Monday, 30 July 2012

'V' is for....Victoria Sandwich Mini's

My first cookery lesson at school was not very to make a cup of tea! Followed by slicing bread and toasting it, then chocolate rice krispie cakes....Then we were given a list of ingredients to bring in the following week so we could make a classic Victoria Sandwich, our very first proper bake. I was sooooooo excited and could not wait for the next class to come round.
So after lots of mixing, pouring in to 2 greased and lined tins, they were ready to bake. They were placed on a baking rack to cool, perfectly risen, warm and the delicious smell was so tempting. After mid break time we all returned to the classroom whipped up our cream, then spread it onto one sponge, and on the other we spread strawberry jam. Sandwiched them together and dusted the top with icing sugar. Carefully putting into my tin I walked proudly home, looking forward to showing Mum my creation. In my haste to open the tin to show her, my grip on the sides was lost and I dropped the lot on the stone floor. I stood alongside the sorry mess crying while the dog could not believe her luck and tucked into the cake devouring every last crumb:(
Mum came to the rescue though, she gathered up all the ingredients we needed to make another. A lovely bonding time with Mum and Daughter mixing and baking together, and we created the best cake ever.
So tea time was on again. My tears were forgotten as we tucked into the lovely light sponge and delicious filling. So I decided to make mini cakes as a tribute to my mum for making my tears turn to smiles :)
These mini versions turned out really well and were a hit with my taste testers. Oh and thanks Mum for rescuing me that day :)
Hope you enjoy making these as much as I M xx
6oz each of castor sugar, soft butter, sieved flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 3 eggs. A few drops of vanilla extract (optional) Milk. Whipped cream and jam for filling
Grease a 12 portion deep Muffin tin. Set oven to 200C conventional oven or180C fan assisted.
Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and using the all in one method, beat until the mixture is thick and creamy, adding milk if needed. Spoon into into each muffin cup, place in oven and bake for 15-20mins until golden and risen. remove and leave to cool on a backing rack.
When cold cut each one in half and fill with jam and whipped cream. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy with a cuppa :)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

'U' is for....'Up the Garden' Berry Lemon Drizzle Cake

With all this rain our soft fruits are doing well, the only problem is picking....its not much fun when its wet. Dreams of harvesting under blue skies wearing a summer dress and sunhat have vanished and its mackintosh and wellies for me!!
I picked the last of our strawberries yesterday....a good yield around  40lb this year, so lots of jams, jellies and of course cakes and desserts have been made. I quite often make a berry drizzle cake for family and friends....but this 'Up the Garden' cake has been created from many special garden moments.....
Back to my Grans house....As a child I would be packed off to her house for a few weeks over the summer. She lived in a small hamlet in Wiltshire, in a typical english garden cottage, with roses round the door. all set in beautiful countryside. There was only one thing I hated, and that was the spidery outside toilet and the baths that had to be taken in an old tin bath in front of the kitchen range....and this was in the 60's !
I always enjoyed helping her in the garden digging up carrots and new potatoes, runner beans and broad beans....but when we reached the pea patch I knew I was in trouble. I had been there earlier in the morning, picked and eaten them, I can still taste the sweetness of fresh podded peas in my mouth!
Then onto fruit for pudding, like me now she would have all the summer berries, then later in the year pears, apples and plumbs. She was brilliant at preserving all the surplus, making chutneys, jams, curds, and storing the rest in the freezer. 
Plum jam was always interesting at tea time, thick homemade bread, spread with fresh butter from the local farm, with a selection of jams to help yourself to. I would spoon the jam on the side of my plate and count how many stones had come out with the jam....why she left them in I have no idea, but I enjoyed playing tinker, taylor soldier sailor...for any of you who don't know what this is you line up all the stones or pips  that you find in the fruits and counting each one saying tinker, taylor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief would supposedly tel you who you would marry! Well the predictions were not right my husband does something entirely different.
Anyway enough of my ramblings. I celebrate my Nans garden with this recipe....enjoy x


  • 175g soft butter 
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g fruits in season, washed and chopped if they are largish
  • 140g granulated sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  •  Method
  • Oven 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line   a 900g/2lb loaf tin
  • Put the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 5 mins until pale and creamy, the mixture will be thicker than normal.
  • Spread one-third of the cake mix into the tin, then scatter over some of the fruit.
  • Spread another third of the cake mix on top, and scatter with more fruit. Finally put the rest of the cake mix over and gently spread with a spoon. Bake for 60mins h, until an inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Poke the cake all over with a skewer. Put remaining 75g fruit into a bowl with the granulated sugar. Stir in 1 tbsp of the citrus juice first with a fork, mashing a little of the fruit as you go. If it's a bit dry, add a splash more juice and spoon over the cake. Leave in the tin until the cake is cool and the topping is set and good food
  • I used blackcurrants, tayberries, gooseberries and strawberries

