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ttried and tested


raspberry cake

INGREDIENTS              150c Fan oven


150g butter - softened          

150g caster sugar

150g self-raising flour

150g ground almonds

2 eggs


100g raspberries


Grease and line one 20cm loose bottom tin.

Preheat oven to 150.

Put butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds and eggs in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until all combined.  Put mixture in the prepared tin.

Then place the raspberries neatly on top.

Place in preheated for 45 minutes.  Then cover the tin with a piece of foil to protect the raspberries from burning and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and leave to cool in tin.

When the cake is cool, place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with icing sugar.

I eat a slice with a dollop of greek yogurt


morning cereal

INGREDIENTS            Serves one

1 quarter cup oats

3 quarter cups water

pinch of salt.


Place ingredients in a small pot and gently bring to boil.  Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.  Depending on the type of oats, you may need to add a little more water if the mixture is too dry.

Slice a ripe pear and place in a morning bowl.  Top with the cooked porridge.  Then put one tablespoon of greek yogurt on the top along with some nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.

Serve with a lovely cup of tea.


coffee and walnut cake

INGREDIENTS           175c Fan oven

180g butter - softened

180g caster sugar

180g self-raising flour

60g walnut pieces

3 eggs

2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water


100g icing sugar

45g butter - softened

2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water


150g icing sugar

2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water

Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.

Preheat oven to 175.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.  Next, beat in eggs one at a time.  Sift the flour and gradually fold into the butter mixture.  Lastly for the cake, fold in the chopped nuts and dissolved coffee.  Divide equally into the prepared tins and bake in preheated oven for 25 mins.  Test that it's ready by taking a fork and pushing it carefully all the way into the middle of the cake.  If the fork is clean when you pull it out, it's ready. Cool in tin.


Beat all the filling ingredients together and when the cake is cool, using a knife, spread the mixture over both cakes and sandwich together.


Using the topping ingredients, gradually add the dissolved coffee into the icing sugar.  You may not need to use all the dissolved coffee.  When you think the consistency looks right, spread over the top of the cake.



Restroom Sinks and Mirrors

steaming mirror

To stop your bathroom mirror from steaming up, rub the mirror with shaving foam and you will have a steam free mirror while you shower.

Using a Touch Phone

cleaning your phone

We all clean our cars and bathroom floors, but how often do we clean our mobile phones or for that matter our remote controls?  Use a microfibre cloth and dunk it in a simple solution of hand soap and water.   Squeeze the cloth so as it isn't dripping and wipe your device all over.  This should be done on a regular basis.

Painting Wall

masking tape

Have you ever tried to get masking tape of your window after you've painted the frame?  Yes, it sticks and then you end up pulling some of the paint off with it.  If this happens, just get the hairdryer out and give the masking tape a bit of heat.  Hey presto - the tape comes off.



This recipe is about twice the size of the above picture, so enough for dipping in for about 4 or 5 people.


I 400g tin chick peas

2 large tablespoons of tahini

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of 1-2 lemons

2 garlic cloves crushed

salt and pepper


Drain the tin of chickpeas but reserve 1 tablespoon of the liquid.  Put the chickpeas in a food processor along with all the other ingredients.  Whizz for a minute or so until smooth.


Delicious with pitta bread 


rhubarb crumble

This is a very simple recipe which is absolutely delicious.  Homegrown rhubarb from Smiles's garden. Hmmmm.

INGREDIENTS              Fan 160c

500g rhubarb

100g caster sugar

200g plain flour

100g unsalted butter

110g demerara sugar


Preheat oven.  Clean and slice rhubarb into bite size pieces and place in an ovenproof dish - one that holds about a litre in volume.  Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of water over the top and sprinkle with the caster sugar.

Rub the butter into the sifted flour in a mixing bowl until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in demerara sugar.

Sprinkle this mixture over the rhubarb and bake in oven for about 35-40 minutes.  As soon as you can smell the crumble, it's almost ready.  It should be golden on top.

Let it cool slightly before eating, as the fruit can burn your mouth.  I know, I've done it.

Delicious with vanilla ice cream.


tuna and celery

I have this on a regular basis at lunchtime using cos lettuce leaves instead of bread as a sandwich.


1 tin tuna fish

1 stick of celery

1 tablespoon of red onion - chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard



Chop the celery into bite size pieces and mix with the tuna and red onion.  Mix the mayo and mustard together then stir into the tuna mixture.  It's as simple as that.

It is nice with a glass of chilled white wine!


banana loaf

I love this loaf and it is very easy to do.

