Saturday, February 27, 2010


With this miserably cold weather comes the need for the old favourites. This recipe is a mixture of several I have come across over the years, it is beautifully moist and incredibly fast and easy to make, an all in one pot wonder!!!

Anything that cuts down on the wash up is good by me! Remember to use a large saucepan as it has to hold the whole mixture.


450g butter

550ml water

50ml whiskey or brandy

350g soft light brown sugar

450g dried fruit (I usually use a mixture of sultanas and raisins)

900g self raising flour

4 large eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

Place butter, sugar , dried fruit and water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, give it a stir every minute or so.

Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool enough so it won't cook the eggs on contact.

Add the eggs and whiskey or brandy and mix. Add the flour and spices gradually and stir carefully.

Bake in two baking parchment lined loaf tins. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake at 150 C for 90 minutes.

Test with a skewer (I always use a spaghetti stick) to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.

Cool out of the tin on a wire rack.


Friday, February 26, 2010


There are time when your get up and go - goes. At these times these bars are the thing to have to hand.
They keep for ages in a tin, are relatively healthy - all the nuts and seeds are even better for you than vegetables (heard it on the radio so it must be true!)
They make a great breakfast or lunch on the run. Kids love them with a hot chocolate when they get in from school. I find them the perfect food to take when travelling - so much better then airline food.
Nigella Lawson provided the inspiration for these health(ish) bars - the real light bulb ingredient is the condensed milk. I have played around with many flap jack type recipes, faffing around with sugar, golden syrup, honey to name a few, but the condensed milk is a revelation, it binds the mixture perfectly, tastily and includes calcium!
1 can of condensed milk (I use the light version when I can get it)
250g porridge oats
125g hazelnuts
50g almonds
75g sunflower seeds
100g dried fruit (I love sour cherries)
Line a 23cm x 33cm baking tin with baking parchment
Preheat oven to 130 C
Warm the condensed milk in the microwave or a saucepan.
Mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl, add the condensed milk. Spread this mixture in the lined tin, get it as even as possible.
Bake for one hour, when you remove it from the oven allow to cool for about 20 minutes, and then cut to the size you like.
Based of Nigella Lawson's Breakfast Bars

Thursday, February 25, 2010


To Boldly Go where so many talented and entertaining bloggers have gone before, I don't know if I have anything to add to the world of food blogs. I do know that I am passionate about cooking and baking and enjoying the outcome with my family and friends. I hope that I can make a small contribution to the world of food blogs with which I am becoming slightly obsessed!!

I know that Brownieville Girl should start her blog with a Brownie recipe (and I have many up my sleeve!) but I am nothing if not awkward (!) so I am blogging about my current favourite cookies (for this week anyway!).

The recipe is based on Nigella Lawson's Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies with a few tweaks along the way.


125g soft butter
175g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
75g porridge (oats)
75g dried cranberries
150g white chocolate (chopped) - I thing Green and Black is best
Zest of one orange

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy (best with electric mixer) then add the egg and orange zest while the mixer is going.

Beat in the flour, baking powder and porridge oats, and fold in the cranberries and chopped chocolate.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls with your hands and place on baking sheet (with room to spread) and flatten with a fork.

Place in oven and check at 15 minutes, I usually swap baking sheets round at this stage, but they could be done (depending on your oven). Remove from the oven when the cookies are pale gold. Leave to continue to cook on the baking sheet on your cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Then remove (I use my fish slice) to cool completely on the wire rack.

Hide the cookies when cool or the will disappear in no time!!!!