Grandma’s Fish Pie

This recipe takes a bit of coordination but it’s very easy. Prepare all the elements and then put it all together. The sink may fill with dishes in the process but the saving grace is that once the pie is constructed you can wash all the pans and there will be little to do after dinner!
[Please send me your tips, memories and heritage recipes too.]FishPiePrep01 FishPiePrep04FishPiePrep05

INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6) – (I’ve included some variations at the bottom of the page.)

  • SEAFOOD (all skinless, choose what’s best value at the monger, chop each into cubes)
    1 salmon or ocean trout fillet
    1 fillet of smoked cod or haddock
    3 medium fillets firm white fish (I’ve used Basa)
    Can also include a handful of peeled prawns, scallops, calamari
    1 onion, chopped
    2 eggs, boiled
    fresh corn, cut off the cob
    frozen peas
    Can also use celery, leek, runner beans (I like veggies that add a bit of crunch)
    40g butter
    1/3 cup plain flour
    500ml milk, with some extra if needed
    salt & pepper to taste
    5 medium potatoes, washed, chopped into quarters & boiled
    knob of butter
    dash of milk
    salt & pepper to taste
  1. Put the potatoes and eggs on to boil, in separate pans, until cooked. Drain. Peel eggs, cut into quarters lengthways and put aside.
  2. In a large skillet or frying pan, saute onion in a splash of olive oil. When silky, mix in the chopped seafood,and cook for only a minute.
  3. Prepare your veggies – cut corn off cob, wash and chop celery, douse frozen peas with hot water in a bowl & drain – put all aside.
  4. Turn on your oven to 180 degrees.
  5. Make your white sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan, add flour and stir to combine, allowing to cook a little. Add milk or stock little by little, stirring all the time with a small whisk to knock out any bumps and until the sauce is smooth (it will keep thickening until it starts to bubble). Add salt & pepper to taste. Let sauce bubble for about a minute and then take off heat. The sauce should thickly coat the back of a spoon but be pourable.
  6. Either mash potatoes in the pan with butter, milk, parsley, salt & pepper OR whizz til chunky or smooth mash (your preference) in your food processor.
  7. Now you are ready to assemble the pie!
    Mix the veggies and sauce into the seafood mix and then pour into a baking dish (I’ve used a 11×8 inch oblong Ikea dish), place in your egg quarters and then spread the mashed potato on top. Either fork or use your spatula to create wavelets across the potato surface – these will catch heat and brown nicely in the oven.
  8. Place in oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes. (if the top hasn’t browned – pop it under a hot grill just for a minute.)
  9. Serve with a crispy green salad or your favourite steamed green veggies.

LOWER CALORIES: use no fat or low fat milk, a butter substitute such as Nuttelex or sunflower oil or don’t use any sauce at all! Use stock instead of milk in sauce (it won’t be as white but it’s ok for the lactose intolerant.)
SAUCE: add in a tsp of curry powder or dijon mustard for added flavour.
SEAFOOD: use a marinara mix, but if its frozen make sure your sauce is thick, as water from the fish will dilute it somewhat when cooking and you’ll end up with soggy pie. Same goes if you are using any frozen fish and veg straight into the mix.
TOPPING: Use puff pastry instead.
INDIVIDUAL ONES: make small ones in ramekins or little pie dishes. Kids love these and they’re also handy to put in the freezer for when you are home alone or stuck for a kids dinner when you are leaving to go out.

Healthy! Courgette Lasagne

Healthy! Courgette Lasagne

Here’s a healthy lasagne for those of us who are avoiding carbs, can’t tolerate wheat or just don’t like pasta for that matter. Ribbons of courgette (zucchini) replace the pasta and to make it even healthier we’ve used a low fat ricotta for the creamy part, instead of rich bechamel sauce. Today we used low fat mince because the boys were after some ‘meaty protein’, but we have also used mushrooms in the past instead (a large punnet of field mushrooms, finely sliced) – so it’s a perfect meal if you want to go veggie.

