Thursday, 2 January 2014

Tray-bake Christmas cake was much cheaper to make than traditional style and took 25mins in Oven. 

You’ll need a lined 12 ¾ x 9 ¼ inch tray.

Soak in boiling water  a large mug-full of your chosen dried fruit, I used sultanas (for about ten minutes, strain)  then have ready six to eight prunes chopped smallish (do not soak these.)

Leave  7  3/4oz of butter out to soften ready to cream with same amount of soft dark brown sugar.

Add finely grated rind of one small Orange or two Satsumas.

3 Free range eggs, adding one at a time after cracking open into a mug (checking alls well with it by sniffing and appearance) then whisk lightly.  

  • Eggs that float at the surface are bad and should not be consumed.

Measure 4 oz of plain flour and 2 oz of Self-raising, add ¼ teaspoon Bicarb and ½ teaspoon Baking powder.  Sift half dry ingredients into creamed butter, sugar and egg mixture, then add 1 teaspoon of Mixed Spices, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ginger.  Add half fruit.

Now I put the Oven on to Gas 5.

Add remaining flour, the mixture should not fall off spoon  or beaters (whichever your using.)  Add remaining fruit and make sure well turned-in.

Before going into Oven  I scattered Flaked Almonds, then turn down to Gas 2 ½  for 25mins.

You’ll know it’s ready when the centre bounces back on touch ....Ouch!  or use a metal skewer which should come out clean.  Leave to cool if you can and slice into finger oblongs or desired size.  This can be used as a warm dessert with vanilla custard or cream.

Monday, 6 February 2012

QUICK CHOC PUD - Made in MicroWave !


I use a 6 pint pyrex jug to create this in a MicroWave 700W

4oz Margarine
4oz light brown sugar
1 Egg
4oz sifted Self-raising flour
I use 1 & a half tablespoons of Bournville Cocoa powder mixed in a 1 pint pyrex or any other microwavable container With about a teaspoon of Veg.Oil And Mix to a smooth paste (not runny Nor too thick)This is ready to add later !

With a wooden spoon mix the marg. Then add the sugar to a light consistency
Add the Cocoa powder mix leaving a little surrounding the container (as we’ll be creating our Chocolate Sauce in this)

Add the Egg and whisk well
Add the Flour carefully with a metal spoon
Lastly, break-up one square of 85% Cocoa (plain choc) And add to mixture
Using a spactular make sure most of the sides of Jug are clear of large blobs of mixture and that its carefully stirred in

Cover the top jug with cling-film leaving a small gap of about an inch
Put into MicroWave and cook for 3 minutes 30 ‘SECONDS’
Leave to stand for 5 minutes
To test if cooked: touch with finger in middle – it should bounce back, if not return to cook for 5 more seconds and Test again !  BE CAREFUL as will be Extremely HOT !

To Make the Choc Sauce

I used ‘Birds custard’ Powder
1 and a half tablespoons of custard powder & mix to a smooth consistency
Then Add Milk up to ¾ of a Pint mark on Jug
Also Add 2 tablespoons of demerara Sugar
Using a Whisk to mix well before putting into MicroWave

Start by cooking for 2 minutes, take Out & Stir
Return to Cook for a further Minute, take Out & Stir
Return to Cook 15 seconds And should show signs of thickening
Make sure you Taste as don’t Want any Flour Tastes !
This May Look too Thick but at this point keep whisking in some more Milk to the Consistency you like

There shouldn’t be a Flour taste at this point

If you wish for a Creamy Taste Add a tablespoon of Cream...doesn’t matter which kind
Now that the Custard is slightly cooled after adding extra Milk...Add Half a Square of this Plain Dark Chocolate in small pieces and Whisk until melted

You Will Be Amazed at ‘Just’ How Quick this comes together !

Sunday, 18 December 2011


12 Christmas Mini Cakes

A small handful of Raisins
10 stoned Dates chopped small
6 Glace Cherries chopped
Grated Zest of 1 Orange

Soak All this fruit into a bowl with ¼ pt of Rum or any other to your tastes
Place a piece of greaseproof or clingfilm inside bowl & making sure No Air can get into fruit
With a second cover over top of bowl.
And leave over night with a couple of stirs so each piece of fruit soaks up the Rum.

