Friday, November 21, 2014

Sticky Toffee Pear and Gingerbread Upside Down Cake Pudding!

She may not win any competitions for prettiest cake but she might win some for taste - especially if you're after a sticky, gooey, gingerbready cake with tooth and lusciousness!

If you follow my blog recipes you will know by now how many times I use my sticky toffee pudding sauce in other recipes - it is just fantastic - very simple, easy to make and it goes with or on almost anything sweet - over ice cream, in actually sticky toffee pudding recipes, over steamed puddings and cakes, in apple pies and gallettes - you name it I bet this sauce will improve it!

So make your sticky toffee sauce first:
STICKY TOFFEE SAUCE:

2 1/2oz/ heaped 1/4 cup brown sugar 

 1 1/2 oz / 3 tablespoons salted butter 

 2 tablespoons cream or half and half 

1. Put all three ingredients in a pan to melt together, mix and keep mixing whilst letting it bubble a couple of minutes until it gets a bit thick - allow to cool and then pour into a well buttered cake tin - I always use a 6" round so the cake is small in diameter and taller because of it but you can do an 8" and the cake of course will be shallower and may take a shorter time to bake - so beware of that!!

2. Now slice one good firm pear into about 1/4" slices and arrange on top of the sauce in the bottom of the tin:
 For the cake part: please have your ingredients at room temperature and your oven at 350F to start
5 1/5 ozs/ 1 1/4 cups/ 150 g white flour sifted

1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda/baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt 

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 1 teaspoon cardamom 

2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger root - I was lucky enough to get local Maine ginger and it is gorgeous!

1 egg whisked

2 fluid ounces/ 1/4 cup treacle/molasses 

4 oz/ 1/2 cup/ 125g sugar 

1 fluid ounce/ 1/8 cup  whole milk 

2 1/2 ozs/ 5 tablespoons/60g melted butter 

2oz chopped crystallized ginger 

1/2 a chopped pear
1. Sift all the dry ingredients together (not the pear or ginger) in a medium sized bowl.
2. Mix all the wet ingredients together and blend well.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet and mix together til smooth and even.

4. Add the ginger and chopped pear - mix well til evenly distributed.

5. Dollop batter atop pears and sauce and gently smooth until evenly spread in the pan

6. Cover with parchment to prevent the top burning - I didn't do that at the very beginning and I should have done - my cake top got a little burnt as you can see:
7. Bake at 350F for 30 mins and then lower to 325F for about another half an hour, but check at 15 mins (especially if you used an 8" cake pan) until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean - don't push the toothpick to the bottom of the pan or you'll get sauce on it and think the cake is not done.

8. Leave in the pan for about 10 minutes and then flip onto a plate and watch the sauce flow over the cake and pool around - ahhhhh!!!
If you're really lucky - as I was - the pears will be in tact and stay on the cake neatly when you flip it over!
Allow to cool completely, and if it's possible keep to the next day for the ginger flavour to develop - if you can't wait that long wait as long as you can before devouring!
We had half the day of and the rest the next day - a fair compromise methinks!!
Soft caramelly pears, sticky gooey top to the cake and a toothsome cake gingerbread body - just aching to be eaten with a nice hot cuppa!!!

And may I introduce you to my little buddy Ginger - doesn't this look like a little clown like creature with eyes closed and little eyelashes - such a character - it was hard to eat but I managed!!
Well HAPPY BAKING my friends - please let me know if you make this - it would be a good Thanksgiving dessert - very seasonally appropriate.

You can post your pics on my FACEBOOK PAGE - I'd love to see your cakes!

Thanks, Patricia



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I wasn't quite expecting this much snow!

So there I was  going to bed round 3am - for I truly am a night owl - on November 1st watching a flake or two falling gaily from the sky amidst rain and sleet and checking the weather forecast which was saying 5 to 8 inches of snow the next day thinking maybe they were wrong. Nope - it appears, as you can see from my pictures, that I was the one who was wrong. I awoke next morning to see a blizzard in full swing ready to turn into a maelstrom of wild winds and accumulating heavy, wet, snowman snow! Luckily I had fired up my camera just before the power went off at noonish November 2nd only to return two days later with the internet not coming on for another 12 hours. It was wild but awfully pretty and very The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe-y.

