Cornish Pasties – The Recipe

For the pastry
400g plain flour
200g lard or vegetable fat, chilled and cubed
Milk or beaten egg, to glaze

For the filling
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
150g swede, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
450g chuck steak, cut into 1cm cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
Freshly ground white pepper

Place flour and salt in a bowl, rub in the fat, until the mixture is so fine that it falls through the fingers. Tip mixture onto a lightly floured table top. With your index finger make a well in the centre of the mixture. Add water a little at a time until it forms a pliable but stiff dough. knead gently to bring together then wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll each one out on a lightly floured work surface using short sharp strokes, always rolling in one direction. Give the pastry a quarter-turn, then roll it again to form a round of about 20cm in diameter and about ¼ inch thick. Cut into a circle using a plate as a guide.

Cut all the solid ingredients up into small pieces. The onion should be finely cut. They are not only easier to eat this way, but cook quicker too. Remember to get rid of any gristle or fat etc from the meat.

Mix the now chopped up potatoes, meat, water, onion and salt and pepper thoroughly (otherwise you may find that all the pepper seems to be concentrated into one spot!)

With the pastry laid out, use the ingredients to fill half of it in a bit of a pile – as it cooks it will flatten a bit, make sure though, that you leave about an inch clear pastry from the edge.

Dampen the exposed edge with water.

Carefully lift the empty half of the pastry over the top of the mixture. In effect, you are folding it in half.

Crimp the edges of a Cornish pasty.
  • Press the edges of the pastry together to seal them as before.
  • Now carefully turn the pasty so that the sealed edge is now along the top.
  • Start at the left edge of the pasty, take hold between the left finger and thumb and turn it so it points along the line of the sealed edge.
  • Now move your left finger and thumb over the bit you just turned. Place your right finger and thumb on the edge immediately adjacent to it and do what I would describe as a lift-turnover toward you.
  • Repeat until you reach the end of the pasty. At this point turn the end inwards like you did previously.
With that all done, make a knife slit in the top to allow air to escape whilst cooking – this helps to keep the pasty crisp and stops it being too soggy.

Brush the whole thing with beaten egg/milk if you want a glaze, but you don't have to.

Place the pasty on a baking tray and cook in a hot oven (about 450F) until the pastry is pale brown at which point reduce the temperature to around 350-370F for about 40 minutes. It is important to get it right as crunchy and chewy ingredients just doesn't make for a good pasty!

Enjoy it and make sure you fly the flag for a genuine Cornish pasty!

Of course you could freeze the uncooked pasties on a tray and place in an airtight container in the freezer until required. Thaw completely and cook as above

Chocolate Christmas Cake

The challenge was from Sweet and Simple bakes this month, for a chocolate Christmas cake.

So shopping on Friday night at Asda, for most of the ingredients I didn't have such as icing, marzipan etc... as I had stacks of mincemeat to use and most of it was very alcoholic having spent the last 9 months soaking up the best part of a bottle of brandy.

The recipe was simple in itself, see at the end of this post, and the hardest part was weighing out the ingredients. No complicated beating of eggs/sugar etc... though I did beat the butter and sugar together then added the eggs before I put in the dry ingredients. I did change the chocolate drops for grated chocolate, but that is because I forgot them on the shopping list.

My oven was a little low at 160oC, so after an hour and 15 mins I turned it up to 180oC and 45 mins later it was done perfectly. Taking it out of the oven, it smelt wonderfully chocolately and fruity.

Left to cool overnight, and Sunday afternoon was spent decorating it.. more improvisation as I hadn't been able to get hold of some glitter or chocolate shapes, so these are aero bubbles, chocolate stars, and icing shapes coloured with cocoa.

Preparation time: 20 minutes + cooling
Cooking time: 1¾ -2 hours

150g (5oz) soft butter
150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar or soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
185g (6½oz) self-raising flour
40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
400g jar of luxury mincemeat
80g (3oz) each of sultanas and raisins
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
100g packet of white chocolate chips

For decoration (decorate as you wish!)

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/electric 160ºC/fan oven 140ºC. Line a 20cm (8inch) cake tin (see below for instructions).