Next Day

Put 2 Muffin sized paper cases into each deep patty-tin, this stops the cakes from burning.

4oz marg or butter

4oz soft dark brown sugar

Mix these two ingredients to a light & fluffy consistency

2 Eggs Add one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each one!

4oz plain flour & 2oz self-raising sieved + ½ teaspn of bicarb.& ½ teaspn of Baking powder.

½ teaspn of mixed spice + ½ teaspn cinnamon + ¼ teaspn grated nutmeg.

Add half the dry ingredients then add the fruit

Carefully mix with a large metal spoon + gradually adding remainder flours

Using two tablespoons with one scoop up a large filled spoonful & push off with other spoon to fill each case.

Whilst decorating with a Cherry on top HEAT the Oven to Gas 4

Make sure Ovens been properly heated for at least 10 minutes then place in Oven
And lower to Gas 2 for 28 minutes.

Remember that everyone’s Oven can work slightly different !
We use a Delonghi with a double oven which heats Fast & Hot !

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


CHRISTMAS  CAKES *muffin sized*

Prepare the fruit which you have chosen....this is mine:

3oz chopped dates
2oz sultanas
12 chopped glace cherries
Grated rind of half an Orange 
1/4 pint of Captain Morgan's Rum (best ever)

Soak all the fruit and best to leave over night
and cover with cling-film pushed down onto fruit so no air can get in
put another layer of cling-film over top of pyrex jug or bowl
Stir three times within this time scale & stir with metal spoon so each tiny chunk of fruit soaks the flavour of the Rum

By morning the fruit should have soaked almost all of Rum

Split Almonds & Cherries to decorate 
  cut cherries in half and sort out the almonds into correct sizes.

Cake Mixture

6oz  soft butter or marg
4oz Dark soft sugar
2oz Caster sugar
2 Eggs
6oz Plain flour
2oz Self-raising
1/4 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 teaspn mixed spices, we like extra cinnamon 


Make sure the marg and sugars are mixed light & fluffy
Add one egg at a time and whisk briskly between each one

Add half of the sieved flours by folding with a metal spoon
Add the fruit and mix in carefully  Adding remaining flour

The mixture at this point may be a little runny, if so, add more sifted plain flour until
the mixture just slightly drops from spoon.

Oven should have been put on Gas 3 / 170c / 325F  whilst decorating with cherries and almonds

Put two paper muffin cases into each patty tin
And fill each with cake mixture

Turn Oven down to Gas 2  just before putting in

Put into Oven & cook for about 20 mins Check 5 mins before as everyone's oven works different !

Test to see if ready by placing clean finger gently in middle-if springs back-they are Ready !

Cool, then take out of patty tin to place on wire rack And when almost cold take 2nd paper case off- this is so the cakes didn't burn !

***  Enjoy  ***


When cool put them into a Tin to store or *eat straight away - *we did !


Thursday, 7 July 2011


12 oz  Self-raising Flour – 5 oz marg –
2 tablespoons Caster Sugar – 1 egg + quarter pt milk
½ teaspoon Baking Powder


Seive the Flour and baking powder into a large bowl
Add Sugar then marg. Use a fork to cut through the marg, to start the process of crumbing easier.
Using Finger-tips to turn mixture into Crumbs
Crack the Egg into a jug and Add the Milk – whisk with a Fork
Make a Well in Centre of Dried Mixture and Pour ¾ of the Milky-egg mixture & Mix with a Fork
The less time handled the better
Carefully gather mixture up onto a Floured board and when using Cutters DONT  TWIST as this will
reduce the Rise ! No Rolling either, shape with hands carefully
Using a Brush- wash top with remaining milky egg mixture
The oven should have been on preheated to Gas 7
Takes 15 – 20 minutes Cooking Time

SAVOURY  SCONES - A subsitute for Potato

Almost Same ingredients as above recipe but use Salt & Pepper instead of Sugar

and teaspoon of Dijon Mustard mixed into Milk n Egg 

Add  2 oz finely grated strong cheese into dried ingredients before adding Egg mixture.