(No prizes for photography here! The boys were so hungry that I forgot to take the photos apart from this one ‘progress shot’, just before it went in the oven.) Credit goes to Zoe who made this for the family in the winter hols (July in Oz) – I feel that, no doubt, Grandma (Pamela) would have approved. It’s perfect when you crave a filling, comforting meal but don’t want all those really fattening components. Let us know if you try it and how you adapted the recipe to your tastes! zucchini lasagne

  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees (C).
  2. Take 3 medium courgettes (approx 6-8 inches long) and slice them into ribbons lengthways. Steam lightly till just going soft (not crunchy and not very soft!). Set aside.
  3. Saute one finely sliced onion for a few minutes in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then add about 500g lean mince. Brown for approx 5 mins stirring.
  4. Add in 3 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tsp dry thyme, 1 tsp dry tarragon and 1tsp dry basil (better to use fresh, if you have it) – stir and continue to cook together for a further 5 mins.
  5. Add to the meat mixture (or mushrooms if using instead of meat), a grated carrot, a handful of chopped mushrooms, a couple of chopped celery stalks (you can pad out the meat or mushroom mixture with whichever veg you prefer and how much)  and a tin of crushed tomatoes (also add 1 tbsp of tomato puree if you like a very tomatoey flavour), stir and cook together for a further 5 mins.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk one egg with a tub of low fat ricotta (use low fat cottage cheese if you don’t have ricotta) and a cup of low fat grated mozzarella (for stronger flavour use grated cheddar or parmesan). Add seasoning (S&P) to taste.
  7. Find a suitable baking dish (approx 30 x 15cm or 12 x 6 inch rectangle) and layer the ingredients: meat mix, courgette, cheese mix, meat, courgette, cheese, courgette.
  8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Take out and sprinkle a cup of grated cheese (low fat mozzarella, parmesan or what ever cheddar you have knocking about) and brown in oven for approx 10 minutes.
  9. Et voila! ready to serve. (watch out – the courgette ribbons can be very hot!)


  • courgette x 3
  • mince or mushrooms (500g)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • carrot, celery, sweet potato, pumpkin, kale (whichever veggies you prefer to add to the ‘meaty’ layer)
  • 1 medium tin of tomatoes
  • small tub tomato puree
  • thyme, oregano, basil (you can use dry, but fresh is always better)
  • low fat ricotta or cottage cheese (350g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups grated low fat mozzarella (replace with low fat cheddar or parmesan for a stronger flavour)
  • salt & pepper (ground)


If you use aubergine (egg plant) instead of courgette (zucchini), you would have a moussaka like dish. Also if you don’t like the low fat version, go for the real béchamel sauce and full fat cheese!

That trifle thing!

That trifle thing!

In our household Zoe is the arch dessert maker. She takes after her grandmother (Pamela) and is an intuitive ‘throw it in’ type of cook. Last Christmas Zoe made Nigella’s Italian Christmas Pudding/Cake and it really was galumptious but this Christmas Zoe decided to go free-style with a trifle thing, taking inspiration from Nigella’s gallous ideas and Grandma’s diversions with tiramisu. Because of this – there is no real recipe and what I am about to write is an estimate only. All I can say is – experiment for yourselves and adjust the levels according to your own tastes and your tolerance for rich ingredients. Whatever it looks like it’s bound to be delicious because you cannot combine cream, cake, fruit, alcohol and nuts and it not be truly indulgently yummy! [The leftovers are really great for late night snack and even breakfast!]

