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