Perfectly English oven-baked recipes for St. George’s Day

Perfectly English oven-baked recipes for St. George's Day

In England, we seem to love sticking things in the oven. The Americans grill, the French sauté and the Germans brew, while here in England we won’t touch it if it hasn’t got that oven-gilded glow. As St. George’s Day is on a Sunday this year, we figured there was no better time to do a little baking in the true English spirit, but we think well try to change things up a bit. The oven will still play a central role – don’t worry, but let’s see if we can’t come up with a few creative ideas to make St. George proud. Here’s our run down of some favourite recipes for St. George’s Day.

Oxtail stew

Jamie Oliver's oxtail stew

This recipe comes straight from Jamie Oliver and is sure to please any crowd. From the look of it, it seems like a typical English stew, but delve a little deeper and you’ll see that it’s anything but. The fantastically chic ingredient oxtail is tender and delicious, and the addition of dark fruits and spices makes this one a true adventure.

Ploughman’s scones

Ploughman's scones

Ploughman’s + scones = English overload. It’s also delicious! You might have trouble deciding whether these sweet and salty morsels are best for breakfast, lunch, dinner or tea, but we say why not munch on them all day long? Fresh fruit and fluffy, cheesy scones will remind you why it’s so great to be English.

English muffin pizzas

English muffin pizzas

We owe it to the English muffin to top it with everything humanly possible, and just when we thought that that had already been done, in walked the English muffin pizza. All you need is to toast a few English muffins, top them with tomato sauce, cheese and your favourite ingredients, and stick them in the oven. They’re a perfect idea for a movie night or a St. George’s Day party with friends. If you’re worried about your oven being occupied by pizza-making fiends all day, you can always order the sides on one of the UK’s many food delivery apps such as the Hungry House app. Don’t worry, we won’t tell!

Caramel and whiskey bread pudding

Caramel and whiskey bread pudding

This traditional dish is known for having origins in the poorest of houses in the country, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do a bit to turn it into something fit for a king. This bread and butter pudding uses thickly cut bread, Irish whiskey, raisins and salted caramel to make every bit moist and exploding with flavour.

Manchester tart

Home-made Manchester tart

An incredible, decadent dessert or accompaniment for tea, the Manchester tart makes the top of the list for English tarts. This reimagined recipe was crafted by the renowned English chef Marcus Wareing and includes caramelised bananas, jam and thick cream. Making it isn’t so hard; it’s the waiting an hour while it cools in the fridge that’s the difficult bit!

Bonus: Dragonfire gin & tonic

Dragonfire gin & tonic

One last bonus to pay homage to St. George’s famous nemesis, the Dragonfire gin tonic is a colourful and creative take on the classic cocktail. It’s easy enough to make, just make a classic gin and tonic, add a spritz of mango juice and garnish with a thick wedge of dragon fruit.

What’s your favourite English dish?


Recipe organiser

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recipe organiser | H is for Home

This new recipe organiser was a long time coming!

Old recipe ring binder damaged by flooding

My poor old ring binder that previously held all my recipes had been damaged when our house flooded. It got covered in silt and became more than a little unhygienic.

Old recipe ring binder damaged by flooding

Luckily, the majority of the recipes I’d torn out and kept from newspapers & magazines had been carefully cut and stored in those clear plastic punched pockets. Most remained dry and were salvageable.

Recipe organiser showing recipe tabs

There were a lot of recipes to transfer over and file but the new organiser came with pre-printed tabs with sections for things (that I do a lot of) like baking, preserves, pies & tarts, cakes, desserts etc.

Recipe organiser showing a section divider with a photograph of a Kitchen Aid

It also came with 8 section dividers with lovely photographs of aspirational cooking & baking scenes!

Recipe organiser showing weights and measures page

There were over a hundred sheets for writing down recipes (using a fancy pen in my best handwriting of course!) and a really useful weights & measures conversion chart – I’m always having to look online to convert cups to grams and ºF to ºC.

Recipe organiser showing fish section

 If, like me, you have lots & lots of loose-leaf sheets of paper with recipes on, this folder is perfect. Most recipe organisers I’ve seen out there are too small and are ring bound which means you can’t add pages to them. This one’s big – it can hold A4-size sheets or even folded A3.