INGREDIENTS                    Fan 160c

125g caster sugar

60ml cooking oil - any kind

2 bananas - mashed

50g sultanas

190g plain flour

1tsp ground cinnamon

half teaspoon baking powder

quarter teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 large egg

half tablespoon clear honey


Preheat oven.  Grease and line with parchment a 2lb loaf tin.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil together.  Then stir in sultanas, mashed bananas.  Sift in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well.  Needs a bit of effort.  Lastly add the egg and honey and beat well.  Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 50-55 mins.  Keep an eye on it as it can brown too much on top.  Test if it's cooked by sticking a skewer in the middle.  If it comes out clean, it's ready.

I always put some butter on when serving a slice.  



A spoonful of this every day is supposed to be very good for you.  It is quite quick to make but then takes three days to ferment before you can start eating it.


1 white cabbage

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

2 tablespoons table salt


Shred the cabbage - it's easier to do this in a food processor.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle over the seeds and salt.  Then using the end of a rolling pin, pound the mixture for about ten minutes.  (It is very satisfying!)  Then put the mixture in a kindle jar for three days then move to a fridge.  It will keep for several months.

I have a spoonful with my lunch.


anzac cookies

I've tried various anzac recipes but I particularly like BBC Good Food one.

INGREDIENTS             Fan 160c

85g porridge oats

85g desiccated coconut

100g plain flour

100g caster sugar

100g butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons hot water


Preheat oven and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Put the oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a bowl.  Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the syrup.  Put the bicarbonate of soda in a cup with the hot water and stir into the butter and syrup mixture.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and syrup mixture and stir.

Put about a tablespoon of the mixture in your hand and lightly roll into a ball.  Place on the parchment.  You will get roughly 20 - 25 cookies.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Lovely with a nice cup of tea.


coconut balls


1 cup walnuts

1 cup dates - stones removed

half cup cashew nuts

quarter cup cacao powder

1 eighth teaspoon salt


Soak the dates and nuts in water for 20 minutes to soften, then drain.  Place all ingredients in the food processor and whizz until combined.  Remove the blade and taking a tablespoon size amount, roll into a ball and roll in toasted coconut. 

Then place in freezer.  

I eat them straight from the freezer.


pea and mint soup


400g frozen peas

1 large potato

1 large onion

2 vegetable stock cubes

handful of fresh mint leaves

450g frozen peas

1.1 litre boiling water


Peel and chop the potato.  Chop the onion into small chunks.  Put the potato, onion, stock cubes and water into a large pot.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Put the peas and mint leaves into the pot and bring back to the boil and cook for 5 mins.  Leave to cool and place soup in a blender until smooth.

Delicious with homemade bread


mackerel pate


3 smoked mackerel fillets

3 tablespoons greek yogurt

juice of half a lemon

sea salt and black pepper


Flake the mackerel fillets into a food processor, discarding the skin.  Add the rest of the ingredients and whizz until smooth. 

I always eat with a cup of nettle tea.




250g self raising flour

60g caster sugar

60g softened butter

1 large beaten egg

1/4 cup buttermilk (may use more)

60g sultanas

pinch salt


Avoid handling the mixture too much.  Rub the butter into the flour and mix in the sugar and sultanas and salt.  Then slowly mix in the beaten egg and buttermilk but leaving a bit of the mixture for the glaze at the end.  When it is all mixed, flour the work surface and you may need to kneed the mixture a tiny bit before rolling the scone mixture until it is about 3cm deep. Then cut out 5cm circles and place on baking sheet that has been lined with parchment.  You might get 12 or 14 or less.  Brush each scone with egg glaze before placing in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.  Until slightly brown on top.

I was given this easy recipe many moons ago and it never ceases to please!  Even better with clotted cream and jam.


watercress soup


1 leek chopped

2 small potatoes chopped

125g watercress

600ml chicken stock

salt and pepper


Put 1 tbsp oil in a pan and heat.  Add chopped leek and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the chopped potato (there's no need to peel) and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in the stock along with the s and p and after you bring it to the boil, cook for 18 minutes.  Add the watercress and cook for 2 minutes.  Then liquidise the lot and eat!

This soup is quick and full of flavour.  You won't believe how tasty it is.


pear and almond cake


INGREDIENTS              Fan oven 160

175g unsalted butter, softened

150g light brown soft sugar

3 large eggs

150g self raising flour

100g ground almonds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp fine salt

3 conference pears, peeled and cored

2-3 tbsp icing sugar

1-2 drops almond extract


Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.  Preheat oven.  Beat butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in dry ingredients  Chop pears into 2cm chunks and mix then in, reserving a few to scatter on top.

Pour into prepared loaf tin and scatter pears on top then bake for 1 hour and ten minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool in tin.