Here's the storm gearing up:
 and in full swing...
Before the storm began I was worried these last 2 of a very meagre crops of apples wouldn't make it through....
- I should have worried about the trees themselves - two of which lost large limbs but are still standing old and proud. We were lucky as we saw when we drove into town, so many limbs were down and the clean up is still continuing.
The day after the storm was bright and sunny and almost balmy. 
the roads were perfectly clear and it was so strange to see so many trees still with leaves and colour against the snow
Luckily we had our sturdy old wood stove to keep us warm and toasty, she heated the house and provided a way to cook for the couple of days we were without power.
Maybe winter is already over?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'd really appreciate your vote for my 2015 Tea Towel design at Spoonflower!


This is the Tea Towel layout I just created for this weeks design challenge over at Spoonflower and I'd really appreciate your vote if you have a couple of minutes. I can't tell you where my design appears in the line up as the layout is shuffled  for each voter and you can vote for as many designs as you like. 
So please click HERE to vote and my sincere thanks in advance.
Here is the design as it will appear at the competition to make it easier to recognize - thanks!!:
From November 6th through 11th you'll be able to purchase 2 fat quarters for the price of one so you can have two of my tea towels for the price of one - of course once you receive your fabric purchase you will have to cut and hem to make the tea towel but it's a nice easy rectangle to do.

I created this design from motifs I originally painted by hand in watercolour and have used it in other applications in both my Spoonflower shop where it is called COTTAGE GINGHAM - as an allover design:
LINK HERE
and here is a design created specifically as a fat quarter to be used for, perhaps, a handmade bag:
LINK HERE
And here is how I altered the motifs for my Society6 shop:

Many thanks for your vote!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Free worldwide shipping from my Society6 shop until October 26th - yea!!!

Hooray - there's free worldwide shipping on most of the items in my print on demand online Society6 shop until October 26th!! The only items that are NOT eligible for this offer are framed prints, stretched canvases and rugs but nowadays even the pillows with inserts are shipped for free - isn't that marvellous!!

I just added Blue Rhapsody on white to my coterie of designs over there so please bob on along to enjoy the free shipping via

Thanks ever so much for supporting me and my work through your purchases - it warms the cockles of my heart and thrills me to the bottom of my little cotton socks.

Appreciatively,
Patricia

Oops - on my last blogpost I said a Pear and Ginger Cake recipe would be up next - sorry, this offer popped up in the meantime - the nice, sticky, stodgy cake will be coming along in the next couple of days! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The pretty Autumn fields of Maine

A glowing vignette
 We have had a recent run of absolutely beautiful temperate weather here in Maine. The day time temperatures have been as high as 74F and it has been so very pleasant being outdoors enjoying the last vestiges of the summer like weather. Plus it made taking in the wood to keep us warm this coming winter so much easier to achieve.

But the autumn/fall in Maine is not just about the brilliant colours of red, orange and yellow but also the lovely muted, antique, dreamlike russets, greyed whites, pale yellows and dark tracery of naked branches and veins on the leaves.
Ghostly white leaves - pretty against the backdrop of russets
Checkerboard leaves - lovely colours - I wonder what they are?
I love the tumble and tumult of the speckled, sprinkly fields
 




 And of course we cannot leave out the young maple leaves that turn such a pretty, almost ghostly pink....

 I leave you though with some of the glowing autumn colours we think of when we think of "Fall in New England"


I hope you are enjoying your season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Next up on my blog will be a luscious, sticky, stodgy Pear and Ginger Cake that just screams out for lashings of custard.

STAY TUNED and please consider following me on
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Monday, October 13, 2014

FREE Worldwide Shipping from my SPOONFLOWER shop - fabric , wallpaper and wrapping paper

For one day only!

