Thursday, 20 July 2017

Carrot Cake

I know, there are loads of recipes around for this cake. BUT, I have tasted many of them and not one comes anywhere near this, for flavour or texture. This recipe was given to me by my sister in law Jo, decades ago, and she found it in her Kenwood recipe book, from about the mid 70s. I had my Kenwood slightly earlier and it was not in mine. I permanently keep one [half] in the freezer for a quick small dessert if needed. It never fails, is so moist and the lemony cream cheese topping/filling is just nectar.

Grease and line the bases of 2 x 8” sandwich tins [loose bottom is easiest]. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

12 oz finely grated carrot [a food processor is way easier!]
4 eggs
8 oz Soft Dark Brown Sugar
6 fl oz of sunflower oil
8 oz of SR Wholemeal flour [or plain wholemeal with a heaped teasp of Baking Powder]
4 oz desiccated coconut
4 oz sultanas
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1- 2  teaspoon of mixed spice, on taste

6 oz low fat cream cheese
grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons caster sugar
desiccated coconut to taste

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar, until thick and creamy then whisk in the oil. Fold in the remaining ingredients. Mix well, then tip into the prepared tin. Being a saddo, as you all know, I weigh them, so each tin will hold just under 2lbs.

Bake in your moderate oven for about 30-35 mins, cool on a rack.

While it is cooling make the yummy topping, placing all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

When cold, cut each sponge in half and spread with a quarter of the filling, put it back together again, then another quarter in the centre of the cake. You now have four quarters of cake, each section filled. Place the remaining topping on the top and sprinkle over a little more coconut or flaked coconut. A tad more lemon zest as well if you wish, or like me some chopped walnuts. 

Note: I swapped my Kenwood for a KitchenAid a few years ago and when I sold it, I got as much for it as the original cost. But, if you are thinking of buying a mixer, I cannot but help recommend the KitchenAid, it is absolutely brilliant.

Sunday, 16 July 2017


Yet another lovely old recipe I have found, and as so often happened in those days, the base was from a left over roast. It suggests using ham or bacon from the end of a hock or gammon. I love roast gammon, but do not have it that often, but had to buy one to roast, so I could make these with the leftovers! Gammon can be salty, so only season with pepper.

The quantity below makes 8 x 4 oz cakes.

Basic white sauce:
Large knob butter, melted, in a small saucepan.  2 heaped teaspoons plain flour, 10 fl oz whole milk. Seasoning. [+ dry mustard powder]. Quickly add the flour to the melted butter then whisk in the milk, over a medium heat. Keep whisking until smooth and bubbly. Season as you wish [but no salt]. I like to use mustard too, when adding the flour.

½ lb boiled bacon [or ham]
6 hard boiled eggs, cooled in cold water, then shelled
6 tablespoons breadcrumbs from a stale loaf [you can buy them]
½ pint white sauce
2 dessert spoons catsup [ketchup]
[chopped parsley - not in the original recipe]
a beaten egg for dipping

When the eggs are cold put the bacon and eggs through a mincer. Oh dear, I don’t have one of those. But I do have a food processor! Don't you just love old recipe expressions? I just blitz for a 2 or 3 seconds, separately.  Add 3 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, a good sprinkling of pepper and the ketchup, plus the chopped parsley, if using, then mix well. Stir in the hot white sauce then leave until quite cold and chill. 

Form into little cakes, using plain flour on your hands. Dip into the beaten egg and coat with the remaining breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil [dripping or fat] until golden brown. More pics on my Blog.

The old recipe suggests you serve them on a mound of mashed potatoes. That sounds delicious. My husband and family loved them but we served them with Jersey Royals!

Note: I love the old word catsup. I believe they used to make it with many flavours, as well as our usual tomato and the recipe lists using tomato or mushroom catsup. Has anyone ever seen that?

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Marlene’s Milky Boiled Fruit Cake

Here is yet another different Boiled Cake recipe that a Bridge friend passed to me. Over the last two or three years she has given me several recipes, that her Mum made. Marlene, from Falmouth is in her 80s, so you can work out old this is. I had never seen a Boiled Cake using Condensed Milk either. You will notice there is no added sugar, but the sweetened milk is plenty enough. No tin size was given to me, just “large”, so I used a 9” tin, although if you would like a deeper cake use a 8”.

