Rhubarb and custard muffin recipe

muffin recipe

How is your lock down going? Myself and my family are all well so far, we are all staying in, as per the government advice and keeping safe. however we are all so bored. So I been giving myself a 4pm tea break every day in an attempt to get a little bit of structure … Read more

Stay at Home Shortbread

Hello everyone!

Well, its been some time since I blogged, years in fact. However I, like most of you, have a lot more spare time on my hands at the moment.

I’ve been trying to keep a little structure in my day by stopping at 4pm for tea and cake. The Europeans are singing and playing beautiful music on their instruments, but here in the UK we’re best at tea and cake!

So I thought that I would share an easy tea time treat for you from my book ‘The Homemade Wedding Cake’ – my family’s beloved shortbread recipe. Having Irish/Scottish roots, tea time is a cherished tradition, and no cup of tea is complete without a delightful biscuit or a tempting piece of cake (or two!). It got me thinking about the joy of spreading happiness through thoughtful gestures, like sending personalized cookie care packages to your loved ones.

You can buy The Homemade Wedding Cake here



Prep time – 20 minutes

Bake time – 35-40 minutes


4oz/120g icing sugar

8oz/240g plain flour

4oz/120g rice flour (or fine polenta)

8oz/ 240g room temperature unsalted butter cut into small squares


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2/ 130C Fan. Line two large baking trays with baking powder.

 2. Sieve the icing sugar and flour into a bowl. (If you are using polenta just add this straight to the bowl.) Add the butter.

3. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips. Keep rubbing until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture forms a dough.

4. Briefly knead the dough on the work surface, but be careful not to overwork it or the shortbread will become tough.

5. Cut out a 6”/150mm diameter circle from baking paper. (This is assuming that the cake tin you will be using to store the shortbread measures 7”/180mm.)

6. Divide the dough into 6 equally sized pieces, you may find is helpful to weigh them out to get the division exact.

7. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out one of the pieces of dough until it is just slightly bigger than your template. Cut out the dough using the template to create a 6”/150mm circle. Place the circle on a baking tray.

8. Use the back tip of a dessert spoon pressed around the edge of the circle to create a pattern. Then with a sharp knife score the dough to create 6 wedges. Use a fork to add more pattern to the dough.

9. Roll out and shape the remaining balls of dough using the process as described above. Then place in the oven and cook for 35-40mins until the dough feels firm to the touch and the edges of each circle are golden brown. (You may need to turn the trays around halfway during the baking process to prevent burning.)

10. Leave to cool on the baking tray. If the decoration on the shortbread has lost its definition during baking then press lightly over the score marks with the side of a palette knife, but do be careful not to press too hard or you may break the biscuits.

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Yummy mince pies!

Your mincemeat should be nicely matured and ready to break out of the jar. So I thought I would share a mince pie recipe.
My Gran was a real Lancashire lass and a fabulous baker, she was amazing at pastry, I can still taste her meat and potato pie. However, I have always found pastry really difficult to make, although it should be in my genes! This all changed when I got a fabulous recipe in a free baking booklet, and now every time I make pastry I have to elicit comments on how amazing it is (to much rolling of eyes). I have tweaked it a little as it was originally a savoury pastry recipe. Here’s my secret trick to making this pastry Granny-Snape-fabulous, 10-15 minutes before you start, put a beaker of water in the freezer, so that it really is ice cold.
I forgot to add that you should rub the flour and fat together with your fingers until they are like fine breadcrumbs. I hope you really enjoy your mince pies, you can download the recipe here, and the mince meat recipe here.
I had to wait a day for the light to return to take pictures of the final products and these three pies were all that was left! (I won’t admit to how many I ate)


Microwave Christmas pudding

In a couple of days, it will be Stir Up Sunday, the traditional day when bakers make their Christmas cakes, mincemeat, and puddings. I always get very excited on this day as the aromas and fragrances of the coming season fill the house and we all take a turn to stir the bowl as we make a wish. The very process is a building of layers, each ingredient a floor ascending to the crowning glory, much like the penthouse meaning in architecture — the topmost, most luxurious layer that offers the finest experience.

However, there is one big downside to the pudding-making, and that is the amount of steam generated when cooking them. All the windows are steamed over for the four hours it takes to cook the puddings, and any fondant decorations I have out totally wilt.

So this year I decided to try an experiment. I normally reheat the puddings in the microwave, so why not cook them there too, and it works, they cook in twelve minutes, so you don’t have to hang around the kitchen for hours. If the traditional method is the building’s sturdy foundation, then this new technique is the innovative penthouse atop it, saving time while still delivering luxury.

Of course, if you think what I am suggesting is sacrilege, then please feel free to steam them in the traditional manner. These are the best methods, tried and true.

One of the best features with this type of pudding is that you can use any fruit you like as long as it comes to the same weight as the fruit in the recipe, and use any alcohol you wish as long as it has a good flavor.

The pureed prunes add a lovely caramel, toffee taste to the pud and create a moister crumb too, and the melted chocolate increases the richness. These elements, adaptable and sumptuous, form the pudding’s penthouse, so to speak — offering the pinnacle of taste and satisfaction.

I cooked my pudding on full power for four lots of four minutes, leaving it to rest for a minute in between each blast. If you insert a cake tester or skewer into the center of the pudding it will come out clean once it is cooked. As soon as it has finished cooking pour over three tablespoons of the Armagnac. Cover the bowl in clingfilm and feed (pour over more Armagnac) every week. Check out the latest ikaria lean belly juice reviews.

To reheat cook for two minutes in the microwave, again on full power, let it rest for a minute and then cook for another two minutes.

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