Tag Archives: dried fruit

Bread Pudding recipe with Suet

I have had a few requests for a wartime recipe for Bread Pudding which uses suet, so here it is.
As it is a wartime recipe, you’ll find it’s a little lighter on the fruit and sugar than my earlier recipe, but there is a war on… somewhere.
This recipe serves 6 apparently

I'm afraid I don't have a photograph of this particular bread pudding, so here is a picture of Princess Margaret for you to enjoy instead


1 x medium bowl
1 x ovenproof dish or a basin for steaming

8oz / 250g stale bread
a little cold water
2oz / 60g grated suet
1oz / 30g sugar
1 tablespoon marmalade
2oz / 60g dried fruit
1 egg
Milk to mix
a little ground cinnamon

Put the bread into the basin and add the water
Leave for 15 minutes then squeeze dry with your hands – discard the liquid
Put the bread back into the bowl and add all the other ingredients
Add milk a little at a time until you achieve a sticky consistency
Grease the dish or bowl
If baking, put the dish into an oven preheated to 140 / 1 / 275
Bake for 1 ½ hours
If steaming, steam for 2 hours
Remove from the oven or steamer and allow to rest and cool for 15 minutes
Serve with custard or cream
If there is a war on, you might consider condensed milk as an alternative


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

Fruity, Nutty Apple Cake

I told you it would be fruity.  You weren’t expecting more stuff about bras and pants were you?  Shame on you.

This delicious cake is very filling and you can use a variety of fruit.  The cake pictured was made with apples, sultanas and raisins, but I have also made it with  a mixture of other dried fruit such as apricots, blueberries, prunes, dates and cranberries.  You could also vary the nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds – be wild and free.

Serve it on its own or with a dollop of cream, crème fraiche or marscapone for a serious teatime treat.  Just remember: it’s full of fruit so it must be health food.


1 x medium bowl
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x 8” / 20cm cake tin – ideally loose bottomed (who isn’t?)
1 x medium saucepan
1 x grater

3oz / 90g mixed dried fruit – chopped if necessary
2oz / 60g butter
5oz / 150g white sugar
2oz / 60g dark brown sugar
1 apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
5oz / 150g plain (all purpose) flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4oz / 120g pecan nuts – chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Grease and flour the cake tin
Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour in some boiling water until the fruit is just covered
Leave it to soak for about 5 minutes then drain off any water
Melt the butter in the saucepan and stir in the white and brown sugar
Cook on a low heat for about a minute, stirring
Remove from the heat
Add the apple, orange rind and vanilla
Beat in the eggs
Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon
Stir in the soaked fruit and nuts
Stir in the apple, orange rind and vanilla and mix everything together well
Put the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes
If the top starts to brown too soon, cover the tin with a bit of tin foil and return to the oven
Leave to cool on a wire rack and serve warm or cold


Filed under Food, Recipes, Slider

Shortbread: If it’s good enough for Camilla Parker-Bowles…


Assorted Shortbread

In which the Wartime Housewife gives two recipes for Shortbread: one plain recipe with variations and one recipe using ground almonds.

Any of you who listen to The Archers will have heard about the appearance of Camilla Parker Bowles (Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles) and the great Shortbread Debacle.  The Archers was accused earlier in the week of advertising Duchy Original Shortbread, but this was cleverly counteracted when Camilla visited Grey Gables and enjoyed their shortbread so much that she requested to meet the diffident chef, Ian.  Marvellous stuff.

Therefore, in honour of The Archers’ storyline, I am giving you not one, but two recipes for shortbread, which you can sample to see which one you like best. 

To ring the changes you can add other nice things to give a bit of variation.  I used 2oz/60g of chocolate drops to one batch and 2oz/60g dried chopped cranberries to another.  You could also use a tablespoon of finely grated orange rind, raisins, or other dried fruit.  Add these at the ‘binding into a thick paste’ stage.

The utensils and method are pretty much the same for both types.


1 x large mixing bowl
1 x greased baking tray OR
1 x 8” / 20cm shallow cake tin
1 x wire cooling rack
1 x rolling pin

8oz / 240g white self raising flour
a pinch of salt
3oz / 90g white granulated sugar
4oz / 120g butter
2floz / 60ml milk

Preheat the oven to  160 / 3 / 325
Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
Stir in the sugar
Add the milk and mix with your hands until it forms a thick paste
Turn out onto the work surface and knead until smooth
Roll out to a thickness of ½”/ 1.25cm
Cut into desirable shapes or press into a cake tin
Bake for 15-20 minutes until just starting to get a bit of colour
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray
When cool place on a wire rack to harden off


4oz / 120g plain flour
1oz / 30g ground almonds OR
1 oz / 30g rice flour
a pinch of salt
3oz / 90g butter
2oz / 60g castor sugar (plus a bit extra for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to  160 / 3 / 325
Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and sugar
Rub in the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
Start to squash the mixture together with your hands until it forms a solid ball of dough
Press the mixture into the cake tin with your fingers, making sure it’s nice and even
Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes
Cut the shortbread into12 and sprinkle with sugar
Leave it in the tin until it has become complete cold and hard


Filed under Food

Flapjacks 2 – Revenge of the Taut Buttocks

I live in The East Midlands which, whilst not as flat as everyone might think, is fantastic cycling and running country as there are long flat bits followed by up-and-downy-bits, with every so often a long, gradual, exhausting climb. 

