Sunday, 31 August 2008


Raspberry Muffins

As we don't grow blueberries, but usually have raspberries in the freezer this is my take on an American favourite. Of course, this time of the year we still have fresh raspberries, the Autumn fruiting variety, which in spite of the awful weather are doing a valiant job.
Here's the recipe:-
  • 10 oz plain flour and 3 teaspoons baking powder OR 10 oz self-raising flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Half a teaspoon salt.
  • 4 oz white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 8 fl. oz. milk
  • 3 oz butter, melted
  • 6 oz raspberries
This mixture makes 11 muffins in the standard size cases that I use.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, add the sugar. In another bowl or large jug, combine the milk, beaten egg and melted butter.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir lightly until just combined. Fold in the fruit carefully so it's not crushed. Do not thaw frozen fruit.
Spoon into the muffin cases, and bake for about 25 mins at 190-200c until they are browned lightly and springy if you press them. Frozen fruit can lenghten the cooking time by 5 or 6 minutes.
Much the same, but baked as a cake is:-
Raspberry Streusel Cake
  • 10 oz plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 fluid ounces milk
  • 8 oz raspberries
  • 4 oz melted butter
  • 4 oz golden caster sugar
  • Use exactly the same method to make the cake as the muffins, but this time turn it into a cake pan about 12 x 9 inches, lined with silicone paper or greasproof.
    Then sprinkle over the streusel topping made by rubbing in 2 oz butter to 4oz plain flour, and stirring in 4 oz soft, moist light brown sugar. You want a fairly lumpy crumble mixture.
    I bake this for about an hour at 180c, in the centre of the oven.

    Our friends Chris and Marilyn have just celebrated their Golden Wedding. Because the caterers were not available for the 'proper' day we had two parties! For the small informal 'do' we had, I made a batch of cupcakes, the same recipe that we used on the Bloggers Day, in the sew-together blog. They are unbelievably good.


    MAKES 12 deep cupcakes • PREP 10 mins •
    COOK 18-20 mins. Freeze without frosting

    150ml pot natural yogurt
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    175g/6oz golden caster sugar
    140g/5oz self-raising flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    100g/4oz ground almonds
    175g/6oz unsalted butter, melted


    1 batch white chocolate frosting (see recipe)

    1 Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases
    and heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

    In a jug, mix the yogurt, eggs and vanilla
    extract. Put the dry ingredients, plus a
    pinch of salt, into a large bowl and make
    a well in the middle.

    2 Add the yogurty mix and melted butter,
    and quickly fold in with a spatula or metal
    spoon - don't overwork it.
    Spoon into the cases (they will be quite full)
    and bake for 18-20 mins or until golden,
    risen and springy to the touch. Cool for a few mins,
    then lift the cakes onto a wire rack to cool
    Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze as soon as possible.

    White chocolate frosting

    Melt lOOg white chocolate in the
    microwave on High for 1½ mins,
    stirring halfway. Leave to cool. Beat
    140g unsalted butter and 140g icing
    in a large bowl until creamy.
    Beat in the chocolate. Cover and chill
    for up to one month.

    Up to 48 hrs before serving (or the
    day before if ifs really hot), bring back
    to room temperature, then spread over
    the cakes.

    This recipe comes from the Good Food magazine June 2007

    From this recipe amount I made 16 generously sized cakes, and still had frosting over, which I have put in the freezer.


    I really loved the taste of this fruity when we tasted it at Isabel's house. It keeps well and improves as it ages, so if you are regular cake eaters it is well worth making two. The original recipe does not use black treacle, but I like the extra depth it gives to the cake, both in flavour and colour.

    Isabel’s Pineapple Fruit Cake

    6oz soft brown sugar 4oz butter or marg
    Small tin crushed pineapple or chopped up pieces
    12oz mixed fruit 4oz cherries
    1 dessertspoon black treacle 8oz SR flour
    2 teaspoon mixed spice 2 eggs

    Put sugar, fat, fruit, cherries, drained pineapple and treacle in a pan, bring to the boil and allow to cool. Beat in two eggs, and then pour the fruit/egg mixture into the sieved flour and spice. Fold in to combine well.
    Put into a lined loaf tin and cook for 1¾ hours at 350°f -180°c

    In my own oven 1½ hours at 165°c gave a better result.

