Friday, 30 November 2012

Day off

It doesn't happen very often but dh and I had a day off work today and we really made the most of it. We started by taking the car in for a service. I say we but I stayed in bed whilst dh took the car to the local garage and then walked home. We really like to support local businesses. It was still early by the time we got home (and below freezing). We then dressed up warm for our walk as it was freezing outside. Every time we get the opportunity to go out walking in the countryside we always promise ourselves that we'll do it more often and this is why.....

How's that for a view. It just makes the soul sing. Beautiful weather and views and wonderful company. This walk had everything - tweeting birds, bare branches, dry leaves underfoot, squelchy mud, bright blue sky and ice crystals on the leaves and grasses.

Doesn't it just make you want to get out there and enjoy your local countryside.

We ended our walk by the church featured in the film The Holiday.

We then even had the luxury of going out for lunch before getting back home in time for the kids' return from school. A perfect day off (and I even managed to finish the heart pin cushions I've been making). I hope you all had a good day.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Homemade Presents

As you might have guessed I like to give some handmade gifts at this time of year. This year, it will be flavoured olives. I know it sounds like hard work but it's one of the easiest gifts to make. I bought plain olives from the supermarket. They were 99p for a jar of 454g.

To make the marinated olives, you need to decide what flavours you want. This time, I decided on rosemary, chilli and garlic. The rosemary was from the garden and I used chilli flakes and fresh, crushed garlic. During the summer I make the olives using marjoram, thyme or oregano but at this time of year, they have died back in the garden. I only make these when I can find reduced olive oil. This litre bottle was £3.25 rather than the usual price which makes this an economical present to make.

Drain the olives and place in a large bowl. Soak the jars and remove the labels. Sterilise the jars by filling three quarters with water and putting in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. Wash and dry the lids. Finely chop the rosemary and add it to the olives with the crushed dried chillies and crushed fresh garlic. I'm not sure of the exact amounts of the ingredients just add to taste.

Put the olives back in the sterilised jars and then pour olive oil in until all the olives are covered. I used most of the bottle of olive oil. This is the end result. They also taste as good as they look.

We even managed to find some time for a family walk this afternoon and came across this sculpture.

It amazes me what people are able to make out of wire. There was also a craft market that we had a wander around. Some beautiful items but all way beyond my budget. My ds decided that he could take photos that were as good as those for sale and I certainly agree with him. Maybe that's how he'll pay his way through university.

We're now back home after our fresh air and have found Carry on Teaching on the tv. I love the old classic movies. Such innocent humour. I hope you all have a lovely week.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


I don't know where the year has gone. It just seems like yesterday that I was wrapping the presents for Chanukah and Christmas and the time has come round again. I'm afraid that I can't show you any new things I've been working on as I spent the day finishing off the present buying and wrapping everything. Apart from a break in the afternoon with my brother and his children which was a welcome distraction, the rest of the day has been spent cutting wrapping paper and folding and sticking. This year, I bought the wrapping paper from Tiger. I've recently found this store and I love the things they sell, some of them quite quirky. I've bought wooden beads from there which I used to make plaited bracelets in the summer. I bought two rolls of wrapping paper that are the same feel as plain brown wrapping paper but in bright pink and green. I think I paid £2 per roll and the presents look lovely. I've now finished all the present buying and wrapping which is always a great feeling.

Everything is ready for the actual giving which will start on 8 December which is the first night of Chanukah this year. I love this festival as we light the candles every night for eight nights and we even have an excuse for eating doughnuts (the tradition is to eat fried food so doughnuts and latkes, are a tradition). In our family, we give a small present every night. This is a tradition that we have always kept and it has meant that there is no expectation for big, expensive presents. My children know how lucky they are to live as they do and they are always grateful for the presents that they receive. I am very proud of the way they have grown up to be such amazing, compassionate young people.

How are your preparations coming along for the festive season? How do you celebrate in your household? I'd love to hear what you all do and how you cope when all about you is screaming buy me. Have a wonderful evening.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


After my trip away I'm now back in the swing of things. Focaccia was baked this evening and I had it with homemade humus and olives. I had frozen the humus and I was sceptical about this but I defrosted it in the microwave and it tastes great. The flapjack was also made (at the last minute as I had forgotten) and it has turned out well. I always find that things tend to go ring when I'm tired but this time it turned out ok. I didn't add any extra fruit as I still have some cranberry flapjack left from last week and it keeps very well. Here is the vegan cake that I made yesterday for the birthday tea.