Here goes…

Stage One – preparing the main components

  1. Select a beautiful glass bowl – so you can see the beautiful layers.
  2. Carve a large Panettone into about 1.5-2cm slices.
  3. Whisk two eggs with about a tablespoon of caster sugar until frothy.
  4. Whip together cream (approx 300ml) and marscapone (approx 300g tub) and add a dash of either Marsala or Tuaca (if you have a really sweet tooth add a dessert spoon of caster sugar).
  5. Fold together the creamy and eggy mixtures.
  6. Prepare fresh fruit – Zoe used a mixture of chopped fresh mango, nectarine, and passion fruit pulp and assorted berries
  7. Toast some pistachios and or slivered almonds – then crush/chop them a little.
  8. Knock out seeds from one pomegranate.
  9. Mix together a mug of cold black instant coffee with a good dowsing of Marsala and pour into a shallow bowl.

Stage Two – compilation

  1. Dip the panettone slices in the coffee mixture and place in bottom of bowl to make a single layer
  2. Spoon in the fruit salad (about a third) – at this point you could also sprinkle over a few nuts and maybe even some dark chocolate drops.
  3. Spoon in a layer of the cream mixture (about a third)
  4. Repeat the previous three steps twice.
  5. For the topping – sprinkle the nuts and pomegranate seeds over the cream.
  6. Place in the fridge til ready to devour. (Make sure to have a small main course if you want to have room for this!)

Enjoy! Then plan your fitness regime to start very soon.DSC_1034

In loving memory of Pamela and Ross

Longwood logo-02Sadly my Dad, Ross, recently passed away, so I am now dedicating this blog to both my parents. They were an incredible team.

Mum’s wholesome home-cooking was the complement to Dad’s perspicacious dining table discussions.

Dad also assisted in the bakery – rising at the crack of dawn to knead dough before putting on his suit to go to work in Edinburgh as Director of SCVO.

Healthy Chocolate Cake

Here are two different and super easy versions – one gluten free and the other gluten AND nut free – of my son’s favourite cake.
Pamela delighted in treating him to these, as well as ‘wibbs’ (aka barbecue spare ribs, soon to be posted).

1. FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE (based on Donna Hay’s)

200g dark chocolate
140g butter
5 separated eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar (4oz / 125g)
1 1/2 cups ground almonds (12oz)
icing sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 160 degrees. Grease a cake tin and line base with greaseproof paper. (I use a 9 inch or 23cm diameter round.)
In a large mixing bowl, melt chocolate and butter together, either in a bowl above hot water or (I do it) in the microwave bit by bit (see note below.) Cool slightly.
Stir in the egg yolks, sugar and almonds to the chocolate mix; and put aside.
Beat egg whites until stiff and glossy.
Gently fold egg whites into the mixture.
Spoon into tin and bake for approximately 45 mins or until cooked through (see note below).
Cool and turn out onto your favourite cake plate or stand and dust with icing sugar. A few berries on top would be nice too.


  1. If melting chocolate and butter in microwave do it a little by little, taking care not to burn; e.g. 30 secs, stir with a small whisk, 30 secs, stir, until smooth.
  2. Pierce cake with  a wooden skewer to test if cake is ready. If it comes out clean, it is; if not cook for a little longer.
  3. The cooking time is based on my fan-forced oven. Other ovens may take a bit longer or in the top oven of an Aga the cake may be cooked after 40 minutes.
  4. This tastes best the day after baking.
  5. If having difficulties understanding Australian measurements – check here:

2. HEALTHIEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER (based on Teresa Cutter’s)

200g dark chocolate, melted
60ml melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut flour (2 oz / 60g)
1 and 1/2  teaspoon gluten free baking powder
A grind or two of sea salt
4 eggs whisked
3 tablespoons organic honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 160 degrees. Grease a cake tin and line base with greaseproof paper. (I use a 9 inch or 23cm diameter round.)
In a large mixing bowl, melt chocolate, butter and honey together, either in a bowl above hot water or (I do it) in the microwave bit by bit (note above.) Cool slightly.
Stir in the dry ingredients: coconut flour, baking powder and a grind of sea salt, until well combined.
Whisk the eggs and vanilla and stir into the rest of the mixture.
Spoon into cake tin and cook for around 40 minutes.
Cool and turn out onto your favourite cake plate or stand.  Serve with natural yoghurt, shaved dark chocolate and fresh berries. (A swirl of lavender syrup is super addition too.)


