Yorkshire Gold Tea Loaf

Today is Yorkshire Day, celebrated every August 1st since 1975. Yorkshire Day was created to raise the profile of the county's heritage.
This recipe for a Yorkshire Gold Tea Loaf came from one of those cards you pick up in the entrance way to supermarkets. This particular recipe came from Waitrose and I have to confess I'd never even heard of Yorkshire Day until I picked up the card!! Maybe not surprising as I grew up about as far south as you can get.
As I made this I was slightly dubious as the weight of each ingredient seemed so minimal. The volume of the cake mixture once complete was very slight and the tin seemed quite empty. The recipe did call for a 17x10cm loaf tin and I only had a 20x10cm. It did make for a quite shallow cake and I might be tempted in future to double the ingredients to make a full size loaf!!
HOWEVER, I wasn't at all disappointed with the way this cake tasted. It's flavoursome and light, a spongy fruit cake which I will definitely be making again! It's perfect with a cup of tea...I had a cup of Yorkshire Gold but you could make this with your usual brew. This cake would also be great to take with you on a day out with a flask of tea. I enjoyed a slice by the seaside!
This month's AlphaBakes letter of the month has just been announced too and it's 'T', so I'm going to enter my Tea Loaf. AlphaBakes is hosted by Ros at the More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline at Caroline Makes.

3 tea bags
30g sultanas
15g raisins
15g currants
10g dark glace cherries, chopped (I only had red glace cherries and they work just as well!)
60g butter
85g light brown sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
100g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarb of soda
1/4 tsp mixed spice
Measure out 250ml boiling water and then add 3 tea bags, leave to brew for 10 minutes. Measure out all the fruit and place in a bowl, once the tea has brewed pour it over the top and leave to soak for 1 hour. After an hour drain the fruit but keep the liquid to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas . Grease and line a 17x10cm loaf tin. Cream the sugar and butter together until fluffy, then add in the egg until well mixed.
Sift the flour, bicarb, mixed spice and a pinch of salt over the top of the butter, sugar and egg mix and fold them together. Next fold in the dried fruit and 60ml (4tbsp) of the reserved tea. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes. In my 20x10cm tin this only took about 38-40 minutes. Once a skewer comes out clean, remove from the oven and remove from the tin and leave to cool on a tin.
* Adapted from a Waitrose Recipe Card

Dragon Fruit

The girls and I went to the city today and met Robie for lunch.  We had some time to kill, so we went to a Vietnamese grocery store.  We had a lot of fun looking at strange candies and canned goods and stocked up on assorted rice noodles.  Best of all, we found this.
And what is THAT, you ask?  Why it's a dragon fruit.  We ate them in China and loved them.  I had never seen one for sale in the U.S., so we were delighted to find one!
Dragon fruit is possibly the coolest looking fruit ever.  On top of the weird, spiky, dragon-ish outside, the inside looks like this.
It tastes cool and sweet and has a mild flavor all it's own.  And I can't think of any other fruit that is black and white and hot pink!

We invited Granny and Poppy over for a little dragon fruit party to celebrate the tastes of China.

a trip to the mountains...part two

we spent a lot of time biking, fishing and hiking.

our little lady was the only one who caught a fish.

there was even a daddy/daughter hike, while i stayed back and let our little guy take a nap.

Calendar Cakes July Roundup

I'm a little bit excited as this is my first Calendar Cakes round up...and what a great one to start...the theme for July was the Olympics and it seems the whole nation has now been gripped by Olympic fever.
So diving straight in with the entries, if you'll excuse the pun:

