Category Retro bakes

1-minute smoked mackerel pâté!

This is an incredibly quick but insanely good smoked mackerel pâté, and one I have been making for many many years. It helps to buy the smoked mackerel already boned, but you literally just mix it all together to give the most delicious pâté. The pâté is delightfully coarse, unashamedly rustic, but for a fish pâté […]

Herby sausage rolls

A return to sausage rolls: one of my favourite savoury bites, both to make and to eat. Seriously, a good sausage roll should bring a smile to one’s face and have a very moreish quality: one should never be enough! A far cry from those mass-produced affairs you can buy from high street chain bakeries that […]

Mocha walnut pavlova

I have not made a pavlova for a few years, but it is always lovely to re-visit an occasional bake such as this. Rather than go for many layers of meringue, I went for one thick layer as the base, which was then topped with the cream and the wonderful coffee, walnuts and dark chocolate. […]

The new Andrew James Chef’s blowtorch: product review

I am a huge fan of kitchen gadgets, but with any prospective gadget, I always try to weight up if it is likely to get used only a few times before being relegated to the back of a cupboard (joining the popcorn maker, milk frother and various others I have amassed over the years….!) However, […]

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Rum babas should have a beautifully light texture, a rich buttery flavour and a real adult kick of indulgence from the rum. They are, I think, a winning end to any meal, a great sweet treat as part of an Afternoon Tea […]

Easy sourdough crumpets

I am of the belief that a hot crumpet, slathered with butter, perhaps with some excellent quality jam, is one of life’s greatest foodie pleasures. These are very simple crumpets, that are also relatively quick to make if you have an active sourdough starter: a batch can be made in about an hour. If you […]

Salted caramel pretzel rocky road

Post updated: June 2016 A rocky road is a very guilty pleasure of mine – one of many, admittedly! It is very rich (and rightly so) but moreish. It is also one of the easiest things to make and can be varied in so many ways. I made this take on rocky road with ingredients that […]

Spiced smoked haddock scones

Try to imagine me screaming from the rooftops that you absolutely must try this recipe: I am so proud of it and I really do think they need making and devouring. This is my twist on scotch eggs, but varied somewhat to incorporate a kedgeree flavour: spiced haddock is wrapped around soft-boiled quail eggs, before being […]

Black forest gateau with caramel glazed cherries

Another version of my favourite over-the-top dessert cake; although I am well aware I have blogged about a few Black Forest Gateaux I have made, with little tweaks to the recipes here and there! I still argue, though, that a good Black Forest Gateau is a joy to eat in all of its retro kitsch-ness! I used Callebaut […]

Stem Ginger & lime cake

This cake always gives me a great sense of comfort each time I make it. The sweet heat of the ginger and the zingy lime work together effortlessly. The sponge is sticky (which is absolutely what you want in a ginger cake) but it is not too dense. There is a real punch flavour-wise with the spices, […]

Coronation chicken vol-au-vents

While vol-au-vents are wonderfully retro, using Coronation Chicken as a filling makes them even more so! But Coronation Chicken is such a great thing to eat…… I had made a large amount of puff pastry and then used some of it to make many vol-au-vent cases for this and other fillings: the technique for making vol-au-vent cases […]

Spiced smoked haddock vol-au-vents

Vol-au-vents never fail to excite me when I eat them!  For me they have always been absolute must as part of a buffet. I am such a fan of them that at my Civil Partnership, one of the food centrepieces involved vol-au-vents, with many different fillings. I have been making these kedgeree-style vol-au vents for years and they […]

Chocolate & Orange Battenberg Cake

When I make a Battenberg cake I usually I go for a coffee and walnut one: my favourite cake flavours! This time, though, I’ve gone for orange and dark chocolate: not a million miles away, flavour-wise, from my jaffa gateau. How to make and assemble: The main recipe is as for coffee and walnut Battenberg (the […]

Salmon & mushroom coulibiac

A very firm nod towards the classic dish of a few decades ago, this is an easy bake to throw together and is excellent served for a special occasion. Wonderful served warm with a salad or steamed vegetables, it is also excellent served cold; I must confess, I often make this for picnics. At the […]

Black Forest Gateau with chocolate cherry mirror glaze (Gluten-free)

My current version of Black Forest Gateau, or “cake in drag” as Victoria Wood so deliciously put it, is way over-the-top for sure in terms of the adult flavours…..but I make no apologies for that, as it is an adult dessert cake! I have made and posted about Black Forest Gateau before, and each time I make […]

Cauliflower cheese & roasted garlic bites

Cheesy, garlicky and intensely savoury, these deep-golden little bites are a cross between mini muffins and soufflés. They are great eaten warm as canapés or just to graze on as a snack! I bake these in oiled mini muffin trays, getting 48 in total. These also freeze well once baked, only needing to be warmed up for about 5 […]

Black Forest Gateau Twist

  A Black Forest gateau is one of my favourite cakes ever: liqueur-soaked cherries and dark chocolate make a fabulous combination anyhow, but when layered with cream and a light sponge you get a very special dessert cake. Granted, to echo the sublime Victoria Wood’s description of it, a Black Forest Gateau really is just cake in drag, […]

Black Forest “Arctic Roll”

  In a moment of retro-inspiration I decided to do a twist on an Arctic Roll ie) sponge cake encasing ice cream. The commercial ones have thin, dry sponge and cheap, synthetic ice cream with a yellow tinge that is often so bright it would certainly prove useful finding one’s way around in a blackout! […]

Cream Horns

A teatime classic from decades past, the cream horn is still a great sweet to eat and is easy to make. The flavour and the texture you get as the caster sugar caramelises on the outside of the buttery pastry are wonderful, especially with the richness of the cream. Fillings I have gone for two varieties: […]

Fruity fondant fancies

A sweet treat for sure! A light sponge flavoured with lemon zest, sharp buttercream filling (flavoured with raspberry fruit powder) and sticky fondant icing, which is also flavoured with raspberry powder! I think I mentioned fruit powder!  This gives a lovely flavour to the sponge as well as a subtle and natural hue. It also adds […]

Gougères & other fabulous savoury choux bites

A crunchy exterior giving way to the lightest, most delicate pillows of cheesy indulgence, gougères make fabulous little nibbles/canapés. They are lovely just as they come, ideally served warm, but they are wonderful filled with all manner of goodies (see below). Gougères are essentially savoury choux pastry into which cheese has been added and are very […]

Walnut & Mocha Fancies

Post updated: April 2015 (a different icing used & slight tweak to the cake) These are not quite those wonderful fancies using fondant icing (although fondant icing does work well here) but my take using a ganache coating and a little coffee glaze for richness, an additional coffee hit and a shiny finish. Coffee, chocolate and walnut […]

Smoked Salmon Tart

This is my version of the classic smoked salmon tart: a great retro-bake that is always a joy to eat. For this version I use those wonderful smoked salmon fillets you can buy rather than the thin slices of slimy smoked salmon that comes flat (mind you, I do have a weakness for the thin, […]

Coffee & Walnut Battenberg Cake

A Battenberg is one of my favourite cakes but I do not make these often enough. Then again, making a Battenberg only occasionally keeps it special. Butch it might not be, but delicious it certainly is! This is essentially a Victoria Sponge cake, flavoured two ways, surrounded with marzipan: so lovely to eat. I prefer natural colours and […]

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