Category Archives: Food

Tried and tested recipes and ideas.


I like to make cakes and cakes are perfect to say thank you, to cheer you up or simply to share with a cup of tea!

I am seeing a friend for coffee later this afternoon and thought cakes would be nice to share. I like making simple cupcakes, but allow a little time to decorate them, they can look so different every time.

A very simple rule when try to doing anything with children, if you want perfection wait till they are in bed or you let children help and be happy with the results!

Cake making and decorating does need a little time but the actual cakes are simple for children to help with:

Makes 12

All ingredients should be a room temperature;

125g butter

125g caster sugar

2 eggs, whisked

125g self raising flour

Pre heat the oven to 190C

I use a free standing mixer, but this will work just as well with a wooden spoon and a bowl or a hand held mixer.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale in colour.

Next add about a third of the egg mixture, I use a slow speed and then once combined speed up to fast. I then add the next third in the same way. If at any time the mixture looks like it may curdle add a tablespoon or so of flour.

Slow the speed of the mixer down again to add the flour, or if using a wooden spoon, fold in (once round the bowl and then through the middle) Add the flour about half at a time speeding the mixer up, or beating once the flour is combined.

Place cupcake cases into a muffin tin and carefully add a spoonful of the cake mixture to each case evenly.

Bake in a pre heated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.

The once cold decorate…

There are no limits to what you can do and many great ideas on the internet, it all depends on your time and patience (or helper!)

I don’t usually have the heart to say ‘no’ to my children when they want to help, so my three year old helped out here. We used a pastry cutter to cut roller out regal icing and then a stencil to apply coloured butter icing.

2013-04-11 15.42.09

Not quite perfect, but I am sure they will taste good with coffee. Guin was very pleased with the results and it took just a little longer to finish and tidy up. Time well spent though!


Come on Spring!!

If you’ve had enough of winter…038

And want to come in from the cold and cuddle up….

130Why not get put the kettle on and bake some cakes?…134British Summer Time begins today – spring can’t be far away…!

Danish Pastry for Breakfast

I made Danish pastry for breakfast on Sunday and though fairly simple to make it did take more time than I had anticipated, so breakfast was more brunch!

A quick idea of time: make the pastry and leave in the fridge overnight (or up to 4 days), take the pastry out of the fridge and allow to get to room temperature, roll out the pastry and fold, turn and roll again, 4 times in total, refrigerate for 30 minutes, make the filling, roll out the pastry, cut, add the filling and shape, then leave to rise for 1 1/2hours before baking for 15 minutes.

Once they come out of the oven they are very hot and so need to cool before eating, I think these need to be made the day before, or I may try leaving them in the fridge overnight to rise before cooking for breakfast the next morning. I also found them a little large with too much filling and I do have a very sweet tooth! The recipe make 6, but next time I think 10 may be better with half the filling.

Danish Pastry

Made in a food processor and makes double the quantity, I froze half the mixture when I had rolled it out.

60ml warm water

125ml milk, at room temperature

1 egg

350g white bread flour

7g easy-blend yeast

t tsp salt

25g caster sugar

250g unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2cm slices

Put the water, milk and egg into a jug and mix together. Add the flour, yeast, salt and sugar to the processor bowl and a quick whizz to mix. Now add the butter slices and whizz again, but leave some chunks of butter, about 1cm pieces. Empty this mixture into a large bowl and add the liquid from the jug, fold the ingredients together, it is a bit gooey and lumpy. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and allow to get to room temperature. Roll out to approx. 50cm x 50cm. Fold the dough in to thirds, like a business letter and turn so that the fold is on your left. Roll out again and repeat folding and turning for a total of 4 times. I cut the dough in half, wrapped and refrigerated 1/2 and froze the other 1/2.

Dough rolled and folded

Dough rolled and folded

Almond Filling

150g sliced almonds

80g icing sugar

2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 tsp almond extract

1egg white beaten

Process the almonds and icing sugar until finely ground, then add the butter, almond extract and 2 tbsp of egg white.

Roll out the pastry and cut into 6 squares (though next time I will make 10). Roll a tablespoon of mixture (again next time I would prefer a little less) into a sausage shape and pop on to a square of the rolled out dough. Pinch together the opposite corners and flatten slightly. Place on a baking sheet.

