DIY dry skin potion

As winter approaches you notice that you skin starts to feel less plump and healthy and  more dry and cracked. Sadly my skin has been breaking recently when I knock against something. Frustratingly, no matter how much store bought lotion I seem to apply, it doesn’t make a real difference. I figured if I can make soap and lip balms, why not have a go at making lotion, it cant be any worse than the stuff at the store can it? Thats exactly what Ive done and have to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Based on the ingredients, I think this is more of a butter than a lotion, so Im just going to call it a potion. I have hyper sensitive skin and need to be careful as to what I use. For me, this is a winner. Naturally this wont stop me from making and trying out other lotion potiony recipes! 🙂

I thought I have this clever thing called Google, it can answer my many questions (sometimes I ask why more than a three year old) and typed in What is the difference between lotion and body butter, apparently this is a common question.  The answers varied but in short here is a summary

Body Oils soften and nourish the skin, as they resemble the natural oils in our skin they are easily absorbed. However, as oils are not water-based they may be more likely to cause breakouts, so its best to avoid acne prone areas such as back, face, and chest. Oils are ideally applied to warm, damp skin, like after a shower or bath.

Body lotions are lighter than body butter and oils, as they contain more water than oils and butters and absorb quickly as a result. It doesn’t moisturise as much or last/stay on as long as a butter or oil do. Lotions are better for skin that isn’t as dry or for people who tend to have oilier skin.

Body butter is the thickest of the three potions and they provide the strongest possible protective barrier to seal and lock in moisture. Body butter products are typically manufactured using a combination of carrier oils and essential butters. Body butters are applied to retain moisture, nourish the skin and lubricate.

This is why this is good for you:

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. It is an excellent moisturiser, it can penetrate hair better than other oils.

Shea butter is an excellent moisturiser for the face and the body. It locks in the moisture in the skin and keeps it hydrated for long, without clogging the pores, and is effective for dry skin.

Vitamin E oil is a nutrient to the skin whilst preventing and repairing radical damage.

Lemon essential oil tend to regulate and normalise oil production and can improve your complexion and leave your skin soft and supple.

Peppermint essential oil gives a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body, which can relieve sore muscles.

Eucalyptus oil has a cooling and refreshing effect whilst havingvast remedial and healing properties.

A few things you need to know about this homemade potion, it is sightly greasy to begin with but it absorbs well. You dont need a lot, in-fact use less than the size of a single pea to start out with, if you need more, get a little bit more but dont go crazy with it to begin with. Im using it currently as a everything lotion, Ive used it on my hands, feet and face (at night).

DIY Dry Skin Potion

Makes: Just over a cups worth Prep time: 10 mins  Making time: 2.5 hours  Total time: 2 hours 40 mins minimum

  •  1/4 cup Shea Butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or a carrier oil like avocado, sweet almond or jojoba)
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax ( I used white/clear as this makes it a whiter color)
  • 10 drops of Vitamin E Oil
  • 10 drops essential oil, I used Eucalyptus, Lemon, and Peppermint – to be fair I did use 5 drops of each

Now how to make this hydrating DIY potion:

1. Into a double boiler, combine the shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax. You can use a traditional double boiler (bain marie) with a glass bowl or go with my route, I use a milk jug (which I use specifically for my crafting/making ONLY) in a pan with water.

20171005_194721.jpg

2. Melt the ingredients over a medium heat in the double boiler. Do not rush this process, as you want the beeswax to completely melt, which will solidify the potion making it creamy and rich. This should take between 10-15 mins. 20171005_194831

Once you think the mixture is compltely melted, leave it another 5 mins, as per the above, you want it completely liquified. 20171005_195119.jpg

3. Take your liquid potion mixture off the heat and transfer to a bowl, if its not already in one.20171005_195535.jpg

4. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and add in the oils, 5 drops of each essenital oil and 10 of Vitamin E. You add them in after the oil is off the heat and cooled slightly, adding them before this step could lose any of the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils.20171005_195327.jpg

