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.