Monday, 18 December 2017


A fitting post to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year. I made these last Friday for St Piran’s Bridge Club, Carnon Downs and they disappeared in moments. I love cookie cutters with festive designs to vary the lids, I also love frangipani topping!

My pastry is delicious, crumbly, melt in the mouth and made very quickly, especially if you have a food processor. I never rub in, too much like hard work.

I also rarely make my own mincemeat as the luxury brands are so good. My favourite is Lidl’s Deluxe Rum and Raisin or their Spiced Brandy.

Basic Sweet Shortcrust pastry.

8 oz plain flour 
a tablespoon of caster sugar
5 oz very cold butter, roughly cubed
[zest of an orange - optional]
1 large egg yolk
1-2 tablespoon cold water

Place the flour and butter in the food processor and blitz [or rub in]. I pulse, it will take a few seconds. Add the yolk and water and pulse again, until it starts to form a lump. Tip onto a floured surface and bring together. Place in a poly bag and chill for about 10-15 mins. No more. The secret of good pastry is to handle it as little as possible. 

Frangipane topping

4 oz softened butter
4 oz caster sugar
almond extract, about ½ teaspoon

Cream the above until very light and fluffy. Add:

2 beaten eggs

Beat well, add:

1 tablespoon plain flour
4 oz ground almonds

Mix well and set aside until you need it. Pre heat your fan oven to 190C. You will need two bun tin trays.

Roll out the pastry and cut your bases and tops. Fill the cases with mincemeat [not quite to the top] and cover with your cut pastry shape or a heaped teaspoonful of the frangipani mix.

If using frangipani, sprinkle over some slivers of almonds. Also only half fill the cases to allow room for the frangipane.

Bake for about 18-19 minutes. I like to turn front to back halfway through.

Note: Tip - whatever you do, do not use Robertson’s or any cheap mincemeat. The liquid content is too high.

The frangipani mix will make 20 toppings.

Enjoy your Christmas and I will be posting a new recipe on the 2nd January 2018! Thank you all so much for following my page and Blog.

Laurie, Penryn x

Friday, 15 December 2017

Liz P’s Hummingbird Cake

A delicious and different fruity cake, extremely moist and full of tropical flavours. This recipe was given to me some time ago by a Bridge friend, who lives in Truro, although the recipe originates from Australia or the US, I believe. Thanks Liz for this scrumptious recipe, it is virtually all in one and is a doddle to make, great as a dessert and freezes like a dream. Ticks every box for me. Brilliant as a Xmas dessert!

Liz suggested making it in a 23cm [9 inch] square tin, so that is what I have generally done, but it is equally good in a round, as I have done here.

Butter and line the base of your tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

450 gr tin of crushed pineapple, drained as best as you can.
¼ of a cup of the reserved syrup
3 oz gr SR flour
5 oz gr plain flour
½ teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoonful cinnamon
½ teaspoonful ground ginger
7 oz soft light brown sugar
2 oz desiccated coconut
1 cup mashed over ripe banana 
2 large beaten eggs
6 fl oz sunflower oil

Sift the flour and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add the drained pineapple, syrup, coconut, banana, eggs and oil. Mix well and pour into your prepared tin. Done!

Bake for approx 50 mins, checking the top is not browning, if so turn the temperature down a tad.

Cool then decorate with this lovely frosting:

3 oz soft cream cheese
1 oz softened butter
1 teaspoonful vanilla extract
8 oz icing sugar
a little coconut if you wish
grated lemon for the top [I also use a teaspoonful of the juice with the icing sugar] a little lemon zest over the top.

Mix together and roughly cover the top, using a spoon to make little troughs. Just scrumptious.

Monday, 11 December 2017


Wow, I love this, slathered with butter, of course. Us Cornish have always eaten it and didn’t we call it yuma? I am not sure if that is the correct spelling though. It is surprisingly easy to make, in fact it’s a doddle, but needs maturing before biting into the soft, malty, sticky, fruity dough. Mmmmmm. And the smell, oh my word.

You will need a small loaf tin, buttered, with parchment up the sides and hanging over. This will help lift it out as well. 

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

9 tablespoons malt extract [135gr]
2 tablespoons treacle
2 oz soft dark brown sugar
150ml strong black cold tea
8-9 oz dried fruit. Raisins, figs, even better, soft prunes
9 oz flour - half plain, half wholemeal [no need to be exact]
3 tsp baking powder
large pinch salt

Mix together the wet ingredients and sugar, in a medium bowl, then add your choice of dried fruit. If using prunes or figs [lovely] chop them into raisin size pieces. This will happily soak for an hour or two.

Stir the flours, salt and and baking powder into this fruit mix and stir well to make a soft gloopy dough. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about an hour.

Cool, then wrap in baking parchment and place in an airtight container and leave for at least three days!!!! The top may sink, a little - don’t worry!! it is supposed to.

Slice, butter, enjoy. Is there anything better?

