Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016



A picnic fit for a Queen


Minty lamb sausage rolls – quiche Lorraine – cheesy chorizo scones –                                                                       white chocolate and raspberry tarts and the finale red velvet red velvet crown cake!

So, not being one to shy away from multiple bakes, I decided to to go for the final showstopper this week, a picnic fit for a Queen; which is rather apt as in just a few short weeks I will be playing a Queen in my local pantomime, Rapunzel.  A lot of baking to do in one day, at least I did not have to do anything extra for dinner, it was quiche and sausage rolls with tart for pud! And I am very pleased to say that I made it in the time restraints, almost, all in all, I took  6½, it really was a case of one in, one out, of the oven. Simple recipes but a must for working out the chronology of things, what order to do steps in taking into account cooking times & temps and cooling periods etc.  

I tried to stick to the brief in all the other aspects of the bake, the only little cheat I did was to do a family sized quiche rather than individual ones.

Just incase you wanted to know, it kinda went like this  –  flakey made, cakes made and in oven, pastry and sweet pastry made whilst they were baking (pop in freezer for 5 mins rest).  Blind bake quiche case and tart cases, make scones whilst they are baking, then bake the scones.  Make sausage filling, fill rolls and pop them in freezer for 5 minutes.  Make coulis simultaneously fry onions and bacon and leave to cool.  Cook sausage rolls in top of oven, fill quiche and bake.  At this point I was glad of owning 3 cooking timers! Make butter cream.  Fill and stack cakes, shape and cover in crumb coat of buttercream.  Put in fridge for 30 minutes (time for a sit down and a cuppa).  At the point (5 hours in) of everything being ‘cooked’ I decided that the final hour was for clearing and washing up and continued the following day.  It took me around 1½ hours then to finish decorating the cake. 

Minty Lamb Sausage Rolls




 150g plain flour

150g strong white bread flour

2 large eggs

100ml cold water

250g butter (if unsalted add 1 teaspoon salt into flour)


500g lean lamb  –  finely minced

2.5cm black pudding – finely minced

1-2 tbs tomato purée

1 lamb stock cube

1 tbs dried or fresh mint

1 tbs garlic puree

good pinch pepper

1 medium sized onion

1 egg (for glazing)

  • Make your flaky pastry (as per instructions in week 9 of Great British Blog Off).  Or alternatively you can buy a good quality butter one. Keep it in the fridge until meat ‘paste’ is ready.  Preheat the oven to 190ºC/180 fan.
  • Take a large bowl and put all the ingredients (except onion) in.  Blitz the onion to aimg_1335 pulp, or, fine dice and sauté it for a few minutes until translucent, but leave to go cold.  Add this to the bowl.  Bring it all together so it is well
    incorporated.  You can use a utensil for this but I think you get a smoother consistency if you squidge it together but wash your hands well if you do!
  • Roll the pastry into a large rectangle the thickness of a £1 coin, cut in half lengthways (or into 3 strips if you want ‘cocktail’ rolls).  Form the meat into sausage shapes and place the whole way along the pastry, covering the middle third.  Lightly brush one edge with egg and roll it up from the opposite edge, using the eggy edge to seal it.  Ensure that the ‘seam’ is on the bottom of the roll. Alternatively try a lattice roll by slicing 1cm slashes diagonally down the pastry, egg both edges and wrap alternate sides over tightly.
  • Cut the roll into even pieces with a sharp knife (the length is up to you, whether you want a bite sized one for a buffet, a medium sized one for a picnic or a large one for dinner). Glaze with the beaten egg.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until golden, risen and crispy.  Leave to cool slightly before eating.

TIPS  –  You can ‘cheat’ with the filling and simply use your favourite sausages, just remove the meat from the casings.  If you are making the lamb ones I recommend that  you use a baking tray with a ‘lip’ and once you remove them from the oven you put them onto a  wire cooling rack with the tray underneath as they will ooze a fair amount of fat. Plus, I would ask your butcher/meat provider for lean lamb mince. Final note, if, like me, you need to make flakey in a rush, then instead of an hour in fridge to harden butter up, then roughly 7 minutes in freezer will do (GBBO stylee haha).

Quiche Lorraine


FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY: 250g/8oz plain flour

120g/4oz fat (I prefer ½ butter ½ lard)

approx 5 tbs water

FOR THE QUICHE:  6 rashers bacon

1 medium onion (small diced)

200g/7oz grated cheddar cheese

6 eggs

150ml full fat milk (or 100ml single cream)

pinch of pepper

sprinkle of oregano


  1. Make the pastry either by hand or in food processor.  Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs, add the water and bring together to form a dough.  Tip onto a slightly floured surface and knead gently for a minute.  Pop into a bag and leave in the fridge to rest, and the fats to refirm (10 minutes by machine, 30 minutes hand made). Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Roll out the pastry to fit your quiche tin, carefully line the tin (without any holes or tears) with the pastry so you have a little overhang to allow for shrinkage.  Line with baking parchment or foil, fill with baking beans and bake for approximately 15 minutes until the pastry is ‘just’ cooked.  Remove and reduce oven temp to 170C.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the bacon into little pieces and fry until it is just cooked, remove from the pan, and gently fry the onions.  Tip the bacon and onions into the pastry case along with the grated cheese (retain a couple of pinches of the cheese).  Sprinkle the oregano on.img_1341
  4. In a jug, beat together the eggs, milk and pepper.  Pour this carefully into the pastry case and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  Pull the shelf out slightly and sprinkle the 2 pinches of cheese over and bake for a further 20 or so minutes.
  5. Once cooked the tart should feel firmish to the touch with just a gently wobble, if it is not quite set in the middle reduce the heat by 15º and cook for an extra 10-15 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool, eat warm (not hot)  or cold for a picnic.

TIPS:  If you have more than one pastry in the fridge it’s a good idea to mark them so thatimg_1334 you know which is which – for example my flakey was oblong, but my quiche pastry and sweet pastry looked the same so I marked a P in the plain one!  Pastry that is sealed in a bag will be ok in a fridge for 2-3 days and also freezes well too. I like to keep a small ball of pastry over for 2 reasons, you can use it to push the pastry neatly into the flutes of the tin and if you get any cracks in the baked case then you can use tiny pieces to plug the gaps. When you make a quiche or tart, it is always a good idea to leave an ‘overhang’ on the pastry just incase it shrinks when it is in the oven.  To get a good finish on the edge after it’s cooked, roll over it lightly with a rolling pin and brush excess off with a pastry brush.  Don’t add salt to a quiche as you will have plenty in the cheese and bacon and, salt will rapidly degrade eggs, causing them to go ‘liquid’. If you do not have any ceramic baking beans, used dry pulses like chickpeas, you will need a lot and won’t be able to use them to eat afterward, or, use teaspoons and/or forks to weight down the pastry so that the base does not lift up.



Cheesey Chorizo Scones


What you will need –

225g strong bread flour

1 tbsp baking powder

50g butter (melted and cooled slightly)

1 egg (beaten)

125ml finger warm milk

175g grated strong mature cheese (this recipe used cage aged goats cheese)

100g cooked chorizo (very small dice)

What you will need to do – 

  • Preheat the oven  to 200C/gas 6
  • Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter, egg (leave a tiny amount of egg behind for glazing) and milk and mix well with your hand to combine.  Add the cheese (retaining a couple of pinches) and chorizo and bring it all together to a slightly sticky ball of dough.
  • Tip this onto a well floured board and knead for a couple of minutes.  Now, work the dough a little, to encourage air into it.  gently spread the dough out, fold in half and draw it into a ball form.  the scootch it under with flat palms whilst turning at the same time.
  • Roll out to around 2.5 cm depth and cut out with a medium sized circular cutter (you will get between 9 and 13 depending on how deep they are and the size of your cutter).  Use a pastry brush to brush the retained eggs over the tops of the sconces.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 12 minutes.  remove and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tops.  Place back in the oven and cook for a further 12 minutes until golden and the cheese has melted.
  • Split and enjoy with best butter.

TIP  –  When making doughs  it’s a good idea to bring it together using just one hand to begin with and that way you have a clean hand for adding in extra ingredients and incase you need to reflour your work surface. When glazing scones only  do the top as, if egg goes over the sides it will impede the rise.

I was so disappointed with myself as when I took my tray of scones out of the oven to put the cheese on, I dropped it (and it landed upside down) onto the oven door and most of them were squashed down a bit so they don’t look the best in the photos, and until then they were spot on! At least they did not land on the floor and they did taste good anyway.



White Chocolate Tart with Raspberry and Basil Coulis


For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

250g/8oz plain flour

120g/4oz butter

30g/1oz caster sugar

1 small egg

2 tbs water

For the filling:

100g raspberries

50g sieved icing sugar

few drops of basil essence (or 1tsp fresh basil)

200ml double cream

275g/9oz white chocolate

25g good quality unsalted butter

½ pod vanilla seeds

For the recipe:

  1. Make the pastry, either by hand or food processor.  Rub the fat into the flour, mix in the sugar, add the egg and the water and bring together into a dough.  Put into a bag and leave in a cold place to rest (10 minutes machine/30 mins by hand).img_1333
  2. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  3. Roll out your pastry to the thickness of a £1 (or slightly thinner if you dare, as the thinner it is the crispier it will be!) and cut in circles (using a cutter) to fit into your tart tins. Gently press into your tins.
  4. Line with baking parchment or foil (scrunch up then smooth out first so it fits better into the small tins) then fill with baking beans. Bake blind for approx 15 mins.
  5. Make the coulis.  Pass the raspberries through a sieve, into a saucepan, to remove the seeds (takes a few minutes this).  Beat in the sugar and basil, gently heat to a simmer for approx 5 minutes, the pulp will thicken slightly.  Leave to cool.
  6. Remove pastry shells from oven, take out the beans, put back in the oven for another 5 minutes until the pastry is golden and crispy.  Remove from oven and fully cool on a   wire rack.
  7. Warm the cream and vanilla in a saucepan, remove from heat at first sign of steam/heat ripples. Break up the chocolate into small pieces, add the butter to the cream and beat well then add in the chocolate and beat in well.  It will take a couple of minutes and look gross before suddenly going glossy and smooth.img_1343
  8. Pour the chocolate ganache into the pastry shells.  Take a teaspoon of the coulis and ‘cut’ into the chocolate so that the raspberry goes underneath.  Depending on the size of your tarts (I made 6 large, shallow ones and 6 small, deep ones) do this 1 – 3 times.  Then take a skewer and drag through the coulis to create a ‘swirl’ through the chocolate.  Leave the completed tarts in a cold place to fully set.


