Sunday, 25 February 2018

Cheese and Onion Pie

Simple baking, simple flavours, that marry well together making a great pie to go with a salad or even mash! Folk have been using cheese and onion together for quite a while! I have tweaked the original, adding another layer of flavour. Just perfect, trust me.

You will need a 7 or 8 inch round pie tin [or a large pie plate], well buttered. I like to lay a couple of long strips of baking parchment across the tin to help you lift it out.

Pre heat your fan oven to 200C

Shortcrust pastry or ruff puff? I opt for rough puff, making it stronger.

Half fat to plain flour, well seasoned, with sea salt, white pepper and mustard powder, and bound with cold water. I always use half lard, half butter. Chill before use.

You will need about 12 oz pastry, cut in half. [8 oz plain flour]

Line the base of your tin, leaving a little hanging over. Pop into the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Approx 12-14 oz very finely chopped onion. I used a mix - some red, shallot and a large sweet white onion. After chopping, pat as much water out of the onions as you can with kitchen paper.

8 oz strong mature cheddar, grated. Davidstow is brilliant!
Plenty of freshly grated pepper
Sea Salt - just the merest sprinkling or none at all
Large pinch dry mustard powder
½ a veggie Oxo, crumbled
Butter to dot
A dash of double cream

Mix all of the above together in a medium bowl and fill the pastry case. Press down lightly. Roll out the other half pf the pastry and make a lid, plus some decorative leaves if you wish. Don’t forget to poke a little hole in the top too.

Press the edges neatly together, brush with beaten egg and bake for 45-50 mins Turn down to 190 after 15-20 min.

I wish I had smelly vision here to pass along the wonderful aromas as it baked, not to mention tasty vision. Just wonderful. Have I mentioned that I love old recipes????

Best eaten warm [or barely cold] 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Maids of Honour

I had forgotten this old recipe until someone mentioned them. A simple recipe and yes, unfortunately, not Cornish, old fashioned, especially with the cherry on the top, but I like old fashioned. But let’s be honest here - they are raspberry jam tarts with a sponge topping and some icing! The combination is absolutely delicious. But I wonder why Maids of Honour?

You will need a shallow 12 hole bun bin and shortcrust pasty to line the holes.

Pre heat your fan oven to 190C

My shortcrust is 8 oz plain flour, 5 oz cold butter, a little caster sugar, 1 egg yolk and 1-2 tablespoons cold water. Blitz the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor or rub in. Add the egg and water and mix. Chill for 10-15 mins before using. [you will only need half this quantity for the buns]

Roll out your shortcrust quite thinly, then using a cutter [3”], line the bun tin holes, pop into the fridge again while you make the sponge.

2 oz caster sugar
2 oz softened butter
2 oz SR flour
1 large egg, beaten with a small amount of milk
Raspberry Jam

In a small bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the beaten egg alternatively with the flour.
You want a nice soft mixture, so you might need a tad more milk.

Place a small teaspoonful of Raspberry Jam in the bottoms of your pastry cases then gently spoon over the sponge mix, making sure the jam is covered, but take care not to overfill.

Bake for about 19-20 mins and leave in the tin for a few minutes after removing from the oven, then leave to cool on a rack.

Meanwhile make up a little water icing and halve some glacé cherries, then when the tarts are cold, finish the toppings.

Old fashioned baking at its best.

Note: I wash, then dry the cherries first.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Proper Ginger Fairings

Another recipe from the old 6 page leaflet entitled Cornwall Federation of Women’s Institute as mentioned before. I posted a Fairing recipe many moons ago but this one is very different and totally delicious. I will type it out as written:

“ A Fairing was a gift brought from a fair by children to parents or parents to children. It could consist of fruit, biscuits or sweets. The original Ginger Fairing was two ginger biscuits and two sugared almonds packaged by a Truro lady.”

4 ozs flour [plain, of course]
2 ozs margarine [I used butter!]
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¼ teaspoonful salt
2 ozs gran sugar [I used caster]
Lemon rind or peel
1 level teaspoonful each of: baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, mixed spice.

“Mix all dry ingredients except sugar. Rub in fat, add sugar. Heat syrup till it runs and add to the mixture. Roll in balls the size of a walnut, place on a greased tin on the top shelf of a fairly hot oven. When biscuits begin to colour remove to the lower shelf where they will begin to flop and crack.”

Thats sounded easy. Didn’t they turn out wonderfully?

Notes: I preheated my fan oven to 190C then halfway through lowered it to 160C. My oven is the same temperature, more or less, whatever shelf you use! I left the door open for a moment or two after about 7-8 mins. Hopefully allowing them to “flop”.

