Monday, 29 January 2018


Hello, it's been a while.  I've had a break from blogging but now I'm back and kicking off with this delicately spiced drizzle loaf.  I have to admit that the inspiration came from a slice of cake that I had in the John Lewis Cafe, I loved it and savoured every mouthful trying to distinguish each individual flavour.  It was like the palate test on Master Chef. Anyhow, after a couple of not quite rights I got it and now I'm sharing it with you.  The drizzle makes the sponge extremely moist and the almonds add texture whilst the orange flower water gives it a fragrant turkish delight quality.

The cake in the picture was mostly eaten when it was still warm with a bonus glug of cream and was like a sponge pudding but it was just as exquisite finished off a few hours later cold.  Let me know if yours lasted long enough to taste cold.

You can leave the cake with just the drizzle but I've added chopped pistachios, freeze dried raspberries - available in most supermarkets and dried marigold petals - bought on line and usually used in herbal teas.  I think they really add to its spice trail taste.

170g Butter/Margarine
170g Sugar
150g Self Raising Flour
50g Ground Almonds
1tsp Baking Powder
Zest of 1 Orange
1tsp Ground Cardamom
1tbsp Orange Flower Water
1tbsp Milk
3 Eggs

Juice of 1 Orange
30g Sugar
1 tbsp Orange Flower Water

It's as you'd expect and pretty straight forward.  Cream together the butter and sugar till it's light and fluffy.  Now add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.  Pour the mix into a lined 2lb loaf tin and level out the surface.  Bake in a preheated oven at 160C fan for 40-50 minutes till cooked, firm to touch and a skewer comes out clean.

While it's baking make the drizzle. Stir the sugar into the orange juice with the orange flower water.  Once the cake is cooked, spoon the drizzle over the loaf while it is still hot, this helps it soak in better then add any decoration you decide on.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017



I remember my mother making jam with all sorts of fruits and sometimes vegetables, marrow being one! We must have known someone with a plum tree because that seemed to be a particular favourite of hers to make.  The only down side was that she seemed averse to removing the stones which ment it was something you have to be mindfull of doing when spreading it on your toast.  So I was only too pleased to be the recipient of a jar of plum jam from my sister which, not only lacked the bothersome stones but had the added luxury of being spiced with cinnamon and star anise, fancy!  

I've been eating it on toasted crumpets but decided to make it go that bit further adding it to a  frangipane tart topped with more plums.  If you can't get plum jam, damson is a good alternative.  I've finished mine with a scattering of sugar nibs but flaked almonds would also work well.

150g Plain Flour
30g Icing Sugar
75g Butter

150g Butter
150g Sugar
3 Eggs
50g Self Raising Flour
150g Ground Almonds
1 tsp Almond Extract
300g Plum Jam
4 Ripe Plums
2 tbsp Sugar Nibs (Optional)

Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour and icing sugar, add enough water to make the dough come together.  Add the water a little at a time stirring it in with a knife.

Roll out the pastry and line a deep 8.5 inch fluted flan tin.  Line the pastry with parchment and fill with baking beans.  Bake blind for 15 minutes at 160C fan.  Remove the parchment and beans and return the pastry case to the oven for a further 5 minutes to dry out.

Spread the jam over the base, this is easier to do whilst the pastry is still warm. Now make the frangipane.  Cream the  butter and sugar together then add the eggs, flour, ground almonds and extract and mix well.  Top the jam with the frangipane mix and spread it over the tart to completely cover the jam.

Cut the plums into quarters and remove the stones.  Arrange the plums on top skin side down then scatter over the sugar nibs or flaked almonds if using.

Bake for 40-50 minutes till its golden brown and the frangipane is set.
Don't forget you can use your pastry scraps to make jam tarts, who doesn't like a jam tart?

Friday, 10 March 2017



My local farm, Appleby's has just started selling it's raw milk straight to the customers.  I don't understand why this hasn't happened before, such a great idea, imagine getting your milk on the same day it has been produced!  Raw milk means it's not been pasturised and the health benefits of  that are varied including helping with asthma and because of the enzymes still present it means those with a lactose intolerance can once again cows milk.

I reckon it's the nearest I'm going to get to milking a cow and can't stop myself from taking my bottle down for a refill. So I've been thinking up recipes for this gorgeously fresh milk.  Rice pudding, one of my ultimate comfort foods, is a must.  I am usually happy with a bit of jam, just like we used to have at school, but if the cows are making the effort, so will I and I've rustled up a berry compote which you can have hot or cold. 

Serves 4-6

In a medium sized pan, combine 200g Pudding Rice, 1ltr Appleby's Raw Milk, 100g Sugar, 40g Butter and 2 tsp Vanilla Extract.  Stir everything together then put on a medium heat and bring to the boil.  Keep stiring the rice while it heats to stop it sticking to the bottom.  Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and continue cooking for roughly 30-40 minutes till the rice has cooked.  You need to keep an eye on it and stir it now and then.  

Whilst the rice is cooking, make your berries.  In another pan weigh 250g Frozen Berries and 2 tbsp Sugar.  Warm through on a low heat till the sugar has melted and the berries are soft and warm.