Monday October 13th 9am east coast
to
Tuesday October 14th 9am east coast

from my
SPOONFLOWER SHOP on fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper in all my #PatriciaSheaDesigns designs!
CLICK

HAPPY SHOPPING with FREE SHIPPING :)
The glimmer glow of Autumn continues...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Prune, Ginger and Lemon Teacake and a new pink design at Society6

Ahhhh - lovely, delicious, delightful Prune, Ginger and Lemon Teacake - what a wholesome and satisfying treat on a cosy autumn day. The poor beleaguered fruit known as 'prune' is a star in this tangy, spicy sweet, fruit cake - I love prunes and always wonder why they have such a bad reputation - maybe 'they' are on to something by trying to change the name to dried plums?

If you are a fan of light fruit cakes then get thee to the kitchen pronto, and best to have all your ingredients at room temp!

This recipe is for my usual 6 inch cake - you can double for a 9" pan but will have to bake longer and check more often for 'doneness'
First you must start by soaking your prunes in good strong tea - I use Earl Grey for that extra lovely, flowery bergamot flavour - but use whichever tea you like.

5 ounces of prunes chopped into 1/2 inch chunks - don't chop too fine or they will turn to mush in the hot tea.

4 fluid ounces strong tea 

1. Put the two together in a small saucepan and heat through 'til almost bubbling for a few minutes - maybe three - then allow to cool completely

Pre heat the oven to 350F, butter and line with parchment paper a small, tall 6" diameter baking pan lightly rebutter the parchment after lining the pan. 
INGREDIENTS:
5oz white flour/ 1 1/4 cups with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda whisked in 

2oz/ 1/2 stick salted butter
I always use salted but you can use unsalted if you prefer

3oz chopped crystallized ginger

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoons freshly chopped lemon zest - chopped works better in this recipe better than grated - the slight tooth gives an added dimension

4 oz / slightly mounded half cup sugar

1 egg lightly beaten

1. Cream butter and sugar 'til light and fluffy .

2. Add egg in three goes and beat each time to incorporate fully.

3. Fold flour and baking soda in in two goes until well blended and smooth.

4. Fold in the prunes with tea, blend, fold in the lemon zest and two gingers and blend.
5. Dollop the thick batter into your prepared pan and smooth over.

6. Pop into the pre heated oven and bake for 45 mins, then add a parchment or foil hat over the cake to stop it from burning and bake for another 30 mins checking at 15 mins for doneness with a toothpick which should come out of the cake clean after being deftly plunged into the centre of the cake. When the toothpick comes out clean your cake is done.

Mine did sink a little in the middle after it came out of the oven but it was fine - not sticky in the middle at all.
Allow the cake to cool for about 15 mins before removing from the pan to a cooling rack - allow to cool completely before eating.

This is definitely one of those improves with age cakes so if you can wait til the second day the flavours will have married to a point of complete perfection.

Get the kettle on!!!

If you are interested in the watercolour blue and white gingham fabric pictured above you can find it in my Spoonflower shop HERE
and the Homespun Patchwork design - in fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper too, is available HERE

Usually I flip flop my posts between design and recipes but this time I am combining the two.

My latest design to be added to my print on demand online Society6 shop, I give you Country Days Patchwork on Pink - if you know my work you know how much I love the colour pink :)
To this design in my Society6 shop HERE
I don't know why I love painting patchwork designs in watercolour but I do, there's something very satisfying about it for me. I originally created the motifs in this design for a competition at Spoonflower - here is a LINK to that design in a different format.

And here is my new design on various items in my shop with links below to the individual product:
To the iPhone (including iPhone6) and Samsung Galaxy cases click HERE
To the Country Days on Pink mug HERE
To the shower curtain HERE
To the Country Days Patchwork on Pink tote bag HERE
I hope you are having a wonderful Fall/Autumn thus far - we have had some glorious days in Maine and I do hope they continue for a while longer. If you bake my cake please feel free to be in touch and let me know how it came out - you can post pics of such on my Facebook page HERE

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