Sunday, 29 November 2015


These delicious tarts are just perfect for parties, or lunch with a salad. Very easy, quick and simple to make too!

You need to think about it the day before by putting your tin of corn beef in the fridge, making it easier to cube. The quantity below makes about 12 large tarts [using a muffin tin].

I make my own shortcrust pastry, but all butter bought is very good.

In a food processor put 8 oz plain flour and a pinch of salt. Add 6 oz cold butter, cubed, then blitz for a few seconds until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a beaten egg and a tablespoon of cold water. Pulse for a few more seconds until it starts to come together. Tip it out onto your floured surface and lightly knead. Place in a poly bag in the fridge for at least half an hour. Or buy it.

about 5 medium baby new potatoes, cubed quite small
2 tablespoons of frozen peas or petit pois
3 large broccoli florets, using just the top green bits

In a small saucepan place the potato cubes in some boiling salted water. Boil for 2 mins, then aft the peas, then the broccoli. Simmer for two more minutes. Drain then set aside.

Cube about half of a large tin of corned beef -  into quite small cubes.

Take your pastry out of the fridge then roll out. Using your largest fluted cutter, cut 12 rounds and fit them into your 12 hole large muffin tin. Pop back in the fridge for a mo, if you have space.
Preheat your fan oven to 190C.

1 oz butter
½ tablespoon plain flour
large pinch dried mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small egg
6 tablespoons milk

Take a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking all the time, then add the milk, then seasoning and simmer until it thickens. Whisk in the beaten egg.

Mix the beef and veg, then add the sauce and stir until everything is coated. Divide between your pastry cases and bake for about 20-25 mins.

Just scummy.

Note: You can sprinkle over some parmesan too, if you wish. A very light dusting of smoked paprika is also great. A lovely Xmas Day tea time 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


Christmas is around the corner and with these muffins we have the flavours of the season! This lovely muffin recipe was given to me by a rellie. Thanks Anthea!

They freeze well and can be made in either a 12 hole large muffin tin or use a smaller 24 hole mini muffin. Those small ones are great for parties and children! I did not use muffin cases but that would be good too [and easier, no greasing tins]. Whatever. The quantity below made 12 large muffins plus 15 mini muffins.

Preheat your fan oven to 180C and butter your tins well.

In a medium large bowl, place:

8 oz plain flour
6 oz wholemeal flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon each of ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
Note: ensure your spices are well in date!
8 oz butter

Rub the butter in, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add:

2 oz oats
6 oz caster sugar [or light soft brown]
6 oz dried mixed fruit
Mix well

In a jug, place:

250 ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
3 dessertspoons mincemeat
2 large eggs
whisk together

Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and add the wet ingredients from the jug. Mix well.

For large muffins I used a large heaped tablespoon for each hole. A teaspoonful for the minis.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 25 mins, until firm to the touch. [Minis about 15 ish]

So good. Soft texture and so much flavour. 

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Mrs Pryor’s Mincemeat Fruit Cake

Christmas is coming… tra la la. So between now and when I have a break for the festive season and the New Year, I will be posting Christmasy recipes.  Mrs Pryor was a lovely lady, now long gone, who lived next door to my mother in Stithians. I found this recipe while going through all my old scrappy bits of papers and cuttings for my next batch of cake recipes! I had completely forgotten all about it. I did post a different mincemeat cake recipe last Christmas, but here is another! I hope Phyllis and my mother are looking down approvingly at this blast from the past.

This is so easy, I love all in one recipes! As I post, I have yet another in my oven! You need an 8 in spring form tin, greased and the bottom lined. Pre heat your fan oven to 150C

I used Lidl’s excellent Rum and Raisin Mincemeat from their Deluxe range, £1.29. You cannot use a watery cheap one! e.g. Robinson’s. [not so cheap!, more juice than fruit]

In a medium-large bowl, place:

5 oz softened butter [the original recipe stated marg!]
5 oz light muscovado
2 large eggs
8 oz SR flour
1 jar mincemeat
6 oz currants
2 oz chopped almonds

Thats it! Mix all the ingredients together for about a minute. [I used an electric hand mixer] Tip into your prepared tin and bake for 1½ hrs

Very, very good, wonderfully moist and so yummy, with festive flavours! I would imagine it would be a good keeper, but then, in my house, it never gets chance. Hey ho. Wait a day before cutting.