    When doubling the recipe still use only one tin pineapple

    Tuesday, 5 August 2008


    Courgette and Feta Pie
    Some of the best ideas must come about when you are looking for ways of using up a glut of a particular vegetable as well as being determined not to buy any additional ingredients.
    Here is what I used for what turned out to be a perfectly delicious vegetable pie:-
    2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
    500g courgettes (about) sliced thinly
    a tablespoon of olive oil (or butter or vegetable oil)
    4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    125g feta cheese, cut into small cubes
    chopped mint leaves to taste, if you like them
    2 beaten eggs, add some pepper to these
    1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry,
    sheets of filo would be great, but frozen puff is what I had lurking in the freezer.
    Start off by gently cooking the onion in the olive oil while you are preparing the courgettes and garlic. When they have softened, add the courgettes and garlic and continue until they are just cooked, covering the pan, keeping the heat low, so as not to colour the vegetables. Turn out into a cold bowl to cool.
    Roll out the pastry a little more thinly on a floured board. I used a small oblong roasting pan so I could fold the pastry over the filling and not have to cut it up. Grease the bottom of the pan with a little oil so that it will brown well, and lay the pastry on it, with the ends hanging out equally all round, ready to fold over the filling later.
    Add to the cooled courgette mixture the eggs, cheese and mint and stir all together. Put the filling in the centre of the pastry, and fold the edges over. Use the beaten egg that didn't come out of the bowl to stick the pastry together, you can tug the pastry gently to make it fit. If there is enough left over egg you can tip it on top of the pastry to glaze it.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes at 225c to start with, turn the oven down to 200c when it is starting to brown. You are looking for nice crisp pastry all round.

    Inside the pie

    A Chutney of courgettes, apples and tomatoes

    The mixture before cooking

    Take 1kg each of courgettes, apples, (eating or cooking, but use a tart one) and tomatoes. Scald and skin the tomatoes, peel and core the apples and trim the courgettes, then chop them up neatly, and put in a large pan.

    Peel and dice 500g onions and add to the pan, along with 500g raisins or sultanas, and 500g of soft brown sugar.

    You will need 750ml of vinegar. In a small bowl put 2 level teaspoons ground cayenne (which will make it quite hot), a scant teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a good 1inch size knob of ginger, which must be peeled and finely grated. Add a small amount of vinegar to the bowl and mix together. Add the rest of the vinegar to the vegetables, followed by the spice mix. Stir it all together and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 3 hours. It will need to bubble enough to gradually reduce the liquid, don't cover the pan, but don't have the heat so high that it burns on the bottom of the pan, stir it often. You want a nice thick mixture at the end.

    This will make about 8 jars, which need to be matured for a few weeks.

    Pickled Courgettes

    450g courgettes, thinly sliced
    1teaspoon turmeric
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons white mustard seeds
    2 tablespoons clear honey
    300ml. cider vinegar
    2 onions, sliced into thin rings

    Sprinkle the courgettes with salt and leave for an hour. Mix the turmeric, salt, mustard seeds, honey and vinegar in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool, skim if necessary.

    Drain the courgettes, wash well and pat dry. Pack into clean jars with the onion rings. Cover with the spiced vinegar. Seal well and store for 2-3 days before eating.

    This recipe comes from The Perfect Pickle Book, published in 1988 to accompany a BBC TV series.

    Monday, 4 August 2008

    Summer Fruits

    Fragrant sweet peas,
    with a favourite chicken made by Andrew Eddleston.

    One of my favourite ways of using plentiful soft summer fruits is to combine them in a puree of sweetened blackcurrants. Although it is so easy to do, it looks stunning simply served with Greek Yoghourt. The same mixture makes a good Summer Pudding filling, and when set with gelatine a classy looking fruit terrine.
    All you need to do is gently cook your blackcurrants with a tiny drop of water until they start to pop, and push them through a sieve. Sweeten to taste. When the puree has cooled to tepid, add raspberries and halved or quartered strawberries. If you want to set the mixture add soaked gelatine while the blackcurrant puree is still hot enough to dissolve it. If you are going to make a Summer Pudding add a little more water with the blackcurrants, so the bread will be well soaked with juice in the finished dish.

    Frozen raspberries keep their shape when defrosted in the puree, and if you put frozen strawberries into a jelly mix they will also keep their shape as they defrost. Be careful, however of adding too much frozen fruit to jelly, as it will set too quickly and look messy. If you are making a Summer Pudding it won't matter if frozen strawberries collapse anyway.