This is another recipe from my “Cakes, Pastries and Bread” book, as I work my way through the untried recipes. This time I followed the recipe exactly and the cookies were fantastic – great flavour and a lovely texture. For some reason the kids weren’t very keen on them, but happily, that left more for the grown ups!

Peanut Cookies

100g butter or vegan margarine

50g caster sugar

150g plain flour

Pinch of salt

A little milk (or vegan alternative) for brushing

50g peanuts roughly chopped

Set the oven to 180oC.

Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour and salt, then mix to a stiff dough. Turn on to a floured surface, knead lightly and roll out to 6mm thick.

Cut into circles with a 5cm cutter and place on greased baking sheets. Brush the biscuits with milk and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.

Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Leave on the sheets for a minute, then remove on to a wire rack to cool.

I’ve long had a collection of cookery books from the St Michael Cookery Library (St Michael was a brand owned by British retailer Marks and Spencer). Some I’ve had for decades, others I’ve found more recently. But one of my go-to recipe books has always been this one, ‘Cakes, Pastries and Bread’, first published in 1977. I remember reading the book and looking at the recipes, and a small selection became favourites that I’ve use a lot.

Recently, I rediscovered the book and have been trying out, for the first time, some of the recipes that I used to only look at. These yummy, squidgy cakes came about as I changed the original recipe to suit the moment. I loved them, especially as they taste of sticky toffee pudding, one of my favourite desserts. However, I still have to go back and follow the original recipe more closely!

Date Cakes

100g butter
1 egg
100g caster sugar
200g stoned dates, chopped
100g self raising flour
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 180oC and grease an 18cm (7in) square cake tin.

Melt the butter and the dates over a gentle heat until the dates are starting to soften

Beat the sugar and egg together until light and fluffy. Add the butter and dates and mix well.

Sieve in the flour and salt and mix well.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly.

Put in the over for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden brown and well risen.

Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Leave in the tin to go cold and remove.

These are best eaten fresh on the day, but do last a couple of days in a sealed container.

When the winter finally settled in properly, and we had one of those bright crisp days with ice lingering in the shadows, I managed a walk along the Thames Path between Twickenham and Richmond.  It’s one of my favourite walks to do anytime with no special planning, and there’s always a fine hearty lunch waiting somewhere at the end of it!

On this day, the path was almost empty with the occasional dog walker and a robin who followed me a little of the way.  And in the top left picture you can see the old Star and Garter home for ex-service personnel, now being converted to luxury flats  – I would certainly be tempted by that view if I had the odd couple of million to spare!

Autumn brought a trip to Woburn, and it was a truly spectacular time to see the gardens in Woburn Abbey with the firing up of autumn colour in full glory.





Ok, so I haven’t posted for many a long month, but, dear blog, you have been in my thoughts!  And dear blog readers (if there are any left), you have been in my thoughts too.

I have even taken the odd photo in the vain hope of uploading and keeping the blog up to date!  So I shall start to pop the occasional item on here and see if I can get back into the swing of things!  What can I say, I hope to see more of you in the near future….

One remarkable thing happened in my absence – the vine at the front of our  humble west London abode produced an abundance of grapes!  It wasn’t even a great summer, so should we ever have a hot few months, I’m preparing to move into wine production…



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.