Mix icing sugar with 1-2 tsp water and the almond extract (if using) and drizzle over the cake.  You can scatter flaked almonds over the top if you like.

I happened upon this recipe very recently and it is best enjoyed as soon as it is cooled from the oven, with a large mug of piping hot tea.


 raspberry and pistachio cake

INGREDIENTS               Fan 190 oven

225g unsalted butter softened

225g self raising flour

4 large eggs

225g golden caster sugar

100g toasted pistachio kernels

1/2 tsp rose water

1-2 tbsp milk


125g unsalted butter softened

125g icing sugar

1/8 tsp rose water

75g crushed fresh raspberries

2 tbsp raspberry powder soaked in 1 tbsp just-boiled water


75g icing sugar

1 tbsp raspberry powder soaked in 3-4 tsp just boiled water


Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start.

Preheat oven. Line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.  Beat the butter and sugar for about 8-10 minutes (I know it sounds a long time but it works).  It should be mousse like.  With the mixer still on high,  add beaten eggs slowly to avoid curdling - you can add a spoonful of flour while mixing, this helps, turning the mixer to low near the end of adding the eggs.  Fold in the flour.  Mix in the nuts and rose water and a pinch of fine salt followed by enough milk for a dropping consistency.  

Divide into the two tins and place them in the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes.  Check the cakes after 15 minutes (not before).  If they are not baking evenly, rotate them.  The cakes should be springy to touch and starting to come away from the edges.

When ready remove from oven and remove from tins onto a wire rack to cool.

Filling - Beat the butter with the electric mixer for 1-2 minutes then beat in the sifted icing sugar.  Once smooth, add the rose water and then the raspberry powder mixture followed by the crushed raspberries.  Spread onto both cakes when the cakes have cooled and sandwich them together.

Topping - Mix the icing sugar with the topping raspberry mixture, but adding a little at a time until it is of dropping consistency.  Using a palette knife (I just use a kitchen knife that had been standing in a mug of hot water), spread on top of the cake.

I doubt you will find a more delicious cake in the whole world!


 bran buns


INGREDIENTS              Fan oven 200

125g self raising flour

60g margarine

60g caster sugar

1 large beaten egg

5 tbsp milk

60g bran (All bran)

60g sultanas or dates


Rub margarine into flour then add remaining ingredients and mix.  Line a bun tray with paper cases and divide the mixture into the twelve cases.  Bake for 16 minutes.  Until you can smell them.

I always kid myself that these are good for you as they contain bran!  I love to eat them straight from the oven and spread on a good dollop of butter.


 chocolate cake

INGREDIENTS              Fan oven 160

225g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

275g caster sugar

100g margarine

1/4 pint buttermilk

2 large eggs


125ml water

30g dark muscovado sugar

175g unsalted butter, cubed

300g best quality dark chocolate finely chopped.


Sift all dry ingredients then place all the above ingredients in a bowl and whisk for 2 minutes.  Divide the mixture into 2 x 20cm lined round tins and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. 

Cool in tins before removing them. 

Top and fill - put water sugar and butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.  When it begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with the heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.  Leave for about one hour, whisking now and again.  When cake is cooled, sandwich them together with some of the mixture and cover the cake with the rest. 

We all love to eat chocolate cake and this one will tick that box.


mince pies

INGREDIENTS                  Fan oven 200

210g plain flour

30g ground almonds

120g butter - cut into small chunks

juice of one orange (might not need it all)

pinch salt

one jar of mincemeat


Put flour and butter into a small glass bowl.  Add almonds and cover.  Put in freezer for 20 minutes.  Put juice of orange with salt in a bowl and place in fridge also for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes is up, put the flour mixture3 into your food mixer and whizz until it resembles crumbs.  While still whizzing, slowly add the juice mixture.  You may not need to use it all.  As soon as the mixture turns to pastry - stop! Split into two lots and cover with clingfilm and place in fridge for 20 minutes.

Both pieces of pastry need to be able to have 12 circles and 12 stars.  You roll out each one separately and then, using a 7 1/2 cm (3 inches) circular cutter, cut out 12 discs.  On the same piece of pastry you also cut out 12 stars using same size star cutter.  Grease your bun tin.  (It makes 24 mince pies)  Line each one with your circle of pastry and put one teaspoon of mincemeat on top.  Don't be tempted to put any more than that.  Then taking your piece of star pastry, pop it on top.  No need to brush any of it with egg or milk.  The star will just stick.  Do the same with the second lot of pastry.  Place in preheated oven for 13 mins.

