grating the carrots and chocolate and removing them to separate bowls to add at the end.

    Once you have done the carrots and chocolate, whiz the oil, eggs and sugar together in the processor till well blended then add the flour, bicarb and cocoa.  Whiz lightly.   Then add the syrup and chocolate for a quick whiz and then the carrot.   If you over whiz the last, the cake becomes quite wet, takes longer to cook and may sink in the middle but you can camouflage that with the icing..

     Pour the batter into a greased and lined 10" square cake tin and cook at 180C for 45 to 50 minutes, or until done.

     Allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a serving plate.

     Melt the chocolate for the topping until soft enough to whip.  I do it in the microwave but you can also do it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.   Be careful as white chocolate easily gets overh

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Next one....

    Lemon and Courgette Cake

    250 g butter or baking marg

    3 eggs

    3 unwaxed Lemons

    200 g caster sugar

    250 g finely grated Courgette (squeeze to remove the excess water)

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    200 g self raising flour

    1 tsp baking powder.

    An extra 100 g caster sugar for the glaze

    Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat, adding a spoonful of the flour to stop mix curdling. Fold in the rest of the flour, lemon rind and the courgettes. Spoon into a round tin, or will make 2 x 1lb loaves. Bake 170 degrees for 35 to 40 min. When cooling, brush with a mixture of lemon juice from the leftover lemons and the extra 100g caster sugar mixed together

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,784

    Honey & Co's courgette, golden raisin and pistachio cake 


    60g pistachios

    175g self-raising flour

    1 tsp ground ginger

    r½ tsp ground star anise

    200g light brown soft sugar

    50g caster sugar

    185ml olive oil

    2 eggs

    60g golden raisins

    3 courgettes, unpeeled but trimmed, grated (200g)

    the zest of 1 lemon


    Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5. Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line the base and long sides with a sheet of baking parchment, allowing a little overhang at the sides. Once the oven is hot, roast the pistachios for eight minutes. Keep them whole and leave to cool a little.

    Mix the flour, a pinch of salt, the ginger and star anise together and add the pistachios. Place the sugars and oil in a large mixing bowl (or you could use a machine with a whisk attachment if you are super-lazy) and whisk together until combined. Whisk the eggs in one at a time and keep whisking until you have a lovely emulsified texture, a little like mayonnaise. Now add the rest of the ingredients, get rid of the whisk and use a large spoon or spatula to fold and combine into an even mixture.

    Transfer the cake batter to your lined loaf tin and bake for 35 minutes. Turn the tin around so that it bakes evenly and leave for a further 15-20 minutes. The end result should have a lovely springy feel. Allow to cool in the tin before removing. This will keep in an airtight container for up to three days and for up to a week if you store it in the fridge.

    MAKES 1kg loaf 

    Last edited: 08 August 2017 19:17:52

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Damn...there goes the diet!!!image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,784

    Fruit and veg Linda ... all part of your Five a Day ... virtually medicinal image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Didn't think of that Dove. Does the Virtual Cafe serve virtual alcohol??? I have a recipe for Brandied Cherries!!image

  • GrannybeeGrannybee Sunny South EnglandPosts: 271

    Garden Soup

    2 Courgettes

    1 Onion


    2 handfuls of rocket

    1 small carrot

    1 pint veg stock


    1. Fry onion & garlic on medium heat until soft

    2. Add chopped courgettes and stir gently for a few minutes.

    3. Add stock and chopped carrot

    4. Simmer for 20 mins or until the carrot is cooked. Switch off heat, add rocket to the pan and leave to cool slightly

    5. Whizz in a blender.  Will freeze well too!

  • To go on the virtual cheese butties...

    Courgette and Tomato Chutney

    500 ml cider vinegar

    400 g soft brown sugar

     1 tbsp mixed spice

    2 tblsp yellow mustard seed

    1 cinnamon stick

     4 chopped red onions

    1 kilo chopped courgettes

     1 kilo chopped tomatoes

    4 peeled and diced dessert apples

    300 g sultanas

    1 tsp salt

    Put all ingredients into a large heavy based pan and cook for at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours. When thickened, pour into warmed sterilized jars, and top with a sterilized lid. Leave for at least 3 weeks to mature.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,784
    Linda Taylor2 says:

    Didn't think of that Dove. Does the Virtual Cafe serve virtual alcohol??? I have a recipe for Brandied Cherries!!image

    See original post

     Of course ... got  to use up last Christmas's cooking brandy so you have an excuse to get some more for this Christmas ... otherwise Sainsbugs et al will go bust image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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