Can add a little grated cheese on top after brushing with remaining milk n egg mixture.

* * * * *


5 oz plain flour - 8 oz demerera sugar - 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder - 3 oz desic. coconut
6 oz marg or butter - half teaspn vanilla extract
1 oz good quality dark chocolate 

Sift dry ingredients into bowl, add desiccated coconut, add melted marg or butter 
and Vanilla extract + dark chocolate into well and mix thoroughly
Put into an oblong tin 10" x 7" line if wished

Bake at  180 c - 350 F - Gas 4 for 20 minutes

Leave to Cool

Marshmallow topping

4 oz granulated sugar - 4 oz water or just under quarter pint
1 tablespoon gelatine - 1 cube of orange jelly + half tablespn Cocoa

Place sugar & water in a pan, sprinkle gelatine over + cube of jelly
and stir over low heat until dissolved
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes.
When nearly Cold - Beat for 10 minutes until thick and fluffy.

And spread all over the top - let Set - decorate - then cut into desired squares. 

If you don't fancy the idea of Marshmallow then create a 'FUDGE' topping

6 oz icing sugar - 2 tablespns Cocoa - 1 oz butter or marg - 1 1/2 tablespns HOT water
+ Coconut to decorate 

Sift Icing Sugar into pyrex jug or pan + Cocoa  - melt butter or marg and add hot water then whisk with fork briskly - this can cool down fast so pop back on low heat or microwave to loosen and spread onto
cooked biscuit topped with remaining Coconut

Thursday, 16 June 2011


Lemon Syrup & Traditional Madeleines-RECIPE below
                                Cooking can be fun, so lets make it So !

We'll start with something easy

                                        CHEESE & APPLE ON TOAST

Any apple type - Wash, peel and slice very thin and sprinkle a little lemon juice over to stop going brown and adds that Tang flavour !  

Get your bread ready toasted just slightly toasty !  Best toast is created on top of a stove oven or griddle (which should be started early-on .)

Meanwhile in a 1 pint pyrex jug, put in cheese (having been cut into small pieces) Microwave for about 6 seconds or until starting to melt - then add a knob of mayonaise., creating a spreadable cheese for on or between toast.

Spread a thin layer of mayonaise over toast - add a few slices of the apple (depending on how much you like apple) and add the cheese - put under grill till browning on top.

Cut into triangles - can be eaten just as it is or with a side salad of your choice !

Nice n quick for kids hungry tummies home from school and full of natural vitamins too !

I find that the Apple cuts through the Fat of the Cheese - if one suffers indigestion !  Can be made like a Toastie Sandwich too (another layer of bread on top)  and put a lid on griddle.

Your Taste Buds know what they want so change to other flavours too, like Horseradish n Cheese, Mustard n Cheese, Tomato n Cheese with garlic/adding herbs of ones own choice.

Instead of using the Oven (cost cutting fuel) Use Hob with a Cast Iron Griddle n Lid (I use my frying pan lid - just fits and creates the Oven effect)  Toasties can be made this way or heat slowly to create french bread., with any filling.

                                             CURRIED PEACH SOUP

Melt down about 4oz butter/marg. in a pan with a teaspoon oil (this will stop the butter/marg.from burning.)  

Add 1 grated medium onion, half teaspoon grated fresh ginger, a teaspoon of Mild Curry, a grated celery stick and choose a hard to firm peach and grate also.

Make sure the ingredients in pan are soft - then add 4 tablespoons of plain flour to thicken sauce - make sure the flour is stirred/cooked, takes 1 minute and lastly two chicken stock cubes. Lastly add ready boiled water to make at least a litre.

This soup is tasty with ready cooked fish such as Tuna, add this towards end of cooking time.

                                                  QUICK PIZZA

About 8oz Plain flour, have a jug of really cold water at the ready and Olive Oil.  About half a tablespoon of margarine to crumble the mixture to fine breadcrumbs.  Add dried herbs of your choice such as oregano, basil and about half tablespoons worth of finely grated strong cheese.  Fork the dried ingredients in with the cheese after or you can add instead of cheese tomato puree or both but put less water than oil in.  There should be a larger quantity of oil to water, giving a flaky pastry bottom.  Its the Oil that makes this a good crispy base to the Pizza !  