Lining the cake tin: One of the keys to success when baking a fruit cake is the preparation of the tin before you start mixing the ingredients. Because of the length of cooking time, you need to use two sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment inside the tin.

Lightly butter the inside of the tin.Cut out a strip of paper about 2.5cm (1inch) longer than the outside of the tin and 5 cm (2inches) wider. (Measure using a piece of string).Fold in about 2 cm (¾ inch) along the long edge of the strip. Then make diagonal cuts along the folded edge at 2.5 cm (1inch) intervals.Fit the long strip of paper inside the tin with the folded edge sitting flat on the base. If you have a square tin fit the paper tightly into the corners. Place the tin on two sheets of greaseproof paper of baking parchment and draw around the base of the tin. Cut two pieces of paper to fit snugly into the base of the tin. Before baking, tie some thick brown paper or newspaper, which comes above the tin by about 10cm (4inches), around the edge of the tin.

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat together for a minute or two until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1¾-2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. You will probably need to cover the cake with foil towards the end of cooking to prevent the top from browning too much. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Because we hadn't had anything like this before, SOH and I cut the cake and had a slice for our tea .. SOH rated the cake 8.5 which was very good. It was moist and fruity with chocolatey overtones and perfect for christmas so I will be making another one to give to the family.


I have been making this as long as I can remember... what to do with the remains of the christmas turkey... other than cold meat and sandwiches... Stoup of course.

Stoup is my name for a soup that is too thick to be called a soup and too thin to be a stew.. hence the name.

Serves 2 a hearty meal or 4 a lighter lunch.

Two leeks, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped into small cubes
3 carrots, chopped into small cubes
1.5 pints of stock
10 oz chopped cold meat, I prefer poultry but you could use almost anything in this recipe.

Gently fry the leeks in fat (I used the fat from the roast chicken of the day before but feel free to use any oil) until softened. Add the carrots and potatoes and stir around until covered in the juices of the pan.

Turn the heat down a bit, and add the stock to the pan. Simmer on a gentle heat until the potatoes are cooked and starting to go soft as this will thicken the stoup. At this point taste and correct the seasoning and then stir in the chicken.

The chicken only needs to warm through in the liquid, so will thicken it even more. Give it 5-7 mins longer on the pan and serve up in warm bowls with warm crusty bread or garlic bread as an accompaniment.

Tastes good particularly with turkey, chicken, guineafowl, duck, goose etc. Or a mixture of meats.

Christmas Pudding - the whole story

Not me, but Zeltus has generated the family history of the Christmas pudding from our Maternal side of the family and it can be found here

I like his christmas pudding, I make the mincemeat - though mine was made way back in January and has been soaking up the brandy ever since...

Will be putting up the recipe for the pastry to go with the mincemeat recipe above..

Somerset Cider Cake


175g sultanas
150ml dry cider
280g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
225g unrefined caster sugar
180g unsalted Butter
2 Eggs
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Method 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3. Grease a round silicon cake tin and line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper.

2. Soak the sultanas in the cider for about 20 minutes.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl.

4. Cream the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating as you go.

5. Fold in the dry ingredients, the lemon zest and the sliced apples.

6. Stir in the soaked sultanas, along with any remaining cider.

7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

8. Cool in the tin, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Lavender/Strawberry Vodka (or Gin)

400g/14 oz strawberries Hulled and thickly sliced
175g/6 oz caster sugar
8 Large Lavender flowers
750ml/1 1/4 pint/3 cups of Gin or Vodka.

Put the strawberries, sugar and lavender into a large wide necked jar. Pour on the Gin or Vodka and seal.

Leave the jar in a cool place for 7 days giving it a gentle shake each day.

Strain the Gin or Vodka off the fruit and lavender, then pour it back into the original bottle or into two smaller more decorative bottles. Seal well. Store in a cool place for up to four months

From the book Herbcrafts by Tessa Evelegh ISBN 1 85967 3430

Cottage Cider - Strong stuff!!

Still working on making use of the windfall harvest of apples.

12lbs or so of mixed apples
1 gallon warm water
1lb raisins
1 1/2 - 2lbs sugar

Wash and chop apples, place in bin, add water, raisins, sugar and activated yeast. Stir well and cover. Leave in a warm place for 2 weeks, stir and push down the pulp daily.

