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Washington Apple Cake

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 10th June 2019

For Father’s Day this year I decided to dig into the history of the occasion a little to get some inspiration for what to make. A celebration of Fatherhood has been around since the middle ages, but the current incarnation of Father’s Day is probably a result of the work of Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father was a single parent of six and civil war veteran. In 1910, Dodd heard a sermon about Mother’s Day at her church in Spokane, Washington State and decided that Fathers should have a day too. Originally, she wanted the day to be on her Dad’s birthday (5th June) but the pastor did not have enough time to prepare a sermon and postponed it until the third Sunday in June, which is when we now celebrate it. After the first edition of the day Dodd’s life rather got in the way of promoting the event and it was not until the 1930 that it really started to take off as she returned to her hometown and got the help of trade groups who wanted to market presents as part of the event. A Father’s Day Council was formed in 1930 but it was not until 1972 that President Nixon signed the day into law. In honor of the modern-founder of the day, I thought I would look for traditional home-bake cakes from Washington State. I came across this Apple cake, which is made using an American muffin-like recipe but is British feeling in taste!

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Tahini Galette

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 20th May 2019

Another Bank Holiday! There are so many at this time of year and the wonderful thing about that is that you don’t feel you have to use them to ‘get things done’. Instead you can slow down, have friends around and relax. This recipe brings a slightly Mediterranean vibe to a very informal pastry tart. It’s perfect for at the dinner table or in the garden or cold in a picnic.

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Meringue Nests and Easter Bunnies

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 15th April 2019

It’s Easter time and that means the days are getting warmer (sometimes) and there is a flurry of bank holidays. Those extra days allow for a little bit of frivolous messing around in the kitchen, whilst the sniff of summer turns our tastebuds to lighter, more delicate sweet treats and away from the warming custard-fuelled stodge of the winter months.

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Mothering Sunday

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 28th March 2019

With mothering sunday around the corner I was wondering about what the best thing was to make. Should it be something decadent that I’d want to eat myself or give to my mother, or should it be something tasty but easy that my husband could help my son make for me? I mean, it seems wrong to be ‘slaving away at the stove’ for my own mothering sunday bake, but then I love baking so actually having the time to make something is a treat.

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Christmas Shortbread Sharing Tree

Posted by Gill Bland Friday, 7th December 2018

At Christmas you may have people popping round unannounced and needing sugary sustenance, you may have the whole family over for extended periods and wanting to graze on sweet treats, or you may just be fed up of dried fruit and wanting something different. This stack of festive shortbread is great for sharing but also keeps incredibly well and looks good in the meantime if you don’t get around to using it straight away.

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S’Mores (aka Chocolate & Marshmallow) Pie

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 30th October 2018

This pie is a friend-making pie. It is ideal for the darkened setting of a bonfire night party where you can not worry about politeness and shovel it in with a spoon or your fingers, giving you a sugary hit to keep you warm through the festivities. It is gooey and chocolatey and you will end up with laughing at each other’s choolcatey moustaches and the stringy bits of marshmallow getting stuck in your hair. It’s also VERY dietary-requirement friendly as it is almost accidentally vegan, dairy and gluten free.

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Slow Roast Curry Pork with Turmeric Roasties

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 22nd October 2018

It’s national Curry Week from 22-28th October and so it is that I bring you an entirely un-authentic but utterly warming and tasty cry version of a roast dinner. Curry AND roast dinner, eh? Who said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it? Throw your favourite spices at this recipe and treat it a bit like pulled pork. Serve with turmeric roasties (below) or salad, wraps, pickle and  yoghurt or dhal (eg. like this).

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Sort-of Moroccan Sort-of Leftovers Pie

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 26th July 2018

When we planned that I would blog a freeze-ahead recipe to highlight the new Rangemaster freezer range, it was the middle of winter and we were having more snow that I’ve seen in a while. It seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to be considering hearty freeze-ahead casseroles, lasagnes, pies etc. 

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Father’s Day Beef Wellington

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 12th June 2018

A quick web search for Father’s Day recipes brings up a barrage of meat and beer based recipes, most of which are BBQ or beef based. I had great ideas that I was going to do something more unusual to celebrate the day - like spaghetti pie (it exists) or something lighter even, but I thought I should ask the new-dad in our household what his stomach would most desire on Father’s Day. Barely a beat was missed before the reply came back ‘that beef in pastry thing you made once ages ago’. So, the cow-based, pastry laden product won out and you know what? I’m glad. I’m not sure why it’s been so long since I made this. It’s so easy and yet it looks quite impressive. I might just repeat it next week when we have some other Dad’s (and their families) over for tea.

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Easy Batch Bake Tray Cake

Posted by Gill Bland Wednesday, 11th April 2018

There’s clearly something about March. It’s the time when I feel the need to churn out huge batches of sweet treats, making the most of the side oven on my Rangemaster Elan 90 in the process. Last year I shared my fail-safe freeze-ahead cookie recipe and this year I’m bringing you the easiest cake recipe recipe I know. It’s  an all in one recipe for minimal faff, it’s customisable and  it can be baked in roasting tins or shallow trays to make as many as you like. Perfect for cake sales or just for making enough for now and enough to freeze for, you know, emergencies.

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