Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Sultana Cake and Spice Pear Cake

It has been a very long time since I have blogged about cakes and bakes.  I have continued baking and hopefully homing my decorating skills but to be honest I never really believed this blog was of any use or worth doing.  Today, however, I feel I have moved on and am ready to blog about the world of food.  Today for the first time in a while I baked for the sake of it and the results are scrummy.

I made a simple but tasty sultana cake and a spice pear cake.  Both recipes came from the Clandestine Cake Club cookery book, I'd love for a group to be near me but sadly there isn't one.

Anyway here's what I made.

spiced pear cake recipe:

2 pears, peeled cored and quartered
Juice of 1/2 lemon
115g butter
115g light muscovado sugar  {I used 55g}
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp buttermilk (I didn't have any, so used a bit of plain yogurt mixed with a little milk)
115g self-raising flour {I used wholemeal}
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 190C (170C fan).
Prepare a 20cm round loose-bottomed tin.
Place the pears in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them from discolouring.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Combine the eggs and buttermilk, then add to the sugar and butter mix.
Add the flour and spices gradually until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter into the tin. Pat the pears dry with kitchen towel, then place artfully on top of the batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

I don't have the Sultana cake recipe to hand so I'll add that the next time I make it

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Chocolate Cranberry Brownies

For this recipe you will need:

  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g good-quality dark chocolate (80% cocoa solids), broken up
  • 75 g cranberries
  • 80 g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 65 g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 360 g caster sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs

Melt the butter and chocolate together over a pan of simmering water
Mix all the dry ingredients together and fold into your melted chocolate and butter mixture
Pour into brownie tray and cook in a preheated oven at 180oc for 25mins, 30 mins if you do NOT want a gooey center
Leave to cool, remove from tray and cut into squares.  I like to serve with raspberries.

The pictures below show the various stages of making the brownies from weighing out ingredients through to serving the brownies up.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

To share, for lunches and single portions

This post is dedicated to Kate, because she not only helped me today with her amazing knowledge and inspiring friendship but also because she made me think that I'm used to baking/cooking in large quantities for many people but not everyone has to do that so here are two recipes, one a tempting lunch for one person and two a quick easy bake to share.

Mixed Fish Fishcakes.


  • I used a fish pie mix of salmon, haddock and cod then chopped the chunks smaller{about 8-10 chunks in total}
  • Parsnips
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Grated Goats cheese or cheese of your choice
  1. Peel and chop parsnips
  2. Boil parsnips until soft enough to mash
  3. Strain and leave parsnips to cool
  4. Mash parsnips and the grated cheese and Fish
  5. Scope up in hand and form into a flat circle 2 inch deep shape
  6. Place in Breadcrumbs and pat some on side and top
  7. Fry until top and bottom are crispy and fish is cooked and parsnip mix is pipping hot
  8. Serve with salad.
Here are a few pics sorry folks but I managed to lose the cooked pic.

Brown Savory Scones to share 

I used Rachel Allen's Recipe

  • 225 g wholemeal flour
  • 225 g plain flour
  • Grated Goats Cheese
  • Finely Chopped Chives 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 25 g butter {optional}
  • eggs
  • 400 ml buttermilk I used Goats Milk but any milk is suitable.
NB I did NOT weigh the cheese or chives.

  1. Weigh your ingredients
  2. If using butter rub the butter into the flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda until it resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Mix the dry ingredients including the cheese and chives together
  4. Beat your egg and add to dry ingredients
  5. Add about 300ml of the milk/buttermilk and using a claw like action bring the mixture to a dough adding more milk/buttermilk if necessary
  6. Turn the dough out and bring together into a bowl, do not kneed too much
  7. Either roll out or flatten the dough to about 1 1/2 inches thick and then either cut into squares or I used a fluted cutter for round scones
  8. Place on a baking tray 
  9. Cook in a preheated oven at 220oc for 15-20minutes
Here are some pics and again I appear to have lost the cooked pic sorry!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Extra special stirfry

For this I have used cold goose {it's a perfect way to use up xmas leftovers} but you could also use finely sliced lambs liver or duck.  Spinach, courgette, leek or onions, broccoli, spinach and kale.  I also used home made onion marmalade but you could leave that out if you don't have any.

Pop it all in the pan with as little oil as you can and cook until the goose/liver is cooked/heated right the way through, cooking the veg to however much you like it cooked, I like it crunchy but you can cook it soft if you wish.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Picnic or lunchbox treats

Mini cheese rolls

You will need:

Shortcrust pastry
Scallions / Spring Onions
Cheese of your choice I used Gruyere and Red Leicester
Ham {you can leave this out for a veggie option}
one beaten egg

To make this I suggest using ready to roll pastry and it's quicker and easier.

Roll the pastry out
cut into two oblong type shapes
Dice/cube the cheese
Finely or roughly chop the Scallions and Ham if you're using it
Place the onions, scallions and ham on the pastry
pull the pastry over sausage roll style and cut into small mini sausage roll size portions
pinch the pastry down on each end so your cheese doesn't melt out, if need be you can add a piece of pastry on the end to close it
glaze them in beaten egg
Bake in the oven on 230 degrees {fan} until the pastry is golden brown


Leave to cool before eating to avoid burnt mouths and fingers.

You can use any cheese you like and I advise experimenting with different strength cheeses for different tastes.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Bake together

This time I thought I would give you a recipe the whole family can participate in.  It's perfect for meals {with salad and pasta/potatoes}, excellent for lunches/lunch boxes or to serve at parties.

Today's bake is QUICHE!

You can put almost anything in a quiche, whatever you fancy really.  Here are some of the things I've put in a quiche.

  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Chorizo
  • Butternut Squash
  • Courgette
  • Peas
  • Sweetcorn
  • Sausage
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Carrot
  • Parsnip
  • Aubergine
  • Leeks
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomato
  • Asparagus
  • Mushroom
To make the quiche you would normally use shortcrust savoury pastry, however for a healthier option I have used filo pastry and for an even healthier option I've made quiche without pastry at all.

To make a quiche you need a suitable dish that is at least 1 inch deep or silicon cake cases if you wish to make a pastryless quiche.


3/4 Hen eggs {depending on size} OR 2/3 Duck Eggs OR 1 Goose egg {I use Duck or Goose but hen is fine}
Approx the same amount of milk to egg {in a jug the mixture size should double} {I use goats milk but you can use any milk you like} 
Your chosen filling.  I suggest involving the kids and getting them to help prepare the ingredients.  I do recommend depending on child age an adult does all the cooking, but children can be head chef and give instructions.  This works especially well if its for their lunch boxes as they are eating something they have chosen and made.

Always precook any meat and vegetables first.  You can stir fry or steam most ingredients.  NOTE do NOT precook spinach or it will overcook and may taste bitter.

If you are using pastry grease and lightly dust with flour your dish {I always use silicon but still grease the dish} then line with pastry.

Whisk the egg and milk mixture together, you can add salt, pepper, mixed herbs etc at this stage.

Place all your cooled but cooked ingredients on top the pastry and pour the egg and milk mixture over the top.

I always grate or thinly slice goats cheese and add to the top but you can use any cheese you like.

Cook in an oven at 230oc {fan oven} until the mixture is firm to the touch, it may wobble slightly but don't worry it will firm up as it cools.

NOTE if you are using chorizo it will be more wobbly than without due to the oil/fat content of the chorizo.

Here are the photos of the pastryless quiche from start to finish.

Here are a few of the quiches I've made recently with shortcrust and filo pastry.