These recipes are ones I’ve picked up on the journey of life which have been the most used over the years as have become signature dishes and family favourites.

Due to age ingredients are sometimes in ounces not grams:  30 grams = 1oz.

Sweet Treats
Apple cake
Bread and & Butter Pudding with different fillings
Chocolate Fridge cake
Fruit Crumble
Lemon Meringue Pie
Pear & Cinnamon Pie
Sherry Trifle



Apple Cake

This recipe from a friend and neighbour in 1984

Serves 8  portions:  38p each

Ingredients:  £2.99
2lb eating apples peel, cored and sliced   (£2.00)
5 ozs Cooking Margarine                     (35p)
2 large eggs                                             (16p)
8 ozs of sugar                                          (16p)
1 tsp almond essence                            (10p)
8 ozs of Self Raising flour                    (12p)
1½ tsp baking powder                         (10p)

1.Grease a loose-bottomed 10” cake tin
2.Melt the margarine do not allow to colour.
3.Poor into roomy mixing bowl
4.Add eggs, sugar, essence and beat well
5.Fold in the flour and baking powder
6.Spread just under two third of the mixture into this
7.Prepare the apples as above, arrange them evenly on top of mixture
8.Spread remaining mixture over apples as evenly as possible
9.Don’t worry if it doesn’t quite cover the apple
10.Bake in over 350/180 degrees for about 1½ hours

Serve with cream:   65p

Tip 1: Consider asking at a market or local greengrocers about buying their bruised or damaged apples. In summer people often give their apples away, lessening the cost by £2.00.   Eating apples are best as need no sugar to sweeten them.

Tip 2: When apples, or other fruit, are in season use your takeaway dishes to cook and freeze fruit, e.g. sliced or pulped apples. When frozen put under hot water, release your fruit brick, bag and stack it to take up less room.  A pound of sliced apples sliced with a drop of water can be cooked in a casserole dish to a pulp in 3 mins in a microwave.

Tip 3:  This recipe needs a heated oven for 1½ hours so consider other things that you could cook at the same time, and freeze for another day.  Batch cooking could include: A slow cook joint of meat, a casserole, pastry pockets.


Bread & Butter pudding

In helping to cook for the elderly in 2007 this was a favourite
I particularly liked the Lemon Curd or Orange Marmalade versions

Serves 6 good portions:  15p each

Original Ingredients:        90p
8 slices of bread buttered        (10p)
4 eggs                                           (32p)
1 pint milk                                   (26p)
2 tsp sugar                                  (02p)
½ nutmeg (optional)                (10p)
100 grams sultanas                   (20p)

1. Grease an oblong dish
2. Cut buttered bread into triangles
3. Interleave bread triangles with sultanas
4. Warm do not boil milk:  2 mins in microwave MED power
5. In a bowl beat together the eggs and sugar
6. Add to milk and stir well, pour over bread (sprinkle with nutmeg)
7. Leave to stand for 15 mins before cooking
8 .Cook 20 mins in combination m/w at 180 degrees, simmer power OR
9. Or 30 mins in 180 degree oven until it looks set and browned
10.Best served immediately, but enjoyable at any time.

With alternative fillings:
Substitute sultanas for cheap Orange Marmalade or Lemon Curd. Make generously filled sandwiches with one of those.  Cut into triangles and stand them up in the dish.  If you have a lemon or orange squeeze a little juice over the sandwiches for a tangier effect before pouring on the above mixture.

Tip:  If you find cheap or free lemons you can make your own a delicious curd in minutes with this Australian recipe.  It’s easy and delicious., but not cheap if you have to buy lemons.  Makes about 1½ jars.

1 ½ cups of sugar,                                                (12p)
1 cup of lemon juice (about four lemons)        (49p)
4 eggs,                                                                     (32p)
1 tbs cornflour,                                                       (20p)
125 grams of margarine at room temperature (30p)

Place all ingredients except the margarine in a microwave bowl and mix well. M/w on HIGH stir at 2, 4, and 5 mins. If it hasn’t thickened use MED until it does  Allow to cool, beat in the softened butter.  Bottle in sterilized jars needs to be stored in refrigerator and use within a month as doesn’t contain preservatives. This recipe with generous Lemon Curd filling used nearly my whole half jar.


Chocolate Fridge Cake

This is a family favourite, made by our son in 1986 aged 10.
We still have his handwritten recipe!

