It’s been really, really busy here with extra cooking classes and the like, so Hester the Big Bakers Oven has only been used each day to cook dinner.

Today however, time for a bit of a work-out. There’s the spelt and rye bread, and for good measure I baked some small pizza bases, which I will freeze to have on hand for lunches. (Once your husband retires, as mine has recently done, there’s an ongoing challenge to think of quick yet interesting lunches).

Meanwhile on the stovetop I am making raspberry cordial, another batch of barbecue sauce (truly is delicious) and blood orange cordial.

I decided to make an upside down pear cake, with some homemade cider in the cake batter. All went well till I turned it out of the tin too early and it started to collapse outwards.

Rapid rescue remedy was a ring from a springform tin of the same size hastily applied. It looks a bit rustic, free form even, but that cake batter (made with treacle and spices) tastes really good.

So now for dinner options. Very casual – as we have a Spanish cooking class here on Sunday, I will trial my new recipe for empanadillas and also chorizo balls. With vegetables of course.

Oh yes, incidentally – in that cake tin the background is a fresh-made batch of rocky road.

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