Saturday, 29 October 2016


This lovely old Cornish recipe was given to me by Helen, from Wadebridge and it was her mother’s recipe. Priscilla Milne was originally from Port Isaac which is why, when she was made a Cornish bard in 1997 at the Gorsedh, her title was Musycyen Portyssack. She won a lot of cups for her work, either music or written work. She even wrote a piece of music and translated the Lord's prayer into Cornish, and won a cup after she died as they let Helen and her family enter the piece she had worked on for the next Gorsedh.

Helen describes the Fat Rascals as a cross between a biscuit and a bun [the term bleedin’ ‘andsom, was also used, love it!] Thank you so much Helen. My husband loved them, not waiting for them to cool, he ate two warm. I think they could be buttered too, especially the next day.

You will need a straight edge 3” cutter. Lightly butter a large baking tray or two smaller ones and pre heat your fan oven to 180C 

In a large mixing bowl, place:

1 lb self raising flour
3 oz butter
3 oz Cookeen or Trex

Rub the fats into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add:

6 oz granulated sugar
6 oz sultanas
pinch salt

Mix well.

2 eggs
milk to bind [about 2 fl oz]

Beat the eggs then add to the mix along with a little milk. Gently knead into a smooth dough in the bowl, then on your floured worktop. Roll out to approx ½ inch thickness and cut into 3 inch rounds. 

Bake 15-20 mins at 180C [200 or Gas 7].

As Helen mentioned - bleedin’ ‘andsom.

Note: The original recipe used margarine. I made it exactly as instructed, but next time, I think I will brush with a little milk and sprinkle some demerera on the tops before baking.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Is this polish, as in get a duster and do some housework or Polish as in from Poland? I have no idea and maybe there is someone out there who can answer this question. The bare bones of this old recipe comes from the 1960s WI Cornish Recipes book and the only help I have is ‘creamed method”.

So I start by guesswork and pre heat my fan oven to 150C and grease and line the base of a 7” spring form tin. Prepare the dry ingredients before starting.

4 oz softened butter
5 oz caster sugar
vanilla extract
2 large eggs
8 oz SR flour
4 tablespoons milk
3 oz glace cherries, quartered
2 oz coconut
2 oz chopped walnuts
2 oz grated chocolate, I used 70% cocoa solids.  [I chopped mine, grating chocolate is a pain]

Cream the softened butter, vanilla and sugar, until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs, then the flour, along with the milk. Fold in the remaining ingredients and tip into your prepared tin.

Bake for about 1¼ hours, until golden and firm to the touch, cool on a rack and enjoy. Just yummy and a great combination of flavours. It was tasty and moist for the 3 days it lasted. 

I reckon it is a polish cake! You come home after a hard day’s work, then polish it off. [probably not though]

Friday, 21 October 2016

Liver and Onions Pasties

Our forebears didn’t just make the traditional Cornish pasty, they loved other fillings, especially dates, pork, jam, herbs and bacon. I have many pasty recipes from my old 1920s Cornish Recipes book and will make some more during the winter. But a firm favourite at tea time were little liver and onion pasties. Ann, from the famous pasty shop in The Lizard tells me that her mother, Hettie loved these and Hettie said they are good, hot or cold. After making them I agree!

Hettie stated that Ox liver should be used, but I prefer pork or lamb liver, but the choice is yours.

Pastry: Use rough puff.

for about 4 or 5 little pasties:
8 oz plain flour, 2 oz butter, 2 oz lard or Cookeen, [I love Cookeen]  salt and a little very cold water. Rub the fat into the flour, bind with the water, lightly knead for a moment then chill for at least half an hour.

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C

Thinly sliced liver, tossed in some seasoned plain flour, sliced onions, seasoning, inc some chopped parsley. I used a mix of red and white onions.

Select a large saucer or small tea plate for your template [these were 6” dia]. Roll out your pastry and cut according to size. More photos on my Blog.

Place a small rolling pin under the centre of the pastry to form your D, brush the edge with beaten egg, then place one layer of liver on the bottom, then some sliced onions, season, then repeat, so you have two layers of liver and onions.  Season again then sprinkle over a little more flour and scatter some parsley across the top. Continue as you would for ordinary pasties. Brush the tops with beaten egg and pop a little slit in the centre. Bake for about 40 mins, until nicely golden.

I was thrilled with these, as was my husband. Very moist and the most delicious flavour. Smaller ones with just one layer would be great party finger food. Delicious!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Proper Tea Treat Buns

A wonderful Cornish childhood memory! I clearly recall being handed the most enormous bun after games and jollifications at our local chapel Tea Treats. We used to gather in the nearby field, dozens and dozens of excited village children, then sitting crosslegged in the grass and tucking into our Tea Treat Buns. They tasted absolutely divine. Saffrony and choc full of fruit, the size of a tea plate. Heaven.

So, as requested, after talking to many folk about what they remember, here is my version of this old Cornish delicacy. Saffron cakes and buns have currants in them, but my friends all recall that they were loaded with lots of different fruit, especially peel, that we know our forebears loved. It is strange using sultanas and raisins in a saffron mix. I saw an old 1920 recipe using spice, as well as saffron and mixed fruit, so I decide to use some nutmeg only. But if you recall it spicier, by all means add a teaspoon of mixed spice. This old recipe also used demerara sugar but I think that would be too coarse.

I was born and bred in the village of Stithians, but I am sure many of you will recall a different flavour  and fruit combination in your Tea treat Buns. I will look forward to reading all about your own memories and thoughts on this subject. But here is mine…..

I buy saffron online and it is very much cheaper than in a supermarket. It is often Iranian or suchlike and just as good as Spanish. Take a very large generous pinch and place it between a fold of baking parchment and pop it into a warm oven for ten mins, then crush with a rolling pin.

