Millionaire’s Shortbread – Felicity Cloake’s recipe

It’s a long time since I posted a recipe on Pining, but one day last week Jack said that there was a tin of condensed milk in the cupboard which was coming up to its use by date, he likes to keep track of things like that. Anyway it was a perfect excuse to use it either to make some highly calorific Scottish Tablet or Millionaire’s Shortbread. As I had made and scoffed tablet the week before I opted for the even more calorific recipe. The recipe I use is Felicity Cloake’s from The Guardian, you can see it here.

Millionaire's shortbread , Felicity Cloake

I used a good quality milk chocolate for the topping. This recipe makes a really weighty amount, in fact I weighed the whole thing and it came out at over 3.5 lbs including the tin which isn’t that heavy. I think the whole thing must add up to about 3,000 calories! We don’t have much left now, it’s just far too moreish!

Millionaire's shortbread

Mary Berry’s Bakewell Slices

Bakewell Traybake

I bought a copy of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible recently and one of the first recipes I tried out was Bakewell Slices – they’re absolutely delicious. Apparently as the pastry contains a lot of fat and no sugar there’s no need to line the tin with baking parchment. Mine didn’t stick anyway.

For the shortcrust pastry

175g (6 oz) plain flour
75g (3oz) butter
2-3 tablespoons of cold water

For the filling
about four tablespoons of raspberry jam (I used half a jar of jam)

For the sponge mixture
100g (4oz) softened butter
100g (4oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
half a teaspoon of almond extract

1. To make the pastry, measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the water and mix to form a soft dough.
2. Roll out the dough and use to line a 30×23 cm (12×9 inches) baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/Fan 160 C/Gas 4
3. Measure all the sponge ingredients into a bowl and beat until well blended. Spread the raspberry jam onto the pastry, then top it with the sponge mixture. Sprinkle with flaked almonds.
4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until the cake has shrunk back from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut in the slices.

I used margarine instead of butter and I can’t imagine it could taste any better with butter.

Mary Berry's Baking Bible cover

Foodie Friday – Bakewell Raspberry Meringue Pie

I had a packet of frozen shortcrust pastry that I bought around Christmas so I wanted to use it up. I decided to team it up with a packet of pre-rolled marzipan also unused since Christmas. I decided to make a combination of Bakewell tart and meringue pie.

Bakewell Raspberry Meringue Pie

I blind baked the pastry case as normal and when it was cool I spread home-made raspberry jam on it then moulded the marzipan into the pastry case. I also had frozen rasps in the freezer and after they had thawed I lined the marzipan with rasps. There was a lot of juice after the raspberries had thawed and I used it to make raspberry curd using the rasp juice instead of the classic lemon.

Bakewell Raspberry Meringue Pie

This was an experiment which was a success and I’ll definitely do it again. If you don’t have a meringue pie recipe you can follow this one here.

Foodie Friday – Cheese souffle

I was only about 16 or 17 when I first made cheese souffle and I didn’t realise that souffles were regarded as ‘difficult’ and often avoided by experienced cooks. Luckily my first cheese souffle turned out well using this recipe.

Cheese souffle

3 eggs
25 g or 1 oz of butter
15g or half oz flour
142 ml or 1/4 pint milk
75 g or 3 oz grated cheese
seasoning, including dry mustard

Separate the eggs. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, gradually add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly, add cheese seasoning and egg yolks one by one, beating well. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and put into a greased oven proof dish or souffle dish. Cook in the centre of a moderately hot oven, 400 F / 200 C / Gas Mark 6 for about 20 minutes, till well risen and brown. Serve at once.

I use ordinary cheddar cheese for this recipe and I only use mustard as a seasoning, about a teaspoonful. I think there is enough salt in the cheese already. Accompany it with a salad.

This is based on a Marguerite Patten recipe.

Foodie Friday – Pineapple Upside down Cake

It’s Friday so I’m having a Foodie Friday post. On New Year’s Day we had our ‘boys’ and their ladies visiting us and it was yet another marathon cooking day for me. Duncan, our eldest boy is dairy intolerant so I decided to bake a pineapple upside down cake for pudding. It’s always tasty, especially when eaten hot, and I think it looks quite good too.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I used margarine instead of butter and I don’t think it makes any difference to the flavour, but I always add some vanilla extract to a plain cake mix to make sure that there will be no eggy flavour to it.

