January 2018

Update to Dark Treacle

Posted on January 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm in

Over on this post I take you through how to make Dark Treacle. I recently managed to source some Lyons Dark Treacle at a reasonable price, so I was able to do a side-by-side taste comparison.

If you’d like to make a Dark Treacle that tastes almost exactly like Lyons, there is one simple substitution. First, you need to make some:


  • 3.5 cups white granulated sugar
  • about 2/3 to 3/4 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • Weigh the ingredients to come to 1kg / 2.2lb.

    Put the granulated sugar in a bowl. Pour the molasses over the top and stir together with a fork.

    Continue with the dark treacle making as on the other post, except you need to measure out dark brown sugar instead of white sugar as ingredient 3. You will finish up with a dark treacle that tastes almost exactly like the original.


    Does your recipe help or hinder?

    Posted on January 23, 2018 at 11:42 am in

    I have been having a lot of fun deep diving into the history of pudding and making the recipes, but there is a group of recipes that are quite annoying. Pudding is supposed to meet 3 criteria:

  • easy
  • quick
  • cheap
  • I have lost track of how many contemporary recipes have ingredients such as “organic free range eggs”, “organic raw milk”, “lard rendered from a heritage breed pig”, “reduced fat yoghurt”. I have seen this crime committed by “celebrity chefs” as well as everyday food bloggers. There is no excuse for this.

    If you are composing a recipe and it is full of such ingredients: STOP. Go back. Look at what you have written, then re-write it to list “eggs”, “milk”, “lard”, “yoghurt”.

    Write the recipe without any fancy language or fancy ingredients and trust your readers to make the recipe with what they have in their home. Surely this is the whole point of home cooking?

    A recipe is there to help someone break away from fast food and convenience food. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, stop making it harder for people.

    Daniel at Casual Kitchen coined a nice phrase for this: “ingredient bragging“, and he expands nicely on my rant here.


    Rice pudding

    Posted on January 23, 2018 at 10:16 am in

    Continuing the pudding theme, here is one of the old favourites which a lot of people don’t realise is their favourite until it’s put in front of them. The best part of this recipe is that it uses ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry…

    Make this recipe, and enjoy a rice pudding hug 🙂

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) uncooked white long-grain rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white sugar (or golden syrup)
  • 1 1/3 cups (315ml) milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons dried fruit (I prefer raisins, but use what you prefer)
  • Place rice, salt, and water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; sprinkle with sugar and pour in milk. Stir with a whisk until until the thin layer of cooked-on starch at the bottom of the pan is cleared and incorporated into the mixture, 2 or 3 minutes.

    Place pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches your desired of level of doneness and creaminess, 8 to 10 minutes. The longer it cooks, the thicker and stickier it will be. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Very quickly whisk in the egg yolk (to prevent it from cooking; you could also temper the yolk with some of the hot rice before you add it to the pot). Whisk for about 1 more minute. Add butter and dried fruit; stir thoroughly.

    Transfer warm pudding to serving dishes. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 3 to 4 hours.

    And let’s be honest here…. you’re going to make a double batch, aren’t you? Because who doesn’t want a large batch of rice pudding!


    Victoria Sponge Cake

    Posted on January 13, 2018 at 11:03 am in

    Victoria Sponge Cake, or Victoria Sandwich Cake, is a deceptively simple recipe. Only 4 ingredients. But as you know, the simpler a recipe, the more any flaws show, so the secret to a good Victoria Sponge is to practice, practice, and practice again, which gives you a good excuse to use up all the jam you have been making, doesn’t it 🙂

    Preheat oven to 350f / 180c.

  • 4oz (114g) butter
  • 4oz (114g) caster sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 4oz (114g) self raising flour, sifted
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cream the butter and sugar. Whisk the eggs and slowly add them to the butter mix. Fold in the flour. Place in a greased, floured baking tin – this amount makes a nice 6 or 7 inch cake.

    Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cake should be a light brown colour.

    Allow cake to fully cool to room temperature, split in half, then fill with your preferred filling. We like home made jam and clotted cream, but feel free to improvise as you see fit.

    Dust cake with caster (powdered) sugar just before serving with a nice hot cup of tea.

    Well… OK. Size isn’t everything, you know!

    You can double or treble the ingredients, but I would suggest making two 6 or 7 inch cakes rather than one large cake. This is a delicate cake that can dry out quite easily, so on your own head be it!

    For a double batch in a 9 inch pan, preheat oven to 325f / 160c. Bake double batch for 20 to 25 minutes, using same check.