This is the easiest cake recipe ever and even my dh agreed that it tastes great. I'll definitely be using the recipe again as I've now made it twice it it tasted great each time. Even though it has no eggs it tastes light and airy. It must be the combination of the bicarbonate of soda and the teaspoon of red wine vinegar.

I also cut out a new felt pattern today. I decided to have a look through my cookie cutter collection and found a number that I think would be great for patterns. What do you think?

As you can see, as well as the flower and tree, I thought I'd have a go at a Star of David and a dreidel, the traditional game played at Chanukah which starts on 8 December this year. I'm starting to panic a bit as this is less than a month away and I haven't finished buying all the presents yet. I think I'll be writing some lists out this week so I start to feel a bit more in control. As well as cutting out the shapes, I also made a new heart shaped pattern. It's a bit larger than my other hanging decorations but I'm really pleased with it.

I've filled it with stuffing and the lavender that we harvested from my parents' garden. I think they could also be used as pin cushions if I left put the ribbon. Let me know what you think.

As well as all the baking and crafting, I found time to watch Jerusalem with Yotam Ottalengi. It was on BBC4 on Tuesday night but I caught up with it on I-player this evening. It was well worth the effort. Beautiful shots of the city of Jerusalem, lovely stories about individual cooks and amazing recipes. I visited in 1992 and it brought back lots of lovely memories. It's a beautiful city filled with amazing people of different backgrounds. My wish is that they would all be able to live together in peace and harmony. A particular poignant thought at this time.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Back Home

It's always nice returning home after a trip away. It's not all the washing that needs to be done (in my case very little) but all the home comforts that I've missed. Which is why I just pottered around the house yesterday, taking in all I'd learnt over the two days I spent in Ypres and the Somme and doing a bit of baking. Some of the things I saw were so awe inspiring that they will stay with me for a lifetime. We visited so many cemeteries over the two days and there were stories at each one. We visited the grave of a 15 year old boy who died on the front. Of course, he never should have been there but was desperate to fight for his king and country. His name was rifleman Strudwick and as you can see has been remembered by many people.

His grave stone is in the Essex Fields cemetery in Flanders. This was the first cemetery we visited and there were a lot of tears shed as we listened to these young men's stories.
Essex Fields

As we stood and listened, the leaves were gently falling off the leaves in the mild wind. It was a very poignant moment as it brought to mind all those lives cut short. Of course it was much more peaceful than it would have been on the battlefield.

On the last day we visited the site of the Lochnagar mine explosion. In peacetime it just looks like a large crater in the middle of the countryside but it has an amazing story behind it.

Here it is in the mist. On the 1 July 1916, the date which marked the start of the Battle of the Somme, tunnellers set off an explosion with 60,000 pounds of explosives underground. They had tunnelled from the allied front line underneath no mans land and set the explosives underground. The end result is a crater 90m across and 30m deep. Today it is peaceful standing on the lip of the crater but I can just imagine the noise at the time. This was the largest man made explosion before the atomic bomb. When we visited a wreath had been laid in the bottom of the crater. This happens twice a year on 1 July and 11 November, armistice day.

By the way, this is the picture of the chocolate shop we visited in Ypres before the last post ceremony.

We had a chocolate from the box yesterday and it tasted luscious.

Talking of chocolate, I made another vegan chocolate cake yesterday. I think it is the easiest cake I have ever made. This time I made double the recipe so that I could make a layered cake for a 95th birthday tea which we went to yesterday afternoon. I sandwiched it with chocolate buttercream (made with pure margarine so the cake was still totally vegan). I had a lot of positive comments about the cake although my ds still thinks it's not as good as his granny's chocolate cake. I'm not sure I'm ever going to meet that high standard.

I'm off to teach at synagogue this morning so I'll have to leave all my making and baking until this afternoon. I'm planning on baking the focaccia (I made the dough yesterday) and flapjacks which are our weekly staple. I'll see what inspiration strikes when I'm back home.

