Cakes & Bakes: Almond loaf cake

Home-made almond loaf cake | H is for Home

Today’s almond loaf cake wasn’t meant to happen; Justin requested a coconut cake that he could have with an afternoon cup of tea. We didn’t have any dessicated coconut in the store cupboard and it was out of stock when I went to by some from the supermarket.

Almond loaf cake batter in a a tin

A snap decision in Morrison’s saw me pick up a bag of ground almonds instead… and what a good decision that turned out to be.

Cooked almond loaf cake in its tin | H is for Home

A last-minute, quick, basic wet & dry recipe that turned out to be taste triumph!

Preparing to pipe chocolate on to almond loaf cake

A little drizzle of chocolate finished it off nicely.

Home-made almond loaf cake | H is for Home

A new one for my afternoon cake repertoire!

Almond loaf cake
Serves 8
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Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz + 1tbsp golden caster sugar
  2. 150g/5oz butter, softened
  3. 2 eggs
  4. ½ tsp almond essence
  5. 4 tbsp milk
  6. 125g/4½oz plain flour
  7. 1½ tsp baking powder
  8. ¼ tsp salt
  9. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  10. 50g/2oz dark chocolate
  11.  
  12. Home-made almond loaf cake ingredients
  13.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/325°F/Gas mark
  2. Grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined
  5. Stir in the almond essence and the milk
  6. In another mixing bowl, sieve together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt
  7. Stir this into the wet ingredients in three batches, stirring well after each addition
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin, levelling out using a spatula or back of the spoon
  9. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  11. Allow to cool in the tin for at least half an hour
  12. Break up the chocolate into a small heat-proof bowl
  13. Melt in a bain-marie or in 10-second bursts in a microwave
  14. Make a piping bag out of a triangle of parchment paper, fill with the melted chocolate and zig-zag over the top of the cake
  15. Serve
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Putting Britain on the map

Collection of vintage British maps | H is for Home

We’ll certainly have no excuses if our knowledge of home isn’t up to scratch any more. We recently made a bulk purchase of about 20 large vintage school wall maps. Produced by G W Bacon in the 1950s, many feature the British Isles – and cover every aspect of its geography – towns, roads, railways, population density, industries, geology, rivers, relief, contours, isotherms, isobars and rainfall.

It’s been very enjoyable sorting through them. They’re 60 years old – so slightly out-of-date in some respects, but no less interesting. It’s often the differences between ‘then & now’ found on these old maps & globes that are fascinating. The ‘traditional industry’ map illustrates this perfectly. If you click on each image you can view them in greater detail.

Vintage 'Reduced' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Rainfall & Isobars' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Railway' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Population' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Physical' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Isotherms' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Industry' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Industrial' school wall map of England & Wales Vintage 'Contours' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Communications' school wall map of the UK Vintage 'Bold feature' school wall map of England & Wales

In addition to their educational value, these vintage maps are also very decorative in terms of graphic design and colour. They look great in a library, study or office space. We’ve hung a row of them along a long hallway. We’re going to keep a few and sell a few of this particular batch. Some have gone into our antiques centre space and we’ve also listed 3 or 4 on eBay this week.

Get their look: Symmetrical sitting room

Symmetrical sitting roomcredit

I love a sense of order and calm in a room – and this symmetrical sitting room really works for me. The mirroring of objects & décor must suit my brain. Justin doesn’t totally agree – he’s not one for rooms that are completely symmetrical. Our only concession to symmetrical décor in our home is probably matching bedside tables with the same lamps.

When I showed him this particular image, he said that he’d prefer one large piece of artwork over the sofa and one side table (the one in the window) – oh, and probably one glass lamp. In fact, by the time he’d finished re-arranging, it probably wouldn’t be symmetrical at all. Each to their own! I could happily live with a bit of interior symmetry and thought this was a lovely example. It’s very restful to my eye. What do you think?

On a more united front, we both love the bright & airy feel of the room – and the combination of soft greys and sunny yellow accessories.

