Monday 30 December 2019


Another yummy recipe from A Taste of Stithians booklet. The ingredients are a little different from the usual flapjacks and they are a complete doodle to make. I do hope you all had a super Christmas. A very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you all!

You will need a well butter baking tray around 11 x 14 inches. Pre heat your fan oven to 140C

4 oz cornflakes
8 oz Quaker Oats [medium oats]
4 oz plain flour
8 oz caster sugar
12 oz butter
1 tablespoonful golden syrup
1 tablespoonful treacle

Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Dissolve the syrup, treacle and butter in a pan and mix with the dry ingredients. Tip into your prepared tray and smooth the top as best you can. Bake for 30 mins. When cold cut into squares or fingers.

I love flapjacks!! This is a proper all fashioned recipe! Delish.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Stem Ginger Bavarois

What a mouthful - what a posh word. I think I will call it a mousse. Whatever. A scrumptious dessert recipe from the A Taste of Stithians booklet. You all know that I love anything with ginger! A lovely make ahead dessert, especially around this coming festive season. With this recipe I am signing off until the New Year. Too much baking and cooking to get extras done! A very Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Laurie xx

You will need a glass mould or individual glasses. Makes 4-6 depending on appetites! .

3 egg yolks
2 oz caster sugar
2/3 rds of a pint of whole milk
2 tablespoons gelatine
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoon ginger wine [or 2 tablespoons of the syrup and make up with Tia Maria or Cointreau]
10 fl oz double cream
4 oz finely chopped stem ginger

In a basin, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Warm the milk and whisk into the eggy mixture. Place the basin over a saucepan of barely simmering water and cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Mix the juice, water and dissolve the gelatine over gentle heat. Stir this into the egg mixture, then chill until on the point of setting.

Whisk together the cream and ginger wine to soft peaks. Fold into the egg custard along with the very finely chopped stem ginger. Turn into a wetted 2½ pint mould or your individual glasses. Chill. for a few hours.

If using a mould, turn out onto a serving dish and further decorate with whipped double cream or anything else that might take your fancy, if you wish. It is so yummy, it needs little garnishing, except perhaps a lovely little dollop of Clotted Cream.  Absolutely delicious.

Note: I used syrup from the jar and Cointreau.

Cheerio for now!

Sunday 1 December 2019


Well, here is a big treat for us. My cousin Jan, from Melbourne, Australia has given me this very special Christmas party recipe. She swears by these little gems at Christmas time and has been making them during the festive period for many years. They are absolutely scrumptious!

Good news too, for anyone with gluten intolerances. They are gluten free as long as you check your chocolate used. Jan passed this to me in metric weights. I know I usually use imperial, but for once I will type it out as Jan has written. 60 grams = 2.1 oz

You will need some Petit Four cases to serve them. The quantity below makes 20 mini puddings

60 gr chopped sultanas
60 gr chopped dates
1 tablespoonful crystallised ginger
1 tablespoonful mixed peel
60 gr ground almonds
Grated zest of one orange
2 tablespoonfuls icing sugar
60 gr dark chocolate, grated
1 tablespoonful brandy
1 egg white

Mix all the ingredients together, but you must leave the egg white until last.

Make into small round balls - place in the little cases and then have a thought about how you want to decorate them. So many options:

Jan’s suggestions: 
Cut out some fondant holly leaves/red berries and stick with some glacé icing.

Melt some white chocolate and spoon over a teaspoonful [looks like custard] - I did not have any.

or, her preference:
melt 90gr dark chocolate with 45 gr unsalted butter and spoon over.

Any more ideas?

As Jan says, “they are hard to resist but rich and super yummy”. Thank you, dearest cousin, see you in April!

Just wonderful! If you have any left over [REALLY?] store in the fridge.

If you want to make ahead, mix up everything except the egg white the day before and keep in the fridge.

Note: I think I might use chilli chocolate the next time?

