Blackberry and apple loaf cake – a recipe

After our fruitful (pardon the pun!) adventure picking blackberries a few weekends ago, I’ve been carefully considering what to bake with them – the pressure to pick a good recipe feels much higher when you’ve put the time in picking the ingredients. Plus I’m obviously obsessed with the Great British Bake Off at the moment so any bake has to pass an imaginary Paul and Mary test. I think this blackberry and apple loaf cake with a cinnamon crumble top was pretty successful – if a minute or two over baked, no star baker for me.

250g self-raising flour
175g butter
175g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small eating apple
2 large eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp baking powder
150g blackberries
2 tbsp rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter the sides and line the bottom of a loaf tin.

Mix together the flour, butter and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

Grate the apple and mix in to the beaten eggs and orange zest.

Stir the baking powder into the flour mixture, then gently stir in the egg mixture being careful not to over mix.

Fold in the blackberries.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.

In a small bowl mix together the rolled oats and cinnamon, sprinkle this on top of the mixture.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, check it after 40 minutes and cover the top with foil if it’s browning too early.

It’s definitely worth using the skewer test (and the foil) as the top cooked way before the middle.

Leave it to cool for around 30 minutes then remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy. It tastes great with cream or crème fresh!

I've still go a bag of blackberries left in the freezer - what other blackberry recipes do you love?


Three ways to re-use a Cath Kidston blackberry case

In my opinion it’s never okay to throw away Cath Kidston (except that time I broke my favourite mug *sobs*) and when I came across my old blackberry phone case during a clear out, I just couldn't bring myself to send it to the charity shop with everything else. It’s just such a pretty floral and it’s blue. So it sat on my bedside table for a week or two while I decided what to do with it, my Samsung phone just doesn't fit, but I was determined to find a way to re-use or DIY it.

Well, I didn't just find one, I found three!

Clutch bag card holder
When my, ahem Cath Kidston, purse won’t fit, I don’t like to just leave cards loose in my handbag so the blackberry case is the perfect size to hold a couple of cards together in a clutch. Disclaimer – I don’t really take my Boots card on nights out, but you get the idea.

Knitting needle organiser
I have a lot of knitting needles and it takes ages to find the matching pair, so I’ve sorted out a couple of my most used for my knitting bag. Don’t they look nice and organised, plus the case protects my current works in progress from the ends of the needles.

Pencil case
You can never find a pen or pencil in our flat and more often than not it’s because they’ve rolled off and underneath the coffee table or sofa. But now they can be stacked neatly on top of our magazines and notepad.

Which is your favourite? I’m currently going for the third at the moment, and wondering what else in my charity shop bag could be re-purposed...


Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?

Considering that it’s only the second week in September, Christmas seems to have come up a few too many times this week. From the unforgivable act of our local Tesco putting out the Christmas chocolate (ignoring back to school, Halloween, bonfire night and hell, even just autumn in general) to certain family members trying to organise who is having Christmas/Boxing Day parties. We don’t even know where we are going to be living come December!

But it did get me thinking about my promises last year of a ‘handmade Christmas’ which resulted in one handmade scarf and a couple of Christmas decorations, so while I maintain that it is far too early for shops to be putting out the Christmas stuff, for those of you like myself who are hoping to knit/crochet/sew a significant portion of your gifts starting to think about this now is no bad thing.

You don’t have to start making just yet, but having a plan and starting to source materials and patterns is a great start. I don’t doubt that craft sellers will have started making their Christmas stock months ago.

So, I've spent my morning browsing pinterest, ravelry and many of my favourite blogs for some inspiration. And you know what; it feels pretty good to be prepared.


Blackberry picking

What better way to spend a Sunday?

I'd sussed out this spot last year after missing most of the blackberry crop and being determined not to let that happen again this year. Happily it didn't and we picked until we had purple fingers and a full bag (well, enough for pudding and a few for baking with).

We also came home with two feathers and a couple of conkers, not a bad day’s foraging really!


Fresh flowers – a close up

With some time to spare last weekend I jumped at the chance to have another play with my bargain macro lens (blogged about here), this time using the flowers currently brightening up our living room. I still love the extreme close up you can achieve and the dreamy quality of the blurred edges.


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