I reckoned the baking time was approx 13-14 minutes. This quantity made 18 biscuits. More pics on my Blog.

I have presumed the lemon peel was grated, using just the zest?

Leave plenty of room on your buttered baking sheet for the biscuits to spread.

I can honestly tell you that these are the very best ginger fairings I have ever made or tasted.

Trust me!!

Saturday, 10 February 2018


Now for something special. I was given this wonderful old Cornish recipe on a yellowing 6 page typed leaflet, price 3d from the Cornish Federation of Women’s Institute, entitled Cornish Traditional Recipes. It originally came from my sister’s mother in law, Margaret Symons, who lived in Feock. I really thought I knew all of our old traditional recipes, so was thrilled to find this. Please pass it on and let as many Cornish folk, who love to bake, know about this brilliant little cake. It must not be lost.

You will need a fry pan, warmed to a medium heat, very lightly rubbed with lard. Mine was 7” wide at the base.

The old fashioned language is very charming and I think it best if I just type it out as printed. Enjoy!

6 ozs plain flour
3 ozs lard
1 ½ ozs sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ozs currants
peel, if liked [I am Cornish - I love peel!]

“Mix flour, salt and fat roughly together. Add other ingredients, mix with water to a stiff dough”. 
It is just like a heavy cake. “Roll out to approximately ½ inch thick”

“fry the mixture in the pan instead of baking the same in the oven. This should be cooked through and turned as necessary in the pan like a traditional pancake, to ensure both sides are cooked to a golden brown, or slightly burnt, as part of thorough cooking of the whole. This mixture having been rolled into a thin cake and being round to fit the pan, and also slightly scorched, has been aptly named ‘Chirky Wheeler’, in the view that ‘Chirks’ is an old Cornish word for cinders from the fire. This dish is quickly made and is satisfying to the appetite, especially of manual workers, and is more delicious than might first be imagined”

Isn’t that wonderful?

What more do I need to add? It was made and ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. We absolutely loved it. I cooked it for about 12-13 mins each side, making sure the ring was not too high as I did not want it to burn, but just perfectly golden.

To turn it over without breaking, I placed a dinner plate on the top of the pan, flipped it over, then slid it into the pan again.

A real treasure of a recipe. By printing this here, we hope it will never be lost to future generations.

Note; I rubbed the lard into the flour, as I would for rough puff pastry i.e. not too finely.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Chocolate Fruit Cake

Yet another little gem from the 1917 Modern Cookery book. As I read the method it strikes me that the raisins in those days must have been very large, as almost every recipe tells you to stone and chop/quarter them. I left mine in whol., but wish I had chopped them now. This is a fairly small cake.

I butter and line a 6” spring form cake tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

6 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 oz butter, softened
4 oz sugar [I used caster]
2 oz sultanas
2 oz raisins
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk, pref buttermilk
1 oz good cocoa - Green and Black, of course!

After stoning your raisins!!! Plus taking the stalks off your sultanas!! 

Mix the flour, cocoa and baking powder together and put them through a fine sieve. [Those were the days] Beat the fat and sugar together to a soft cream, drop in the yolk and white of one egg and beat for four minutes [! is that by hand, before mixers? - I will do it for a couple of mins]. Add the other egg and beat for another four minutes!! I did that for another one minute.

Yeah. Continue beating while you add the flour, fruit and milk. When it is an evenly mixed batter, turn into a well greased tin and bake in a moderate oven for one hour. After 30 mins I turned the oven down to 150C

Don’t you just love how they wrote in those days? But the extra beating did make the batter very creamy.

But it is a lovely cake. I did not doubt it would be, for a moment.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Fruity Honey Cake

I love different fruit cakes and I have baked dozens since I started my Blog/page over four years ago and it never ceases to amaze me how many variations on this theme there are! This cake is one of the best, a doddle to make, using oil instead of butter and of course, warmed honey! Lots of it. Plus NO sugar. My next post will be yet another fruit cake, with another different twist.

You will need a buttered and lined 8 inch spring form cake tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 140C.

8 oz plain wholemeal flour
1½ teaspoonfuls bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoonful ground cinnamon
8 oz currants
4 oz raisins or sultanas, roughly chopped
2 eggs
3 fl oz sunflower oil
6 fl oz buttermilk
7 oz runny honey, very slightly warmed

In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and the fruit, stir well. In a basin or jug, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, honey and eggs and pour this over the flour. Mix until well combined.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1½ hours, until just firm to the touch. After an hour, check it is not too brown and if so turn the oven down to 130C. Cool in the tin for at least ten mins before removing from the tin to a rack. Will happily keep for a week or more in a tin. So good.

Enjoy! The smell and taste is amazing.