Tuesday, 9 December 2014


These are very simple and can use any basic sponge recipe, with a lovely big dob of mincemeat in the middle, baked, then iced and decorated with a festive motif! They look stunning on a plate during the build up to Christmas. Just as easy as mince pies too.
I have been making them every few days as my husband loves them so much!
This is my last post until the first week of January. Too much baking, with visitors arriving as well. So, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 
Best wishes from Laurie, in Penryn, Cornwall.

You need a 12 hole muffin tin and some Christmasy muffin cases - I found some little holly cutters in Truro Pannier Market.

This uses an all in one method, so place in a bowl: How easy is that???

6 oz SR Flour
6 oz softened butter [definitely not marg]
4 oz any sugar - caster or soft light brown
1 teaspoon mixed spice - or any festive mix of your choice
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
Green and red fondant icing
Icing sugar

Beat together until light and fluffy - you all know how! Spoon a large teaspoon of the mix into the bottom of the muffin cases, then a medium heaped teaspoon of mincemeat - I used Lidl’s Deluxe Rum and Raisin. Then place another teaspoon of mix over the mincemeat. I carefully try to cover the fruit as best I can, but no real need to be too fussy.

Bake in a pre heated fan oven 170 C for 20 mins. Cool, then when they are cold:

Mix a small amount of icing and put a blob on each bun. Roll out a small amount of green fondant icing and cut the holly leaves, place then on the icing. Then take tiny pieces of the red fondant and make berries.

How easy is that???
Seal your fondant blocks in any air tight container and they will keep fresh over the festive period, to use again and again.

Right - I am off to marzipan my Christmas Cake. See you in the New Year!! x

Saturday, 6 December 2014


This is an old recipe, taken from the radio during the late 60s. It has a lovely refreshing taste, great texture too. I do sometimes add more decoration, especially if it is for a dessert, but it is just as good left plain, with a cup of tea!

grease and line the bottom of a 7” tin - loose bottom is easiest. Pre heat your fan oven to about 145C

6 oz room temperature butter
4 oz caster sugar
5 tablespoons lemon curd
3 large eggs
8 oz SR flour

Cream the fat and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the lemon curd. Mix well. Add the beaten eggs, one at a time along with some of the flour, finally add the remaining flour. Tip the mixture into your cake tin and bake for approx 1 hour 10 mins, but check after 1 hour.

Leave in the tin until half cool. I then cut it in half, to spread a thin layer of curd between the halves. Doing this while the cake is still just warm, the curd soaks in a little, making the cake lovely and moist. Cool completely. 

While that is happening make a lemon curd topping [optional].

3 oz soft butter
3 dessertspoons lemon curd
6 oz icing sugar

Beat the above together, then spread over the top of the cooled cake.
If you wish you can further drizzle over some softened lemon curd or grate over some lemon zest [or both], like I did.

If you complete all 3 stages of the cake/decoration you will use a whole jar of Lemon Curd - approx 400 gr

Just great with clotted cream!

Note: The old radio show was the Jimmy Young Show, when folk would call or write in with their recipes. If you remember these, then you are about the same age as me or older!!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Indeed this cake is very strange, with the most peculiar mix of ingredients but somehow it just works! Chocolate, Coffee and Lemon fight with your tastebuds for recognition! I think chocolate just about wins but the coffee smell does dominate. In the build up to Christmas I have decorated it with some marzipan and icing, but that is optional, of course. It just adds to the strange mix - only more so!

Grease and line the bottom of a 6” spring form cake tin. Preheat your fan oven to about 165C

Cream together, until light and fluffy:

4oz softened butter
3 oz caster sugar

then add:
the zest of a lemon
4 oz finely chopped chocolate - I used 70% cocoa solids
a heaped dessertspoon of instant coffee, mixed with a teaspoon of boiling water

Whisk again, then add:

2 eggs [with a little of the flours]

Beat in:
2oz Plain Flour
2 oz Cornflour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 dessertspoon brandy or rum

Finally add:
2 oz chopped glace cherries
2 oz very very finely chopped mixed peel [M&S’s are brilliant]

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 50 - 55 mins. Cool in the tin for a few mins then cool on a rack. The smell is a heady mix of chocolate and coffee! When cold decorate. I flavoured this icing with lemon extract to continue the theme. Enjoy!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Parsley Stuffing

The best stuffing for your turkey and a very old traditional Cornish recipe. I have used this recipe forever and it has been on my Blog since I started! I make no apologies for repeating it this year, for all my new likers! Mine is already made and tucked away in my freezer, all ready to defrost on Xmas eve night….. then pop it into the turkey neck cavity before roasting. The photo is a mini chicken version!!