  1. This recipe is super quick  – if you want, just fling all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together with a hand whisk.
  2. This cake will rise well but not enormously, for a lighter cake, reduce baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon and separate your eggs as per recipe no.1. (stir in the yolks, whisk the whites and fold them into the mixture.)
  3. If you can’t find coconut flour and you don’t have to be nut-free, use 1 1/2 cups of almond or hazelnut meal instead.
  4. This cake is not super sweet, if you prefer sweeter then I suggest using maple syrup instead of honey and dust with icing sugar.
  5. If baking this recipe as cup cakes, only bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy! ..and don’t forget to tell me how it works out for you. I’ll add some photos soon.

My, oh, my! Sugar high!

Thank you, Moi, for handing me the recipe card that you found recently (see pic). In Mum’s hand, is the recipe for Caramel Sauce. This one, though, is not to be confused with the Linda Landers Caramel Sauce recipe. The former could be termed the ‘lite’ version but as both contain vast proportions of sugar, it really doesn’t matter! Having just tasted a wee swirl atop my ‘lite’ frozen yoghurt, I am definitely soaring in the heady stratosphere of a sugar high. I have very fond memories of scraping the last remnants of melted ice-cream and caramel sauce from my dessert bowl at Sunday lunch (no rude comments, please, about where that led me!).

CaramelRecipeCardCaramel Sauce (lite version!)
Good on ice-cream and keeps soft form in a jar to use as a cake filling or a spread. (Also good for surreptitious larder snacks – eaten by the teaspoon from the jar!). This recipe (thankfully) only makes a small amount (approx. 120g).

Boil 1 cup of light brown sugar with 2 tablespoons milk and 1tablespoon butter for 4 minutes.
Take off fire, add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and a good squeeze of lemon.
Beat until thick.

Linda LandersLinda Landers’ Caramel Sauce
Truly divine and decadent on vanilla ice-cream. Forms an increasingly gooey thick toffee coating atop the cold ice-cream, and can become hard, depending on your cooking technique.

Bring slowly to the boil: 2 cups packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons golden syrup, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup whipping or double cream.
Boil for 5 minutes. When off the stove beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence.

Caramel04 Caramel05 Caramel09


Rhubarb crumble, scones and banana oat bites (bobs)

Hi! It’s been another long pause between drinks (or posting). Please be assured, I hadn’t gone troppo; just life took the rev out of my extra-curricular activities. So let’s crack along before I’m distracted again.

Good Housekeeping 1960

Wonderful colour of GH in 1960. A treasure trove of daily recipes.

There has been talk of the family’s appalling scone making record; no-one seems to be able to emulate Mum’s ‘quick as a flash’ scone making prowess. It may be that ‘speed’ is the critical element. So – this may help: I came across a 1960 Good Housekeeping pamphlet in the rabbit warren of Pamela’s hand-built cookbook.  Please let me know if the recipe below works for you, as I haven’t had another go recently.

I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment and so the white sugar and white flour packets have been banished from the pantry. This also means that many of Mum’s recipes for puddings, pies and cakes are out of the question at the moment. HOWEVER – you can substitute with wholemeal, organic ingredients – she’d always support that.

Crumble was a big favourite round our family table; mainly due to an abundance of seasonal fruit from the garden and also it was quick. It’s a healthy dessert, as long as you don’t load up with too much brown sugar, and simply delicious as the crunch of the crumble meets the soft tart fruit and the silky touch of a dollop of fresh organic cream or ice-cream. Yum!

In her own hand - notice fromage frais (not easy to find in Oz but easier in UK)

In her own hand – notice fromage frais (not easy to find in Oz but easier in UK)

Mum’s recipe adds a bit of zest to your usual crumble, making it seem like you’ve created something deluxe without the effort. If you don’t grow your own fruit, I suggest a visit to your local farmers’ market to pick up whatever is in glut – the traders may have reject fruit that you can pick up for a song too – no harm in asking.

