Rhubarb and Vanilla Mincemeat

I won’t actually post a recipe today as I followed Nigella’s “Feast” recipe…. the only differences being adding ground vanilla and in my choice of dried fruits: as you know by now, I don’t like sultanas so I used cranberries, apricots and a “mixed” bought in the organic section which included figs and goji berries! I have tried to find a direct link to add to this post but I couldn’t find any although the recipe is out there, some even giving her the credit due…


I was very pleased with myself as it is my very first attempt at any kind of mincemeat: it was delicious and promises some very nice mince pies indeed! I was worried about the rhubarb being a bit tart but not at all! Worth trying if you like making your own jams and preserves!


And very nice, they were too! 1 jar (big one) made 24 generously filled mini mince pies:

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Biscuit Topping:

  • Beat together: 200g soft butter + 45g sugar + 2 yolks + 200g flour

And if it isn’t that time of the year, use Nutella instead as a filling: they won’t last a day!

Custard Cake with Roasted Rhubarb

I made this for the first time yesterday and when I asked my oldest boy if it was nice (he loves custard!) his reply was: ” Mum, nice doesn’t even begin to describe this!” I knew I was onto a winner!



  • 400g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 3 to 4cm sized piece
  • 25g vanilla sugar
  • Fresh custard: powder, sugar and 500ml milk
  • 190g soft butter
  • 250g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground vanilla (if available)
  • 150g light brown sugar


For the rhubarb:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°fan/ Gas 5
  • Put the rhubarb in a shallow dish and toss with the sugar
  • Make sure it is in a single layer and cover with foil
  • Roast for 15mn
  • Remove the foil, shake a little and roast for an extra 5mn
  • Drain the juices off and let it cool

For the custard:

  • Basically, follow the instructions on your custard powder tin, or buy it ready made.
  • You will need 150g + 3 or 4 tbsp (set aside for the end)

The cake:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 25cm / 10″ round springform cake tin
  • In a large bowl, I used my stand mixer for this cake, beat together the custard with all the rest of the ingredients (it’s that easy!) until creamy and smooth
  • Level 1/3 of the mix on the bottom of your tin and dot with 1/3 of the rhubarb
  • Repeat twice but don’t be to neat about your cake layers, leaving a few dips
  • Finishing with a layer of rhubarb, scatter the rest of the custard (the 3 or 4 tbsp set aside) on top


  • Bake for 35 to 40mn until well risen and golden in colour
  • Cover with foil and bake for an extra 15mn: clean skewer and it springs back when touched


  • Leave to cool in the tin, it will drop a little
  • Dust with icing sugar and enjoy with custard, what else!



I think this could work with apples too! to be continued…..

Banana and Coconut Fruit Cake

This is my definition of fruit cake so you won’t find any raisins or sultanas: I don’t like them! Fruit cakes were always an issue for me, would be rude to refuse when offered but I just couldn’t eat them….until I came across this one: it had sultanas when I first tried it but the cake itself was so moist!



  • 300g plain flour
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • 150g soft butter
  • 150g mixed dried fruit: I used dried cherries, chopped, blueberries and cranberries
  • 1 large, very ripe, banana, chopped
  • 50ml honey
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 150ml milk
  • 50ml cream (if available, otherwise milk)
  • 1 tsp extract of vanilla
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 20cm/ 8″ round cake tin
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, coconut, sugar and vanilla
  • Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Stir in the fruits till well blended and add the honey
  • Place the bicarbonate of soda in a jug and mix with 2 tbsp of the milk. Stir in the rest of the milk and cream. Add extract
  • Add in the vinegar and stir just once. It will froth up. Pour quickly onto the dry mix and mix with a wooden spoon
  • Stir until it looks blended to a medium-stiff consistency: add either a little milk or coconut if not
  • Spoon into the tin and bake for about 55mn: well risen, golden and inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Leave in the tin to go cold



It is best done a day in advance and it will keep for up to a week, if it lasts that long….


Giant Jaffa Cake

It was my younger son’s birthday last week and we celebrated over the week end… As his favourite biscuits are Jaffa cakes, I had the idea to make one as a birthday cake, and I personally think it turned out better than I ‘d ever hoped!


On this occasion, I will present the process rather than the recipe, step by step!