Hope you all have a lovely day.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


The reason I haven't been around this week is because I was in Belgium and France (I just got back last night). It's amazing how much can be packed into 2 days. I feel like I've been away for at least a week. I was accompanying the school Battlefields trip. The students were amazing and I learnt so much about the Great War. It was humbling to see all the graves at the sites we visited and to hear their stories. At each grave we stood in front of, we read the names and said thank you for everything they had done for us. As we drove around northern France and Belgium, we came across commonwealth cemeteries in so many different locations. In industrial estates, in the middle of large farms, in sparse woodland. The tears started when we read 'In Flanders Fields'.

This was the first cemetery we visited. The majority of headstones had crosses on them but I found three with a Star of David on them - I placed a stone on each one to say thank you. I really like this Jewish tradition as stones remain on the grave whereas flowers wither and die. A stone is a continuous reminder that people have visited, remembered and said thank you.

What amazed me about the whole day was the number of names we saw of the missing soldiers. Tens of thousands of names in so many different locations. In the German cemetery we visited, 24,000 unnamed soldiers buried in one location. A mass grave in a cemetery. I've never seen anything on this scale before. The students that we took with us were as shocked as I was. Anyone who says that teenagers don't care needs to spend some time with them and actually talk to them. They'll soon find different.

One of the highlights of the trip was the last post at Ypres. This has happened ever day at 8pm since 1927 (except for a break for the Second World War) and is extremely moving. Three of our students laid a wreath as part of the ceremony. There are people watching the ceremony from all corners of the globe who travel to this area to remember ancestors who fought for their freedom.

All around the gate, the names of the missing soldiers have been inscribed. Thousands of them. I'm still trying to get my head around the numbers of young men that lost their lives in the First World War and the conditions that they had to live in. Also, the impact that this had back in their countries of origin. Whole generations of men just wiped out and the women left behind who lost their sweethearts. What an impact on everyone and everything.

After all the seriousness, we also visited the local chocolate shops of Ypres. After tastings at two of the shops, it was time to part with some hard earned euros. You wouldn't know that all these chocolate shops stay open so late when all the other shops are closed. The chocolates are now home safe and sound and waiting to be eaten (I'm hoping over a long period of time as I bought a 1kg box!).

After a night in a Belgian hotel with a great continental breakfast, it was off for our second day of learning. The most thought provoking thing of the day was a visit to the Newfoundland War Memorial. The weather was really foggy through out the day which added a hint of eeriness to all the sites we visited. This was particularly the case at this war memorial where you could see where the original trenches would have been and look out over what would have been no mans land with all the shell holes.

This is a picture of the war memorial itself with a Canadian caribou on the top. From the top we were able to look out over the surrounding landscape and see things like this...

You can clearly see where the original trenches would have been.

If you ever get the chance to visit the First World War cemeteries I highly recommend it. It's thought provoking and makes me thankful for the sacrifice of all those young men. I will remember.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cookery Books

I thought I'd show you my collection of cookery books. I sometimes read them instead of novels as I love to look at the pictures and think about how I would follow the recipes. Some of them are full of so many ingredients that I wouldn't know where to start. I love simple recipes that are full of flavour. Here are some pictures of my collection.

My favourite type of cooking is baking but that doesn't feed the family every night of the week which is why I have a selection of baking and everyday cooking books. I love Delia Smith for her basic recipes that never go wrong. I always use her recipe for meringues and toad in the hole batter. Her recipe uses meat sausages but I just replace with Linda McCartney veggie sausages. It certainly goes down well in our house. I love Nigel Slater kitchen diaries as it's a cross between a diary and cookery book so if I don't fancy making anything it's still a good read. Rachel Allen is anther favourite cook of mine as her recipes are quite simple (have you spotted a theme here?). Even though I have so many cookery books, I'm always on the look out for more. I particularly love visiting Waterstones as I'm able to leaf through the new books in a comfy chair. I came across Ottolenghi's new book Jerusalem as I had time for a five minute visit while shopping a couple of weekends ago. It's a book that is full of beautiful photographs and recipes. I've been to Jerusalem once over 20 years ago and it brought back a lot of memories. It's certainly one for the wish list.