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Caramel Nut Cake

A very different, delicious and impressive cake, using a strange ish method, I have taken it from the 1970’s Talking About Cakes. Making the caramel is quite tricky but OK if you take your time and follow the simple rules. But trust, me it is worth it, for this scrumptious cake.

Line a 8 in loose bottom spring form cake tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

⅓ of a cup of soft dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons very hot water

Cake mix:
6 oz butter, softened
10 oz caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
3 eggs
12 oz plain flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1¼ cups milk, pref whole milk
½ cup chopped walnuts

Start off by making the caramel. Put the soft brown sugar in a small saucepan and on your lowest setting, heat gently until liquid. No need to stir but it will take 10-15 mins. Do not turn up the temp! Stir in the hot water, adding it gradually [and carefully] and when all dissolved and bubbly, set aside to cool. This sounds easier than it is. As you add the water [over the heat still] it will go lumpy. Keep stirring and it will eventually turn into a smooth, glorious thick caramel. It will cool fairly quickly, so get the creaming done before you add the water., as well as everything else assembled.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and then gradually beat in the cooled caramel, along with the whisked eggs. Then add the flour and BP alternatively with the milk until well mixed and finally the nuts. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for apron 1¼ hours, maybe a fraction more. If too brown turn down after an hour. Cool on a rack.

Fudge Icing:
2 teacups soft light brown sugar
½ cup milk
1 oz butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

When the cake is cooled prepare the fudge icing. Place the sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and let it bubble away until a little piece, when tested will form a soft ball. [this will be about ten mins - but there is no need to stir constantly]. Add the vanilla and beat until it thickens, cool for a bit then ice the cake. Decorate with walnut halves if you wish or sprinkle with chopped walnuts, as I have done..

Just delicious and very special. Worth the effort!!

Saturday, 2 December 2017


Don’t be scared of Choux pastry. It is dead easy and very quick, especially for nibbles. This is a post war recipe from a book entitled The Art of  Cooking, issued in the early 1950s by Stork margarine. There are some great recipes in the book, but these days we would use butter, of course. I rarely, if ever use margarine now. Great party or picnic food, or just to eat. If you follow this, you cannot go wrong, trust me.

CHOUX pastry: This recipe makes 2 doz cheese buns or similar. I often make ½ the mixture. From start to baking takes less than ten mins.

Pre heat your fan oven to 180C. Prepare a well buttered baking sheet. [or two]

In a medium saucepan place:

¼ pint water
4 oz butter

Bring these just to the boil then remove from the heat, then beat in, with a wooden spoon:

5 oz sieved plain flour and a pinch of salt [and pepper] 

Return to a low heat and beat until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until moderately warm. [5 mins] Then beat in, one at a time:

4 eggs
[if using for a sweet dish you can add a little vanilla extract or bean paste at this point too, but not the salt and pepper of course]

You can use a piping bag to pipe the round bun shapes, but just spooning equal amounts is good too. Make sure you leave room for them to expand. They blow up like little puffs of magic.

Bake for about 30 mins then cool on a rack. When they come out of the oven pierce each one quickly with the point of a cocktail stick to let out the steam. 


8 - 12 oz cream cheese - I used Philladephia Light
2 oz very soft butter
pinch cayenne pepper [if you like it]
1-2 tablespoons warm milk, if necessary
salt and pepper
like me, you can add chopped herbs if you wish, eg esp chives.

Beat the cheese and butter together then beat in the seasonings. If very stiff add some warm milk.
Split the buns in half and fill with the cheese filling, or use a piping bag. I like them split to show the cheese and herbs.

I also like to lightly dust with smoked paprika, but there is no need.
Just scrummy, they just melt in your mouth.

NOTE: the pastry is good to fill with chocolate or cream. Just leave out seasonings.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Coconut Jam Slices

Another simple old recipe from the WI Ladies. You just know your are guaranteed a great result when using their old recipes. I am sure many of you who are from my generation will recognise this as something their Mum, Gran or Aunt made. We loved the slices and my friend Jeny who came to visit as they came out of the oven gave them 10 out of 10 and ate 3!

You will need a 12” x 9” Swiss roll tin, buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

8 oz SR flour
pinch salt
4 oz softened butter
3 oz caster sugar
1 small egg, beaten [or half a large]
3 tablespoons red, preferably raspberry, jam
4 oz desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon milk

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour and salt, then rub in the butter, adding 1 oz of the sugar. Bind with half the egg and a little cold water, to a stiff paste. Chill for ten minutes. Roll out the pastry to line your prepared tin. The dough is soft and it is easy to spread with your hands. I used a teaspoon to neaten the edges. Spread over the jam, generously. I used three headed tablespoons.

Mix together the coconut and remaining sugar , then moisten with the milk. Sprinkle over the jam, pressing down very lightly.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes, turning the tray now and then. Cool then cut into slices. Makes approx 24.

Just so scrumptious.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Orange and Chocolate Chip Buns

Another recipe from the Ladies of the WI, circa 1960s. A lovely combination of flavours we take for granted these days, but this was almost 60 years ago! I used a 70% cocoa solids chocolate and roughly chopped it, as they would have done, making the batter full of flecks.

