Sunday, 29 May 2016


Does anyone want a very simple, quick, no cook dessert, delicious, full of fresh lemony flavour? Ideal for summer and ready from scratch in about ten minutes! Well this ticks every box and is just delicious. You could, of course, make your own sponge to crumble up and soak [taking longer], but I bought Trifle Sponges. Easily doubled. It does contain uncooked eggs.

A nice glass Trifle Bowl to serve….. or individual serving glasses. This quantity feeds 4 or 5.

4 Trifle sponges
3 lemons, zested and then juiced
1 large tin of full cream sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, separated
½ pint double cream, whipped

Fruit to top, if you wish, but choose a tart flavour. Chill for a while before you add the fruit, just before serving.

Crumble the sponges in a medium bowl and pour over the juice of one lemon. Whisk together the condensed milk, the rest of the juice, zest and egg yolks, then pour this over the sponges and mix well.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the milky lemony spongey mix. Pour into your serving bowl or glasses, then decorate with the double cream. Chill for a bit, ideally.

You could also serve it with added clotted cream, of course………

Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Another deliciously moist veggie cake, full of goodness! Well, sort of. A slice must be one of your five a day surely????  Spices in general do not have that long a shelf life, so please ensure your spices are in date as the flavours deteriorate quite quickly.

Grease a 9” square traybake tin and lightly oil, then line the pan, leaving plenty hanging over the sides to help you lift it out. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C. Prepare your ingredients before starting the cake.

6 oz softened butter
10 oz golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
12 oz plain flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoon of ground mixed spice
6 fl oz buttermilk
2 cups of grated, peeled, butternut squash [the top part of about 1 small one]
4 oz chopped hazelnuts, toasted lightly in a fry pan - don’t take you eyes off them!
Extra nuts for a topping if you wish

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, along with a teaspoon of some flour to stop it curdling. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and mix well until combined. Fold in the squash and the toasted nuts. Pile into your tin, level it off and bake for about one hour.

This cake is truly scrumptious and I cannot recommend it enough. You will love it! Although I will admit the grating bit is a pain and it took me ten minutes.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

FLOWER POT LOAVESPotato and Rosemary Loaf

Not long ago I was visiting a very old friend to celebrate her birthday and the chat moved along to baking, as it inevitably does. When her daughter told me about baking bread in Flower Pots! Terracotta that is, NOT plastic. Rachel had been on a bread making course and brought this idea back with her, then shared it with me - and now you. I immediately went out and bought one.
This size pot [5” in diameter at the base, 7” across the top, with a depth of just over 4”] exactly fits the quantity below. It costs about £1.50

The pot needs to be tempered or else it will crack or break. Pre heat your oven to about 220C. Wash it thoroughly, then oil the pot and “bake it” for about 15 mins. Allow to cool completely. Repeat the oiling and baking twice more. It will take about an hour. It should now be ready for off.

Rachel also shared this recipe. It is absolutely beautiful and very easy.

4½ oz [125 g] mashed potato [save the water]
125 ml tepid potato water
a level teaspoon yeast
10½ oz  [290g] strong white bread flour
1 level teaspoon sea salt
2 small sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped

Boil, then mash your potatoes and leave to cool until tepid, saving 125ml of the water.

In a large bowl, or your mixer bowl, with a dough hook, place:

Flour, salt, rosemary and yeast [keep the salt and yeast apart]. Add the potato and tepid potato water and gradually bring the whole together. Transfer to your work surface or continue mixing. Knead for about 10-15 mins. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and put to rise in a warm spot until double in size - about an hour and a half. Or, like me, keep it in your mixing bowl and cover.

Lightly oil your pot [at least for the first few times you use it] and place a small ring of baking parchment over the hole!!!

Tip your dough out onto your work surface and knock back and knead again for about I minute, then place it in your prepared flower pot. Allow to rise again for about an hour.

I decided to sprinkle over some fresh grated parmesan and fresh ground pepper.

Pre heat your fan oven to 220C and bake for 10 mins, turning down the temperature to190C and continue baking for a further 20-25 mins.

How great does this look? Tastes very good too, so incredibly light. Thanks Rachel and Charlie.

Sunday, 1 May 2016


This is a beautifully moist and delicious cake, very easy to prepare and bake, it is virtually foolproof. Sandwiched together with a coffee buttercream, with more on the top, plus extra chocolate! I copied the recipe many years ago in a newspaper and have used it ever since.

You need two 8” sponge tins, lightly oiled and the base lined. Cut the lining a ¼ of an inch larger than the tin, [if loose based, as mine is] so that it just starts to go up the sides. The batter is fairly runny and you do not need it to run out of the bottom.

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

In a saucepan, bring to the boil:

4 fl oz milk

stir in:
2 heaped teaspoonfuls of coffee powder

Take off the heat and add:

3 oz butter [cubed]
4 oz good quality [70% cocoa solids] chocolate
1 tablespoon brandy or rum

Mix until everything is melted. Set aside, while you prepare the rest.

In a medium mixing bowl, Whisk, until thick and frothy

2 large eggs
6 ½ oz caster sugar

Continue whisking as you add the coffee mixture, then fold in:

5 oz self raising flour.

Tip into your prepared tins [I am a saddo and weigh as I go, so they are exact] and bake for 20 mins.

Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl:

2 teaspoons coffee powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 oz butter, softened
6 oz icing sugar

Mix well. If too stiff add a teaspoon more water. Place half in the middle of the cakes and spread the remainder over the top. Grate or chop more dark chocolate over the top. 

Put the kettle on. Cut and enjoy.