Recipe organiser showing a section divider with a photograph of a basket of plums

It was a big job that took longer than expected, but it’s now a real pleasure to pull my big, new recipe organiser out from the work bench drawer in the kitchen.

Recipe organiser showing a recipe for mincemeat and ricotta tart

If you like it, there are still a few of this exact organiser available on Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Ryland Peters & Small.

Recipe organiser showing a recipe for rhubarb tart

Bookmarks: Pie

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'Pie' book by Genevieve Taylor


Today’s Bookmarks review features Pie by Genevieve Taylor. What a treat, as we love a good pie… who doesn’t?

foreword in 'Pie' book by Genevieve Taylor

We haven’t met the world’s lone pie-hater yet either!

game pie

Buttery pastry & rich fillings – tasty, hearty & homely. What’s not to like?

salmon encroute

You can, of course, find bad examples – the infamous petrol station pie springs to mind – cold, pale, soggy & bland. A very poor substitute for the wonderful offerings in this book.

apple pie

They’re not difficult things to make. A bit of preparation maybe, but once they’re in the oven, they look after themselves. No last minute running around. Just the gorgeous smell of bubbling fillings &  pastry browning to heighten the appetite.

double crust pie

This book expertly guides you through the whole process.

lamb filo pie

There’s an early chapter covering pastry – different types, methods, techniques & tips.

different pastry recipes

Then lots of examples of what to do with it.

suet pudding

Hot pies, cold pies, sweet & savoury pies.

smoked gammon pie

Pies from Britain & the rest of Europe , North Africa, America and the Caribbean.

leek, bacon and cheese quiche

It features meat & vegetarian options.

Greek pie

Some very traditional pies such as steak & ale, cheese & onion and raised game. Others are far less familiar – Tunisian egg pastry pie, creamed celeriac & Serrano ham tartlets, greengage & ginger strudels.

steak and ale rough puff pie

There are a hundred recipes in all, so you’ll never run out of ideas!

lattice pie pie

The wonderful photography by Mike Cooper is sure to inspire you. The pies are beautifully staged with wooden boards, old knives, vintage enamelware, tins & crockery. The lighting is superb and the images really live.

summer tartlet

Recipes are clear & concise – each neatly fitting onto its own page so there’s no turning backwards & forwards.

Moroccan carrot tart tatin

When it comes to pie, home-made is definitely best so this book is a must for any kitchen shelf. Pies can provide the perfect meal for a relaxed family gathering, a light lunch or a dinner party.

weekend pies

We defy you to read this book and not want to get baking.

smoked salmon tarts

So what’s keeping you – there’s pie to be made!!

stargazy pie

Pie is also available from Hive and Amazon.

Here’s a little preview of the first pie we tried from the book. It’s a leek, blue cheese & wild garlic pie – an interesting combination of ingredients that could all be locally sourced… and truly delicious which is the most important thing. Blog post with recipe to follow in a couple of days!

blue cheese with wild garlic pie

[Many thanks to Bloomsbury for this review copy]

Bookmarks: My Vietnamese Kitchen

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cover of "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book with dried noodles, pak choi, lime, chilli, ginger and garlic

My Vietnamese Kitchen is the most recent, successful undertaking of Saigon-born Londoner, Uyen Luu.

title page of "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Amongst other things, she’s a prop stylist, photographer, film-maker and supper club host.

fried fish recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

It’s a gorgeous book – full of culinary delights with striking colour and flavour combinations.

breakfast chapter from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

A distinctive feature is the wonderful photography and superb staging of ingredients & prepared dishes.

rice roll recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

It really makes the food live!

omelette soup recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

The first section covers the wide variety of herbs, spices, rice & noodles that are staples – then moves onto chapters featuring breakfast, soups, snacks, noodles, lunch & dinner and sweets.

herb photo from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Recipes are clear & easy to follow – a quick browse and you’ll want to get cooking at the first opportunity.

beef stew recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Uyen’s mother is a great influence – and there are many family dishes, methods and memories. She also draws in the culture & ceremony of food in Vietnam.

sticky fingers chapter from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Compared to say Chinese, Indian or even Thai food, Vietnamese cuisine is not the most widespread or indeed available outside its own borders. Uyen makes the cuisine very accessible – the book really conveys the fresh, healthy & exciting range of fare.

