Chocolate Fudge Cake

Sometimes you need cake. Chocolate Cake. Special Cake. And sometimes you need two Very Special Mini Chocolate Cakes! 

One for you, one for a friend… Or something! Mini cake is always a good idea, right? 

Basic Cake Mix:

180g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 pinch salt

40g cocoa powder

125g caster sugar

2 eggs

150ml olive oil

150ml milk

2 tbsp golden syrup

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line your chosen cake tins. 

– Sift the flour, bicarbonate, salt and cocoa into a large mixing bowl. 

– Mix the sugar and wet ingredients together in a large jug. 

– Stir the wet I to the dry and mix well until thoroughly combined. 

– Divide between your chosen cake tins. 

– Bake! 4″ tins should take around 25-30 minutes, 8″ sandwich tins around 30-40 minutes and if you want to bake it all as one huge cake (23cm springform) then you’re looking at about an hour. Check regularly and test to ale sure a skewer comes out clean before removing from the oven. 

Chocolate Fudge Icing: 

50g butter

200g icing sugar

45g cocoa powder

4 tablespoons milk

– Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. 

– Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. 

– Add the milk and mix well until smooth. 

– Leave to cool and thicken before spreading on the cakes or pour over as a glaze. 

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Cinnamon Scone Cake

This Cinnamon Scone Cake was actually the first of the Giant Scone Cakes. I had the idea of a cinnamon flavoured scone smothered in clotted cream and honey and I couldn’t rest until it had been created!



450g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g butter, softened

1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Just under 300ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added* (or 300ml buttermilk)

2 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

50g icing sugar + cold water

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 /180C and line a baking tray. 

– In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder. 

– Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. 

– Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir lightly. 

-Mix in the milk quickly and thoroughly but be careful not to over mix the dough. 

– Trn the dough out onto the baking tray and use floured hands to shape into a round. 

– Slice though the dough to to the number of sections you want. 

– Brush the top with a little milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. 

– Bake for ~30 minutes until the sugar on top is caramelised and the scone cooked through. 

– Mix the icing sugar with just a little water then drizzle over the top. 

– Serve with clotted cream and honey. Plain butter is also delicious! 

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Korma Paste

This was one of the tastiest things I’ve cooked all year! I was so proud of how it turned out. My kitchen smelt amazing having been full of spices! I usually have a jar of supermarket curry paste tucked away for emergencies but I was feeling creative and I knew I could do better. 

It was actually a doddle to whip up and it gave me enough for two separate curries. Needless to say, the second portion wasn’t hanging around for long!


For the Korma paste:

2 tsp garlic purée 

1 tbsp ginger paste

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 fresh green chillies

3 tablespoons coconut powder

1 tsp dried coriander leaf

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

For the Sauce:

2 chicken breasts, sliced

1 x 400g can coconut milk

1 tbsp corn flour slaked with a little water

– First you want to heat a large, heavy frying pan and lightly toast the flaked almonds and cumin seeds over a medium high heat until fragrant. 

– Then put all of the ingredients for the paste into a food processor/blender and pulse until you have a smooth paste. 

– To serve 4 add half of the paste to the large frying pan and heat on a medium high heat. 

– Add the chicken breasts and stir well. 

– Add the coconut milk and simmer on a low heat for 15minutes. 

– To thicken your sauce add the cornflour and stir well until thickened. Then remove from the heat. 

– Serve as a main meal or as part of a larger feast! (My Cumin Roasted Cauliflower and Red Lentil Daal go brilliantly with it.)

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Giant Victoria Scone Cake

I love sitting in the garden in the summer surrounded by flowers with a big pot of tea and scones for tea! So what could be better than a Giant Victoria Scone Cake. One giant scone, sliced in half and filled with freshly whipped cream, homemade jam and berries from the garden. Yum! 

Makes 1x 9″ or 2x 7″ scone cakes

450g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g butter, softened

2 tbsp caster sugar

Just under 300ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added or 300ml buttermilk

– Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and line a large baking tray. 