We cook vegetarian in our house and as you can see I have a few cookery books that are specifically for vegetarian cooking. Particular favourites include my books by Rose Elliot which always have lots of basic recipes in them. I'm also loving the Veg everyday book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall which is where my dukka recipe came from and Paul McCartney's Meatless Mondays - there is a great recipe in here for potato and pea samosas. Easy to make and quite spicy. I think you could even have the filling as a side dish when serving up a curry. Another lovely book for its ideas is Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. It makes me want to visit his restaurant's in London. A real favourite of mine is Terre a Terre which includes many of the recipes for the meals served at the restaurant of the same name in Brighton. This restaurant is a real favourite of ours, particularly their 'better batter' which is halloumi soaked in buttermilk, covered in batter and deep fried. I doesn't sound much but it's divine. Unfortunately, they had a fire in their kitchens a month ago and so won't be open for business for a while. I highly recommend this restaurant (obviously once the fire damage has been sorted) as it has vegetarian food with flair. Check it put if you ever visit Brighton. Remember to ask for the wasabi cashew nuts. I'll have to remember to post the recipe on here because they are tasty although I can't get mine to taste exactly as they do in the restaurant.

Let me know if you have any recommendations for cookery books - I always love to read more.

Have a great evening.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Crafty day

It was a late night last night. We went out to a lovely Chinese restaurant. Our local Chinese take away restaurant isn't great for vegetarians but there was quite a bit more choice at the restaurant we went to last night. Even so, I managed to order an aubergine starter and main course. Have you guessed that I love aubergines however they're cooked. The lovely thing about Chinese food is it's all about sharing food so I managed to try other things that I hadn't ordered. It was a thank you meal for all the support we give to the judo club our children go to. So a BIG thank you for the lovely meal.

Everyone else was out of the house today so I spent the day crafting and cooking with the cats for company. I managed to finish the post boxes - what do you think?

I'm really pleased with them now I just need to come up with the next idea. I finished them whilst catching up with some of my favourite programmes - Dowton Abbey and the Paradise. I've just got Merlin to go now but I'm waiting until everyone is home for that. I made sure that everything was switched off for the 2 minutes silence at 11am. As a grand daughter of refugees from the Second World War, I wanted to say thank you to all those who made it possible for them to escape with their lives. Thank to all the service men and women past and present. You are all amazing.

 I've also been busy in the kitchen and have made a double batch of flapjack and an apple crumble. This time, I added some dried cranberries to half of the flapjack mix. The kids don't like anything extra in their flapjack but I fancied a bit of a change. This is how they turned out...

 You can see the second batch just peeking out in the corner of the photo. I only made two thirds of the tray with cranberries as I knew I wouldn't be able to eat a whole batch myself (I like my food but not that much). The cranberries were an addition as I found them in the cupboard and I'm trying to use up cupboard stores before I buy anything else.

The crumble recipe is really easy. I'd already made the stewed apples so all I needed to do was make the topping. Weigh out 200g plain flour. Rub in 100g butter or marg until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in 100g sugar. Spread over the top of the apples and bake at 180 degrees centigrade for approx 20 minutes and then enjoy. The plan is to have the crumble after homemade pizza tonight. I'm going to make double the amount of the tomato sauce so there will be plenty to have with pasta during the week. I always find that I'm exhausted after work and can't be bothered to cook something healthy no matter how many times I watch cookery programmes that say it's really easy. It's never easy when you're feeling tired.

I hope you're all having a lovely day and that I've given you some ideas.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Letter box

Well, it's been a really busy day most of which has been spent at the local Judo club championships. We started at 8.30 and were home by 3.30 so not much time for crafting today. But I did manage to get my marking done which is always a bonus. I've also found time to cut out the pattern for my new design - a traditional British letter box - and cut out the pieces for four letter boxes. The plan is to sew them tomorrow when everyone else is out tomorrow. The only question now is whether or not I make them scented. What do you think? I have some lavender but I could also make them more Christmassy by adding crushed cinnamon sticks or cloves. I would welcome your thoughts on this before I start making them tomorrow. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures yet of the pattern - I'll add that tomorrow. So, let me know what you think. Hopefully, by the morning you will have helped to make my mind up. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

New make

I have felt exhausted all week and a bit under the weather. I've no idea what it is but to cheer myself up I decided to do a hit of crafting this evening. It isn't my new design but it's the next best thing. I normally add some lavender to my makes for a lovely smell but seeing as we're moving into the holiday season I wondered if cloves would work. I found some lurking at the back of my spices collection so I decided to give it a go. This is the end result.