Strain the liquid into a demi john, leave to ferment out; transfer to a cooler place for a month or so, then siphon into strong bottles. Can be drunk soon after, but improves with age.

This is from Home Made Country Wines - tried and tested recipes collected by The Farmers Weekly.

Vanilla Apple Cake (c)

(c) Sweet and Simple Bakes

250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g/9oz golden caster sugar (or normal caster sugar)
4 eggs, beaten
250g/9oz self-raising flour
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds removed and reserved (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
3 small Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges (or any other type of cooking apple, if not apple of your choice)
2 tbsp Demerera sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Step 1: Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter a 20cm/8inch springform tin, then line the base with baking paper.
Step 2: Beat the caster sugar and butter together until the mixture turns pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour and vanilla seeds, then beat together quickly to make a smooth batter.
Step 3: Tip into the prepared tin, then lay the apple wedges on top, poking them halfway into the mix. Don’t worry if the apples appear crowded – they’ll shrink as they cook. Sprinkle with the Demerera and cinnamon, then bake for 1 hour 5 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the sponge is risen and golden.
Step 4: Leave to cool for a few mins, then release the tin and cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

Notes : I used a silicone cake dish, so left the cake to cool in that on top of a cake rack and it seemed to work well.

I served it warm with Clotted cream, but can be eaten warm with custard or cold with good quality vanilla ice-cream.


1 lb (450 g) Braeburn apples (or similar), cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
4 oz (225 g) shredded vegetable Suet
1lb (450g) luxury mixed dried fruit or use whatever dried fruit mix you prefer
6 oz (350 g) soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 2 oranges
grated zest and juice 2 lemons
2 oz (50 g) chopped Pecan Nuts
2 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl, mixing them together.

Then cover the bowl with foil, and leave the overnight to absorb the spices.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 70°C . Place the boil in the oven for about 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven and place on the side; the mincemeat will look as though it is swimming in fat, this is quite normal.

As it cools, stir it from time to time to break up the coagulating fat which should encase all the other ingredients.

When the mincemeat is quite cold, add the brandy and stir well. I keep it in a kilner jar in my kitchen cupboard and throughout the year add brandy to ensure by the time it is Christmas that is well and truly drenched with alcohol.

I make small pies with sweet pastry and literally it is only 2 bites a pie so in the cooking the alcohol with burn off leaving just the taste of the brandy behind but this is my adapation you could simply pack the mixture into sterelized jars covered with waxed discs and sealed.

Hoppin' John

A recipe from Adventures in the 32-akre Wood, many thanks Janet which she copied from the can of Bush's Blackeye Peas.

Hoppin' John Over Rice (6-7 servings)
1 cup chopped onion
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup cooked ham
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 15 oz. cans blackeyed peas
1/2 to 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3 cups cooked white rice
Optional: salsa, sour cream
1 cup = 8 0z (I think according to here, it is)

In a large skillet (or frying pan) cook onion, peppers and ham in oil for 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain blackeye peas, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Add peas, reserved liquid, and hot pepper sauce to ham mixture and stir. Spoon over rice. Top with salsa and/or sour cream, if desired, or serve it over cornbread.

For a vegetarian version substitute for the ham for sage, garlic, paprika, and black pepper. Guessing the measurements at a teaspoon of sage and maybe 1/2 tsp for the garlic and paprika, and black pepper as you see fit.

Use plain yogurt instead of sour cream

Fat Rascals

Thanks to Waitrose for the basic recipe


1 medium freerange egg, lightly beaten
150g plain flour, sieved
150g self-raising flour, sieved
1 tsp baking powder
130g cold butter, cubed
90g organic caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
150g mixed dried fruit I used organic sultanas and apricots for a change.
50ml milk

To finish:
1 medium egg yolk
1 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
Glacé cherries and blanched almonds, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.

Sieve both flours and the baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, citrus zests, spices and dried fruit and mix well. Add the beaten egg and enough milk (about 50ml) to bring the mixture together into a soft dough. Form the mixture into 6 saucer-sized rounds, about 2cm deep.