TIPS  –  you can use any raspberries you like for making the coulis, fresh, frozen or tinned (preferably in natural juice); but if using tinned or frozen discard almost all the juice or your coulis will be more of a pouring sauce.

Okay, if I do say so myself these tarts were amazing.  Mr Timothy gave me a ‘double clasp handshake’ for them (he just had one for breakfast!); they are just set, but still gooey and the sharpness of the fruit really offsets the sweetness of the chocolate. The basil goes so well with raspberries (it’s up there with black pepper with strawberries and chilli & watermelon) it gives them a subtle aniseed like flavour.

Chocolate  Cake – fit for a Queen


Red Velvet, Red Velvet Crown Cake

CAKE 7 eggs (crack into a jug and weigh)

same amount (in weight) as the eggs of

baking butter

caster sugar

self raising flour

75g cocoa powder

2tsp baking powder

75g ground almonds

3 tbsp natural beetroot powder (or 1tbsp red food colour)

CREAM CHEESE ICING 200g pale soft  butter

700g sieved icing sugar

200g ricotta cheese

2 tbsp chocolate vermicelli

DECORATION 700g red fondant icing paste

small pack  white or pale yellow fondant

gold food colour

gold glitter

edible glue

large pack of jelly sweets

pearl dragees

non edible diamanté string


  • Preheat the oven 175C. Make the cake either by creaming method or all in one method.  But it’s better to make in a free standing mixer as it is a lot of batter.  If using all in method add the ground almonds on their own at the end.
  • Split the cake mix evenly between 3 baking tins – 2 x (ensure that the smaller cake will be the same height as the other 2) bake for 25-35 minutes until cooked through. Insert a skewer into the middle and it should come out clean.  If not, turn oven down 20º and leave cake in for a further 15 minutes.
  • Leave the cakes to cool in tins for 10 minutes, and they will begin to come away from the tin.  Go around the tin with a thin palette knife to ensure it is fully clear before removing. Leave to go fully cold on cooling racks.
  • Make the buttercream.  Put the butter in a free standing mixer, and soften it up.  Add ⅓ of the icing sugar, stir it in,  repeat with the next 3rd then with the remainder.  Give it a good mix with the mixer.  Add the cream cheese and give it a good mix.  The more you can whip it, the whiter and lighter it will become. Cover and leave somewhere cool.
  • Make sure the cakes are level/flat tops. Sandwich together the cakes with plenty of the buttercream cheese then sandwich the little one in the middle of the other 2 with plenty of the cream cheese.  Use 3 straws, dowels or stales to hold the cake together.  Then with a sharp serrated knife round off the edges of the top cake to from the rounded top of the crown. And cut a small indent into the centre of the cake (for the ball to sit in).
  • Completely cover the cake with a thin coat of the butter cream taking care to makeimg_1356 sure it is smooth all over. This is known as the crumb coat and ensures an even finish on the completed crown.  Make sure that you leave enough buttercream for the ‘ermine’ collar, and for this you simply add chocolate vermicelli to the cream cheese, cover and put in the fridge
  • Put the cake in the fridge for 20-30 minutes (or freezer for 10) to firm up the buttercream layer.  Squeeze the red fondant to soften it then roll it out to the required size for your cake (mine was 34cm from bottom layer up and over – I forgot to take photos as I was rushing a little to get it done in an hour so here’s one I drew later haha). If your dowel rods are too long cut them down before covering with the fondant.img_1367
  • Place the fondant over a rolling pin and place over the cake so that it just comes down over the butter cream on the bottom cake layer (where the x‘s are).  Iron out the cake using a cake smoother. Trim off any excess.
  • Roll out the yellow fondant (or white coloured with gold).  Cut into 2cm wide strips and using edible glue stick them from the lip of the indent to the bottom of the red paste.  Then put a strip all the way around the bottom cake (about where the buttercream is).  Lightly cover the gold strips with edible glue and very carefully paint edible gold glitter all over it.  Glue on your jelly sweets to resemble jewels.  Roll up a ball of the yellow fondant and cover in the gold glitter and pop this into the indent on the top.  Make the ‘square’ embellishment for the top (I used gold tape as the fondant would have been too soft to stand up on its own).
  • The final finishes I did were white pearl dragees up 2 of the strips and some diamanté strips up the other 2 again using the edible glue.  Ensure if you are using non-edible embellishments on your cake that the recipients are aware of this.
  • And lastly take the vermicelli buttercream, in a piping bag, cut of the end fairly wide, and simply pipe all the way around the bottom to represent the ermine (you don’t even have to be neat is it’s a representation of fur). Then just to add a teeny bit of extra detail I took the end of my paint brush and did a few ‘natural’ creases into the red velvet and just dusted into them with petal dust to give it a more velvety effect.

TIPS  –  when working with fondant I recommend dusting with a 50:50 mix of cornflour and icing sugar your work surface for large sheets and a tiny spray of vegetable oil for smaller pieces to prevent sticking.  Use acrylic rolling pins and cutters too (a pizza cutter will also give you a good sharp edge on the fondant).  

Not really got many tips to add to the bottom of this, as I have mainly incorporated these throughout the recipe.  I hope it gives you enough detail, without teaching any of you more experienced bakers to ‘suck eggs’. I would like to mention that I saw a picture of a similar cake by Fiona Cairns, which gave me the basis for this one. I was really chuffed that I managed to get all that decorating done in 1½ hours, even with the horrible damp British weather against me (hence the lovely sheen on the red velvet.  When I told Mr Timothy he had a big cake to eat, he nearly cried, he has been forced to eat so much cake this last 10 weeks that I have had to promise no more for a few weeks!  Handily my drama chums were really pleased when I turned up at set painting with a massive cake, especially so as it came from “Queenie” – I will be playing the Queen in this years’ panto Rapunzel.

So there you have it the end of Great Bloggers Bake Off for 2016, and ‘sob‘ the end of the Great British Bake Off as we know it from the BBC and with the Queen of baking herself, Mary Berry.  I have heard a horrible rumour that there will be no show at all next year so it is going to be 2018 before we have another official one – lets hope that it all goes to plan then! Thank you so much for following us (if you did!) and if you would like to see the other ladies’ cakes and bakes then click on this link which will take you to our host Jenny Paulins’ site Mummy Mishaps .


I would like to express my thanks to Jenny Paulin for all her work organising us all, putting up with all our mithering and questions and for working with Tesco to get us some great prizes and vouchers for our ingredients for the blogs (and of course a big whoop for Tesco!).  And finally thank you to all the other peeps that have joined in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off over the 10 weeks, I will miss you xx









Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016



So. this week I could not decide which of the three bakes to do, so I did all 3! One, the palmier biscuits, is one I bake every year at Christmas time, we tend to have them for elevenses with a nice glass of fizz as we don’t have ‘dinner’ until around 3ish, but I had never made a sweet one before, so rebel that I am (I think I just hate being told what to do) I made a savoury one and a sweet one too, but true to my like of ‘unusual’ flavours I put my own twist on the sweet ones and made them blackcurrant and liquorice! Bake number 2, the technical, a cake I had never made, was a Savarin, a yeast raised cake with fruit,  cream and alcohol – what’s not to love there.  Then phew the tiny cakes that are a huge effort the fondant fancy – again I had never made these before and now I have made them, I doubt I will ever make them again, such a lot of effort for mediocre results!

Bake number one  –  2 flavours of palmier biscuit 



for the pastry: 150g chilled strong white bread flour
150g chilled plain flour
2 large eggs
100ml cold water
250g chilled butter
for the 1st filling: 200g hard full flavoured cheese (grated)
6-8 rashers of good quality smoked beef or ham (parma style)
1 egg (beaten) or a splash of milk
for the second filling:  1 tspn liquorice powder
small dot of purple food
½ tspn blackcurrant flavour
1 tbspn brown sugar (I used natural coconut sugar)
1 tbspn granulated sugar
1 tbspn demerara sugar


1. Put the flours, salt, eggs and water into a large bowl and gently bring together to form a  dough, with your fingers. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for around 5 minutes until smooth and a little dry. Shape  into a ball and put it into a plastic bag (lightly floured or greased with an oil spray) place the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

2. Flatten the block of butter into a rectangle, approx.  30 x 19cm, by battering it down with a rolling pin (you might find this easier to do  if you put the butter between 2 sheets of cling film). Return to the fridge for an hour to harden.

3. Roll out your dough to a rectangle, (about 45 x 20cm), put the butter on the dough so it covers the bottom two-thirds. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and covers almost to the edges.  img_1302

4. Lift the exposed dough at the top and fold it down so it covers half of the butter, then fold the butter laden bottom half of the dough up over the top (single fold).  Gently flatten the edges together to seal. Put it back in a plastic bag and chill for 1 hour.

5. Put the dough on a floured board with a short end towards you. Roll out to a rectangle as before, keeping the edges as even as possible. Fold the top quarter down and the bottom quarter up so they meet neatly in the centre. Then fold the dough in half along the centre line (a book fold). Chill in the bag for a further 1 hour.

6. Repeat the single turn twice more, chilling for an hour in-between again. Then leave the pastry in the fridge overnight. Your flakey pastry is now ready to use.  please note that if you are adding an extra ingredient (for example the liquorice powder)  as I did then you will need to add it in one of these final 2 single folds. Simply sprinkle the powder to lightly cover the pastry after rolling out but before folding over.

7. Roll out the plain pastry to a neat rectangle around the thickness of a £1/€1 coin.  Fold the pastry over and flatten back out again, to give a well marked centre line. Sprinkle the cheese liberally over the dough right up to the edges.  Then cover with your meat, trying not to leave any big gaps. Then, simply roll up the two long ends into the middle, gently pulling back slightly on each turn to keep it nice and tight.  Put in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

8. Roll out the liquorice dough to the same thickness.  In a small pot mix the colour, the flavouring and a teaspoon of water and using a small brush, cover the pastry lightly all over with the paste.  Sprinkle on the brown sugar and the granulated sugar and simply roll the long end up nice and tightly to form a pin wheel. Chill for 20 minutes.img_1310

9.  Preheat the oven to 190/180°C fan.  Remove the pastry logs from the fridge, glaze lightly with beaten egg or milk and cut into approx 1cm thick slices, place on a lined baking sheet and bake for approx 15-20 minutes until golden and fluffy.