The picture above has sprinkles on the chocolate topping, and shows only half the amount these ingredients make in a 12 x 15 inch tray = 48 x 2 inch squares, and 96 bite size pieces with a Smartie in the middle.

Serves approximately 40  ‘2 x 2’ portions:   6p each

Basic Ingredients: £1.87
1 pkt of 400 gram Digestive Biscuits (31p)
1 pkt of 300 gram Rich Tea                 (29p)
6 ozs of margarine                                (42p)
6 ozs golden syrup                                 (20p)
2 tbsp of drinking chocolate                  (5p)
2 packets of cheap milk chocolate     (60p)

Our chosen extra ingredients:  32p
4 ozs of sultanas                                     (12p)
2 ozs  of peanuts finally chopped        (20p)

Add or exchange into the mixture:
4 ozs of chopped marshmellows
Shaved or tiny pieces of chocolate
Peanut butter as part substitute for margarine
2 ozs of finely chopped mixed nuts or dried fruits eg. dates

1. Lightly grease a shallow plastic box/oven roast tray with margarine.
2. Put similar quantities of each biscuit in plastic bag and place on flat surface
3. With a rolling pin or similar, squeeze and crush them to crumbs
4. Using a large heavy saucepan melt margarine and golden syrup
5. Turn off heat add the drinking chocolate, peanuts and sultanas*
6. Gradually add all the biscuit crumbs, try to crush any lumps
7. Its hard to stir everything in, but keep going for an even coating,
8. Turn out into tray, press down with the back of a spoon
9. Make a tightly packed, smooth and even surface
10.Place your tray in the refrigerator, preferably overnight
11.When solid from refrigeration, make your topping.

1. Break up the two chocolate bars into pieces in a heavy saucepan
2. Add several tablespoons of milk before slowly heating
3. Stir continually with wooden spoon. DO NOT OVER HEAT
4. Similarly using a microwave keep checking and stirring
5. Once the majority of chocolate has melted remove from heat
6. Stir until fully melted. Chocolate will set quickly on biscuit base
7. Have a knife in hot water to help spread it over the biscuits
8. Pour half the mixture down the centre of the base
9. Spread quickly, and evenly into the corners
10.Repeat the process for the second half from joining the chocolate seam
11.Two people, one pouring the other spreading makes this easier
12.Decorate as desired.

Quickly press Smarties in rows up and down to be centre of your squares.  This is very rich and moreish, so suggest keep pieces small.

This fridge cake was left in the box it was made in as had to travel a hundred miles. We cut this out of one big square after pouring on the chocolate.  It’s decorated blobs of melted white chocolate as snow and used to hold each Smartie in place.

The following Christmas we cut out the different shapes before adding the chocolate. Each piece was individually coated and decoration quickly applied. This filled two similar containers making appoximately 80 pieces.  We used plastic pastry cutters to make the shapes.  Lidl sold these in a plastic bottle for £1.30 which included sprinkles, silver stars and gold balls.

The  grandchildren enjoyed the variety, and from both of these we enjoyed the off cuts!






Fruit Crumble

An age old recipe, but with a twist that children will love.

Serves 6 portions:  28p each

Basic Crumble Ingredients:  60p
230 grams/8 ozs  Plain Flour     (12p )
180 grams/6 ozs hard margarine chopped into small cubes (42p)
100 grams/4 ozs ozs sugar (6p)
Fresh or tinned fruit
1 tsp of cornflour with water

1.  Put flour and margarine in bow and mix with your hands.
2.  If it looks too sandy add more margarine so when cooked will be crunchy
3.  Add sugar to the mixture
4.  Option: Add a handful of porridge oats, or fine grains at end of museli packet

An inner twist:  £1.10
1. From tin place lay peaches as flat as possible at the bottom of dish. (80p)
2. Heat half the peach liquid, add cornflour mix and water to thicken
3. The liquid will go clear needs to pour over peaches
4. Break a up a packet of chocolate into lumps (30p)
5. Place at regular intervals over the top of the peaches
6. Spread crumble mix on as evenly as possible, slightly deeper at edges.
7. Place this in a hot oven at 180 degrees about 20 mins until top is browned
8. Combination m/wave 180 + SIMMER 10-15 mins.
9. OR Med for 10 mins and put under grill to brown.

Serving Suggestions:
Custard and ice cream are good with crumbles.