Mix the egg yolk, water and salt together to make a glaze and brush this over the fat rascals. Decorate with the cherries and almonds. Transfer to a non-stick baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Fat rascals are best served warm (but you can freeze them and reheat when required)

Strawberry Shortcakes - with variations

900g strawberries (reserve a couple for decoration)
6 tbsp sugar (reduce if you don't like it too sweet)

300g plain flour, plus extra for flouring
5 tbsp sugar (3 for the mix and 2 for the baking)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
110g cold butter
1 large egg - lightly beaten
130ml milk
Icing sugar (optional)

Place 1/3 of the strawberries (or other fruit) in a large bowl and crush, you can use a potato crusher or just the back of a serving spoon. Slice the remaining strawberries and stir into the crushed ones and add the sugar. Cover and leave on one side; doesn't need to be in the fridge.

Blend the butter into the flour, using the rubbing in method. When the texture is that of fine breadcrumbs add the remaining ingredients (3 tbsp sugar, salt and baking powder).

Combine the beaten egg with the milk, and add to the flour mixture. Mix with a knife (my gran told or rather showed me how to do this) but you could use a fork or some other fancy gadget like a food mixer.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly until it comes together.

Using your fingertips, pat the dough into a rectangular shape about 2cm high. Flour a circular 7cm bisuit cutter and cut out your rounds of dough. Place the rounds on an oiled baking sheet and dust the tops with the remaining sugar,

Place into a pre-heated oven (220oC), in the lower/middle section and back for 12-15 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cool, split the shortcakes in half and place the bottom half on a plate, top with a spoonful of the strawberries, and top with a some whipped or clotted cream. Place the top half of the shortcake on top and dredge with some icing sugar or a whole strawberry. Serve immediately.

  • Raspberries - I love the sharpness of the fruit and it's natural affinity with the shortcake
  • Rhubarb - gently stew until just cooked and allow to cool
  • Blueberries - I like them cooked but you could use them raw
  • Bananas & Dulce con Leche - not my taste but a variation on banoffee pie
  • Nectatines/Peaches - gently poach in some white wine/vanilla pods and allow to cool then slice thinly

Curry - The Cornish Way

SOH provided me with his recipe for curry - thanks hon!!!

1 dessert spoon Hot Curry Powder
1 dessert spoon Mild Curry Powder
350g Chicken breasts - more if you like
Garlic to taste - 2-3 cloves is ample
2 Medium Onions - Chopped
3 Medium Carrots - Sliced
Sultanas (if you insist - I don't like them in the recipe but it is a personal touch)
100g Frozen Petis Pois
2 dessert spoons - Branston Chutney
2 Chicken or vegetable stock cubes made up in 3/4 pint of water
Large Apple (I use a braeburn, but Granny Smith would do)
Cornflour to thicken.

Cook (boil) the carrots in water until just soft, and keep to one side -just use enough water to cover the carrots.
Fry the onion until soft and when done put in a bowl to one side.
Do the same for the Garlic and chicken - keeping separate during this process.
Fry the curry powder in the same pan as used above, this helps to bring out the spices.
Add the stock and carrots (including the water), onion, garlic and chicken (sultana's if used) to the pan and bring to the boil then add the peas.
Bring back to the boil and for 5 mins afterwards before turning it down to simmer for 20 mins.
Add the cornflour to thicken.

Serve with any or all of the following : Long grain rice, Naan Bread, poppadums, mango chutney and onion bhaji's.

It will serve 4 people comfortably, but you could easily freeze half the curry though it does tend to get more spicy when it is left to mature in the freezer.

