Salted Caramel Sauce

A very quick post today as I know some people are eagerly awaiting this recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce. It’s simple once you know how and absolutely amazing! I have had to restrain myself from simply eating it from the jar! 

Makes 1 jar

250ml double cream

1 cup granulated sugar

1tsp salt

– Pour the cream into a small pan and heat to just short of boiling. Turn off the heat and set aside. 

– Place the sugar in one flat layer in a large, heavy bottomed pan. You need it to be much bigger than you think as when you combine the ingredients it can bubble up and rise to nearly 10 times the height! Also, thin pans mean that the sugar may quickly burn as the heating is more intense. Heat your sugar on a LOW heat. It will take time (about 8 minutes to start to melt) but if you heat it too intensely then the sugar may burn and cause problems for you. Do Not Stir!

– Once about 8 minutes has gone by you should be able to see the sugar melting around the edges. At this point you can gently turn the sugar so the melted stuff on the bottom comes on top and the solid sugar on top gets to the bottom. Your sugar should be turning from white to golden caramel. Don’t rush, it will get there. 

-Once your sugar is all melted with no lumpy bits take it off the heat. 

– Pour half your hot cream into the sugar. It WILL bubble, spit and rise up. Stir vigorously the whole time. 

– When it has died back down pour the remaining cream in, remembering to keep stirring. It will usually rise and spit again. It will look like a lumpy mess. This is normal. 

– Return the pan to a low heat and keep stirring. The lumpy mess will slowly melt back in and you will get a smooth pale caramel sauce. This will probably take about 10 minutes. If you have any huge lumps it may take longer but they will eventually dissolve. You don’t want the mixture to boil so keep it on a nice low heat and it will get there! 

– When you have a nice, smooth sauce sprinkle over the salt and give it a good mix then pour into a heat proof container. 

– I store mine at room temperature but that’s because it doesn’t last long at all! If you plan to be more restrained in your consumption then you can keep it in the fridge but be aware that it will stiffen at a lower temperature. 


Filed under Basic, Desserts, For the Keen Cook, Gluten Free, Jams and Preserves

Blackberry and Apple Loaf Cake

It’s that time of year again! The hedgerows are bursting with blackberries and the apple trees are laden with fruit. I’ve always loved this end of summer/beginn g of autumn period when the evenings are getting darker and the mornings just a little cooler. So long as we still have those hot days to carry me (and the crops) through I’m happy with this all too brief slice of the best of both worlds! 

This recipe for Blackberry and Apple Loaf Cake is one of my mother’s and she always has one freshly baked in the kitchen at this time of year. It’s a delicious, moist loaf with a wonderful crumbly cinnamon topping that ticks all the boxes for me. The hint of orange adds a lovely depth of flavour and really brings out the best in the blackberries.  The perfect pick me up with a cup of tea! 

Makes 1 x 1.7l loaf

1 eating apple, grated

2 eggs, beaten

zest of 1 orange

250g self raising flour

175g butter

175g light muscovado sugar

1/2tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp Demerara sugar

1 tsp baking powder

200g blackberries (pick more than you think you’ll need)

1 small eating apple, sliced

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C and line and grease a 1.7l loaf tin. 

– Grate the apple into a small jug, leave the peel on but don’t use the very centre. 

– Add the eggs and the orange zest to the apple and mix well. 

– Using a food processor combing the flour, butter and light muscovado sugar and pulse until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Alternately use a large mixing bowl and rub together using your hands. 

-Remove 5 tbsp of the flour mixture and place in a small bowl with the Demerara sugar and the cinnamon. Mix to combine. 

– Combine the liquid ingredients with the remaining dry mixture. Mix swiftly but well until you reach a dropping consistency. It may seem dry at first but trust me, it will come. 

– Fold 2/3 of your blackberries into the mixture with a metal spoon, try to avoid crushing them. 

– Scrape the mixture into the loaf tin and level it with the back of the spoon. 

– Scatter the remaining blackberries on top and place a row of apple slices along the centre of the loaf. 

– Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the top of the loaf. 

– Bake for 1 1/4 hours, checking at 50mins to ensure the top is not overly browning. Cover with foil for the remaining bake time if necessary. 

– Test that a skewer comes out clean and the cake is firm before removing from the oven. Leave to cool in the tin. 

– Put on a pot of tea and enjoy with your feet up!

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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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Filed under Cakes, Easy, quick, Teatime Treats

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!


Filed under challenge, Roundup