As made by Insatiable Thirst for the 21st Check Hash check (and numerous other excursions)

Recipe from La Vista Plantation Bed & Breakfast. Makes 3 dozen.

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups oil
6 eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups grated, peeled apples
1 cup raisins
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl mix the oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the apples, raisins, coconut, carrots and nuts. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full, Bake in a 350F/180C/Gas mark 4 oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center muffin comes out clean.


I.T. notes: 
* apples: 4 cups = about 4 apples. I quarter the apples without peeling then grate leaving the peel behind i.e. I don't grate the peel as well.
* carrots: 1 cup shredded carrots = about 1 large carrot
* My process: grate apples & carrot into large bowl. This might be a good time to turn on oven to preheat. To large bowl, add dry ingredients (I use 2 cups sugar not 2 1/2 and might try for 1 1/2). Add wet ingredients (for oil, I use sunflower oil). I don't like flaked coconut so have never added it in. Also don't do the walnuts cos I hardly ever have them around. 
* I use silicon muffin cups so don't grease them and fill using a (slightly heaping) medium ice cream scoop.

As made by Insatiable Thirst for numerous NH4 and Frisbee occasions.


Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (15 minutes active). Servings: 8

1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 prepared raw 9-inch pie crust
3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
6 eggs
1 cup half-and-half

Heat the oven to 400 F / ~200 C

In a large bowl, toss together the red pepper, red onion, sweet potato and zucchini. Add the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, then stir to coat. Spread the mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Remove the vegetables from the oven.

Reduce the heat to 350 F / ~175 C

If it isn't already, fit the pie crust into a pie pan, crimping the edges as needed. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and add the roasted vegetables. Top with the cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the half-and-half. Pour over the cheese and vegetables. Bake for 45 minutes, or until slightly puffed and set in the middle. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

note: I don't use half-and-half as we don't get it here. I usually only use 5 eggs and whatever cheese is on hand (usually either Edam or cheddar) - although I use roughly 3 cups of cheese. I don't bother with a pie crust and just pour the mixture into the pie pan.

As made by Insatiable Thirst with thanks to Doggy Style for the introduction!


for the cake
* 250  ml / 1 cup  Guinness    
* 250  grams  unsalted butter    
* 75  grams / 3/4 cup  cocoa powder    
* 400  grams / 2 cups  caster sugar    
* 142  ml/ 3/4 cup  sour cream    
* 2  large  eggs    
* 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract    
* 275 grams / 2 cups  plain flour    
* 2 ½  teaspoons  bicarbonate of soda

for the topping
* 300  grams / 8 oz  cream cheese    
* 150  grams / 1 1/4 cup  icing sugar    
* 125  ml / 1/2 cup  double cream (or whipping cream)  

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.

2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.

3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.

4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.

5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

My notes: cups, Tablespoons and teaspoons are the American sizes.

I have read a suggestion to let the beer go flat but I haven't managed to work that into the cooking timetable yet - advanced preparation, what? The point of having flat beer is that there's no foam to go to waste.

I use regular sugar instead of caster sugar cos I'm lazy like that plus reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups with no ill effects. I think 1 cup of sugar might be going too far though (based on comments from when I doubled the recipe and only put in 2 cups of sugar). Also, I use yogurt instead of sour cream as that's what I've usually got in the fridge.

I mix everything for the batter in the one pot i.e. i heat the beer and butter. Then take it off the heat and mix everything else in.

I have added 1 Tbsp chili powder to the batter for a slight kick; have also added um, 1 1/2 Tbsp (eyeballed) but that was too spicy for some - although weirdly unnoticeable to others!

I omit the double cream/whipping cream for the topping as I found it too runny if I added the cream. You can also add in 1 Tbsp of Bailey's - I did it once but don't like Bailey's so didn't do *that* again. 