5. You now want the liquid to become a soft solid again. You can let it do it at air temperature (it took about 30 mins for me) or you can shove it in the refrigerator for 30 mins and see. 20171005_195843

If you are using the air temperature method like I did, every 5 mins or so, check it, and give it a swirl with your spatula around the bowl.20171005_204714.jpg

 

6. You can either fluff it up now or leave it over night, it doesn’t make much difference. Get your blender out and whip it, whip it good! You want it to be a light and fluffy mixture, this took me about 3 minutes but you could go for 5, go wild! I found it worked better the ‘harder’ the mixture was.20171005_204951

My finished DIY dry skin potion. Being Im classy, I used a small tupperwear tub with a lid, however, if you can use a glass pot. You essentially need something that is small in size and has a lid. Use a cute flip top jar and ribbon for a great gift. You do not need to refrigerate this potion. 20171006_110703

I did find that because of the oils and butters, even after whipping it, its still quite a hard mixture, so dont have the expectation of it being a light and fluffy mixture when you get it out of the jar. You do not need to whip it, you can just pour it from the put into a jar and add in the essenital oils if you like.

Start with a pea sized amount and you’ll probably be surprised how moisturising it is and how just a little goes a long way.

Fancy some night time moisturising? Apply this potion liberally, massage and rub it in for a few minutes and then put on a pair of cotton socks (or cotton gloves) after you apply the lotion. Leave overnight and your feet (or hands) will be moisturised and soft in the morning!

This works as great for your own dry skin and even better as a gift for friends and family, remember to share with friends and enjoy silky skin!

 

Pear Butter

Have you ever heard of Apple Butter? No? Im not surprised, its a proper southern American delicacy. Its like a spice filled applesauce, no actual butter in it, that you spread on toast. The name comes from its smooth and butter like texture. Its really nice and English people didn’t really get it and used it as more of a sauce on over ice cream, which also works really well.

I have had a load of pears and I figured, as Ive been subbing them out for everything else apple related, why not try out pear butter too? What I realised in the tasting stage? If you like the graininess of pears, this is absolutely for you, if you prefer the smoothness of apples, this recipe is not for you.

Pear Butter

Makes: Just 2 – 320g jars and 1 720g jar Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 2.5 hours  Total time: 2 hours 40 mins minimum

  • 2 kilos of pears – cored and put into quarters or chunks
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups sugar – I used 1 cup normal and 1 cup brown
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)

Now how to make this uniquely southern spread:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until the pears are soft, roughly 20-30 minutes. At first you will think there isn’t enough liquid but once the pears start to break down, they will release liquid, which will get you to the final picture.

2. Transfer pear mixture to a food processor (or you can use an immersion blender) and purée just until a uniform texture is achieved.

 

3. Return your pear mixture to the pan and reduce the heat to low and cook low and slow for 1.5-2 hours, stirring frequently to prevent sticking (and burning) until the mixture is very thick. The idea is that you cook out the natural water in the fruit and turn this into a thick spread.20171006_201628.jpg

4. At the last 30 mins of cooking, you need to sterilise your jars so that they are ready when your pear butter is. I put mine in the oven at 90-100C until the jam was ready. The lids you will need put in a large mug or pyrex bowl and cover with boiling water.

5. Pour the pear butter into hot sterilised jars and cover with the hot lid. (BE CAREFUL, EVERYTHING IS HOT!) As the jars cool, you will hear the lids popping from the pressure, which is a good thing. You want them to be complete sealed and closed. I used a soup ladle to pour into the jars and jam funnel but a normal funnel will also work.

Enjoy on buttered toast (the southern American way) or have it ice cream or rice pudding (the English way). I had literally just enough left in the pan to cover some caramel pecan ice cream, it worked VERY well!

Remember to share with friends and enjoy!

Notes: Any time I put things in jars, I also use wax discs to cover the contents, Im not really sure why I do but its a habit I cant get out of. You dont have to do it but you are more than welcome to join in paranoia about using them.

You can peel the pears if you prefer but I think there are great nutrients in the peel.

If you don’t want to bother with canning, just freeze the apple butter in quantities that you can use within a week. Remove from freezer as needed and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.

