Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Good Morning to you,

What can you make with flour, eggs and butter.  Quite a number of things really, but I think, one of the most versatile things which you can make with these ingredients, is a pastry case.

A pastry case can be filled with so many different combinations of food. There are so many savoury foods which can be added,  such as eggs, bacon and cheese or if you prefer something sweeter, add melted chocolate mixed with  cream, to make a rich Chocolate Tart, or maybe a Tarte au Citron is more your style. The combinations are endless.

.... and as I have not baked anything sweet for a while, I thought today, I would fill my pastry case with something deliciously sweet,

strawberry jam and ground almonds, along with a few other ingredients, to make a vintage Bakewell Tart.  This Bakewell Tart was popular when I was young, and the recipe is in both Ivy's cookery book and also Phyllis' cookery book. I don't think Bakewell Tart is a popular tart to bake nowadays, which is a shame. I think I shall remedy this, by taking up the cause, of the forgotten home baked, Bakewell Tart.

Traditionally, raspberry jam is spread on the bottom of the cooked pastry case, but I had a jar of strawberry jam in the cupboard, which I had made, so I decided to use that instead. 

As this is a vintage tart, it seemed apt, that I use my 1953,  vintage, Queen Elizabeth II, Coronation plate, cup and saucer to

enjoy a slice of Bakewell Tart and what could be better than a nice cup of tea as well.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I have chosen to listen to today is,

the amazing Joan Baez.  I had the pleasure of seeing Joan sing live in London a few years ago..... and it was pure joy to listen to her beautiful voice.  I have been a fan of hers since the 1960's, when she was singing her protest songs, and I still get the same pleasure listening to her voice now, as I did then.

Whilst I listen to Joan singing about her friend "Lily", I am organising my ingredients.


225g plain flour
115g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1 tablespoonful of cold water


115g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
120g butter
75g ground almonds
2 drops of almond extract
2 tablespoonfuls of strawberry or raspberry jam
1 tablespoonful of icing sugar


Parchment paper
baking beans
    26cm loose bottom tart tin

Oven temperature: 180C


Make the pastry in the usual way and place the pastry, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge to cool, for half an hour.

Remove the pastry from the cling film
roll out the pastry. 

Carefully place the pastry into
a buttered tart tin.
Allow the edges to overhang a little,
as we will cut  them away when the 
pastry case has baked.
Prick the base with a fork.

Place parchment paper into the pastry case

add the baking beans.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans

and parchment paper

Cook for a further 10 minutes

or until the base is baked.

Set aside and allow the pastry case to cool.


Whisk together

the eggs, egg yolks and sugar
until you have a pale, thick, creamy mixture.
I use my KitchenAid for this, as it really
does the job a lot quicker
than hand whisking,
which would be very tiring on the arm.

Whilst the eggs and sugar are mixing,
slowly melt the butter in a saucepan.
Remove from the heat.

When the eggs and sugar are the correct consistency
(pale and thick) slowly drizzle the
melted butter into the mixture,
then using a spatula,
gently incorporate the butter.

Add the ground almonds
and almond extract,
gently mix together.

When the pastry case has cooled,
using a sharp knife,
remove the pastry which is overhanging,
this will give you a nicely shaped pastry case.

Place 2 tablespoonfuls of strawberry jam
or raspberry jam
into the base


pour the filling into the pastry case.

Bake for 40 minutes or until
the filling is just set.
I would keep an eye on it after 35 minutes.
You want the Bakewell Tart to have a lovely
 deep golden colour.
Don't worry about the cracks which may 
appear as this does not spoil the taste,
as I think it actually increases the appeal.

Dust with icing sugar.

I find this Bakewell Tart is delicious
when eaten warm
 as the almond filling sets beautifully.

There is just one thing left to do.
Cut a slice,
sit back

The ingredients are virtually the same, but the method I am using is different to Ivy's and Phyllis'. In their cookery books, the butter is not melted, but beaten with the eggs.  Also the pastry is placed into the tart tin and the jam and almond mixture is added straight to the uncooked pastry case.  It was not blind baked. I did not want to do this, as I was worried that I might have an uncooked base and this would have spoilt the tart, so I opted to blind bake my pastry case, to give a nice crispy pastry.

