Category Archives: Baking cakes

RACKETEERING AND BAKING POWDER

As soon as it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic was here to stay, staple items vanished from supermarket shelves. Wherever you went, there were long shelves empty of toilet paper and sanitisers and bacterial hand-washes. The two back-to-back produce stands in the local Tesco were empty except for one watermelon. I bought in in desperation, but it lasted forever. I don’t think I ever want to eat watermelon again.

On eBay, someone was selling a £10 pack of 24 rolls of toilet paper for £49.99 + postage and you could buy a £3 sanitiser for £30.

When the vulnerable were finally allowed to meet one other person outside, we met with our elder son in our courtyard. He had asked for my recipe for Rock Cakes previously but had unfortunately used bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder. They tasted so awful he had to put them on the compost heap.

I thought I would make him some Fruit Scones using the same recipe I’d been using for years. It calls for soaking the raisins in orange juice for at least 30 minutes beforehand and I used some juice from some rather sour oranges delivered by the supermarket a few days before. I left one of the scones out for my husband Josh to have with his coffee and caught him spitting it out.

‘It’s vile,’ he said. ‘Tastes of bicarbonate of soda.’

I tasted one. He was right. It was awful but I thought it was the sour orange juice the raisins had been soaked in. I binned the scones and made another batch. They were just as bad. Then I realised that when I reprinted the recipe, I doubled the amount of baking powder to be added to the self-raising flour.

I wasn’t going to risk another batch, so I made some Rock Cakes instead. Josh likes them because they don’t contain sugar, just have a little demerara sugar sprinkled on top.

By now, of course, I had run out of self-raising flour and neither of the supermarkets we can get slots for had any. I looked on eBay. A 1kg bag of self-raising flour costing £1.50 in supermarkets was listed at £11.99 + postage!! Finally, Tesco listed it but every time I put in on my order, when our grocery arrived it was UNAVAILABLE.

I still have some baking powder left but I thought it possible it had ‘gone off’ and put it on my order. Needless to say,  when our order was delivered it was UNAVAILABLE.

I so wish we weren’t elderly and vulnerable, and could go shopping for ourselves. I know we should be grateful we can get supermarket delivery slots but like everyone else, I wish it was all over!!

Roll on the Covid-19 vaccine!!

At least this batch of Rock Cakes worked

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe for Rock Cakes

Makes 24

Bake at 200°C 15-20 mins Continue reading RACKETEERING AND BAKING POWDER

STICKY BUNS – MODIFIED FROM MARY BERRY’S HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE

Scrumptious sticky buns

I’ve no idea who taught me this, but it was my party piece as a young child, recited with a suitable lisp!!

‘Johnny bought a penny bun

In the baker’s shop

It was such a pretty bun

Sticky at the top.

Came a hungry doggy by

Says Johnny ‘Ave a bit’

The doggy liked it very much

And soon the bun was gone.

Came a fine fat gentleman

Watching all the fun

‘Here y’are Johnny. Here’s a penny

Buy another bun.’

These buns are modified from Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns Recipe – now Hot Nought Buns. On my daughter Louise’s advice, I made the dough in the bread maker and proved and baked the buns in my fan oven. I’m thinking of using the same recipe to make a fruit loaf – when there’s a bit more room in the freezer. That’s the trouble with time on your hands – it’s more fun to cook and freeze something than write up more memories or catch up on my Ancient Greek.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe Modified from Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns

Makes 12- 16 – large or small buns

Bake 220°C 15mins

Continue reading STICKY BUNS – MODIFIED FROM MARY BERRY’S HOT CROSS BUN RECIPE

4 MONTHS IN DUALITUDE

The set of Dickens left me by my lovely Aunt Jenny

As we are 88 and 90, we’ll be confined for at least 4 months in our 9th floor flat. Luckily, we have a balcony that gets the sun in the afternoon. With the weather turning fine, we’ll be able to sit outside and read while getting a South of France tan. Luckily we went to the library just before this plague blew up and I still have six more books left to read. My lovely Aunt Jenny gave me her complete set of Dickens – the Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd edition with illustrations by Phiz. If push comes to shove, I’ll re-read all 16 volumes. I was recovering from one of my several broken bones when I last ploughed my way through them all.

I planned on using this time to would get on with the sequel to my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’, learn another Bach Two Part Invention for the piano, and keep up with my Ancient Greek, but like my New Year resolutions, they fell at the first hurdle!!

We have a very pleasant newish Waitrose nearby in Nine Elms and the last two occasions we went before being confined to our home we had been sent a page of £4-off vouchers if we spent £40. We have always done most of our big grocery shopping in the Tesco’s and Sainsburys in Cromwell Road, only topping up with a few odds and ends in the more expensive Waitrose. On the first occasion, we made up the £40 with toilet paper and on the second with bread flour and yeast – I bake all our bread. Must have earned some good points with a Higher Power to make just those choices.

So, instead of being virtuous, and writing and practising and learning, I’ve been baking and cooking double quantities of dishes – eating half and freezing the other half. It’s so satisfying, starting off with some uninteresting looking powders, making the most heavenly smell, and then producing a great looking crusty load of bread.

The manager of our flats has set up a Whatsapp group so there are offers of help and friendship. And we all come to our balconies and windows to clap for the NHS on Thursdays at 8pm.

I hope those of you reading my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ will take some comfort from the stories of hard times past we all came through.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Carrot and Pistachio Bundt Cake (Tesco magazine)

 

Delicious Carrot and Pistachio Bundt cake

I have been so pleased with my red silicone Bundt Mold from Amazon that I bought my daughter Louise (here for Easter) one to take back to Spain.

