My lovely dad is an easy customer, just beer and shortbread. I have always bought it in the past, but due to a sudden influx of time (I have finished university forever…!) I thought I would give making it from scratch a go. It was surprisingly easy and rather tasty. This is based on a recipe from the Guardian, where they find the ‘best’ recipe. The results have always been brill!
butter (at room temp), plain flour, caster sugar, semolina and a pinch of salt
Start by preheating the oven to 150c. Then cream 115gm of butter and 55gm of caster sugar until smooth, with a pinch of salt. Then sieve 130gm of plain flour and 40gm of semolina or any ground rice. Beat together and when it is starting to bind, with clean hands push the mixture into a dough. The dough should be durable to roll to 1cm thickness (this may be easier to do in small batches) and cut with a cookie cutter or a glass. Place the shortbread slightly spaced apart onto a lined baking tray. Prick the top of the shortbread with a fork to get the ‘authentic’ shortbread holes and put in the fridge for 15 minutes. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until firm but not brown. Allow to cool and sprinkle the top with caster sugar and make your dads day!
Sorry for the awful photo! This was the birthday cake I made on request from my boyfriend. The recipe was simple to make and nice and moist. This recipe doesn’t include nuts but if you would like, add 80-100gm of walnuts at the final stage.
carrot, self raising flour, brown soft sugar, eggs, bicarb of soda, nutmeg, mixed spice, cinnamon, oil, raisins, orange soft cheese, icing sugar
1 hour 20
Start by preheating the oven to 180c and line a cake tin. Mix 50 gm of raisins with the zest and juice of one orange, microwave for 2 minutes, mix in with 150gms of grated carrot. In a separate bowl whisk together two eggs and 150ml of olive oil until pale. Whisk in 150 gm of soft brown sugar, 150gm of self raising flour, 2 tsp of mixed spice, 1 tsp of nutmeg, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of bicarb of soda. Stir both mixtures together until thoroughly combined and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, or or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool and ice with a mixture of 150gm of soft cheese with 100gm of sieved icing sugar.
This is my version of the lovely Nigella’s clementine cake. It is a damp and originally flourless cake. I added some flour and reduced the amount of almonds to make it a bit on the cheaper side. Lovely with a brew and a great way to use up old hard clementines.
clementines, ground almonds, eggs, SR flour, caster sugar and icing sugar
Start by covering roughly 350 gm worth of clementines with water, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about an hour until soft. Once soft lift out the clementines (keep the water!) and place them in a food processor, peel and all. Whizz up until liquid. Ensure the mixture is sufficiently cool and add 4 eggs, 150gm of ground almonds, 150gm of SR flour, 250 gm of sugar and whizz together. Pour the cake mixture into a tin and cook for about 45 minutes at 190c, once cooked allow to cool. To make the icing sieve 2tbsp of icing sugar and gradually add some of the orange water until you have a soft paste. Spread over the top and try not to eat all in one go!
I am still yet to crack the secret of photographing cakes without them looking awful… Any hints or tips send them this way! I always buy bananas with the idea of being healthy and never eat them. Luckily banana cake is a favorite of both my Dad and boyfriend! This recipe is easy and works lovely every time.
Eggs, butter, honey, demerara sugar, 4 bananas, self-raising flour
Start by preheating the oven to 190c. Place 4 eggs, 250gm of soft butter, 250gm demerara sugar, 2tbsp of honey or syrup and 250gm of SR flour into a food processor. Mix until smooth, turn the mixture into a tin and sprinkle with lots of demerara sugar. Cook for 30-40 minutes until brown on top and springy to the touch.
Sorry for the absense, have been in beautiful Cuba for a university trip. It is a hard life I know.. Sadly the food was not worth making any noise about so here comes an English favorite, with the worlds simplest ingredients list.
Caster sugar, butter, plain flour
Beat together 125gm of butter and 55gm of sugar until smooth. If the butter is cold microwave for a couple of seconds, speeds this step up considerably. Stir in 180gm of plain flour until you have a smooth paste. Add a little water if you need. Roll the dough onto a clean, generously floured work surface and gently roll until about 1-2cm thick. Always go on the thicker side, shortbread is much nicer! Cut into whichever shape floats your boat and place on a baking tray. Chill for 20 minutes and also turn the oven on at this stage. Prod with a fork for those authentic shortbread holes and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 190c for 15-20 minutes until pale golden brown, then to cool then enjoy.
So for christmas off my boyfriend I recieved Mary Berry’s cookbook, a cake dish and lovely posh frying pan (amongst others!) So think he might of been hinting slightly for more baked goods.. This is the first recipe I have made from her book and it worked lovely. I swapped the pecans in the recipe to walnuts and went mad with my decoration! The outcome was lovely.
white chocolate, plain flour, baking powder, caster sugar, butter, nuts, eggs, blueberries for exciting decoration (!)
Start by melting 100gm of white chocolate in a ban marie with 115 gm of butter. Once melted allow to cool slightly before adding to 100 gm of white sugar, 150 gm of nuts and 2 pre whisked eggs. Sieve 125 gm of plain flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Fold the flour in and bake at 180c for 25-30 minutes. I baked in individual cases, but also works well in a square baking tin.
According to my lovely Norwegian flatmate, it is traditional to make gingerbread every year in the run up to christmas in Norway. Now hopefully a tradition I will keep too! Here is the ‘authentic’ recipe used in Norway, painstakingly written by Vida. The dough needs to set for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight in the fridge. Here is the recipe types just incase you can’t quite read it. Makes enough for loads of biscuits!
butter, sugar, treacle, ground cloves, ground ginger, cinnamon, eggs, baking soda, flour, pepper
30 mins (+ overnight in the fridge and baking time)
Mix 300gm of butter with 300gm of caster sugar, in a pan over a low heat. Once melted add, 100ml of treacle, 1/2 tsp of ground cloves, 2 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp of pepper and 2 tsp of cinnamon. Take off the heat and allow to cool for roughly 5 minutes, then add 2 eggs and mix. Finally add 4 tsp of baking soda and 900gm of flour. Slowly will mix into a dough like consistency and put in the fridge ideally overnight. Roll thinly and cut into festive shapes, cook each batch for 12-15 minutes at 180c.
A bit of student improvisation was needed via a wine bottle rolling pin.
Happy christmas all!