Grease and line a 9” spring form cake tin. Preheat your fan oven to 140C.

10 oz Plain Flour
1 lb dried mixed fruit
10 oz butter [the original said use marg]
spice [nothing specific to go on, but I used a teaspoon mixed spice]
tin of sweetened Condensed Milk [397gr] 
½ pint water
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons baking powder

In a large saucepan, place the milk and butter then heat until the fat has melted, then add the fruit and spice and bring to the boil. Leave to cool for a while then add the flour, egg, baking powder and water. Mix well and tip into your prepared tin.

Bake for 1½ hours.  I turned the oven down to 130C after the first hour. Just lovely, as I expected. So moist and a lovely flavour.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Lemon Layer Cake

You would never think this cake recipe is over a hundred years old! Absolutely delicious! From the old Modern Cookery book of 1917. While, of course, it can be eaten at any time, it is quite rich and we ate it as a dessert.

Butter and line a 6” loose bottom or spring form tin.

5 oz SR flour
4 oz softened butter
3 oz caster sugar
a lemon
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk

Beat the fat and sugar to a soft cream with the grated rind of the lemon. Add the beaten eggs and beat until smooth. Now stir in the flour and milk and gradually add about half the lemon juice. [save the rest]  Turn into your prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour. Cool, wrap when cold then leave for 24 hours.

The filling:

a lemon
1 egg
4 oz caster sugar
1 oz softened butter

Beat the egg and add the sugar, then the grated rind and juice of half the lemon and the butter. Stir them in a basin over boiling hot water until the mixture is smooth and thick. I needed to add a heaped tablespoon of icing sugar too.  Leave until cold then cut the cake into three and spread with the filling.

The Icing:

8 oz icing sugar
lemon juice - you have saved!
flaked toasted almonds [dry fry them in a pan - but keep a watch and stir]

Sieve the sugar and add enough lemon juice to form a thick, but just runny, paste. Cover the whole of the cake with this then decorate the top and/or edges with the toasted almonds. 

Orange may be substituted for the lemon.

Just lovely as a dessert and even better with a little added clotted cream [not in the pic!!].  The filling soaks through making the cake so lush. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017


In the past these old traditional buns have often had a bad press, undeservedly so, in my opinion, because when well made, are delicious and not hard as the title would suggest. In times past, especially in Cornwall, raising agents were not used. Nowadays self raising flour is mostly used but this very old recipe of well over a hundred years ago uses just plain flour and no baking powder. They keep well too and are just as good the second day and beyond. The first time I made them my husband ate 4 right off. Trust me - they are delicious. 

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C and butter a baking sheet. This quantity makes about 18-20, but it depends on the size of your rocks!

1 lb plain flour
6 oz butter, softened to room temp
2 eggs
½ lb currants
½ lb moist sugar [soft light brown]
lemon essence [these days extract]

Place the flour in a bowl and rub in the softened butter [until it resembles fine breadcrumbs] then mix in the sugar thoroughly. Add the currants [the original tells you to wash and dry them!] and lemon extract. Stir in the two beaten eggs and mix the whole together with a wooden spoon. It will come together, do not be tempted to add any more liquid. 

Drop the mixture in lumps onto your well buttered baking sheet and bake for about 20 mins.

Cool on a rack and tuck in. Old style baking at its best. This took no more than 8 or 9 mins to prepare and is so easy.

Just lovely and so simple. Yum Yum.

Note: If you opt for larger buns please increase the baking time.

Saturday, 1 July 2017


Time for a break from cakes, cause I love different veggie dishes and as parsnips are my husband’s absolute fave, I just had to try these when I found this recipe idea in a very old cook book.

Makes about 16-18 depending on size. You will need a deep fry pan or deep fat fryer.

1 pint mashed, boiled parsnips, allowed to go cold  [about 1¼ lb  mashed weight] 
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon milk
2 eggs 
breadcrumbs from a stale loaf [or buy!]
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Oil for frying [dripping in the original!]

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the cold parsnip, pepper and salt and milk. Stir over a medium heat until it begins to bubble, remove from the heat and add one beaten egg. Allow to cool. When cold form into balls about half the size of an egg, using floured hands.  Roll these in the other beaten egg, then the breadcrumbs.

