Thursday 1 March 2018

Cooking up a storm

The slice on the left is the actual colour of the cake.


2/3 cup butter, melted (4 oz)
1 cup brown sugar (6 oz)
1 cup applesauce
1 tblspn. grated orange peel
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour (11 oz)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda (Bicarbonate)
1 cup chopped pecans
confectioners' (icing) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.

Combine first two ingredients in a large bowl and blend well.

Beat in next 4 ingredients, reserve.

Sift together flour, powder, salt, and soda, stir into applesauce mixture.  Stir in nuts.  Spread batter in a greased 10 x 15 inch pan.  Bake 40 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool before dusting with confectioner's sugar.

These are really lovely.


1/2 cup softened butter (approx. 3.4 oz.)
1/2 cup white sugar (3 oz)
1/2 cup brown sugar (omit if wished)
2 eggs
3 tblspns yoghurt (I used peach and passionfruit)
2 tspn lemon juice
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla
2cups flour (plain) - 10 oz.
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda (Bicarbonate)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 apples, pare, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Grease a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Cream first 3 ingredients, and beat in eggs.

Stir in next four ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, powder, soda, and cinnamon and nutmeg.  Gradually fold in first mixture.

Stir in apples and pecans.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 1 hour or until done.

This is a lovely cake and the hint of banana really makes it special.  It's a good way of using up old bananas and even older apples!  I have had a small box of the last (and smaller) apples we picked from the main apple tree and which have been chilled on the porch ever since.   I don't like waste, so these have been cooked up this week.  That said, a few scabby ones have just been cut in half and put out for the Blackbirds - there were 12 on the patio when I drew back the curtains this morning.  Some European guests I think, who came with the Fieldfares, Redwings and other birds escaping the bitter weather in Europe, only to find it had followed them here . . .


4 oz Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/4 tspn each of ground ginger, mixed spice and cinnamon
1 1/2 tspns Bicarbonate of Soda
2 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar
2 1/2 level tblspns golden syrup

Sift the flour, salt, spices and Bicarb in a basin and rub in the butter. Melt the syrup and stir in to make a soft dough. (Though what I do is melt the butter with the caster sugar and the syrup.)

Roll the mixture into balls about the size of marbles and place them on grease baking trays with a space between them to allow room to spread.  Bake at 350 deg. F (180 deg. C) Gas Mark 4 for 10 mins.  Take the tray out of the oven and hit it on a solid surface to make the fairings crack and spread.  Put back in the oven for another 5 mins to finish baking.

(This will soon be your favourite go-to biscuit recipe.)

I always try to fill the oven when I have it on as it costs so much to use.  In the fridge I had a small bowl of minced beef which wasn't really enough for a good meal (for Keith) so I cooked up a few potatoes and chopped them up and stirred in with the mince.  Meanwhile I made some cheese pastry to make into pasties with the mince and potato.


4 oz plain flour
Pinch salt
2 oz butter
3 oz grated Cheddar cheese
A good pinch of Cayenne pepper or dry mustard
Yolk of an egg
A little chilled water

Rub in the flour, salt and butter till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the grated cheese and add a good sprinkling of Cayenne pepper or mustard if liked.  Add the beaten egg yolk and a little chilled water, adding more water if necessary.  Knead gently and then roll out, using a side plate as a pattern for the pasty.  I got 3 pasties from this amount of pastry.  Spoon meat and potato mixture on the pasties, and smear some water around the border of the pasty before folding in half and sealing the edges with the blade of a knife or the back of a fork.  Make a few holes in the top with a fork, and then glaze with a little milk.  Put on a greased tray and cook in a hot oven until golden brown.

As for the Beast from the East, so far we have just had a few flakes of snow here but quite a wind blowing, and bitterly cold.  It's difficult to get the house warm, even with the fire lit and the central heating on, so I fear we must use a lot of oil to see us through this cold spell.  At least it is warm in bed - in fact, I was too HOT last night!!


  1. If I didn’t have to go out for a 3.45 meeting I would be going into the kitchen right now and baking a tray of Cornish Fairings. I could do with banging a few biscuits on the work top, it is absolutely freezing here too (I don’t like having the central heating too high so I am literally swaddled in woolies) and I am feeling a bit sniffy (haven’t had a cold all winter) and I would love to be sitting by the fire dunking biscuits in hot tea.

    1. Hi Sarah - sounds like I have properly tempted you with my baking. You will love the Fairings. Just don't overdo them as I have done a couple of times recently - or they will break your teefs!

      In this weather I think the indulgence of some extra heating is allowed. We have ours on for a couple of hours, then off until it gets parky again, and we have the wood burner lit. The wind is blowing in really strong gusts and the few flakes of snow which have fallen are being moved about the garden.

      To combat your sniffles, get some Sambucol (Elderberry) syrup. I made my own and swear by it.

  2. Could you enlighten me about the meat and potato in those pasties please?
    Do you pre cook the meat - seems to me that however small you cut chunks of casserole steak for instance it would not be cooked through. And do you pre cookthe potatoes for a few minutes and cut them into small pieces. I have tried making things like this in the past but never got the filling properly cooked.

    1. This was just cooked mince Pat. The spuds were par-boiled (a bit overdone if I am honest). So it was all very well cooked before it got bunged in a cheese pastry jacket. A little goes a long way!

  3. I am going to try the Cornish Fairings. They sound so good.

    cheers, parsnip.

    1. They are a bit TOO good parsnip. I must hide the ones I made the other day!!

  4. This all looks delicious especially the pasties. Now I've read a few blog posts I'm beginning to think that it's time I started blogging again too.

    1. Rowan - I thought you had given your blog up completely as it was a year or so when you last posted. I shall look out for some snow scenes!!

      Tam has just got a job back in town here, so will be coming back to the area to live, and hopefully she and her boyfriend will find the sort of property they want locally.

  5. Well, you do have the right idea...just cook up your own storm! I just must try your Banana Apple Bread! Also, I love your new header photo!

    1. That photo just had to be taken Chip! Enjoy the Banana Apple Bread.

  6. I always think that a good cooking/baking spree on a blustery day serves to warm the kitchen and provides comfort food. It is tempting to close the curtains and establish oneself near the best heat source with book, cats, tea and a plate of goodies.

    1. We have been fortunate to escape the snow here (a bit disappointing as it would have been pretty!) but that wind is something else - I have NEVER known such a cold wind in my whole life and the gusts are very very strong.

      The cooking spree certainly did warm me and the kitchen up. This is another sofa day with laptop on my lap, hot soup, and a good book (not to mention the cats snuggled up!)

  7. Replies
    1. The cheese pastry makes them so tasty Lou - you can vary the fillings and even add onion to the one I made (OH doesn't do onion!)

  8. Recipes look delicious - all look so good but Cornish Fairings and Banana and Apple loaf are really tempting me. Glad to see above you seem to have escaped the snow. So very very cold and the wind is bitter :(

    1. I do enjoy my baking RR, and in weather like this I think a little bit of cake to fill the corners keeps you warm! That's my excuse anyway.

      I wish this perishing wind would Go Away.