Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Cakes & Bakes: Sticky date cake

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

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Home made sticky date cake with vanilla ice cream | H is for Home

Delia Smith is probably my favourite ‘celebrity chef’. I think it’s because she’s really down to earth, and so are her recipes. Easy to follow recipes that result in simple, hearty, tasty food.

Mixed dried fruit , butter and condensed milk in a saucepan

This week’s recipe is a case in point, her sticky date cake. Delia calls it a ‘boil and bake’ cake – not terribly enticing I admit, but bear with me.

Boiled mixed dried fruit , butter and condensed milk in a saucepan

It’s quick to mix but takes up to 3 hours to bake in a low oven. The result is a big, unctuous, flavourful fruit-filled cake. The original recipe calls for a dollop of orange marmalade – which we never have in the house – so I substituted it for some lime marmalade I made a while ago.

Pouring sticky date cake batter into the lined cake tin

The taste and texture of this cake make it like a cross between a sticky toffee pudding and a Christmas cake.

Home made sticky date cake | H is for Home

Try it with vanilla ice cream, thick pouring cream and a splash of brandy or rum for a festive flourish!

Sticky date cake
Somewhere between a Christmas cake and a sticky toffee pudding!
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Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
  1. 225g/8oz chopped dried dates
  2. 175g/6oz sultanas
  3. 110g/4oz raisins
  4. 110g/4oz currants
  5. 27g/10oz margarine
  6. 275ml/½pt water
  7. 1 tin condensed milk
  8. 150g/5oz plain flour
  9. 150g/5oz wholemeal flour
  10. ¾tsp bicarbonate of soda
  11. pinch of salt
  12. 1 generous tbsp chunky marmalade
  14. sticky date cake ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin
  3. Place all of the dried fruit in a large saucepan together with the margerine, water and condensed milk and bring to the boil
  4. Stir frequently to avoid sticking
  5. Simmer the mixture for exactly 3 minutes and stir occasionally
  6. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for half an hour
  7. While it's cooling, weigh the flours and sift them into a bowl together with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. (When sieving wholemeal flour, you often find small quantities of bran left in the sieve; these can be tipped on to the already sieved flour)
  8. When the mixture has cooled stir in the flour mix and add a good round tablespoon of marmalade
  9. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 2½-3 hours. (Take a look at the cake about ¾ of the way through the baking time and, if the top looks a bit dark, cover it with a double square of greaseproof paper to prevent further browning)
  10. After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack
  1. This is quite a large cake which will keep well for several weeks in an airtight tin
Adapted from Delia Smith's Cookery Course: Part Two
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Jammie dodger hearts

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

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Plate of jammie dodger hearts and mug of tea

Do you love a jammie dodger? We’ve got the perfect Cakes & Bakes recipe for you if the answer is an enthusiastic ‘yes’!

making biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

They’re quite a retro biscuit aren’t they? We think of them as very ‘seventies’. We were certainly eating a lot of them around that time.

chilled and halved biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

They first appeared about fifty years ago so are actually mid sixties in origin if we’re being totally accurate. They’ve definitely graced a lot of kids’ party tables over the decades.

making heart shapes from biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

They’re not just for kids though –  apparently, about 40% of jammie dodgers purchased are consumed by adults.

spooning jam on to heart shaped biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

We think that these home made versions are even better than the shop bought. They’re crispy, but have a fresh softness too which the packet variety have inevitably lost. And you can add all kinds of interesting and luxurious jams if you want to feel a bit more grown up as you eat a fourth one.

heart-shaped biscuits cooling on a rack

We went for the pretty heart shaped cookie cutters which works really well with the red jam. The ‘cut outs’ make nice little biscuits too so don’t throw them away.

jammie dodger hearts cooling on a rack

Could you resist one of these straight out of the oven?

Jammie dodger hearts
Yields 25
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Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
  1. 125g softened butter
  2. 110g caster sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 tsp vanilla essence
  5. 225g plain flour
  6. 2tbs raspberry jam/jelly
  8. jammie dodger hearts ingredients
  1. In a large mixing bowl or using a food processor cream the butter and caster sugar
  2. Add the egg and vanilla essence and combine well
  3. Mix in the flour and combine until it forms a smooth dough
  4. Wrap in cling film and put into the freezer for half an hour
  5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4
  6. Grease a large baking tray
  7. Halve the dough, re-wrap one of the pieces with cling film and put it in the fridge
  8. On a floured work surface, roll out the other half of the dough to a ½cm and cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter
  9. Put the shapes on the greased baking tray
  10. Repeat with the other half of the dough, this time using the smallest cookie cutter to cut a hole in the centre of each heart
  11. Put a small dollop of jam/jelly into the centre of each of the first lot of hearts before topping with the hearts with cut-outs
  12. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are just turning brown
  13. Cool on a wire rack before eating - careful with the boiling jam!
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Fruit and nut soda bread

Thursday, November 26th, 2015


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Home-made fruit and nut soda bread via @hisforhome

This week has been quite busy, so today’s Cakes & Bakes is going to reflect this – it’s a fruit and nut soda bread loaf. Soda bread is delicious. It’s not an emergency or last resort loaf, but having said that, it’s a real godsend if pushed for time.

flour and cubed butter in a mixing bowl flour, butter and buttermilk in a mixing bowl

It was my birthday on Tuesday, so I had a lovely lie-in while Justin took the dog for a walk. In the afternoon, he took me for a pub lunch locally at the Staff of Life.

Fruit and nut soda bread in a loaf tin before going into the oven

We stayed indoors during the evening but we shared a bottle of bubbly and caught up on some Scandi drama on television.

Freshly-made fruit and nut soda bread cooling on a wire rack

Yesterday, I went into Manchester city centre for yet another after-birthday lunch with a friend. Alas, after the whirlwind couple of days of being wined & dined, I’m getting back into the daily work schedule…

Fruit and nut soda bread
Yields 1
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 350g/12oz plain flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz wheatgerm
  3. 1tsp salt
  4. 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  5. 1tsp cream of tartar
  6. 2tbsp caster sugar
  7. 40g/1½oz cold butter, cubed
  8. 250g/9oz buttermilk
  9. 50g/1¾oz currants
  10. 50g/1¾oz chopped walnuts
  12. fruit and nut soda bread ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven and grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, wheatgerm, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar and sugar and mix
  3. Rub in the butter
  4. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk
  5. Using a bring the mixture towards the middle, mixing until it just comes together into a ball of dough
  6. Add the currants and walnuts and knead just a few times until the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed throughout the dough
  7. Form into a loaf shape, add to the tin and make a single deep cut along the long side
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when knocked
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and eating
H is for Home Harbinger