Yummy Recipes



You will need:

5oz butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup 
4 teaspoons cocoa 
8oz Rich Tea biscuits, crushed (I always use digestives for the 'crunch' recipe, but Rich Tea seem to give tiffin a more cakey flavour.)
A handful of raisins (this is the big difference between the recipes)
8oz chocolate - milk or dark, whichever you prefer. I used half of each.

This recipe is easy peasy and speedy. Melt the butter, syrup, sugar and cocoa in a pan. Stir to combine well, and don't let it boil.

Then add the biscuits and raisins to the liquid, and mix well together.



Lavender Shortbread



If you're keen to hang onto the memories of summer (eh? what summer?) or just fancy making use of the last of your lavender flowers from the garden, lavender shortbread always goes down well, I find. It's not at all flowery or over-powering, in fact it's more like a delicate after-taste, and this buttery recipe is the one that convinced me that shortbread is far from dry and boring.



You will need:


125g caster sugar

350g butter, room temp.

4 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

4g fresh chopped lavender

325g plain flour

Pinch of salt

65g cornflour


Cream together the butter, caster sugar and icing sugar until light and fluffy (this is always my favourite bit because the transformation is magical!) Next, mix in the lavender. 


Mix the flour, cornflour and salt, add into the butter mixture and combine together. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop in the fridge to firm up for around an hour. 


Preheat the oven to 180C. Forget the rolling pin - pop your dough onto a greased flat baking tray and flatten it using your fingers so it forms a round, about 5-7mm thick. Use a fork or a finger to mark round the edges, or make any pattern you wish.


Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until your shortbread is beginning to look golden. 


Leave it to cool for half an hour before cutting into individual biscuits. You could sprinkle some caster sugar and extra lavender on for decoration.




These biscuits make a great offering for an afternoon tea party, posh snack with a cuppa in front of the telly, or a present for someone lovely.

Rhubarb Bread & Butter Pudding

On family chalet holidays to Scotland during the summers of my childhood I used to be bought a bowl of bread and butter pudding from the onsite pub after a day of running around in the fresh air among the heather, and it was the ideal comforting end to the day, sometimes while watching a spot of Scottish singing and dancing. Great memories!

Serves 6 (or Anna three times)

6 slices white bread
1 oz butter
2 eggs
1/2 pint milk
The rind and juice of a small orange/satsuma
Pinch of ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons brandy or rum
1 oz sugar
1/2 lb rhubarb, stewed

Remove the crusts from the bread and butter the slices on both sides before cutting each into two triangles. Grease a large dish, then arrange a layer of bread on the bottom and sides, followed by a layer of stewed rhubarb, then another layer of bread. Beat the eggs and milk together, then stir in the orange rind, juice, cinnamon and brandy or rum. Pour over the bread and leave to stand for an hour (this is really important because the soaking is the secret to a truly scrumptious b. and b. pud!). Sprinkle the sugar on top of the pudding just before going in the oven, then bake at 180C/ gas mark 4 for half an hour, or until the top is crusty and brown.

Chocolate Tea Cake


"What's that?" I hear you say, "a chocolate cake with tea in it?" 

Oh yes. This cake makes a fantastic tea-tastic afternoon tea treat. Here's how to make it:


4 eggs separated
4oz butter, room temperature
12oz sugar
1/2 pt brewed tea, cooled
17oz plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3oz breadcrumbs
3oz cocoa powder
8oz nuts - chopped hazelnuts or walnuts 
A 9ins bundt or ringed tin

Preheat oven to 360F or 180C

Cream the egg yolks, butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the tea. (Tea!)

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, cocoa and nuts, then fold gently into the tea mixture.

Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks then fold into the tea batter. Pour into your tin, then bake for 60-70 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 20 mins before turning out... and enjoy!

Mint Iced Mocha

All you need is:
1 mug black coffee, cold
1 mug of fresh milk
2 tablespoons of Lyle's Mint Syrup

Bung all of your ingredients in a blender (ice crushing friendly or you'll need to bash the ice separately) and pop in a glass!

