Sunday, 1 September 2013

Back to School - Sweetie favourites
I love cake club. What is better than talk & eat cake with fellow cake & bake enthusiasts.
Well actually for me it is the baking itself. I love to bake!!
My lastest bake for our Clandestine Cake Club Back to School - Sweetie favourites is a lemony lemonade cake. Based on a classic lemon drizzle cake recipe but with a CCC twist.
175 gr (6oz) soft unsalted butter
175 gr (6oz) caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 large eggs beaten
175 gr (6oz) self-raising flour
4 tbsp lemonade
For the topping
25 gr (1oz) butter
25 gr (1oz) lemonade
Juice of the lemon
225 gr (8oz) icing sugar
Jelly beans or any kind of sweets to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and lightly grease and line a 20cm/8” tin.
Mix butter, caster sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy. Add the beated eggs and fold in the flour then add the lemonade.
Pour in the prepared tin and drop the tin from about 20cm/8” above the work surface to help level the mixture out. Bake for about 35 minutes until an inserted metal skewer comes out clean. 
Meanwhile prepare the topping
Melt butter and sugar together over a low heat, stir in the lemon juice and mix in the icing sugar until you have a smooth pouring consistency
Leave the cake for about 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the tin and put on a wire rack with baking tray under neat to catch any of the topping that runs of the cake.
Spoon half of the topping onto the cake and leave to run of the sides. Leave for another 10 or 15 minutes and repeat with the rest of the topping.
Decorate the cake with any kind of sweets you like.

Friday, 15 February 2013

We "heart" cake

This year's Valentines Day saw the first of South Lancashire's Clandestine Cake Club of 2013. The meeting was in conjunction with the local W.I. whose members also brought some cakes along. So plenty of cake to eat :) My cake was a chocolate "rum & coke" cake, an adaption of my favourite chef James Martin's chocolate cola cake

The 14th February 2013 was also the release date of the first Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook and some of the members had made recipes from this book.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook - Lynn Hill

Earlier this week I received my copy of the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook in the post courtesy of Quercus books. After the initial giddyness and excitement of seeing two of my recipes in this book, I started looking through the recipes that were submitted by fellow Clandestine Cake Club members.
I was amazed and delighted by the variation of the recipes in the book. There are so many delicious recipes to choose from that I just did not know where to start. With names like raspberry cakewell, magic bean cake, cayman mango cake, strawberry butterfly bundt and citrus sunbeam layer cake the mind was in cakey overdrive. I decided I'd leave it up to my other half to choose which one I'd bake first and I was given the options of scrumptious sticky toffee cake (surprise, surprise!) or dark chocolate marmelade cake. Seeing I had all the ingredients for the latter, this is the one I made - but I am sure many more of the recipes will follow soon.
This cake is rich and truly scrumptious. A must try for all chocoholics. I can heartily recommend this book to all bakers of all abilities, there is something for everyone. It will be available from all good book stores from the 14th February, but can already be pre-ordered on line. I have not been paid or requested to do a review of this book and the views expressed are mine alone.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pork, Apple & Sage Pie

A Facebook Friend of mine entered the cakes vs pies competition for CarFest South and was really excited about it all. It got me interested in it and when she did very well in the cake competition and I saw all the pictures of the event, I could understand her enthusiasm. So when CarFest North announced that they needed pie makers for the event at Cholmondeley, I didn’t hesitate a moment and send an e-mail that I could make pies. I didn’t really expect to hear anything of it, but got a phonecall and was asked what pie? Uhhmmmm, I hadn’t really thought about this, so blurred out: pork, apple & sage pie! Sounds good, was the reply….you are in! And so a week of pork pie making started…….and this came out as the recipe that worked best. To make a 20cm diameter pie you need For the filling 450 gr (1 lb) of pork shoulder meat, diced ½ medium onion, roughly chopped 1 large eating apple, diced A handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped Freshly grated nutmeg Freshly ground black pepper Salt (to taste) 50 ml (still) cider A tub of good quality chicken stock For the pastry 125 gr lard 150 ml water 450 gr (1 lb) of plain flour Salt (to taste) Heaped teaspoon of dried sage 1 egg, beaten
1. First make the pastry by bringing the water and lard to the boil. In the food processor mix together the flour, salt & sage and while the food processor is turning add the hot water/lard mixture. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. 2. Generously butter a 20 cm (8 inch) loose bottomed tin. 3. Roll out approx 2/3 of the pastry mixture and place into the tin, pressing down well. 4. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to set 5. Keep the rest of the pastry in cling film in a warm place. Preheat the oven to Fan 180C/Gasmark 5 6. Mince the pork shoulder meat in a food processor and add the onion, apple, sage, nutmeg and seasoning and mix together well. Add the cider and give it another little whisk. 7. Fill you pastry case with the meat mixture nice and full but make sure you don’t overfill it or the pastry case will burst. 8. Roll out the remainder of the pastry and top the pie with this, crimping the edges together. Make a little hole in the middle of the pie top. 9. Whisk the egg loose in a bowl and brush the top of the pastry with this. 10. Place in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes 11. Remove from the oven, leave to stand for a few minutes before removing it from the tin and placing it on an oven tray (take your time over this, as it is a delicate procedure) 12. Brush the sides of the pie with the rest of the egg wash and place back in the oven for another 20 – 30 minutes. After cooking, let the pie cool completely on a wire rack and then in the fridge. Warm up the stock and carefully, using a small funnel, spoon the stock into the pie through the hole that was made in the pastry. Keep spooning it in until the pie will take no more liquid and put it back it the fridge to set. My pie ended just outside of the top ten with a score of 79/100 which for a first attempt I am quite happy with. Some of the comments of the judges were: "pastry should be richer" and "more fat in filling" - I have to say even though I used pork shoulder, I actually removed quite a bit of the fat, next time I know not to!! It was a great fun day and I would do it all again, maybe I should try a cake next time.
The judges looking at my entry