In our family we just call this Stuffing, or even "stuff", but I had to give it a proper name. I have no idea of the origins of this delicious dressing but my Mother served it for as long as I can remember and it was my belief that it was my grandmother's recipe - she was born in 1885! I have never cooked a roast chicken without this stuffed into its neck - definitely NOT his bum. It is just as scrumptious when cold, to serve with cold meats. It also freezes perfectly. I will give you the basic recipe, that will probably stuff 2 everyday chickens but for my Xmas Turkey I use at least double the amount. It depends on the size.

12 oz white breadcrumbs, from a few days old, uncut loaf - no crusts
6 oz suet - Atora, light is good [but a hundred years ago it would have been the real thing]
2 oz chopped FRESH Parsley - this is a lot! [use finer stalks too]
2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper - plenty of both!
4 eggs to bind

Cube the bread and blitz in a food processor or blender. Put in a bowl along with everything else. Beat the eggs and mix together. It's as easy as that. I batch make and freeze little packets for use and take out the night before and leave in the fridge. Pack tightly in the neck cavity and hold with cocktail sticks, or at Xmas I sew it in. Watch out for the cotton!!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Golden Orange Fruit Cake

This lovely cake is a good alternative to the traditional dark fruit cake for Christmas!  The fruit and orange combination is just delicious and It improves after a day or so, plus keeps for several days, as long as it is in an air tight container.  The orange juice and extract smell wonderful as you are mixing. You can purchase orange extract in any supermarket - I bought mine in Asda for just over a £1. It has an intense zesty flavour.

Start an hour or so, before you make the cake as you need to soak the fruit in some brandy. Or rum if you prefer.

Lightly oil and line a large loaf tin with strips of parchment for ease of lifting out. Preheat your fan oven to 150C.

In a medium bowl:

5 oz dried cranberries
3 oz chopped dried apricots
3 oz large yellow sultanas [I bought these in Grape Tree]
3 oz very finely chopped mixed peel [use M&S - they are the best and are cut into smaller bits]
2 fl oz brandy

Stir well, then leave until the brandy is all soaked up by the fruit. See photo on my Blog of the lovely golden colours and red.

Make the cake:

4 oz room temperature butter
5 oz caster sugar
2 large eggs
8 oz Self Raising Flour
½ teaspoon mixed spice [if you wish]
2 fl oz fresh orange juice [I squeezed 2 clementines]
½ teaspoon orange extract

Use the creaming method. Beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, then whisk in the eggs, then the flour, juice and extract. Stir in the fruit and mix well. Tip into your prepared tin.

Bake for approx 1¼ hours. But check after an hour and turn down for the last few mins. A great alternative for Christmas! You can ice the top if you wish, adding a couple of drops of orange extract to the icing sugar. I also grated some zest over for even more flavour. Don’t forget to leave it for a day or so before you try it.

Many folk do not like mixed peel!!!! I am Cornish and all our cakes use it, so I am hooked!Why not try this using extra apricots and sultanas?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Cranberry & Walnut Spiced Plait

I may have mentioned I love yeast cookery. This is very easy, and is a lovely tea time treat in the build up to Christmas.  It does take about 2 ½ hours to prepare, but most of that time you are waiting for it to rise.  Do the ironing, read a book!! I always use a timer to remind me to look at it after an hour! It’s a senior thing.

1 lb strong plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
1 level tablespoon [use a proper measure] dried fast action yeast
3 oz caster sugar
2 oz very soft butter
½ a large egg [the other half is for the glaze]

Place the above in a large bowl [or your mixer bowl, if you have a kneading option]
Mix well to combine the spices etc. Add scant ½ pint of warmed milk and water. Bring together with your hand then turn onto a floured surface to continue kneading. If, like me, you have a machine that does all the work, just turn it on and leave for 10 mins.

This loaf does need the full 10 minutes of hard kneading, until the dough is smooth and springs back when you poke it. 