I think in a month or so, I will bake Ivy's recipe and see how the two recipes fair against one another..... although, I must confess, I will still blind bake my pastry case.

I hope you enjoy making this vintage Bakewell Tart..... I know George enjoyed eating it.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

This week I will be joining,

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Good Morning to you,

If there is such a thing as a "potato addict", then I think those two words certainly describe me.  Yes, it is true, I really am, a "potato addict". I just love their taste, and I love their versatility and I just love eating them, any which way they are served.  

For instance,

I love,
 potatoes which are mashed with butter and milk.
I love,
 Dauphinoise potatoes, which are creamy and garlicky.
I love,
 potatoes which are fried as chips or as pomme frittes.
I love,
 potatoes mixed with spices.
I love,
 early new potatoes simply boiled with a
 sprig or two of mint and dressed with a little butter.
I love
 potatoes which are roasted until they are
 crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
I love
 potatoes which are baked in their jackets,
 then mixed with cheese, avocado and a little sour cream

.... and if there are any other potato dishes which I have missed from my list.... I will say it now.... I know I will love them as well.

There, I'll say it loud and I will say it proud...... My name is Daphne and I am A Potato Addict.

I think you get the gist now.

So with my love of potatoes declared to the world, today we are going to be making,

Potatoes Lyonnaise.... and they are really delicious and the added bonus is, they are so simple to make.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today is, 

the beautiful voice of Gwyneth Herbert.  I love Peggy Lee's version of "Fever", but listen to Gwyneth singing "Fever"... you will love it also.  "So in Love"  and "Falling For You" are fabulous to listen to. I often listen to this album when I am sewing or beading.... I just enjoy it so much.

Now, it is time to organise the ingredients,


Serves 4

1.5kg potatoes
1 large onion
2-3 cloves of garlic 
(depending on your taste)
30g of unsalted butter
5 tablespoonfuls of olive oil
1 teaspoonful of sea salt
to crush the garlic


Peel the potatoes
place the whole potatoes in a pan.
enough salted water to cover the potatoes.
Place a lid on the pan
and bring the water to the boil.

Reduce the heat
par-boil the potatoes for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat
drain the water.

Allow the potatoes to cool.


slice the onions


place 2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil
into a wide pan 


brown the onions.

Whilst the onions are browning,

slice the cooled potatoes ... not finely but about 5mm,
because you want the slices of potato
to hold their shape when browned.

When all the potatoes are sliced, set aside.

Once the onions are browned

the crushed garlic
cook for 2 minutes,
then remove the pan from the heat
and set aside.

Now it is time to brown the sliced potatoes.

In a separate pan
 using a medium heat
30g of butter
add 3 tablespoonfuls of olive oil

Place enough of the sliced potatoes, 
to cover the bottom of the pan
and cook until golden brown,
then turn the potatoes and cook
on the other side.

As each batch cooks, place on a plate
while you carry on browning the rest of the potatoes.

When all the potatoes are browned,
return the pan with the onions and garlic
to a medium heat.

Add the browned potatoes.

Using  two forks
gently toss the potatoes with the onions and garlic.
Be careful when you do this
as you do not want to break the potato slices.

I took about 4 minutes to do this as I wanted
to make sure all the potatoes were 
coated with the onions and garlic,
also to ensure the onions were warm.

Remove from the heat



The usual way to make Potatoes Lyonnaise is to slice raw potatoes and then simmer gently in salted water, for 10 minutes, but whenever I have used this method, the potatoes fall apart.  I know what the problem is.... I like to use a floury potato which allows for crispy bits when cooked.  So to use  a floury potato, I find par-boiling them whole first, and allowing the potatoes to cool, lets me slice the potatoes without them falling to pieces as they are still quite firm. 

You might find you will need a little more butter, but I found 30g was just enough.  I mix the butter and the olive oil together, because the butter adds a nice flavour and the olive oil stops the butter from burning.

Now that my love of potatoes has been declared, I think you will find a few more potato recipes creeping into my cooking repertoire.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Good Morning to you,

I was chatting to a friend recently and we were discussing convenience foods.  I mentioned that I  make all our daily meals, because I like to know the ingredients which go into our food. My friend mentioned, that she would much prefer, to buy tins of soup and jars of sauces, as that allowed her more time to do the things which she enjoyed.

