Monday, 6 February 2017


Lots of variations possible. Chocolate chips and/or chopped walnuts in addition to raisins is a favourite. I'm particularly fond of white chocolate chips, chopped apricots and flaked coconut.


3/4 Cup Butter, softened

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed

½ Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Egg

2 Tbsp water

2 tsp Vanilla

3/4 Cup flour (white or whole wheat)

3/4 tsp Soda

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 ½ Cups raisins

3 Cups Oats


Cream butter, sugars, egg, water, vanilla

Combine flour, soda, cinnamon; stir in to creamed mixture

Stir in Oats and Raisins

Drop spoonfuls; leave unpressed for chewy

Bake 12/15 minutes at 350 F (177 C)

Makes 30 cookies

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Slow-cooker baked beans for cyclists

Follow these steps for easy, tasty baked beans:

Soak 250gr small haricot beans in cold water overnight.   In the morning, drain the beans, and add fresh cold water.  Boil rapidly for an hour or so on the stove top. 

Turn on slow-cooker and add:

1 chopped medium onion
1 small smoked ham hock (optional - add a spoonful of vegetable oil instead)
1-2 tsp ground mustard
1-2 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp ground cloves

1-2 Tbs dark brown Muscovado sugar 
a dollop of treacle 
1Tbs tomato paste/puree or ketchup 

Add beans.  Cover with water. 

Go for a long bike ride. 

Come home.  Remove skin and bone from ham hock.  Add chopped hotdogs (optional). 

Serve with mash. 

Monday, 2 January 2017

A la recherche des recettes perdues...*

I thought I'd lost my recipe for madeleines. I found one, and made it, but it wasn't the same (and some things in the recipe are just wrong!). Then I found the one I've used before, which I particularly like for the method, as much as the ingredients.  Will blog my version here to avoid future crises...

113 grams butter
130 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (not totally sure this is needed...)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
130 grams golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter (I use the microwave).

Mix flour and baking powder in a small bowl.  

Beat eggs and sugar with electric beaters in a bigger bowl until light-coloured and fluffy.   Add vanilla.

Mix some of the batter with the melted butter.  

Then FOLD some of the the flour mixture and some of the butter/batter mixture into the main batter mixture, alternating 2 or 3 times until it's all combined. 

Then cover and chill the batter for 1 hour or overnight. See how thick and bubbly it is? 

Butter and flour madeleine tins (ideally 2x12 larger tins).  Chill in fridge. 

Pre-heat oven to 190C 

Use two spoons to scoop batter into tins.

Bake 8-10 minutes, or until firm to touch and golden-coloured.

Gently turn out of pan (you may need a palette knife or firm spatula), then dust with icing sugar.

Eat immediately, while still warm. 

*Blogpost title credits to my Uncle Stuart.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Fool me once...

Some of you will be familiar with 'fool' as a pudding (dessert), but you have probably never tried Partridgeberry (lingonberry) Fool, which I have to declare as the best I have yet tried.  

A rough - very rough - recipe follows.   

If you have access to partridgeberries (coming into season soon), I encourage you to experiment: 

2 cups/500 ml (or so) berries - partridgeberries or black-currants.  Cook in a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of water and a reasonable amount of sugar (maybe about half the amount of berries if they're quite tart,  a bit less for black-currants). 

Cook until soft, then press the pulp through a seive and refrigerate.  Whip 250ml cream until soft peaks.  Then fold in plain yogurt - about half as much by volume as the cream.  Then fold in the chilled puree.  Pour into serving dishes and chill. 

Yum.  Easy to make. and pretty too.

If my proportions aren't quite right, then I apologise, but honestly, it's hard to go wrong with simple, tasty ingredients.  I didn't measure either of mine, and both turned out very tasty.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Need more scones....

After running out of jam this spring, we descended on Craigie's Farm last weekend and picked two pannier-fulls of berries.  This lead to a quick batch of raspberry jam, with some Canadian low-sugar pectin, and three batches of Strawberry - a double batch of regular strawberry with lemon juice, a batch with some black-currant gin added, and a truly spectacular batch with lime.