Beat 1 egg with 2tbsp of milk and brush over the pastry to glaze and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours.

Pre heat the oven to 180c and bake for 15 minutes or until puffy and golden.

Cool slightly and glaze again with 100g caster sugar with 60ml water and once they are much cooler drizzle with 100g icing sugar with 1-2 tbsp warm water.

delicious, but a little large

delicious, but a little large


Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is determined by Easter; its date changes annually.

The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess.”[1] Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. The term Mardi gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.


Pancakes to be enjoyed by all, do you like thin crepes for thick pancakes?

200g self raising flour

115g caster sugar


ground cinnamon

1 egg

200ml milk

2 apples, peeled cored and cut into 1/4’s

1 tsp butter

strawberries to serve

Maple Syrup Butter

100g butter

3 tbs maple syrup


I whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor, except the butter and strawberries, until will combined.

Heat the butter in a large non stick pan over a low heat until melted and bubbling.

Add a tablespoon of mixture to the pan and cook for about a minute, then turn over to cook the other side.

Remove from the pan and keep warm, continue until all the mixture has been made into pancakes.

Make the maple butter by melting the butter together with the maple syrup in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until well combined.

To Serve

Pile on a plate and drizzle with the maple butter, the strawberries add colour, don’t just save this for Shrove Tuesday, makes a very good Sunday Morning breakfast!

Making Bread Version 2 for Economy

At the risk of repeating myself freshly made bread tastes delicious and though you may be able to buy bread cheaper, it will not be the same quality! For pictures showing the various stages of bread making please see, Making Bread. Always looking for improvement I thought I would try this slight variation on my usual recipe. The ingredients are double the quantity to make four loaves, one to use and 3 to freeze. I have tried to make a larger loaf to save making bread as often, but this does not work and at worst the bread is stake before it is finished!


1kg strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

warm water,1/3 boiling and 2/3 cold

4 tsp quick action yeast

3 tsp salt

4tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing

small dish of salted water

Measure the flour into a mixer bowl, add the yeast, salt and olive oil. With the dough hook attachment mix on a slow speed, I use speed 2. Add the water until a nice dough is formed, if it becomes too sticky add more flour. Knead for 10 minutes.

Lift the dough out of the mixer bowl and divide into four equal parts, I shaped into an oval shape and place on 2 greased baking trays, leaving room for the dough to rise. Make some cuts along the top of each loaf, brush with the salted water and dust with flour.

Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise (the airing cupboard is good!) for 35 minutes. I set a timer for 20 minutes as I know my over takes 15 minutes to warm up to 240 C.

Once risen remove the clingfilm and place in the oven, bake for 8 minutes at 240 C, open the oven door for 2 minutes and lower the temperature to 190 C and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.


Once cold, freeze three loaves, either whole or sliced keeping one to use. The advantage of slicing the bread before freezing is you can remove as many slices as you need and they really don’t take long to defrost.




A Cup of Tea and Slice of Shortbread


Nice to share…

125g Plain Flour

60g Ground Rice

125g Butter

60g Caster Sugar, plus extra for sprinkling


Heat the oven to 160c

I popped all the ingredients into a food processor and whizzed together. Turn out onto a board or clean surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead into a ball and roll out to a round shape approx 18cm diameter. Crimp the edges with your fingers, prick with a fork and mark into wedges with a sharp knife. Bake for 35 minutes until pale golden brown. Mark the wedges again and sprinkle with sugar. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Cut with a sharp knife to serve.

Perfect with a cup of tea with friends…

Winter Warming Soup, Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup

I love soup.

It is a great way to use up odd bits of vegetables and vegetables that look past their best!

Soup is economical, nutritious and filling and can be any flavour to suit your mood.

Delicious severed with fresh bread.

Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup 

2 tsp cumin seeds

pinch dried chilli flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

600g carrots, washed and coarsely grated

140g split red lentils

1litre hot vegetable stock

125ml milk

natural yogurt, 2 tbsp chopped coriander and warm breads, to serve


Dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli for 1 min, until they release there aromas. Take out about 1/2 the spices and put aside.

Add the oil, carrots, lentils, stock and milk to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 mins, until the lentils are cooked.

Whizz the soup until smooth.

Serve with warm bread, chopped coriander and the reserved spices. Also nice with naam bread.