Thursday 21 November 2019

Mincemeat Surprise

Christmas is coming and here is a delicious, easy peasy recipe for a festive bake! Easily doubled as they are very moreish!! Another recipe from the A Taste of Stithians booklet, although I have adapted it slightly. Use your own or a good quality mincemeat - definitely not a runny one.

You will need a [round] baking sheet, well greased and pre heat your fan oven to 190C.

12 oz self raising flour
3 oz lard
pinch salt
2 heaped tablespoonfuls of caster sugar
1 small egg
1 teaspoonful mixed spice
zest of an orange
Buttermilk or whole milk to mix
Good quality mincemeat.

In a medium bowl, rub the fat into the flour, salt and sugar and mix with the beaten egg, buttermilk or whole milk until you have a soft scone like mixture. On a floured surface, roll out into a rectangle about ½ an inch thick. Mine was about 11 inches by 7 inches,  Dampen the edges with a little more milk or egg.

Spread with mincemeat  [keep the edges clear, it will spread] then roll up like a Swiss roll. Cut into about 8-10 sections and place these on your greased baking tray, nearly touching in a circle. Bake for about 16-18 mins until nicely browned and then cool. Make up a glacé icing, just runny enough to drizzle over generously. Decorate with flaked almonds and some chopped dried cranberries or cherries.

A lovely alternative to mince pies.

Saturday 16 November 2019

My favourite Chicken dish!

I saw this recipe in the super A Taste of Stithians booklet and made it immediately. It looked just delicious. Understatement! You can easily buy boned chicken thighs, to save the boring boning bit. 30 or 40 years down the line, I would suggest adding a little chopped chilli too!

Pre heat your fan oven to 180C and you will need a medium roasting dish.

4 large chicken thighs, skinned
6 oz strong grated cheddar
6 oz good pork sausage meat
some small sliced mushrooms - about 4 oz
4 slices of gammon ham, chopped
chopped parsley, some chives and and little thyme - your choice.
fresh ground pepper and sea salt
8 rashers of streaky bacon - smoked or plain but I like smoked

Lay out the skinned chicken thighs flat, on a surface [I covered the thighs with cling film and flattened them out a little with a rolling pin]. In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, sausage meat, sliced mushrooms and chopped ham. Add your choice of chopped herbs, seasoning and with your hands, mix all together. Divide this mixture equally between the four chicken portions and place in the middle. Roll up, then roll two pieces of streaky bacon around the little parcels. Secure with a cocktail stick if necessary, or tuck underneath.

Place in your roasting dish and bake for about 45 mins. There will be lovely roasting juices to spoon over. 

Absolutely delicious. Serve with any type of potato and some nice veg. 

In the above mentioned Stithians booklet this recipe is called Ken’s favourite chicken dish and was submitted by Ken Snowden of Radio Cornwall.

Monday 11 November 2019

Fruited Cardamon and Chocolate Buttermilk Loaf

A deliciously moist piece of cake - literally! So easy and the flavours are unusual and amazing. I love the smell after crushing the pods, then wonder why I do not use the flavour more often.

You will need a medium/ 1lb loaf tin, well buttered, with a wide strip of parchment through the long sides, hanging over to help you lift it out. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

4 oz softened butter
4 oz golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
7 oz SR flour
crush to a powder 5-6 cardamon pods in a pestle and mortar, removing all the bits [use a small sieve]
2-3 fl oz buttermilk
2-3oz good quality dark chocolate - chopped
3 oz sultanas

In a large mixing bowl, cream the fat and sugar, which in the eggs, one at a time, then lightly beat in the flour and spices, alternately with the buttermilk. Finally add the chopped chocolate and fruit.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour, turning down to 150C for the last ten mins if it is starting to brown too much, or cover with some parchment.

Allow to cool in the tin for a short while then turn onto a rack. A drizzle of melted chocolate when cold is great or just leave plain, as I have done, to enjoy these fabulous flavours.


Wednesday 6 November 2019

Whiskey Spice Cake

I was born and bred in Stithians, but until recently had not come across the excellent A Taste of Stithians booklet, sold some decades ago to raise funds for Cancer research. This seriously delicious cake is from the booklet and there will be many more in weeks to come, during the winter. This cake is very fruity, moist and crumbly, with a perfect mix of booze and spices. Ideal for the most delicious dessert.