Add your fruit. I used approx 4 oz dried cranberries, 2 or 3 oz sultanas and 2 oz chopped walnuts.  When your dough is kneaded, take it out of the mixer and roughly flatten it, on a floured surface, then cover with the fruit and nuts. Fold over, then knead gently to combine. Put back in the bowl and cover with cling film, to rise in a warm spot, until at least double in size.

Then back to the floured surface. Knock back the dough, then cut it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each ⅓rd into a longish sausage, about 15 inches, also making the middle slightly fatter than the ends. Repeat twice more. Make sure they are the same length.

Plait the rolls, making sure you pinch the ends together firmly. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, then loosely cover with cling film and put to rise for the second time. About 45 mins. Then back to the little jug with half an egg in it. Add a tablespoon of water and a dessertspoonful of icing sugar. Give that a little whisk. Chop a few more walnuts as well.
More pics on my Blog.

When the plait is ready for the oven, brush over half of the glaze and place in a pre heated fan oven 200 deg C for about 20 mins. Quickly take it out and do the glaze once more, this time adding a few more chopped walnuts. Back in the oven for another 15 - 20 mins. Delicious, warm with butter. But equally good cold.

Note: You can also make rolls with the mix. Just shape into approx 2½oz buns and set to rise, but reduce the baking time.

Monday, 17 November 2014


If you like Sweet Potatoes, as I do, then you will love this idea. They are baked in the oven, with only a touch of olive oil [or Rape Seed]. So, low calorie and extremely good for you! The flavourings are endless, but here I have used the best flavour and combination!! Smoked Sweet Paprika.  I just love that. And the fries [not - but they look like it!] are so easy.

Line a baking sheet with some baking parchment. This is essential. Turn your fan oven to 210 deg C.

Choose nice even shaped sweet potatoes and peel them. I usually take any nobbly bits off to make the cutting easier. Slice the sweet potatoes in about ¼” slices longways. Then cut those slices in ¼” strips. Don’t be fussy about this! Or worry about being exact, they will look more interesting!

Place the strips in a large poly bag [see photo on my Blog] then add a shed load of freshly ground pepper and a small teaspoon of cornflour. [this is for 2 med/large veg]. Shake very hard to coat every piece well. Then choose your flavours. I mixed sea salt flakes with the smoked paprika. Pour that into the bag along with about a teaspoon of Oil. Shake again, then tip out onto your prepared baking sheet, making sure none of the fries are touching. See pic on my Blog. You cannot overload or they will not “fry”. After about 12 - 15 mins, take them out and turn each one. [Bit boring, but also necessary]. Put them back in the oven for another 12- 15 mins.

Turn off the oven and open the door to let them dry and cool a little.

Enjoy! They are just brilliant to serve with just about anything, or to snack on. For the bowl in my photo, I had 2 friends for lunch and we had egg and chips!! Sin free comfort food!!
Other flavourings - Chinese 5 spice is good, Thai 7 spice as well. Or Moroccan. You can, of course, just use plain salt. With a little nutmeg? Or use some chilli flakes or powder? As long as you stick to the basic rules, there are so many possibilities! If you want to make a large batch use separate baking trays.

Note: For the quantity in the picture shown I used 6 medium Sweet Potatoes and 2 baking sheets.

Thursday, 13 November 2014


Mincemeat is a British speciality/peculiarity!! Eaten during the run up to Christmas and over the festive period. For all my “likers” who do not live on this island - there is no meat in mincemeat but lots of dried fruits in a sweet, syrupy, spicy mix and we usually eat it in tarts or pies. It is sold in jars, like jam, or you can make it from scratch then preserve it. See photo on my blog. But there are so many good high quality versions out there - I often buy it. I am using Lidl’s De Luxe Brandy and Ginger Mincemeat.  Very good value at £1.29.

Mincemeat is also fantastic in a cake! This simple cake is literally…. a piece of cake. Within ten minutes it’s in the oven and is also a good keeper.

