Monday, 30 January 2017


Another traditional Cornish pie dish. I took this recipe from the ladies of the WI, although I am sure there are other versions out there. I will look forward to hearing about them! For the uninitiated, Chipples are what our forebears called Spring Onions [Scallions] or very young shallots.

For the authentic look, you do need a proper metal pie plate, easily available these days as retro seems to be popular. A pie plate is very handy in your cupboard as they do make great pies [lovely for an apple pie]. They cook the base so well and you won’t get a soggy bottom with a pie plate!

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C. Butter your pie plate.

Shortcrust pastry. Of course you can buy some in Sainsburys, but make sure it is all butter. I never rub in these days, too many arthritic finger joints and happily use a food processor. It takes but a minute.

8 oz plain flour
4 oz cold butter
pinch salt and white pepper
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon cold water
I also added half a teaspoon dry mustard powder

Pulse the butter and flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and continue until it starts to form a ball. Bring together on your work top and chill in the fridge for ten mins.

Spring Onions - I used 12 large, chopped
Diced streaky bacon [I used half smoked half plain]
3 eggs

Line the bottom of your tart plate with half of your pastry. Fill with chipples [chopped spring onions, including the green parts as well as the white - not the tough top bits] and then place pieces of diced streaky bacon [or green bacon] amongst the chipples. Season with pepper and a touch of salt - not too much and add two or more beaten eggs. I dotted some tiny knobs of butter. Cover with the remainder of your pastry. Make a slit on the top, brush with beaten egg and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes. I turned down my oven to 190C after 15 mins. More photos on my Blog.

Have I mentioned that our ancestors knew about baking? My husband loved it.

Note: I had to guess the quantities, as per, and used about 6-7 oz of bacon. 

Thursday, 26 January 2017


Here is a very special recipe that I have found. Initially I was extremely doubtful when I saw it in the WI Recipes from Cornwall book from the 1960s. A bun with saffron in it, and not yeast based???? Well, I thought I would give it a go anyway, and am very pleased I did! They are absolutely wonderful!!!

I have not given a measure for the saffron. In the olden days, it was measured by how much you could afford, saffron being so costly. But I wanted the mixture to be flavourful and yellow, so used a fair bit. I always buy online and that is often Iranian or suchlike, and much cheaper, but just as good. Did you know that in the 15thC, records show we used to grow our own saffron in Cornwall?

Pre heat your fan oven to 170C. I used a 12 hole muffin tin, although you could use paper cases, of course.  Our forebears probably used bun tins with cases, but they produce just a small mouthful, [with my husband it would be like feeding an elephant strawberries!]  so I used the above with paper cases. This mixture makes 10 large muffin size buns.

Saffron, that has been standing in a small amount [about 2-3 tablespoons] of hot water for 1 hour or more, or better still overnight for the morning.
4 oz softened butter
1 teacup sugar [caster or perhaps soft light brown]
1 breakfast cup of plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon golden syrup
1 teacup each of sultanas, currants and peel [very finely chop the peel]
[See notes]

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the beaten eggs, then fold in the flour and bp. Add the saffron water, syrup and the fruit. I found the mixture a little stiff so added a tablespoon of milk, maybe I should have used more water to soak the saffron.

Fill the bun cases or muffin cases [¾ full] and bake for 15-20 mins for small buns, 30 mins for larger muffin size buns.

Very good, and not for the first time, those ladies knew what they were doing!

Note: I weighed as I went along, the ingredients being a little vague.
Sugar - I used caster - 5 oz
Plain flour - 6 oz
fruit each - currants and sultanas 3½ oz each and 3 oz of the peel.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Another old recipe from the pre war Be-Ro booklet. I can recall my mother making these and had completely forgotten all about them. The biscuits are so light and crumbly and melt in your mouth. 

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C and butter a large baking sheet.

You can vary the biscuits by rolling them in either coconut or rolled oats. I will do half and half!

5 oz SR flour
3 oz caster sugar
2½ oz butter
1½ oz lard
half an egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste
Rolled Oats or desiccated coconut, on plates ready to roll
Glace cherries, halved or quartered [or any other you fancy]

In a medium bowl, cream the fats and sugar and beat in the ½ egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and mix well. Dampen your hands with water and form the mixture into balls the size of large marbles, then coat with the oats or coconut. Place on your buttered baking tray and press ever so slightly. Pop a piece of cherry on the top.

Or for a modern up date, try some dried cranberries, little pieces of dried apricots or anything you fancy!

Bake for about 17 or 18 mins. Should make about 28-30

Just lovely. Literally, melts in your mouth.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Orange Fruit Cake

All my friends know I collect old recipe books and clippings. The older the better. This unusual recipe comes from such a source and I have to thank Rick and Maureen for this. The newspaper clipping is very yellow and aged although I have no idea exactly how old. Well before Celsius and the terms used suggest around 1950s. I have updated it slightly to suit modern times and ingredients. The original recipe tells you to bake it in an “angel cake” tin, explaining it is one with a hole in the centre. This must have been a novelty in those days! I used one of my bundt tins. No photo can do this cake justice, or capture the most wonderful flavour. Keeps well too.