I asked, what about the cost of processed foods, as I feel it can be more expensive to buy these products.  But she did not agree with me, she felt the extra money she paid was worth the extra time she gained.

I have to admit, I was surprised by her answer, but when I sat down and thought about it, I could understand her point of view.  I appreciate that I am retired now and I have plenty of time in the day to cook, but I also feel I save money and eat more healthily by cooking our meals each day.

I cannot imagine living on convenience food, as when I have eaten these foods, I find the salt content is much too high.  I find that during the evening and night time, I need to drink plenty of water, I can drink a large tumbler of water before I go to bed.... I know that is not good, but I do sip it.  I also have to place a tumbler of water on my bedside table because I will drink that during the night as well.

Please don't think I am criticizing, because I believe, each to their own, but I do feel with a bit of organisation, meals can be organised ahead of time. 

For instance, Danielle works full time and long hours, so each Sunday, Danielle and Daniel (yes isn't that wonderful, we have our daughter whose name is Danielle and her partner is called Daniel) have a Cookathon and cook meals for the week. They place portion sizes into the freezer, so that when they arrive home, after a long day at work, they have meals ready which they can enjoy..... admittedly, the only thing to remember, is to place the food into the fridge to defrost overnight.

I did the same when I worked, but I also used my slow cooker a lot. I would prepare the food before I went to work, pop it in the slow cooker and when we all arrived home the meal was ready.

How do you feel about convenience foods, do you use them as an addition to your home cooking or do you prefer to use them more often so that you can free up your time?

For myself, I just know that when I eat well, I feel well.

So, onto today's cooking.  I love Chutney's and today we are going to be making,

Red Tomato Chutney.  Ivy used to make chutney's with vegetables which Gramps grew in their allotment.  She also used the ingredients which were available to her, at the time, such as malt vinegar and pickling spices. 

I am using Ivy's recipe, but I am not using malt vinegar, I am using red wine vinegar.  Ivy also used pickling spices tied up in a muslin bag, but I have decided to add garlic and chilli flakes instead.

If you could see the instructions in Ivy's book, you would smile, as there are only four small lines of instructions.... ladies obviously knew what they were doing in those days and did not need the many instructions, which are written in our present day cookery books.

So without further ado, it's on with the pinnie and the music I have chosen to listen to today is,

Kirsty MacColl.  I love her music, but the titles of her songs are fabulous as well.... listen to "There's A Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" and "Don't Come the Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim".  Listen to "Miss Otis Regrets" ... I just know you will enjoy it. 

It is time to organise my ingredients.  You will need,


1.5 kg red tomatoes
2 medium sized red onions
2 red eating apples
350fl oz red wine vinegar
150g Molasses natural unrefined cane sugar
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoonful of  sea salt (to crush garlic) 
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 tablespoonful of olive oil

Sterilize 2 x 1/2 litre Kilner jars
using your usual method.


Place the tomatoes in a heat proof bowl
cover with hot water.
Leave for 5 minutes.
This process will allow the skins to be
easily removed.

Remove the tomato skins


coarsely chop the tomatoes
set aside for a moment.

Finely slice the onions
or if you prefer
finely chop the onions into small pieces


add 1 tablespoonful of olive oil into a pan
and saute the onions until they are translucent.

Whilst the onions are cooking,

Peel, core and chop the apples
into small pieces
and set aside.
(If you do this too far ahead, make sure
you add lemon juice to the chopped 
apples to stop them from turning brown.)

Crush the garlic with 
1 teaspoonful of sea salt
add to the onions.
Cook for a minute

add 1 teaspoonful of chilli flakes
and cook for a further minute or so.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan
the chopped apples.
Place the lid on your pan
and once the mixture is hot,
reduce the heat and cook until the 
tomatoes are soft.

I often find that there are some rogue tomatoes
which do not cook down, so I
use a masher to deal with
these stubborn tomatoes.

Add the red wine vinegar
to the pan


also the sugar.

