Friday, 30 May 2014


Nothing Cornish about this, except please use Davidstow Cheddar! It is the best!! I just wanted to post an ordinary recipe for a change, particularly as this recipe it is so underused here and it is just a wonderful dish. My husband scrapes the side of the baking dish it is so good. You can serve it as a side with anything or on its own as a snack or lunch. It is so versatile and easy if you follow this recipe! 

For about 4 - 5 persons as a side. 2 - 3 as a main.

8 oz macaroni - ¾ cooked, then cooled under a tap for a moment, to stop it cooking any more, while you prepare the rest.

1 oz butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
12 fl oz whole milk - semi skimmed is ok ish
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon sea salt
lashings of fresh ground pepper [I use a mix of black, red, green and white]
6 oz strong mature cheddar + 2 oz for the topping, grated

Melt the butter in a saucepan, take it off the heat and add the flour, mustard and paprika, [that have been well mixed]. Stir until you get a smooth paste then gradually add the milk, a little at a time until it is all incorporated. Back on the heat, stirring all the while until it starts to bubble. Take it off the heat and whisk in the beaten egg, then stir in the grated cheddar. Season well! In a suitable baking dish mix the mac and sauce. Sprinkle over the rest of the grated cheese, more pepper, then bake for half an hour, 190 deg C, until the top is golden and brown. Let it rest for ten minutes or more before serving. Even great cold.

Absolutely brilliant.

Monday, 26 May 2014


Yet another very old traditional recipe. There are two very differing versions in my old 1920s Cornish Recipes book, but I like the sound of the second, from Lostwithiel and start to prep.

“Line a deep round tin with good pastry crust”. I make a batch of my basic Pasty pastry:  12 oz plain flour, salt, 3 oz lard, 3 oz block hard marg, rubbed in roughly, mixed with a little very cold water. Chilled for at least an hour.

I lightly oil the tin [I used a 7”] and place 2 cross over long strips of baking parchment on the bottom, to help lift it out, when baked.

“Wash about 3 large handfuls fresh parsley thoroughly”. I started off my parsley plants about a month ago, in a large pot, in the greenhouse and now if it almost forest like. I do as ordered but chopped off all the long and larger stalks. It smelt absolutely wonderful.

I roll out enough pastry for the bottom layer and carefully lift it into the tin, then trim.
I also roll out the topping.

“lay half of the parsley in the bottom of the tin; cut two rashers of smoked bacon into small pieces and lay on the parsley”

By rashers they will mean large slices. This recipe is almost a hundred years old and there was no thin slithers in those days! I decide to use half pancetta cubes plus I have some left over roast gammon in the fridge. I dice that. I quickly fry off the pancetta as it probably contains some water. I will need to release that as I do not want soggy pastry.

I also decide to add a couple of small chopped shallots and half a crumbled vegetable stock cube”. This is not in the recipe, but will surely add to the flavours. I am serving this to my husband for his supper!

“Break on this 4 fresh eggs, distributing them evenly. See photos on my Blog.  Season well with salt and pepper, then lay the remainder of the parsley on top. Cover the top with a thin crust, make a hole in the centre and bake til well browned in a hot oven”.

I used plenty of fresh ground pepper and sea salt, then brush the edges of the crust to help it stick and also the top with a beaten egg. Into my fan oven at 190 deg C. for one hour, turning down to 175 for the last 15 mins.

My verdict. It was very tasty. But basically a bacon and egg pie with shed loads of parsley!
My husband enjoyed it, but then he loves all the old recipes - as long as they are not fishy!
As I bake and write, it is the last week of April and I serve it with Jersey Royals. No Cornish new potatoes yet due to the bad winter!

BUT - we were both burping like crazy for hours after. The vast quantity of parsley gave us chronic wind! Were our ancestors so used to it? They did love their parsley. Maybe this is why the dish died out????

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Old fashioned CIDER CAKE

This old recipe uses a strange method and I have come across it before, while researching old cakes. I have also seen part vinegar used with the bicarb. I may try that in a few months. But this is a cider cake, very economical with a lovely flavour and texture.