You will need 2 x sponge tins, greased and the bases lined. I used 7 inch tins. Pre heat your fan oven to 150C

8 oz raisins
5 fl oz water
4 oz butter
5 oz soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
6 oz plain flour
1 teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoonful ground cloves
½ teaspoonful ground nutmeg
2 oz roughly chopped
2 tablespoonfuls whiskey

Simmer the raisins in the water for about ten minutes , then strain the fruit, keeping the water and making up to 5 fl oz with a little more cold. Add the 2 tablespoons whiskey.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Add the flour, bicarb and spices and mix well. Fold in the cooled raisins, liquid and walnuts.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for around 30-35 mins. Cool on a rack then fill with this delicious buttercream:

3 oz softened butter
8 oz icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoonful whiskey

Beat the butter, add the yolk, sugar and whiskey. Mix well until soft and creamy. 

How absolutely delicious!!!
Contains raw egg yolk.

Friday 1 November 2019


Now these flavours mixed together are quite unusual, but somehow, they just work. I love being sent delicious cake recipes from rellies in the US and Australia, although I have adapted this to our use. Fruit, chocolate, coffee, cloves and allspice! Keep them coming, if you send them, I will bake them!!

Butter and line a 8” or 7” spring form cake tin. Pre heat your fan oven to 155-160C

7 oz soft light brown sugar
4 oz butter, softened 
2 eggs
7 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
large pinch salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 level teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoonfuls Camp coffee mixed with a little cold water to make up to about 3 fl oz
2 fl oz buttermilk or whole milk
2 oz chopped pecans
4 oz sultanas
2 oz currants
4 oz at least 70% cocoa solids, good quality plain chocolate [pref 80%], chopped. I used 74%

Mix together the flour, spices salt and bp in a small bowl. Set aside. In a small jug, mix the coffee and buttermilk. In a medium bowl, cream the fat the sugar until light in colour and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. 

Stir in the flour and wet ingredients alternatively, until well combined, then finally stir in the fruit, chocolate and nuts.

Tip into your prepared tin and level off then bake for about an hour until firm to the touch. I turned down to 140C after about 50 mins. Cool in the tin for a quarter of an hour then turn out onto a wire rack. 

The cake can be left of course, but can also be brushed with brandy or rum to add a little extra kick.

Oh my! you will love this cake. The flavours combinations are very unusual and the smell in your kitchen while baking is just fabulous.

Note: the 8” will take a tad longer to bake.

Sunday 27 October 2019

Fig Pudding

A short while ago, someone handed me a tattered old baking booklet from Royal Baking Powder, dated 1896. Full of basic recipes for cakes and buns plus the odd pudding. This one caught my eye immediately and I could not wait to try it. I will be bringing you a few more over the next year or so. I will use inverted commas when quoting the little booklet.

½ lb figs chopped [I am presuming dried figs?]
½ lb Bread Crumbs
½ pint Milk
2 oz Brown Sugar
¼ lb Suet, finely chopped
2 tablespoonfuls of Flour [plain]
¼ teaspoonful Nutmeg
2 Eggs
½ teaspoonful Royal Baking Powder

In the 1890s you would trot along to your local butcher and buy a piece of suet then grate or chop it yourself. My father was a butcher and I can still see my mother doing just that. Anyway, I will use Atora [not vegetable]. The milk would definitely have been full cream and I will also use soft dark brown sugar and stale white breadcrumbs from a loaf I had made.

“Put the Chopped Figs and Bread Crumbs into a bowl, boil the Milk and pour over them. Cover for a few minutes then stir in the Sugar, Suet, Flour, Nutmeg, and Eggs [well beaten] and Baking Powder. Mix thoroughly. Butter and Sugar a Basin, or mould, pour in the mixture and steam for two hours. Serve with sweetened Melted Butter”

Butter and Sugar a basin? I had never done that, so I used plenty of softened butter to grease the large basin, then generously sprinkled more soft dark brown sugar around the sides and bottom and tossed it around until all the butter was coated, discarding any loose.