Lavender and Lemon Biscuits

1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers;
8oz butter (room temperature)
5 1/4 oz sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon grated, fresh lemon rind (ensure lemon has been well washed)
16oz plain flour (all purpose/plain)
pinch teaspoon salt


1. Grind the lavender flowers. A mortar and pestle is easiest
2. Cream together ground lavender, butter, sugar, both extracts and the freshly grated lemon rind.
3. Add flour and salt.
4. Mix the ingredients together. Combine until dough is soft. Add a little extra flour if the dough remains sticky.
5. Refrigerate the dough until firm. This may take 1 - 2 hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 325ºF before removing dough from the fridge.
7. Lightly flour a clean surface in readiness for rolling the dough.
8. Roll dough out. A quarter of an inch is an ideal height.
9. Cut cookies as wished. You can use a cookie cutter or just make balls.
10. Arrange on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
11. Bake 12 - 15 minutes. Cookies should only be lightly browned at the edges to retain delicate flavors.
12. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Old English Ginger Beer

2 1/4 lb sugar;
1-1.5 oz cream of tartar,
1-1.5 oz gingerroot,
2 lemons;
2 tbls fresh brewer's yeast,
3 gallons water boiling

Bruise the ginger, and put into a large earthenware pan, with the sugar and cream of tartar; peel the lemons, squeeze out the juice, strain it, and add, with the peel, to the other ingredients; then pour over the water boiling hot.

When it has stood until it is only just warm, add the yeast, stir the contents of the pan, cover with a cloth, and let it remain near the fire for 12 hours. Then skim off the yeast and pour the liquid off into another vessel, taking care not to shake it, so as to leave the sediment; bottle it immediately, cork it tightly; in 3 or 4 days it will be fit for use.

Lavender Icing

3 tablespoons cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender heads
icing sugar
Purple gel paste food color or leave it plain

Lavender Frosting Instructions

Bring milk and lavender just to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat an allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and discard lavender. Beat in icing sugar to consistency desired. Add food coloring until desired color is reached. Spread immediately over cupcakes or the lavender madeira cake.

Lavender Madeira Cake

150 g (5 oz) butter
150 g (5 oz) caster sugar (or use 2 oz lavender sugar and 3oz plain caster sugar)
a head of dried lavender flowers
3 medium eggs, lightly whisked
225 g (8 oz) Self Raising Flour
few drops vanilla essence

1 Heat oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4. Grease an 18 cm (7 inch) cake tin.
2 Cream fat and sugar, beat in lightly whisked eggs with a little flour.
3 Add essence, then fold in the remaining flour together with the lavender flowers
4 Bake for about 1¼ hours.

Serve with lavender icing

Nb - the basic recipe is from the be-ro recipe book which I have used for over 30 years.. gosh showing my age now :-)

Lavender Shortbread

100g unsalted butter, softened
50g lavender sugar
100g plain flour
50g corn flour
A pinch of dried or fresh lavender flowers
A little plain caster sugar to sprinkle on before baking

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until soft and creamy. Work in the flours and lavender flowers.

Press the mixture into a round 20cm/8 inch loose-based cake tin (or cut into rounds) and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 160C/gas 3 for 30-35 minutes (less for rounds) until light golden. Mark the cake into 12 wedges and then leave to cool in the tin.

Remove from the tin carefully when cold and serve as for normal shortbread.

Adaptations to Elaine's recipe for Tinker's Casserole

Now this recipe for Tinker's Casserole comes from a great Cook, Elaine and I am sure that if you tried the original you wouldn't necessarily want to change it but as ever I tinker with things (sorry please excuse the pun)

Thanks to Elaine for publishing the original recipe for me to find and enjoy.

Tinker's Casserole

1lb chuck steak cut into 1” cubes
1 oz seasoned flour
4 oz bacon trimmings, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 pint light ale
2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
4 oz sliced mushrooms

Toss steak in seasoned flour
Fry bacon in large pan without fat until golden
Add steak and fry quickly until golden
Add remaining ingredients except mushrooms and bring to boiling point

Turn into a 2 1/2 pint casserole and cook at 325F or 170C for 1 1/2 hours. Add mushrooms and cook for another 30 minutes

My adapatations are not huge, I used shin beef instead of braising steak but that is what I normally use for a beef casserole, and along with the beef I added some kidney for richness but that was my personal choice.

Cook as per Elaine's instructions, and if you want to turn it into a pie then let it cool before adding a shortcrust pastry top to it and bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for 30-35 mins or when the crust is golden brown.

Served with new potatoes and green beans/peas it makes a cool evening seem a little friendlier.