4 oz butter, softened
4 oz sugar - I decided to use light muscovado, but our forebears would not have had that.
soft light brown sugar, maybe, or just plain caster
2 beaten eggs
8 oz plain flour
1 teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
large pinch grated nutmeg
1 cup of cider - I used a medium sweet [use a proper cup measure]

Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs, then half of the flour, nutmeg and bicarb. Mix well. Pour over the cider while it is frothy and mix once more, then add the rest of the flour. To make the top a little interesting I sprinkled over some demerera. I love the crunch!

I oiled a 8” loose bottomed shallow tin and tipped the mix in. Bake for approx 35 mins in a moderate oven 170 deg C. I turned the oven down for the last 5 mins. Cool on a rack.

I often freeze cakes, mostly because my husband cannot keep up eating them, when I am in a baking mood!  When I took this out of the freezer I drizzled over a little icing, mixed with apple juice. But it is very appley just by itself.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


This is a very special cake and I have been making it for well over 25 years. I have been racking my brain trying to work out where I got the recipe, but it’s gone. However, I do recall, I think, that it originated in Australia. It improves with age and is a great keeper. Up to 4 weeks in an airtight tin.

It does take a little prepping, but it is well worth it!
Use an 8” springform or similar tin. I line it,  as a cube of the sticky marizpan may be on the bottom or sides.

4 oz dried apricots, chopped
4 oz dried or glace cherries
4 oz walnut pieces
5 - 6 oz cubed marzipan [small]
8 oz golden sultanas
1 large orange
6 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
8 oz wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons milk.

Grate the orange zest and squeeze the juice. Chop the fruit and nuts etc. Cream the butter and sugar, add the beaten eggs, one at a time, along with a small amount of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour and baking powder, then all the remaining ingredients. Give it a good mix and tip into the prepared tin. Bake in a preheated oven 130 deg C for 1¼ - 1½ hours.
Leave in the tin for five mins then cool on a rack. So good!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Quoting my old 1920s Cornish Recipes book “Make a good pasty crust, mash potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Spread them over the top of the crust and lay strips of [pickled] pork over it and put in the oven to brown it. Some people mix cream with the potatoes”.  Well, I will put a spoonful of clotted cream into the mash then.

I read this out to my husband and he thinks it sounds good!! I am making it for his lunch! I am not sure about the pork and what exactly they mean, so I decide to use strips of belly pork. Near enough, I think. [Pickled pork was probably pork preserved in brine, or similar]

Do I part bake the crust before spreading the mash over it? I do not want a soggy bottom!

I decide to make the crust using 4 oz plain flour, 1 oz lard and 1 oz of suet [Atora], sea salt and pepper all mixed with a little very cold water. Allow to rest for half an hour, then roll the crust into a circle and turn in the edges, making a little raised rim to keep in the mashed potato. I prick the base with a fork and brush the whole with beaten egg then pop it into a hot oven to half cook. About 15 - 20 mins. Pics on my Blog.

I peel and boil about 3 medium potatoes, then mash as instructed. When the pastry comes out of the oven I fork the mash over the crust, leaving little ridges to brown. Meanwhile I take the belly pork and brown both sides in a hot pan for a few minutes. Then arrange them on top of the mash. Season well, once more with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

I baked it in a hot oven 200 deg C for around 45 minutes, until the potato and crust were golden and nicely browned.

The verdict? My husband loved it, but then he loves all old fashioned meat and potato food! But it was tasty.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Sesame topped Tomato & Onion Scones.

Another of my savoury scone recipes. I love making Scones, they are so quick and easy and are delicious, with a little butter and great for a speedy supper or party snacks. They freeze perfectly.

For about 8 large scones.