 

The finished cake comes out easily with a professional-looking shiny finish. I use ‘Bake Easy’ spray to grease it, turn it upside down to drain off the excess, tip in some chopped nuts and shake the mold around to coat it.

I first made an Apple Cake in my Bundt Mold and this week baked a Carrot and Pistachio cake modified from Tesco magazine. Their recipe has a maple syrup, soft cheese and yogurt topping but I didn’t want the extra sugar content and I wanted to freeze what was over so I omitted it,

I still think about my lovely cookery teacher, Joyce, at Morley College every time I try a new recipe.

Read about my cookery escapades in my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’

Buy Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Modified recipe Carrot and Pistachio Bundt cake

Carrot and Pistachio Cake

Bake 60 mins 180°C

Grease a Bundt tin well and sprinkle with chopped nuts

Continue reading Carrot and Pistachio Bundt Cake (Tesco magazine)

Scrumptious Rock Cakes – ‘Woman in a White Coat’ Memoir for Christmas

Delicious rock cakes

These Rock cakes are so easy and low sugar – none in the dough mixture and just a sprinkle of demerara sugar on the top to make them crunchy. And they freeze well – if you have any left once the family has seen them.

You can read about the cookery classes I went to at Morley College with Joyce. Thanks to her teaching I’m happy to tackle most recipes. Such a shame she died so soon after retiring.

Read about cookery and further education in my memoir Woman in a White Coat. It makes an excellent Christmas present.

The  paperback is available from Amazon at £9.99 or on Kindle at £2.99

Recipe for Rock Cakes
Continue reading Scrumptious Rock Cakes – ‘Woman in a White Coat’ Memoir for Christmas

Scrumptious Chocolate Muffins (Waitrose Magazine)

Absolutely delicious

Amongst the many great things about my daughter Louise visiting with her family is that I can try out new recipes, knowing that I have a ready and willing market. Luckily the Waitrose Food Magazine was just out.

These muffins are delicious although at first sight the recipe looks a bit odd – with yogurt and vegetable oil.

I used Green and Black’s Milk Chocolate and their Dark Orange and Almond Chocolate. The recipe asked for white and milk chocolate but i prefer dark chocolate. I’m sure any white and dark chocolate would do.

I am eternally grateful to Joyce, my fantastic cookery teacher at Morley College, for teaching me how to interpret and adjust magazine recipes  – Chapter 26 in Woman in a White Coat

My modified recipe

Makes 18 Continue reading Scrumptious Chocolate Muffins (Waitrose Magazine)

Mary Berry’s Orange Polenta Cake

Delicious

I can never resist Mary Berry’s new Cookbooks. There are always some new dishes I must try.

There are several recipes in her new Classic book  and it’s great to have a cake for our gluten-sensitive grandson.

This Orange Polenta Cake is delicious though i’d have been pushed to fit it into a 20cm cake tin. My 23cm springform tin was just right.

Cookery was amongst the several  Further Education classes I took after i retired as a consultant pathologist. Joyce was the best tutor by far. Not only were all her recipes tried and tested – foolproof – but I learnt how to follow and adapt recipes from all different sources.

Recipe Continue reading Mary Berry’s Orange Polenta Cake

Special Treats for the Family – Plum TrayBake

Daniels’s favourite

When my daughter, Louise, and her family come to England for the New Year, Easter and in August, I cook their favourite foods.

Daniel, as a strapping nearly 18-year old, loves desserts in general and Plum Traybake in particular. I can’t remember where the original recipe comes from but it’s one of those that work every time.

As well as Louise’s family, our elder son, Simon, and Bernard and his girlfriend, Jo, came to dinner. It was Josh’s turn to cook but I made the dessert while he cooked a vegetarian cottage pie – Bernard is a vegetarian.

And saw online that my memoir Woman in a White Coat is still selling well on Amazon. Thank you all.

Recipe for Plum Traybake Continue reading Special Treats for the Family – Plum TrayBake

Two for Tea

Yummy – especially with a miniature of brandy poured over the bottom

Our elder son, Simon,  and his wife came to tea on their way to a party and I’m always glad of an excuse to bake a cake.

This fruit cake is one of my favourites. I always toss the fruit in a little of the flour so it doesn’t all sink to the bottom but is evenly distributed through the cake.

Design adapted from a panel by William de Morgan (1839-1917)

We’d been having a bit of a smashing time lately – sorting out the mugs chipped in the dishwasher and we’re always looking out for new designs. I found this one in the V&A gift shop when I last visited . The design is adapted from one of William de Morgan’s.

We have a full Thomas white china tea service but we’ve stopped getting it out even for our poshest visitors!!

Lots of lovely reviews and emails from readers of my memoir Woman in a White Coat. Please do comment or email me.

Parsnip and Pecan Loaf – Waitrose magazine

Delicious cake to have with tea or coffee

 

I always like the family coming to tea or coffee so I can try out new recipes.

 

One grandson can’t tolerate dairy produce and this Parsnip and Pecan Loaf cake from Waitrose magazine has vegetable oil instead of margarine or butter.

Their recipe has a topping which contains cream cheese so I substituted chopped pecans. In any case, it’s easier to freeze any that’s left over if it doesn’t have a thick fluffy topping.

You can read about how I learned to cook at a Cookery School for debutantes when I was 5 months pregnant in Chapter 19 of my memoir Woman in a White Coat

My slightly modified recipe

Continue reading Parsnip and Pecan Loaf – Waitrose magazine