Comforting Spice Jam

Following on with my pear theme (please bear with me (AHHHHH, a bear is with me!) as I make my way through my pear recipes, I have gone through kilos of pears, thank you tree!) I decided to make a pear jam. I didn’t want a jam that you eat and think ‘yeah thats pears’, I wanted something that was different, completely yummy and comforting, like  soul food jam! It makes your kitchen/house smell fantastically wonderful as its cooking. (Ive been told a few times my house smells like Christmas when I make these kinds of things)

First let me tell you about my search for jars! Mason jars are everywhere here, apparently they are trendy but equally they are EXPENSIVE! So my technique in the UK was to buy super cheap jam, throw out the jam (seriously, I rarely ate it) and keep the jar, I think I was paying like 18-20p and then I was keeping all my various jars from other food based items. When I moved all the glass was recycled and not brought over, glass is heavy (yo), even when empty and takes up space! And if I can get cheap jars in a country thats not overly keen on recycling, no reason to think I couldn’t get even cheaper glass jars in the NLs… I couldn’t have been more wrong! So my hunt for cheap glass jars started, cheap jam does NOT exist here, so thats out… what else can I find cheap? Imagine me stalking up and down the isles of Albert Heijn like a cheetah on the prowl, comparing prices, picking up jars, putting them down, putting them in my basket, taking them out, Im not kidding when I say this went on for over an hour.  I then decided to try Lidl, I mean they do cheap jam, right? Oh hell no… The verdict? Sweet onions… AH Basic Silverskin Onions at 45 cent, this is also Lidls cheapest product (silverskin onions) at the same price for a 320g jar… The next winner is AH Basic Apple Sauce at 49 cent for a 720g jar.

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 21.18.30
Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 21.24.28

45 cent for a jar isn’t a great price considering what I use to get, so I checked online and unless I wanted to buy a minimum of 200 jars at a time it wasn’t really comparable in price. 1 problem solved but another one created, do you know what stinks and I mean STINKS of silverskin onions? The lids which are on the silverskin onion jars! If you’re going to join me down this crazy cheap jar path, prepare to make your dishwasher stink and buy quite a lot baking soda! So the answer is to neutralise the onion smell with baking soda, you can either make a very thick paste with water and baking soda and leave it for a few hours or sprinkle (liberally) baking soda into the lid and leave over night.  I still didn’t quite get the entire smell out but Im secretly hoping no one will notice and it will soak up my spice smell instead…. One can hope and dream…

I came across this amazing recipe, which called for apples and I changed it up and made it my own, giddy up! This jam is great for you, your loved ones, friends, family, neighbours and makes a great gift!

Comforting Spice Jam

Makes: Just over 4 320g jars but possibly more  Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 2 hours  Total time: 2 hours 15 mins minimum, I did it over 2 days.

Required Ingredients:

  • 3 kilos of pears
  • 4-5 cinnamon sticks
  • a thumb of ginger (4-8 cm long) peeled
  • Juice and peel of 1 lemon
  • Teaspoon of nutmeg (you can even substitute Mixed Spice if you prefer)
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1.35kgs jam sugar (Van Gil­se Ge­lei­sui­ker) – and yes, it is a lot!
  • 300ml apple cider vinegar
  • Handful of cloves

*My jam didn’t come as clear as the original recipe, as I used grated/ground spices, which darkens the jam, if you want a clear jam, you will need to use whole spices in their original form that aren’t grated/ground.

Now how to make this soul warming jam/jelly:

1. Peel your orange and lemon and orange, I just use a peeler as you can see. Juice the lemon. I didn’t use the orange juice, as I thought it would take away from the flavour if you’re being adventurous, go for it!

20171003_183332.jpg 20171003_183621.jpg

2. Wash your pears and cut them into quarters or chunks, it doesn’t matter. You dont need to peel them or core them, pectin is in the fruit and flavour is in the core.

3. Chuck literally everything into the pan. It looks pretty and you can already get a hint the amazing smell its going to give as it cooks. Cover with 1.2 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer on low with a lid on for 90 mins.

