Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Lakes

I went to the Lake District for the first time at the weekend and what a glorious weekend it was. The sun was looking down on me all weekend which was lovely. I ventured to Patterdale  which is a small village north of Lake Windermere. Patterdale lies on the southern tip of Ullswater and is absolutely breathe taking. The lake is less touristy than Windermere but no less beautiful and tranquil. I stayed on a campsite situated at the back of Side Farm which is just off the main road as you drive through Patterdale. I don't think I've been to a more well placed campsite. Where you camp is right on the edge of Ullswater and there are plenty of little pebbly beaches surrounding the site so you can jump straight in the water for a swim or take a boat in and start paddling. At only £8 a night per adult I think it's an absolute steal and I would definitely go back for another visit. Patterdale is at the foot of the mountains so there are pathways a plenty to start walking along for experienced walkers and for those who just want a gentle stroll.

I think the biggest think that struck me about being in the Lake District is who lucky I am to live in such and amazing country with this kind of colourful scenery. I climbed a near by hill and looked out over the surrounding countryside and couldn't have felt more relaxed and calm about the world around me. It all seems like a bit of a dream now.  I also learnt that shops in the Lake District can't sell take away hot drinks because of the littering it may cause. There may be a few disgruntled people who can't get their caffeine fix, but it is a necessity in this throw away day and age that such rules apply. The countryside is unspoilt and should remain that way. I can't believe it's taken me so long to make a proper trip to the Lakes. Now I have, I can't wait to start planning my next Lake adventure.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Herman the Cake

My sister came to visit the other week and presented me with a jar which inside had some weird beige substance. I was then told it was the beginnings of a cake. Many people have heard of the German Friendship Cake but for me this was my first meeting with the man in the jar called 'Herman'. Yes the cake does have a name.

Even though this cake takes a little bit of work, it tastes lovely at the end of it. I took it into work and it  was all consumed very quickly. Don't worry if you get to step 9 and you don't have anyone else to give some of the mixture to, just keep following the steps you will just end up with enough mixture for two cakes. If you do this make sure you add lots of flavouring otherwise you'll still have that doughy taste left. I added about 8 teaspoons of cinnamon and I still think it could have done with some more. Also, because it is a very moist cake, after 40minutes in the oven, I turned it off but left the cakes inside. This allowed it to be cooked through properly without burning. When my mum baked this cake hers came out soggy in the middle so I think it's best left inside the oven to avoid this.

What's great about 'Herman' is that you can add any ingredients to him at the end to transform him into any cake you want. Apple and Cinnamon, Pear and Ginger, Choc and Nut-anything. I give the recipe 7.5/10. Have a go and see what you think...


Hello, my name is Herman.
I am a sourdough cake. I'm supposed to sit on your worktop for 10 days without a lid on.
You CANNOT put me in the fridge or I will die. If I stop bubbling, I am dead.
  1. You get Herman and put him in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.
  2. Stir well
  3. Stir well
  4. Herman is hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.
  5. Stir well
  6. Stir well
  7. Stir well
  8. Stir well
  9. Hungry again. Add the same as day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 equal portions and give away to friends with a copy of these instructions. Keep the 4th one.
  10. Herman is very hungry. Stir well and add the following:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • half tsp (teaspoon) salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2/3 (two thirds) cup of cooking oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cooking apples cut into chunks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder
Mix everything together and put into a large greased baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 170-180C. When cold cut into finger pieces. Cake freezes well and is also delicious warm with cream or ice-cream.