TIP –  use a straight edged, very sharp knife to cut the slices with and avoid pressing down on the pastry itself.  If making 2 different flavours I recommend using 2 sets of utensils (rolling pin, knife etc) to avoid contamination of one with the other.  Liquorice powder can  be obtained from most health food shops or baking suppliers.

I was quite disappointed with my blackcurrant and liquorice whirls as they looked amazing before going in the oven but unravelled a lot whilst baking, but my they tasted amazing and I will most certainly be making them again.  I made some nice thin ones too, which I have popped in the freezer in readiness for in about 3 weeks I am making a firework cake and these will look great as ‘catherine’ wheels.  The cheese I used for my elephants’ ears is a rather special one, it contains our own co-operatives organic milk and is not available to buy in the UK, but made entirely for the USA market, so we were pleased to be sent some as a thank you from our milk board.   I used  mature cheddar with caramelised onions.img_1306

And I’m just going to leave this her, whoop, whoop I got awarded star baker ⭐️ this week for my parmiers.


Bake number 2  –  the technical challenge



I used Paul Hollywoods’ recipe for the actual cake and obviously put my own twist on it with the inclusion of apple and blackberry (well, why would you pay for imported fruit when you have loads of lovely, free and organic autumnal fruit right outside the back door?!?!?).  Still, did give me an excuse for a shopping trip though, as I did not own a large enough savarin/bundt tin; I do now!

for the savarin: 350g/12oz plain flour
50g/1¾oz caster sugar
10g/¼oz instant yeast
3 tbsp milk
6 eggs
180g/6oz butter, at room temperature
1 large orange and/or lemon, finely grated zest only
for the syrup: 200g/7oz caster sugar
1 large lemon, juice only
100ml/3½fl oz flavoured liqueur or rum
for the chocolate disc: 50g/1¾ oz good quality plain chocolate
30g/¾oz white chocolate
for the decoration: 4 medium sized cooking apples
large handful of blackberries
1 pot (300 ml/ 10fl oz) double or whipping cream

1.  In a food processor, set with a standard beater, combine the flour, sugar and yeast. Place the milk and eggs together in a large jug, lightly beat and then pour into the flour mixture and beat  on medium for about 3 minutes to make a thick, sticky batter.img_1303
2.  Chop the soft butter into small pieces and gradually add to the batter, on  low speed, beating until the mixture is smooth, elastic and shiny. Finally fold in the orange and/or lemon zest. Cover the bowl with cling film (or a clean shower cap) and leave to rise for around 1 hour.
3.   In the meantime, make the syrup. Place the sugar, lemon juice, and 1o0ml water into a pan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum or liqueur and leave to cool.
4. Now make the chocolate disc, temper the plain chocolate by melting approx three-quarters of the chocolate over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Stir until the chocolate reaches a melting temperature of 50C. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the remaining chocolate and stir until it’s cooled to 31C.
5.  Spoon into a piping bag 5cm/2in (ish) oval disc onto a sheet of baking paper and leave to set. Melt the white chocolate and put into another piping bag and pipe the word ‘Savarin’ onto the plain chocolate disc.
6.  Grease a 23cm/9in bundt tin or savarin mould with butter. When the batter has risen, spoon it into the tin and try to smooth down evenly. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it reaches three-quarters of the way up the tin.img_1311
7.  Make the compote.  Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces put into a saucepan with the sugar and boil down to a pulp.  Turn off the heat and stir though the blackberries, retaining some nice plump ones for decoration.  Leave to cool.                                                      8.  Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. remove the cling film and bake for 20–30 minutes  until the savarin is risen and golden-brown. Remove from oven and place the tin on a wire rack to cool for 5–10 minutes.
9.  When just cooled enough to handle, carefully remove the savarin from the tin and pour half of the syrup into the tin. Gently place the savarin back into the tin on top of the syrup; pour ½ of the remaining syrup slowly onto the top of the savarin and leave to fully cool.  Put the remaining syrup onto a bowl or plate with sides and tip the cake out onto this so that this final syrup soaks into the bottom of the savarin for around 10 mins.  Carefully transfer to a serving plate.
10.  Whip the cream, until  peaks form when the whisk is removed (you can add a little icing sugar and/or vanilla if you wish). Spoon one-third of the cream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Set both creams aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
11.  Fill the cavity of the savarin with ½ of the cream in the bowl, then ½ of the compote, then repeat with the remaining cream and fruit puree.  Decorate around the upper edges with cream stars, and do a small row of cream stars at the base of the cake (for the chocolate oval).  Decorate with some nice apple slices and the blackberries.  You could also use up any remaining chocolate over the top (just gently remelt in the microwave if you have microwaveable bags).

This cake was amazing, definitely  will be making it again, tasty, light and at the same time rich and gooey with the cream and fruit dressing.  

Bake number 3  –  Fondant Fancies



I love fondant fancies, but had never made them before, as I knew that they were a fiddly faff, and not easy to get looking good.  Yup, too much like hard work for me, for a tasty bake, but, in my opinion not worth all the time and effort.  I followed Mary Berry’s own recipe virtually to the letter (that’s good going for me) .


For the sponge 200g/7oz self-raising flour
30g/1oz ground almond
225g/8oz softened butter
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
small tube of freeze-dried raspberry pieces
for the buttercream250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
200g/7oz icing sugar
flavouring (raspberry and pear) and colouring (green and blue)
icing and decoration 500g/1lb 10z white fondant icing (or coloured icing if you have it)
150ml/5fl oz water
food colouring (any colour)
flavouring (any flavouring)
small sprinkles and/or almonds and/or glitter

1.  Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and fully line a 20cm/8in square tin with two strips of parchment paper. (one for the plain sponge the other for the raspberry one)
2.  In a food processor, beat together all the sponge ingredients until smooth. Tip half the cake mixture into one side of the tin; stir the raspberry pieces into the remaining mix and pour that into the other side and tap the tin lightly to level out.
3.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a metal skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool the cake  in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.  Leave the cake overnight (in a tin) to cool fully and firm slightly (or alternatively place in the freezer for a few minutes until chilled but not frozen). This will ensure that the sponge is as firm as it can be ready for the decoration.
4.  Make the buttercream. Beat together the softened butter and icing sugar in a bowl until lighter in colour, fluffy and smooth.  Separate into 2 bowls and add food colouring and flavours.
5.  Cut the cake into 16 equal squares (each 5cm/2 in square). You may need to cut off the edges if they have rounded and pulled away from the sides of the tin – all the edges should be straight and neat. Cover the top and four sides of each square with it’s matching buttercream.  Best to use a small, angled  palette knife to get the finish as smooth as possible.  Put in the fridge for around 30 mins for the buttercream to firm up.
6.  Cut the fondant icing into small cubes. Place in a sturdy free-standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Churn the icing until it starts to break down, adding a splash of water if it’s too hard. Very gradually add the water – the icing will become smooth and more liquid .  Add flavouring and food colouring to taste.

7.  Take the cakes out of the fridge and place one onto a fork. Dip each square into the icing one at a time and carefully set onto a cooling rack, with parchment or a tray underneath to catch the drips. Try not to get finger prints on them – for this reason it is best to insert the fork at an angle so that you can slide the cake off onto the cooling rack easily (again your palette knife should come in handy here).
8.  Leave the fondant to set, at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Decorate to make them look pretty and then eat!

TIPS  –  When spreading on the butter cream and also for the fondant too its a good idea to have a small jug of hot water handy, and a clean dry towel, dip the palette knife in the water, dry off and the residual heat will ‘melt’ the icing making it as neat as possible.  My other top tip is go out and BUY them! Oh, yeah, remember when using strong colours wear food prep gloves!img_1327

So that is the end of this weeks homage to GBBO, a long one I know, me thinks we might be putting a little weight on this week, thank goodness there’s just the last one to go (not really, am dreading having to wait nearly a year for the next one, and await the new format with trepidation!)

If you would like to follow the bakes for this week and the final next week then check out our hostess Jenny’s site Mummy’s Mishaps where you will see all the other bakes related to the Great British Bake Off 2016.   image


The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016


Week Eight  –  TUDOR 

So this week I was feeling only a little better than last week (flu that last over a week and straight into tonsil or laryngitis not been able to talk for 3 days – house is sooooo quiet without me!), but must have been in the mood for baking as I did 2 of the three rounds, and even baked a cake for the 3rd ‘showstopper’ section (cake decorated with marzipan for a centrepiece) but that was as far as I got haha, Mr Timothy is happy about that though as he loves my ugly apple cake and hates marzipan (so look out for the cake later in the year). However, with my usual “do it my way” way, I opted for a savoury version of the Tudor knot, so I think I can totally claim this recipe as my own, as it was only when I did a ‘search’ that I discovered that the Tudor knot biscuit was a ‘sweet’ spiced biscuit (this was on Wednesday, before the programme had even aired!); but undaunted I went ahead anyway as I had planned on making them to go with a pasta dish.



Stuff you need:
½ (ish) kilo beef (mine was braising steak, but use any)
2 large onions
fat for frying (dripping is good)
3-5 cm black pudding
2 stock cubes
Tablespoon or 2 of flour
⅓ bottle red wine
3 bay leaves
goodly pinch of mace and lashings of pepper
3-4 small potatoes (thin ones are best)
1 large carrot 
¼ purple cabbage
350g plain flour (I used 300 plain and 50 strong bread)
120g lard
120g/ml boiling water
goodly pinch of salt 
plus the same of nutmeg and fennel seeds
beaten egg for glazing

Stuff you need to do:
  1. Prepare the ‘stew’ well in advance – I like to have it cook for at least 2 hours.  slice the meat up into small pieces; chop the onions up (vary the sizes  chunks, slices and small dice); finely chop the black pudding.  img_1271
  2. In a pan (I use a deep one that can go on the stove top and in the oven) fry off the onions until soft then add one of the stock cubes and fry until browning. Take off the heat and stir in the flour until it is all coated, add the stock cube, meats, pepper and mace and stir well.  Add the bay leaves and wine and enough water so that the meat is fully immersed.  Place in the oven and cook for 2 – 3 hours until the meat is tender (you could do this in a slow cooker if you prefer).  Once fully cooked leave to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.  Prep your vegetables.  Using a mandolin slice the carrot wafer thin, then the cabbage, rinse the slicer and do the potatoes.  Blanch each veg for 2-3 minutes until just soft then drain.  Boil the kettle and make your pastry once the oven is ready as it’s better worked hot.
  4. Put the flours and herbs and salt into a large bowl.  Weigh the lard and water into a small pan and bring back to the boil, tip this into the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon, working as quickly as you can. Bring it to a dough ball and tip out onto a lightly floured surface.
  5. Work the warm dough together for a minute or 2 to get a gloopy feeling, shiny smooth ball of dough. Take 4/5 of the dough (cover the remaining 1/5) and split this into 4.  Using your hands and a rolling pin, smooth the dough out so that it fits into 4 deep individual pie tins, making sure there is an overhang. Get it as thin as you can without any holes, if it is too thick it will not cook inside.
  6. Fill the cases ½ full of ‘stew’ then equal layers of potato, carrot and cabbage.  Divide the remaining pastry into 4, squash into discs that just cover the surface of the pie and fold over the overhangs.  Crimp around the edge, glaze with egg and use a sharp knife to cut a hole right down into the pie (or you could try GBBO Selasi’s method and use a biro – not!) making sure you reach the meat layer but not the bottom)
  7. Bake the pie for approx ½ an hour until it is looking golden and holding its own shape.  Remove from the oven (turn heat down to 175ºC) and very carefully remove from the pie tins, put it back into the oven for roughly 20 minutes until pastry is golden all over and fully cooked inside.  Enjoy!