20171003_184507

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what the mixture looks like after 90 mins of cooking, looks mushy!20171003_210604.jpg

4. Pour your pear spice mixture in a colander lined with a muslin or a J-cloth (which I used), suspended over a large bowl. Leave to drip for a minimum of 2 hrs (until it stops dripping) or overnight (this is what I did). Do not push the liquid though the sieve or your jam will become cloudy and potentially you could push through fruit pulp which would also change the consistency of the jam.

Be careful when pouring, the liquid is super hot and your cloth may want to escape.  When I started to pour into the j-cloth, it feel over and into the liquid meaning it wasnt sieving at all, 4 hands is kind of better than 2 with the pouring, to ensure no ‘accidents’ like mine.

20171003_210644

The hang to drip thing was never really going to work for me, if it wasn’t for bad luck, Id have no luck at all, and honestly I didn’t fancy pear spice juice all over my kitchen. I made a new plan a which involved 2 bowls instead of 1. I poured the majority of the pear spice juice over/into the largest bowl first. 20171003_211307

I was then only left with what was left in the fruit. I then put this over a much smaller bowl and left over night to ‘drip’ into the bowl. The liquid that came out of this was practically crystal clear. I then combined the juices from the two bowls and went to the next step.

20171003_211312.jpg

 

5. Before you start turning your juice into jam, you need to sterilise your jars so that they are ready when your jam is.  I put mine in the oven at 90-100C until the jam was ready. The lids you will need put in a large mug or pyrex bowl and cover with boiling water.

6. At this stage I had roughly 1.8 litres. Pour the liquid into a large pan along with the jam sugar and vinegar (at this stage I completely BALLS it up and my maths completely and utterly failed me and I added WAY to much vinegar but in the end it worked, horay).

Start on a low heat to dissolve the sugar, stirring constantly. Once dissolved, turn up the heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 15 mins, or until setting point is reached, skimming away any scum that rises to the surface. If you have a thermometer, you will need it! It helps dramatically when making these kinds of things.

This is me skimming away the ‘scum’.

20171004_115115.jpg

You will see the colour of the liquid change too, from a clear to a more red colour, this may have also just been a one off for me, as I had to boil it off for so long. Normally this will take 15 mins at a rolling boil. You must watch your mixture, as it will boil and bubble up the pan, if it looks like its going to go over the side of the pan, turn the heat down slightly. Quite simply, try not to cover your hob in jam like I did.

My maths was SOOOO off that I added WAYYY too much vinegar, that I ended up having to boil most of it off which took well over an hour!!! An hour of me swearing quite profusely at the jam and vinegar but clearly never at myself…

20171004_122053.jpg  20171004_125824

7. Pour the jelly into hot sterilised jars and cover with the hot lid. (BE CAREFUL, EVERYTHING IS HOT!) Allow to set overnight. As the jars cool, you will hear the lids popping from the pressure, which is a good thing. You want them to be complete sealed and closed. I used a soup ladle to pour into the jars and jam funnel but a normal funnel will also work. Its always better to have more jars than you need rather than not enough jars. From all the boiling you can see that my juice reduce probably 5/7ths from the original juice, damn my math skills!

If you have a clear(er) liquid than I do, at the pouring into the jar stage you can add in spices to make it pretty, such as cloves, star-anise, or even cinnamon sticks.

20171004_131429

Finished product! Now just to give them to friends and family and how they dont question the onion smelling lid!

20171005_124509

Remember to share with friends and enjoy (they will love you for it)!

Notes: Being an American, having lived in the UK and now in the Netherlands, means that Im always confused with the English language, I should technically be calling this recipe jelly but after 17 years in England, I call it jam instead. In the UK American Jelly is called Jam, in the UK jelly is the American version of Jello, confused? Yeah, thats me constantly!

