coffee and walnut cake

P1040045Coffee and walnut is one of my favourite combinations for cake. It’s often not received with as much enthusiasm as sponge or chocolate cake, but honestly, it’s great. Whether you like coffee or not, don’t rule out this cake. I managed to convince my flatmates and I hope this recipe will convince you too! This also works really well in a loaf tin, with lots of creamy coffee icing spread on top when cooled. Slice thinly width ways, and the loaf is perfect as a light afternoon treat!


  • 175g brown sugar (I used Demerara – don’t worry that it doesn’t become ‘pale’ and is a bit grainy – it’s delicious!)
  • 175g butter
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp strong black coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp baking powder

for the icing:

1 tbsp strong coffee
½ tsp vanilla extract
115g butter
200g icing sugar


  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. It won’t be as pale as usual – using Demerara sugar changes the colour of the butter. Instead, it’ll be a little grainy and a light brown colour, but it gives a sweeter taste and a lovely colour.
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs. Add the eggs gradually to the butter and sugar mix, beating well with each addition. If it begins to curdle, add a little of the flour.
  4. Add the coffee one tablespoon at a time, stirring it throughout the mixture.
  5. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold gently with a wooden spoon, working in figures of eight.
  6. Divide the mixture between two lined baking tins, and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
  7. Whilst the cake cooks, make the butter icing: whisk together the butter and icing sugar until fluffy. Be careful not to overwork the mixture, else it might split! Add the vanilla and coffee, and gently stir it through the icing. Cover, and refrigerate.
  8. Once the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for an hour.
  9. Then, spread half the icing in the middle of the cakes, and the remaining icing on the top of the cake. Decorate the top of the cake with sliced walnuts, spacing them around the edge of the cake. Serve with cups of tea!

scotch pancakes


  • 150g self raising flour
  • 30g sugar (preferably Caster, but Demerara is also fine)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml cold milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 dessert spoon of jam
  • Fresh fruit, sliced
  • Icing sugar, to dust


  1. Warm the oven.
  2.  Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix, then make a well in the centre.
  3. Add the large egg and milk, and beat the ingredients into a thick batter. If the batter is too runny, add more flour; if too stodgy, add milk.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat a little oil. Add a tablespoon of batter to the pan, and shape into a circle. Fry for 2-3 minutes, then flip with a spatula. Fry on the other side until golden brown, then transfer to a plate. Keep going until you have enough pancakes, keeping the cooked pancakes warm in a preheated oven.
  5. Stack the pancakes, dust with icing sugar, and spoon over the jam. Add the fresh fruit, and serve.

chicken noodle broth

After a year long hiatus, Cibus Amare returns.



  • Chicken breast, or two chicken thighs with bones removed
  • One carrot, peeled and cut into thin batons
  • 5-10 Savoy cabbage leaves, halved lengthways
  • One fresh red chili, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 2cm piece of ginger, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Boiling water
  • Dark soy sauce, around 1 tbsp
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • One nest of thin, quick-cook noodles (available at Morrisons and Sainsburys)


  1. Cover the chicken with clingfilm, and then flatten using a rolling pin. Remove the chicken from the clingfilm, and sprinkle over with Chinese 5 spice seasoning. Leave to marinade for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a little oil in a small frying pan, and seal the chicken on both sides. Aim to colour the chicken breast – it should not be cooked through, but browned on the outside. Achieve this by having a high heat, and pressing the chicken down into the pan with a fish slice.
  3. Heat the grill to high. Transfer the chicken to an ovenproof dish, and place under the grill. Grill for 10 minutes whilst you prepare the noodle broth.
  4. In a wok, heat a little oil. When hot, add the ginger and the sliced carrot. Fry for 5 minutes over a medium heat until slightly softened, then add the garlic and chili.
  5. Continue to fry until the garlic begins to smell aromatic. Crumble the vegetable stock cube over the frying ingredients, and then pour over boiling water. Add the quick-cook noodles and cabbage; the water should cover the noodles, to make a small soup.
  6. Bring to the boil, and then turn down to a low heat. Add the soy sauce, and simmer until the noodles are cooked through. Remove from the heat, and serve in a bowl.
  7. Remove the chicken from the grill, and thinly slice. Place over the broth, and scatter with red chili if desired for extra spice.