Sunday, 15 July 2012

‘T’ is for……Truly Scrumptious refrigerator cake

A posh version of chocolate Rice Krispy cakes …..a mix of biscuit, Maltesers, Milky Way Stars, Minstrels, and marshmallows encased  in chocolate and decorated with chocolate covered strawberries…….Diet tomorrow me thinks!!! 
Last week during one of the Wimbledon matches a woman was caught on camera doing something that many called disrespectfuldisgusting, unbelievable...what was she doing to provoke such outrage? .......well she was knitting!!! lol funny how times change as I remember when I was growing up most women took their knitting wherever they went, hoping to get a moment to knit a few more rows, and no one batted an eyelid. Now it has been branded as the ultimate crime. Maybe there is a time and a place, but I can think of worse things that the camera could of discovered!!!!   
Anyway this made my thoughts turn to my gran, aunts and my mum with their knitting, which became the inspiration for this easy cake!  Saturday mornings were always given to the task of baking, as a child I was given the task of making Rice Krispie Cakes.....I felt very grown up and important being able to make these without any help from my Gran or Mum.....Much of the mixture ended up on the table top and floor, although I expect quite allot ended up in my mouth, never reaching the pretty paper cases!  
In the afternoon all the women would sit together enjoying each others company, and while they chatted, ate cake, and sipped tea, they got on with their knitting! What a wonderful way to multitask!!!! 
Knitting vanished as a hobby for many years but has grown very quickly into a popular pastime and many knitting circles have been formed up and down the country. Men and women alike have embraced this craft, and discovered its therapeutic and help to chill out....Knitting is yoga for the brain!!
So this cake is for knitters everywhere......Hugs 4 smiles M x

100g (3 1/2oz) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g (7oz) milk chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp golden syrup
225g (8oz) digestive biscuits, finely crushed
Handful of Maltesers, Milky Way Stars, Minstrals, Marshmallows (or chocolate delights of your choice)
Grease a 20cm (8") square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Melt together the butter, chocolate and golden syrup and stir until smooth.  Add the crushed digestives and stir until well coated.  Then add the Maltesers and stir quickly so they don't melt.
Press into the tin and chill in the fridge until set. Cut into squares
I decorated mine with chocolate dipped strawberries.....everything comes with strawberries right now as we have a huge glut of them!!!
I made thee Strawberry Muffins for my Nutty Knitter group at our last meet.....Take any Muffin recipe and add chopped strawberries to the mixture before baking x

Knitting is very conducive to thought.  It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again.  ~Dorothy Day 

I like making a piece of string into something I can wear.  ~Author Unknown


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

'S’ is for……Summer Strawberry Sponge

S’ is for……Summer Strawberry Sponge. with an Eton mess filling topped with fresh english strawberries and lemon shortbread hearts

Hello all....once again a little late with this post as time has won. The colourful bunting adorns the local town ready for the annual gala, and although the skies have been grey most of June they add a lovely splash of colour. Strawberries are ripening so fast now, we have picked around 30lb of delicious sweet juicy fruit. I have made lots of jam, baked scrummy cakes, made smoothies and of course a dessert of strrawberries and cream always goes down well. Another delicious way of eating them is with a splash of good quality balsamic vinegar and a little sugar. And everyone's favourite.....strawberries dipped in chocolate mmmmm
This summer cake was inspired by my local church. Ten years ago my family attended our local gala. After the carnival procession, the park spills over with lots of stalls raising money for charities, dog shows, a fair and so on, all the usual that make up events like this up and down the country:)
As I walked on by taking in the atmosphere two young people approached me with the offer of a free fresh strawberries. Me well I rarely refuse a freebie, especially juicy fruit! This was to be a turning point in my life!
I discovered these friendly teenagers were representing a local church, and somehow their whole spiritual enthusiasm was something to really smile about. They gave me leaflets about something called 'The Alpha Course, and I vowed one day I would be able to take part. Rather than waffle on about it I have included a
I went home and pinned the leaflets onto my notice board......and they stayed there for nearly 10 years! My children had grown up and I had a little more time for me, so off I went and thoroughly enjoyed the course and met so many friendly people. My spirituality grew and I finally took the leap, and was journey was finally completed....and all because of a strawberry! So here it is a Strawberry sponge as a thank you to those young people who offered me a juicy ripe strawberry !!!
Make 2 sponges using your favourite Victoria Sandwich recipe.
When cool fill with whipped cream mixed with crushed meringues, chopped strawberries and strawberry jam
Decorate with cream, strawberries and little meringues and shortbread biscuits.
I made my little heart shape biscuits ....but to save time you can buy ready made ones.......Dust with icing sugar.....and serve!!!

Enjoy Love M xxx