My technique for the topping is dump the whole tub of cream cheese into a bowl, add in some of the icing sugar (could probably get away with 1 cup of icing sugar), mix with fork. The topping will become softer the longer you mix. Add in rest of icing sugar if you don't forget and continue to mix until you think it's a spreadable consistency. Plop onto cake and spread. Yes, lots of love goes into this!!

As always, I suggest following the recipe as printed the very first time to use as a baseline then making the recipe your own.

As served at Run 1249 (7 August 2012) by Insatiable Thirst.


Recipe from

Broccoli Beef Recipe. feeds 4-6 as a side dish! But if cooking many other dishes it will feed 8

3/4 pound flank or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
3/4 pound broccoli florets
2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil - canola, peanut, vegetable
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced or smushed through garlic smusher
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

For the beef marinade

1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry) - Substitute with any white wine or just leave it out
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth

1 Marinate the beef: Stir together the beef marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Let stand for 10 minutes

2 Prepare the sauce: Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

3 Blanch the broccoli: Cook the broccoli in a small pot of boiling, salted water until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

4 Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the beef and immediately spread the beef out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink, Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, 30 seconds.

reviewer comments:

As part of the marinade for the meat: Just add about a tsp of baking soda. It tenderizes the meat.

Also right before you're ready to stir fry the meat...I also like to give it a dusting of corn starch. This make the meat much easier to brown and gives it a little more texture. 
using some ginger to give aroma to the dish. Just add the ginger slices while heating the oil.
doubled the sauce recipe and added onion, fresh ginger and red pepper flakes also some bean sprouts

add some mushrooms.

As served at check 3 on Run 1235 (1 May 2012) by Insatiable Thirst.

Sima - Finnish May Day Drink - Pronounced 'See-Mah'



Traditional sima - recipe from

First gather your equipment. You will need a container large enough to hold all of the sima (a big plastic bucket for example) and empty bottles, their number and size depending on how much sima you are going to make. Plastic soda bottles are recommended as pressure can build up in the bottles. An exploding plastic bottle is less dangerous than an exploding glass bottle. You will also need a funnel for bottling.

You should sterilize all of your equipment. A thorough process is described in the mead recipe. However, as the fermentation time of sima is very short (only a few days) and it is usually consumed within a week or so, just washing the bucket and bottles well and then rinsing them with boiling water right before using is generally enough to prevent spoiling.


8 liters of water
500g of brown sugar - 2 1/2 cups
500g of white sugar - 2 1/2 cups
2-3 lemons
1/4 tsp yeast (ordinary baker's yeast, either fresh or dry)
handful of raisins

First day
Time: 20 minutes + sterilization of equipment

Boil 4 liters (17 cups) of water. 
Wash the lemons well and peel the zest, being careful not to include the bitter white pith. Put the zest into your container.
Slice the lemons and remove the white pith from around the slices. Add the slices, too, into the container.
Add all the sugar into the container with the lemons.
Pour the boiling water on top, and mix well until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
Add 4 liters of cold water so that the mixture will be lukewarm, the right temperature for the yeast to activate. If unsure, check with a thermometer, the temperature should be between 35°C and 45°C. When the temperature is right, add the yeast. One way is to take a small cup of the mixture from the container, dissolve the yeast in it and then mix it back. Just dropping a crumb of fresh yeast into the container will also work.
Let it stand overnight.

Second day
Time: 15 minutes + sterilization of equipment

Bottle it on the next day: add one spoonful of sugar and a few raisins to each bottle before you pour the sima in.
After bottling, let the bottles stand at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2 more days. The raisins will bloat up and float to the surface.
Finally, move the bottles to your refrigerator. The sima is ready, and should be served cold. It will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.

other recipe sources: (says raisins will take 3-7 days to rise to top) it will be ready to drink after one week or two!)

IT notes: I used water bottles so didn't use too much boiling water in them as the plastic rapidly shrank - just put a little bit in and shook it around well. Raisins rose to the top just half a day after bottling so was not particularly effective as a sign of sima being ready. I left half of the bottles out of the fridge for the two day resting period and put the rest in. Didn't seem to make much of a difference.

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