 

Pears, pears, pears

Its the end pear season (and autumn, which actually means that Christmas is JUST around the country, AHHHHHhhhhhhhh) and my pear tree is starting to look sad. I gave away loads of pears and then decided that I should use what I have, whilst greedily thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have given away so many pears. I got out my ladder and waited for the rain to temporarily stop, and then I was up the tree, precariously trying to grab pears that I couldn’t quite reach. After I filled a bowl up and it started to rain again (wettest September in years) I had to decide what to make, so I came up with three ideas, I know, two more than usual and all three were actually good! I made some preserves, which Ill blog about at a later date and then I settled on cake, because you know, life is better with cake (and cinnamon)!

Pear Almond Cake

Pear Almond Cake

Makes: 1 large cake – serves 8-12   Prep time: 20 mins  Cook time: 45mins  Total time: 65 mins

Required Ingredients:

  • 3 large (or 5 small pears) cored and quartered
  • 11/4  cup (250g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp (125g+ 1 tbsp)  caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (125g) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (100g) ground almonds

Now how to make this yummy cake:

1. Melt 1/4 cup (50g) of butter in a frying pan, adding 2 tbsp of sugar on medium to low heat. Continually shake the pan to create a golden brown caramel. Do not stir it, ie no spoons or spatulas, that will ruin your caramel, just occasionally swirl the pan (Not going to lie, my caramel mixture went SUPER weird and basically split but I was in a meh mood, so just went with it and threw in the pears and the pears seemed to sort the sauce and it worked in the end with a few bits of hard sugar that I took out). Add the pears and cinnamon and simmer for 5-10 minutes until browned. Set aside. The idea is not to cook them to mush at all, you kind of want them to be a bit al dente, slight bite but not hard.

2. Preheat the oven the 190C/370FC. Grease and flour a 22cm springform pan, or cheat and use a liner like I did!

3. In a large bowl, cream together the remaining butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs (I throw them both in at the same time and whisk like mad), before folding in the flour and ground almonds with a spatular or wooden spoon.

4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing over the surface. Arrange the pears in the top and spoon over a small amount of the surplus caramely juice (or just haphazardly pour them all around like I did with all the sauce). Bake for 40-45 minutes

5.Once cooked, set the cake aside to cool (ideally on a wire rack). Once completely cooled, remove from liner or pan. Refrigerate any uneaten cake in a air tight container and consume within 4 days. Its yummy on its own but you can also serve with whipped cream or custard.

pear almond cake

Remember to share with friends and enjoy!

Notes: you can also make this gluten free by subbing out the self raising flour for GF flour, adding in 2 teaspoons of xantham gum and a tablespoon of baking powder.

Aromatherapy for your home

Im an absolute fan of essential oils and making things that smell nice. Having indoor cats and a litter tray often means that any nice smells dont last for long. Recently the basement flooded (thank you landlord who refuses to fix anything), which means there was a musty damp smell hanging around. Then I had a lightbulb moment, I remembered its super easy to make home scents, all you need is a few basic ingredients that you will likely have hanging around and a pot, pretty simple!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lemon sliced or a orange for a slightly more sweet scent
  • 1 cinnamon bark (or go wild and use 2 or 3, everything is better with cinnamon)
  • 3 Rosemary spigs (I went wild and used 5 and it did smell very woodsy)

20170912_1147321.jpg

1. Take all your ingredients and chuck them in a pan, fill the pan with water.  Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for hours. If you think the water is getting low, simply top it up. It honestly isn’t any more complicated than that. It isn’t aromatic immediately but when it goes going, it will scent your entire area and floor of your home.20170912_121151.jpg

I wanted to ensure smell wafted all around, so I got a small(ish) fan out put it close(ish) to the pan without it being on the hob or in a dangerous position and turned it on. This did make a difference with spreading the scent around.  20170912_185145-e1506028838888.jpg

These ingredients last for roughly a day, I think I had my pot on for somewhere between 6 and 8 hours, at which point everything was quite pulpy and gross. I topped up the water up at least twice but simply top the water up as needed, never letter the pan go dry.

You can make it more sweet by taking out the rosemary and adding in a sliced apple, star anise, ginger or cardamon.

Sometimes you like your house to have a scent and this works really well, scents can be seasonal too, more woodsy in the winter and more floral and sweet in the spring.  Have fun with this and try it to see how what suits you and your house.