– If using milk and lemon juice, combine in a jug now and let it sit for a bit. 

– Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and give a quick stir to combine. 

– Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

– Add the milk and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Try not to mix too much, a light hand gives a better scone. 

– Tuen out the dough directly on to your lined baking tray. Scrape down the sides for any spare dough as this mix should be quite sticky. 

– Flour your hands well and lightly pat the dough into a round cake. 

– Brush the top with milk. 

– Bake for 25 minutes until firm and just browned. 

– Leave to cool almost completely before splitting in half and spreading with jam. Fill with whipped cream and fresh berries. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy! 

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Ration Week: Day 7

My final day on rations and I started with my coveted fresh egg! If you have been following along you’ll have seen that I have been forced to use a couple of fresh eggs previously but they were stand ins for the unobtainable dried egg powder. This one was the real deal, no way you can recreate a fried egg with that stuff! I had leftover Bacon and Potato Cakes from last night and some leftover baked beans so together it was breakfast! 

I popped into town to run some errands and hit the old fashioned sweet shop for my sweet ration. I should have done this at the beginning of the week but I had been saving my sweet ration for chocolate. On further thought though, chocolate is for in a flash. Rhubarb and custards, on the other hand, last much longer! 

The other reason I forewent my chocolate ration was that I knew I had these waiting for me at home. For my final day of rationing I was planning a picnic high tea to honour with a bang, these Bourbon Biscuits were perfect for it!

Economical Bourbon Biscuits: Cream 3oz margerine with 2oz caster sugar and 2 tbsp golden syrup. Sift in 6oz plain flour, 1oz cocoa powder and 1oz corn flour. Mix with your hand to form a dough. Roll out the dough to 3mm thick and cut into equal rectangles. (*cough* equal, smeaquel!*) Place on a baking tray and prick with a fork. Bake at gas Mark 3 for 12 minutes. Leave to cool on the tray. For the icing cream together 1 1/2oz butter, 1 1/2oz cocoa powder and 2oz icing sugar with a few drops of milk. Spread thinly on half of the biscuits before sandwiching together.

The rest of my High Tea (which ended up having to be taken in the conservatory because we’re British and if you plan a picnic it rains!) consisted of the Honey Tea Loaf from Day 5 with finger sandwiches (One of the ladies I spoke to about her memories of rationing said that you always knew when it was a special meal because the sandwiches got smaller!), sausage rolls and pies, fresh berries from the garden and tinned peaches with custard. I felt it was definitely a proper send off to ration week! 

I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and I hope you have too. It’s been such an experience seeing what I can work with to make things go furthest! But I have never once been hungry or felt a lack of anything. That being said, it has been exhausting! Planning 3 meals a day and cooking them has been a time consuming endeavour and that’s without having to do all the washing up by hand too! I look forward to cooking things that only require one pan again!

I hope I’ve shown you a good cross section of what was available to people living in 1951. I’ve tried to come up with different foods every day to show you the breadth of foods on offer. I could easily have made most of these recipes go further and make at least 2 meals rather than just one. I am very proud of my puddings and cakes though and all of that was achieved with just one person’s rations! I’ve rediscovered a love of mashed potato and have got some new recipes to add to my repertoire. I’m especially looking forward to eating the Sausages In Cider from Day 4 again!

The Festival of 50s is happening at Beamish Museum from the 14th to the 17th July so if you fancy more of a taste of 1950s life get yourself along!

http://www.beamish.org.uk/events/festival-fifties/

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Ration Week: Day 6

Today started with a bowl of ‘Swiss Breakfast’, that’s muesli! Oats, milk and sultanas topped with fresh berries from the garden and a light drizzle of honey. The milk was from powder and I have to say I’m impressed with how good it is, I will definitely be keeping powdered milk for down the plot and camping trips in the future! I am also incredibly thankful that I keep bees because their honey has been absolutely invaluable! 