Fry quickly in hot oil.  [More pics on my Blog]. Tip into a dish lined with kitchen paper.

So delicious and worth the effort for a special meal. Just great as a side with steak! We absolutely loved them.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Milk Chocolate Cake

Another winner taken from the old Be-Ro booklet. Every recipe in it is a gem and when I started to make this, I was sure of a good result. Just delicious and foolproof, milky and rich, although the method is quite different from today’s usual sponges.

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C [old 350F] and butter 2 deep 7” sponge tins.

In a bowl place:

7 oz Self Raising flour
8 oz caster sugar
pinch salt, 
2 tablespoons cocoa

Mix well, then rub in, until it resembles very fine breadcrumbs:
4 oz butter

Stir in:
2 beaten eggs, mixed with 5 tablespoons evaporated milk
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste

Divide equally between your tins. I am a saddo and generally weigh to ensure I get the same size.
Level the tops [ish] and bake for about 35 mins then cool on a wire rack.

Make your topping:

Melt together:
2 ½  oz butter
4 tablespoons cocoa [Green and Black’s is brilliant]

Stir in:
8 oz icing sugar
3 tablespoons hot scalded milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste

Beat until thick and smooth. Put a layer between your cake then cover the top and sides.


Note: Scalded is quite an old expression. It means bringing your milk almost to a boil, then allowed to cool a little before using. This topping is great and a handy recipe for you.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Blueberry Scones

I love Blueberries and eat them every day, especially with my morning cereal. So iI thought it would be a good idea to add fresh berries to other things, like Scones!!! I have also added some ginger as that is my favourite spice and they go so well together.  So easy, made in minutes and when still warm, split and spread with some clotted cream. Heaven on a plate.

Butter a baking sheet and pre heat your fan oven to 200C. Scones love to be in a very hot oven!
This quantity makes about a 12-14 small ish scones. Very easily doubled or make them larger.

12 oz self raising flour
½ teaspoonful baking powder
1 - 2 heaped teaspoonfuls ground ginger
3 oz caster sugar
2 oz softened butter
4 oz fresh blueberries [a little more if you can squeeze them in!]
90 ml buttermilk
90 ml whole milk

In a large mixing bowl, place your dry ingredients, then rub in the softened butter. Add the fruit then stir in the buttermilk, adding whole milk until you have a soft dough - the softer the dough the lighter the scone. You might need a tad more milk. Turn onto a floured surface and very lightly knead for a moment or two, until smooth. Lightly roll out to about ¾ of an inch thick and using a 2 inch plain cutter, cut into rounds and place on your prepared baking sheet. You can easily see the fruit so try to avoid cutting through whole ones.

Bake for about 15 mins and cool on a rack. Tuck in and enjoy. Must be good for you with all these blueberries!!! If you decide to make larger scones increase the baking time by a couple of mins.

They freeze well, but freeze as soon as they are cold. Like all scones they need to be eaten on the day of baking to enjoy at their best.

Monday, 19 June 2017


Another lovely boiled cake recipe, this time from Gemma, who has kindly sent me her Gran, Peggy Davey’s old recipe. Peggy hailed from the Camborne area although neither Gemma or her Mum can recall where Peggy got the recipe from. Thank you Gemma, I hope I did your Gran’s recipe proud. It is just lovely.

There are several small differences from the boiled cakes that I posted a few weeks ago. I rarely, if ever use margarine these days, but thought I would follow the recipe exactly, which uses Stork.

Grease and line the base of an 8 inch spring form tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 150C 

In a large saucepan, place:

A block of Stork [hard block]
8 oz caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
half a pint of water
12 oz sultanas or mixed fruit [I used sultanas]

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Allow to go cold. Then add and stir in:

2 beaten eggs
12 oz self raising flour

Mix well, but do not beat. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1 and a half hours.
Try to keep your mitts off it for a day or two before cutting!

Just delicious, as I thought it would be. Thank you Gemma.

Keeping the base recipe, you could vary the flavour slightly by using difference types of sugar, soft dark brown or light muscovado etc., or replace some of the water with orange juice?