Ive also been feeling ill, I see rain everyday and then feel blah. I went onto the Ebays and bought a small ‘Aroma Diffuser Humidifier Aromatherapy Air Purifier’ to use with essential oils.  My tank is tiny on this and the instructions say add 3-5 drops of essential oil. So naturally I add 2 drops of whatever Im using. My current favourite blend is lemon, lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint.

I wont lie, my diffuser lets out lot a lot of water, Ive now put it on a plate and even then a small area around the plate is still damp to the touch.

Why using these essential oils work well for coughs, colds, congestion, aches and pains:

Lemon Essential Oil
It has energising, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, lemon is colds, coughs and congestion relief.

Lavender Essential Oil
It has analgesic properties and antibacterial agents, lavender oil for cold and cough symptoms can help treat the flu and sinus congestion and can be used forfor phlegm relief.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Is used as a treatment to combat stress, depression, and pain.

Peppermint Essential Oil
Because of its high concentration of menthol, and potent antiviral characteristics, it works to fight against colds and coughs.

Notes: if you have pets you need to be very CAREFUL, as essential oils work differently for pets than they do humans and can harm them. Recent research has shown that they can be quite harmful if not outright dangerous to them (cats especially), it doesnt have to be applied directly to your pet, they can inhale them just like you or I do.  There is a lot of information on the internet about essential oils and pets and honestly, it all seems to contradict itself. Some essential oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in animals. Cats use a different system in their liver to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called “hot” oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme and birch, which are oils that should be avoided in cats.

 

Good morning juice

Since having moved, I havent automatically climatised and have had a few colds, it feels like my nose is ALWAYS running, (God only knows where to) and Ive noticed that I feel more sluggish and lurgy-like.  None of this is good, at all.  In a vain attempt at solving all my problems, the worlds problems and in attempting to keep my nose Ive made a morning juice, its quick, easy and seems to work great as a placebo!  This is actually a healthy juice that and I will be as bold as to call it a ‘immune boosting healthy morning drink to get the day going’!

Some interesting facts on the ingredients in this drink, which make this drink AWESOME and GOOD for you.

Grapefruits are full of Vitamin C, high in fiber and low in calories, increase the body’s metabolic rate, lower insulin levels and are known to help digestion.

Oranges are high in Vitamin C and rich in potassium and boost heart health. It won’t cure your illness but it will help to reduce how long it lasts as it also boots your immune system.

Fresh Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It fights illness, helps to clear sinuses, as well as improving the absorption of nutrients and it is also a super food!

Good Morning Juice

Makes: 4 large glasses of juice   Prep time: 15 mins

Required Ingredients:

  • 4 large Grapefruits
  • 8 small-meduim oranges
  • 2 lemons or limes (optional)
  • a large stick of fresh ginger

Now how to make this juice:

Im not going to lie, I buy TONS of fruit when I go shopping, so that Im not having to buy/juice it daily or every other day.  So I buy 2 bags of grapefruit and oranges and a bag of lemons and limes. I love fresh lemon/lime in my Diet Coke, it makes such a difference!20170912_115021.jpg

What you’ll need? A juicer, jug, fine grater, knife, fruit and ginger.20170912_115032

1. Cut all your fruit in half and start juicing! It can be quite therapeutic if you let it.

2. Pour your juice in the jug as you fill up your juicer. My juicer lets through a little bit of pith but not too much, you can add more from the top of the juicer if you like, I throw it out, chunky juice is just not my thing.20170912_115221

3. Using a fine grater, grate your ginger (and fresh turmeric if you’re using it, or add in your dry turmeric) directly into the juice.  (be sure not to grate your fingers)20170912_120513.jpg

4. Stir! Your juice is now complete and ready to go! You can drink it immediately or leave it overnight to to be ready in the morning to start your day right.  It lasts up to 5 days but Im sure it wont last that long.20170912_121041.jpg

You will need to stir the juice every time you use it, as the ginger and pulp does settle at the bottom of the jug and cup.  Its a delicious healthy glass of juice to start your day!20170921_093756.jpg

The ginger gives this drink a nice kick and takes away from the acidity of the grapefruit. I wont lie I was really apprehensive to use ginger, let alone fresh ginger, as I normally HATE the stuff, however, it really makes this juice. It did take me a few days to ‘get use to it’ but now I cant imagine making it without it.

