Monday, 24 April 2017


Just the most delicious simple treat, not cake, nor biscuit… a bit in between! A doddle to make too. If you wish you can use bought [all butter] shortcrust pastry, making it a complete doddle.

Line a Swiss Roll tin - 9” x 13”,  [as thin as possible] with shortcrust pastry, but don't go up the sides. [half butter to 8 oz plain flour, bind with an egg yolk and a tablespoon cold water. Add an oz of caster sugar too, if you wish] Chill in the fridge for ten minutes before using. The original old recipe does not pre bake the pastry but the horrors of soggy bottoms force me to bake blind for ten mins at 190C. I lightly prick the base with a fork as well. Cool while you make the topping. I also mix the cherries with cranberries for variety - plus I needed to use up a packet!


4 oz butter
1 beaten egg
3 oz chopped walnuts or pecans
3oz chopped sultanas
4 oz caster sugar
3 oz ground almonds 
3 oz chopped cherries
1 oz chopped dried cranberries 
vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Icing sugar to sprinkle over

Pre heat your fan oven to 190C. 

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the egg. Fold in the ground almonds, then add the fruits, nuts and vanilla and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly over the pastry base and bake until nicely light brown - about 18-20. Allow to cool, dust with the icing sugar and cut into slices. 

Brilliant, tasty and so easy. Makes approx 24 slices. More pics on my Blog

You can use a slightly smaller tin to get a thicker slice, if you wish. Adapted from the ladies of the WI, in the 60s.

Friday, 21 April 2017


I have recently come across a very old cookery book, entitled Modern Cookery and it is dated 1917. It is full of wonderful old recipes and this is the first of many that I will eventually make, lots reminiscent of a bygone age. The Slab Cake is vaguely similar to heavy cake, but quite different in as much it contains eggs and a raising agent. I am sure many will recognise this cake as something their grandmothers would have made. When I saw it in the old 1917 book I could not wait to try it. I tried to put myself in their shoes and just use the ingredients they specified. I chopped the raisins, used whole milk and also used granulated sugar.

A fairly deep square or oblong tin, well buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

1¼ lb plain flour
¼ lb lard
¼ lb butter
6 oz raisins
6 oz currants
8 oz granulated sugar
1 heaped dessertspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ teacup milk [this would have been whole or buttermilk]

Note: I used a cups measure but added an extra large splash as the dough was still pretty stiff.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, lard and sugar to a very soft cream. Add the eggs and beat briskly for 5 minutes. [that is a long time!! With a modern electric mixer I did it for about half the time]. Now add the stoned chopped raisins, and the currants. Then gradually add the flour, beating until smooth. It is very stiff at this point.  Mix the baking powder with the milk then stir this into the dough. Stir into your prepared square tin. I used an oblong tin 13 x 8 x 2 inches

Bake for about 45 mins. I turned the oven down after half an hour to 160C

Cool in the tin for a while then transfer to a rack. Cut into squares when cold.
[I used two racks to flip it out and over.]

Just wonderful. As I often do, I bake on a Friday morning to take to afternoon Bridge where, without exception, everyone loved it and it disappeared in seconds.

Friday, 10 March 2017

HOT CROSS BUNS - rich version

I have posted a recipe for these traditional buns before, but here is another version - from the ladies of the 1960s WI. There are two examples in their book and this one was entitled “richer” hot cross buns.  The original recipe only used 4oz currants, so I will apologise to them now, because I like a lot more fruit than that per 1lb and these days, I like to add sultanas and citrus flavours too.

But I bake the base recipe exactly as printed. I will not use a flour and water mix for a cross on the top of the buns. Just a quick slash with a sharp knife for tradition sake.

Makes 12-13 buns @ 3 oz each [large ish]

1 lb plain flour
pinch salt
½ teaspoon mixed spice [I added aded more, at least a large heaped teaspoonful]
1 oz fresh yeast [ 2 teaspoons dried yeast]
3 oz caster sugar
4 oz currants [+ 3 oz sultanas and some peel to taste]
zest of a large orange [not in the original recipe]
4 oz melted butter
2 eggs 
warm milk

In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, salt and spice, then add the sugar, zest and fruit. Mix well to combine.

Break the eggs into a measuring jug, then make up to a scant ½ a pint [9 fl oz] with tepid milk, along with a teaspoon of the sugar. Whisk, then add the yeast and melted butter [not too hot] and leave to start working for ten mins.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet yeasty liquid. Mix or beat well. “must be a rather soft dough”. I found it too wet to knead initially, so used a scraper to mix the dough together, before transferring it to a floured worktop. When smooth, cover and leave to prove.

Turn onto a floured surface and knock back, then shape into buns and put to rise again. You all know I am a saddo and weigh each portion so they are the same size. More pics on my Blog.

Pre heat your fan oven to 175C [old 375F]

Bake for about 20 mins, although no timings are given in the book. Cool on a rack and brush with a sugar glaze. [you can flavour the glaze with something like cinnamon if you wish]

Glaze: Equal amounts, by volume, of granulated sugar and water.  Place over a medium heat and dissolve the sugar, keep stirring, then simmer gently for 2 or 3 mins to thicken. Add flavouring of your choice, if using. I have used cinnamon - just delicious.