Lunch ended up being bread and jam and tea loaf and jam. It was supposed to be pilchards in tomato sauce on toast but I couldn’t bring myself to even try them! I have a fear of fish bones, a ridiculous one,  I acknowledge! But I’m going to wait to try them until there’s someone around to a) perform the Heimlich if required and b) finish the tin for me if I don’t like them!

This evening’s dinner was Bacon and Potato Cakes with braised cabbage and boiled carrots. I saved my 4oz bacon diligently until today! There was even enough of this that I’m saving 2 potato cakes for breakfast tomorrow. By chopping the bacon into small bits you can make it go a lot further and, by cooking it in the pan before mixing it with the potato you have the cooking fat already provided! I’m doing rather well on my cooking fat ration though, in quite impressed with how far it’s gone. Proper dripping fat from the butcher is definitely something I plan to add to my supplies after this, it’s amazing, high cholesterol be damned! 

Bacon Potato Cakes: dice 4oz bacon and fry in a large frying pan until crisp. Carefully fish out of the fat, leaving this in the pan, place the bacon in a mixing bowl with 3 grated potatoes, one egg (reconstituted from dried or fresh), salt and pepper and 3oz flour (approx). Mix well until everything is combined. Dollop 4 equal portions into the hot fat in your pan and cook until browned then flip and cook the other side until browned and firm in the middle. 

One thing I really am not going to miss is the amount of washing up that each meal produces! You’ll usually need a mixing bowl to prepare something, then a pan for cooking your main dish, a pan for boiling vegetables, a pan for mash or cabbage, then, of course, you have to serve it with plates and bowls and cutlery and glasses… it never ends! Just think what the poor women had to go through before the advent of dishwashers. Heck, in 1951 not too many people even had fridges! Thankfully, the dishwasher has been taking the strain for me or else I’d never have for any work done this week! 

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Ration Week: Day 5

I’ve been rushed off my feet again today! Seems like there’s a never ending list of things to do. Normally on days like today I’d either be skipping meals entirely or grabbing something quick and portable to eat on the run. With this challenge though I’m trying to cook different foods every day, which is actually good because it makes me stop and think about what I’m eating. Anyway, I started simple with Beans on Toast. I also had the delicious extra treat of 3 eggs from the girls! This was literally beans and toast, no butter involved, so it was nice to have that extra treat! 

Lunch was Potato Rarebit. Yes, my friends, mashed potato on bread. The cheese was really more of a garnish at 1/2 oz but you got a good amount of flavour out of it, I definitely use too much cheese on everything normally! 

Potato Rarebit: spread mashed potato on two slices of bread and crumble 1/2 oz cheese over the top. (A good mature crumbly cheddar is what you need here as you get the most flavour!) Grill until the cheese is melted and browned. 

A special afternoon pick me up today (though actually started yesterday) a simple Honey Tea Loaf. It only has 4 ingredients, it’s so simple I can scarce believe it! It’s my own recipe, adapted from reading a bunch of tea loaf recipes but not finding one that I liked the look of. It’s got s gorgeous texture, I imagine if you added malt extract it would be just like malt loaf! I can only imagine how good it will tast with butter… May be tomorrow!

Honey Tea Loaf: Soak 1lb sultanas in 1/2 pint cold tea overnight. Mix in 6oz honey and 10oz self raising flour. Scrape into a loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at gas 4. Leave in the tin to cool (it sinks a bit). Dust with 1/2oz icing sugar to serve. 


Supper tonight was the quick and simple Leek and Potato Soup with bread and, wait for it, BUTTER! Soooo good! I love butter! A nice traditional soup, quick and simple to prepare and warming and filling, what’s not to like! (Dunno but my father can’t stand it! I suspect once you’ve had it twice a week for 10 years you would probably hate anything!) 

Leek and Potato Soup: Melt 1 tsp cooking fat in a small pan. Add 1/2 leek, sliced and cook until softened. Add 2 large diced potatoes and cover with boiling water. Add 1/2 chicken stock cube and sat and pepper to taste. Simmer for 25 minutes until the potato is soft. 

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