Wednesday, 27 September 2017


An amazing, rich, very soft and so tasty loaf of bread, courtesy of the WI ladies. Apart from using whole milk instead of water, it also has a higher fat content, making the texture incredibly soft and irresistibly delicious.  You could use semi skimmed, but I followed the original recipe, from the days when those WI ladies had never heard of semi skimmed.

I have adapted the recipe to use dried yeast and you can imagine the original used fresh yeast. 
But use dried active yeast [not quick]

Pre heat your fan oven to 210C and lightly butter a baking sheet.

1 lb strong plain flour
1 teaspoonful salt
3 oz butter
½ pint lukewarm whole milk
1 level tablespoon dried active yeast 
some extra milk to glaze

Add the yeast to the warm milk  and leave until frothy, with half a teaspoon of sugar.

In a medium mixing bowl, [or like me, a mixer with a dough hook] place the flour, salt and butter then rub in the fat until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the frothy milk and knead for ten mins.
Cover and place in a warm spot until double in size - about 1-1½ hours.

Transfer to your work surface and knock back then knead again until firm. Shape as a loaf, or divide into 12-16 pieces to make soft rolls.

I shaped the above into a long tapered loaf. Leave to rise, lightly covered with cling film.
Brush the top of the loaf or rolls with a little more milk. Make three or four deep slashes with a lamé or very sharp knife then bake in your hot, pre heated, oven for about 25 mins. 15-20 mins for the rolls, depending on their size.

Just lovely. But then I never doubted it would be. I loved the very soft texture. It keeps well too.

Friday, 22 September 2017


I love the old recipes from the Cornish Ladies of the 1960s WI. This is another of their wonderful recipes. Just delicious.

Butter a shallow ish square tin 6” x 8” and pre heat your fan oven to 170C

4 oz butter
4 oz soft dark brown sugar
1 large egg
tablespoon treacle
4 oz self raising flour
4 oz chopped dates
2 oz chopped walnuts
2 oz sultanas
pinch salt
vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and spread into your prepared tin.

Bake for about half an hour, or just over, leave it in the tin and carefully cut while hot then leave to cool. Dust the top with a sprinkling of caster sugar while hot.

Yum Yum

PS - Why are they called Caramel Fingers? Just a yummy dark sponge mix really. Hey ho, who am I to disagree with a lady from the WI?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Duchess Cake

Let's start off the autumn season with the most delicious moist cake that is also a great keeper. A friend from Helford gave me this recipe from a tatty old cake small paperback book circa about 1970. I was so impressed by the old book I looked for a copy on eBay - hey presto. I now have my own copy. It was written by a lady named Margaret Bates  and is entitled Talking About Cakes and within its pages are some brilliant recipes. More of those during the next year.

Butter and line a 7” spring form tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

6 oz softened butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
6 oz plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
almond extract
Vanilla extract or bean paste
about 8 oz marzipan
Flaked almonds

Roll out the marzipan to just under a 7” circle. Set aside for a mo.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and caster, until really light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time followed by the extracts. Fold in the flour and baking powder and mix well. Tip half of the mixture into your prepared tin and level off. Place the marzipan on top, then tip in the remaining mix. Scatter over flaked almonds.

Bake for about 1¼ hours, then cool on a rack.

Oh my! A brilliant cake to post on my return! Enjoy.