Lightly oil and line the base of a 8” tin. A spring form one is handy. Preheat your fan oven to 140 C

9 oz Self Raising Flour
5 oz softened butter
5 oz light soft brown sugar 
2 oz raisins
2 oz chopped glace cherries
1 jar mincemeat [the speciality ones are very good - all are around 400grms]
zest of a lemon [balances the intense sweetness]
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 eggs
Tiny splash of brandy 

Cream your fat and sugar, then add the eggs with a little flour, then all the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1½ hours, but check after an 1¼ and cover the top with a small piece of foil if browning too much. You know the routine to check if it is ready! I like to turn the oven down to about 130 after an hour, then it might take a little longer.

Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes or so, then cool on a rack. Just yummy. I have left it undecorated for the photo, but it cries out for some icing or topping! I will be giving you another mincemeat recipe soon!!

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Another very old Cornish recipe, that I have brought up to date. The original recipe came from an aunt’s collection of pre war Farmers Weekly clippings, the recipe was sent in by a Mrs Cooper, from Cornwall. It used soured whole milk [how do I get that????] but I use regular sour cream. You can use any type of tin, a 8” round or a large loaf, or an oblong tin, cutting the cake into bars. Very easy and very scrummy.

Assemble your ingredients:

In a bowl sieve:
1 lb plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 teaspoonfuls of ground ginger

6 oz fat - half butter & lard
½ lb any sugar. I used soft light brown [muscovado is good too]
1 egg
5 fl oz black treacle
5 fl oz sour cream
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a tablespoonful of boiling water.

In a mixer [hard work by hand]:
Cream the fats and sugar until fluffy ish. Add the egg, then the treacle and sour cream.

Fold in the flour and ginger, along with the bicarb. Mix well. Then tip into a prepared oiled and lined tin of your choice.  With a good non stick loaf tin I just place a band of parchment to help lift it out.

Bake in your fan oven, preheated to 160 C for about 45 - 50 mins, if using a shallow oblong tin. Approx 1hr 10mins [turning down to 150 after 40 mins] if you use a large loaf tin, until just firm to the touch. For the photo I have just dusted with icing sugar, but you could ice and decorate the cake if you wish. Wonderful texture and flavour, that lingers wonderfully in your mouth. Keeps well for a few days.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Baked Fennel with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Here is another of my very favourite veggie dishes, brilliant for special meals, that I have often passed on to friends. It is one of the best side dishes and sits happily beside meat, chicken/turkey or fish.  The dish can be prepared in advance - which I love! It will sit happily in the fridge for several hours before baking. Although it is not really suitable for freezing. The amount below serves about 6 but can be easily halved.

4 fennel bulbs, trimmed, ¼rd, then cut those in half [8 wedgies]
1 ½  pints vegetable stock - a little stock pot is good
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic [or cheaty Lazy Garlic]
1 large shallot, finely chopped and quickly fried until just golden
142 ml tub double cream
3 tablespoons tomato pesto [I used lovely Felippo Berrio sun dried pesto]
4 oz grated cheese. Cheddar, gruyere, or any nice melting cheese. 
I used half cheddar and half mozzarella.

Place the fennel, stock, olive oil and garlic into a large saucepan and bring to boil. Cook, uncovered, over high heat for 20 mins until the stock has reduced right down. Now turn down the heat and leave the fennel to cook in remaining oil until soft and lightly golden. Remove with a spoon and place in a heatproof shallow serving dish, along with the shallots. Pour over the double cream and spoon through, season well with fresh ground pepper and a little sea salt, then drizzle with the pesto, finally sprinkle with the cheese.

For a quick finish - ** Heat your grill to high and cook for 5 - 10 mins until golden and bubbling. You can also do this in the oven, especially if you have prepared the dish a few hours beforehand and it has been sitting in a fridge.
To oven bake, I usually prep up to** then put in hot oven for 25 - 30 mins to finish. Works just as well. YUM.

Note: I halved the quantities for myself and a friend for lunch. Easily doubled too, for a party or Xmas!

Monday, 3 November 2014


This is such a great recipe, that I have been using for decades but I have no real memory of where I got it! I know I have passed it on to many folk and it is my husband's favourite veggie dish. It can be prepared well in advance, freezes perfectly too, so it's a handy standby for any meal and just great at Christmas.

Place 2 lb of peeled and chopped parsnips [peeled weight] in some lightly salted water and boil until just soft. About 15 mins.