My last mini-ultra-quick-and-healthy recipe today is the Banana Oat Bites (aka Bobs) – these pop in the mouth lifesavers have diverted me from far worse indulgences and stopped a gap in a late afternoon hunger emergency. Ticking all the boxes, these little babies (sorry for the Jamie Oliverism) couldn’t be faster, particularly if you are a hoarder of black bananas in the freezer, as I am.


Banana oat cookies

Quick, easy, healthy, sweet treats

Heat oven to 180C (approx 350F). Whizz 2 cups of porridge oats in your food processor, til they resemble a rough flour. Squeeze in 3 large bananas and whizz again. Grease a baking sheet or layer with baking paper. Dollop teaspoons of the mixture onto the tray and bake in oven for 15 mins. It should make approx. 24 bites – each bite being about 50 calories.

Additions: Today I’ve added a teaspoon of vanilla essence, a small handful of dark chocolate bits and a tablespoon of shredded coconut. You could add sultanas, other dried fruit like cranberries, peanut butter, nuts – whatever you fancy, but of course they’ll up the calories a wee bit.

The instructions are a bit slim but here goes:
Heat oven to 180C (approx 350F).
Chop about 4-6 big sticks of rhubarb and put in a saucepan. Grate in a thumb of ginger and add the zest and juice of an orange and a lemon. Simmer lightly til the rhubarb just begins to soften. Don’t boil it or you’ll have mush.

Spread out into a pudding/baking dish or into ramekins ( I like to do small individual ones, as they look good to serve up at a dinner party and keeping a few extra in the fridge are great for the kids’ after school tea.)
For the crumble: whizz together in a food processor 1 cup of wholemeal plain flour (white may taste better but this is healthier!) with 1 cup of your favourite muesli (failing that a cup of porridge oats are good), a tablespoon of ground or slivered almonds and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then add in 1 cup of fair trade dark brown sugar and chopped up cubes of 6oz organic unsalted butter. Whizz until mixture looks like hefty breadcrumbs. Spread across your fruit and bake in oven for 15-20 mins.

PLAIN OVEN SCONES (Good Housekeeping Breads and Buns, 1960)
Heat oven to 230C (approx 450F).
8oz flour (try half white, half wholemeal), 
½ tsp salt, 1½ oz butter, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tsp bicarb of soda, ¼ pint of milk + egg or milk to glaze. (If using baking powder instead of tartar and soda, use 2½tsp).
Sieve all dry ingredients and rub in the butter. Add all the milk at once – mix lightly and quickly (Mum used a knife) to a spongy dough and then knead slightly. Roll out to ¾ inch thick, cut out, brush with egg or milk and bake in a hot oven for about 10 mins til well risen and golden.

To make these sweeter, you can add a tablespoon of sugar and/or a large handful of dry fruit, e.g. sultanas, currants. I also like to make herby ones, by throwing in a large handful of parsley, chives and maybe basil or coriander. Grated cheddar cheese or small cubes of feta with a sprinkle of dry chilli flakes are good too!

Good luck everyone – please comment, post or email me with how your scones, crumble or bobs turned out!

Pamela’s Plum Pudding

Christmas is usually a big affair at the Flockhart and extended family household. Much is made of tradition throughout the day and also for the Christmas Dinner. Auntie Ida used to come out to Longwood about 4-6 weeks before Christmas to help make the puddings and pies. We all had to have a stir of the pudding mixture for good luck and wrap money and charms to put inside it. Here’s the recipe that we all love so much, and hope you do too!

CHRISTMAS PUDDING (Pamela Flockhart)
Enough for 9-10 x 1pint/half kilo puddings, two medium sized puddings or a big one! I didn’t realise until I tried this myself that it makes a lot of pudding! If you want to just make one for your family of 4-6 I suggest you use only a third of the recipe amounts 🙂

Plum Pudding Recipe

Pamela’s Christmas pudding is rich and usually most enjoyed in the days after Christmas – warmed or cold with cream!


