Nella Martin

an appointment with a nurse in practice

Category: Baking

The Humble Overlooked Beetroot Transformed into a Gorgeous Velvet Chocolate Cake

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I love beetroot, baked, boiled, pickled, grated raw in coleslaw or salad, curried…. Today I have a big bunch of it, I’ve decided to make a beetroot and chocolate cake. I’ve quickly scoured internet recipes. They all seemed fiddly and involved melting dark chocolate that I do not possess. So I’ve kept it simple and I’ve done my own thing. I had 360g of boiled peeled beetroot and I’ve then added in the 80gish of cocoa powder and 300gs of plain flour (50/50 wholemeal to plain), 360g of sugar, 360mls of oil, 4 eggs, 2 tsp. of bicarbonate of soda. I’ve split it into two sandwich tins and it’s now baking in the oven. I’ll update this blog when it comes out!!

Cake came out rather on the large side, I think I should have made one small one with half the ingredients. I did cream cheese icing and coloured it with beetroot juice. Not the best quality photo. It is very nice, a slight bitterness from the chocolate, I maybe could have put in a little less, but very yummy overall.

Sweet Potatoes

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I’ve noticed that this little blog is in danger of becoming dominated by food, however I suppose that makes sense, food is the main thing that I think about!  So much of my time is given over to shopping, making packed lunches (although husband has taken to making his own colourful salad creations) and of course dinner. Every day dinner has to be given some thought, ingredients obtained and prepared. Today it’s over to the sweet potato. They are very popular in this household. Husband prefers his curried, D2 roasted or mashed, D1 doesn’t mind how they come and when she is home from Uni is generally grateful for any food that she hasn’t had to forage for or prepare herself. Unlike potato potatoes, sweet potatoes count towards your five a day. I also found them to be the perfect weaning food for babies. Today at husband’s request I’ll be making a sweet potato and chick pea curry. I mostly make it up as I go along and I never measure anything. D1 will be reading this so she can use it on her Uni house mates!!

Fry onion, garlic and fresh chopped tomatoes, or use a tin if no fresh around.

Add herbs and spices to your own tastes, again this varies each time, I generally add cumin, mustard, coriander, turmeric, cardamom and ginger, then I separate some out for D2 before adding in fresh chillies with a little chilli powder, you could just use a curry paste if you prefer though.

Then add the chopped sweet potato and really any other vegetables you have about, sometimes I add in courgette or aubergine, maybe a carrot, some red pepper to make it even more colourful, finally put in the pre cooked chick peas and simmer for about 20 mins. Serve with rice or bread. Quick, very simple, cheap and nutritious.

D2 has another little friend round to play tonight, she only eats pasta, chips or pizza. I feel really lucky that mine eat almost anything really.

Chicken Pie

Chicken pie was demolished without ceremony by three, nine-year old little girls and one huge husband.

Chicken Pie

It’s another cool but gloriously bright and bird chirpy spring day! Twin girls from further down our lane, came here this morning to walk to school with D2, their three little faces were all sunny and chatty to match the day. They didn’t want me to walk with them, so three little red and grey dressed nine-year olds set off to school, calling for another along the way. I want to record these moments, they are so fleeting. She is my last, before I know it there will be no little youthful face to wave off to school.

I have an annual leave week, however I’m going into a care home to do some outstanding health checks this morning. It’s a lovely home. You only get to read about the bad ones in the press, yet all around us are care homes with hard-working staff, working for minimum wage doing their very best and with real affection for the people that they care for.

I roasted a chicken yesterday, I paid extra to try to ensure that it had been a happy chicken. I’ve salvaged enough of it to make chicken and mushroom pie for dinner tonight. I cyber spoke with a friend of mine last night about pastry making, To me it’s one of the quickest and easiest things to do, I’ve never bought ready-made. I think that’s from all those early years spent with my Grandmother and helping her bake, I don’t have to look at a recipe, the amounts and hows have been etched in my brain alongside my first words. If I ever develop Alzheimer’s, I will remember how to make pastry right up to the very end. I do meet many disadvantaged families through work and It always saddens me that so many people do not know how to cook even the simplest of meals from scratch, to them cooking is switching on the oven to heat up oven ready prepared foods. It’s such a very important part of life and living healthily. I believe that there is a real need for schools to include food and nutrition with some cookery classes on the curriculum. It will probably do many people more good than some of the other subjects that will be instantly forgotten and never used again. Some people will argue that those skills should be learnt at home, but sadly if the parents do not have the skills and many do not, there is nobody to teach the children.

Finance management is another important life skill, not one that I’ve ever been good at. Information on credit cards, APR, loans, mortgages and budgeting should also be taught in schools because again if many parents struggle with this themselves how can they help their children. They are my thoughts this morning!! I need to go to do those health checks now.