Butter well your tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

4 oz softened butter
8 oz caster sugar
2 large eggs
5 fl oz sour cream
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
8 oz plain flour
6 oz sultanas
4 oz chopped walnuts
grated zest of 3 oranges, then juice the oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or bean paste
6 oz icing sugar [for juice]

Start by zesting the oranges, then juice them. Set the juice aside, along with 6 oz of icing sugar stirred into it. Let it stand whisking occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, then the cream and the sieved flour and soda. Stir in the fruit and nuts, vanilla and zest. Pile into your prepared tin and bake for about 50-60 mins.

Invert your cake onto a rack then with a small pointed knife or fine knitting needle make plenty of little holes on the top [base] of the cake. Drizzle over the orange juice and sugar while it is still warm, allowing it to slide into the slits, and down both sides.

Just delicious. The cake looks gooey in the pic, but it does dry a little, with the most amazing taste. The cake is intensely orangey. A real find.

PS. you could dust with icing sugar before serving if using for a special dessert.

Saturday, 14 January 2017


This is taken from the excellent Cornish Recipes, dated 1929, which gives such a good insight into the recipes our forebears used in the early part of the last century. A few months ago I made  the liver pasties and now it is time for the pork. I will “quote” and make exactly as instructed in the book.

Make a batch of rough puff pastry, using half fat to seasoned plain flour. Use half butter and half Cookeen or lard. Bind with very cold water then chill before use. [did our forebears do this? I doubt it!]

“Use fresh pork [I am guessing shoulder as it was a cheaper cut, with more flavour]
Chipped potatoes
finely chopped onion
Sage or thyme [I will use sage]”
Salt and pepper

These will be great at tea time, so I am making tea plate size pasties. “Bake in a quick oven” - I love that expression and know it means quite hot. Pre heat your fan oven to about 220C and lightly butter a baking sheet.

Chop the pork into small cubes, using plenty of lean and some fat. Discard any really fatty bits. Roll out your pastry and cut out the rounds, using a tea plate. Place a small rolling pin across the middle, forming a D, then fill the flat half with the above ingredients, layering up the pork, sage and onions. Season and sprinkle over a little plain flour. You can add a dob of butter too, if you wish.

“Damp the edges and fold over into a semi circle. Shape the pasty nicely and crimp the edges”.

“Cut a slit in the centre of the pasty, lay on a baking sheet and bake in your quick oven”. I also brushed the top with a little milk [or egg] for a nice colour.

Start off at 220C, turning down after ten mins to about 190C. Bake for about 45-50 mins, or even longer for a large pasty.

They really were just delicious.
Note: As you may be able to see from the pics on my Blog, I layered it it by, first covering the base with a generous amount of pork, then onions, sage, about half a medium chipped potato, more pork, onion and sage, lastly seasoning and a sprinkle of flour.

ps - I wonder why they did not use turnip?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Chocolate Fudge Cake

I am loving these recipes from the 1960s. The WI Cornish Ladies who passed on these wonderful recipes had a great understanding of baking. Here is another example of a few simple ingredients being turned into a delicious treat. It is undoubtedly the easiest and simplest recipe I have ever used, from the start to putting it in the oven takes less than 5 mins, without getting my hands dirty! I decided to spread some melted chocolate to the finished squares though, but there is no need to really.

You will need a rectangular shallow tin. I used a 10” x 7” and lined the long side, hanging over to help lift it out. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

4 oz butter 
2 eggs 
2 oz cocoa [good quality - you can’t beat Green & Black]
10 oz caster sugar
6 oz plain flour
½ teasp of vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the sugar and beaten egg, then the flour, cocoa and vanilla.
Mix well then pour into your prepared tin and bake for about 30-35 mins.

Cut into squares when almost cold. They are just perfect served warm as a dessert but are still so good when cold!

How easy is that? Scrumptious.

The original recipe used margarine [these days, never!!!!]

Sunday, 8 January 2017


It is good to be back after my break!! This is a very special large fruit cake that keeps well and is deliciously scrummy, although it is quite expensive to make, but trust me, it is worth it. You all know I love using buttermilk in recipes, plus apricots and dried cranberries are two of my favourite dried fruits. You can use whatever nuts you have left over in your cupboard. I chopped a mix of walnuts and whole blanched almonds.

It always amazes me that by just tweaking a few basic ingredients you get a different fruit cake.

Butter and line the base of a 9 inch spring form tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C. 

7 oz softened butter
9 oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract 
3 large eggs
6 oz dried chopped apricots
6 oz dried cranberries
4 oz any chopped nuts 
13 oz plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
9 fl oz buttermilk [a 300ml tub]

Using the creaming method, beat the sugar, vanilla and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, along with a teaspoonful of the flour with each egg. Stir in the flour, then all the rest of the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk. Mix well, then tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1¼ hours. Turn down to 140 after 45 mins.

Leave in the tin for a short while. Cool on a rack, then enjoy.  Wonderfully moist and fruity. It keeps well too.

Note: when I made this I found I only had 1 pkt of dried cranberries in my cupboard [100gr] so had to make up with extra apricots. Therefore you will see more orange than red in the pic! Hey ho.

If your taste does not run to dark fruit cakes, this a good alternative.