Gingerbread men

I think they would look lovely hanging on a Christmas tree (or maybe a Chanukah bush). Not only are they cheerful but they smell nice too. I made them while watching an episode of Murder She Wrote (it amazes me that there are still episodes of this series that I haven't watched) and the second episode of the Young Apprentice. Tonight they had to design cookery books and some of the concepts were completely bonkers. I also can't believe that one of their teams didn't proof read their copy spelling potato incorrectly. As my dd said, why didn't they just use a dictionary! What have you been  to this evening? Any crafting it there? I'd love to here from you.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Looking forward to the weekend

It's a really busy work at week at the moment which is why I haven't written anything this week (or had time to make anything). I've either been working at work or at home so there has been no time for anything else except sleep. I have to say that I'm really looking forward to a bit of time over the weekend to start on a new project. I did a bit of designing today in a spare minute so the plan is to see if the design will translate into the finished article. Watch this space.....

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Having got up early this morning, I was quietly sitting on the sofa whilst everyone else was still sleeping. I finished the book I had been reading - I capture the castle by Dodi Smith - and a glanced around the living room. I spotted the two mini stone hippos I had brought back from Uganda two years ago and decided to design a felt hippo badge - what do you think? I love the colour combinations and I think it looks really cute. Here are the individual parts

and the finished badge, back and front.

I made the badge from some scraps of felt I had left. I'd bought some badge pins when hobbycraft had a sale in the summer. I always like to stock up when I find bargains and they've now come in useful. I'd love to hear what you think of my new design. 

Restful day

I'm hoping that today is going to be a restful day. Apart from the preparations for next week (packed lunches, washing school uniform and packing school bags) it should be a quiet day. The fireworks last night were great and the company was lovely.

As usual I made too much food so I now need to be thinking about freezing the leftovers. The lentil soup went down really well so there isn't much left of that, just enough for a coupe of portions. I'll portion the butternut squash soup up and freeze it for another occasion as I made a bit too much. As for the hummus, I completely over catered. I'm going to keep some for lunches this week and then freeze the rest. I'll let you know if it worked.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


Having made the focaccia dough last night, I knocked it back this morning and rolled it out to fit the baking pans so that it could prove. I don't think the house is very warm as it's taking a long time to rise again. Here's hoping it will be ready for tonight.

I made the soup this morning - a butternut squash one and a lentil and chickpea one. As I was making the soup, I realised that I didn't have any bouillon powder left to make the vegetable stock. I did think about driving to the shop to get some more but decided I would make do with water. I made the butternut squash soup by frying three chopped onions, then adding two diced butternut squashes and salt and pepper. I added about 2 litres of water, cooked until the squash was soft and then blended. It was at this point that I realised the soup didn't have enough body so I decided to cook some chopped carrots separately and then add them to the soup and blend again. It now tastes much better. For the lentil soup, I dry fried 4tsp of cumin seeds and 2 good pinches of chilli flakes. I then added olive oil and 3 diced onions (you don't have to dice them really small as the soup will be blended). Add 280g red lentils, 2 tins of tomatoes and 1.7 litres of veg stock (I added water as I had run out of stock). Boil for about 20 minutes until the lentils are soft. Blend the soup and then add 1 tin of drained chickpeas. Add salt and pepper to taste. As you can see from the photo, this amount feeds enough for an army so hopefully I should have enough for tonight. The lentil soup is at the front of the photo.

I've also made a double batch of chocolate brownies and I've just taken a double batch of fairy cakes put of the oven. I thought it would be good to have something sweet that isn't chocolate. I'm planning to ice them then maybe add a malteser to each one. Here's the chocolate brownies which I'm really pleased with.

The only problem is that after doing all this cooking and tidying the house up, I'm shattered. I now need to sit down and take the weight off my feet before everyone comes round. Have a lovely evening.

Friday, 2 November 2012


We're really lucky as where we live we have a bonfire and fireworks in two different weekends as we live between villages. Tomorrow night is our more local firework night. It has a torch light procession like our other one but it is much smaller and has more of a village feel about it. We've invited some friends over to share the evening with us which I'm really looking forward to. The plan is to make soup and bread followed by chocolate brownies which should keep everyone happy. To try and get ahead of myself, I've made the dough for the focaccia tonight. It's a really simple recipe but I've added a little twist to it following our visit to our vegan friends today.

