Tuesday, 2 December 2008


Serves 6 to 8 people.

1 lb uncooked beetroot, leaves and stalks removed.
2 1/2 pints of stock
1 small carrot
1 medium onion
6 oz cabbage
1 bouquet garni
salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon
sour cream (one tablespoon per person)

Wash the beetroots carefully (this time you need to get all the mud off but don't peel them yet).
Put them in a large saucepan with the stock.

Peel and dice the carrot and onion. Wash and finely shred the cabbage. Add all the vegetables to the saucepan with the bouquet garni and the salt and pepper.

Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for two hours until the beetroots are cooked.

Remove the beetroots from the soup and leave them to cool slightly. Remove the bouquet garni from the soup and discard it.

Top and tail the beetroot and peel off the skins. Dice the flesh and add three quarters of it to the soup. Purée the soup (e.g. in a liquidiser or through a seive).

Add the lemon juice to the puréed soup. Throw in the remaining diced beetroot.

Just before serving, bring the soup back to the boil (make sure it is well heated through if it has been left for a while). Serve hot in bowls, with a spoonful of sour cream dropped gently into the centre of each bowl.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


A simple and quick bread ready in no time.


1 lb of flour (see below for what kind)
1 tsp of baking powder (see below for alternative raising agents)
1 tsp salt

  1. Put the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix quickly with milk to make a soft dough.
  3. Divide into two, and form into two balls.
  4. Flatten the ball to make a round about 8 inches across and half an inch thick. If you use a rolling pin this helps to make it flat enough to cook evenly when it's upside down.
  5. Cook it on a hot griddle for about 5 minutes each side.
  6. Do the same for the other one.

This makes a heavy flat bread, more digestible if eaten when no longer piping hot. Serve with butter and cheese, or just butter (better with savoury than sweet).

What flour? Plain white wheat flour, strong white bread flour, or wholemeal flour, or any mixture of these, are all fine. Possibly if you used self-raising flour you could do it without any baking powder. For a genuine Orkney bannock it should include all or at least half barley flour or beremeal.

What raising agent? A single teaspoon of baking powder makes a thin heavy bannock. Most recipes advise 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 2 tsp of cream of tartar: this makes a more spongy bread, but there's a danger it can taste too much of soda. I believe you can also use yeast.

Milk or water? I haven't tried it with water yet, but I'm sure it's fine. I think that's what the authentic expert Jim Davidson from Papay said ("non o' that milk an' what-ave yae").

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Date Fingers (aka Date Bars)

5 oz butter
4 oz SR flour
2 oz plain flour
3 oz light soft brown sugar
6 oz stoned dates

NB don't forget to add both sorts of flour!

  1. Put the butter in the mixing bowl. Soften it in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  2. Add the two sorts of flour and mix it well.
  3. Add the sugar and the dates. I think the dates need to be cut in half.
  4. Combine well together.
  5. Grease an 8 inch square tin.
  6. Put the mixture in the tin and press it down lightly.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF, 180ºC, Gas 4, Fan oven 160º.
  8. Cool slightly, cut into fingers, dust with icing sugar.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Lemon squash

1 orange
3 lemons
3 pints of water
4 lbs sugar (or less?)
2 oz (50g) citric acid (or less)
1 oz (25g) tartaric acid (or less)

  1. Put the sugar and salts in a large plastic bowl
  2. Pour boiling water onto the sugar and salts
  3. Stir till dissolved.
  4. Grate the rind of the fruits.
  5. Squeeze the fruits and add the juice to the bowl
  6. Leave overnight.
  7. Strain into a jug and pour into bottles using a funnel
Ordinary bottles will do, but make sure they are well cleaned. Screw the tops on.

Use as squash, diluting with water. It keeps well.

Elderflower Wine

2 heads of elderflower
2 lbs white sugar
2 lemons, rind and juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 gallon cold water (8 pints)

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large plastic bowl or bucket and allow to stand for 24 hours.
  2. Strain the liquid into a jug and pour into the bottles, using a funnel if you have one.
  3. Bottle in strong bottles (bottles designed to hold pressurised liquids, e.g glass cider bottles. The tops must be sturdy as well as the bottles). Tighten the caps again before putting away for storage.
  4. Leave for 2 weeks at least. If the bottles stay airtight this will be drinkable for at least a year, probably many years later.

