Sunday, 31 July 2016

Mandarin Orange Fruit Cake

This is an usual cake with a different combination of fruits. The colour combination is good and the slices look very attractive. Yummy too. The recipe is quite old and harks back to my childhood in the 50s when a tin of mandarin oranges was quite a luxury. This cake keeps well and is still moist and just as delicious four days later.

Once again, I have decided to use a ring tin, trying to persuade more folk to use them! If you don’t have one, there are plenty around and they are just great for decorating and slicing. I love them!

I have used a small ring tin, capacity about  2 pints or so. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C. Butter the tin well, then sprinkle over some flour, tapping out the lose flour over the sink. But you can use a 7” or 8” round if you prefer.

6 oz softened butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 large eggs
9 oz plain flour
a generous teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 fl oz buttermilk [or milk]

about 3 oz roughly chopped walnuts, plus more for the topping
4 oz glace cherries, roughly chopped, tossed in another scant tablespoon flour
small can mandarins, well drained [keep some of the juice]

Cream the butter and sugar, along with the vanilla bean paste, then add the eggs, one at a time.
Mix the flour and baking powder and sift it into the mix along the buttermilk.

Set aside three or four mandarins for the decoration, then roughly chop the rest. Add this, then the cherries and walnuts to the mix and tip into your prepared tin. Make a slight well along the middle to allow for the rise. Bake for about 50 mins until firm to the touch, then invert onto a cooling rack.

When cold, make an icing with a little of the mandarin juice and some icing sugar. Spread over the top of the cake, allowing some to drizzle down the sides and decorate with the mandarins and some more halved walnuts.

Such a moist cake that keeps well for several days [not the orange slices on top though]. My family absolutely loves it. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


I am always on the lookout for different cake recipes, then found the idea for this in an old book, adjusted it to my tastes and made it right away! Well I never, so yummy. The creamy coconut topping is just delicious and gooey.

You will need a 9” spring form tin, lined [but not over the top of the sides] and well buttered. Pre heat your fan oven to 180C

2 large eggs
11 oz caster sugar
6 oz plain flour
2 level teaspoonfuls baking powder
5 fl oz buttermilk [or milk]
3 oz melted butter

In a medium bowl:

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and fluffy. Mix the flour and BP and sift into the eggy mix, alternatively with the buttermilk. Mix well. Stir in the melted butter, then tip this into your prepared tin. Bake for 30 mins


The Creamy Coconut topping.

2-3 oz desiccated coconut
5 oz caster
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoon double cream
1 tablespoon flour

Place all these ingredients into a saucepan, and under a low heat, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. Set aside until you are ready.

After 30 mins, take the cake out of the oven and spoon the topping evenly over the cake. Pop it back into the oven for a further 10 - 12 minutes until lovely and golden.

Cool as usual on a rack, then tuck in. I guarantee you will love it

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Bake

I love veggie dishes that you can prep well beforehand and serve straight to the table. I also love Butternut Squash! 20 years ago or so, it was a rare sight on our tables and now we use it all the time - even in cakes! It is very good with the garlic but unfortunately my husband hates it, so I have to leave it out.…. hey ho.

This recipe only has four or five ingredients and ticks all my boxes.

1 medium Butternut Squash
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
[optional crushed garlic]
Olive Oil
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt
about 2-3 oz goats cheese to crumble
Fresh chopped parsley

I find it is best served in a flat square glass dish to show off the colours!

In a small fry pan place enough olive oil for the quantity you need to generously brush the squash slices. Chop the shallot [and garlic] very finely and fry the onion until just browning and allow to cool. When cool, remove the onion with a slotted spoon.

Cut your Squash in half, longways and peel. Then lie it flat, face down and slice evenly, about ¼ in slice or just a little thicker.

Lightly oil your chosen dish and arrange your slices. Brush with the shallot infused oil and season well with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. You could add some chilli flakes as well. Crumble over some goats cheese of your choice and bake for about 40 mins until just soft.

Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley before serving.

Friday, 15 July 2016


This is a very old recipe and is a dessert cake rather than a ‘cup of tea” cake. I wish I had the words to describe to you how wonderful it tastes!, especially eaten warm, with lashings of clotted cream. [It is still good cold the next day] The long slow bake turns the buttered apple slices golden and so soft.  I use homemade bread that is a day or two old. But it does need to be stale. If using bought bread, make sure it is a farmhouse type, or better still an artisan bread. I used white, but you can use wholemeal too. 

This cake has just 5 ingredients and is so easy and failsafe.

about 2lb eating apples [I used a mix of varieties]
11 oz caster sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 oz stale breadcrumbs from a whole loaf
6-7 oz butter

Pre heat your fan oven to 130C. Line a 9” or 10” cake tin [not too deep] with tin foil and brush with a little melted butter. [make sure there are no holes in the foil!]

Melt together [in the microwave] about 3 tablespoons each of butter and caster sugar [from the above quantities] and mix well. Spread evenly over the base of the tin.

Mix the remaining sugar, cinnamon and breadcrumbs together until evenly combined.

Have a bowl ready with some water and a little lemon juice handy then peel and core your apples, then cut them into neat thin wedges. Pat dry before slicing to use.

