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Cornish Hevva Cake

Jan. 2018, update to the below: Stick in mixed spice and chopped up crystallised ginger for n extra punch!

It’s been a while since we posted a recipe, and we can’t believe we haven’t posted this one before. A staple food while growing up in West Cornwall, Heavy Cake is still loved by my ‘East Midlands’ kids today.

image

AJ said “can we bake something?” Hummm… “No eggs”…
“Heavy Cake?”
“Ohhhh yus!” She said.
So here’s the recipe…

1lb of Self Raising Flour
1/2 lb Butter
6 oz Caster Sugar
3/4 lb Currents
Grated rind of a Lemon
A pinch of Salt – 1/2 tsp
Enough Milk to mix to a stiff dough. About 1/4 pint.

Roughly mix by hand the flour, salt, sugar and chopped up butter. Don’t rub in the butter too much. Add the fruit and mix to a stiff dough adding a little milk.
Don’t make it too wet. It should be a stiff (heavy) dough.
Purist mess around with rolling and resting and stuff but hey, life’a too short.
Put it in a greased parchment lined baking tray, with mixture about 3/4 inch deep and fork the top to a rough finish. Sprinkle the top with regular sugar and bake at 200 for 30-40mins.
When baked add a little caster sugar to finish .

OK I am not a purist and no doubt some Cornish cousins will want to correct me but, hey that’s the way we do it.

And of course we always do it our way; mushrooms in pasties; we put cherrys in our heavy cake!

Enjoy.

Oh yes, the Cornish call it “Hevva Cake”, pilchards and all that. See here: Hevva

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Christmas Pies!!

Oh yus!! It’s Piemas time  Granny Annie’s Mini Meat Pies!

A bit of a tradition on the days leading up to Christmas – It seems every Christmas I remember from Cornwall included these mini marvels! But take my word for it they don’t hang around, soooooo morish – ansome me lover! From what I recall, this is me mum’s recipe with a few twists.

This year I put a peck (or six) of chilli in! NICE!

Here’s the recipe from other years: Mini Meat Pies!

Pies

 

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Koulourakia – Greek Easter Biscuits

It’s good to try new things… and thanks to our daughter’s homework this week we discovered Koulourakia!

KouLourakia1

They are butter-based biscuits, with egg glaze on top. They’re traditionally made by Greek people at times of celebration and are specifically made at Easter.. Hey, it’s nearly Easter… yes we’re still in the pretence of ‘the desert’ but if I found these in the desert I would definitely shout them from the highest mountain or indeed the highest point of the temple.

KouLourakia2Ingredients, to make 24 biscuits… (double it for a bus load!)

  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g sugar
  • 175g butter
  • 40ml orange juice
  • 20g baking powder
  • 1 orange rind, grated

And for the egg wash, use a beaten egg with 1 tbls  water and a few drops of vanilla essence

Method:

  • Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add the eggs and beat for few more minutes.
  • Add the orange juice and rind, and mix well.
  • In another bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together.
  • Add sifted flour mix to the butter mixture and combine, don’t over work it.
    This will create a very soft dough.

Roll small balls of dough into long ‘snakes‘ then shape into biscuits however you wish.
Place on a baking tray and brush with the eggwash before placing them into a 180°C oven for 20-25 minutes or golden brown.

There’a really sweet video of a lovely Greek lady making some here:

 

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Christmas Fudge

2014-12-17 18.17.54OK the only thing Christmassy about it is that it’s being made near Christmas time.

This year we’ve forgone the Mini Meat Pies, although I heartily recommend them, see here. But we have had a quick play in the kitchen and some Christmas Fudge is on the menu…

Cut to the chase man! Here’s the recipe:

  • 250soft butter
  • One tin (397g) condensed milk! Yum – no licking!
  • 175ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons syrup
  • glacé cherries (chopped in half)
  • 800 sugar
  • 2-4 vanilla pods. (My sister gave me mine for my bday in Nov.) Ta sis.

Line a 30cm tin with foil and lightly grease. (Prepare a glass of ice cold water)

Stick all of the above except the vanilla into a solid saucepan and bring to the boil.

Now, it’s vitally important that you keep an eye on it and stir it constantly. If the bottom get’s to hot it will stick and burn!

Boil  the mixture for 15-20 minutes, stirring all the time until it’s gone a light golden colour.
You can test it by dropping some into the ice cold water and it should turn solid but remain soft in the middle.
You’ll know when it turns – keep an eye on it cos it’ll happen all at once.
Depending on the pan’s size and how aggressively you boil it – it could take 10mins or could take 20mins. #patience

It will be very hot so no kids, dogs or mobile phones around to distract you!

When it’s ‘turned’, carefully take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Using an electric whisk, whisk for a few minutes, the fudge will thicken – don’t over do it*.

Mix in the halved cherries, and pour or push (*depending on the consistency) the mixture into the tin.

Cool it in the fridge for a few hours then cut into squares using a sharp knife.

Cool further in the fridge.

Enjoy!     Mheeeery Chrimble!

 

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Our fave homemade curry

We used to make this a lot but with kids and costs and stuff, the jars and supermarkets have been easy options. The Greens came around for a few jars and drams this weekend so we returned to our fave Chicken Curry…

I thought I’d posted this before but alas can’t find it anywhere so here ’tis.

Jules’ and Em’s Chicken Curry

It always turns out a tad different depending on how much of what u put in but the basic recipe is:

  • Fry, mushrooms, then onions (and brown with some butter!), then add toms.

Add:

  • Cinnamon stick – snapped in two.
  • Split cardamon pods (discard cases)
  • Cracked pepper corns
  • Cumin seeds (and a tad cumin powder)
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Garam masala
  • Chilli Powder
  • Salt
  • and stir fry for a few minutes and the add chicken (cut in to inchish bits).

