Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Bread and Butter Fruit Cake

  • Our traditional pudding, only slightly different and much easier. No fiddly layering, easier to serve too. Use any dried fruit you have left over and the [any] bread must be stale. Keep the crusts on too. You will need 3 large, very thick slices of bread from a whole farmhouse type loaf, cut into chunks. Or some stale large bread rolls. Whatever. When a friend gave me this recipe I could hardly believe the amazing result! A scrumptious, easy dessert for this wintry weather! Serve warm, but we thought it was equally yummy cold, left over next day.

    You will need a 9 inch, tight fitting, spring form cake tin, generously buttered, the tin lined with parchment, going up the sides, also buttered, then another separate buttered circle of parchment for the base.  It is easier to lift out and “unwrap” if you do.  Pre heat your fan oven to 170C.

    Bread chunks, as above

    2 pints whole milk

    5 large eggs, whisked

    1 teaspoonful vanilla extract or bean paste

    4 oz caster sugar - I used golden caster

    4 oz melted butter

    6 oz prunes and sultanas, but see note

    In a large bowl, place the bread chunks and pour over the milk, then leave to soak for 15 mins.

    Tip over the sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs, that have been mixed together in a medium jug. Mix well then add your fruit.

    Place the baking tin on a baking sheet in case any of the eggy mix seeps through, before it sets. [although it should not if you have done the prep]  Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 50-55 mins, until set and nicely browed.

    Allow to cool for a short while before transferring to a serving dish. [keep the base lining on] Sprinkle over a little more sugar if you wish. Cut into slices. Serve with clotted cream, but it is so delicious, you really do not need extra!!

    Yum Yum.

    Note: any fruit can be used. I used dried chopped apricots the other day. I have contemplated using chocolate chips…… next time I have stale left over bread.

    Another note: I have not used Wholemeal bread yet, especially as my husband, being a very traditional Cornishman, does not like it. Hey ho.


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Orange, Almond and Semolina Cake

Here is the most super delicious, moist cake. A friend gave this to me and after making it, could hardly believe how good it was. Great for a dessert, if eaten warm too, I have been told. It keeps well for a few days as well.

I have made this in a bundt [ring] tin but you can use an ordinary one if you wish, of course.

The cake is so delicious it really needs no topping except a light dusting of icing sugar. But you could easily drizzle over some water icing and decorate. Best to use unwaxed fruit if you can.

Generously butter your bundt tin and pre heat your fan oven to 140C

6 oz softened butter

7 oz golden caster sugar

the grated zest of two large oranges [3 smaller] and 1 small lemon

1 teaspoonful vanilla extract

Place the above in a large mixing bowl and whisk until creamy.

4 medium eggs

9 oz semolina 

5 oz ground almonds

1½ teaspoonfuls of baking powder

Beat in the eggs, one by one then stir in the semolina, almonds and bp.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for around an hour. Cool in the tin for a short while then place on a cooing rack.

OH MY!!! Yum yum.

Note: The mixture is fairly stiff so spoon it into your tin carefully, taking care not to not disturb the butter on the sides of the bundt tin. Roughly level off. It will mostly level itself off as it heats up.

As you can see, I drizzled over some icing, the icing sugar mixed with some fresh orange juice, then grated over zest.

I have another very usual orange cake for you in a few weeks!! Made with fizzy orange drink!


Thursday, 11 February 2021

Bacon and Potato Bake

You all know how I love old recipes! Do you remember when there were booklets in butcher shops and often freebies, if you sent off for them, tips for cooking bacon and suchlike? Did you have a copy of “The Best of British Bacon? Well, I do, from the 1970s and my copy is well thumbed and all the pages are brown. But it is full of little gems. And here is one of them. I have adapted it slightly, but please read the note at the bottom. 

You will need a small pie tin. Preferably metal, as pictured. It will brown the bake nicely.

Pre heat your fan oven to 180C. This is for two generous portions.

8 oz streaky bacon [plus extra rashers for topping]

8 oz potatoes

a small onion or large banana shallot, finely chopped

2 large eggs

3 fl oz pref whole milk

1 oz plain flour

Fresh ground black pepper and sea salt flakes

¼ oz lard

These days we do not have to de rind the bacon, as the recipe suggests!!

Chop the bacon into small pieces. Peel the potatoes and grate them onto a piece of kitchen paper to absorb the liquid. and squeeze out most of the liquid. [I used Maris Piper] In a medium bowl, mix the bacon, onion and potato.

Mix the flour with a little milk until smooth, then add the rest of the milk, the eggs and seasonings. I also added some chopped parsley - but then I am Cornish through and through, and everything benefits from some chopped parsley!  Combine the eggy and bacon mixtures.

Place pie dish in a hot oven with the lard until it is melted and hot. Tip in your mixture and roughly level off and bake for about 45 mins.

Meanwhile grill or fry the other bacon rashers and place on top. Serve with a side of baked beans! My husbands fave. 

How delicious does that look? Yum, great for an easy lunch or simple supper.

Note: easily doubled, but add some cooking time.

Note: I decided to quickly fry the bacon bits in a very hot pan to brown them. Then I quickly took them out and followed with the onion to lightly brown that. Does not really affect the taste but I like the colour of the browed bacon. I also placed a couple of pieces of back bacon on the top instead of streaky slices. But whatever! 


Friday, 5 February 2021


A Winter Crumble

Here is an unusual Crumble, from the pages of an old recipe booklet, dated around the 1960s, when many fresh fruits were unavailable of course and few had freezers. The minute I read the recipe I knew I just had to make it, although I have adapted it very slightly. What a find! My family loved it and I served it with cream - and, dare I say it, custard too. My husband has such a sweet tooth. But note that the crumble mix is not as we would make it these days and is not as fine, but super delicious. We all loved it!

The quantities below make a crumble for 5-6. Pre heat your fan oven to 180C. Generously butter a medium sized shallow ish oven proof serving dish.

12-14 oz any dried fruit - e.g. raisins, apricots, prunes, cranberries

3 tablespoonfuls rum

grated zest of a large or two smaller oranges

the juice of the orange

sugar to taste - I used 2 tablespoonfuls of golden caster


6 oz softened butter

3 oz demerara sugar

6 oz self raising flour

6 oz rolled oats

chopped nuts for extra topping - I used walnuts [I also added a few in my crumble mix]

In a small saucepan stew the fruits gently in the rum and the orange juices, along with the orange zest. You will need a small amount of water too [or a little more rum?] Add the sugar of choice and simmer very gently for about 15 mins. [Not in the original recipe but I added a teaspoonful of mixed spice and a pinch of ground cloves]. Set aside to cool a little then place in your dish.

In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar then work in the flour and oats to form the crumble.  After making sure it is well combined, sprinkle over the fruit and level off with a little pressing. You will need to sprinkle a little at a time, breaking up any little buttery lumps.

Bake for about 35-40 mins but halfway though sprinkle over your choice of nuts.

Yum yum. Absolutely wonderful!!  A lovely easy winter dessert. You can prep the fruit in the morning or day before, ditto the crumble mix and leave in the fridge until baking.

Note: I did not cut the larger fruits up too much, only into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. I also added an ounce of crystallised ginger, chopped. For no other reason than I love it!

I also lightly toasted the oats beforehand, placing them on a baking sheet in a medium oven, turning once or twice for about 25-30 mins. Brings out the nutty flavour! But not absolutely necessary.