When indulging in this type of stamina exercise, it’s terribly important to get energy fixes as well as slow-burn carbohydrates.  These flapjacks have it all; the energy you need to do the exercise and the nutrition to back it up.  Don’t attempt to live on these though – you must eat cows, plants and other stuff as well.  Have a look at this other traditional recipe for flapjacks as well.

Being barely two and a half stone over my perfect fighting weight, I frequently drive along these roads at top speed and think ”Blimey, I could do with a flapjack”, so I know what I’m talking about.  Actually, I used to do a lot of fell walking, cycling and caving (bc) so I genuinely do know, I’m just being flippant for cheap, comic effect.


1 x large saucepan
1 x 8×10” baking tin

8oz / 240g butter
4oz / 120g brown sugar
1 tablespoon Golden Syrup or honey
½ tablespoon black treacle
10oz / 300g porridge oats
4oz / 120g raisins
3oz / 990g  dried figs, dates or prunes – chopped
2oz / 60g  dried apricots – chopped
1 handful of mixed seeds
An old butter paper or some marg for greasing the tin

Pre-heat the oven to  150 / 2 / 300
Grease the baking tin with a bit of butter or margarine
Melt the butter in the saucepan on a medium heat
Add the sugar and mix well
Stir in the syrup and treacle
Add all the other ingredients except the seeds and stir well
Put all the mixture into the tin and spread it flat and evenly
Sprinkle the seeds on the top
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown
Remove from the oven and, without removing from the tin, cut into slices
When they are cool and set, remove from the tin
Try not to eat them all at once or you will have to run or cycle many miles to work them off


Filed under Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes

Things to Make and Do at Easter: Part 2 – Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake was originally made by maid servants to take home to their mothers on Mothers’ Day.  It was a test of their cooking as to whether it was moist enough to last until Easter.  Traditionally, there are eleven marzipan balls placed around the top with a conspicuous gap left.  These represent the eleven loyal disciples of Jesus with the gap reminding us of the betrayal by Judas Iscariot.  Symbolic or not, it’s a gorgeous cake to eat at Easter.


1 x 7” round cake tin with deep sides – ideally loose bottomed
greaseproof paper
1 x large mixing bowl
1 x electric mixer
1 x rolling pin
1 x pastry brush
1 x wire rack for cooling

6oz / 180g butter
6oz / 180g white or Demerara sugar
3 eggs
8oz / 240g self raising flour
12 oz / 360g raisins
4oz / 120g sultanas
3oz / 90g currants
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
A little milk
1 ½ lb / 750g marzipan – cut into three equal pieces
Apricot jam
Extra beaten egg for glazing

Pre-heat the oven to 160 / 325 / 3
Grease and line the cake tin with the greaseproof paper
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
Gradually beat in the eggs
Fold in half the flour and fruit and all the salt and spices
Then beat in the remaining flour and fruit and a little milk if it’s very stiff mixture.
Put half the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth it flat
Take 1/3 of the marzipan and, using the cake tin as a template, roll out a circle to fit inside the tin
Place the circle of marzipan on top of the mixture in the tin
Put the remaining cake mixture on the top and make a small indentation in the middle (to keep it flat as it rises)
Put in the oven for about 2 hours or until cooked through
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack
If the cake has risen in the middle, just slice the top off with a sharp knife to make it level
Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam
Roll out the second 1/3 of the marzipan and cut into a circle to exactly fit the top of the cake
Pinch round the edge to make an attractive finish
Form the final 1/3 of the marzipan into eleven balls and arrange around the top of the cake leaving one space
Brush the top of the cake with beaten egg and brown very slightly under a medium grill
Put a nice ribbon around the cake to finish it off.


Filed under Food, Recipes, Seasonal

“A Shop-Bought Mince Pie is a Horrid Surprise!”: So make your own Mincemeat

These are the wise words on my special Christmas mince pie tin that I bring down from the loft with the Christmas decorations and it is absolutely true.  Now is the time to be making it so that it has had time to mature, and mincemeat is tremendously easy to make and is far superior to shop-bought.  It also has a satisfying ‘brag-factor’ when you hand them round to your friends who will immediately worship at your feet.

You will need some sterilized glass jars or some sterilized airtight tupperwares to put the mincemeat in.  A lovely big jar of home made mincemeat with a decorative label and ribbon would also make a very welcome Christmas present.


1 x large mixing bowl
1 x chopping board
Jars as above

4oz / 120g suet
8oz / 240g dark brown sugar
8oz / 240g currants
8oz / 240g raisins
8oz / 240g cooking apple – finely chopped
2 lemons – use the juice and you can add the finely grated rind if you like it
2 oz / 60g almonds – chopped
½ tspn mixed spice
3floz / 90ml brandy

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl
Cover and leave overnight to allow the fruit to absorb the liquid and expand
Put into sterilized jars
Leave for at least a week before using and preferably a month.

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Filed under Christmas, Food, Food Presents, Recipes, Seasonal