Another very different boiled cake soon, this time milk based.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


When I saw this in the Modern Cookery Book of 1917 I just knew I had to make them! I love the inventive ways our forebears used up leftovers.

Rough Puff Pastry: 8 oz plain flour, Salt and pepper [a little dried mustard powder too if you wish]
2 oz butter, 2 oz lard and a little very cold water to mix. Rub the fats in half way ish then bind with the cold water. Mix and lightly knead then place in a poly bag and chill for a bit.

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C You will need a muffin tin or deep ish tart tin. This quantity makes ten large muffin size puffs [why did they call them puffs, I wonder?]

4-6 oz any cooked meats - beef and ham? Pork and something? Whatever. I had some roast beef left over from Sunday and some ham in the fridge.
2 medium sized potatoes [after peeling they weighed just over 5 oz]
1 medium carrot 
1 onion [I used red]
a spring each of parsley and thyme
left over gravy

Chop the herbs finely. Peel and grate the veggies. Put the meats through a mincer. This all sounds like too much work so I bung everything in a food processor. [two batches]. Moisten with a generous tablespoon of left over gravy [I saved some]. Then mix well.  

Roll out your pastry and line the muffin holes. Fill just about to the top with the meaty mix and pop on pastry lids. Poke a little hole in the middle and bake for a 25 mins. Quickly take them out of the oven and with a little funnel, pour a spoonful of gravy into the pies [through the hole in the top]. OR if your funnel does not fit, like mine did, gently lift off the pastry lid!! Duh. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C then pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until nicely browned.

Cool on a rack and eat warm. Just wonderful, why had I not thought of this before??? Today if we have anything left over, we throw it out, but in the olden days they used leftovers up in the most inventive ways.

So good and tasty. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Coconut Macaroon Cakes

Another simple, but lovely cake, courtesy of the WI ladies of the 1960s. You need a rectangular swiss roll tin about 12” or 13” x 10”. These little cakes are incredibly easy and done in minutes and look pretty impressive.

The recipe gives no method, so I had to take a punt with rubbing the fat into the flour.
It worked out really well, as you can see, so I reckon I guessed right!

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C and I decide to line the tin with baking parchment, leaving some hanging over on the long sides to help me lift it out.

First part:

3 oz butter 
6 oz SR flour
pinch salt
3 oz caster sugar
4 large beaten egg yolks
Vanilla extract

Rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and mix with the egg yolks, then spread into the bottom of your prepared tin. It is quite crumbly, so tip in the mix and spread as evenly as you can then press down.

Second part:

4 large well beaten egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 and a half cups desiccated coconut

Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff then fold in the sugar and coconut. Spread on top of part one and bake for 1 hour.

A bit different, so simple and lovely. Cut into little squares. Makes about  24 squares.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Another old gem from the Modern Cookery recipe book dated 1917. I love the title, don’t you? Again reminiscent of a bygone age. The method is quite unusual but so easy, please do not be scared of yeast cookery and if you have never tried it before, this is a good recipe to start you off!

You will need a 1lb loaf tin, generously buttered and place a strip of parchment across the middle to help you lift it out.

Pre heat your fan oven to 210C [very hot]

½ lb plain flour
2 oz lard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ oz fresh yeast [½ teaspoon dried yeast]
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 oz raisins [if large, halve them]
¼ pint boiling water

Place the lard in a basin and add the golden syrup and the boiling water. Stir until the fat has melted then leave until lukewarm. Put the flour into a bowl and mix in the salt and raisins.
At this stage they suggest you cream the yeast and sugar, so do this if you have come across fresh yeast. I just stirred the yeast and sugar into the flour. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm syrupy mixture. Mix well and then knead until smooth, by hand or with a mixer and dough hook. If using a mixer, as I do, add the raisins 30 seconds or so before the end, until they are evenly distributed in the dough. Cover and set aside in a warm spot for 1¼ hours. Knead again for 3 or 4 mins then place in your loaf tin. Leave to rise again for 20-30 mins then bake in your hot oven for about 30 mins.

When cool ish, slice and butter to enjoy a real old fashioned treat. Go to my Blog for a photo of a slice oozing with butter!!!

What a brilliant recipe. Made in minutes and the dough was so soft. So very yummy. I will be making this forever now!