Pancakes With Rhubarb Sauce

I'd like to share with you my recipe for pancakes with rhubarb sauce. Because it's never the wrong time of year for pancakes, and rhubarb sauce goes perfectly with them! 

A confession: this recipe doesn't look all that great, which is a shame because right now all you can do is look at it. I only wish I could give you a sample. But trust me on this one, it tastes divine. And I don't use the word divine very often, darling.

You will need:
1 ramikin (those little pots) of flour, 1 of milk and 1 egg for your pancakes

For the rhubarb sauce:
I used 8 sticks of rhubarb from my garden. I wouldn't worry about quantities too much, you can't go wrong. Rhubarb's in all the supermarkets right now too.
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp butter

For your pancake batter just whizz your ingredients together until there are no lumps. It's always best to leave your batter to stand for half an hour before cooking.

To make the sauce:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the rhubarb.
When it starts to go soft and squelchy (culinary term, that), add in your sugar, cinnamon and ginger.
Stir, then leave to reduce into a sauce - about 10-15 minutes.


Flip up some pancakes, dollop your sauce on top, and hey presto! Delicious. It goes well with a dollop of icecream on the side.

You can keep your sauce for a few days in the fridge - I find it also tastes wonderful instead of jam for a frankly pretty amazing cream tea!

Banana Cream Syllabub

Banana Syllabub sounds like a song from the 1970's, doesn't it? Or is that just me? Either way, it certainly is a classic dessert (or pudding as we say oop Norf) from the 1970's, and one I made at the weekend to take to a friend's house as a contribution to a meal.

I found it in my parents' cookbook, given to them at their wedding in 1977.

I have to say, it doesn't look like the most appetising of desserts, and cookbooks at the time were no great shakes at photo presentation either! But it makes a light and creamy treat, which goes well on its own or as an accompaniment to something with more... well, stodge to it!

Doesn't look like much but tastes better than banana Angel Delight any day!
 Here's the recipe - it takes all of 2 minutes to make:

Serves 4-6

You need:
3 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 pint whipping cream

Peel the bananas and and mash with the lemon juice, wine and sugar. Whip the cream into peaks and fold in the banana mixture. Spoon into some fabulous 1970s serving dishes and chill before serving.

...And don't forget to glug the rest of the wine while you're at it.

Bang Bang Shrimp

I tried this recipe for the first time when on a trip to Baltimore in December 2010, when I was taken out to dinner at the famous Bonefish Grill. It was served as a starter and us Brits were sold on it straight away! The next night we visited the restaurant next door, and were amazed when our server offered to go and get us Bang Bang Shrimp from the Bonefish - you just don't see that kind of service in the UK, particularly as restaurants are always competing with one another.

The recipe itself is technically thai, and there are many coveted copies. Luckily it goes a dream with a Chinese meal, so I thought this was the perfect excuse to share this with you. I tracked down the original Bonefish recipe and have translated the measurements. I'm nice like that.

You will need:

For the bang bang sauce:
* 16 fl oz mayonnaise (use light or we're talking serious calories here!) * 3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce * 1 tbsp sweet thai chilli sauce * 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice *

*1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp * seasoned flour (flour with 1tsp cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper) * 4 spring onions (scallions) * buttermilk * peanut oil, or equiv. if allergic.

Clean and de-vein your shrimp, soak in buttermilk in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

Dredge your shrimp in the seasoned flour and deep fry in your oil (which must be very hot). I often fry in the oil in a wok, but again, the hotter the better.

Remove and dry on paper towels.

Place shrimp in a large bowl and toss in the bang bang sauce.

Serve on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with chopped spring onions.

Curry Cheese Smackerels 

A short while ago I was trawling the internet looking for an inspiring recipe for a savoury nibble to take to a friend's house. Other guests were providing the courses for the meal and drink, and I didn't want to turn up empty-handed.