Drain, then mash along with:

very large knob of butter
2 fluid oz of single cream
generous sprinkling of freshly ground nutmeg 
lashings of freshly ground pepper.
If very stiff add a little more single cream.

Whisk 2 large eggs, preferably free range, organic with nice yellow yolks!

Beat them quickly into the parsnip mix until the mix is lightly and fluffy, almost mousse like.  Tip into a lightly oiled overproof serving dish.
Grate some fresh Parmesan over the top, sprinkle over some sweet paprika too and loads more pepper.
[freeze at this stage and take out a few hours before baking. Allow extra time in the oven too]
Set your fan oven to about 190 deg C
Bake for about 40-45 mins until the top is just golden.

This amount serves about 5 - 6 [but not my husband’s portion size!!!]

Thursday, 30 October 2014


Here are some old fashioned buns that are very tasty and stand the test of time.
They keep well too, for at least  3 or 4 days - but that is not likely!!! My cousin soaks the raisins in water that she brings to the boil, making the fruit plump and very juicy. While visiting her I asked if she ever added a drop of brandy to the liquid or used half fruit juice but she had never tried it!! Can’t see why not??? I love to build flavours so I intend to use half water and the juice of an orange, with just the merest splash of brandy. But plain water is good - after all she has been making these for an age…

Start by taking 8 oz raisins and place them in a small saucepan and just cover with some water and the juice of an orange or just plain water. See above! Gently bring to the boil, turn off the heat and allow to cool. Drain, then roughly dry on a few sheets of kitchen paper.

Makes about 20 - 22 buns

In a bowl:

1 lb SR flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon mixed spice.

Mix well. Then rub or cut in:

7 oz room temperature butter, until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.

8 oz Demerera sugar [turbinado]
Raisins - prepared

Mix well.
Bind with 2 large beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract and 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of milk and bring together with your hand. The mix needs to be quite stiff allowing you to take rocky lumps that keep their rough shape, although they do spread a little.

Place these on a lightly oil baking sheet, well apart and bake in a fan oven 175 C for about 20-25 mins. Cool on a rack. Baking with the crunchy sugar adds a bite to the buns and the raisins are very juicy. My husband loves them!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

ORANGE & LEMON MARMALADE CAKE with a sticky marmalade glaze

Very zesty and fruity. Great with an cup of tea and freezes perfectly, this easy cake is just lovely and very light, with a hint of bitterness from the Seville Oranges.

You will need a 7” loose bottomed [preferably] spring form tin, oiled and the bottom lined.

In a saucepan melt:

2 heaped tablespoons of chunky marmalade [I used my own, made in January, when the Seville oranges were here]
5 oz butter
large handful raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

allow to cool. Meanwhile, in a bowl:

8 oz SR flour
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon
4 oz light muscovado sugar
zest of an orange
zest of a lemon

Combine well.

In a measuring jug:
The juice of the orange and half the juice of the lemon.
Milk to make up to 4 fl oz
Then add 1 beaten egg

whisk well.

Then mix all 3 together components and beat for a minute. Tip into your prepared tin and bake in a preheated fan oven 160C for about an hour, or just under, turning down to 150C for the last 20 mins approx.

Heat 2 more scant tablespoons of marmalade along with 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons icing sugar. Allow to bubble for a minute or two.

When the cake is firm to the touch and ready, take it out of the oven and immediately brush over the hot sticky glaze. Don’t concern yourself over the bits, it will add character to the cake! You can sprinkle over some demerera too, if you wish.

Cool in the tin for a little while then finish cooling on a rack as per usual. Just delicious.

A word on vanilla bean paste. I find it invaluable. It adds depth and flavour to most cakes.
Yes, it does cost about £6 but goes a very long way with a long shelf life. A keen cook’s secret ingredient! Less fiddly than scraping whole beans and a mile better than essence.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

FISH PIE from Boscastle

“Take some rock mackerel, fillet, and place in a pie dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs, then chopped suet and parsley. Repeat until the dish is full, then pour over milk and bake”

I quote from my old 1920s Cornish Recipes book. It all seems very straightforward. I am not totally sure what ‘rock” mackerel is, but am presuming ordinary mackerel.

I use whole milk, of course, as this recipe is very old and that is all they had. But I will use Vegetable Atora, although our forebears would have bought a whole piece from the butcher and chopped it themselves. Seasoning is not mentioned but I will assume they used sea salt and pepper, between each layer.