1 kilo washed berries, bigger ones halved or quartered
2 limes - peel grated finely and juiced.
1 kilo of tate&lyle jam sugar

As per the back of packet recipe, we heated the berries over a low heat, added the lime juice and peel (the original recipe called for juice of 1 lemon), and then added the sugar once the berries were warm.

Divine flavour.  Particularly recommended for scones.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


In the midst of much birthday caking, it occurs to me that the cake recipe I have made more than any other this year has been Kuchen, from the Joy of Cooking.  If you don't have a copy of the cookbook,  there's a very nice blogpost with the recipe here.  Unfortunately, the ingredients are only in American measurements, so I'm hoping that the powers-that-be won't mind me including them here in metric (along with my own tweaks).
Gooseberry Kuchen, with Demerara streusel

I own three copies of the Joy -- the two volume paperback my Mom gave me for my 11th birthday,  a hardback that we got soon after we got married, which is falling apart, and a new copy of the version issued in 2006. But of late, I've been using the app more and more.  I've never used an app for recipes, but this has won me over.  There's lots of neat features, but the best one as far as I'm concerned is that it gives most ingredients in both weight and volume.

Basically this is a recipe in three parts -- there's the fruit, the cakey bit, and the streusel.  I leave the cake pretty much alone, but the other two components vary a fair bit.  Probably the best fruit we've done this year was peaches and blueberries.  But we've made it with gooseberries, rhubarb, sour cherries - pretty much any fruit I can find.  And my streusel is more likely to have muscovado sugar in it, and maybe some oats and flaked almonds, or pecans, depending on the fruit.     The recipe is a bit fiddly by my standards (3 bowls!), but once you get the hang of it, it's very straightforward. And worth it for the good taste.

I *do* try not to just copy recipes from cookbooks here, so, the text here comes directly from Megan Scott's guest blog linked to above and again here.  All I've done is add in metric measurements.  If you like it, I would encourage you to check out the app.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F  (180C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan or 9 × 2-inch round cake pan.

Prepare the streusel topping first. Combine in a small bowl:
1/3 cup turbinado or granulated sugar  65 grams  (I use either demerara or muscovado)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or rice flour  16 grams
2 tablespoons unsalted butter  30 grams
Blend these ingredients until crumbly. Add:
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped or sliced almonds   no equiv given - a handful? 
Set aside.

Peel, pit, and slice, then spread evenly in pan:
1 pound ripe apricots (about 3 cups sliced)  450 gr

Whisk together:
1 cup all-purpose flour  120 grams
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of one lemon  (I never bother with this...)

Beat in a large bowl until fluffy:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened  110grams
3/4 cup sugar  150 grams

Beat in:
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Beat in one at a time just until blended:
2 large eggs
Stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Scatter the streusel on top. Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake (avoiding the fruit) comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on a rack.

What was all the fuss about?

It's that birthday week again here - 3 cakes in 5 days.  And I wanted something special for the first of them.  So, I somewhat rashly thought I'd try a Baked Alaska.  I'd totally forgotten about the GBBO hoo-ha until I started googling for recipes.  Panicked a little, but decided to plough on.

The online recipes varied wildly, so I mostly followed the advice in my trusty Joy of Cooking.  The first stage was to make my usual family chocolate cake, but in layers the night before.  Then when I got home from work at about 5.30, I covered a tray with foil, and put one of the layers on it.  I then stripped the cardboard off the tub of raspberry ripple icecream, sliced it up and put it in the centre of the cake, leaving a border around the edge.  The cake and ice cream then went back in the freezer, with some plasticwrap on it.  I whipped up 6 eggwhites, with some sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla, until they were stiff enough to hold a peak.  I think I over-whipped, as I was a bit stressed at this point. So while it looked nice in the bowl, the actual meringue on the cake lacked much in the way of curlicues.  But back in the freezer it went, just in time, before the ravening hordes arrived.  It could only have been in the freezer for an hour max, when I popped it out and into the hottest oven that I could generate.  I was aiming at 5 mins, but after 3 mins at 220+ C with fan assist, it was looking good, so I took it out.

This isn't going to win any style prizes, but boy did it taste good.  Definitely worth a try.