Savoury Crumble - the story so far

Recipe 1
6 oz (175g) wholewheat flour
2 oz (50g) grated Parmesan
1 oz (25g) wheatgerm
1/2 teasp mixed herbs
4 oz (110g) butter

Recipe 2
50g porridge or jumbo oats
50g 100 per cent wholemeal flour
25g hazelnuts, chopped
40g butter

Recipe 3
55g butter
115g flour
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
55g strong cheese grated
25g porridge oats

Recipe 4
60g butter, softened
120g wholemeal flour
1 tsp grain mustard
2 tsp Provencal herbs
75g strong cheddar cheese, grated
40g whole porridge oats

Recipe 5
75gms wholemeal flour
75gms plain flour
75gms butter
100 gms (4oz) mature cheddar, grated
2-3 tablespoons chopped chives

Recipe 6
55g butter
100g plain flour
1 tsp mustard powder
55g parmesan, grated
25g oats

For all recipes rub the butter/fat into the flour and then add the remaining ingredients.

My favourite so far is recipe 5 I love the mix of cheese and chives... and it goes well with vegetables, my second favourite is recipe 3.

Austrian Streusel Cake

I adapted this recipe from Mary Ford's Biscuit Recipes book


3 oz Butter
6 oz Caster Sugar
1 lge Egg
3.5 fl 0z Milk
6 oz Self-raising flour

3 0z light brown soft sugar
1 oz Self Raising Flour
1tsp Cinnamon
1 oz Butter
2 oz Chopped Nuts (I like Pecans but she say's Walnuts)

For the cake bit : beat together the Butter, Sugar, egg, milk and flour in one bowl

For the filling : mix ingredients in a bowl to form a crumbly mix

To bake : put half the cake mix in a cake tray 8 in square, sprinkle half the filling on top, then put the rest of the cake mix on top and finish with the remaining filling.

Note : I have made this a couple of times and struggle with these instructions so you can do what I do and that is to put all the filling mix in between the two cake layers and bake as is and then make a very thin drizzle icing to put over the cake when cold.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 170oC - gas mark 3 for 35-40 mins

Leave in tin until cold and cut into squares when cold

Rocky Road Fridge Cake

Use a mixture of whatever dried fruits, nuts and other suitable edibles (marshmallows, maltesers) for this mix.

Serves 12 large pieces or 20 smaller ones.

400g of Plain Chocolate
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon clear honey
110g mixed nuts - chopped roughly into small pieces
250g mixed dried fruits/berries - raisins, apricots, cherries, blueberries, cranberries etc.
75g digestive biscuits

Line a small roasting/baking dish about 7in square with baking parchment (greaseproof paper).

Toast the nuts under the grill or in a dry frying pan (note this takes less time than you think and burns quite easily)

Chop the dried fruits/berries into small similarly sized pieces

Break chocolate into chunks and melt in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.

Remove from the heat and stir until smooth.

Add the butter and honey and stir until melted and combined completely. Add the nuts and fruit mixture to the bowl and stir in well; spoon into the baking dish and spread out, cover lightly with clingfilm and leave in the refrigerator to set.

Chocolate Brownies

(The Best ever) Chocolate Brownies*
* Health advisory notice, this produce is high in enjoyment and pleasure content... please take care when drinking

5 Large Organic Eggs
1 teaspoon real vanilla essence
625g Caster Sugar
405g Unsalted Butter
Carton/Tin Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa 150g
200g Pecans—Chopped medium/small
315g Self Raising Flour
For nut allergy avoidance change Pecans for Marshmallows, small ones or chopped large ones (Warning—this is seriously gooey)
When you pour the mixture into the tin, shake a bag of Maltesers over the top of the mix and bake as normal

Baking Instructions
Preheat oven to 150oC/gas 2.
Beat the eggs and Sugar together and add the vanilla essence to the mixture and periodically keep beating it until smooth and creamy.
Measure the flour, and add the tin of cocoa, sift into a separate bowl and add the chopped nuts at this stage; put to one side.
Gently melt the butter in a pan until it is liquid, but not too hot.
Add the dry mixture to the eggs/sugar mix, and then pour on the melted butter, keep stirring until the mix is fully liquid with no flour visible. The texture will thicken slightly, but remains ‘sloppy’ (like liquid fudge).
Pour into a baking tray, 16inches long and 12 inches wide and bake in the over for 45 mins.

