The Guardian’s Bakewell Traybake

I recently deleted the old Mary Berry Bakewell recipe that I had on ‘Pining’. Someone called Emma was incensed that it didn’t work out for her which I found quite amusing as if you are an experienced baker you know that you can do a recipe fifty times with no problems but sometimes it just fails for no good reason. When that happens Jack says there were ‘too many clouds in the sky’ – it’s a thing that scientists say about failed experiments! Anyway, as I had stopped doing the Mary Berry version, I thought it was about time that I shared what I think is the Felicity Cloake version from The Guardian, which although I’m fairly sure must be more calorific due to the ground almonds, is much tastier in my opinion.

Bakewell Pudding

For the base:

100g (1/2 a cup) soft unsalted butter
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
100g (1/2 cup) plain flour
pinch of salt

For the filling:

150g ground almonds
50g (1/4 cup) plain flour
150g soft unsalted butter
150g sugar
3 medium eggs
a few drops of almond extract (optional)
1/2 a jar (or more) of raspberry jam
15-20g flaked almonds
150g fresh raspberries
icing sugar, to serve

Heat the oven to 170C//335F/gas mark 3 and lightly grease an 18cmx25cm baking tin.

To make the base, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, sift in the flour and salt, and work to a crumbly mixture. Press into the base of the tin, don’t worry if there are a few gaps, it will spread out as it cooks) and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove and turn the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

For the filling, combine the ground almonds and flour and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of almond mix with each egg.
Fold in the remaining almond/flour mixture, and almond extract if using.

Spread the jam thickly over the cooled base and spread the almond/flour mixture evenly on top. Stud with the raspberries, pressing them in gently, and scatter with flaked almonds.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool, then dust with icing sugar and cut into squares.

I tried to convert the weights into US cups but I’m not confident they’re correct as according to some sites it depends which ingredients you are measuring. Honestly it’s a lot easier using scales.

Bakewell Pudding Sliced

As with many recipes I use them as a starting point and do my own thing. When I baked this batch a few weeks ago I had a jar of homemade jam that needed to be used up. I had made it last autumn and just called it autumn jam as it was a mixture of plums, pears and brambles/blackberries. It was really delicious as it tasted sort of Christmas spicy, despite having no such spice in it, I think it might have been the type of pears I used. I hope I can replicate it this autumn. Anyway, I used up the whole of the jar of jam in this batch. As raspberry season was over I didn’t add the raspberries, and it was still delicious, I also skipped the icing sugar and flaked almonds – well I am trying to eat healthily! However, as you can see, I cut the slices into rectangles, not squares!

Welsh Rarebit – a Felicity Cloake recipe

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit Again

Yesterday I decided to cook something a bit different for lunch, using a recipe from Felicity Cloake’s book. I had never cooked Welsh rarebit before – or Welsh rabbit as it is sometimes known, although I have eaten it before of course. It’s really easy to make and was absolutely delicious although as you can see, despite the fact that we used three bits of bread between us, the mixture still overflowed a lot, next time I’ll use four bits of bread. This is just posh cheese on toast. We used a wholemeal loaf which Jack cut thick slices from.

We didn’t have any stout but I used Newcastle Brown Ale instead, Jack was happy to finish the rest of it, I am not a fan of beer although it is tasty in this recipe.

You can read the Guardian article which appears in the book along with the recipe here.

Mary Berry’s Very Best Scones – success!


 Mary Berry's Baking Bible cover

It’s no secret that I’ve attempted to bake scones many many times and so often they come out resembling hockey pucks, or the stone that we used to play hopscotch when we were kids, or as we call it in Scotland ‘peever’. I was quite happy with the lemon and poppy seed scones that I baked earlier this year, but I really want just plain scones, for eating with my home-made jams, and cream on high days. So in the spirit of try try again I decided to try Mary Berry’s Very Best Scones recipe from the book Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. They turned out to be very tasty and actually better than any shop bought ones which can be quite doughy and damp.

450 g (1 lb) self-raising flour
2 rounded teaspoons of baking powder
75g (3 oz) softened butter
50g (2 oz) caster sugar (I used ordinary white sugar)
2 large eggs
about 225 ml (8 fl oz milk)

1. Pre heat the oven to 220 C / Fan 200 C / 428 F / Gas 7. Lightly grease two baking trays.

2. Measure the flower and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

3. Beat the eggs together and make up to 300 ml (1/2 a pint) with the milk, put about two tablespoons of the mixture aside in a cup for glazing the scones later. Gradually add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring it until you have a soft dough. The mixture should be quite wet, sticking to your fingers as then they will rise better.

4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a thickness of 1-2 cm (1/2 or 3/4 inches). Use a 2 inch fluted cutter to stamp out the scones, pushing straight down into the dough but avoiding twisting it. Keep gathering the dough together and rolling it out until it’s all used up.

5. Arrange on the greased and warmed baking trays and brush with the reserved egg mixture to glaze. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

These scones are really delicious with butter or jam and even better with cream I’m sure.

I had a measuring tape out to make sure that I wasn’t rolling the dough out too thin, it was only then that I realised that neither of my scone cutters are 2 inches in diameter, mine are 2.5 and 3 inches in diameter. So I expect these scones to turn out even better when I can make them the correct size. I made 15 scones, but it should have been 20 if I had had the right size of cutter.