So it’s as easy as that! You can basically make what ever filling you desire in your own pie, and this amount of dough will make 4 medium sized deep pies, 1 large family pie or around  9 or 10 small picnic sized ones.  Only, I do recommend that you make sure before making this that you have the ‘right’ wine for the task, daft eejit that I am, I did not have any middle range wine of the red variety so was forced to open a bottle of the good stuff (ah the perils of living in the middle of nowhere when one runs out of ingredients!!)


Bake 2 of 2  –  SAVOURY TUDOR KNOT BISCUITS (aka Jumbles)



2 cups of self raising flour (I used 1 ⅔  white and ⅓  cup of spelt)
2 eggs (beaten)
good pinch of mixed spice or caraway seeds
splash of cold water

  • Put on a large pan of water to boil. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl to form a dough, start with just a couple of tablespoons of water, add more if the dough is a little dry.
  • Tip onto a floured surface and work for a minute to a firm dough.  taking small pieces of dough roll into ‘knot’ shapes.  img_1262
  • Drop the knots, 3 or 4 at a time, carefully into the boiling water for a few seconds, until they float.  Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and put onto a bread/pizza baking sheet.  Once all cooked off  in the water bath put into the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and baked.

These little ‘bread’ buns were a little on the bland side, however, they did make a good medium for pasta sauce, as they are crunchy on the outside yet soft-ish in the middle, a little like a fat bread stick, and made a change from the usual garlic bread.  Should I make them again (which I might as they are very quick and simple) I think I might add garlic and even some small, chopped, fried onion.

So that’s it for this weeks’ bakes, I obviously was not up to making the marzipan decorations for the cake, but not to worry, I will do another time!  However, if you want to either join in for the last couple of weeks, or see some of the other Great British Bake Off inspired bakes then take a look at our host Jenny Paulins’ site Mummy Mishaps for the bakes and the rules.  Thanks for stopping by!












Great British Blog Off 2016


Week 7 in the bake-off tent  –  DESSERTS

So this week I was a little bit busy (and incidentally a little bit poorly with a stinker of a cold) so only managed one of the bakes, with that in mind, and having a ‘bake’ to make for my colleagues at the animal rehoming charity I decided to  combine the two and make a doggie themed roulade (sorry it’s that jazz hands food thing again!) and not only that I had been requested to consider 2 members of our group that have an issue with gluten so it had to be gluten free (an easy task for a roulade) plus, I had my passion fruit curd left over from last weeks bake. I was not really too happy with the overall appearance of the roulade, it was too soft inside and so had to leave it in the oven a bit longer than I wanted, this made the top go a bit too crispy and it was still too soft inside; oh well, it looked okay, but my it tasted good enough to eat!




For the decoration: one whole egg

gluten free flour (same weight as the egg)

caster sugar (same weight as the egg)

food colouring ~(brown, black and orange)

For the roulade: 4 egg whites

8oz/225g caster sugar

1 tbspn cornflour/gluten free flour

½ pint/ 300ml double or whipping cream

1 small jar of passionfruit curd (see botanical week for how to make)


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/17o fan and butter a swiss roll tin (12×9″/30x20cm) then line it with baking parchment so it fits neatly into the corners.
  • (you can skip this stage if you don’t want the decoration) Make the ‘dog’ paste by simply beating together the egg, flour and sugar (you will have way too much but you need a whole egg); divide the mix into 3 and colour one black and another a tan brown.  put each into an icing bag.  I found it easier to draw my pups onto a plain piece of paper which I popped under the parchment as a guide (must be removed before baking the roulade).
  • Bake in the oven for a minute, just to set, then leave the tin to cool.  Make your meringue in a grease free mixer bowl, whipping the egg whites until just holding their own shape, add your sugar a tablespoon at a time whilst continuing to mix – will take a couple or 3 minutes.  Until you have a smooth, glossy goo, which stands firm. Add the tablespoon of flour at the last moment, giving it one final mix.
  • Pour gently over the dogs and paw prints and smooth carefully into the corners.  Put in the oven and bake for 25 – 35 minutes until just golden and firm to the touch. Get ready 2 baking sheets and a clean piece of parchment paper.
  • Remove cake from the oven and tip out onto a baking sheet, gently peel the old parchment off and place the new paper on top.  Gently lay the 2nd baking tray on top and turn them all over (so the dogs are now on the bottom again). Roll the roulade up, from the narrower end, pinch together the ends of the paper (it will now resemble a little, fat sausage) and leave to cool for an hour or so (this is supposed to give the cake a ‘rolled memory’ and prevent cracking).
  • Whip your cream.  Unroll the cake, spread evenly with the curd, then carefully cover this with the cream and spread  out to the edges.  Reroll the roulade; cut off the 2 messy ends to reveal some nice layers of curls!

    Passionfruit Curd Roulade (with dog theme!)

Not my most successful bake to date, but it was fun, well received by my dog loving friends and there was none left so even though it was way too soft and cracked, it went down a treat!  My only ‘tip’ here is that I had forgotten to buy white caster sugar so had to use golden instead and think this was the reason for the softness of the texture – that’s my excuse anyway!

Thanks for reading, and if you would like to see some more of this weeks’ bloggers’ bakes then pop on over to where you will find them all.





Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 – Week 6



So simply, if it grows then you can add it to the bake! This week I have one from each category; a citrus meringue, a herb fougasse and a multi-tiered flora inspired cake (so this one is a little cheat as I actually made it for my Moms’ birthday at the beginning of August and it’s only 2 tiers rather than 3, but it goes with the theme.)  This week I must add that my ingredients have been sponsored by Tesco – so a big thank you to them. You will notice from the pictures that there is quite a bit of organic produce; for me, this is a lifestyle choice, I am a big believer that you get out of a thing (plant, animal etc) what you put into it (you only have to eat an egg after you fed a hen some garlic bread, you taste the garlic!!!) so, if you feed them chemicals or unnecessary medicine then it could remain in the food too, so when I can, I buy organic and I have to say for me, Tesco do seem to have more organic products than any other supermarket.


BAKE ONE (OF 3) –   Orange and Passion Fruit Meringue Tart

Orange and passion fruit meringue tart 


THE PASTRY: 8 oz plain flour (Tesco organic)

2 oz maize flour (also known as yellow cornmeal and yes, sold in Tesco!)

4 oz salted butter plus 1 oz lard (both are Tesco own brand)

1 oz golden caster sugar (Tesco’s own)

1 medium egg

splash of cold water

THE CURD: 4 0z proper butter (organic from Tesco)

½ cup golden caster sugar

2 oranges (juice and zest)

⅓ cup of passion fruit coulis – minus the seeds (Tesco finest)

3 large eggs plus 2 yolks (lightly beaten)

THE MERINGUE:  3 egg whites

½ cup white caster sugar



  1. Make pastry! Use fats direct from the fridge, cut into small cubes and rub it into the flour and maize until you have a mix that resembles breadcrumbs (or pop it in a food processor with a blade fitting and blitz for a few seconds!) Add the sugar and give it a good mix. Next add the egg and a couple of tablespoons of water and bring it all together to form a firm dough.
  2. Roll pastry into a ball and leave this in the bowl, covered, and pop it into the fridge or pantry for about an hour (made by hand) or 30 mins (machine made). Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Roll out the pastry so that it is large enough to line 8″/22cm deep tart tin. Line the tin; you will need the pastry to be at least 12 inches across. Slide the bottom of the tin underneath it, folding the edges of the pastry up and over to exposed the edges of the base, pop this into the tart tin and then unfold the pastry up the sides. Simple! Trim off the excess pastry making sure to leave a small overhang of pastry round the edges to allow for shrinkage. img_1234 I like to  make the excess dough into a mushroom shape to press the pastry into the flutes of the tin for a better finish (as I am a bit OCD at making my pastry the thinnest i can make it!) Lightly prick the base to prohibit lifting.
  4. Cover with parchment or foil, fill with baking beans and put into the hot oven for approximately 20 minutes.  Carefully remove the baking beans and pop back in the oven for 5 minutes just to brown the bottom a little and ensure no soggy bottom!
  5. Whilst the pastry is baking make the curd.  Put a suitable bowl (metal or safety glass) over a pan containing boiling water on a low/medium heat (making sure it does not touch the water) and firstly put in the butter to melt, whilst zesting and juicing the orange.  Now add the sugar, orange and coulis, giving it a quick beat to amalgamate all the ingredients. Using a whisk dribble the eggs slowly into the syrup until you have a smooth mixture.  Now stand and keep the mixture constantly moving (heatproof spatula is good for this) until it thickens.  Be patient! It can take up to 15 minutes. Once it is thickened it should be able to the following:

    Stay when smeared on bowl side. Coat back of spatula. Just about hold your initial!

  6. Leave both the tart and the curd to cool completely.  Put the curd into the pastry case so that the bottom has a good coverage (I used just over half) and gently smooth over.
  7. Make your meringue, it’s really your choice whether to do Italian (hot sugar into whisked whites) Swiss (whisking sugar and egg whites in a bain marie) or French (whisking your whites cold and adding the sugar a spoonful at a time) I did Swiss for a change.  Preheat the oven to 130ºC.                             img_1235
  8. Pipe the meringue onto the tart and bake for 45 – 60 minutes until the top is crispy.  Turn off the oven and leave the tart to cool inside, as this will help with the crisping.
  9. That’s it, enjoy as your dessert  after dinner, or with a good cuppa!