Leave in the tin until cold, preferably overnight and then cut into pieces 2 by 2 inches or in a size appropriate to your requirements.

I make these a couple of times a year, for the superbowl, my birthday and on request for friends... they are nice served cold or warm with good quality vanilla ice-cream but however you eat them.. enjoy

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Tortilla Bake

Ever know what to do with those left overs? I developed this after I had a lot of left over roasted Mediterranean vegetables after a barbeque a year or so back..

Cold roasted vegetables, tortilla wraps, cheese to sprinkle over the top, jar of pasta sauce (or Knorr Spanish Chicken sauce works well).

Warm wraps in the microwave, and fill with the vegetable mixtures (either keep as a roll, or fold them into parcels).. place in an ovenproof dish. Top with the sauce and then grated cheese over the top (I use a nice strong mature cheddar, but parmesan works just as well). Place in a hot oven (200oC) and bake for 20-25 mins or until the cheese and sauce is bubbling.

Serve with a salad for a light evening meal/lunch

If you want to make up the
roasted Mediterranean vegetables then take the following :

1 medium aubergine, 2 medium courgettes, 1 lb (450 g) cherry tomatoes, skinned, 1 small yellow pepper, de-seeded, 1 medium white onion and 1 medium red onion. Cut all the above into 1 inch chunks. Drizzle with olive oil, chopped garlic and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried herbs (Oregano, Basil and Marjoram) and place on an oven tray and bake for 30 mins at 180oC or until the vegetables are tender to the touch. The roasted garlic will go sweet on you and not too strong.. keep some back for the wraps above.

Perfect to accompany a bbq or roast lamb with new potatoes...

Grilled Salmon with Honey

Sounds really simple... well it is..

I use Salmon steaks, or large slices of fillet.. but it is best done with the skin on..

About 10 mins before you plan to cook it, put the salmon pieces in a plastic bowl and cover with a mixture of +honey and either soya sauce (light) or balsamic vinegar (use less of this). Coat the salmon in the mixture and leave to absorb the flavours.

When ready to grill, take the salmon pieces out of the now liquid mix (reserve the liquid for basting during the grilling process) and place on a grill tray. Grill on a medium to high setting adding the liquid to baste the fish as necessary. Turn only when the salmon is browned on each side (the honey helps the caramelizing process so this doesn't take long).

+(I use a version of honey in a bottle as I can drizzle it on, but by all means use a jar if that is what you have in the cupboard. Nb some honeys have a strong perfume such as heather honey... I use a plain one, however your tastes may differ.

Variations, Salmon can take many flavours and you can add some chilli to the mix, either chilli flakes or chopped chilli (the heat of which I leave to your discretion).

Serve with :

Mixed vegetable rice
New potatoes and vegetables

Lavender/Vanilla Sugar

This is a quick win solution, and relatively cheap. No need to buy the expensive stuff from the supermarket.

Have a clean, dry, kilner jar of a suitable size.

Use two/three vanilla pods – score down them to release the essence and put in the jar – now fill with castor sugar and leave. When you take out some castor sugar, just add more. About once every 2-3 months, empty it all out into a bowl, and mix up then put back in the jar to ensure that the sugar at the bottom gets used.

Lavender sugar is the same, except you want to use less rather than more as it is very perfumed. Just use 1 small to medium head of lavender or infuse for only a short time then remove the lavender as the longer you leave it in the stronger it gets. Or you do what I do which is to use ¼ of lavender sugar to ¾ of normal sugar in my recipes thus ensuring you don’t overdo the lavender taste.

Either can be used in cake or biscuit making, or if you use it to infuse icing sugar, to dust over completed cakes/biscuits.

If I can find some nice smelling roses, I might try this with rose petals…. Hmmmm

Healing Hand Cream

100g chopped Calendula officinalis flowerheads
150g emulsifying ointment
70ml glycerin
80ml water

Mix your chopped flowerheads, emulsifying ointment, glycerin and water. Stir well then simmer gently in a bain marie for 2 to 3 three hours. Add a few drops of lavender oil to preserve. Strain the mixture into sterilized glass jars. Label and date, and store in fridge for up to a year.

