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Long weekends are made for pottering about...

I love a long weekend where I don't have any commitments besides feeding my cabin guests each morning. It leaves my days free to get some of those jobs done in the garden! So I was delighted with the weather forecast earlier in the week. I was planning to plant seedlings, cut back some shrubs and re-pot my flower pots outside the kitchen door on Friday.

As the saying goes... the best laid plans of mice and men..... my garden play was soon put to a halt as a cold Otways drizzle took a grip on yesterday. So inside I went. Tomorrow is another day!

I was in the mood for a little baking. This in itself is a revelation.... I'm not a lover of baking sweet treats. The main reason is that I end up using so many bowls, spoons, beaters and utensils that it hardly makes the effort a pleasure. I perused my cook book collection and settled on the beautiful 'Basket at the Door' by Sophie Hansen. It's a delightful book of giving. The trick was to find a recipe for which I had all the ingredients.

Scanning the pages I decided on the old fashioned Ginger Loaf. This would be perfect for my guests' breakfast basket today. Driving 25kms to pick up a quarter cup of buttermilk was not going to fly, so I substituted natural yoghurt instead. The only other change I made was to bake the quantity of batter in three small loaf tins instead of one large tin.

Let me tell you about my little tins... They are so handy. I have half a dozen small loaf tins and the same number of mini round spring form cake tins. Whatever recipe I use, i mostly split the batter into three smaller tins. The smaller cakes and loaves are a perfect size to serve my guests or Frans. (He has a sweet tooth and loves a little sweet treat occasionally). Whatever I am not going to serve in the next 24 hours, I wrap up and freeze. This is a huge time saver for me. There's always something ready to serve this way. I use these small tins too for baking for our Birregurra CWA stall. Small cakes are the go!

And while I'm sharing one of my shortcuts, here's another one. I've talked about my orange cake before. It's the easiest cake ever. The secret is having oranges ready to use. The recipe calls for a couple of oranges to be simmered for an hour or so. Who has that kind of time when you want to bake the cake now?! So I usually prepare a batch of oranges (simmer) and allow them to cool. Then I pop them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. When I'm ready to bake an orange cake (or three small ones as I usually do), I simply defrost two oranges and I'm ready to go.

One more thing about this baking session... I baked these beauties in my Rayburn. It won't be long till the fire goes out and summer is back. I will miss it. I love sliding pots around on the hot plate, finding the hot spots. The oven is a little harder to manage as it takes a few hours to get up to the correct temperature sometimes. But once it's going, there's nothing more satisfying than preparing a meal cooked by fire!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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