White Bread

3 lbs of strong white flour
1 oz salt (six full-size teaspoons, but actually a bit less would be better)
1-2 oz lard
1 oz of fresh yeast
1 tsp of sugar
1 1/2 pints of warm water (for instructions on temperature see below)
  1. Put the yeast into a teacup and add the teaspoon of sugar. Cream well.
  2. Weigh up the flour into a large bowl
  3. Add the salt and rub in the lard
  4. Make up the warm water as follows: boil the kettle. Fill the measuring jug with one third boiling water and two thirds cold water from the tap. This should give you the sort of warmth that yeast likes best. Pour one pint of this warm water into your bread mixture and stir with a knife.
  5. Make up the remaining half pint of water to the same temperature.
  6. Pour a little of this warm water into the cup with the yeast (which should by now have become liquid). Stir it and wait until the yeast starts to bubble merrily.
  7. Pour the yeast liquid and the remainder of the half pint of warm water into your bread mixture. Stir well with the knife and then knead it by hand until all the flour is absorbed and you have a springy ball of dough that leaves your hands clean.
  8. Lift it out onto a clean smooth surface and knead it hard to stretch the proteins.
  9. Form it into a ball and put it back in the bowl. Put the bowl in a large plastic bag and leave in a warm room for an hour to rise.
  10. An hour later, take the bread out again and knead it on the smooth clean surface as before.
  11. Grease two large bread tins, or three 2 lb tins, or some mixture of tins and a baking sheet (if you're intending to make a weird shape of loaf or rolls).
  12. Divide the bread into suitable portions, by pressing it with the side of your hand, rolling it back and forth, until you've cut right through it.
  13. Put the dough in the tins. To make a plait loaf, cut one of the portions into three (rolling it with the side of your hand as before), pull/roll the three pieces into sausage shapes, and plait them on a greased baking sheet, securing the ends well together. To make a cottage loaf, divide the portion into two unequal lumps. Put the larger lump on a greased baking sheet, and put the smaller lump on top. Stick a metal skewer down the middle through both layers. To make rolls, cut the dough in the same way into halves, quarters, eighths, and place on a greased baking sheet.
  14. Put the loaves into the large plastic bag and leave to rise for 45 minutes to one hour. When they are risen and puffy, brush the top with milk or beaten egg and bake them in a hot oven for 42 minutes.
450º F, Gas mark 8, 220º C, Fan oven maximum temperature.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Choc Orange Bars

For the bottom:

4 ozs butter
2 ozs granulated sugar
4 ozs Self Raising Flour
3 ozs rolled oats
2 rounded teaspoons of cocoa powder
pinch of salt

For the icing:
4 ozs icing sugar
2 rounded teaspoons of cocoa powder
About 2 dessertspoons of undiluted orange squash or orange juice

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Weigh up the dry ingredients together and add them to the hot butter. Mix well.
Grease a 7 inch square sandwich tin.
Press the mixture into the tin.

Bake for about 25 minutes in a moderate oven, 368º F, 185ºC, Fan oven 175-80.

Now make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa into a small basin. Mix to a coating consistency with not much orange squash/juice. Orange squash gives a better flavour. If using orange juice, add about four drops of orange oil if available.

Spread the icing over the hot cake.

