Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Classic British Recipes for the Jubilee

WAHEY, it's Jubilee week next week! While I'm not so sure the sun will stick around and come out to play (does it ever on a bank holiday?), we are ready to do a Hula dance for the extra extra long weekend...thank you, Queenie!

Anyway, to get you in the mood for all things British, I thought I'd whet your appetite with these classic recipes. Forget the tacky memorabilia and, instead, add these to your very own tea party, alongside generous helpings of sausages on sticks, cheese and pineapple and jelly and ice cream.

Sam x

Classic Victoria Sponge

victoria sponge recipe,
This is an old favourite of mine, because what could possibly beat a simple, homely Victoria Sponge? If you want to jazz it up, simply serve with fresh raspberries or a raspberry coulis, but I reckon it's best with a side order of tea...


For the cake-
200g caster sugar
200g softened butter, unsalted
4 eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
For the filling -
100g butter, softened and unsalted
140g icing sugar , sifted
Drop of vanilla extract (optional)
340g jar good-quality strawberry jam
Icing sugar, to decorate


1) Heat the oven to 190C/fan, or 170C for a non-fan oven, then butter and line two 20cm sandwich tins. In a large bowl, beat all of the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter the colour of cream.

2) Divide the mixture between the tins, smoothing the surface as you do so, then bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
3) In the meantime, you can make a start on the filling. First, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar and  the vanilla extract if you're using it. Spread the butter cream over the bottom of one of the sponges, top it with jam and sandwich the second sponge on top. Dust with a little icing sugar before serving.

Old-Fashioned Pink Lemonade

This reminds me of visiting school fayres when I was younger. Sweet and deliciously refreshing, it's making me mouth water just thinking about it....the perfect drink to wash down a mouthful of cake!

2 cups white sugar
9 cups water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 cup cranberry juice, chilled


1) Combine the sugar, water, lemon juice and cranberry juice in a large pitcher, then stir until the sugar has dissolved. Serve over ice and with a slice of lemon.

Lorraine Pascale's Totally Lazy Mini Sausage Rolls

lorraine pascale sausage rolls, recipe,

This is one of my hubby's all-time favourite recipes, and I can guarantee that they will be gone in seconds once I've made a batch. Since you don't make your own pastry (although feel free to knock yourself out if you really want to!), they're easy peasy to bake and taste absolutely delicious.


500g ready-made puff pastry
Plain flour, for dusting
One egg, beaten
8 herby, good-quality sausages, each cut in two
Salt and black pepper
Small handful thyme leaves


1) Preheat the oven to 200C, then roll the pastry onto a floured surface - you should be aiming to make a rectangle of about 48x32cm. Once you've got your rectangle, bash the pastry with the rolling pin a bit so that your rolls don't puff up too much.

2) Cut the pastry in half lengthways, then cut each half into eight equal sections - you should now have 16 rectangles in total. Brush one end of each rectangle with a little of the beaten egg, lay a piece of sausage at the opposite end, then season the sausage with salt and pepper and sprinkle with thyme. 

3) Roll the sausage up in the pastry so that it is sealed up, then repeat with all the sausages. Place tthe sausage rolls in the fridge for 20 minutes for the pastry to harden.

4) Now, remove the sausage rolls from the fridge and score the tops with a sharp knife for decoration. Brush all over with the rest of the beaten egg, then bake for 25–30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before serving.

Mary Berry's Scones

mary berry scone recipe,
I think cream teas are one of the greatest, most delicious indulgences known to mankind. There's just something so decadent and British about them - just thinking about them makes me smile! This recipe is by the Queen of cakes, Mary Berry, and is the one which I love the best. Just add some dried fruit if you'd like a bit more texture, but I prefer to save all that for the jam...

P.S Mary recommends that the secret to a good scone is to not handle them too much before baking, and to ensure that the mixture is on the wet side - who are we to argue?

(Makes 8 to 10 scones)

450g self-raising flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder
75g butter
50g caster sugar
2 large eggs
Approx. 225ml milk
Raspberry jam and clotted cream to serve


1) Preheat the oven to 220°C, then lightly grease two baking-sheets.

2) Place the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then add the butter and rub the mixture together until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then beat the eggs together and add enough milk to make up to 300ml (10fl oz), just ensuring that you leave 2 tbsp of the mix aside for later. 

3) Slowly, add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring it in until you have a soft dough - the wetter and stickier the dough, the better your scones will rise.

4) Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and flatten it to a thickness of 1-2cm. Use a 5cm cutter to stamp out the scones by pushing it straight down, then lifting it straight out.

5) Arrange on the prepared baking-sheets and brush the tops with the reserved beaten egg mixture. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until well risen and golden, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Rachel Allen's Lemon Cupcakes

rachel allen cupcake recipe, lemon cake recipe,
I think that everyone has a weakness for cupcakes, and these delicious lemon ones are among the best I've tried. They're perfectly moist, while the lemon adds a little zest without being too overpowering - ideal for tea parties!

125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
Finely grated zest ½ large lemon
2 eggs, beaten
150gplain flour
¼ tsp baking powder

For the lemon butter icing:
75g butter, softened
125g icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of ½ large lemon
1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


1) Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a 12-hole cake tin with cases.
2) Cream the butter until soft and, well...creamy. Stir in the sugar and grated lemon zest, then beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold. 

3) Dividebetween the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, until risen and golden. Remove the cakes from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool before icing.

4) Once you are ready to make the lemon butter icing, cream the butter in a bowl with hand-held whisk until very soft. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat, then mix in the lemon zest and enough lemon juice to form a spreadable consistency.

5) Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread a heaped teaspoon of lemon butter icing over the top of each one, then decorate as you please!

Mini Toad in the Holes

toad in the hole recipe,
Sausages and Yorkshire pudding - it doesn't get much more British than that, does it?

These mini Toad in the Holes are the perfect canapés, and kids will absolutely love them! Better still, they're easy to make - why not put your feet up and get someone else to make them for you? You've worked hard enough as it is...


2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
85ml milk
1 egg
50g plain flour, sifted
12 mini cocktail sausages


1) Preheat the oven to 180C fan or 200C for a conventional oven. Next, squirt a generous half-teaspoonful of sunflower oil in the bottom of each cup of a deep 12-hole mini muffin pan.

2) Pour the milk into a jug, then add the egg, flour and a pinch of salt and whisk until a smooth batter forms.

3) Place the muffin pan in the oven for a minute, or until the oil is very hot. Then, carefully remove from the oven and quickly fill the cups so that they are just under two-thirds full, remembering that they puff up a lot in the oven! Drop a sausage into each cup and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, well risen and crisp. Serve with ketchup.