Folk in those days would have used a muslin to cover but I used a double layer of baking parchment and foil, not forgetting to put a pleat in it to allow for the rise.

It was absolutely delicious, especially served with clotted cream!! I did not expect it to be so light either.  My family had seconds, although we did not try the sweetened butter. I will definitely be making this again.

Note: The booklet used capital letters for the ingredients.  I copied it as printed.

Thursday 17 October 2019

Atty’s Rich and Delicious Orange Cake!

The title says it all. Yet another of my old friend Atty’s fabulous cakes. It keeps well and needs to rest and absorb all those flavours for a few days before cutting. A great dessert for a special occasion, served with clotted cream! Yeah! In total I used 3 medium oranges.

You will need a 7 inch cake tin, with the base lined. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

6 oz softened butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 beaten eggs
6 oz SR flour
1 tablespoonful grated orange zest
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs, one a time, Fold in the sifted flour then add the zest and enough juice to give you a soft dropping consistency.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 35-40 mins. Turn onto a rack after a few mins. While your cake is starting to cool, prepare the amazing icing.

The Icing:

8 oz icing sugar
¼ pint [5 fl oz] fresh orange juice.
1 tablespoonful orange liqueur or brandy
1 heaped teaspoonful grated orange zest

In a medium bowl, sift the icing sugar and allow to dissolve in the orange juice and brandy.
Stir in the zest.

Stand the cooling rack over a large plate and using a very fine knitting needle or similar, make fine holes all over the cake. Spoon over the icing. Carefully collect the run off on the plate and continue to spoon it over until the cake has absorbed all of the juice.

Oh wow. When absolutely cold, wrap the cake in parchment or foil and place in an airtight tin in a cool place for about 3 days before tucking in.

A very special cake.

Note: you are pouring a large amount of liquid into the warm cake after baking. Don’t worry if it sinks a little while you are doing this.

Friday 30 August 2019


Fracatelli’s Fruit Cake 

Have you watched the TV series Victoria? Her chef was Italian, Charles Fracatelli and he was supposed to be the man who invented Coronation Chicken. He produced a cook book, scaled down for ordinary households and this is, more or less, his Fruit Cake recipe. The addition of ground almonds makes it very moist, along with all those citrus flavours.  As with most rich fruit cakes, it needs to be made and kept, feeding generously for many weeks to appreciate it at its best. [we ate the above after a week or two and it was absolutely lovely]

You will need a spring form 10 inch cake tin, greased, double lined and with at least two layers of thick brown paper tied around the outside. Pre heat your fan oven to 130C.

12 oz softened butter
8 oz caster sugar
4 beaten large eggs
12 oz plain flour
½ teaspoonful of ground nutmeg and cinnamon 
¼ teaspoonful ground cloves
grated zest of 2 large oranges and 1 large lemon
1 lb currants
8 oz sultanas
6 oz glacé cherries quartered
6 oz mixed peel, finely chopped
4 oz ground almonds
8 tablespoonfuls brandy
2 tablespoonfuls orange flower water

The Creaming Method, of course.  Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, whisk in the eggs, one at a time along with a little flour. Add the zests and then the fruit, flour, ground almonds, orange flower water and brandy. If the mixture is too stiff add a little more liquid, either more brandy or orange juice.

Tip into your prepared tin and level off, making a small indent as usual. Bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven down to 120C and bake for a further 1½ hours, maybe a little longer, until a fine knitting needle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for at least an hour then turn out onto a rack.

When cold, turn it upside down and insert a fine knitting needle into the cake at least 20 times. Pour a mixture of brandy and orange flower water all over and allow to soak in. Repeat weekly until ready to use. 

Oh My!! Another lovely recipe from my old dear friend Atty. I wonder how she got it?

Note: Have you made your Xmas cake yet? I have and mine is nicely tucked away after being fed with brandy. Get cracking.