Adventures of the benign

    This week has been full of fun & frivolity; catching up with friends, learning copying Russian, arranging to meet & making new friends, being one of the boys, drinking a wee bit too much, surviving the ensuing hangover, watching work colleagues wrestle, the cat messing with us and shopping.

    Now, I don’t enjoy shopping. I know girls are meant to LOVE the chase of a new pretty skirt, the whisper of a new blouse. Me, I wish shopping for womens clothes were as easy as Men’s shopping, where the T-Shirts are in one section, Trousers in another clearly defined area, and Shirts and Ties live in another. Anyway, rant over.


    Score 1 to Willpower, 0 to Misbehaving.

    Salad beasts – I’ve missed you.


    Banana Fruit Cake

    I have to fess up. I had cake for dinner. But, I made myself feel better about the fact that it has loads of fruit in it – in amongst the scaled down butter, sugar & flour. It’s a basic Banana cake with a few tweaks here and there, to vaguely heathify it up – removing some of the Butter, Sugar and all of the Oil, and to suit the ingredients I had in the cupboard.

    I love a contrast in textures, and loved the light, fruity Banana Cake slices served with Light Creme Fraiche & a wee bit of Dulce de Leche on the top. For blog and research purposes you understand.

    The cake has about 4.5 serves of Fruit in it in total, so it could be worse. Everything in Moderation – I think that if you have a little of something you want, you won’t crave and then eat loads of something really bad for you. I want to make a Zuchinni or a Beetroot Cake next. And a Herman Cake.

    Banana Cake



    100g Sugar (I used Brown sugar)
    100g Butter (I used a lighter, slighlty salted Butter)
    100g Apple Sauce or Apple Pie filling
    A handful of Sultanas & Dried Cherries (Optional)
    3 Mashed Browning Bananas
    2 Eggs
    300g Flour
    2.5 tsp Baking Powder
    2 tsp Lemon Juice
    60ml Milk

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C in a normal oven. Grease or line your Cake Tin with
    2. Cream the Butter and Sugar until light (or until you get bored/distracted – the longer you cream them, the more aerated they will be & the lighter cake you’ll get).
    3. Slowly add the eggs, then stir in the Bananas, Apple Pie filling, Sultanas and Dried Cherries. By this point the mix may look a little funky, but don’t worry, it’s not broken.
    4. Add the Flour & Baking Powder slowly. Many recipes recommend you fold them in a figure of eight. Your choice of number, though 8 it is a very lucky number in the Chinese traditions.
    5. Add the Lemon Juice and Milk stirring them through.
    6. Transfer into the Cake Tin & Bake for about 40minutes, or until a skewer inserted to the middle of the cake comes out clean.
    7. Enjoy. This Cake is great hot as a Dessert, or Cooled with a Hot (or for wierdos like me, Cold) Cup of Tea, with Creme Fraiche, Light Cream Cheese or buttered if you are walking on the dark side.

     I cooked my cakes in two smaller tins as that’s all I had, but it made two almost Slice-like Cakes.

    What is your favourite Cake? Banana, & Carrot Cake are my favourites.


    London Living: Oranges and Lemons, say the bells of St Clements…

    Guess what I accidentally stumbled upon? St Clement’s just as the bells were ringing. The original church was badly damaged in 1948 by enemy fire & was rebuilt in 1958 and was dedicated to the RAF.

    “For over 1,000 years a church has stood on this spot. Tradition holds that it was originally built by Danes expelled from the City of London by King Alfred in the ninth century.  It is mentioned in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book (1086) and for nearly 150 years was in the care of the Knights Templar (1170-1312). The church escaped damage in the Great Fire of London (1666) but was rebuilt in 1681 by Christopher Wren and a steeple was added to the tower by James Gibbs in 1719. On 10 May 1941 incendiary bombs gutted the building leaving only the walls and tower standing, so ending another chapter in its rich history.”

    Bomb damage from the World Wars:


    “Oranges and Lemons” say the bells of St Clement’s

    “Bull’s eyes and targets” say the bells of St Margaret’s.

    “Pokers and tongs” say the bells of St John’s.

    “Pancakes and fritters” say the bells of St Peter’s.

    “Two sticks and an apple” say the bells of Whitechapel.

    “Old Father Baldpate” say the slow bells of Aldgate.

    “Maids in white aprons ” say the bells of St Katharine’s.

    “Brickbats and tiles” say the bells of St Giles’.

    “Kettles and pans” say the bells of St Anne’s.

    “You owe me five farthings” say the bells of St Martin’s.

    “When will you pay me?” say the bells of Old Bailey.

    “When I grow rich” say the bells of Shoreditch.

    “Pray when will that be?” say the bells of Stepney.

    “I’m sure I don’t know” says the great bell of

    Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

    Chip chop, chip chop, the last man’s dead.

    We’ve got some future walking to do methinks!


    Lisa’s Mediterranean Vegetable Bake

    This dinner is so simple it’s almost wrong to call it a recipe, but it’s so scrumptious that I’m going to share it anyway.

    Packed full of as many vegetables as you can slip in, it’s full of everything good in vegetables. I like my vege skins on; just scrubbing the skin off potatoes and butternut squash, peeling sweet potatoes, adding courgettes, peppers, cauliflower, carrots and any thing else you have languishing in the fridge. It also makes a great BBQ accompaniment.

    Lisa’s Mediterranean Vegetable Bake


    Handfuls of diced (about an inch square); Scrubbed Potatoes, Peeled Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Courgette, Peppers, Beetroot, Cauliflower …
    Quartered Red or White Onions
    Whole unpeeled Garlic Cloves
    Olive Oil or Cooking Spray
    Diced Chicken
    Slices of Halloumi Cheese or crumbled feta

    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C
    2. Add all the vegetables (bar the cheese) in a large cooking tray, coating the vegetables in Oil/Spray and cook for about 40minutes (if cooking the beetrood, pop it into a wee tinfoil bath in the corner to stop it staining the other vegetables). Flip all of the vegetables and meat once about halfway through cooking
    3. 10 minutes before the end scatter strips of halloumi or crumble feta over the vegetables
    4. Enjoy with a nice white wine
    5. Allow the dishwasher in the house to clean the pan

    Todays Workout: An hour window shopping