pork belly recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Whilst dishes are distinctly South East Asian, there’s also a French influence in places. Don’t these filled baguettes look irresistible? A perfect illustration.

sandwich photo in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

The book is a real insight into Vietnamese tastes, lifestyle & customs – and we can thoroughly recommend it as cookery course, travel brochure or food styling guide. You’re also sure to get some interiors inspiration too!

skewer recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Also available on Hive, Amazon and Abe Books.

avocado ice cream from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]

Cakes & Bakes: Peanut Butter Cookies

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Home-made peanut butter cookies with small vintage milk bottle and glass of milk | H is for Home

The weather’s been too hot for baking & eating full-on cake this week. All we fancy eating at the moment is salad and have been finishing a meal with a bowl of ice cream or a couple of biscuits instead. Justin bought a jar of peanut butter last week not realising I’d already bought one the day before – so I decided to solve our mini-glut by baking some peanut butter cookies.

The recipe was taken from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: Makes 24

Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 115g/4oz/1 cup plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 115g/4oz/½ cup butter
  • 125g/4½oz/¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar*
  • 1 egg
  • 5ml/1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
  • 225g/8oz/1 cup crunchy peanut butter


  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy
  3. In another bowl, mix the egg and vanilla essence then gradually beat into the butter mixture
  4. Stir in the peanut butter and blend thoroughly
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients
  6. Chill for at least 30 minutes until firm
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease 2 baking sheets
  8. Spoon out rounded teaspoonfuls of the cookie mixture and roll into balls
  9. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets and press flat with a fork into circles about 6cm/2½ ins in diameter, making a criss-cross pattern
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned
  11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool


For extra crunch add 50g/2oz/½ cup chopped peanuts with the peanut butter

*The next time I make these I'd use half & half light brown sugar and Muscavado sugar to give the cookies more depth of flavour.

Cakes & Bakes: Carrot cake

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slice of carrot cake with tea in a vintage Staffordshire Potteries mug

Carrot cake is one of our favourite cakes.

carrot cake ingredients

The recipe I prefer to use is one I found in Baking – Simple Cookery Series.

carrot cake recipe from "Baking - Simple Cookery Series" cookbook

Each of the cookbook’s recipes are in an easy-to-follow layout with a trio of images illustrating different stages of preparation then a full-page sized photograph on the facing page of the finished item. There are also “tasty tips”, “food facts” or “helpful hints” distributed throughout.

carrot cake batter mix

The recipe is really easy – basically just mix all the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients then stir in the carrots and walnuts.

carrot cake frosting mix

The accompanying icing recipe contains orange zest and juice which I’m not a big fan of, so I use the frosting recipe that goes with the “Luxury Carrot Cake” recipe that’s a few pages further on.

slice of carrot cake

It has a really good texture – moist yet light, with a hint of spice and the frosting adds a touch of decadence! Just one question I hear you ask, does the carrot count as one of my five-a-day? 😉

Carrot Cake

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 slices

Carrot Cake


  • For the cake
  • 200g/7oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g/5oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 200ml/7 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 225g/8oz carrots, peeled and roughly grated
  • 50g/2oz chopped walnuts
  • For the icing (the icing in this recipe calls for orange juice & rind which I don't like so I prefer to use the frosting recipe from the Luxury Carrot Cake in the same book)
  • 175g/6oz cream cheese, softened
  • 50g/2oz butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 225g/8oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2, 10 minutes before baking. Lightly oil & line the base of a 15cm/6 inch deep square cake tin with greaseproof or baking paper
  2. Sift the flour, spices, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl
  3. Stir in the dark muscovado sugar and mix together
  4. Lightly whisk the oil and eggs together, then gradually stir into the flour & sugar mixture. Stir well
  5. Add the carrots and walnuts. Mix thoroughly, then pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼ hours, or until light & springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack. Reserve until cold
  7. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla essence together until smooth, then gradually beat in the icing sugar until icing is smooth. Add a little milk, if necessary. Spread the frosting over the top. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set the frosting, then cut into squares and serve


Tasty tip: For a fruitier cake, add 1 grated apple and 50g/2oz of dried sultanas in step 5. To plump up the dried sultanas, soak for an hour or overnight in 300ml/½ pint of cold tea

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