Tuesday, 31 March 2015


It is almost Easter and so last weekend I made these delicious buns using my grandmother’s recipe. Made by my mother before me as well, it is the base recipe for my saffron and yeast buns too. At Easter time I add and adjust it to fit the occasion! But our forebears knew what they were doing and this recipe never fails and is perfect. I know it uses lard, which is not particularly pc these days and I have tried it with all butter but it is not the same. I stick with the tried and true version! Trust me!

This amount makes about 32 or 33 [depending on your chosen size]. I always use scales with a flat plate on it, to weigh each bun before shaping. They freeze perfectly, if you are going to this trouble then make a large batch for over the holidays. Freeze immediately they are cold.

In a large bowl place:
2lbs strong bread flour
pinch salt
1½  teaspoons of mixed spice [more if you wish]
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 oz each of room temp lard and butter

Rub in the fats until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add:

12 oz dried mixed fruit
8 oz golden caster sugar [I use this a fair bit these days, but the original recipe was ordinary caster sugar]
the zest of a large orange 
4 teaspoons of Allinson Easy Bake yeast [or similar]. Please use a proper measure for accuracy.

Bring the whole together with a scant pint of tepid water and a little milk mix [19 fl oz in total]. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead until smooth. About 5 mins or so.
Place the mix back into the bowl and cover with cling film and a clean tea towel then put to rise in a warm place until at least double in size. A good hour or more, depending on the room temp. It was chilly last Saturday and it took almost 2 hours to rise.

Back to the work top and knock back the dough. Then place a plate on your scales to cut and weigh the buns. These were 2¼ oz each. Shape the buns, turning the ends underneath and place on lightly greased baking sheets.

Put to rise once more [in a large poly bag if you can - I use pedal bin liners]. About ¾ hour or so. Preheat your fan oven to 190C 

Meanwhile mix 3 tablespoons of plain flour with 3 tablespoons of cold water along with a dessert spoon of icing sugar. Prepare an icing bag with a small nozzle. Place crosses on your buns then bake for about 25 mins.

Prepare a glaze, warming 2 or 3 tablespoons of golden syrup or runny honey. When the buns come out of the oven brush the glaze over the buns while they are still very hot.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool! But eating one while they are still warm is heavenly!

Friday, 27 March 2015


I have had this recipe for over 45 years and have no idea who gave it to me. It must be a senior thing. I clearly recall making them with my daughter as a very young child. These biscuits are easy to make, just melt it all in a saucepan! They literally take minutes to make! So deliciously oaty and so crumbly. They keep well too, in an airtight box.

Preheat your fan oven to about 160C and lightly butter 2 large baking sheets. This quantity makes 24. You can make them smaller, to make more, but reduce the cooking time.

In a large saucepan, melt:

8 oz butter
8 oz sugar - I use golden caster
2 teaspoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons boiling water

When the sugar and butter has dissolved, cool slightly, then add:

8 oz oats
8 oz self raising flour

Bring all the mixture together, then tip it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a ball, then square it off. The easiest way to get them all the same size is to then:

Cut the mix in half, then quarter. It is now easy to divide into 6 without fiddling with scales to get them all the same size. If one is slightly larger than the other, it does not matter!!

Roll each piece into a little ball between your palms, then place on your baking sheet, spread well apart. See photo on my Blog. Pat the top a bit to just flatten, then pop into your oven. Bake for about 15 mins until golden brown. Cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before using a slice to lift them onto a wire rack.

Just perfect for afternoon tea! Enjoy.

Monday, 23 March 2015


I love ‘all in one’ recipes! They are such a doddle and this yummy cake is no exception. I found it many years ago in an old church leaflet, from Sithney near Helston, where so many of my forebears lived and worked in the Tin mines. 

The day before you make the cake:

Overnight, soak 8 oz mixed dried fruit in ¼ pint of apple juice.

In the morning add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

2 oz demerera sugar [turbinado]
2 oz chopped walnuts [I used pecans and prefer them to walnuts]
2 oz glacé cherries, chopped
1 small eating apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
8 oz Self Raising Flour

Pop the mixture into a buttered 1lb loaf tin and bake in your pre heated fan oven 150C
for about an hour, maybe 5 mins more... until firm and golden.

How easy is that? Moist and fruity. This is a tea bread cake that is great sliced with butter spread over it too. But not really necessary as it keeps moist for several days.

You may have noticed that this cake is fat free and has a low sugar content, can’t be that bad.

Note: I lined the tin with a strip of baking parchment for ease of lifting out of the tin.

Thursday, 19 March 2015


This sort of dish would have been eaten by the fisherfolk of our coastal villages for centuries. I did not know for sure, what fish to use, so used pollack. A fish our forebears would have readily caught. It is a simple recipe that is made in 30 minutes, as so many old recipes were, when they needed a quick nourishing meal at the end of a long working day.
The use of cider as the stock gives it a very unusual flavour, but rough homemade cider would have been a staple in the store cupboards of our ancestors, made in the autumn when apples were plentiful.

1 pint dry cider
1 onion or two large shallots
tablespoon butter or oil [or half each]
4 oz field mushrooms, sliced [I couldn’t get any, so used Chestnut]
1 lb white fish, [approximately]  chopped into large pieces
1 tablespoon flour
a little double cream, if you wish
chopped parsley, [of course]
I sprinkled over some chopped chives too.

Place the cider in a saucepan and boil to reduce by at least a third. In a large fry pan, heat the oil and fry the sliced onions until just soft, then add the sliced mushrooms and then the fish. Stirring gently, add the flour to coat everything. Then pour over the hot cider. Season well with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and add the chopped parsley. Tip into an oven proof dish and bake in a medium oven, covered for 20-25 minutes. Before serving you can add a little cream if you wish. I am sure our ancestors would!!!  Absolutely delicious, as good as, or better than any modern fish dish.  I ate it for my lunch with a friend. Lovely with   fresh crusty bread to mop up the cidery juices.

Sunday, 15 March 2015


Even the name of this lovely cake gives you thoughts of a warm tropical beach! It will soon be summer, but in the meantime, try this delicious cake. I have adapted it from a recipe in the old Gwinear Parish recipe book. It is so soft and spongey and just scrummy.

You will need an 8 inch spring form, loose bottomed tin, with the bottom lined. Preheat your fan oven to 150C

5 oz softened butter
4½ oz caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
7 oz self Raising Flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
7 oz sultanas 
2 tablespoons dark rum
Pineapple rings, cut into fairly smallish pieces, taken from a middle size tin, weighing about a pound [430gr]. 

Start off by draining and cutting up the pineapple rings, then set aside for a mo. See the photo on my Blog.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs, one at a time, along with a teaspoon of the flour with each egg. Stir in the rest of the flour, BP and cinnamon and mix well. Finally add the sultanas, pineapple and rum.

Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 1¼ hours.

MMMMMmmmmmmm. Enjoy. Keeps well, at least a week or more.