Applied externally this cream is said to help with many minor skin problems including nappy rash, cuts and grazes, chilblains and even insect bites.

Nb 100gm = approx 70 flower heads

This recipe came from the BBC Healing Garden Programme, no longer available on the Internet.

Fluffy Wholemeal Pancakes

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Chilling Time: 30 mins
Makes 12 pieces

The batter can be prepared the previous night and stored in the fridge.

  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 ml milk
  • oil

Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg, vanilla extract and melted butter. Gradually stir in the milk and mix well to form a smooth batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for an hour or overnight in the fridge. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and gently shake the pan so that the oil coats the base. Drain excess oil. Pour batter in desired shapes or plain rounds. Cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes on each side till cooked and golden.

Serving suggestions
Serve with sliced bananas and strawberries, drizzled with maple syrup



100g or 4oz margarine
1 x 15 mls golden syrup
100g sugar
50 g oats
50g sr flour
75 g or crushed cornflakes

I put in linseed seeds & raisins to the mix, just add a little additional golden syrup & marg to compensate.

Melt Marg, syrup add Sugar then add to rest of ingredients, put in a greased baking tray then bake in oven mk 5 (190oC) for 20 mins. Cut into squares while still warm, but leave in tray to cool.

Cheesy Flapjacks

Preheat oven to 350 F, 180 C, gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 7 in (18cm) square cake tin. Melt 85 g butter/marg in a large pan. Remove from heat and stir in 115 g grated cheddar cheese, 1 large egg, eaten, 150 ml natural yoghurt, black pepper and 225 g porridge oats until well blended. Spoon into prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for 30 mins until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool in tin. Cut into 9 squares.

I doubled the ingredients above for the cheesy flaps and used my roasting tin again. Also I cooked on a higher shelf (but not top) and for a bit longer as they were taking ages to brown. Also freezes well, actually tastes better from frozen than fresh.

Thanks to MG who provided me with this recipe.

Breakfast Bars

175 g butter or good quality marg
100 g soft light brown sugar
4 tablespoons clear honey or golden syrup or maple syrup
12 oz porridge oats
8 oz mixed dried fruit
4 oz mixed chopped nuts
3 tablespoons seeds (optional)
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Gas mark 5, grease and line baking tin (I used roasting tin)
In saucepan melt butter, sugar and honey gently. Simmer for 30 seconds.
Take away from heat and add all other ingredients, mixed well.
Pour into tin, press down. Bake on middle shelf for 30 - 35 mins or until golden brown. Cool in tin, then cut into squares. Freezes well.

Thanks to MG who provided me with this recipe

Coming Soon

This list will act as a reminder to me as to which ones are available (clickable) and which ones are yet to be done.
  1. Austrian Streusel Cake
  2. Somerset Cider Cake
  3. Shortbread
  4. Chocolate Cake
  5. Grilled Salmon with Honey - available
  6. Stoup
  7. Baked New Potatoes with Rosemary
  8. Toad in the Hole
  9. Roast Lamb with Garlic
  10. Savoury Mince
  11. Curry - Traditional
  12. Curry - The Cornish Way
  13. Cheese Scones
  14. Fairy Cakes
  15. New England Cranberry Nut Loaf
  16. Spiced Biscuits
  17. Savoury Crumble Mix
  18. Fruit Crumble
  19. Rhubarb - 5 different ways to serve
  20. Apple Pie
  21. Jam Roly-Poly
  22. Bean Soup - easy peasy
  23. Tomato Sauce
  24. Vanilla Apple Cake
  25. Tiffin
  26. Rocky Road Cake
  27. Liver and Onions
  28. Mediterranean Vegetable Tortilla Bake
  29. Adaptations to Elaine's Tinker's Casserole
  30. Baked Stuffed Mushrooms
  31. Breakfast Bars
  32. Cheesy Flapjacks
  33. Flapjacks
  34. Fluffy Wholemeal Pancakes
  35. Healing Handcream
  36. Lavender/Vanilla Sugar
  37. Chocolate Brownies
  38. Mincemeat