Note: I was absolutely delighted [as was my husband] with this recipe, the texture is brioche like and so soft. I made them again a few days ago, they are so good. A real find and one of the best hot cross bun recipes.

The following day, [and the next if there are any left] pop each one into a microwave for 20 seconds on re heat and they soften up as if they had just come out of the oven.

Monday, 6 March 2017


The recipe for these deliciously yummy slices was given to me by Judith, living in Porthleven, who is a regular follower of my humble efforts and I am very grateful to her for passing this on. She has no recollection of where the recipe came from but has been making it for many years.  She recommends M&S dates. 

Grease a 7-8 inch shallow square tin and line the base. Pre heat your fan oven to 180C

1 pack of M&S dates, these weigh a fraction under 9 oz
¼ pint of water
a tablespoon or two of lemon juice
4 ounces porridge oats
5 ounces self raising flour
4 ounces butter
2 ounces soft dark brown sugar.

Chop dates into quarters and place them in a saucepan with the water and juice, Judith always adds lemon juice, to take the edge off the sweetness.  Bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat until all the liquid is absorbed.  Set aside to cool. This can be done the night before.

In a medium bowl, mix the oats with flour and rub in the butter, then stir in sugar.  (you can make this in a food processor, much easier)

Press half of the oaty mixture into your prepared tin, press well down with back of spoon. Spread the cooled date mixture over base, then sprinkle the remaining mix over the dates, again, press down well, getting it as flat as you can.

Bake at 180C degrees for approximately 25 minutes, do not over cook.  Leave to cool in the tin and when slightly cooled mark the slices with a sharp knife.  Remove from your tin carefully when cold.

Judith sometimes uses dried apricots, instead of dates, using the same method but rinses the apricots in boiling water first to remove the Sulpher Dioxide!

Just lovely, very moreish and so easy. I will be making these again and again. Thank you Judith.

Friday, 3 March 2017


I am moving away from cakes for one post. This is another brilliant old recipe, that uses up left overs from the Sunday Roast. You all know how much I love old recipes. These are so good as a savoury bite, tea time treat or as a party hors d’oeuvre. Plus they freeze like a dream. This old recipe comes from the Farmer’s Weekly collection booklet, circa mid 1950s. I made them exactly as printed, but my own choice would be to add some herbs, especially parsley, [or rosemary if using lamb] or another flavouring like a mild curry powder to bring them into the 21stC! Even so they were delicious, although they look a little odd. 

Butter a baking sheet and pre heat your fan oven to about 190C. Makes approx 20 small buns.

½ lb finely chopped cooked roast beef [or lamb?]
2 oz plain flour
Salt and pepper
1 grated onion 
1 oz suet
a little left over gravy to mix [I needed 6 tablespoons of thick gravy, made from veggies and meat juices, that the meat was roasted on]

In a bowl, mix the flour, suet, seasoning and chopped meat. Add the grated onion and moisten with the left over gravy, to the consistency of rock cake mixture.

Divide into little individual “rock cakes” and place in heaps on your baking sheet. Bake in your hot oven for about 30 mins [if making larger, you may need a little longer] until the cakes are brown and crisp. More pics on my Blog.

Bet you won’t be able to keep your hands off them!!! 

If you do freeze them [cooked] for future use [fab for a party], defrost for half an hour then pop into a medium oven for 5 mins if you want them warm, but they are equally good cold.

Monday, 27 February 2017


My old, basic, Boiled Fruit Cake recipe that I have used for almost 50 years. I have no idea where it came from, but it is good!! There will be a different version in a few weeks time!!! I know many have asked for this recipe, so get boiling!! It is very easy and foolproof. Enjoy.

Butter and line the base of a 7” round spring form tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 140C

In a medium saucepan place:

4 oz butter
6 oz granulated sugar
1lb dried fruit mix [1 x 500 gr packet]
8 oz water
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 level teaspoon mixed spice

Bring slowly to the boil then simmer for 1 minute. Allow to cool for about an hour.


4 oz plain flour
4 oz SR flour
2 beaten eggs

Mix well then tip into your prepared tin. Bake for about 1½ hours.

Cool on a rack and try to stop yourself from cutting it for a day or two!

Note: You may replace some of the water with brandy or fresh orange juice.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Molly’s Chocolate and Coconut Cake

This recipe was sent to me by Priscilla and she would like me to dedicate it to Molly Phillips, who farmed near Grampound Rd. Whilst ever busy on her farm, Molly always found time to bake and this is one of Priscilla’s favourites. She believes Molly found it in a pre decimalization magazine so probably around 1970. It is absolutely delicious! Keeps well for several days, staying lovely and moist.

Butter and line the base of a 7” round cake tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C [old 350F]

8 oz SR flour
pinch of salt
1 oz cocoa
6 oz softened butter [margarine in the original recipe]
6 oz caster sugar
1 level tablespoon golden syrup
3 large eggs
1 oz desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons milk [I used whole milk]

1 level tablespoon icing sugar for the topping

Sift the flour, salt and cocoa. Cream the fat, syrup and sugar until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs, one at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients and finally add the milk. 

Bake for 1 hour and 10 mins, I tuned it down to 150C after about half an hour plus modern fan ovens bake much faster so check after 55 - 60 mins.  The above cake took 60 mins. Cool on a rack then dredge with the icing sugar. 

Priscilla tells me that it is best enjoyed the day after baking. She is absolutely right!