Grease the bottom of a 10" x 7" flan tin and the mixture should almost be biscuity (falling apart not like normal pastry.)  Put in centre of tin and flour knuckles then push out gently to sides - covering the whole of tin.  It will look very thing but don't worry the topping will stay put when cooked.  Cover with greaseproof and put in top of fridge (which is coolest spot.)

The Fastest topping preparation is: Two tablespoons of Tomato puree two large garlic (crushed) One tablespoon of juice from a tin of tomatoes and dried herbs of your choice - also finely grate an onion, mix with fork, put salt and ground black pepper in also, then put ingredients into a freezer bag and suck air out with straw, tie and put into fridge., should be infused enough within 10 - 15minutes.

                                                              Take Time Topping

Prepare the topping by chopping a small onion into small pieces, crush two garlic (depending on how strong garlacy) and fry in vegetable oil or olive oil in pan.  When onions look transparent thens the time to add a tin of tomatoes and puree.  Add a teaspoon of sweet paprika and dried herbs if wished.  Reduce this by lid off on medium heat on hob, then cool slightly for about 5 mins, then liquidise to smooth paste.

Get your pastry out of fridge and spread Tomato paste all over.  Cut Salami into quarters, arranging over paste, then add grated cheese.  And finally sprinkle Olive Oil over the top. and put into a Ready Hot Oven at Gas 7 / 200 c. takes about 25 - 30 mins. 

You can add Pineapple chunks, sweetcorn, Olives and many other things of your choice.

Lets move on to a Beautiful Quick Dessert:    Ready to eat in half an hour !

                                                INDIVIDUAL CHEESECAKES

Apple Cheescake
If you have any round plastic/freezer tubs 3 or 4" diameter, these are perfect for taking to school pack-up or anywhere - as they have the click-lids that keep tight, remember to keep upright and Cool bagged !

Never buy any other biscuit than McVities Digestive, as these stay lovely and crumbly !

Two biscuits for each tub - half a teaspoon of marg or butter - half teaspoon of syrup -  finely grated lemon rind or orange, depending on which flavour agrees with your TasteBuds ! 

We all like the lemon in our bottom -  it works well with the Freshly picked Bilberries   (Whortleberries.)  

I cook most of the bilberries and let cool.  They create their own beautiful tasting juices !
Can add Sugar is wished.

If making Four tubs:

8 Biscuits - Just under a Tablespoon of Syrup - same for marg or butter. 

1 teaspoon of lemon rind.

Put the 8 Biscuits into a freezer bag and smash on top of wooden chopping board with a wooden rolling-pin.  Then place them into a bowl - if still large lumps then fork them out.  Add lemon rind and using a fork to stir equally around.

Place Syrup and Margarine or Butter into a small pan and slowly bring to a melting state.

Make a well in centre of Biscuit mixture and Pour the melted ingredients into Centre of Bowl and mix thoroughly.  I sometimes find that not all the melted ingredients has left the Pan so I transfer the Biscuit mixture into the Pan and this Collects up any remaining.  

Take out enough of the Biscuit mixture (with a spatular) and share between each Tub (which should be buttered or marged beforehand.)  

With a round of non-stick paper or greaseproof, with the end of the Rolling-pin, flatten the Biscuit mixture to set - Put Lid on Tub and Chill in Fridge whilst making the Cheese topping. 

Using the Tesco Value Soft Cheese at 49p. for 200g - We'll require 1  1/2 amounts, so buy two tubs.

Using 250gms of Soft Cheese - put into a bowl and mix with a fork, then add a little drizzle of milk to loosen the cheese - Add finely grated lemon rind of half a lemon.  Cover and put into fridge whilst making the easy part !