Tip 1:  It’s cheaper to use a fruit in season, especially if you can pick it! Street markets often do cheap bowls of fruit, or will sell you cheaply their damaged goods.

Tip 2: Eating apples are good because they don’t need sweetening so no need to add sugar to the fruit,  just to the crumble mix.

Tip 3: Using pulped eating apples not only makes it easier to add the crumble mix on the top, but also helps to sweeten the other fruits.  For the fresh sharp tasting apples or other fruits you will need to add sugar about 100 grams to 500 grams of fruit.

Tip 4:  Buy frozen fruit, put in bowl before its defrosted so you get the juices eg. raspberries, and sprinkle sugar and add a little water before the crumble mix.

Tip 5:  Apple is best sliced or pulped, add sultanas for a change.  Also apple goes well with othr fresh fruits eg blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb.

Cost of sweet:  £2.20  (for peach crumble & ice cream)
Per person:   33p

Lemon Meringue Pie

Many years ago you could buy a mix for this, which I  used for years
until I found just how easy it is to make from scratch

 Serves 6:  19p

Ingredients:   £1.13
1 pkt (400 grams) Digestive biscuits   (31p)
4 ozs margarine  (26p)
2 lemons (juice)  (30p)
2 eggs separated  (16p)
5 ozs sugar           (10p)
2 tsps Cornflour
¼ pt water

1. Lightly grease a 7/8 inch flan dish
2. Put biscuits into a bag, with a rolling pin crush to crumbs
3. Gently melt the margarine in a saucepan
4. Put the crumbs into the margarine stir well
5. Tip mixture into flan dish and line bottom and sides
6. Use the back of a desert spoon to flatten and push against sides
7. Put in fridge while you prepare the lemon mixture.

8. Squeeze out lemon juice, blend in cornflour and water
9. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time until it thickens
10.Stir in 2 ozs of  the sugar
11.Allow to cool slightly as you separate the eggs
12.Beat the yolks by hand and add to the lemon mixture
13.Pour into the biscuit flan case
14.Put back in fridge and prepare the meringue

15. Put the whites of the eggs into a mixing bowl
16. Whisk until thick and standing up in peaks
17. Whisk in half the 3 ozs of sugar,
18. Fold in remaining sugar and cover the lemon base
19.Put in a warm oven 325/160 degres for 20-30 mins
20.The meringue should be crisp and lightly coloured.

Serving Suggestion:
This can be eaten warm or cold
Best cold with ice cream



Summer Pavlova
Christmas Pavlova








On a visit in 1989 to New Zealand Auntie Muriel gave me her recipe.
Picture above is double this recipe. It never fails and always impresses.

Serves 6 portions:   51p

Ingredients:   £2.43
1 tbs cornflour
3 egg whites   (24p)
¾ cup of sugar  (4p)
1 tsp. vinegar
2 tbs boiled water
300 ml double cream   (85p)

Pictured above ‘double’ fruit:  (1.30)  60p
Summer = Fresh in season fruit
Christmas = 3 Satsumas  & Black grapes

1. Put all the ingredients in a mixer bowl
2. Put on full speed for 10 mins
3. Wet greaseproof paper cut wider than your intended meringue
4. If possible, cook on a dish you can serve it from
5. Carefully spoon and spread it out
6. If wished make it into a large nest to hold cream and fruit
7. Place in heated oven 250F/120C for 45 mins
8. Leave in oven until cold.

Serving Suggestion:
1. This recipe is crunchy on the outside and marshmallow on the inside.
2. Fill the centre with whipped cream and add the fruit(s) of your choice
3. It’s difficult to remove the paper as very fragile, leave on if possible.
4. Cut around the edges so paper not seen
5. Disguise this, as seen above, with fruit around the edges
5 .Carefully serve your portions so as not to include the greaseproof paper!

Tip 1:  When ingredients are mixed and ready for cooking, put it in the oven as soon as possible, it begins to deflate if left too long.

Tip 2:  When cooked turn the oven off.  The longer it isays it dries out making the outside more crunchy.  It’s best cooked the day before you need it.  It also keeps well in an air tight container, but use within a day or so.

Tip 3: This is an ideal sweet after using the oven to cook a meal.  Make the meringue mixture 15 minutes before you turn off the oven.  When putting in the temperature mustn’t be above 180 degrees.  With an electric oven turn it off, and leave until the oven is cold.