When almost cold, cut into fingers.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Kota Kapama

To serve 5

One chicken cut into serving pieces or five chicken pieces
Juice of one lemon
Some chicken fat, oil or butter, about 3 tablespoons
a glass of dry white wine (optional)
a can of plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste diluted in 4 fl oz of water
1 large stick of cinnamon
3 whole cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley or watercress for garnish

  1. Rub the chicken pieces with the lemon juice. Allow to stand for a bit.
  2. Heat the fat in a heavy braising pot.
  3. Sauté the chicken till it's a light chestnut colour, turning with tongs.
  4. Warm the wine and pour it into the pan.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste.
  6. Bury the cinnamon stick and cloves among the chicken pieces.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Simmer over the lowest possible heat for 1 1/2 hours or more (or transfer to a medium slow oven to finish the cooking).
Serve warm with rice or mashed potatoes, garnished with parsley or watercress, and with a side dish of vegetables or salad.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Luscious lemon flavoured cream

Three dessertspoonfuls of creme fraiche (about half a pot)
Juice of half a lemon
three teaspoons of sugar

Mix all together energetically.
Pour over strawberries or raspberries, or generally serve it with anything that needs cream, or chill to make ice cream.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Bread and Butter pudding: an everyday version

  • About six slices of bread, white or brown. Stale baguettes are good but you'll need lots of slices if so!
  • Lots of butter (salted variety is best)
  • A handful of sultanas, currants or raisins
  • Two eggs, made up to one pint with full cream milk
  • Two tablespoons of demerara sugar or white sugar
  • Spice etc if desired.

  1. Butter an ovenproof dish.
  2. Cut the crusts off the slices of bread and butter them on one side.
  3. Cut them into irregular shapes and lay some in a layer on the bottom of the dish, butter side down. Sprinkle a few sultanas etc on.
  4. Lay another layer of bread and butter pieces, butter side up this time, and sprinkle with fruit again.
  5. Continue until all the bread is used up.
  6. Whisk the eggs with the milk and pour over the bread and butter layers.
  7. Leave to soak for an hour.
  8. Sprinkle the top with sugar, and a little spice if you like.

Bake for about 35 minutes in a moderate oven, at 350º F, 180º C, 160º for a fan oven and Gas mark 4. The pudding should be bouncy and not too runny in the middle, nor too brown at the edges.
Serve with cream and/or fruit.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Chocolate moussingues aka what to do with gone-wrong-meringue-mixture

What do you do when your meringue goes wrong? You got distracted and whisked the egg whites as if you were making royal icing instead of meringue. Now you've put the sugar in and it's a nice shiny white sloppy consistency. Bother.

Well, providing you still have eggs left, fear not.

1. Put the bowl of gone-wrong-meringue aside and cover. Wash your beaters.
2. Start your meringue again with fresh egg-whites and sugar, reserving the yolks for later, and beat the egg-whites properly this time.
3. When you have time e.g. the following morning, pre-heat the oven to gas 3 and return to the gone-wrong mixture and the egg-yolks left over from the new meringue. Find that scrap of cooking chocolate lurking in the cupboard because there isn't enough of it for any recipe, or mix equal weights of cocoa powder and melted butter. I think I used about 2oz chocolate for 2 egg yolk/white. Melt it in the microwave.
4. Stir the egg-yolks into the chocolate a bit at a time and beat with a fork or electric whisk until smooth.
5. Transfer the chocolate mixture into the ex-meringue mixture and mix well with electric whisk. You will get small air bubbles but it will still be runny.
6. Decant into 4 or so ramekins, filling each one about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Stand in a baking tray and place in centre of oven. Cook for 25 mins or so until set. Serve immediately for best puffed-up souffle-style effect but they taste good cold too.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Heather's Teriyake Chicken

5 floz soy sauce
6 tbsp white sugar
5 floz Sidney Sussex Fino sherry or other cheap dry sherry

approz 6 chicken pieces (thighs are best)

Mix soy sauce, sherry and sugar in saucepan, heating until sugar is dissolved. Either thicken to use as a glaze, or use as a marinade, or just pour over chicken in a large casserole dish and place in oven 180C/Gas 4 for 45 mins until chicken is cooked.

Serve with rice and green veg.

Thicken left-over sauce as a glaze for another meal, or use to flavour other dishes.