Arrange a layer, making a pattern of your choice in the bottom of the tin [this will be the top]. You do not have to be so careful with the other layers. Add a layer of breadcrumbs then dot this with the softened butter. Carry on in this manner with more layers of apples, breadcrumb mix and butter ending with a breadcrumb layer. Press lightly.

Bake for about 1½ hours in your preheated oven, then when it has cooled slightly, invert onto your serving plate. Yummy, scrummy, so delicious. There are many ways you can decorate the cake, if you wish. Sprinkled toasted almonds are good, custard or whipped double cream too. Whatever. But clotted cream is just plain and dandy. I left the photo undecorated to show you the apple and moist buttery texture.

Note: I have mentioned this before, but please make sure your cinnamon [any spice] is well in date. The flavours do deteriorate so quickly.

Monday, 11 July 2016


A true Cornish, simple recipe, used by our forebears for many generations. These days, we would call this a side dish, but long ago, for many, it would be the whole meal. When re creating this I decided to go the whole hog and use dripping, as they would have.

This recipe belonged to Hettie Merrick and was given to me by her daughter Ann, who you will know as the famous pasty maker from The Lizard. Ann’s Pasties are almost world famous and the best ‘bought pasties” in our County, I reckon. If you have never tried them, get down to The Lizard!

Hettie states a hot oven. I guessed at fan 220C
I saved the hot water the potatoes were boiled in and used that to pour into the pie dish.
In the photo you can see [on my Blog] I used one onion, cut into 8ths and about a quarter of a small turnip [swede] cut into pieces about double the size I would chip for pasties.

Peel some even ish sized potatoes [not too big] and bring them to the boil, then drain. [I cut larger ones in half] Grease a pie dish with butter or dripping and fill with the potatoes. Add a couple of small onions and a few pieces of turnip if liked. Season the potatoes with salt and a good shake of pepper, then half fill the dish with hot water. Brush some more dripping over the potatoes and cover with a few bacon rinds. [hard to come by these days, I used some fatty streaky bacon, cut into thin slices longways, then twisted. see my Blog for more pics]. Place another dish over the top as a lid [I used foil] and put in a hot oven for half an hour. Take off the lid and bake for another hour or so until the tops of the potatoes are nice and brown and the water almost gone.  The result should be crispy brown topped potatoes with mushy bottoms.

Hettie added that sometimes a piece of meat would be placed in the middle and her granny baked a roll of pastry for a topping.

Great flavours. I need not add any more comments. The photo says it all. Traditional Cornish food at its best.

My husband thought he had gone to heaven when I served these for supper with pork chops.
I loved the mushy bottoms of the potatoes!!!

Thursday, 7 July 2016


This lovely, very old recipe was passed on to me by Sheilagh Banner who follows my page. It was her mother’s recipe and Sheilagh describes her mother as a supreme cake and pastry cook. Thank you so much Sheilagh.

It really does have a strange combination of ingredients but I must tell you the smell from my kitchen, as it cools, is just wonderful!

I used a greased and lined 8” spring form tin, but Sheilagh suggests that her mother might have used a loaf tin sometimes. Whatever! No oven temp was given to me, so I popped it in at 150C, then turning it down to 140C after 20 mins.

10 oz plain flour
4 oz butter [slightly softened]
4 oz soft dark brown sugar
8 oz sultanas
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon marmalade
2 tablespoons black treacle
2 tablespoons vinegar [I presume malt]
3 eggs [I used large], beaten
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a little milk for the top

Sieve the flour and spices together then rub in the butter, add the sugar and fruit. Warm the treacle and vinegar [in a microwave] then add the marmalade and bicarb. Add the eggs to the other liquids and tip into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Tip into your prepared tin, then brush the top with some warmed milk and bake for about 1 - 1¼ hours. I did the full time. 

A lovely cake and I will definitely make it again, although I do not think I will bother with brushing the top with milk and I will increase the quantity of the sultanas. It looks quite different with a smooth top!

Does anyone have some more old recipes? You will get full credit. We need to preserve them for posterity and our descendants.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Rhubarb Tray Bake

The rhubarb outside my back door is turning into a forest, so my thoughts turned to making use of this delicious fruit. A great summery recipe [what summer????]

Pre heat your fan oven to 150C and butter an 8 x 12 inch tray bake tin. I also use some baking parchment on each direction, hanging over to help lift it out.

Prepare 12 oz rhubarb, making sure there are no stringy bits and cut into small ish pieces. I tried to use smaller stalks. Set aside for a mo.

In a medium bowl, place:

5 oz softened butter
5 oz caster sugar
zest of a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract.

Cream the above until light and fluffy. Add:

3 large eggs, beating them in one at a time.

Add: and mix well

9 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 fl oz buttermilk

Tip the mixture into your prepared tin, then toss your rhubarb in about 3 tablespoons demerera sugar [turbinado]  and sprinkle the sugary rhubarb evenly over the top of your mixture.

Bake in your pre heated oven for about 50 mins. Cool and cut into squares. Mmmmmmmm. I love rhubarb. This is just scrummy.