THE TIPS  –  For a little fancy flourish why not try adding a little orange colour and/or some orange flavour to the piping bag, simply use a long thin artist style paint brush and paint stripes down the inside of the bag, after you have added the nozzle, before you add the meringue.  I then covered mine in edible gold glitter too, ’cause I do like to add ‘jazz hands’ to my food! Don’t discard the left over pastry either, use it to make a couple of jam tarts or mince pies.

BAKE 2 (OF 3)  –  Herby Fougasse bread


This is a traditional French ‘leaf’ shaped bread and my second bake that Tesco have sponsored the ingredients on. It is quite a simple bread but tasty and an ideal companion to stews, casseroles, soup or even a ploughmans’. I have gone with the Great British Bake Off flavours as I am a bit partial to a nice bit of herby bread, but you can use any flavours you like, plain, cheese, chorizzo…….. The following recipe will make either 2 large or 4 small ‘leaf’ shaped breads. I tried to find the translation of the word fougasse, failed! 



500g/1lb 2oz strong bread flour (Organic from Tesco)

1 tspn dried yeast

1 tspn salt (I used Tesco Finest pink Himalayan sea salt)

350ml/12 oz water 

1 tspn dried yeast

Good glug of olive oil

2 tbspn chopped finely chopped herbs (Tesco sage and rosemary)

Sprinkle of dried herbs (Tesco own dried oregano)


  • Preheat oven to lowest level then turn off.
  • Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side and the salt to the other, then place the water in the centre. Mix for a couple of minutes until the dough starts to form.
  • Using a dough scraper transfer the dough onto your work surface, which has been liberally coated with the olive oil. Continue to work the dough by continually stretching  and folding it over, into and onto itself. It should take roughly 10 minutes to transform from a sticky gloop which wants to adhere to the surface to a stretchy dough that although is still tacky, is elastic and smooth and will yield.
  • Finely chop the fresh herbs (a small food processor is good for this), stretch out the dough to a rough circle and sprinkle the herbs over, then work the bread for another minute or so to evenly disperse the herbs. Form it into a ball.
  • Lightly oil the bowl and place the ball into it, cover and place in the warmed oven for approximately one hour until doubled in size.  If you have longer, then you could simply leave the bowl at room temperature and let the dough take longer to prove as this is said to enhance the flavour.
  • Turn out gently onto a floured (or fine semolina) or oiled surface. Divide the dough into 2 or 4 with a sharp knife and work each one the same. Be careful not to deflate it too much whilst working with it, be firm though as it is quite unyielding.
  • Roll into a ball and then pull the dough into an oval shape, then pick up one end and let gravity pull it down a little and you should have a teardrop leaf-ish shape.  Place onto a lined or oiled baking sheet and using a sharp implement (pizza cutter is good) cut 2 consecutive slits down the centre then 5-6 (3-4 on the small ones)  diagonal slits going out to the sides.
  • Put the baking sheets into large plastic bags and leave for approximately 30 minutes to plump a little.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to maximum. When oven is good and hot, spritz some water onto the sides (avoiding the elements) to create a little steam (not to much though as you want this bread to be a little crisp) then turn the oven down to around 200ºC.

  • Remove from the bags and spray olive oil onto the dough (or lightly drizzle) and sprinkle with the dry herbs and rock salt.  Then place the breads in the oven for 20 minutes.  Once golden turn off the oven, leaving the bread in there to cool, just on the shelf, with the door slightly ajar, to crisp up on the outside.
  • Enjoy with your favourite meal or some cheese. It should be crunchy on the outside and spongey in the middle.


Here’s my serving suggestion – homemade spicy tomato soup with churizzo croutons.

TIPS  –  I made my bread by hand, not the easiest method I have to say as it is a sticky dough and did take quite a lot of working with, it can be made in a mixer with a dough hook attachment. If making dough or pastry by hand, i recommend using just one hand leaving the other one clean and grease free for adding extras, or getting out the flour dredger, or spraying a little more oil onto the bread board. Invest in an oil spray bottle, you can get refillable ones, you can use them for cooking with, oiling bowls and implements, greasing trays and tins, oiling food etc. 

I had always wanted to try ‘pink’ salt as I had heard that is was supposed to be the ‘best’ salt (we give it to the cattle in the winter in its pure form as salt lick to replace the minerals they miss from eating fresh green grass).  But to be honest, I think my lovely sea salt crystals are just as good, but the Himalayan salt does look nice.

AND FINALLY BAKE 3 –  Tiered Floral Cake  –  The Showstopper


So this cake is quite simple to make, but stunning to look at; It was also my first attempt at doing a topsy turvey style (although not very clear from the picture I am afraid) this was achieved by taking 2 pieces of wood around 6 inches long, 2 wide and 1 high, which I covered in foil to avoid it getting too hot in the oven and for hygiene too.  Now, some of the flowers on this cake are not edible, if you do the same, ensure that anyone going to eat a cake with non edible items on is fully aware of this (or make sure you only use edible ones); these were then removed before the cake was cut; I covered the stalk ends of the stems with a tiny piece of cling film to avoid any sap contaminating the sponge.  I also made some sugar paste flowers too, just because!


So this is a simple cake recipe, all the ingredients should weigh the same so, pre weigh a jug, and break your eggs into it, whatever they weigh that is how much sugar, butter and flour you need. One medium egg weighs around 2oz/55 g

SMALL CAKE: 3 eggs then the same weight of:

golden caster sugar


self raising flour

1 tspn baking powder

2 tbsp milk

1 tbspn dried lavender (or dried crushed rose petals)

LARGE CAKE: 4 eggs then the same weight of:

golden caster sugar


self raising flour

1 tspn baking powder

3 tbsp milk

1 tbspn dried lavender (or dried crushed rose petals)


Some fresh fruit (I used blueberry, strawberry and black cherry)

A small posy of mixed flowers (heads only)

Optional: some hand made sugar paste roses

CREAM: 1 large pot of double or whipping cream  should fill both cakes, add a couple of teaspoons of rose water after whisking .  Or simply add a couple of drops of rose essence (food grade).  You could also add some pink colour if you like. I also added some crushed dried rose petals to the larger cakes’ cream


  1. Preheat the oven 180ºC or fan oven 170ºC and well grease and line the bottom of two 7″/21cm tins and two 9″/26 cm tins.
  2. Weigh the eggs (for one of the cakes), without shells (I usually pop a jug on the scales, reset it to 0 then crack the eggs into that, without breaking the yolks) That way you will get a fluffy, even bake.  Cream the butter and sugar together – you can do this the old fashioned way if you like, but dodgy hands that don’t work proper’ being what they are I prefer my trusty old Kenwood! Once light and fluffy, add a spoonful of your flour and beat in the eggs, one(ish) at a time. Then add the flour, baking powder, milk and whatever flavour you are using.
  3. Put an even amount into the relevant tins, smooth down the surface and bake for approx. 25 to 35  mins until cooked fully. Remove from the oven and leave for 5 mins in the tin to cool, very carefully remove from the tin (running a pallet knife around the edge gently) to avoid crumbing up the sides; take out of the tins and allow cool fully on a rack.
  4. Repeat with the second cake once the first is out of the oven.
  5. Once fully cold, whip up your cream then add the rose essence.
  6. Decide which of each pair is the bottom and which is the top layer.  Pipe or spread the cream onto the bottom one (retaining a small amount of cream) and sandwich the 2 halves together.  Put the small amount of cream remaining onto the larger cake and place the smaller cake neatly on top.  Decorate your little heart out!  I find that it looks a tad more aesthetically pleasing to the eye to use a ‘spiral’ around the 2 tiers. Using the fruit and flowers to ‘hide’ any untidy areas on the cakes. Just remember if you are not sure of whom will eat your cake, then use only known edible flowers.
  7. Sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and/or glitter (it is a showstopper after all). Oh yes, stick an indoor roman candle in for good measure!

And now I would like to thank our hostess Jenny Paulin ( who hosts and organises the Great Bloggers Bake Off on her page, but also to apologise for giving her so much to read each week (I just can’t help it, I love to cook and bake!) Plus a huge thanks to Tesco for helping provide this weeks’ ingredients.

If you want to see the other candidates in this weeks’ bakes then have a look on Jenny’s site.


Tah Dah!


I am very pleased to say that I was awarded star baker this week for my Danish pastries! And yes, I enjoyed them so much, they will be made again, but I have decided that before I do I will have a go at a similar bake, croissants, something I have been procrastinating over for many a year, so watch this blog, for that recipe, after bake off has finished though 🤗

Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016

From Bakewell to Billund   (birthplace of Lego® in Denmark)



So, I have to be honest, this is my favourite week; pastry was one of the first things I really ‘cooked’, being a quiche Lorraine, which is still a firm family favourite, my Pops’ in particular.  I do cheat sometimes with flakey pastry but I have never bought a single pack of shop made shortcrust pastry, even though I actually hate making it by hand (it’s something to do with the fatty flour under my finger nails, but more recently due to the arthritis in my thumb not helping  with the rubbing in!)  So,let us hope that I ‘bake well’ this week and that my Danish pastries ‘rise’ to the occasion. 


I could not resist doing the apple and blackberry jam as I have hundreds of apples growing outside and plenty of blackberries (I am sure the local bird population can spare a few) dotted all over our hedgerows on the farm.