I found a recipe for cheese straws, and they looked really simple, so I gave them a go. The recipe itself was simple, but I found the straws themselves quite dry, and not cheesy enough for my tastes! So using the recipe as my foundation, I adapted it to make what I call Curry Cheese Smackerels, 'smackerels' being a word used by both Winnie the Pooh and Fortnum and Mason! I also did away with the straw shape, because the time it took to cut them into straws was letting down an otherwise speedy recipe.

Since then they have been a real hit. Family members and friends have asked for the recipe, and it's now my usual contribution at parties because they go down so well. They're just so moreish!

Curry Cheese Smackerels. They have a fluffy, pastry-like consistency

Using a small round cutter, I find the below quantity makes 30, or 60 smaller party-sized nibbles.

Curry Cheese Smackerels

250g plain flour
275g grated mature cheddar cheese
165g butter (use at least half marg, half butter or they will be tasteless and greasy, the general rule is to use as much butter as you can afford)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper – I like them quite spicy so I add more, but that’s entirely up to you
¼ tsp curry powder
½ tsp salt
125ml water

·   Heat the oven to 200°C/ gas mark 6. Grease and line a baking tray with parchment.  
·   Rub the butter into the flour to make breadcrumbs – just as you would to make scones. Then add the baking powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, salt and grated cheese and mix until well-combined. Add water a little at a time to make a stiff dough.
·   On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until just thicker than a pencil. Cut into your preferred shape, and sprinkly poppy or sesame seeds on if you wish.
·   Bake in the pre-heated oven until browned – usually 10-15 minutes.
·   I find them better if kept in an airtight container overnight and enjoyed the next day.

Prepare to be complimented for your tasty snack-making skills!

Gooey Gingerbread Men

I know that, strictly speaking, gingerbread men are a Christmas sort of munch, but I'm a big fan of cookies all year round, and I reckon this recipe may well be in the running for my favourite. It makes soft, gooey gingerbread chaps that my family find irresistable!

Best of all, they come from the 1966 recipe book I featured here.

The recipe may be brilliant, but the accompanying photo is terrifying! These gingerbread men look like the walking dead.
Gingerbread Men

4oz butter or margarine
4oz caster sugar
10oz plain flour
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 level tsps ground ginger
2 1/2 tsps warmed syrup

Heat the oven to moderate - 350F / gas mark 4 (looked this up - translates to 180C!) Grease a baking tray. Cream the butter and sugar until very soft. Sift the dry ingredients together, then work into the creamed mixture. Add the syrup to make a dough. Knead and roll out on a floured board. Cut out (now at this point I was stuck because I don't have a gingerbread man cutter. However I soon got around this by printing a template out from Google images, backing it with thin card and wrapping it in clingfilm then cutting around it with a knife). Bake for around 15 minutes and allow to cool before removed to a cooling rack.

 I was so perturbed by the scary gingerbread zombie photo that I tried to make my own creations look much more cheerful!

Peppermint Creams

Only this recipe is so simple that there is no actual baking necessary! Peppermint creams have been a favourite Christmas treat for centuries. Why not have a go at making some for gifts?


Peppermint Creams

You will need:

  • 1 free-range egg white
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 1 tsp peppermint flavouring
  • Food colouring in a colour of your choice
  • 425g/15 oz icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 175g/6¼oz dark chocolate
  1. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice, peppermint, 1 drop of food colouring and icing sugar to make a stiff paste.
  2. Tip the peppermint mixture onto a work surface dusted liberally with icing sugar and roll out thinly.
  3. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to cut out circles and place them onto a baking tray. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until the mixture has set. You could also use Christmas shaped cutters, such as trees.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.)
  5. Dip each peppermint cream into the melted chocolate and set aside on a baking tray. Chill the peppermint creams until set.

I rather like this version too!
 Wrap in pretty paper and spread the love.