Monday, 18 December 2017


A fitting post to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year. I made these last Friday for St Piran’s Bridge Club, Carnon Downs and they disappeared in moments. I love cookie cutters with festive designs to vary the lids, I also love frangipani topping!

My pastry is delicious, crumbly, melt in the mouth and made very quickly, especially if you have a food processor. I never rub in, too much like hard work.

I also rarely make my own mincemeat as the luxury brands are so good. My favourite is Lidl’s Deluxe Rum and Raisin or their Spiced Brandy.

Basic Sweet Shortcrust pastry.

8 oz plain flour 
a tablespoon of caster sugar
5 oz very cold butter, roughly cubed
[zest of an orange - optional]
1 large egg yolk
1-2 tablespoon cold water

Place the flour and butter in the food processor and blitz [or rub in]. I pulse, it will take a few seconds. Add the yolk and water and pulse again, until it starts to form a lump. Tip onto a floured surface and bring together. Place in a poly bag and chill for about 10-15 mins. No more. The secret of good pastry is to handle it as little as possible. 

Frangipane topping

4 oz softened butter
4 oz caster sugar
almond extract, about ½ teaspoon

Cream the above until very light and fluffy. Add:

2 beaten eggs

Beat well, add:

1 tablespoon plain flour
4 oz ground almonds

Mix well and set aside until you need it. Pre heat your fan oven to 190C. You will need two bun tin trays.

Roll out the pastry and cut your bases and tops. Fill the cases with mincemeat [not quite to the top] and cover with your cut pastry shape or a heaped teaspoonful of the frangipani mix.

If using frangipani, sprinkle over some slivers of almonds. Also only half fill the cases to allow room for the frangipane.

Bake for about 18-19 minutes. I like to turn front to back halfway through.

Note: Tip - whatever you do, do not use Robertson’s or any cheap mincemeat. The liquid content is too high.

The frangipani mix will make 20 toppings.

Enjoy your Christmas and I will be posting a new recipe on the 2nd January 2018! Thank you all so much for following my page and Blog.

Laurie, Penryn x

Friday, 15 December 2017

Liz P’s Hummingbird Cake

A delicious and different fruity cake, extremely moist and full of tropical flavours. This recipe was given to me some time ago by a Bridge friend, who lives in Truro, although the recipe originates from Australia or the US, I believe. Thanks Liz for this scrumptious recipe, it is virtually all in one and is a doddle to make, great as a dessert and freezes like a dream. Ticks every box for me. Brilliant as a Xmas dessert!

Liz suggested making it in a 23cm [9 inch] square tin, so that is what I have generally done, but it is equally good in a round, as I have done here.

Butter and line the base of your tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

450 gr tin of crushed pineapple, drained as best as you can.
¼ of a cup of the reserved syrup
3 oz gr SR flour
5 oz gr plain flour
½ teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoonful cinnamon
½ teaspoonful ground ginger
7 oz soft light brown sugar
2 oz desiccated coconut
1 cup mashed over ripe banana 
2 large beaten eggs
6 fl oz sunflower oil

Sift the flour and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add the drained pineapple, syrup, coconut, banana, eggs and oil. Mix well and pour into your prepared tin. Done!

Bake for approx 50 mins, checking the top is not browning, if so turn the temperature down a tad.

Cool then decorate with this lovely frosting:

3 oz soft cream cheese
1 oz softened butter
1 teaspoonful vanilla extract
8 oz icing sugar
a little coconut if you wish
grated lemon for the top [I also use a teaspoonful of the juice with the icing sugar] a little lemon zest over the top.

Mix together and roughly cover the top, using a spoon to make little troughs. Just scrumptious.

Monday, 11 December 2017


Wow, I love this, slathered with butter, of course. Us Cornish have always eaten it and didn’t we call it yuma? I am not sure if that is the correct spelling though. It is surprisingly easy to make, in fact it’s a doddle, but needs maturing before biting into the soft, malty, sticky, fruity dough. Mmmmmm. And the smell, oh my word.

You will need a small loaf tin, buttered, with parchment up the sides and hanging over. This will help lift it out as well. 

Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

9 tablespoons malt extract [135gr]
2 tablespoons treacle
2 oz soft dark brown sugar
150ml strong black cold tea
8-9 oz dried fruit. Raisins, figs, even better, soft prunes
9 oz flour - half plain, half wholemeal [no need to be exact]
3 tsp baking powder
large pinch salt

Mix together the wet ingredients and sugar, in a medium bowl, then add your choice of dried fruit. If using prunes or figs [lovely] chop them into raisin size pieces. This will happily soak for an hour or two.

Stir the flours, salt and and baking powder into this fruit mix and stir well to make a soft gloopy dough. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about an hour.

Cool, then wrap in baking parchment and place in an airtight container and leave for at least three days!!!! The top may sink, a little - don’t worry!! it is supposed to.

Slice, butter, enjoy. Is there anything better?

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Caramel Nut Cake

A very different, delicious and impressive cake, using a strange ish method, I have taken it from the 1970’s Talking About Cakes. Making the caramel is quite tricky but OK if you take your time and follow the simple rules. But trust, me it is worth it, for this scrumptious cake.

Line a 8 in loose bottom spring form cake tin and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

⅓ of a cup of soft dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons very hot water

Cake mix:
6 oz butter, softened
10 oz caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
3 eggs
12 oz plain flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1¼ cups milk, pref whole milk
½ cup chopped walnuts

Start off by making the caramel. Put the soft brown sugar in a small saucepan and on your lowest setting, heat gently until liquid. No need to stir but it will take 10-15 mins. Do not turn up the temp! Stir in the hot water, adding it gradually [and carefully] and when all dissolved and bubbly, set aside to cool. This sounds easier than it is. As you add the water [over the heat still] it will go lumpy. Keep stirring and it will eventually turn into a smooth, glorious thick caramel. It will cool fairly quickly, so get the creaming done before you add the water., as well as everything else assembled.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and then gradually beat in the cooled caramel, along with the whisked eggs. Then add the flour and BP alternatively with the milk until well mixed and finally the nuts. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for apron 1¼ hours, maybe a fraction more. If too brown turn down after an hour. Cool on a rack.

Fudge Icing:
2 teacups soft light brown sugar
½ cup milk
1 oz butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

When the cake is cooled prepare the fudge icing. Place the sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and let it bubble away until a little piece, when tested will form a soft ball. [this will be about ten mins - but there is no need to stir constantly]. Add the vanilla and beat until it thickens, cool for a bit then ice the cake. Decorate with walnut halves if you wish or sprinkle with chopped walnuts, as I have done..

Just delicious and very special. Worth the effort!!

Saturday, 2 December 2017


Don’t be scared of Choux pastry. It is dead easy and very quick, especially for nibbles. This is a post war recipe from a book entitled The Art of  Cooking, issued in the early 1950s by Stork margarine. There are some great recipes in the book, but these days we would use butter, of course. I rarely, if ever use margarine now. Great party or picnic food, or just to eat. If you follow this, you cannot go wrong, trust me.

CHOUX pastry: This recipe makes 2 doz cheese buns or similar. I often make ½ the mixture. From start to baking takes less than ten mins.

Pre heat your fan oven to 180C. Prepare a well buttered baking sheet. [or two]

In a medium saucepan place:

¼ pint water
4 oz butter

Bring these just to the boil then remove from the heat, then beat in, with a wooden spoon:

5 oz sieved plain flour and a pinch of salt [and pepper] 

Return to a low heat and beat until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until moderately warm. [5 mins] Then beat in, one at a time:

4 eggs
[if using for a sweet dish you can add a little vanilla extract or bean paste at this point too, but not the salt and pepper of course]

You can use a piping bag to pipe the round bun shapes, but just spooning equal amounts is good too. Make sure you leave room for them to expand. They blow up like little puffs of magic.

Bake for about 30 mins then cool on a rack. When they come out of the oven pierce each one quickly with the point of a cocktail stick to let out the steam. 


8 - 12 oz cream cheese - I used Philladephia Light
2 oz very soft butter
pinch cayenne pepper [if you like it]
1-2 tablespoons warm milk, if necessary
salt and pepper
like me, you can add chopped herbs if you wish, eg esp chives.

Beat the cheese and butter together then beat in the seasonings. If very stiff add some warm milk.
Split the buns in half and fill with the cheese filling, or use a piping bag. I like them split to show the cheese and herbs.

I also like to lightly dust with smoked paprika, but there is no need.
Just scrummy, they just melt in your mouth.

NOTE: the pastry is good to fill with chocolate or cream. Just leave out seasonings.