8 oz plain flour

2 oz maize flour (also known as yellow cornmeal)

4 oz salted butter plus 1 oz lard (or 5 oz butter)

1 oz caster sugar

1 medium egg

splash of cold water

JAM: 2 medium sized baking apples

large handful of blackberries

sugar  –  ½ the weight of the fruit in sugar (mine weighed 300g so i used 150 g sugar)

FILLING: 4 0z butter

40z caster sugar

3 large eggs

4 oz ground almonds

DECORATION: 3 oz icing sugar with 2 tbspn  liquid (e.g. water, lemon, fruit juice)


  1. Make pastry! Use fats direct from the fridge, cut into small cubes and rub it into the flour and maize until you have a mix that resembles breadcrumbs (or pop it in a food processor with a blade fitting and blitz for a few seconds!) Add the sugar and give it a good mix.  Next add the egg and a couple of tablespoons of water and bring it all together to form a firm dough.  Roll into a ball and leave this in the bowl, covered, and pop it into the fridge or pantry for an hour (made by hand) or 30 mins (machine made)
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.  Roll out the pastry so that is large enough to line a 10″ loose bottom shallow tart tin or 8″ deep one if you prefer a ‘fatter’ tart. Line the tin; for a 10″ tin, you will need the pastry to be at least 12 inches across.  Slide the bottom of the tin underneath it, folding the edges of the pastry up and over to exposed the edges of the base, pop this into the tart tin and then unfold the pastry up the sides! Simple! Leave a small excess of pastry round the edges to allow for shrinkage.
  3. Bake the pastry blind – cover with foil or baking parchment, slightly larger than the tart, then weigh down with baking beans – for approximately 20 minutes until it is just cooked and just changing colour. (leave the overhanging pastry on until the frangipane stage is done).
  4. Whilst the pastry is baking make the fruit compote/jam.  Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces, put in a pan with the blackberries and sugar and slow boil these, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has become mushy, take off the heat and allow to cool.  (I never did look into how to make jam ‘properly’ but this method has always worked for me and you get it thick enough yet loose enough for spreading on the pastry case bottom; which is all you do with it once the  case comes out of the oven (I like to let the pastry just sit for 5 minutes first).  Alternatively use a shop bought jam!
  5. Turn the oven down to 180°C. Make the frangipane next. Gently melt the butter (either in a pan or microwave).  Put the sugar and eggs in a bowl and give them a good whisk to make them light and fluffy.  Whisk in the butter, then gently stir in the ground almonds. Pour this thick goo gently into the case (or use a spoon going from the outside, in) so as not to disturb the jam layer or it will ‘bleed’ into the almond mixture. Smooth the top over and place in the oven for approximately 35 minutes.
  6. Check the frangipane before removing from the oven.  Touch the top gently, it should be firm but not solid to the touch, too much wobble and it will be underdone.  (If it starts looking baked but still wobbly, simply turn the oven down 10 degrees and leave for another 10 minutes).
  7. Once it is out of the oven leave to cool completely in the tin.  Now, either with a pair or scissors or sharp knife trim all around the edges (or gently roll over the top with a  rolling pin) and brush away the excess pastry and crumbs with a pastry brush.  Then remove the tart from the tin and place on serving plate.
  8. Mix the sieved icing sugar with a little liquid (I used apple juice for mine) until you have an icing that is thin enough to flow but firm enough not to be runny.  Put a couple of tablespoons in a small dish and add a very small amount of colouring (I used a little blackberry juice) then put this into a small piping bag.  Spoon the white icing over the tart and smooth it to the edges.
  9. Quickly snip the very bottom off the icing bag and pipe nice straight lines down the tart about 1″ apart.  Turn the plate 180º and, using a thin skewer or cocktail stick, lightly drag down one line, then move over an inch and draw the line up, next line down and so on, to create a feathering effect.  Leave this at least an hour or so to set off before enjoying with your favourite cuppa!

TIPS  –  Not too many for this bake as most have been included in the recipe, but one thing you must do is use a metal tart tin.  Ceramic ones look nice, but they tend not to cook the bottom of the pastry very well and it’s the biggest no no of the Great British Bake Off is a soggy bottom! If you scrunch up your foil or parchment before butting into the pastry tin, it will be easier to shape to the tin.

You should have noticed from the recipe that I use maize aka yellow cornflour in my pastry, I think it makes the pastry lighter, shorter (crumblier) yet holds together better so you can get a much thinner layer that still holds its shape and form both raw and cooked; it also gives it a nice pale yellow hue too (but that could also be the corn fed hens eggs, I do like to look after my chucks.)

Bake 2 of 2 for pastry week  –  DANISH PASTRIES

As this is quite a long recipe (don’t be put off though, it is time consuming rather than difficult) I have split it into the basic dough first and then followed that with some filling/recipe ideas; however, you can let your imagination go wild with this bake, my main problem was deciding what you put in, and keep it down to just a couple of ideas, as new ones kept popping into my head.  In the end I went with ingredients that i already had in! The dough is based on Paul Hollywoods’ own recipe, but it does seem to be a pretty standard recipe. Incidentally I think I much prefer the Danish word for, erm, Danish pastries, they call it wienerbr∅d, which basically mean bread from Vienna as the first accredited recipe was in the 1840’s from a Viennese chef.



  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 80g sugar
  • 10g instant yeast
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100 ml cool water
  • 100 ml tepid milk
  • 250g unsalted butter (keep in fridge)
  • food processor/mixer; medium sized bag; rolling pin; cling wrap or parchment paper


  • Put the flour in the processor bowl, fitted with a dough hook, place the salt and sugar to one side and the yeast on the other. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs and the 2 liquids.
  • Put the mixer on slow for about 1 minute to incorporate the ingredients. Then put it to a medium setting and leave it to run for around 5 minutes.  Turn it off and check the dough, it should have gone elastic and have a mild sheen to it. img_1181
  • Now the fun part! ‘Encourage’ the dough out of the bowl with a dough scraper onto a floured work surface and gently gather it up into a ball (you may want to oil or flour your hands too!) then pat it into a rough rectangle shape.  Put a tiny amount of oil into your plastic bag, squish it together until the inside of the bag is well coated then simply put the dough inside, seal up and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  • Take your butter.  Spread a large piece of cling onto a hard surface, put the butter in the middle and cover with a 2nd sheet.  Using your rolling pin, gently beat and roll the butter out to a neatish rectangle approx. 12 x 6½” (30 x 20cm).  Place this into the fridge too.img_1184
  • Now roll out the dough to a rectangle roughly 18 x 7 inches.  Have the shortest edge towards you. Place the butter at this end, so that it covers ⅔ the length of the dough.img_1185 Fold the ‘uncovered’ ⅓ down over the butter and then fold the buttered end up and over this, keeping it as neat and rectangular as you can. This is a single fold and you should now have a layer of dough, then butter, then dough, then butter and finally dough. These stages are very important as they form the flaky layers in the finished pastry and will keep them light and buttery. Pinch together the ends, rebag and put back in the fridge for around another hour. img_1186
  • With the narrow edge towards you, roll out again  (18×7″) this time fold the furthest edge to the middle and then bottom edge to meet it in the middle and then fold this over again.  This is known as a book fold.  Yes, you guessed it, back in the fridge.
  • Repeat the single fold twice more, each time returning the dough to the bag and fridge, then leave it (with plenty of room inside the bag to allow for rising) for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight to gently rise in the fridge. It is now ready to use with any filling you like, in any shape you fancy.  

This dough is really funky, it is both pastry and a bread dough, it will be very spongy when rolling, and will require a tiny bit more effort when rolling as it will want to go into its own shape, especially when you are trying to form the individual pastries. I went with 2 (ish) basic flavours, home-made mincemeat & apple and pecan & banana; and tried 4 different shapes, rolls, pin windmills, kites and plaits. 


So, it was a bit of a pastry fest the last 2 days at my house, as you can see from the picture above I just managed to get 24 medium sized Danish pastries from my dough. There are essentially 3 flavours, 2 proper one and one ‘cheat’ as i used a little of my left over apple and blackberry compote and some cream cheese in the last little bit of pastry for a yummy cheesecake flavour.  I make my own mincemeat, and i will blog that recipe later on in the autumn, in time for christmas, as you need to make it whilst there’s a glut of apples.




You require: (sorry going all Jamie Oliver stylee now with my measurements!)

  • small jar of sweet mincemeat
  • finely sliced eating apple
  • big pinch of coconut sugar (any sugar will do really, this is just my ‘new’ find)
  • a small egg (beaten)
  • a good 2 handfuls of pecan nuts (roasted or toasted)
  • roughly 6 untoasted pecans
  • large tablespoon dollop of cream cheese
  • 1 medium banana
  • pinch of vanilla seeds or ½ tspn vanilla paste
  • 500g Danish dough (as above)!


  1. Remove your dough from the fridge (where it should have been resting overnight).
  2. Prepare all of your fillings in readiness.  Slice your apple and put in a small bowl with a little lemon juice water; beat your egg.  In a small food processor, with a knife blade fitted, put in most of the toasted pecan nuts, keeping back about 6, blitz them for a few seconds.  Add the cream cheese, banana and vanilla and blitz for a few seconds.
  3. You now have a pecan ‘butter’ paste.  
  4. Divide your pastry in half and roll out the first ½, its not easy as this little monster is alive! It’s bubbly, elastic and set in its ways, wants to shrink back to its own shape, but just gently show it you’re the boss! You will need to cut this strip into squares approximately 4 inches across.
  5. Take half of the squares. Snip (I found it easier to use scissors for this one) diagonally from the corner towards the centre of the square, leaving about ½ inch clearance in the middle. Place a large dollop in the middle of each one then take the left hand corner of your 4 cuts, and fold this into the middle, using a little dab of water onto each one (I used the lemony water my apple was soaking in) just to hold them together.  Place on a baking sheet and put inside a bag. img_1202
  6. With the other set of square, fold them in half on the diagonal (to form a triangle) then using a very sharp knife or scissors, cut up the sides (not the folded edge) from the fold to ½ inch from the outer edge. unfold them.  Place a dollop of mincemeat in the centre of each take 2 slices of apple and place in the centre of the mincemeat, pull the left cut piece over to the right hand side and then gently pull the right hand cut over to the left hand side, again using a tiny spot of the water to hold them down.img_1200
  7. Again put these on a baking tray inside a plastic bag and set to one side.
  8. Roll out the remaining pastry dough and firstly cut 4 rectangles about 6×4 inches. place a heaped teaspoon of pecan paste down the length of the centre, not too wide, and crumble the 6 toasted pecans onto this paste. Using your scissors again, cut thin slots, diagonally, along each long edge, simply cross them over left, right, left right, img_1195to the end, tucking your edges in neatly. You guessed it, put a dot of water onto the edges to keep them in place.  Then it’s the baking tray and bag for them too.img_1201
  9. Finally smooth the remaining pecan butter all over the remaining dough.  Carefully and tightly roll up (the long edge) into a thick cigar shape.  Cut, with a very sharp knife, into 1″ slices.  Place on their side on a baking tray, give them a gentle press down and put in a plastic bag. img_1199
  10. Let the pastries prove for an hour, when they should plump up a little bit.  Put the oven on at 200ºC, after about ½ hour so that it is ready when the first tray of pastries is ready to go in. Remove them from their bags and use the egg to glaze all exposed surfaces, avoiding the side edges, and sprinkle the mincemeat ones with a little pinch of sugar, and crumble up the untoasted pecans over the plaits, put them in the oven (if they don’t all fit leave covered in their bags until you have room so that they stay draught free).  
  11. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy.  When you remove from the oven, gently lift to unsure that the bottoms are also golden and crispy.  Place on a cooling rack to completely cool down.