We tend to do all the above early, before the meal, turn off the heat, and then let the chicken sit in this mixture for an hour.

When ready you then bring the mix to the heat and stir-fry for a few minutes.

  • Then add plain yoghurt to the mix, lower heat cover and cook for about 15 mins.

If it’s too liquid then remove the lid to reduce the mixture, alternatively if seeming too dry add a touch of liquid (water, beer, or small tin of toms)…

  • When cooked, dish up with cooked rice and – this bit really makes it!… top with chopped fresh coriander, chopped chillies (of your choice) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Enjoy!!!

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Sunny pancakes – Stormy skies.

So the wife took the mutley out for a walk – or did he take her out? Anyway the much promised remnants of Bertha were on their way and promptly rained a bit! They got a tad wet!

storm

 

Bracks em

Incidentally, Bracken’s now grumpy ‘cos he was going to visit his mum in Coventry (he’s one year old now), he’s not seen mum ‘Princess’ since he packed his bags for the big wide world! They will make another dryer date.

If you’ve had the privilege of flying above stormy clouds, you might remember that the sun’s always there! The only thing for it on this grey wet English ‘summer’ morning, breakfast pancakes. Or as our girls say P A N C A K E S!

So here’ tis:

pancakesStack(SCOTCH) PANCAKES

175g SR Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
40g caster sugar
1 extra-large egg
200ml milk
(and of course toppings)

 

Beat all of the above together to the consistency of thick cream.

Drop a few spoonfuls onto a HOT oiled frying pan. Space the  well as they will spread.

When bubbles rise to the surface (it wont take long), turn the cakes over and cook for another 30-60 seconds. They should be golden brown.

Put them on a wire rack or sumpt and cover with a tea towel to keep them soft while you cook t’others.

Serve with the nectar of your choice; honey, sugar and lemon, golden syrup, jam, choc spread…

(oh, and we put raisins into our mix)

PTPcake pcake

Happy daze!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Pasta!

Ok, I might be slow coming to the party but at last I’ve made me own pasta.

The routine Saturday homemade pizza will now be shared with homemade pasta, thanks to the generous gift of a pasta-maker from my in-laws!

I have heard it said that once you’ve tried your own homemade pasta, you’ll never cook shop-dried pasta again… and i have to agree!

It’s easy!

  • 1 egg to 100g ‘OO’ flour per person – ish – for a basic pasta mix.

Mix it, knead it a tad, press it, dry it a tad, and cut it any which way you fancy!

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Sausage Plait – ‘cos u can!

2013-09-14 17.36.27

  • pack of sausages, we had cumberland but choose your faves – or two packs for a big one with some leftover for cold pack-up!!
  • large egg
  • mushrooms
  • red onion
  • cheese
  • puff pastry
  1. Heat oven to 200 – Grease a baking tray.
  2. Take skins off sausages.
  3. Slice mushrooms and slice red onion. Grate some cheese,
  4. Flour work surface and roll out the pastry into a rough square shape. Put pastry baking tray
  5. Lay the combined sausage meat down the middle of the pastry, leave gap at the ends.
  6. On top of meat, lay sliced mushrooms, then sliced onion, then cheese – and whatever you fancy – salt and pepper.
  7. Cut diagonal strips on the sides of the pastry. Brush the pastry with some egg wash.
  8. Tuck the top and bottom ends over the filling. Fold the pastry strips over the filling – alternate sides.
  9. Brush the top all over with the rest of the egg.
  10. Bake for 35-40 mins or until golden.
  11. Serve hot or cold with baked beans or whatever.
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Wok n Stew

WokWhen I was a student I fondly recall using a steel wok in my culinary experiments.

Then, since I pretended to ‘grow up’, we’ve always had a new fangled non-stick wok.

The non-stick’s never lasted… they always eventually scratched, and the coating came off and generally they were not as robust.  After going through 3 non-stick woks, while always pondering “should we have a steel one?”, we eventually plumped for a basic steel wok.  It was the poor relation on the shelf, hidden below the “super”, “new-improved”, “superb”,  must have’s that shouted “create oriental heaven” at you.

After a few months, we concur that it was the right decision! OK you need to give it an initial seasoning but, no more worries about scratching the poor thing. After the cooking’s done just scrub the thing clean and re-oil for next use.

I’ll never by a non-stick again!

Stew

One more thing I don’t understand why the sell woks without lids!? You need a wok lid!

Beef and mushy’s seared: and stew the slow cooker all day! Emma’s slow-cooked stew is divine!

Em’s Stew: (slow cooker from Asda last year £8! bar-gain?)

Seared cubed beef (or summint)

Mushrooms, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, and things… We don’t put spuds in, we have them as a side, roasted or summint. *I don’t like soggy potato.

Garlic, herbs of choice (we like to include oregano and chilli)…

Stock cube, Red Wine, and whatever u want to experiment with… balsamic, Worcestershire sauce, beer, etc etc

Chompus Maximus!

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Homemade Pizza – cos u can!

When your weary, feeling small… make a pizza!

kneedpizza

 

Traditional bread base (makes 2 pizzas):

  • 375g of bread flour
  • 235 ml of water
  • 1 pack / 7g dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Mix it all together in a bowl.
Knead until you ‘re happy! Go for it, take out your frustrations!
Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with cling film.
Stick it in the airing cupboard for half an hour.
Divide the dough into 2,3 or 4 pieces, roughly finger flatten and put on greased baking sheets.

Spread tomato puree over the pizza bases, sprinkle with oregano and/or fresh chopped basil.

Top with grated cheese and WHATEVER you have in the fridge!

Bake at 200 C for 15 to 20 mins.