Cooking time 1 hour
Oven temperature 350 F/ Gas Mark 4/ 180 C
Cake tin – 9 inches diameter and two inches deep

Base of cake:
1 – 435g tin of pineapple rings –
glace cherries
2 oz butter of margarine
2 oz brown sugar
1 tablespoon of honey or golden syrup (I think that’s corn syrup in the US)

For the cake:

5 oz butter of margarine
5 oz sugar
3 eggs
drop of vanilla extract (optional)
6 oz self raising flour

Melt the 2 oz of margarine for the base and pour it into the cake tin. Top with the brown sugar and golden syrup/honey. Arrange the drained pineapple rings onto this mixture. Add the cherries to make a nice pattern.

For the cake:
Cream the margarine and sugar, gradually beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. then fold in the flour. Spread this mixture over the fruit and level it. You might get some of the syrup coming up to the edge but don’t worry about that.

Bake in the oven for one hour and test to see if it’s done. It might take a bit longer as every oven is different.

Put a large plate over the cake and turn it upside down, the cake should come out with no problem. This is delicious hot, I love hot fruit and it is even better with cream or ice cream, if you aren’t dairy intolerant!

This recipe is based on one from Marguerite Patten’s Every Day Cook Book, first published in 1968. I like her recipes as she didn’t use loads of different ingredients and they were all store cupboard staples, so no need to do any special shopping for fancy stuff, which you often have to do with more modern recipes.

I had one pineapple ring left over from the tin, which I couldn’t manage to fit into the cake base. I haven’t tried any other types of fruit but obviously you could try tinned apricots, peaches or whatever you fancy.

Foodie Friday – Peanut Butter Cookies

I haven’t been doing much in the way of recipes on ‘Pining’ over the last year, so I’ve decided to start up a regular Foodie Friday, to try to encourage myself. I’m kicking it off with a simple but very more-ish peanut butter cookie recipe, very popular with kids. It makes about 24 cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies


115g/4oz/half cup of butter, diced
125g/4 1/2 oz/ three quarter cup of soft light brown sugar
1 egg
5ml/1 tsp. vanilla extract
225g/8oz/1 cup crunchy peanut butter
115g/4 oz/1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
2.5ml/ half tsp. bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
pinch of salt

1. In a large bowl beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

2. In another bowl, mix the egg and vanilla extract, then gradually beat into the butter mixture.

3. Stir in the peanut butter and blend thoroughly.

4. Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into the mixture, stir until the mixture forms a soft dough. Chill it for around 30 minutes until it firms up.

5. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350F/ Gas mark 4. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

6. Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls. Place on the baking sheets and flatten using the back of a fork until the rounds are roughly 6 cm/ 2 1/2 inches in diameter, making a criss-cross pattern.

7. Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Apparently these cookies made their first appearance at the 1904 St Louis, Missouri World Fair. This is one that I don’t even have a postcard from but if you’re interested you can see images of it here.

Marguerite Patten 1915- 2015

I wasn’t exactly surprised to hear on the news tonight that Marguerite Patten had died, after all she was 99 years old, but it’s still a shame that she didn’t reach 100 and get a card from the Queen. Mind you she was given an OBE and eventually a CBE for services to the Art of Cookery.

She was called one of the first celebrity chefs but she was unhappy with that description, she insisted she was a home economist, in that she was just like Mary Berry who is also happier describing herself as a home cook.

Cookery in Colour cover

I must admit that Marguerite has always had a comfy wee place in my heart as it was when Jack bought me a copy of her book Cookery in Colour that I realised that he was really keen on me. Until then the height of my culinary skills was those Vesta dinners which came in a cardboard box, freeze dried, just add water! Remember them, back in the early 1970s those seemed the height of exoticism.

Jack obviously wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to starve if he and I ended up getting married. I fact, maybe he was testing me out and if I didn’t manage to come up with some decent meals from the book, I might have been ditched. Since then I’ve bought her Every Day Cook Book and Victory Cook Book, which contains the wartime recipes which she devised to cope with rationing.

I think though that just about anybody would succeed with Marguerite’s recipes, she kept the list of ingredients short and you probably already had a lot of the things in your store cupboard, unlike the more modern so-called celebrity chefs who seem to think that they have to find the most obscure and weird things to put into their dishes. I blame those Michelin stars.

You can see some images of Marguerite Patten – old and new here.