Decorate with a little icing drizzle, or melted chocolate, or a drizzle of maple syrup goes well with the banana and pecan ones. And that’s breakfast, elevenses and supper sorted then!  I know they sound a little complicated, but so worth it, taste is so much better than anything I personally have ever had from a shop!

TIPS  –  putting apples in lemon water will prevent them from going brown.  Nuts are very easy to toast, simply put in the oven (I put mine in yesterday with the Bakewell tart) on a medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes, or onto a griddle or dry frying pan, for the same amount of time, but do keep your eye on them as they will go from toasted to burnt in seconds.


If you want to see more of the Bake Off inspired goodies that some of my fellow bloggers have done this week then take a peek at our host site run by Jenny Paulin. And if you do a foodie type blog too, it’s not too late to join in for this year; rules etc can be found at Mummy Mishaps.

And on a final note, it is with a heavy heart that we learned that Mary Berry will be leaving the GBBO when they transfer over to the new channel, I personally am glad that Paul Hollywood will stay with the show, which hopefully means that they will continue with a similar, if not the same, format.  But do they keep it as a 1 hour programme (which would require a 1 hour 20 minute time slot) or do they ‘shave’ something off? Please don’t let it be the history section, I do rather enjoy that.

Now, this photo, I wonder if there’s a clue to the ‘new’ presenter over Mary’s shoulder!!??!!??!!??



Phew, that’s the lot then for this week, a long one this time I know, I really ought to cut down to one bake once in a while!  Happy baking x




The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016



So I personally don’t think this really calls for Mel and Sues’ calling for BAKE! As to me, batter is strictly speaking cooking rather than baking, but hey, at least it is something a little bit different than they have done before. So I have been a little bit loose with the ‘pancake’ too and have done another of Mr Timothy’s favourites:

Bake number one of 2  – DERBYSHIRE OATCAKES


INGREDIENTS (makes approximately 20 pancakes)

2 cups (8oz) oatmeal (I like a ratio of 50:50 fine and medium course)

2 cups (8oz) plain flour (I like to do a ration of ⅔ white ⅓ wholemeal)

1tspn salt

1tspn sugar

¾ pint of milk with ¾ pint of water

2 tspn dry yeast


  1. Mix together the oatmeals, flours and salt in a large bowl.
  2.  Warm the milk to finger warm, add the sugar and stir, then add the yeast and give it a gentle whisk to mix. Leave this to stand for 15/20 minutes until a good froth begins to form. Make a well in the middle of theflour and pour in the yeasty milk, gently whisk to combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Cover the bowl (cling wrap, tea towel, shower cap) and leave to stand somewhere warm for approximately one hour. The mixture should be luiquidy and very frothy.
  4. You will now need a medium sized frying pan or skillet and some grease for frying.
  5. Put the pan on a medium heat and using a small jug or ladle pour some of the liquid into the pan and spread out to a thin layer that covers the whole area.  Cook this off until bubbles begin to appear and the edges lift/come away from the pan a little.imageTurn or toss the ‘pancake’ to cook the other side (the cooking time for the second side will be less than the first as it is by now already partially cooked from underneath).
  6. Once fully cooked and golden, slide the oatcake onto kitchen paper or a cooling rack and carry on with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan a little between each one.
  7. These cakes can be eaten with literally any filling you like, either savoury or sweet, let your imagination run away with you; though I must confess my favourite way is with just butter lightly spread on the cake, then rolled into a tube, or with the classic sugar and lemon juice combo!image

TIPS  –  Place a piece of kitchen towel next to the bowl of batter as you end up dripping it everywhere and it’s a monster to get up once it dries (just make sure it’s not too close to the cooker).  These pancakes freeze really well,  best if you separate each one with a piece of cling film or baking paper so you can take them out individually.  Have 2 pans on the stove top so that you can turn the cake into the second pan allowing that to finish cooking whilst starting the next one.  No oatmeal? simply grind up some oats or porridge in a food processor (don’t use instant porridge though!)


Bake number 2 of 2  –  FILLED YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS

Okay, so if you have been paying attention over the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed that my other half, Mr Timothy, is a bread, potato and oatcake monster, well that is nothing compared to the beast that roars when I make yorkies.  My stepson has only one answer when asked what he wants for tea – “toad in the hole” –  or what he wants for Sunday dinner – “anything as long as it has yorkshires”!  Plus, being as half of me, from my Pops, is from Yorksher-shire, I have to be able to make good ones, it’s the law, haha.  I do have a little claim to fame here, I used to work in a hotels in Spain and at least 2 of those I worked in are making my Yorkshire puds for their gala dinners, when serving beef!  My only problem is that I make them by ‘eye’ as i have been making them since I was 11 years old, and that is some years ago now!  So I did a little research for the recipe as there’s a lot of them out there and I came up with a good formula (which is also kind of based on a basic cake recipe) – the flour should weigh the same as the eggs and the liquid is then doubled. So if your eggs weigh  4oz, use 4oz of flour and 8 fluid oz of liquid.

WHAT YOU NEED (for a dozen small yorkies)

3 eggs (mine weighed 4 ¾ oz)

4 ¾oz plain flour

9 fl/oz milk 

½ fl/oz water

pinch of salt

some beef dripping (or good veg oil if a vegetarian)

muffin tray (12 hole)


  • Break eggs into a largish bowl or jug and weigh them so you know exactly how much flour and liquid to use.  Zero your scales and add the flour. Whisk these together.
  • Weigh/measure out the liquid and add this a little at a time, whisking in well.  Pop in a pinch of salt to taste (I also like to add pepper as this is my ‘spice’ of choice). Your batter should look like double cream, too thin and it will rise too fast and collapse and too thick and you will struggle to get a rise out of it.
  • Let the mix sit for an hour or so (don’t know why this is done, but I was taught this at school so have always done it!)
  • Put a lump of beef dripping into each cup of a deep bun/muffin tray.  Put the oven on to full power on fan and put a metal dish or tray in the bottom of the oven. When at full temp put the muffin tin/s into the top and leave for at least 10 minutes until the fat is bubbling and just starting to smoke.
  • Remove from the oven and using a measuring cup or ladle evenly fill each hole to around ½ way full, carefully, in case the oil sizzles up.
  • Splash a little water onto the metal tray in the bottom of the oven then put the muffin tray/s back in at the top of the oven (leaving enough room for the yorkies to rise).  Set timer for 20 minutes.  Do not bang your door shut and do not open it until you can see they are well risen (as long as you have a glass door!) or you run the risk of them collapsing in on themselves.img_1164
  • When they are golden and crisp take out from the oven and carefully remove from the tray.  You can eat them as they are with, as a side to a main meal, or as they did on Bake Off make them the star of the meal and fill with your favourite stuffing, let you imagination run wild.  They could be a starter course to a meal or even a pudding with something like jam and custard or syrup and banana (just make sure you have not added any herbs or pepper if doing this).  I chose to do 2 different fillings, both of them savoury.img_1167

Sausage and caramelised onions in gravy

Packet of your favourite bangers

1 medium onion

gravy thickener and water (or cheat and use instant)

  1. Put the sausages into an ovenproof dish (I like to use one that can be used in the oven and on the hob too to save on washing up!) and pop in the oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Chop the onion, add this to the sausage pan and let the juices/fat from them cook the onions until golden and sticky; approximately another 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the sausages and onions and either use the tray on the stove top or scrape the rich fatty goo into a pan, mix your browning with a little water and cook this off with the goo for a minute or 2 on medium heat to thicken slightly.  Add enough liquid to make a rich, thick gravy add your onions and sausages and pop this into your puddings.

Chicken & mushroom in a tarragon cream sauce

4-6 small mini breast fillets (or a couple of large one sliced into thin ribbons)

1 large or banana shallot

about 4 large mushrooms

a little oil for frying

chicken stock cube

slug of brandy

fresh or dried tarragon

salt and pepper and a mashed clove of garlic

1 small pot of cream

  1. Chop/slice up the chicken into small pieces.  Chop the onion finely and cut up the mushroom into smallish pieces.
  2. Heat up a medium sized frying or sauté pan, using the oil, gently fry the onions for a minute or 2 until soft and translucent, add the chicken and fry for a couple of minutes then add the mushroom and again cook for a minute or 2.
  3. Sprinkle over the stock cube and tarragon, slug in the brandy and add salt and pepper and garlic to taste.  Once this has all cooked fully, pour in the cream to your taste, not to dry and not to runny! Simply fill your puds.

TIPS  –  Use just a little water in your batter and this will help the rise as it will create steam inside the yorkshire, putting the water in the tray in the oven also adds a little steam to get the rise started, only just a little though as too much will result in a soggy pudding (and we don’t like soggy bottoms or anything else on the bake off!)


Phew! that was a bit of a cooking marathon this week, now feeling a little battered (sorry, at least there was only the one pun) but looking forward to next weeks’ pastry bake though, as this was the first thing I was allowed to cook unsupervised at age 11 (in the form of a quiche Lorraine which i still make to this day).  If you want to see more of the Bake Off inspired goodies that some of my fellow bloggers have done this week then take a peek at our host site run by Jenny Paulin.  And if you do a foodie type blog too, it’s not too late to join in for this year.


The Great Bloggers Bake Off


In a “yoinks, ohhhhhh no it’s bread weeeek” kind of a way, yup bread is my nemesis, the thorn in my finger, the thing i dread making, the bake I go back to time and time again to just try and get it right, sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.  I reckon I did okay this time though! Have a read of the 2 recipes and let me know what you think!


Bake number 1 0f 2  –  Plaited chocolate loaf

Okay for this bake I used 2 different sweet breads, one old favourite (hot cross bun) and one brand new recipe (cherry and white chocolate), both of which were based on Paul Hollywood recipes – by accident rather than intention.  My one worry before I began, which incidentally  did occur, was that one would prove quicker than the other; but in the end it worked out well.  The bread was amazing on the day it was made but did not keep too well, and it was not really the kind of thing you can toast either  (on account of the chocolate melting) so if I was to make this again, I would leave out the dark chocolate chips!  The recipe made 2 loaves so it could easily be halved for just one.


