Blackberry and Apple Upside-down cake.
Like most people who bake and cook from scratch, I have my favourite recipes - ones I make time and time again and practically know off by heart. The cake I have made more than any other has to be Apple Gingerbread, a recipe from a 1970s collection of recipes from the magazine "Farmers' Weekly", in a book called "Farmhouse Fare". It is a book I use a lot, and I can still remember my delight when I first saw it for sale in a book shop, all those years ago. (I even found a 2nd hand copy for my eldest daughter). Some of the recipes in it are obviously handed down from Victorian times, and still stand the test of time, as they are excellent. In the past week, I made a double baking (as I always do) of Apple Gingerbread - one for guests we had arriving, and one for my daughter and her boyfriend to take with them to a music festival. Oops - that recipe font has turned out huge, ah well . . .
Other favourite cakes are Lemon Drizzle, Banana Applesauce Cake, Chocolate Apple Cake, Chocolate Blackberry Brownies, Eira's Boiled Pineapple Fruit Cake, and Carrot Cake.
Favourite biscuits are Hob Nobs, Leanne's Ginger Biscuits, Cornish Fairings and Double Chocolate Chip (esp. with white chocolate).
This is a chocolate cake I make using my friend Frances' recipe. If it is allowed to get cold (my offspring descend on this like locusts!), it is delightfully fudgy the next day.
A regular main meal is Mince Cobbler - I have to use just mince on its own (not even an onion in sight as I have a fussy husband), but you can add a can of chopped tomatoes, onions, mixed vegetables etc, then topped with cheese scones. It is just the thing for a cold winter's day. Sometimes, we just have the cheese scones without the mince underneath, and in triangles instead of rounds. These "have" to be eaten the same day . . .
I also make Elderflower handcream from the Farmhouse Fare book - just elderflower heads in lard, gently melted down and heated on the lowest possible heat (watch it!) for about an hour, and then strained, a few drops of your favourite essential oil added, and poured into deep dishes to set. It's wonderful for those deep chaps you get in your fingers in cold winters.
Cheese-topped bread is also something I make regularly, and it is scrummy toasted.
Ratatouille is also something I make gallons of (to freeze). I use it as a Pizza topping, a pasta sauce, and a base for soups, stews and also put it in curries. I bought a tray of big peppers for £1 this week, so I made about 5 litres of ratatouille. Sometimes it has aubergine in, but if I don't have an aubergine, then it's made up without. Ditto mushrooms.
APPLE GINGERBREAD WITH CINNAMON ICING
½ lb cooking apples
3oz Demerara sugar
¼ lb golden syrup
3 oz butter
6 oz S-R flour
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
Peel and slice apples, and put in a pan with 1 dessertspoonful sugar and just sufficient water to keep them from burning. Stew gently until tender. Mash up and leave to get cold. Put the golden syrup in a pan with the butter, and the remainder of the sugar; dissolve gently, then leave to cool.
Sift the flour into a basin with the ground ginger and ground cloves. Whisk up the egg, add the dissolved syrup and fat etc and whisk together; then add to the flour. Mix well, stir in the apple pulp and beat all together. Turn into a well-greased oblong tin. Bake in a moderate oven, about ½ hour. When cooked, let stand for a little before turning out of tin. The icing is optional.
6 oz icing sugar
2 – 3 dessertspoonfuls water
1 level teaspoonful ground cinnamon
Rub sugar through a sieve and mix with the ground cinnamon. Then stir in sufficient moderately hot water to make a thick coating consistency. Spread on top of gingerbread and leave to set.