Note: the original recipe stated chopped whole almonds. I did not have any in my cupboard when I decided to bake it, so chopped up flaked almonds. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Likky Pie

Or Leek Pie, for the uninitiated across the Tamar and beyond! A very old traditional Cornish recipe and I took as a reference my trusty old 1920s recipe book. I quote the book:

“wash, clean and chop about half-dozen good sized leeks” Well that was easy to understand and do!
“put in a pan and cover with boiling water, drain in a colander; then put a layer in a pie dish, then some fat bacon, very finely sliced. Then another layer of leek and bacon until dish is full”

Well that was pretty easy to understand. The thinly sliced leeks needed blanching and then draining to remove the moisture. But the fatty bacon was another matter. I have mentioned before our flavourless watery [13%] bacon. So, be careful what you buy. Probably pancetta is the nearest these days, unfortunately.  Almost a sacrilege I hear you say! When I am trying to record this old Cornish recipe. Hey ho.

“salt to taste, sufficient milk to cover. Boil for half an hour on the top of stove”

I did not salt each layer as the pancetta would do its work, just plenty of freshly ground pepper and some sea salt flakes on the top. I also pressed the leeks and bacon firmly down as I did not want the crust to sink later on. Our forebears would have used raw milk, of course, along with a knob of butter for luck.  see photos on my blog.

I placed the filled pie dish in the oven instead of on the top of my “stove”, covered with tin foil for the said half an hour but added another 15 mins as it would take longer to come to the boil. Then put it back again uncovered for another 10 mins. [after taking it out, I left it to cool a bit before adding the crust].

Meanwhile I made the crust, immediately before using to cover the pie. Never store or keep suet pastry. Use it right away.

“Cover with a good suet pastry”. Suet pastry is little used these days but it is very easy to make. Just half Atora [I used vegetable] to Self Raising Flour [I used 6 oz flour and 3 oz suet for this pie] and some salt. As suet is such a heavy fat, always use SR Flour when making suet crust. Bind the mix with about 4 fl oz very cold water. Gently knead, then roll out. Not too thinly.  Cover the pie, making sure you do not grease or press the edge as you have to lift off the crust before the end of the baking.

No timings or temperatures are given. Suet pastry was so commonly used everyone would know how long it took in their own ovens!! I preheated the oven to 210 then after the first 10 mins turned it down to 180 deg C.

“ten minutes before ready for the table, beat up 2 eggs and a spoonful of cream, remove the pastry and lay the beaten eggs over the cooked leeks. Replace the pastry and put back in the oven for ten minutes”. If there is any liquid remaining in the leeks before you do this, I think you need to drain it off first. Which I did. See photos.

I baked the Likky Pie for 35 mins then took it out and carefully, with a slice, lifted the crust off, forking through gently and pouring off most of the remaining milk, [not much] then pouring over the beaten eggs and cream. Replaced the suet crust lid and baked for a further 10 mins. But I lifted the crust off for a peek and it needed another 5 mins. I cooled the pie for 15 mins before cutting through.

It looked good! It tasted good too! The suet crust was not as heavy as I had anticipated either. That could easily be replaced by Rough Puff Pastry. I wonder why this dish has died out? Or has it?

Christmasy recipes from now on, until I have a break over Christmas and the New Year.