500g plain bread flour                                            500g plain bread flour

10g/2tspn fast-action yeast                                 75g castor sugar

1 tspn salt                                                                   2 tspn yeast

1 tbspn oil                                                                   1 tspn salt

100g dried cherries                                                  300 ml milk

150g white choc chips                                             50g butter

320ml water                                                               1 egg (lightly beaten)

honey and marmalade glaze                                125g fruit

                                                                                     75g dark choc chips

                                                                                      1 apple (chopped small)

                                                                                      pinch of cinnamon 


  1. Make the hot cross bun dough first.  Put the flour into a large bowl, stir in the sugar, then put the salt on one side, yeast on the other and make a well in the middle.  Warm the milk (pan or microwave) so that the butter will just melt in it. Cool slightly
  2. Put the egg in the well, then add the buttery milk and mix in well, using one hand and bring together into a dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly greased surface and need for 7-10 minutes until smooth, pliable and shiny.
  4. Put into a bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm and draught free to prove. Make the 2nd dough.
  5. Put the flour in a bowl, yeast one side, salt the other, oil in the middle, add the water and mix to a firm dough.
  6. Knead the dough on a greased or floured surface for 7-10 minutes, pop back into the bowl and cover, leaving it in a warm place to prove for approximately one hour (until both doughs have doubled in size).
  7. Dry your apple pieces. Take out the hot cross dough smooth it out to a flatish square and pour on the fruit, apple, choc chips and pinch of cinnamon.  Fold the edges over and gently knead and work the fruit into the dough until they amalgamate. 
  8. Take the 2nd dough and again flatten out to a rough square and tip the cherriesimage and white chocolate onto the dough and gently combine them together.
  9. For the next step I put aside approx ⅓ of each dough to one side then divided the remainder in half.  
  10. Take each dough and roll it into sausage shapes approx. 1½ feet long.  Place them in a row, alternating each flavour, and pinch down the far end.  Make a four strand plait.  I do this by passing 1 over 2 then 3 over 1. Next 4 over 3 and 2 over 4.  Simply repeat this pattern until the end pinch both ends and tuck them under the main loaf to neaten edges. place this onto a greased or floured baking tray, cover  and leave to stand for approximately one hour until doubled in size.
  11. Preheat the oven to max, turn it down to 200ºC and spritz some water onto the bottom and/or door (this creates a steam to encourage first rise) as you place the bread in to bake.
  12. Bake for approx. 40 minutes, checking at around 30 minutes, if it is darkening too much turn heat down a little. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a cooling tray until fully cold.  Glaze with a couple of tablespoons of honey mixed with a couple of marmalade warmed gently in the microwave then brushed all over.Enjoy plain, with some proper butter, or a little of a certain creamy white cream cheese!

Phew, that’s one long recipe, but only as it’s 2 doughs, you could simply stick with one, personally I preferred the cherry one best.  With the hot cross one, use any dry fruit that takes your fancy, I used blueberries, cranberries and mango (anyone who knows me knows that I think the only thing you should do with a grape is squash it so it makes a little whine (erm, wine hahaha).  I made a small tin loaf with the left over thirds of the dough.  In the piece in the bottom left of the following pic you can see a diagonal line which shows the 2 different flavours


TIPS  –  A large plastic bag is good for proofing the bread in, I get some large recycling bags just from the local supermarket which are perfect, large enough to fit in a large baking tray and allow for the rise too.  On your second rise, it’s a good idea to put the oven on ready when it has had around 30 minutes, so that the oven is ready when you need it, I have had bread over prove (go like a balloon and then pop) on me before now whilst waiting for the oven to come to max temp.  Max temp and water in the oven at the point of putting the bread in are great to force up the rise.

Bake number 2 of 2  –  Savoury Dampfnudeln

Not strictly what I would call a ‘bake’ but it is a yeast bread, so I guess it qualifies.  I had to bake a cake the same day as the chocolate loaf, so I thought, why not see if I could find a savoury version of the dampfnudeln, and low and behold it is a ‘thing’. And the bonus is that it’s my favourite form of measurement – cups. I believe this version stems from Bavaria and is generally served with meat, gravy and sauerkraut, and I even found a stuffed version with tomatoey chicken.  I must say they were gorgeous, and my other half, Mr Timothy, has requested that I make these – often! But he is a bread monster! So here is my adaptation of the recipe I found on



2 cups plain bread flour

⅔ cup warm milk

2 tspn fast dry yeast

2 tspn sugar

2 tspn salt

1 large egg (beaten)

Approx 1 pint water with a good tablespoon of sea salt

large glug of oil or knob of butter


  1. Put the flour in a large bowl make a well in the centre and add the sugar.  Warm up the milk and pour that into the well and gently mix in the yeast.  Cover and leave for around 20 minutes and the milk has gone frothy.
  2. Put the salt in on one side of the bowl add the egg to the milk and bring it all together to make a  slightly wet sticky dough.  I then kneaded this just for around 3 minutes to get the gluten going.  Cover the bowl and leave for roughly an hour to prove.
  3. Knock back the dough.  Divide it into 10 or 12 balls and place on a greased tray, with plenty of space around them to allow for rising.  Pop in a large bag and sit for another hour to double in size again.
  4. When the balls have swollen, take a large, heavy bottom sauté pan (preferably nonstick) with a good fitting lid.  Place the salt, water and oil in the pan, pop on the lid and bring it to a hard boil.
  5. Gently pick up the individual dampfnudel and carefully place them into the hot liquor, clamp on the lid.  Put on a high heat and boil away for 15 minutes, then ‘listen’ to the pan, if you hear bubbly noises leave it be, if it has frying sound emitting from it, turn down the heat to medium and allow to gently fry for around 5 minutes.  DO NOT LIFT THE LID!!! If you do, they heat will be lost and you will either end up with stodgy, possibly raw buns or they will collapse in on themselves.image
  6. These bread buns will be soft, fluffy and light with a slight crunch to the bottom.image

Serve them with you favourite meat and vegetables, with gravy.  Here is one serving idea (keeping it Bavarian) I made rouladen, battered out thin steak simply rolled up like cigars and then cooked in beef stock and onions – I like to add a couple of slices of back pudding mashed up for a really rich gravy.  Pop in a large bay leaf and a good mill of black pepper and slow, slow roast them.  Next was a hot ‘coleslaw’ of shredded kale, grated carrots and finely chopped leeks and a big dollop of horseradish on the side.  Yum!  Next time I make them I am intending to stuff them with some hard cheese and have them with good sausages and baked beans.

TIPS  –  When heating milk for yeast, if you can comfortably  put your finger in and simply feel warmth, it’s good, if it is hot then it will impede or even kill off the yeast.  On a cold day I like to put the oven on on it’s lowest temp whilst making the dough, then open up the door for a minute or 2, put a tea towel on the shelf, then close the door up with the dough safely tucked inside.  This should only be necessary for the first prove.  Clean disposable shower caps make great bowl covers.

So that was this weeks’ Great British Bake Off inspired recipes, you will find all the entries for the ‘Blog Off’ on our host site Mummy Mishaps.  And don’t forget if you blog it is not too late to join us.      image




Great British Bake Off – The Blog Off


Vanilla and Raspberry Viennese Whirls

From the original recipe by The Hairy Bikers! Ohhh my i have never made these before but they were so nice, I am sure I will make them again; and amazingly sweet considering the biscuits themselves don’t contain a lot of sugar.  I am really glad i managed to find an hour to bake these, as I did not think I would be able to join in with this week as I will be off to my first, yes FIRST music festival this week- don’t know whether that’s ‘sad’ at my age, but rest assured it’s a sedate food and family affair too with lots of local cooks doing demos, and some of the countries top organic and natural food companies there too.  So looking forward to relaxing for a few days, with yoga by the lake, organic wine and sausages by a camp fire and dancing under a moonlit sky!  Big thanks to my parents for house, pet and poultry sitting! (So sorry Dad, I know these are your favourites, but there’s none left!)



250g/9oz very, very soft proper butter

50g/2oz icing sugar

250g/9oz plain flour

50g/2oz cornflour

½ tspn vanilla extract

a little food colouring (optional)


100g/3½oz soft butter/buttery spread

200g/7oz icing sugar (sieved)

Seeds from ½ vanilla pod (see tips!) (Optional)

small jar raspberry jam (or any flavour you favour!)


  1. Preheat oven to 190/170ºC fan. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Take butter out of the fridge like hours before you need it! Whip the butter and icing sugar  together in a mixer on high speed (or with a hand held) until it is soft, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flours and vanilla and give it one quick mix/blitz to blend everything together to a soft paste.
  4. Put a large star nozzle into an heavy duty icing bag (maybe try a little twist as I have done here by applying a small amount of colour to match the jam, onto the sides of the bag with a long paintbrush, you can just about make this out in the photo here) then simply scoop the batter in.  imagePipe this in even whirls onto the parchment – you should get 24 – 30 from this mix, leaving a small amount of room for them to spread a little.
  5. Pop the trays into the fridge for 10 mins to refirm the butter to prevent spreading in the oven. Then bake them for approximately 12 – 15 minutes, until firm and just turing golden on the edges.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking trays, as they will be soft and crumbly and prone to breaking if you remove them too soon. Once they are cooled gently move them with a slice or biscuit lifters onto cooling racks.image
  7. For the filling, place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat a little to soften, add the icing sugar and beat together.  Add a pinch of vanilla seeds and stir in. Put into an icing bag with a small star nozzle.
  8. Place a small teaspoon of jam in the centre of a whirl (on the flat side), pipe little rosettes of butter icing around it in a circle then simply sandwich another biscuit on top!

TIPS  –  I can’t stress enough how soft the butter needs to be before piping, I am blessed to have a softening setting on my microwave so I used this and had no issues with it being too firm.

I like to use a bag clip on my icing bags when doing something heavy duty so it stops stuff leaking out of the wrong end (easily done when you have arthritic hands).  You could maybe add a little food flavouring into the bag along with the colour too for an extra kick, or maybe add some freeze dried raspberry into the paste.

Why not try some different styles, like long thin biscuits or as i have done with some of mine here, 3 conjoined rosettes.

Here is a top idea for vanilla pods, really expensive right, so why throw the pod away???? I have a fine herb blitzer (most food processors have this attachment these days, or a cheap coffee grinder will do) that I simply put the whole pod into and whizz down to a fine powder and keep in an airtight jar ready to use just a little pinch of as the pod themselves have almost as much flavour in as the seeds and you virtually triple the amount of vanilla ‘seed’ by doing this!


Phew that’s this weeks’ bake and blog done, and these little mouth melting moment of joy disappeared before the day was out! I would have over to have made some of my favourite ‘iced’ biscuits for you too, melted snowmen and reindeers (using gingerbread men cutters) but i think you will have to wait until nearer the Christmas season for those as I now have to go get my packing done!

If you too want to join in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off then join us do; for how to and what to check out Jenny’s blog at  .