  1. 450g currants
  2. 450g seedless raisins
  3. 350g sultanas
  4. 225g muscatel raisins
  5. 110g glace cherries
  6. 110g preserved ginger
  7. 110g dried apricots or peaches
  8. 110g candied orange peel
  9. 110g candied citron peel
  10. 50g candied lemon peel
  11. 225g shredded almonds
  12. 225g finely grated carrot
  13. 2 teaspoons glycerine
  1. 280g White breadcrumbs
  2. 170g Brown breadcrumbs
  3. 280g Plain flour
  4. 2 tsp Baking powder
  5. 2 tsp Salt
  6. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  7. ½ tsp Mixed spice
  8. ¼ tsp Ground ginger
  9. 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  10. 1 ½ tsp Ground mace
  1. 225g Butter
  2. 225g Suet (sub with grated frozen butter or vegetable shortening)
  3. 450g Cooking apples, peeled & chopped
  4. 225g White Sugar
  5. 225g Brown Sugar
  6. 8-9 eggs
  7. 3 tbsp Golden syrup
  8. 3 tbsp Black treacle
  9. 140ml Brandy/rum/whisky/sherry
  10. 140-240ml Old ale/stout/sherry/wine
Grease and line bottom of pudding basins with a circular disk of baking/greaseproof paper.Cover puddings with 2 circular disks of baking/greaseproof paper, 5cm wider diameter than basin. Use an old sheet to wrap up the basin, tie with a drawstring around top and make a small handle. Scald cloth & sprinkle with flour.
  • Clean & prepare fruit.
  • Chop into smaller pieces if too large. Peel & grate carrots.
  • Mix altogether.
  • Sprinkle with glycerine.
  • Mix crumbs in and cover.

Leave in a cool place overnight.

  • Sift together in a very large bowl the flour, slat, baking powder and spices.
  • Cut in the butter & suet till mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add sugar, then crumbs and the apple.
  • Add the fruit & mix well
  • Beat eggs well and stir into muxture gradually
  • Warm the syrup & treacle and stir in
  • Stir in the spirits

Mixture should be moist enough to drop easily from a spoon but not runny.

  1. Fill each basin about ¾ full
  2. If money or charms are to be included – boil first in a little water and wrap well in baking paper, and lay in at intervals as you fill the basin.
  3. Smooth over the top & make a little hollow in the middle.
  4. Cover well with baking paper
  5. Wrap in cotton (old sheet)/foil and tie up with string.
  6. Scald and sprinkle with flour.
  1. Set basins on a rack in a pot of boiling water.
  2. Boil for at least 4-5 hours
  3. (Make sure water doesn’t get into the pudding and that your pot does not boil dry!)
  4. Store in a cool place
  5. On Christmas day boil again for a further 2 hours.

(If microwaving, do not put foil or money in! A 450g pudding can be zapped on high for 3 minutes and left to stand for a couple – a large pudding is better steamed).

  1. Unwrap pudding, carefully loosen edges and upturn onto a heatproof plate – watch out,  it will be steamy hot! Remove any baking paper.
  2. Make sure that you have a clear, unobstructed route to the table. And that there is a place to set the pudding down on a mat. (Look out for draped decorations that could catch fire.)
  3. Pour a cup or two of rum or brandy over the pudding and strike a long match or lighter. Touch the flame to the base of the pudding. As soon as the low blue flame covers the pudding, parade the pudding into the dining room (preferably to singing or the bagpipes) and ceremoniously place on table mat.
  4. Garnish with holly, if desired.
  5. Serve with brandy butter and/or cream.
pudding ingredients

The mixture in process. It darkens in colour after adding the treacle.