Our first entry this month came from Becky at Mint Custard with her aptly named Andy Murray Mint Slice which has a gorgeous mint fondant filling. Unfortunately, Andy has already been knocked out of the doubles but he could console himself with a slice of this. He is however going strong in the singles having just beaten Stanislas Wawrinka.
Next up a fabulous entry from my co-host Rachel from Dolly Bakes, she recreated the Olympic Stadium in cake. Renowned for her amazing bundts, this one is no exception!
If you've never visited Liv a little Bakery you're missing out on some fantastic treats. These patriotic flag cookies are perfect for supporting Team GB. I've got my flag all ready for my visit to the Olympics next week.
I love this next entry, penguins are cute at the best of times but here they're taking part in Olympic sports. This cake is by Lucy at Vanilla Frost and was designed for a birthday boy who loves penguins. My favourite are the penguins running/waddling around the track!
Next up we have Caroline of Caroline Makes showing some support for Team Russia with these lovely White Russian Cupcakes. Caroline gave these a bit of a kick by using creme de cacao liqueur and a chocolate liqueur that she bought in Rome. These were made for Caroline's birthday party hence the cocktail cupcakes. The party had a shoe theme so these cakes were finished off with cute little pink shoes cut out of Mexican modelling paste.
Becky from Mint Custard was really quick off the mark this month with not one but two entries. These Olympic torch cupcakes are her second. The cones are painted gold and I love the multi-tonal icing which really captures the essence of the Olympic flame. All we need now is David Beckham to carry them!
The award for most enthusiastic supporter of the Olympics definitely goes to the next entrant. Kate from What Kate Baked, Kate has been baking Olympic treats right up to the start of the Olympics and she was also a cloud wrangler in the opening ceremony no less, taking unpaid leave to do so. If you'd like to know a little more about cloud wrangling, you can read all about it here. Kate's entry was this lovely Chocolate and Pisatchio logo cake.
The next entry is my contribution, between myself and co-host Rachel we seem to be attempting to recreate the Olympic park in cake. I created a velodrome coffee cake, complete with cyclists.
Dawn from Mummy's Little Peeps created thse cute little medal cupcakes. They're vanilla cakes with vanilla buttercream finished off with red, white, blue and gold stars and an edible gold medal. Let's hope this bodes well for Team GB and they'll be many gold medals to come.
The next entry is fab, not only is the recipe an Australian classic but the decoration is also supporting Team Australia. Lady Lunchalot produced these Green and Gold Lamingtons with marbled green and gold batters. Then instead of the traditional chocolate coating, these were coated in lime and lemon jelly before being rolled in coconut. This is an inspired recipe and very inventive.
And now for something a little bit different from That Facepainter. A fab Olympic cake drawn with facepaints!!
Caroline Makes has also been busy this month with a second entry. She created this Black Forrest Roulade to support Team Germany. This was made with a Slimming World recipe no less, so it's not only tasty but also healthier...perfect for athletes in training!
These cupcakes from Susie at Fold in the Flour sound delicious, they're choc chip and orange, a great flavour combintation. The frosting is orange coloured and flavoured and to give it that extra flame effect the cupcakes were sprinkled with red glitter.
Our first Olympic ring entry was from Catherine Haslam @cathaslam. She made these lovely cupcakes with each one having a different colour ring. Altogether they look really effective.
Hopefully these muffins from Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen will herald a gold rush for Team GB. These muffins deserve a medal themselves. The Elizabeth Shaw chocolates are the perfect option for the medals and they're also fabulously patriotic with the little Union Jacks which incidentally are homemade too!
Angela at Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me executed her Olympic cake perfectly. This is a vanilla sponge topped with buttercream and sugarpaste and finished off with fabulous Olympic rings.
Baker extrodinaire Ros from the More than Occasional Baker produced these super cute Olympic Ring Mini Cake Doughnuts. They were made in a mini doughnut pan and Ros actually made 80 of these...that's a lot of doughnuts but perfect if like me you'll turn into a couch potato during the Olympics!!  I love the different colour icings for each Olympic ring too.
This is the second entry from Angela at Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me.This Olympic Torch Tower came about after trying a new sponge recipe which yielded slightly disappointing results. Part of the sponge went into a triffle and the rest produced this fab tower. Circles of sponge were cut out and stacked with buttercream and jam, then the whole thing was finished off with red, white and blue sprinkles and an Olympic torch which was actually made using an ice-cream paste mould!
Nicola at Lazy Cupcakes made these patriotic cupcakes for an Olympic themed party. They're vanilla cupcakes in Union Jack cases on a Union Jack Stand. Go Team GB!
To finish we have these lovely British Cherry and British Strawberry Cupcakes from Maggie at Kitchen Delights. They're delicious chocolate cakes topped with luscious strawberries and cherries sprayed gold. Another tasty treat to support Team GB.
Thanks to everyone who entered Calendar Cakes this month, all the entries were amazing and it's lovely to see so many people getting behind the Olympics. This is a mouth-watering array and I'd love to try each and every one of them!! :-)

a trip to the mountains...part one

a couple of weeks ago, we spent a couple days in the mountains. i found an amazing deal online and we stayed at this beautiful resort.

there were some amazing playgrounds for the kids to play on.

we parked the car and rode our bike everywhere.

while we were there it was my birthday. i'm not big on gifts and just prefer to spend time with my family. we went out to dinner and shared a mud pie for dessert.  it was so good!

...more to come tomorrow.

Local Fun!

Before we left on our trip to Grandma and Poppi's house we had some local fun with friends. First we headed to Santee Lakes to meet Amy, Ella, Jamie, Boston, and Makay for a day of splashing, feeding ducks, and going wild at the park.

Impromptu Pizza Night with the Fam!
The girls and I were leaving Santee Lakes when we got a call from my brother who was going out for pizza in the area... so of course we had to participate in pizza night!
Caden, Ellie, Aiden, Chase, and Lola

We can't stay away from the beach this summer, it's just too much fun for all involved!
We headed to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas to meet our friends Lindsay, Declan, and Lexi. It was so cute how the three of them held hands and jumped over waves together.

The girls' buddy Bailey and her parent Kevin and Kathleen love swimming with us at our pool. This playdate is pretty much on a weekly basis. We love having our firneds over to swim with us!

I feel like we have enough fun for two summers this season and there is still a whole month to go, Whoo Hoo!