8 oz SR Flour
pinch of Baking Powder
2 oz butter
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
level teaspoon dried basil
2 Echalion shallots, 
a little olive oil
3 or 4 sun dried tomato pieces [depends on the size]
a dessertspoon of Tomato Puree
a small beaten egg
a little milk or buttermilk
Sesame seeds 

Finely chop the shallots and fry in a little oil until soft and browning. Cool.
Pat most of the oil off the sun dried tomatoes and finely chop.

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Season well.

In a jug add the small egg and the Puree. Mix well, then top up the liquid with the milk until you have 5 fluid oz.

Tip the onions and tomatoes into the flour, along with the basil. [can also add chilli] Pour in the eggy milk mix and gently bring together and lightly knead. Roll out until about ½ to ¾ in thick then cut out the scones. Repeat with the left over bits. Brush the top with a little milk or egg and sprinkle on the Sesame seeds.

Bake in a pre heated hot oven 220 deg C for about 12 - 15 mins, depending on the size.
Very very good. Freeze immediately they are cold or just eat.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Another old recipe, but I am not completely sure if they are Cornish. The ingredients would point to it, but it was given to me by an old aunt and she was not Cornish.

Start off the night before, or early morning. Allowing at least a couple of hours for the fruit mix to cool. In a small saucepan place a cup of currants, a cup of raisins or sultanas, half a cup of any type of sugar. I used caster but light muscovado is good. Then add a teaspoon of mixed spice and the zest of half a lemon.  Add a splash of brandy then a little water until the fruit is nearly covered. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Then cool and add some chopped mixed peel to taste, but I used Sainburys lovely candied lemon strips and chopped them myself, very finely.  As it cools the liquid will be absorbed by the fruit, making them plump and juicy. You can use orange or lemon juice instead of brandy, of course. 

Cover a large baking sheet with some baking parchment - you need to do this, as the fruit will stick to metal.

In a mixing bowl, place

2 cups Plain flour
1 rounded teaspoon Baking Powder
1 level teaspoon Bircarbonate of soda
2 oz butter

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
Add 2 tablespoons caster sugar. Mix well.
1 small egg
Buttermilk to mix [I used just over half a 300 ml carton]

Add the small beaten egg and enough buttermilk to mix to a scone like consistency. Knead for half a minute until smooth and even. Tip onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle. Mine was 12 x 8 inches. Brush the edges with some more buttermilk.

Tip over the fruit mix [but not any liquid if any left] and spread over. Roll up like a swiss roll.
Cut into approx 16 slices with a sharp floured knife and place on the prepared sheet. Use a slice to lift them over. 

Put in a preheated oven 190 deg C for 20 mins. These are absolutely delicious and are similar to fruity scones. Can be eaten warm or cold. Keeps for a couple of days, but are best eaten warm or within a few hours. But will freeze.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


I have had this recipe for over 40 years and do not make it that often. Not sure why, because it is delicious! I love cakes that are a bit different from the ordinary and this fits that bill.

6 oz dates, chopped
¼ pint of wine, sherry or similar, I used a medium sweet wine [or ditto water/mix]

Soak the dates for 1 - 2 hours in the wine, so that they go lovely and gooey and the alcohol has been absorbed. After about 45 mins, give it a nice mash with a potato masher.
Before long all the liquid will be absorbed, then add 2 oz chopped walnuts.

Mix together, in a bowl:
8 oz plain flour
4 oz medium oats
3 oz soft dark brown sugar [or light]
5 oz melted butter

Line the bottom of a 8” springform or loose bottom tin and lightly oil. Press in half of the oaty mix. Press really hard and level with the back of a large spoon.
Pile in the gooey date filling, then the other half of the oat mix. Press down once more. After pressing, lightly run a fork across the top to loosen the top 1/8 in and dredge with demerera sugar.

Bake in a medium oven 170 Deg C for about 50 - 55  mins. I turn the oven down to 160 for the last ten minutes.

Originally the recipe called for ¼ pint water to soak the dates. Boring! I changed that years ago! Great for desserts with clotted cream or ice cream too.

You can make this in a square tin and cut into bars if you prefer.