Squidgy (gluten-free) chocolate wrap cake thing

I had forgotten how easy, and quick to make, this ruinous dessert is. It was a regular favourite in the 80s after someone brought one over for a dinner party. I’m not sure of the origin but it could be Delia Smith or Miss Bell. I made it this week for Zoe’s going away dinner – my gorgeous girl is off to university already. We were all amazed at how good it was! There is no flour included but it’s pretty high on the fats and sugars – you can’t have everything I guess when you want your cake and to eat it too! It’s not as formal as a roulade and certainly I like the casual way it is folded.


Squidgy chocolate wrap cake thing

Cake: 6 eggs (preferably room temp & free range of course!), 5oz caster sugar, 2oz fair trade cocoa (sifted);

Filling: 8oz double cream, block of dark chocolate and/or chocolate cream.

Turn on oven to 180 C degrees (350 F). Oil and line with baking paper a rectangular cake tin or roasting tin. (I used a baking tin with a 12 x 8 inch base).

Separate the eggs and whisk the whites until soft peaks form but not stiff. Then, in a separate bowl, whisk the yolks lightly and add the sugar. When creamy add the sifted cocoa. Fold the whites into the cocoa mixture.

Fold in the whites lightly.

Fold in the whites lightly.

When mixed, pour into the tin and spread evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes. When it’s cooling, it will contract a bit so don’t be alarmed!

Stretch out a length of baking/greaseproof paper and sprinkle it with icing sugar. When the cake is still warm, tip it out onto the paper.

For the filling you can spread layers of chocolate cream or mouse (see below) and whipped cream; this time I whipped the cream and folded melted dark chocolate into the cream which, as it cooled in the cream, created crackly chocolate striations. I then added a layer of mixed berries.

After spreading on your filling, to make the loose roll, lift the end of the baking paper and roll it over (as per photo). To finish, sprinkle with sifted icing sugar. (Tip: I think it’s easier to fold over when it’s still a little warm, i.e. pliable.)

Chocolate Cream

1/2 cup of butter (100g -ish), 1 egg yolk, 6oz dark 70% chocolate (fair trade, melted and cooled), 1 tbsp cognac or sherry, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence.

Cream the butter, beat in the chocolate, egg yolk, cognac/sherry and vanilla.

Oatmeal Stuffing for Roast Chicken

Sunday lunch was always a social event while we were growing up. My memories are mostly set at the, what seemed to me at the time, an enormously long table in the upstairs dining room of the Georgian 48 Polwarth Terrace  (I lived there from age 1-10). I can see the 60s blue curtains and similar table cloth, as well as wince at the thought of when I ran full pelt around the table and whacked my head on the corner of a night storage heater – my temple still bears the scar 44 years later! My brothers will recall Sundays at the Buccleugh, Northfield and Carberry dining tables, so it would be nice to hear abut them – boys?

International visitors either studying in Edinburgh or Aussie rellies, teachers and lecturers, friends and adopted maiden aunts frequently joined us. Cousin Ant came back with Mum from Australia in 1971 was a regular at the table, also the Rowlands, Hollingworths, Musich’s and other post grad students who lived in the flat at the back of the house.

It was simple fare – usually roast chicken, sometimes pork, very rarely beef and, once we moved to East Lothian, our home grown delicious Longwood lamb. A fruit crumble, sponge or apple pie with ‘fluff’ usually followed for pudding, in the 60s and 70s.

A perennial factor was the roast chicken’s oatmeal stuffing. I’m not sure where Mum learnt this one, but being oatmeal it sounds quite Scottish, and perhaps Mum learnt it in Aberdeen – perhaps Andy or Dad can tell us?

Andy recorded the simple recipe, over the phone:


Take an onion and chop up finely.
Put in a pan with about a dessert spoonful of butter and some bacon fat, (if you have it). 
Add a desert spoon of chopped dried herbs and simmer till well mixed.
Keep moist!
Add some chopped streaky bacon.
Then add a cup of oatmeal but not so much it becomes dry. 
Stir and make sure it sticks (or becomes sticky). 
Then stuff in the chicken.

Oatmeal stuffing for roast chicken

Oatmeal stuffing for roast chicken