I use stale ish breadcrumbs from the end of my own loaf. I love breadmaking and never buy. My favourite everyday recipe is Paul Hollywood’s basic white. He is so good. I also like Allinson’s flour.

As I make the pie I am wondering whether to take the skin off? I think I will, along with checking for as many bones as I can. I also use the Atora sparingly, but lots of chopped parsley!  Now the baking time and oven temperature? I decide to use a hot oven [210C] and put my timer on for 30 mins., checking after 20. That was just perfect! This took 25 mins.

The result? I am eating it for my lunch! What a surprise - it was absolutely delicious! If you enjoy mackerel then you will love this! The milk had been absorbed by the breadcrumbs and fish, and the flavours merged wonderfully. Our forebears knew what they were up to!!!

The pictured small pie, enough for 2 with a salad, used 8 fillets.

Note: I imagine you could substitute a few little nobs of butter for the Atora.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Nutty Apple Date Cake

I just love this cake and have been making it for years - even when it is not Autumn!
I found it in a magazine and tried it out - perfect!! Of course, I started fiddling and adapting it to my own tastes!

Grease and line the base of a 8” spring form, loose bottomed tin. Your fan oven to 160C.

In a bowl place all your dry ingredients:

12 oz SR Flour
6 oz light muscovado sugar [essential for the taste]
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Then add:

4 oz chopped dates [I cheat and buy them already chopped]
3 oz roughly chopped hazelnuts [ok with skins on]
2 dessert apples, roughly chopped, skins on, cored.

6 oz melted butter
3 large eggs, beaten.

Finally whisk the butter and eggs together and add to the fruit mix. Mix well, then tip into your prepared tin. Level off the top.

Take a third apple and slice in circles to decorate the top, then sprinkle over some more hazelnuts, between the apple slices [I use blanched for this]. Pop this into your oven for approx 1 hour, better check after 55 mins though, until the cake is well risen and cooked. Test with a fine skewer - you know the routine. Cool on a rack.

Melt a little apricot jam or compote until hot and bubbling [in the microwave is easiest] and brush over the top of the apples and nuts for a lovely sticky glaze. Wonderful

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Autumn Sponge

Here is a very easy quick recipe! Using windfalls or any apples, readily available and cheap this time of year!! Most folk are giving them away if they have a tree! I love cakes using apples and this is the first of two of my favourites. Using simple plain ingredients to make the most delicious cake with a taste of Autumn. Slice it warm for dessert with a dollop of clotted cream! Mmmmm or custard. But equally good cold.

9 oz room temperature butter
9 oz golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract [not essence]
[or use 1 vanilla pod]
4 large beaten eggs
10 oz SR flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon [or a little more, if you like it]
3 small ish or 2 larger dessert apples [I used Cox’s], peeled and cored then cut into wedgies [cookers are good too, making a tarter taste]
demerera sugar to dredge the top

Grease, then line the base of a spring form, loose bottomed 8” tin.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one at at time….. you know how to do that!! I like to add a teaspoon of the flour along with each egg to stop the mix curdling. Fold in the remaining flour then tip into the tin, very roughly levelling the top.

Push the apple wedgies halfway into the mix, going around the edge in a tight circle, then a few shorter ones in the inner circle, but not right in the centre. Make sure they are only pushed in about halfway. The mix will rise around the apple making a bit of a lumpy pattern. Don’t worry if it looks crowded either! The apples will soften and shrink. Sprinkle the top liberally with the cinnamon and demerera [turbinado] sugar and pop into a pre heated fan oven 160C for about an hour, maybe 5 mins more. Keep checking and test it is done with a small skewer. 

Just lovely, smells divine, so simple. And it’s in the oven in about 10 minutes!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Butternut Squash, Tomato and Sage Bake

This is just one of the best veggie dishes. Great with anything, or on it’s own and it can be prepped in advance. I will bring you more of my faves over the next few months - between cakes and Cornish recipes!!!  You need an oven proof serving dish to assemble and bake.

1 medium butternut squash, deseeded etc and the outer skin washed and at least partially removed [if the skin is good and clean, no real need].

Dice the squash into approx ½ cubes - but no bigger. Don’t worry about being exact.

