Monday, 19 March 2018

Lemon mascarpone cake (with wheat free option)


For the cake
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup plain flour OR 2/3 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice (make sure you keep 1 teaspoon of juice for the frosting!)
 For the frosting

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease an 8 inch round tin. Line if you can be bothered and lightly dust with flour (wheat-free if you're doing that version!)

Beat together oil, sugar, mascarpone cheese, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until completely smooth. Next, beat in the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb and salt and stir until no lumps remain.

Pour mixture into tin and bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes until golden, risen, and just starting to pull away from the edge of the tin. Check if it's done with cake tester - should come out clean! Cool in the tin at first, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, whip together mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth and thick. Spread over the cold cake.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Shrewsbury Biscuits


6 oz plain flour
2 oz castor sugar
2 oz butter
1/2 level tsp salt
1 egg
vanilla essence


  1. Prepare a moderate oven, 350º F or Mark 4.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add egg and vanilla essence and beat well.
  4. Work in flour and salt to form a stiff dough.
  5. Knead lightly and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into fancy shapes (approximately 40 biscuits using a 1.5 inch round cutter).
  6. Bake on a flat greased tin for 20-25 minutes.

"Recipe for Sweet biscuits"

This is the recipe that came in the child's baking set with rolling pin and cutters.

Makes approximately 18 biscuits

First collect together the things that you will need. Mixing bowl, wooden spoon, pastry board, rolling pin, pastry cutters, baking tray.

(Editor's note: I would advise that you grease the baking tray. The recipe is designed for very small cutters, of three different designs. With larger cutters you will not get 18 biscuits).


2 oz (56 grams) softened butter
2 oz (56 grams) caster sugar
4 oz (113 grams) plain flour
About 2 dessert spoons milk

  1. Ask a grown-up to turn on the oven for you and set it at 350ºF (180ºC, Gas mark 3) with a shelf in the centre.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl and mix them well together with the wooden spoon until soft and creamy
  3. Mix in the flour and the milk with the wooden spoon until the ingredients are mixed well together. Now using your hands, knead the mixture together, making it into a ball of dough.
  4. Sprinkle a little flour onto the pastry board and rolling pin so that the dough will not stick, and roll the dough out until it is about as think as a 10p piece.
  5. Using the pastry cutters, cut out shapes from the dough and put them carefully onto the baking tray, leaving spaces between each one. You should get about six of each shape but don't worry if you have more or less.
  6. Now ask a grown-up to help you, and remember that the oven will be hot. Put the biscuits into the oven on the centre shelf. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the biscuits are light brown.
  7. Take the biscuits out of the oven on the baking tray. Don't forget that the baking tray will be very hot, so use an oven cloth. Leave the biscuits to cool for five minutes. Lift them onto a wire cooling tray and when they are completely cold sprinkle a little sugar on top of them—DELICIOUS!
  8. Store them in an airtight tin so that they will not go soft.
  9. Now you can tidy up the kitchen and wash up your cooking utensils. Just wipe clean the pastry board and rolling pin; do not put them in the water.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Hot cross buns (the traditional family version from the grey folder)


1 lb strong white flour
1 level tsp salt
1 level tsp mixed spice
1/2 level tsp grated nutmeg
2 oz caster sugar
1 oz fresh yeast (or 1 level tbsp dried yeast)
1 warm egg (beaten) made up to half a pint with warm milk and water, and 1 tsp caster sugar (make sure it's all very nice and warm!)
2 oz melted butter
4 oz currants
1-2 oz chopped mixed peel

For the crosses:

1 oz self raising flour
1 dessert spoon of oil
1 dessert spoon of milk
1 dessertspoon of water

For the glaze:

1 tbsp water
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp caster sugar


If possible, work in a warm room!

  1. Warm the bowl to quite hot
  2. Sift the flour, salt, spices and sugar into the warm bowl
  3. Add the warm milk and water to the egg and add the yeast (and sugar if using dried yeast).
  4. Make a dip in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir in the melted butter and the yeasty liquid.
  5. Mix to a soft dough.
  6. Turn out onto an unfloured surface, and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth.
  7. Press out the dough with knuckles and spread the currants and mixed peel over the surface.
  8. Gather it up and knead it again to distribute the fruit.
  9. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a smooth ball. Put it in the warm bowl to rise, covered with a plastic bag.
  10. When it has doubled in size turn it out again, flatten it, knead it again, and divide into 16 pieces by rolling the side of your hand across the middle of each piece to force the dough apart at the centre. (The original recipe says make 12, but when it works well this quantity makes 16 large buns).
  11. Place the buns well apart on a greased tray. Put them in a warm place to rise (covered with a bag or cloth).
  12. Heat the oven to 425º F, Gas mark 7
  13. When the buns are risen and all joined up at the edges, apply the crosses: make up the paste for the crosses in a small bowl, and use a piping bag or cone of greaseproof paper to squeeze a tube of paste across each row of buns, and then again at right angles across the vertical and horizontal axes. (If your piping hole is too large and you have 16 large buns, you may need to make more paste!)
  14. Bake them in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes (until they sound good and hollow on the bottom).
  15. While they are baking make the glaze: heat the ingredients in a small pan on the stove, slowly at first then boil, stirring with a wooden spoon. Draw it off the heat.
  16. When the buns are done, glaze them using a pastry brush while they are still hot.
  17. Allow to cool a bit, or just eat them immediately.... 
  18. To serve, split the bun horizontally and butter it liberally. Split buns can be toasted in the toaster, or whole buns can be reheated in the oven.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Staffordshire oatcakes