This quantity makes 6 tea plate size Tea Treat Buns.

In a pyrex jug, place:

9 fl oz milk, warmed 
1 heaped teaspoon caster sugar
your powdered saffron
a few more strands of saffron, according to taste
1 teaspoon dried yeast

Set this aside for a mo to start working, meanwhile, In a large bowl, place:

1lb 2 oz flour [half plain, half strong plain]
pinch salt
7 oz fats - 2/3rds lard, the rest butter [or all lard]

Rub the fats into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add:

6 oz mixed dried fruit
extra mixed peel
extra currants to taste [I probably used another 3-4 oz, all depending on your taste]
2-3 oz caster sugar, according to taste

Mix well, then make a hole in the middle and add the frothy saffrony milk. Stir well and then bring together before turning out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place back into your bowl and cover. Put to rise in a warm spot. This is a dense mix and will not be double, but leave for about 90 mins.

I have read several old books and they all state these buns should be the size of a tea plate, so about 6 inch in diameter. No wonder they looked so big when we were small, needing two hands to hold them!

Lightly butter two baking sheets, or use parchment. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

Knock back the mixture, then cut and shape your buns. By my reckoning each bun should weigh just under 8 oz, uncooked. The whole mixture weighed just under 3lb, therefore making 6 buns. Shape them, continually turning them under until a nice round shape with all the ends tucked under and put them onto a baking sheet, [I also used parchment] pressing them lightly until they measure about 5 inch in diameter. See pics on my Blog. Cover and rise once more for about an hour.

Bake for around 30 mins, turning the trays around halfway to ensure an even bake. I recall that the buns were lovely and yellow, so a slightly cooler oven to ensure they do not brown too much.
My buns came out at just under 6” in diameter, so I pressed them out about right. I was as pleased as punch with them, as was my husband for the next few days, as I then froze them, taking out one at a time. Perfect. Cornish. Scrumptious.

Why did this tradition die out?

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Jam and Custard Shorties

What an unusual recipe I unearthed from an old book. Not a biscuit nor a cake. Almost halfway between them I guess. You could describe it as a rich moist cakey version of shortbread, it uses custard powder to give it that lovely comforting taste, then you cut and mould it to place in shallow patty tins, giving a little hollow space for a dob of any jam you fancy. I have used my homemade loganberry. It was such a good year for this delicious fruit.

6 oz plain Flour
½ level teaspoon of baking powder
2 oz custard powder
4 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Jam of your choice

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C and lightly butter a 12 hole shallow ish bun tin [not a muffin tin]

In a medium bowl, rub the butter into the flour, custard powder and BP, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, add the caster, mix well, then bind with the yolk. You need a shortcrust pastry like consistency. Lightly press together until just smooth then cut into 12 and roll out each piece to about ¼ inch thickness. Using a plain edge cutter, cut into neat rounds to fit the patty tins then place a little jam in the formed hollows.

Bake for about 14-15 mins. Just so yummy and very different. Deserves a dollop of clotted cream on the jam! My husband could not wait for them to cool properly and assured me they are lovely warm!

Equally yummy the next day too. A brilliant find.

PS - Fill with mincemeat at Xmas!!!!! Can’t wait too try that.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


This old biscuit recipe comes from a pre war Be Ro flour recipe booklet, extolling the virtues of their SR Flour. I believe SR flour was introduced by them during the 1920s. Camp coffee is rarely drunk these days but it just wonderful to bake with. I always keep some handy in my store cupboard.

Pre heat your fan oven to 165C Lightly butter 2 baking sheets.

6 oz SR Flour
3 oz caster sugar
3 oz butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon Camp Coffee essence 

Mix the flour and sugar then rub in the softened butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Mix the egg and coffee essence then stir into the mix. Form into little balls the size of a marble and gently shape into a ball between open palms. [this makes about 40-42]. Now you all know I am a saddo, so I weighed the whole mix then divided it by 40, each biscuit weighs about 8 gr or about ¼ oz. More photos on my Blog.

Add caption

Place on baking sheets giving them plenty of room to spread out. Bake for 15 - 20 mins.

Cool on a rack, then when cold, sandwich pairs together with a coffee butter icing.

3 oz icing sugar
1½   oz butter
2 teaspoons of Camp coffee essence
[I also added some vanilla extract and some melted 70% chocolate to give a mocha flavour]

Beat together to form a cream. How easy are these? Old fashioned, yes, but still delicious.
After I took this photo I took them over to my Friday Bridge afternoon and they were demolished in seconds.

Maybe I am old fashioned but I do love old recipes!

Sunday, 2 October 2016


This is delicious and so sweet. We Cornish have always loved golden syrup [we call it treacle!] and I found this recipe a long time ago in an old book. When baking the cake the whole house is full of the aroma of the golden syrup. It goes down a treat, sliced with butter, oh my!

I baked this in a 2lb loaf tin, but a round one is good, but the loaf is easier to butter, of course.

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C and grease your preferred tin. I also lined the long side of the loaf tin to help lift it out. Use the saucepan as the mixing bowl to cut down on dishes. Get all your prep done and ready as you will be stirring the ingredients into warm syrup.

9 oz golden syrup [weight not fl oz]
3 oz butter
2 oz any sugar [I used soft light brown, but muscovado is brill]

Place the above in a large ish saucepan and slowly heat until well combined, stirring all the time. Set aside to cool for a while.

Whisk into this cooled mixture:

1 large egg, 
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract

folding in:
9 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Stir well.

2 fl oz buttermilk
zest of a large lemon
4 oz very very finely chopped hazelnuts

Mix until well combined then tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour.

Cool in the tin for a short while then turn out onto a rack. Just yummy. My family also added that it would definitely benefit from a great dollop of clotted cream on each slice!!!!