Friday, 6 November 2015


A Far is a rich custardy tart from Brittany, the close neighbour to Cornwall across the water! I am sure most of us here in Cornwall have enjoyed or endured [depending on the weather!] the crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff. I love the weekend trips for shopping and sightseeing. Many decades ago my husband became hooked on Far, after noticing it in a Roscoff patisserie. A Breton delicacy, sold in every village and town, it is made with soft prunes soaked in Brandy or Armagnac, it is very easy to make and a great “make ahead” dessert. It took a few disasters before I perfected it, but I was persistent! In Brittany it is made in huge oblong sheets then cut into squares. I use a small Mermaid roaster tin, about 8” x 12” and 2” deep, heavy bottomed, this is ideal for the Far.

Truro is twinned with Morlaix and as you leave Roscoff and head towards Morlaix you soon cross the Penzé river - this name bears testament to the ancient close ties between our two Celtic nations. I hope you enjoy this taste of Brittany!

You start off the day before by placing about 25-30 stoned soft prunes [about one packet] in a saucepan and barely cover the fruit with about 3 fl oz brandy and a large splash of water. The prunes need to be in one layer. Just bring to a simmer and allow the prunes to almost absorb the liquid, about 15 mins. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Then cover, set aside overnight or even longer. If you don’t wish to use brandy, then cold tea is an alternative, but no where near as good.

In a blender or food processor, place:

¾ pint whole milk [less a bit to mix the flour to a paste]
4 large eggs
4 oz icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or extract
2 oz melted butter
3 oz plain flour, sifted, mixed to a paste with a small amount of the milk

Blitz until well combined, then pour into a large jug, cover with cling film and chill for several hours [4-5 at least]. I do this in the morning to use for a dessert later on.

Preheat your fan oven to 200C. Generously butter your tin, then cover with a little more sieved flour, tipping the tin to cover the butter evenly. Tap out the excess. Cover the base with your reserved prunes [that smell so heavenly - see photo on my Blog]. Take the custard out of your fridge and give it a good whisk for a minute or two then carefully tip over the prunes.

Bake for about 30 - 35 mins, turning down to 190C after 20 mins. Cool in the tin for half an hour, [see another photo on my Blog] then cut into squares - like the Bretons do! Eaten warm, it is absolutely wonderful!!! Almost as good cold. Whatever!

My little tray of Far Breton looks so small, but imagine a large tray about 10 times the size on the patisserie counter.

Note: If you use a smaller tin, the custard will be thicker, you may need to adjust the timing slightly.

Monday, 2 November 2015



This is such a deliciously moist and yummy cake, with slightly different ingredients! It was given to me by a rellie maybe twenty years ago. This cake is quite rich so is great for that special occasion or for a dessert, served just warm, with clotted cream, of course! But, trust me, it is great as a cut and come again cake and keeps well for several days.

It is very good when made in a ring [bundt] tin like I have done here, making it easier to pour over the syrupy sauce, or you could use a 9” round, spring form tin.  Butter or oil your tin well and line the bottom if using a round tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

Bundt tins are underused here and that is a shame as they look fab, are easier to slice and great to decorate. [see note at the bottom] I bought mine in Sainsbury’s some time ago and use it a lot.

10 oz softened butter
10 oz g caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 heaped teaspoons grated orange rind
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon orange extract [Asda has Valencian orange extract - but be careful, it is strong]
12 oz plain flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
300 ml tub sour cream

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the grated rinds and orange extract. In a separate bowl sift the remaining dry ingredients together then add to the mix, bit by bit, alternately with the sour cream. But do NOT beat. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 55-60 mins, Remove from the tin to cool, then place on your serving plate when nearly cold.



scant 3 fl oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1½ fl oz cointreau or brandy
1 ½ oz caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil for two minutes. Take off the heat and pour evenly over your almost cold cake. Allow to stand for at least a quarter of an hour before cutting.

Before serving lightly dust with some icing sugar.

Oh my! just lovely. The texture and flavour is just wonderful.

Note: When using a ring tin, butter very very well, then sprinkle some flour over the whole of the surface. Take to the sink then tap away the excess.