Tuesday, 27 October 2009


These chewy Tuscan macaroons came 2nd in the Biscuits & Cookies category. They're very good with espresso and ice cream and are easy to make.

Makes 24
300g blanched almonds
grated zest of 1 lemon
200g caster sugar
2 egg whites
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 170C/ Gas 3. Tip the almonds onto a baking sheet and cook for a few minutes until pale golden then leave to cool.

Whizz the nuts and lemon zest in a food processor until coarsely ground. Stir in half of the sugar.

Whisk the egg whites until they hold their shape firmly then gradually beat in the sugar until smooth and glossy. Fold the nut mixture into the meringue.

Using two dessert spoons shape ovals out of the mixture and drop onto two lined baking sheets - leave room for a little spreading. Dust with icing sugar and bake for 8 - 10 minutes until set and pale golden but still a little squishy in the centre. Leave to cool then store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Charlie Fox's Carrot Delight

This fantastic cake scored second place in the Cake catergory

175g dark brown soft sugar

2 eggs

80ml sunflower oil

40ml walnut oil

200g wholemeal self-raising flour

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

3 tsp mixed spice

Grated zest 1 orange

200g grated carrots

175g sultanas/raisins


150g Quark

100g cream cheese

(You can vary the Quark/cream cheese ratio to taste)

20 g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon


Juice ½ orange

1 tblsp lemon juice

40g dark brown soft sugar

Grease/line the base of an oblong cake tin (15cm x25cm)

Preheat the oven to 170ยบ C

Whisk the sugar, eggs and oil together. Then sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the mixed spice into the bowl, adding in all the bits of bran that stay in the seive. Stir together, then fold in the orange zest, grated carrot and the sultanas/raisins. Spoon into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until it has risen all over and feels firm and springy in the middle.

To make the topping mix all the ingredients well together in a bowl, then cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for an hour or so.

For the syrup just whisk together the fruit juices and sugar so that all the sugar is dissolved.

When you take the cake out of the oven, stab it all over with a skewer (or, in my case, a mini screwdriver from a Christmas cracker) and spoon the syrup over evenly. Leave it to cool in the tin so the syrup soaks in.

When the cake has completely cooled, take it out of the tin, spread the topping over evenly with a palette knife (wavey pattern optional) and lightly dust with more cinnamon.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Very Nutty Energy Bars

Thank you to Fred & George Seedhouse for this brilliant recipe which won the Under 8s category. It is adapted from a Jane Clarke recipe from a Sainsbury's magazine.

175g butter
100g soft brown sugar
50g runny honey
50g malt extract
25g apricot conserve

250g oats
50g pecan nut halves
50g walnut halves
50g pistachios
30g pumpkin seeds
30g sunflower seeds
30g hemp seeds
75g dried apricots
75g dried dates
75g dried figs
50g sultanas
50g dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to gas 5 and line a 26 x 17 cm tin with baking parchment.

Chop the pistachios, walnuts and pecan halves into pieces (try to make them about the same size as the pumpkin and sunflower seeds).
Cut the apricots, dates and figs into chunks about the same size as the cranberries.
Stir the nuts, seeds and chopped fruit together with the oats until well mixed.

Meanwhile, ask an adult to melt the butter with the sugar, honey, apricot conserve and malt extract in a large saucepan, and stir until the sugar disolves. Let the mixture boil for a couple of minutes and keep stirring.

Take the saucepan off the heat, add all the other ingredients and stir well. Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread it out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool completely before cutting into bars.

These keep well for 10 days and are great as an after school snack, or to take on days out or camping trips.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Classic Victoria Sponge

This year's champion sponge cake by Nikki Sims
200g SR flour
25g cornflour
225g unrefined caster sugar
225g very soft salted butter
1 teasp baking powder
1 teasp vanilla extract
4 eggs
3-4 tbsp milk

Put all but milk in food processor and whiz but not too long. Then add bit of milk and pulse a couple of times. Pour into two greased pans and bake at 180C for 25 minutes. That's it

I sandwich first with Tiptree raspberry jam, a punnet of raspberries and then about 250ml double cream whipped with a tiny bit of icing sugar and second sponge. Then sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar over finished cake. Voila!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Black Forest Gateau Tribute Cupcakes

Here is the winning cake recipe from Sally Williams
125g butter
165g caster sugar
2 eggs
190g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tblsp cocoa powder
125ml milk
100g dark chocolate melted
200ml double cream
vanilla icing sugar
dark cherry conserve

Preheat oven to 160c. Cream butter + sugar till light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift over flour, baking powder + cocoa and beat till combined. Fold through milk and stir in melted chocolate. Spoon mixture into cake cases and bake for 25 - 30 mins till well risen and springs back when touched. Cool thoroughly.

Cut a slanted circle around top of cupcakes, 8mm in from edge - the top will pop out. Whip 200ml double cream with a dessertspoon of vanilla icing sugar (vanilla pod kept in jar with sugar) till it holds its shape, but not too firm. spoon a generous teaspoon into one side of the hole. Fill the other half with cherry conserve, replace sponge top and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

And The Winners Are....

Thank you to everyone who joined the Bunfight this year. We had more than 60 fabulous entries and are very pleased to have raised over £200 for Gumboots Community Nursery.
We hope to post as many recipes onto the blog as possible so please do send us yours.
The judges begin their task

Fred and George Seedhouse fought off tough competition in the most popular category of Under 8s with their Very Nutty Energy Bars

For the second year running, champion chutney maker Col Baldwin picks up first prize, this time for his delicious Cottage Chutney

Hannah Jones winner of the Biscuits & Cookies category with her Chocolate & Crystallised Ginger Biscuits

Sally Williams cleaned up in the Cake category with her mini Black Forest Gateaux

Triumphant tart-maker Ralph Sinclair with his scrumptious Peanut Butter & Chocolate Tart

Sweeping the board with her Damson & Star Anise Preserve is a delighted Tamsin Thorne who picked up the top prizes in both the Sweet Preserves and the coveted Best in Show Award

Queen of the Classic Victoria Sponge, Nikki Sims

Top baker in the Over 8s , Anna Dillon and her Banana Bread