  1. Smoky glass table lamp
  2. Coffee sack cushion
  3. Hand screen printed Dandy Deer and Dandy Doe
  4. Yellow Eames-inspired Eiffel DSW armchair
  5. Vintage atomic side table
  6. Bobble vase
  7. KIVIK Three-seat sofa
  8. Matrix Ripley yellow rug
  9. Reclaimed pallet coffee table on wheels

Get their look: Symmetrical sitting room | H is for Home

Vintage hosiery ads

Three vintage hosiery ads | H is for Home

Boxes and drawers full of old paper ephemera come into the antiques centre quite often. It’s well worth spending 10 minutes to have a sift and sort through. Amongst the old newspapers, shopping lists and receipts lie some little hidden gems.

Vintage Sponsor Hosiery ad | H is for Home

We keep an eye out for vintage advertisements, menus, recipe booklets and so on. In particular, those originating from the mid twentieth century which have eye-catching designs or artwork.

Vintage Hudson hosiery ad | H is for Home

This week, we found three lovely vintage hosiery ads in a pile.

Vintage Burlington Support Stockings ad | H is for Home

They date from the 1950s and promote Hudson, Sponsor and Burlington brands.

Detail from a vintage Hudson hosiery ad | H is for Home

The lady’s legs forming the letter ‘H’ of Hudson is a particular favourite for graphic design – and we also love the sky blue colour and era-defining ‘New Look’ fashion of the Sponsor advertisement. They’ll look lovely framed and displayed near a wardrobe or in a dressing room.

Home Tones: Neon

Neon-lit corridorcredit

Neon has made a big comeback in recent years. It’s not just the preserve of 50s-style diners, cocktail bars and nightclubs. Neon can be used very successfully in the home environment, in any room of the house.

My favourite application is in the bathroom; it helps set a relaxing atmosphere when enjoying a long soak with soft music and glass of wine.

Neon isn’t only about signs – although I love them, especially when they’re personalised with your name or favourite saying. Strips or tracks of neon lighting can lead the way between rooms or up and down stairs – especially at night when overhead lights may be turned off.

'Boo' neon sign in a gold cabinet cocktail barcredit

neon-lit shower rosecredit

Red 'hotel' neon sign in vintage industrial decorated bathroomcredit

neon under-lit stairwaycredit

Red 'undress yourself' neon sign above the entrance to a walk-in wardrobecredit

'You only live once' neon sign above a sofa in a sitting roomcredit

Neon house numberscredit

Price Points: Clothes hangers

Selection of clothes hangers | H is for Home

Clothes hangers are another of those mundane, day-to-day objects to which most of us don’t give much thought. When I was young, I was happy to hang my clothes on odd, mis-matched plastic hangers – the ones that came with the item of clothing from the shop.

These days, I’ve become much more discerning; the clothes I wear – like the hangers in my cupboard – are much less throwaway. I’m a very organised person; I like to open my wardrobe doors and see my clothes displayed on identical hangers. Blouses & shirts together, dresses together, trousers together… and of course, all colour coordinated! I have dozens of the sturdy wooden IKEA variety. But they’re very bulky and, as I almost never throw or give my clothes away, there’s virtually no space left in my cupboard.

Much as I love the padded Wiltshire Liberty print hanger, having all my things hanging from these identical clothes hangers would be very expensive option. Some of the clothes in my possession didn’t cost as much as a single hanger!

The Nomess Copenhagen metal clothes hangers look very similar to the ones you get from dry cleaners. But, the fact that they’re copper and their utilitarian, minimalist look gives them a designer edge. All I need to do now is give my wardrobe a utilitarian, minimalist look to match!

  1. BUMERANG hanger, natural: £3.50 /8 pack, IKEA
  2. Nomess Copenhagen aluminium hanger, set of 5, copper: £21, John Lewis
  3. Wiltshire Liberty print hanger: £7.95, Liberty