Put two cubes of lemon jelly into a pyrex jug and a drop of lemon juice (about 1 tables.)  Put into Microwave to just melt, mix with a wooden handle-end to get every bit of jelly into liquid.  Add juice of Bilberries (just under a tables.)  This cools the liquid so that you can add to the Cheese Mixture.  Mix with a Fork.  This is now ready to put on top of the Biscuit Base.

(Place enough of the syrupy fruit on top of the Biscuit base) for an extra Fruity Flavour !

Then add the Cheese mixture and store in fridge for about 20 minutes - then add any extra of the lucious Bilberries to decorate.

By using the milk in the cheese instead of cream (Cream can often make this too Rich.)  It works out much cheaper and tastes devine !

So please try this one.  

There are many other flavours to try from Orange, with orange jelly (instead of gelatine, which if using too much can have a peculiar taste.)  


This recipe produces a softer, chewier biscuit with a butterscotch flavour.

10 1/2 oz  Rolled Oats  -  5 oz margarine  -  6 oz Demerara Sugar  -  3 oz golden syrup  
And if you wish put a handful of mixed dried fruits of your choice.  I used golden sultanas, ordinary sultanas + cranberries then to the melted Syrup & Marg. half a teaspoon Vanilla Extract.

Mix Oats and Sugar together in a bowl.  Melt marg. & Syrup together in a saucepan slowly, allowing it to bubble just a bit.  Make a well in the Oats then pour in the hot liquid into the middle, making sure that every last Oat is covered in the sticky solution with a Fork.  
Line a tray bake the size of  10" x 7" tin, then making sure the ingredients are patted down flat and level.  Put into middle of Oven on Gas 3  for just under 20 mins.   Or 170c / 325F. And NO longer than this, otherwise the Chewiness will be Brittle !  Remember All ovens are different !

Don't cut into slices straight from the Oven,  as the mixture is so hot it will stick to the knife, wait 5 mins.  


These were being made in Derbyshire more than 100 years ago and here we are still enjoying the combination of flavours !

The Pastry will need:  6oz plain flour  -  4oz marg  -  & a jug of fridge cold water.
The Filling:  4oz - 6oz Raspberry Jam  -  4oz marg  -  4oz castor sugar. 1 Egg. 2oz self-raising flour.  2oz ground almonds  -  half to 1 teaspoon almond extract.

Make a shortcrust pastry by rubbing the marg. into the flour and bind together with a little cold water.  Roll out and line a tin 10" x 7" then place into the fridge whilst preparing the Almond sponge.

Cream together marg. and  sugar and beat in the egg and extract.  Stir in the flour and ground Almonds.  Take the Pastry out of fridge and spread the Raspberry Jam then the Almond Sponge mixture on top.  Bake at 190c  -  375F  -  Gas 5  for 28 mins.  Cool & cut into slices.


4oz marg - 4oz caster sugar - 2 eggs 2oz plain flr - 2oz self-raising - 1/4 teasp.bicarb + 1/2 baking powder - 4oz Raspberry Jam (unseeded) - 3oz desiccated coconut - glace cherries - 1 large lemon

Cream marg. & Sugar together until light & fluffy.  Add beaten eggs & mix thoroughly.  Fold in the sieved flour - Add grated lemon rind & vanilla extract.

Put a tablespoon full of the mixture into each  Dariole mould and smooth lightly down with a teaspoon.  These should be put on a baking tray - bake at Gas 3 /170c / 325F  for 10 - 15 mins.

The Lemon Syrup 
Put all the sieved juice into a saucepan with 3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar with two thinly strips of lemon rind (making sure no pith) and very gently dissolve sugar and continue on low heat until turned to a syrup (it will stick to sides of pan by stirring with a wooden spoon)don't over heat as will burn easily.

As soon as they are out of Oven leave in cases to cool - the Chosen Lemon Syrup - use a wooden chop stick to pierce holes all over each one  & right to bottom of sponges- so that every bite has a taste of that lovely lemon - then immediately cover with a plate or grease-proof to retain the 'hot lemon syrup flavour' decorate with lemon slice sweets or lemon fudge icing.

Put the coconut into a cereal bowl and take out the raspberry jam required into a pyrex jug and heat slightly if necessary (room good) and decorate.