Apple and almond traybake

It’s hip to be square. Some great things in life are square – vinyl record covers, the IKEA Kallax system, floppy disks, the Monopoly board, and of course brownies.


When you want to be sure of portions, a square traybake works a lot better than a circular cake. I make a lot of traybakes in my 8 inch square brownie tin, especially for toddler group and bible studies at church. First off today is this apple and almond cake adapted from a Mary Berry recipe. Continue reading “Apple and almond traybake”

Standard Brownie Recipe

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Collison


150g soft brown sugar
225g caster sugar
225g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate, broken into squares
3 eggs
115g plain flour
75g cocoa powder

8in square brownie tin


  1. Preheat the oven to 200/180 fan.
  2. In a large pan, melt the brown sugar, caster sugar and butter together. Then stir in the chocolate and leave to cool down until cool enough to touch. (Meanwhile, weigh out the remaining ingredients and line the 8in square brownie tin with paper – I’m all about optimising time!).
  3. Once the mixture has cooled enough, crack in the 3 eggs and stir. Then fold in the flour and cocoa until just mixed.
  4. Scrape the brownie mixture into the lined tin. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top is beginning to crack.
  5. Cool in the tin, and then chill overnight in the fridge before cutting into squares. (This chill in the fridge helps make them really gooey)

Peanut butter cookies

I heard that nobody can actually multitask. I’ve always said though, that what I do is really optimisation for task allocation. So I never wait for the kettle to boil; I always try to put on a load of washing while waiting. I’ve just put my porridge in the microwave; I’ve got time to paint my nails. While the bath is running, I could just start writing a novel etc. Of course, I often misjudge the time for each task and the kettle is boiled and reboiled, while the bath over runs and the novel doesn’t get written.  Softening butter in the microwave is a task which really does require your full attention. If you come to a recipe that needs softened butter and you need to make it now because, well, you’re hungry, never fear. Weigh out the cold butter into the bowl in small pieces and then microwave for 5 seconds at a time (NO MORE!), checking each time, until it’s soft enough to use.
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Gooey chocolate fridge cake

I really need a new kitchen. The cupboard doors are falling off, the worktops slope down so that water runs into the corner and pools there behind the tea and coffee canisters. The tiles are so retro, they’re almost fashionable again. But mostly, I need a new kitchen so that I can take instaworthy pictures of my baking. For now, you’ll have to do with pictures taken in the fridge/on top of a biscuit tin/disguised with tea towels. But trust me, this fridge cake tastes better than the photos can do justice!
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Coq au vin

Some things in miniature can be very cute – children, dungarees, canapes. Others can be extremely frustrating – children, cakes, onions. Yes, mini onions, or shallots as they’re often known, are one of my pet hates to prepare. If you need to keep them whole, and you want, say, 12 like I did for this recipe, you’ll need to add an extra 15 minutes to your prep time. But this tip might just save some time. I did a very scientific, controlled experiment with a sample size of 1, and I’m pleased to say it more or less works!

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Afternoon tea cake

There’s something so delightfully British about a Sunday high tea. Imagine the scene: you’ve had a huge dinner at Grandma’s house, with roast lamb and overcooked vegetables. Then you’ve had a bit of a snooze, followed by a lazy game of cricket in the garden. Before you know it, half-past 4 has rolled around, and it’s time to tuck into the spread of sweet food laid out for Sunday Tea. Scones, bread and butter, teacakes, crumpets, muffins, and a slice of light fruit cake! Nobody does excess better!

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