I’m often asked how as a mum with a (albeit part time) busy job I find time to bake.
I’ve always baked, right back to the photos I have of me and my Nan making sausage rolls, cakes and biscuits when I was about 4. Every Friday I would go and stay at her house down the road and we would always bake. And natter. And hang our heads when the newest thing we tried didn’t work, and vow to not give up and try again whilst planning the next project. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to bring myself to drive past the house again and every time I do I can literally smell the baking. I’ve always found it quite relaxing and now that my Nan is gone, it’s a way for me to rekindle those memories and feel close to her. Which might sound slightly bonkers…
On instagram (where I’m @teaandbiscuits_x) I have a hashtag for all my baking because otherwise I forget my fail safes. You can find it at #teaandbiscuitshomemade. I thought I’d share some of my favourite easy recipes with you today. None of these involve any real skill except the ability to follow a recipe, they always turn out and are speedy.
German Apple Cake
Little known fact: when I was a teenager I used to volunteer at a local church providing “drop in lunches” whenever I was off school. Elderly or vulnerable people would pop in on a Monday for a reasonably priced 3 course meal and in return for waitressing and washing up, we all used to sit down at the end to eat too. These were some of the yummiest meals I’ve ever tasted. The ladies in the kitchen were complete geniuses and I’m sure thats where my love of soup was born. This was the best pudding they used to make and I’m very grateful that my mum asked them for the recipe. It is warm, comforting and a bit stodgy – perfect for winter!
4oz sugar (I always use soft brown but any sugar will do)
8oz self raising flour
1lb apples (any!)
Raisins, cinnamon and demerara sugar to sprinkle – optional.
In a pan melt the butter and take off the heat. Stir in the sugar and flour and then add the egg. Beat to a stuff ish dough.
Spread 2/3 of the dough mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle the apples and raisins if using on top. Add the rest of the dough in and around the apples. Sprinkle with demerara and cook at 190 degrees Celsius for 50-55 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
Serve with custard or ice cream. Tastes even better the next day if kept in the fridge and reheated 🙂
I have made these a lot recently since the lovely @fordhousenorfolk sent me the recipe on instagram. They’re like anzac biscuits but without the coconut and go down a treat with my kids, so much so that I make a double batch and freeze half. And then take them out of the freezer about 3 days later because the first batch have gone….
The recipe is from Lisa Faulkner’s “Recipes from my mother” but is also freely available here.
125 g (4 oz) butter
125 g (4 oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon boiling water
125 g (4 oz) porridge oats
125 g (4 oz) self-raising flour
Put the butter, sugar, syrup, bicarbonate of soda and water into a large saucepan and melt. Take off the heat, add the oats and flour and stir to combine.
Place teaspoon-sized balls on the prepared baking tray, leaving space between as they spread quite a lot.
Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes until golden (tip: take them out slightly before you think they’re totally done and leave on the tray to cool if you want them to be chewy)
A couple of other recipes I use a lot are:
Self saucing apple pudding (looks impressive, takes slightly longer. Good with creme fraiche for a dinner party!)
Can you tell I like apples?
I still find baking cathartic. I wouldn’t say I’m especially talented at it, but I can follow a recipe and love baking for others. I also like knowing what’s going in the food I give to my children. So although I wouldn’t say my baking is particularly healthy (no chia seeds here!) at least I know it’s not processed.
As always, let me know if you try any of the recipes out, I’d love to hear how you found them.