Step 1:

Make the jelly! I used the powdered packets, 2 of, raspberry flavour, which happened to be the sugar free kind. Made it up to 500ml and added 4 very generous tablespoons of mixed fruit jam, in a wide round bottom pan


Step 2:

Bake a Victoria sponge. I used 175g soft butter/ 150g caster sugar/ 3eggs/ 175g self raising flour and 1 ½ tsp baking powder and baked in a 25cm/ 10″ round baking pan as I wanted it quite flat


Step 3:

Getting the jelly on top of the sponge…. good luck!


Step 4:

The chocolate ganache made with 200g dark chocolate and 200ml cream, it was too much but it can be frozen!


Step 5:

Smooth over so it looks like a Jaffa Cake , as above! and inside:


Obviously, as it was for the birthday boy, some more “beautifying” had to be done…. The end result:

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Banana and rolled oats chocolate chips Cookies

A few bananas too “black” to even contemplate eating, a desire for “healthy” biscuits to take round a friend for coffee et voilà!



  • 2 small or 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • 180g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ½ scant tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • 100g chocolate chips or cranberries etc….


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and get 2 baking trays ready
  • In a large bowl mix the first 5 ingredients at medium speed until smooth
  • Add the egg and beat well
  • In another bowl, put the flour, oats, soda, salt and ground vanilla together and stir with a whisk
  • Add it to the first bowl and mix on medium speed (I found vigourously by hand worked better for me) until well blended
  • I divided the batter between the 2 bowls and added chocolate chips in one and dried cranberries in the other
  • Scoop or spoon the batter between the 2 trays, it makes around 20 cookies
  • Bake in the oven for about 15 to 18mn until slightly golden
  • Leave for 2mn before transferring onto a cooling rack



Biscuits aux Flocons d’Avoine et Banane

Quelques bananes trop mûres , une envie de biscuits, et presto!



  • 2 petites bananes bien mûres et écrasées
  • 60g sucre brun
  • 25g sucre + 1 sachet  de sucre vanillé
  • 60g beurre mou
  • 1 c. à c. d’extrait de vanille
  • 1 œuf, battu
  • 150g farine fluide
  • 180g flocons d’avoine
  • 1 c. à c. bicarbonate de soude
  • 1/2 c. à c. sel
  • 1 c. à c. de vanille en poudre
  • 100g de pépites de chocolat ou canneberge etc…


  • Préchauffer le four à 180C/ 160Fan/ Gaz 4 et préparer 2 plaques de four
  • Dans un grand bol, mélanger les 5 premiers ingrédients avec un mixer 2mn
  • Ajouter l’œuf et battre pour bien incorporer
  • Dans un autre bol, mélanger la farine, les flocons, le bicarbonate, le sel et la vanille en poudre ensemble
  • Verser le mélange de farine dans le premier bol et battre au mixer ou à la main jusqu’à l’obtention d’une belle pâte
  • Personnellement j’ai divisé la pâte en deux et ajouté des pépites dans l’un et des canneberges dans l’autre
  •  A l’aide d’une cuillère (j’utilise mes cuillères à glace) déposer la pâte sur les plaques, ce qui m’a fait 20 biscuits
  • Enfourner 15 à 18mn et sortir dès que les bords brunissent. Laisser refroidir 2mn puis transférer sur une grille de refroidissement

Cardamom & Orange Cake with a Pine Nuts Streusel

I love the smell of cardamom, ground or pods, and I use it quite liberally in curries etc… but I’ve always fancied trying it in cakes… so here it is: it has a strong distinctive flavour and the orange comes through first


Ingredients for the Streusel:

  • 70g plain flour
  • 60g pine nuts (¾ coarsely chopped)
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch ground vanilla
  • 50g butter, softened

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ scant tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 120g melted and cooled butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk
  • 110ml strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preparation for the streusel:

  • Toss all the ingredients except the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon
  • Add the butter and, using your fingers, mix together until you get a crumbly mixture, of different sizes. Set aside

Preparation for the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°fan/ Gas 5 and prepare a 20cm/ 8″ round cake tin. Place it on a baking tray
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cardamom and coffee powder
  • In a smaller bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is well infused
  • Mix it in with the dry ingredients and blend well
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together in the smaller bowl and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir gently and only until the batter is evenly blended
  • Scrape the batter
  • into the prepared tin and top with an even layer of the streusel. Pat gently into the batter
  • Bake for about 40mn: the cake well risen, golden crumbs and clean skewer from the centre
  • Transfer immediately to a wire rack to cool