1 large echalion shallot - or 2 medium
3 medium tomatoes or a doz cherry [or mixed types]
about 10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
small pot of double cream
a handful of fresh breadcrumbs
1 oz grated cheddar or mozzarella [I like the latter]
2 oz feta cheese [or goats cheese if you prefer]
1 teaspoon fresh parmesan
Rapeseed or olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Before you start cooking take your pot of double cream [150ml] and place ¾ of the chopped sage into it and heat it in the microwave on med high for a minute or so until hot. Allow the flavours to infuse and cool. [or use a small saucepan].

Heat a large pan with the oil [I love rapeseed] and fry off the squash until the edges have started to soften and colour.  Tip into your dish. Now chop the shallot and quickly fry in the pan. Mix with the squash. Chop the toms and add to the mix. Season well, especially pepper.

Tip the sagey cream over the veg, making sure the sage bits are evenly distributed.  Sprinkle over the grated cheese, parmesan, then crumble the feta, then the remainder of the chopped sage, then sprinkle over some breadcrumbs. More pepper! You can decorate with a few whole leaves too. This will sit quite happily in a fridge now for an hour or two until you bake it. Lots of pics on my Blog!

Pop into a preheated fan oven at 180 C for about three quarters of an hour. Allow to cool a bit before serving. My daughter loves it cold too.

I used a mix of different tomatoes from my greenhouse [red and gold] and my sage bush this year is a variagated variety. Looks a bit different but great taste.

This recipe can be easily doubled or trebled for a party.

I adapted it from a recipe I saw in the Good Food mag some years ago, although it now bears little resemblance to the original.

Monday, 6 October 2014


I have just returned from a trip, that included a visit to Lincoln, the home of my paternal great grandfather. His youngest son, my grandfather, met a Cornish lady and then settled in Stithians. I wanted to walk in his and his family’s footsteps. Lincolnshire Plum Bread is the most popular regional sweet dish from that area and as soon as I had time I wanted to try it!  This recipe is taken from a local book I purchased while in the lovely old city. A Taste of Lincolnshire.

The plums in the recipe are in their dried form - prunes!

This makes 2 small loaves: [easily halved for 1 loaf in a 1lb loaf tin]

1lb Strong Plain flour
pinch of salt
½ oz easy blend dried yeast 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 beaten eggs
4 oz melted butter
4 oz warm milk
8 oz prunes cut into smaller pieces
2 oz sultanas
2 oz currants

Mix together the milk, eggs, melted butter, yeast, sugar, salt and spices. Add the flour and work the mix until it forms a soft dough. Knead until it is smooth and pliable.
Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and put to rise until double in size. [ish] Knock back and knead again, adding all the fruit until it is evenly distributed. Place in a lightly greased loaf tin and put to rise once more, until double in size.

Note: the rises are slower than for bread. 

Place in preheated oven 190C Mark 5  [175C for your/my fan oven]  for about 35-40 mins, taking the loaf out of the tin and putting it back in the oven for a further 5 mins. [I turned my oven down to 160C for this] Serve in slices, spread with butter. 

Just delicious - quite different from our Saffron Cake!! The spice combination coloured the dough and blended perfectly with the fruit for a different taste! I really enjoyed it! Not Cornish, of course!!!

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Mmmmmmm, so lush, rich and scrumptious. This cake is quite special. I found it ten or fifteen years ago in a newspaper and have made and shared it ever since. It freezes very well too! I do love cakes in the freezer, ready for guests arriving or when I am busy.

You need a 9” springform tin, oiled and the bottom lined. Your fan oven preheated to 160C

8 oz room temperature butter
8 oz caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large beaten eggs
6 oz mascarpone
8 tablespoons milk
8 oz SR flour
4 oz desiccated coconut
6 oz glace cherries, halved or quartered

Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy - you know the drill!
Add the beaten eggs, one at a time, then the mascarpone and half of the milk [use a proper measure]. 

Now fold in the flour and the coconut and enough of the remaining milk until you have a soft dropping consistency. Then finally the cherries.

Tip into your prepared tin and roughly level off.  Bake for 1 - 1¼ hours

Just a perfect cake. I do not think it particularly needs decorating but you can if you wish!!
I often sprinkle a little more coconut over the top before popping into the oven. Whatever.