Notes: Get a vegetable peeler and peel your citrus fruits before you juice them and you can dry the peel and use it for a variety of things, such as potpourri or hand made soap!

EDIT: I got brave and tried this with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and no, literally just NO! Ginger was a brave new direction but turmeric was a step too far. It made the juice more orange, ironic given that its already orange juice and it ruined the taste, even though it was just a teaspoon. I have no doubt that turmeric has all kinds of great health benefits but sadly it makes my taste buds want to cry, a lot.

Remember to share with friends and enjoy!

 

My Dutch Italian Pear Cake

The garden has a pear tree in it, which I seem to curse more than anything else. Imagine walking along and having a rotting pear fall on your head or every time you open the door to go out, you having to shove many fallen pears out of the way, first world problems I know but still VERY annoying. As you can see, it is a large tree offering LOTS of fruit.20170907_082918

I started my search for recipes using pears, pears, pears and more pears and came across this Italian cake recipe, which sounded fantastic and I thought Id give it a go. Whilst it’s a Italian cake (because of the mascarpone), I’m calling it a Dutch Italian cake, as Im using Dutch pears.20170907_083117.jpg

Dutch Italian Cake

Makes: 1 large cake – serves 8-12   Prep time: 30 mins  Cook time: 45-60 mins  Total time: 1 hour 15-30 mins

Required Ingredients:

  •  (192g) cups flour
  • 1/4 cup + 11/2 tablespoons (40g) cornstarch/cornflour
  • ½ cup (60g) ground almonds
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (250g) mascarpone cheese
  • 2½ tablespoons sunflower/vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pears
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • extra cinnamon a sugar to top your cake with

Now how to make this amazing cake:

Pre-heat oven to 340° (170° celsius). Lightly grease and flour a 9″ (23 centimeter) cake pan ( I used a spring-form pan), or use a liner like I did.

1. Peel and core the pears, chop one pear into medium-sized cubes and slice the other pear in thin slices length wise, set aside.20170907_083849.jpg

2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light and creamy.  You can use a mixer at medium speed or your arm (I opted for this version to work on my bingo wings). I also whisked my eggs first before adding in the eggs, this doesn’t make a difference but give me peace of mind, not sure why…20170907_084150

3. Add mascarpone to the egg and sugar mixture and continue beating until smooth.20170907_084316.jpg

4. To the egg, sugar, cheese mixture, add in your dry ingredients. Stir in with a wooden spoon the flour, salt, corn starch, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda into the creamed mixture, stir gently to just combine. Do not over mix.20170907_085116.jpg

5. Add the oil to the batter and stir to just combine. 20170907_085308.jpg

6. At this point, I scape down all the sides, for the final mix through.  Fold in the medium-sized cubed pear pieces until just combined.20170907_085340

7. Spoon the cake batter into prepared cake pan.20170907_085855.jpg

8. Top your batter with the sliced pears (I had 3 left over), this can be done in any design but I decided to make mine ‘pretty’. 20170907_090039

I then sprinkled with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon before putting in the oven.20170907_090111.jpg

9. Bake approximately 45 – 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!20170907_095430

20170907_131458.jpg

I had a friend coming over on the day and I was nervous about this recipe because I’d never made it before and she had never had my baking, but this was hit! I even sent her off to work with all the spare cake to feed to her colleagues at the Theatre she works at, they also really enjoyed it and are looking forward to my next baking adventure!

Remember to share with friends and enjoy!

Notes: I did actually add in almond extract, as I thought it would enhance the cake, please do NOT do this. It just make the cake taste of almond, which completely took away from the pears. Luckily Im in the Netherlands where almond is a beloved taste, so it wasn’t an issue as such but honestly, it did let down the cake.