Spekulaas – Dutch Spice Biscuits

The fifth of December is Saint Nicholas Day which is the day that Dutch people traditionally celebrate their Christmas, so in honour of it I decided to bake some Dutch spice biscuits, or Spekulaas as they are called in the Netherlands. I have a few different wooden biscuit moulds, but decided just to use the Saint Nicholas one and his helper Zwarte Piet (Black Piet). Then that was all taking far too long so I gave up and just used cookie cutters after doing a few. I did find it very easy to get the dough out of the moulds though, the trick is to use a pastry brush to dust down the inside of the mould and tap off the excess, then there’s no problem with the dough getting stuck in there. Yes some of mine have been left in a wee bit too long, but I really like slightly burnty around the edges biscuits – honest!

Spekulaas Biscuits


6 oz plain flour
3 oz butter
1/2 a teaspoon of cinammon
1/2 a teaspoon of ground cloves
a pinch of nutmeg
3 oz dark brown sugar
1 small beaten egg or milk

Rub the flour, spices and butter together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix together, then make a well and add in the beaten egg. Mix together into a dough and knead into a ball. Flour your worktop/pastryboard and roll out the dough to about a quarter of an inch if using cookie cutters. Bake in the oven at 180 Celsius for 12 to 15 minutes. Gas mark 4. 360 Fahrenheit. Keep an eye on them as they may bake faster than that.

You can play around with the spices, maybe adding ginger too or adding more of the spices than the recipe calls for, depending on your own taste. These spices always shout Christmas to me.

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

Foodie Friday – Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted Garlic Soup

I always thought that garlic soup would sort of blow your head off flavour wise, but of course roasting the garlic makes it much milder and this soup that I made for the first time recently will become a favourite I think. I suspect it would be a good cure for a cold too!


2 large garlic heads
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups onion
1 cup carrots
1 large potato
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh-ground pepper
¼ cup cream


Roast the garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C/ gas mark 4. Using a serrated knife, cut the top off each garlic head so that the tip of each clove is exposed. Place the garlic heads on a large piece of aluminium foil and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bay leaves and fold the foil to form a parcel. Place the parcel in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Cool slightly. In a small bowl, squeeze the garlic head until all of the roasted flesh is released. Discard outer husks and bay leaves.

To make the soup: In a large heavy-duty saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil and butter, add onions, and cook over medium heat until translucent–about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the potato, chicken stock, white wine, roasted garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring the soup to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 35 minutes.

To finish the soup: Using a blender, purée the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the cream. Heat until warmed. Do not boil. Enjoy.

I think this soup comes under the category of hygge. It’s a winter warmer comfort.

Foodie Friday – coconut lime cauliflower rice

Cauliflower Rice

I was given a copy of Hemsley Hemsley – a cookery book for my birthday last month and I’ve tried a couple of the recipes so far. This one is suitable for vegans!

1 heaped tablespoon of desiccated coconut
1 quantity of uncooked cauliflower rice
3 tablespoons of coconut milk
grated zest and juice of half a lime
a pinch of diced fresh red chilli (optional)
salt and black pepper

To make cauliflower rice

Remove the cauliflower leaves and tough stalk. Us the ‘S’ blade of a food processor to whizz up the cauliflower until it resembles rice.

!. Toast the desiccated coconut in a dry frying pan for two minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Place the uncooked cauliflower rice in the same pan, add the coconut milk and stir together.

3. Cook over a medium heat with a lid on the pan, for 4 – 6 minutes until tender. After 3 minutes check to make sure that the liquid hasn’t boiled dry.

4. When the cauliflower rice is cooked add the grated zest and squeeze in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chilli if you’re using it.

I really liked this dish, I love just plain cauliflower but this was a nice change and I really liked the texture of it.

Jack was less impressed though, he wasn’t too keen on the coconut aspect of it – you can’t please everyone I suppose.

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 – cherry scones


It’s no secret that for years I’ve been trying to bake decent scones and each batch always comes out resembling hockey pucks more than anything you would want to eat, so I swore that this was going to be my last go. Jack was going to get the gig if these ones failed, he’s the keen scone eater anyway!

To my surprise though, these ones are the best yet, although as Jack says the texture is a bit more cake-ish than scones should be, a plus as far as I’m concerned. The recipe is for plain scones but cherry scones are our favourites and most of the shop bought cherry scones are very disappointing. I swear they stick a few pieces of cherry on the outside of them as often on the inside there isn’t so much as a hint of cherry.

Plain Scones

225g (8oz) of self-raising flour
40g (1 and a half oz) of sugar
75g (3 oz) of butter or margarine, diced
30 ml ( 1 fl oz) of milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F) Gas mark 7

Lightly grease a baking sheet and dust with a little flour.

Put the flour into a large bowl, add the sugar and then rub in the diced butter or margarine, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the milk and beaten egg and briefly mix it all together.

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead lightly and form a dough. Roll out to a thickness of at least 2.5 cm or 1 inch. Cut out the scones using a 6.5 cm cutter (2.5 inches)

Brush the scones lightly with a little bit of milk if you are that way inclined, I don’t bother.

Bake for about 10 minutes until risen and golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.

If you want to add fruit as I did do so just before the milk and agg are added. Use 3 oz of cherries (halved) sultanas, dates or cheese if you wish.

I decided to try this recipe because I thought that as it uses self-raising flour there was a better chance of it working. So it isn’t quite as dense as normal scones. I left mine in slightly too long, next time I’ll check them after just 8 minutes I think.

I forgot to re-do the ingredients using a US set of cups, so if anyone wants me to do that let me know and I’ll do it next time and amend the post.