Tip 3:  If you have taken it off the paper, but it has cracks fill with whipped cream,  and re-join pieces that way.

Tip 4:  If it really falls apart, mix the fruit and cream and drop in bite size pieces of meringue and carefully stir.  Otherwise known as at Eton Mess particularly good with strawberries or raspberries.

Tip 5:  With this recipe you will have 3 egg yolks left over.  These would go in the Pear and Cinnamon Pie below.  Consider cooking that too.  Delicious hot or cold, and can be frozen.

Tip 6:  Whenever you have whites or yolks of eggs left over add two more eggs and make a delicious Frittata which is Recipe 19.


Pear & Cinnamon Pie

In 1971 an office colleague gave me a slice of this pie, it is delicious.
I asked for the recipe, it’s not easy to make, but Lel our friend makes it to perfection.

Serves  6 portions:  28p each

Ingredients:  £1.67

3 fresh pears are best, or use 3 from a tin (80p)
8 0zs S/R Flour  (20p)
2 tsp Cinnamon    (10p)
5oz Butter – chopped small cubes   (35p)
4oz castor Sugar (or granulated)  (6p)
2 egg yolks  (16p)

1. Sieve the flour and cinnamon together on to the work surface
2. Make a space in the centre for the creamed butter and sugar
3. By hand cream these together in a separate bowl before placing in the centre
4. Into the centre add the egg yolks and by hand combine with the butter and sugar
5. Gradually incorporate the flour into the wet mixture.
6. This is best done by hand, but you can use a mixer
7. It will require kneeding on the work surface to get a soft ball of dough
8. Rest the dough in the fridge for at least one hour.
9. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and place in the bottom of a fairly deep tin
10. The dough can be re-rolled as many times as required.
11. If necessary use end bits to patch up any gaps.
12. Place the halved pears narrow ends to the centre of tin and face down
13. Roll out the remaining third and place over the top to cover the pears
14. Make a small hole in the middle approx. 1 inch in diameter.
15. Place in a preheated oven for 30 mins, at 350F/180C

Tip 1:  If you use your hands, it is quite messy so its a good idea to have a knife and warm water prepared and handy.

Tip 2:  Any remaining dough can be rolled into small balls and then flattened to make biscuits. Any piece of leftover pear can be added into each biscuit. These take about 10 mins in the oven and are delicious.

Tip 3:  You can use a casserole dish, but it does seem to cook better in a tin, but don’t worry, especially if you use tinned pears if you have a soggy bottom, it doesn’t spoil it.

Tip 4:  Fresh pears are the best, but if using tinned ones, dry them off with paper towel they need to be as as dry as possible for use.

Serving suggestions: 
If hot with ice cream
Best served cold, with either single or double cream.


Traditional English Trifle

This is a big family favourite from the 1980’s, but still loved by them
and requested by several of our friends when they visit.

Serves 10 portions:  35p each

Ingredients:  3,49p
Cheap madeira cake  (£1.00)
Jam swiss roll without vanilla cream   (65p)
Packet of Strawberry/Raspberry Jelly   (45p)
Small glass of sherry/port or sangria (optional)  (20p)
100 grams of frozen berry fruits   (30p)
1 pt of milk
2 tablespoon of custard powder
50 grams sugar
300 fl oz double cream  (89p)


1.Cut up your swiss jam roll into 12 slices
2.In a large glass bowl place them on their sides around it
3.If using the alcohol gently pour it over each slice to soak in
4.Add a little water to and melt in m/w for one minute or melt in saucepan
5.Pour in water to make up to just under a pint of liquid
6.Cut up half your madeira cake into cubes and drop into liquid
7.Stir well and crush the cake so you have no lumps
8.Stir in your frozen fruit
9.Pour into the centre of your bowl and put in fridge
10.This won’t cover the swiss roll, but the custard will

11.For the custard, mix custard powder with a little milk
12.Keep stirring in more milk and then heat slowly
13.Stir all the time and the custard will begin to thicken
14.Beat it so it doesn’t go lumpy.
15.M/wave like a cornflour sauce, stirring in 2 mins
16.Leave to go cold, and then pour on top of cake mixture
17. Spread and smooth it across the trifle to the edges

18. Finally beat the double cream until it light, and just stand in peaks
19. Transfer to trifle, carefully spread then swirl cream and add grapes