The recipe makes about a ten large buns [in small muffin cases]

Line your bun tin with paper cases and pre heat your fan oven to 170C

4 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
2 egg
6 oz Self raising Flour
2 oranges, zested, one of them juiced.
4 oz Bournville Chocolate, cut into small pieces

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs. Fold in the sieved flour and finally add the chocolate, zest and enough orange juice to give a soft dropping consistency. Spoon into the baking cases and bake in your pre heated oven for 10-15 mins.

Note: I have doubled the original amounts as I realised this would make very small buns. My husband would think I had lost the plot.

While these buns were lovely as printed in the old book, I thought it might be a good idea to cut the lids off and mix a little of the remaining orange juice with some butter and icing sugar to make a filling and butterfly the lids.. Another time….

Absolutely delicious.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Old Fashioned Treacle Tart

Yes, you can probably guess this is an old WI recipe. One of my daughter’s favourite desserts. Of course, we Cornish don’t mean treacle, we mean golden syrup, but somehow it does not trip off the tongue as easily!! This old version is not as sweet as modern day tarts and I like the lemon zest undertones.

You will need an shallow 8 inch flan tin, loose bottomed is easiest of course, buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 190C. Or for authenticity, use an old fashioned pie plate, as I have done.  The base cooks wonderfully with them.

All butter Shortcrust pastry. Bought is good, but see my own recipe at the bottom of the page.

Roll out your pastry and line your pie plate. Chill while you prepare the filling. Roll out the remainder in an oblong and cut into thin strips, ready to make a lattice pattern.

9-10 tablespoons golden syrup
3 oz fresh white breadcrumbs [from a stale loaf]
grated zest of a lemon
1 dessertspoonful lemon juice

Place the syrup in a small saucepan with the lemon zest and juice and the crumbs. Gently heat until just melted and runny. Cool.

Pour the treacle mix into the pie dish, then make a lattice pattern with the oblong pastry strips. Yes, it is fiddly and mine is not perfect. Bake for about 30 mins, turning down to 170C ten mins before the end of baking time.

Serve with lashings of custard or clotted cream - or as my husband does… use both.

Just wonderful.

Shortcrust. I never do it by hand. In a food processor, place:

8 oz plain flour, 5 oz cold butter, cubed and a tablespoon caster sugar. Pulse, until it resembles  fine breadcrumbs. Add one egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cold water. Pulse again until it comes together.  Lightly knead and place in a poly bag to chill for ten mins before using.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Ginger Sponge Sandwich

Don’t you just love the taste of stem ginger? Heaven. This is just the best sponge ever, if you love ginger! Plus I love the method, making the lightest sponge I have ever seen. Trust me, this is a brilliant winner. Not easy to neatly cut though, when just cooled!

You will need 2 x 8 inch loose bottom sponge tins, lightly greased and the base lined and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

4 eggs
7 oz caster sugar
5 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon syrup from the jar of ginger
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
2 oz finely chopped preserved ginger

Toss the ginger in the sieved flour and baking powder. Separate the egg whites from the yolks and whisk the whites until stiff. Gradually beat in the yolks and sugar, adding these alternatively and whisking well between each addition. When the mix is thick, fold in the flour, syrup and lemon juice. Divide between the two tins [if you are like me you will weigh them - I am a saddo] and bake for about 25 mins. Cool, then, when cold….

The filling:
4 oz softened butter
3 oz icing sugar
a dessertspoonful of the ginger syrup
½ teaspoon ground ginger

Sandwich with the ginger filling, then:

5-6 oz icing sugar
1 dash of lemon juice
a little syrup from the jar
a little more chopped ginger

More pics on my Blog.

Mix until smooth and just runny. Drizzle over the cake then add more very finely chopped preserved ginger. Oh my, so YUMMY, the sponge just melts.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


Another old gem, from the 1960’s Cornish WI Ladies. When I made this batch and took it to my Friday afternoon Bridge Club, lots of folk said “I remember these” or “ My mother made these”. My husband loved them too. So easy to make, with little effort. You will need a Swiss roll tin, mine was 14 x 9 inches.

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C and butter the base of your Swiss roll tin.

These little cake squares are prepared in two parts.

The Base:
3 oz soft brown sugar
4½ oz softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste
3 large egg yolks [you will need the whites in a mo]
9 oz self raising flour

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy then add the beaten egg yolks and the flour. Mix together with your hand to a crumbly paste and tip it on the base of your prepared tin and flatten evenly. I ran a knife around the edges to flatten and neaten it as well.

The Topping:
3 egg whites
6 oz caster sugar
2 oz each of finely chopped walnuts and cherries.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff then gradually fold in the sugar and lastly the fruit and nuts. Spread this mixture evenly over the flattened base and bake in your oven for about 25-30 mins.

Cool in the tin for ¼ hour then cut into squares and finish cooling off on a rack.

Yum Yum….piggies bum