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Grandma Singleton's Lancashire Cheese

I absolutely love cheese! So when Grandma Singleton’s ran a competition on Twitter whereby you could win some cheese, I did not hesitate for one moment. I could not believe my luck when they announced that I was the winner and two days later a lovely hamper with 6 different cheeses, some plum & apple chutney & crackers was delivered. Now cheese & crackers with some nice chutney is a classic of course, but with such a wonderful variety of cheese I decided to make a few dishes and try them out. I choose to make some cheese scones, a quiche and leek & brioche gratin. Next was to determine which cheese would be best suitable for each dish. For this I had to try them all (a tough job, I know, but someone has to do it). My final choices for the dishes were Grandma Singleton’s Parlick Fell Pure Sheep’s Cheese for the scones, the traditional creamy Lancashire for the quiche and Grandma Singleton’s famously strong Lancashire for the leek & brioche gratin.
Grandma Singleton’s Parlick Fell Pure Sheep’s Cheese Scones

350 gr plain flour
1 heaped table spoon baking powder
A good pinch of sea salt
70 gr unsalted butter
100 gr Grandma Singleton’s Parlick Fell Pure Sheep’s Cheese
100 ml milk
2 eggs, beaten


Preheat the oven to fan 180C/375F
Mix the flour, salt & baking powder.
Add the butter and rub in.
Add ¾ of the cheese together with the milk and most of the egg (keep about ¼ of this to glaze the scones later). Combine to make a dough.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface about 1,5 cm thick (3/4 inch) and cut out round shapes using a cookie cutter . Place the scones on a greased baking tray and brush with the reserved egg.
Scatter over the cheese that was left and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Quiche Lorraine (recipe can be found in the Perfect Pies book by the Hairy Bikers, the only thing I changed was the cheese used from Gruyère to Grandma Singleton’s traditional creamy Lancashire)
Leek & Brioche gratin (recipe can be found in James Martin’s Masterclass, the only thing I changed was the cheese used from Comté to Grandma Singleton’s famously strong Lancashire)
At no point was I paid or requested to do a review of the products.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


I have seriously neglected my blogging for sometime, but as today saw another South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club meeting I thought I'd blog the cake I made for the meeting.
The recipe is from the very first cookbook I ever owned. It was given to me by my mum when I left home aged 18. It is called basis kookboek, which I think even non-linguists will recognise to be basic cookbook.
The recipe I choose is called Appeltaart aka Dutch Applecake.
You will need an approx 22 cm springform to bake this in.


200 gr plain flour
225 gr unsalted butter (straight from the fridge)
140 gr caster sugar
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 sachets of vanilla sugar

For the filling
500 gr granny smith apples
the juice of the lemon
80 gr currants, raisins or sultanas (or a mixture)
50 gr caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 egg
2 tablespoons of milk

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 4
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the sugar, salt, vanilla sugar & lemon zest.
Cube the butter and rub it in the flour mixture. Once the butter is evenly distributed, knead it all into a soft and supple dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for about half an hour.
Butter your springform
Peel and thinly slice the apples and sprinkle with the lemon juice to prevent it from colouring.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film (keeping a little seperate for the lattice top) and if time put back in the fridge for another 20 to 30 minutes.
Mix the dried fruit, sugar, cinnamon, custard powder and fennel seeds with the slices of apple.
Line the baking tin with the rolled out dough and spoon in the apple mixture.
Beat the egg and mix with 1 tbsp of the milk, pour over the apples.
Roll out the rest of the dough and cut into thin strips. Top the apple cake with the strips and brush it all with the other tbsp of milk.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour - 1hour 10 minutes

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Hasse's meatballs

One of the things I like best about food is sharing it. Either directly: cooking for, or eating with friends and family or indirectly by sharing recipes.
I am very lucky that I have several friends who feel the same and happily will share their favourite recipes with me. This one is another one given to me by my friend Judith, who in turn got it from her Swedish friend Hasse.

We have had this several times and it is always greeted with smiles. Give it go and I hope you will enjoy it too.

Serves 4

Ingredients for the meatballs:

50 gr of breadcrumbs
200 ml of double cream
1 red onion, finely chopped
300 gr best minced beef
100 gr minced pork
1 egg
½ tsp salt
2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
Butter or oil for frying

Ingredients for the sauce:

1 tbsp concentrated veal stock
200 ml milk
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp plain flour
Salt & pepper to taste.


Let the breadcrumbs swell in the cream and then add the other ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well.
With wet hands form small meatballs (about the size of a golf ball) and put aside on a board or some greaseproof paper.
Fry the meatballs in batches in the butter/oil (keep warm in a low oven until all have been fried and the sauce made)
Using the same pan used for frying the meatballs & keeping the residues of meat etc, as this will enhance the flavours of the sauce, add the flour & cook this out for a bit, then mix in veal stock, milk & soy, season. Bring to the boil & whisk the sauce for about 3 minutes.
Serve the meatballs with the sauce, some vegetables, buttered new potatoes and lingonberry jam (optional, available from Ikea)