Vegetarian Pastitsio

6oz lentils
1 large aubergine
3 tsbp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
2 onions
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
8 medium tomatoes or 2lb can of tomatoes
8oz tomato puree
2-4oz grated parmesan
1lb noodles

Custard sauce:
3 tbsp butter
1 1/4 pints milk
3 eggs
3 tbsp flour

1. Wash lentils and soak in 1 1/4 pints boiling water.
2. Put in pot with salt and olive oil, cook 30-45 mins until the water is almost gone.
3. Heat olive oil and butter in a saucepan, add onions, aubergine, garlic and seasoning. Cover and saute for 10 mins.
4. Add tomatoes and lentils. Cook until thick, add tomato puree and check seasoning.
5. Boil noodles until still stiff (10-12 mins).
6. Layer noodles, parmesan and sauce in large greased dish.
7. Make custard sauce using roux method. Whisk in heated milk. Beat eggs in bowl and beat sauce in slowly.
8. Pour over casserole and allow it to soak to the bottom. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake for 1h at 400F/200C/Gas 6.

Savoury cheese and onion pie

Shortcrust pastry made with:
8oz plain flour
6oz butter
lemon juice

10oz cheese, (1/2 gruyere)
2 tbsp flour
2 large onions
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp chopped basil
2 large firm tomatoes
2 large eggs
1/4 pint cream

Line flan dish with shortcrust pastry. Grate cheese and toss with flour. Slice onions and saute in butter gently (1/2 hour). Spread 1/2 of cheese on bottom of pie dish, then spread onions over. Slice tomatoes and heat in butter. Arrange on top of onions. Cover with remaining cheese. Beat eggs with cream and pour over cheese. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake 35-40 mins Gas 6/200C.


8oz lasagne pasta

1lb mince
1 large or two small onions
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
mushrooms and/or carrots optional
tomato puree
2 tins chopped tomatoes
basil and oregano
salt and pepper
soy sauce/yeast extract/red wine optional

Make the above ingredients into bolognese sauce and simmer for at least 20 mins.

Meanwhile, make cheese sauce using the following:
2oz butter
2oz plain flour
1/2 - 1 pint milk
6oz cheese, grated (include some parmesan)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour to make a roux. Fry for 1 min. Gradually mix in milk and bring back to boil.

Make up lasagne in large flat dish, layering bolognese sauce and lasagne pasta. No need to pre-cook the pasta even if the packet claims you should. Add cheese and seasoning to the sauce and pour over the top layer of pasta. Sprinkle any remaining cheese on top. Bake at Gas 6/200C for 30-35 mins until browned and bubbling on top. Serve immediately.

Yoghurt liver

8oz pig's liver
2 rashers bacon
1 large tbsp plain (set) yoghurt
Flour or oatmeal

Cut pig's liver and bacon into small pieces. Roll in seasoned flour or oatmeal. Fry in hot fat 2-3 mins until done, then stir in yoghurt.

Old Testament Pudding

1 1/2-2lb cooking apples
1 tbsp seedless raisins
2-3 dried figs, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice
3oz margarine
4oz sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
5oz rolled oats

Melt margarine, sugar and syrup in a pan. Add the oats and stir. Peel, core and slice the apples, place in a 2 pint pie dish with dried fruit and spice. Spread oaty mixture on top. Bake 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 35 mins.

Chocolate squidgey cake

6oz SR flour
6oz sugar
6oz margarine or butter
4 tsp cocoa
2 eggs
2 tbsp golden syrup

Melt syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan. Add flour and cocoa and stir well, removing from heat. Add egg (ensure mixture has cooled a little) and mix well. Pour into 2 greased and lined 8" sandwich tins and cook for 20 mins at Gas 5.

When cooled, sandwich together with butter icing. Good with coffee-flavoured butter icing too.

Chocolate sauce for ice-cream

The recipe from the little scrap of green paper in the recipe folder.

Makes plenty for 4!

3 level dsp cocoa
1 rounded tsp cornflour
2 1/2 floz water
5 oz sugar

Put cocoa, cornflour and water in a saucepan. Bring carefuly to the boil, mixing well. Add sugar. Reboil when required, adding a knob of butter.