Keep stirring the chutney until the sugar dissolves


simmer without a lid for about 30-35 minutes
or until all the liquid has evaporated.
You want a thick consistency.

Please don't leave the kitchen, I tend to get on with
other things... like washing up, as the chutney
needs stirring every few minutes or so.
You will find as the chutney reduces, it has a
tendency to stick to the pan.

Towards the end of the cooking process,
be careful when you stir the chutney,
as the chutney has a tendency to "spit".

Place the chutney into hot sterlized Kilner jars,
and then seal.

Store in a cool place.
Leave for a month or so, to allow the flavour to enhance.

I have a shelf in our garage which I use
during the winter,
as with the cold weather this makes
it ideal for cold storage.

When the Red Tomato Chutney is ready, you will have a delicious addition to a sandwich..... George spoons this Red Tomato Chutney onto hamburgers whereas I love it added to a cheese wrap.

You may have noticed that I did not remove the tomato seeds.  We really don't mind the seeds in the chutney, but if you prefer, before you chop the tomatoes, remove the seeds.

Enjoy my variation to Ivy's Red Tomato Chutney.

Take care and I will see you on Sunday.

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Good Morning to you,

What a time I've had, trying to catch up with you.  I have not been able to post using Google Chrome, since we had the heavy rain and wind on Wednesday evening, as the Internet cut out.  The Internet returned, the following day, but in returning, I have been experiencing all sorts of problems with my computer. 

I have to tell you that I was disappointed that I could not write to you on Friday, as I have been sat at my computer on and off since Thursday, trying to sort this problem out.... but enough of me complaining, the problem has been sorted and I am here now. Although it is a little late, as St Valentine's Day has come and gone, I thought you would like to know what I decided to make for George on Friday.

I originally decided,  for George's final St Valentine's Day treat, I would make him a huge pizza, with lots of Mozzarella cheese, salami and tomato sauce, but when George came home after taking Sadie shopping, he plonked himself down in the chair and said, he could really do with a Gin and Tonic.... but there was none in the house..... and then the light bulb went off, I thought that's it, I won't make a pizza, that can be made at a later date, I will treat George to a,

 Gin and Tonic, 
but not just any Gin and Tonic, 
oh no I would have to use
George's favourite Gin,
 Bombay Sapphire.

Don't you just love the words on the label,
"Hand selected exotic botanicals" 

So I nipped out to the shop
 snuck this bottle of gin into the house
without George suspecting a thing.

In the evening, 
I chose George's favourite glass,

I popped in some ice cubes,

sliced a lemon, 

added a measure (or two) of gin,

topped it off with tonic water

and added
a slice of lemon.

Then I took a sip...... ooh it was so nice. I can hear you thinking "I thought the G and T was for George"....well.... I had to make the first one for myself didn't I. I had to be sure I had used the correct measurements..... well, that is my story and I am sticking to it.

I added a handful of cashew nuts


 a handful of salted almonds


 what did I have?

One very happy husband. 

I told George I was going to make him a Pizza for St Valentine's Day and he said, as much as he would love a Pizza, the G and T was so much better.

The first time I had Gin and Tonic, I could not bear the taste, I thought it tasted awful.  Then many years later, my lovely son-in-law offered me a Gin and Tonic.  I refused, saying I did not like the taste.  He offered to make me one, the way he made it, using Bombay Sapphire Gin.  So I agreed, and I am so glad I did, because it was fabulous.  Just enough gin not to overpower the drink. So thanks to my son-in-law, I have loved a G and T ever since.

Did you think I had forgotten about the music? No I hadn't, I decided that as it was St Valentine's Day, I would chose a singer who George has loved listening to, since he was a teenager,

Bob Dylan.  This is the first LP which George bought as a teenager and he used to drive his mother up the wall, because he played the album over and over again..... not quietly, but at full volume. Whilst George was in England, listening to Bob Dylan singing Mr Tambourine Man, I was living in Cyprus, listening to The Byrds singing Mr Tambourine Man..... two very different styles, but which epitomise George and I.  Although, at the time, we lived thousands of miles apart and had never met, we both loved the same song.

Now you know, that both George and I, love and little G and T, what sort of drink do you enjoy.  Are you a cocktail girl?

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

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