The plan was for us all to go swimming in their pool but the water was really cold. I decided that it wasn't worth getting changed for however my ds and dd decided to just go for it and they had a lovely freezing cold swim (or more like a play) in the pool. This was followed by a lovely lunch of homemade falafel and focaccia. As I was planning to make this tomorrow anyway I cheekily asked how my hostess had managed to get it so fluffy. She said the secret ingredient was soya milk. As I had nearly a litre left over from making the glaze for the vegan cake, I decided to give it a go. It seems to have worked and this is how the dough is looking at the moment.
Rising focaccia
I've covered the bowls with a tea towel to help the dough rise. The recipe I used comes from the Bread book by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno. This is a book filled with the easiest bread recipes. Here is the focaccia one which I made in my Kenwood chef, the best bit of kitchen equipment I own. Put 500g of strongly in flour in the mixing bowl and add 1 7g sachet of fast action dried yeast and 1.5tsp of salt. Mix together and then add 3tbsp of olive oil. You will need to use the dough hook for this recipe but you can also make this by hand. Add 300ml of warm water while the mixer is on (at this stage I replaced the water with warm soya milk). Mix the dough until it is smooth, silky and elastic. Put into a bowl and cover with a tea towel so that the dough can rise. This should take 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of the room. I made three times the recipe hence the three bowls as I'm feeding quite a few people tomorrow. In the morning, I'll knock the dough back and put onto a baking sheet in the morning for it to prove again. As I won't need the bread until the evening and I want to have it fresh, I'll leave it somewhere cool during the day. I'll let you know how it tastes. When it has doubled in size again, bake in the oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 30-45 minutes until golden brown. You can add different flavourings before you bake the bread - crushed salt, rosemary, olive oil. Whatever takes your fancy.

By the way, the vegan chocolate cake I made yesterday went down a storm, it was really light and fluffy. The glaze needed a bit more cooking as the sugar was still a but granular but practice makes perfect. I'll certainly be making it again. Before I went out this morning, I finished off two more Leah Makes bunnies, this time in red felt. Here's one of them with green embroidery. What do you think?

I'll make the rest of the food tomorrow (two soups and the chocolate brownies). I think it's now time for a rest and some dinner. I hope you all have a lovely evening.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Vegan chocolate cake

We went out for a lovely walk with friends at the Devil's Punch Bowl in Hindhead. I haven't been there since the tunnel was opened and it makes such a difference to the walk. There is no longer the background noise of the A3 and you can actually here the birds tweeting. The colours were fabulous - lots of reds, yellows and greens. I took some pictures but all you can see are the outlines of the trees so they won't be making an appearance here. We had a picnic near the cafe - it was great to be able to eat outside and not spend a fortune on a restaurant meal. We all enjoy walking so I must make sure I put some more walks in the diary.

I make the glaze for the cake when I arrived home (after cutting out some more rabbits, this time in red felt). The glaze is lovely and shiny but there is as much on the plate as there is on the cake. This is my first attempt at a vegan cake - I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Sorry about the messy presentation - you can tell I'm not a baker by profession. Enjoy your evening.

New recipe

We've made some new friends who are vegan so I wanted to find a baking recipe that I could make and take over. I searched the Internet this morning and found this vegan chocolate cake. I've had a go at making it this morning and it looks really good. However, the test will come in the eating. It needs to cool for 2 hours before I can add the frosting (and I need to buy some soy milk before I can make it) so I won't be able to let you know if it tastes good until later. This is how it looks so far

Vegan chocolate cake
This is the recipe...

Mix together 1.25 cups plain flour, 1 cup sugar, third cup cocoa powder, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda and half tsp of salt.

Add the wet ingredients - 1 cup warm water or coffee, 1 tsp vanilla extract, third cup vegetable oil and 1tsp white or apple cider vinegar (I only had red wine vinegar in the house so we'll see if that works).

Mix well and pour into an 8 inch square baking tin. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes.

Leave to cool completely before adding the glaze. To make the glaze, boil half cup of sugar, 4 tbsp margarine, 2 tbsp soya milk and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Once boiling, simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir for 5 minutes. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract. Pour on the cake. The recipe says that it sets quickly - I'll let you know if this is the case. See you later to show you the finished cake.