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Posts tagged ‘baking’

Oat & raisin cookies

September 24, 2012




What a miserable, windy rainy day. Kind of day you want to hibernate, watch old films, drink many cups of tea and dunk biscuits until the outlook is not so bleak.

I accidentally made these chewy cookies when I went to boil the kettle. Needs must. They were to be the Oat, ginger & date recipe I wrote about in June and by the looks of it, on a very similar day. Just no ginger and date this time, I went with 100g raisins and 50g chopped hazelnuts.

The end result: a stack of equally comforting golden biscuits to eat and eat until it is less grey.


Orange & lemon cake

August 24, 2012




Oranges and lemons. Fruits I normally like squeezed in my glass, rather than additions to a bake, especially when the recipe calls for the whole fruit, peel, pith and all. That said, the simplicity of the Claudia Roden orange cake recipe (first published in 1963), cited in the excellent The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, intrigued me. Just five ingredients in Claudia’s cake with no fat nor gluten in sight, the kind of recipe you’d look and think something must have been left out.

The fruit is boiled for two hours prior so the peel looses its bitterness and the juices become sweeter, the whole fruit is then pulped and added to the mix, then baked for an hour. The result is – I don’t say this very often – fantastic. A really light, fresh slice of cake that really does melt in your mouth.

I added a lemon to the stewing oranges to up the more zesty flavours. I want to give some other nuts a try like hazelnuts and different fruits  –  like cherries or even plums might be worth a go.

As it is, this is definitely, my new favourite.



Banoffee pie

July 13, 2012


banoffee pie

I will tell you something for nothing, banoffee pie is…hold on: “Any dieters/calorie counters please look away…now!”

Banoffee is full fat. It goes off the scales; the arrow just bounces to ‘phat’.

Its ladled, oozing with sugars, butters and lashings of cream. All so so bad for you yet oh, so so good. I have to say this is one of the most delicious puddings I have ever whipped up and if you are feel tempted to indulge yourself with something decadently delicious, why not go all the way?

I always thought this was an American recipe but Wikipedia says I am wrong and it originates in East Sussex. This one was adapted from a Mary Berry recipe, where the toffee is made from scratch. You can buy cafe con leche in a tin instead if you’re really short of time. You can use ginger nut or hobnobs instead of digestives and add anything gooey or nutty you fancy drizzled or sprinkled over the top. All the more heavenly.

So, if you are want a real treat this weekend, one that’ll really put a cheeky smile on you face, start crushing those biscuits.


Date, ginger & oat biscuits

June 21, 2012


Do not let the weather get you down. Do not. Make these instead, the ultimate ‘cheer up’ biscuit.

Light and not too sweet, the wafts from the oven are so good, I bet you sink one even before the kettles boiled.

These were adapted from a Popina recipe; using dates instead of sultanas with more oats, less flour plus fresh ginger.  Also nice with a squeeze of lemon.

I recommend making double.

infographic - biscuit

Victoria sponge

June 1, 2012


jubliee victoria sponge

The Victoria Sponge; subtle, elegant and dignified. You can see why she favoured it for that afternoon pick me up slice. For me, when baked to perfection with the right filling, it really is the cake of all cakes.

Simple and yet so easy to get wrong – my first was solid, heavier than the crown jewels – it is worth taking time, following some sound instruction.

An original from Mrs.Beeton’s 1891 Book of Household Management sees her weighing the eggs to determine the equal weights of butter, sugar and flour with the eggs beaten, added last. This is still the way many choose to make it. Others cream softened butter with the caster sugar until light and fluffy before adding the eggs, one by one, then folding in the flour.

Mary Berry’s more modern offering opts for a soft margerine to help keep the sponge light, blending all together all at once, rather than creaming and beating separately. Personally, I prefer the sponge flavour with the buttery traditional method.

This recipe was given to me a few years ago by my friend and Jeremy Lee’s excellent head chef Lee Urch at Quo Vadis. It never fails to impress. Baked high then lowered for longer than most, the texture is incredible.

Fill it with jam, whipped cream and handfuls of berries and it really is fit for a queen.

infographic victoria sponge cake

Pistachio Cake – Gluten Free

May 26, 2012


Pistachio Cake

This is magic this is. The perfect slice for this weather. Light and fresh, with or without strawberries and cream. It is easy, takes 20 minutes to prepare so does not interfere with precious time in the sun. In fact, it only enhances it. Try taking a slab along to that picnic to enjoy with that glass of chilled prosecco.

Infographic recipe cake pistachio






Wild rice & goat’s cheese

May 16, 2012


It is Wednesday evening, you are on your way home and you are :

Ο tired       Ο hungry       Ο late          Ο lacking dollar

Ο supposed to be eating healthily

Ο all of the above

With just a handful of cherry tomatoes, wild rice, mint and goat’s cheese, I recommend following the instructions below and in 22 mins and your supper is done.

Bon appétit.

To note: add long slices of courgette to the oven tomatoes and spinach to the cooked rice if you want more green on your plate.

Rhubarb & Orange Pancakes

February 21, 2012


I thought I would give something a little different a go this year for Pancake Day and I am very glad I did. I have adapted these zesty scotch pancakes from a Mary Berry recipe that works just as well with chunks of tart rhubarb sitting in their slightly thick middles. Minutes to make and best served simply with a little sprinkle of sugar with orange zest or topped with a little more of the rhubarb compôte and crème fraîche.


Ingredients – makes 16

85 mls rhubarb compôte (see below)

1 orange, juiced plus zest

30 mls milk

175 g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

40 g castor sugar

1 large egg


Rhubarb Compôte –   in a saucepan combine all below, heat over a medium flame, cook and stir until the rhubarb is tender, 5-10 mins.

300 g rhubarb, cut into chunks

50 g castor sugar

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tbsp lemon juice


In a measuring jug, add 4 tbsp of compôte with the orange juice. Top up with milk to make 200 ml of liquid.

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar in a bowl. Add the egg plus the and rhubarb-milk mixture. Beat well to make a smooth batter.

Heat a little oil or butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, drop big spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, gently stop from sticking though don’t turn over until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip them over and cook until golden. Serve straight away.

Bakewell Tart

February 3, 2012