When cooked, place each one on a cooling rack and after about 10 minutes, dust with icing sugar and cinnamon.

This is Nigella's recipe.  They are so deliciously light.  Great on their own, but I love them warm with a little bit of vanilla ice-cream. Mmmmmmmmmm.........


chocolate brownies

INGREDIENTS               Fan oven 200

100g walnut pieces

4 large eggs

300g caster sugar

140g unsalted butter melted

1/2 tsp vanilla essence


Grease and line a square 23cm tin.  Put the small walnut pieces on a tray in the oven for ten minutes, then remove and cool.  Whisk the eggs for 2 minutes until nice a frothy then whisk in sugar.  Whisk for one minute, then while still whisking, slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking all the time.  Whisk for a mionute then add the vanilla essence - whisk.  Sift the thlour and cocoa into the bowl and fold into mixture.  When thoroughly mixed, add the walnuts. Spread into tin and bake for 25 mins.  Check after 22 mins.  When fork comes out clean, it's ready.  Cool in tin.  Cut into 16.  (I usually cut them smaller!)

Store in an airtight container and eat within five days.

These are even better if you leave them for 24 hours before eating.  Then I have it with vanilla icecream.  Yummy!


chocolate cake - another one!

INGREDIENTS               Fan oven 180

150g Self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

25g cocoa powder

2 tblsp hot water

150g soft margarine

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

Makes 10-12 slices


Grease and line 2 - 18cm sandwich tins.

Blend the cocoa with the hot water and place in a bowl with all the other ingredients and whisk.

Then divide into the two sandwich tins and bake for 23mins. in a preheated oven.

Cool in tins, then sandwich together with whisked double cream and strawberries.

You can dust cake with sieved icing sugar, but I usually just start eating it!

This is quite a plain cake but nevertheless delicious due to the whipped cream.


Lemon curd ice cream


4 eggs, separated

100g caster sugar

300ml double pouring cream

4 tablespoons lemon curd

Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and whisk, using a hand whisk, until they are fluffy and stiff.  While still whisking, slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time, until it is all mixed in and the mixture is thick and glossy.

Add the egg yolks to the mixture.

In another bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form and stir it into the mixture.

Lastly stir in the lemon curd.

Spoon into a freezer proof container, cover with a piece of clingfilm - directly on the ice cream, and cover with a lid.

Ideally leave to freeze overnight.

No need to stir.

Delicious served with fresh strawberries.

NB. Contains raw eggs


Chocolate biscuits

INGREDIENTS                 Fan oven 170

250g butter, softened

350g light soft brown sugar

2 large eggs

350g self raising flour

100g cocoa powder

200g dark chocolate - chopped

little sea salt

Beat butter and sugar with some sea salt, then beat in eggs, one at a time.  Sift flour and cocoa and mix it in. Then add chopped

chocolate.  You can make them into balls and freeze them before cooking, then cook them from frozen, but they'll need a few minutes longer.

Bake for 12-15 minutes

Makes about 20.

I ate one before it had a chance to cool - mmmmmmmm!




397g carnation condensed milk (a tin)

150ml - milk (1/4 pint)

450g demerara sugar

115g butter

Grease and line an 8" square tin.

Heat milks, sugar and butter in a large pan - stirring forever.  Stir slowly, being careful not to get sugar up the side of the pan.

Boil and simmer (stirring all the time) for 10-15 minutes.  Place the pan on a wooden chopping board, in other words off the heat, while you test the mixture. 

Get a little bowl of ice cold water, and drop a little of the fudge into the water, just a tiny drop. After a few seconds, place the tiny drop in between your finger and thumb and if it resembles a little ball, it is ready.  If not, place back on the heat and keep stirring for another minute and repeat the ice water test.  

When it is ready, remove from the heat and STIR FOR ANOTHER TEN MINUTES!

Pour into the tin to set.

This takes a while, about half an hour.

Remove from the tin and slice.

I recommend you watch Phil Vickery's Christmas fudge recipe on You Tube, that's where I got it.  It is literally the best fudge I've ever eaten.


hotel shower cap use

Ever wondered if you need the hotel shower cap for anything?  Use it to cover a pair of outdoor shoes when packing.


tin foil arrows - ?

On most foil and parchment containers, there is a little arrow at each end of the box.  Push the arrows in and it will keep your foil/parchment in place when you pull out a piece.  Genius!


how to open stuck jar lid

Have you ever struggled to open a jammed jar of jam?  Just turn it upside down and bang lightly on the floor.  Then have another go at opening it.

By the way, Hamibelle Foods have a delicious selection of jams and pickles and cakes.  Easy to order.  Even easier to eat!  Can be found at

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