8 oz fine or medium oatmeal
8 oz wheat flour (or some non-wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast or 1 oz fresh yeast
3/4 pint warm water
3/4 pint warm milk


  1. Mix the oatmeal and flour together.
  2. Mix in the dried yeast (or rub in the fresh yeast).
  3. Gradually add the liquids and make a smooth batter.
  4. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for an hour, or cooler overnight.
  5. Heat a pancake pan, greasy with bacon fat from frying the bacon.
  6.  Use a ladle to pour in batter and spread to about 9 or 10 inches diameter.
  7. Flip it over when the bubbles on top burst and the top is set.
  8. Finished cakes should be soft, not crisp.
  9. Serve with bacon and the rest of a cooked breakfast, or topped with melted cheese etc.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Baked Apple Roly Poly


10 oz (275g) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
5 oz (150 g) shredded suet
some cold water
1 lb (450g) cooking apples
3 oz (75g) Demerara or soft brown sugar
2 level tsp ground cinnamon
3 oz (75g) sultanas
Milk and sugar to glaze


  1. Turn on the oven to moderately hot, 400ºF, 200ºC, Gas mark 6.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix in the suet.
  3. Add just enough cold water to mix to a soft but not sticky dough.
  4. Roll out your pastry on a floured board, to a rectangle about 12x14 inches (30x35 cms).
  5. Trim the edges and then cut off a strip about 2 inches wide from the shorter side. (What exactly does this mean? I suppose it means that you now have a square 12x12 inches, and a strip 12x2 inches—but see further below for counter evidence to this theory).
  6. Peel core and chop the apples (NB chop them small!)
  7. Spread the chopped apple over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge.
  8. Mix the brown sugar and the cinnamon together and sprinkle over the apples.
  9. Scatter the sultanas over the apples.
  10. Fold the pastry edges over the apples on the long sides. (humph, I thought there was no long side any more?)
  11. Brush these and both ends with water. 
  12. Roll it up from the shorter side like a swiss roll, and seal the ends.
  13. Place the roll, join downwards, on a sheet of foil on a baking tray. Push up the sides of the foil to hold the pastry roll in shape. (Hmm I think it is more recommended to put it in a tin with sides, such as a very large loaf tin or an oblong tin).
  14.  Gather up the trimmings with the pastry strip, roll into two thin sausage shapes and twist them together. 
  15. Brush the roly poly with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  16. Place the twist down the centre of the roll and brush with milk. 
  17. Make four slits in the pastry on each side of the roll to allow the steam to escape.
  18. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. If the pastry twist browns too quickly cover it with a strip of foil to protect it. (I am beginning to wonder why we bother with this twist of pastry?)
Serve hot with custard or cream, or a hot sweet white sauce. This can be dairy free if you don't glaze it with milk. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Catherine's best oatmeal pancakes

Make the batter a bit in advance if possible, to allow the oatmeal to soak up the liquid. If you are serving the pancakes with bacon and syrup for breakfast, cook the bacon in the pan first and then keep it warm while you fry the pancakes in the bacon fat that remains in the pan. You can also mix in chopped apple, apple rings or slices of banana to make fritters (very good with bacon and maple syrup!).


1 oz fine oatmeal
1 egg
Pinch of salt
A little milk


  1. Weigh up the oatmeal and put it in a large soup cup or small bowl
  2. Break the egg into it, and stir to make a thick batter
  3. Add a small slosh of milk (about 2tsp) and the pinch of salt.
  4. Leave the batter to stand for as long as poss (five minutes is good, an hour is better, overnight is fine).
  5. Add more milk to achieve the right consistency. The batter can be thickish for small griddle cake/scotch pancakes, or a bit thinner for large crepes.
  6. Heat an oiled griddle or crepe pan or frying pan (or the pan left after frying bacon), and cook the pancakes. 
Serve them with bacon, fruit, yogurt and syrup for breakfast. Serve them with lemon and sugar for pancake day. Save the extras and use them as sandwich wraps. Spread them with jam, or cheese...