Super-fudge (choc) brownies (made with cocoa)

7oz butter
2oz cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup chopped nuts or mini-marshmallows (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Take a 9"x13" baking/roasting dish. Cut a piece of foil, mould to shape of dish, then place in dish and spray or grease foil.
2. Melt butter in saucepan or bowl. Stir in cocoa.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time.
4. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder, then add vanilla essence, nuts etc.
5. Pour into tin, spreading evenly. Bake 25-30 mins until moist and fudgy. Test with cake tester or fork - it should come out with sticky crumbs attached.
6. Remove from pan when cool. Cut into squares. Decorate with melted white chocolate if desired.

NB These freeze well.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Kentish Lenten Pies

8 oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 oz butter
6 oz lard

1 pint milk
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp ground rice
4 oz sugar
2 oz butter
pinch of mixed spice
1 egg
Oven 375ºF, 190C, Gas mark 5, Fan oven 170º.

  1. Reserve a small amount of the milk, and boil the rest with the bay leaf.
  2. Mix the remaining milk with the ground rice, and add this mixture to the boiling milk.
  3. Cook for three minutes.
  4. Add the sugar, butter and spice and leave to cool to lukewarm.
  5. When it is cool, add the beaten eggs. But meanwhile, make the pastry:
  6. Make pastry with the flour, baking powder, butter and lard, and enough cold water to make a firm dough.
  7. Line some large patty tins with the pastry.
  8. Pour the milk mixture into the pastry-lined tins.
  9. Sprinkle with currants.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Eat, hot or cold.

Roast Chicken

  1. Weigh the chicken, after removing any bag of giblets from the cavity.
  2. Calculate the cooking time on the basis of 20 minutes per lb plus 20 minutes. Allow extra time if it is to be stuffed.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 375º F, 190º C, Gas mark 5, or Fan oven 170º C
  4. Wash out the inside of the chicken under running water. Stuff it if desired, or rub it with garlic, and sprinkle it with thyme and lemon juice.
  5. Place in an enamel roasting pan, and cover with the lid. Roast in the oven for the specified time.
  6. Towards the end of the cooking drain off some or all of the liquid from the pan and separate the fat from the meat juices to make gravy ad lib.
  7. Serve with roast or boiled potatoes and some colourful vegetables, such as carrots, peas or swede.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Grandma's Chocolate Pudding II (larger quantities)

The family recipe book has some alternative quantities written in. Here's the version with those larger quantities instead of the original. It makes a bigger pudding with the same amount of sauce.

For the sponge:

4 oz Self raising flour
3 level tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 oz butter/margarine
4 oz caster sugar
A third of a cup of milk
a few drops of vanilla essence

For the Sauce (which sinks during the baking)
2 oz soft brown sugar
1.5 level tablespoons of cocoa powder
half a pint of boiling water

a sprinkling of caster sugar
An ovenproof dish of 1.5 pint capacity. Oven 355º F or Gas mark 4

  1. Sift the flour with cocoa.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and ix into the sifted ingredients, with the caster sugar.
  3. Stir in milk and vanilla essence.
  4. Turn mixture into greased dish, spreading evenly.
  5. Mix soft brown sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle over the pudding mixture.
  6. Pour over the boiling water
  7. Bake at 355º F or Gas mark 4 for 35 mins.
  8. Sprinkle the top with caster sugar before serving.

Grandma's Chocolate Pudding I (original version)

For the sponge:
3 oz Self raising flour
2 level tablespoons of cocoa powder
1.5 oz butter/margarine
3 oz caster sugar
5 tablespoons or a quarter of a cup of milk
a few drops of vanilla essence

For the Sauce (which sinks during the baking)
2 oz soft brown sugar
1.5 level tablespoons of cocoa powder
half a pint of boiling water

a sprinkling of caster sugar
An ovenproof dish of 1.5 pint capacity. Oven 355º F or Gas mark 4

  1. Sift the flour with cocoa.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and ix into the sifted ingredients, with the caster sugar.
  3. Stir in milk and vanilla essence.
  4. Turn mixture into greased dish, spreading evenly.
  5. Mix soft brown sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle over the pudding mixture.
  6. Pour over the boiling water
  7. Bake at 355º F or Gas mark 4 for 35 mins.
  8. Sprinkle the top with caster sugar before serving.