Saturday, 21 July 2018

Paradise with Aztecs

"Just make sure you get my best side" she said.   

I did what I could, given that she was feeling too hot to move.

Earlier in the day I had suddenly remembered a recipe which I had read and wanted to bake - the trouble was that that was a year or more ago.   I had filed it away in my head for future use, but couldn't remember which book it was in.        I scanned the shelves, eventually my brain cooperated enough to let me know that it was probably in an old Women's Institute book.

Me: "I have a dozen of those, I need more information."

Brain: "Leave it with me.   Don't pester.   I'm working on it."

Which was when I took the dog for a walk, let my thoughts ramble around the countryside.

My brain cooperated.   I 'saw' a colour,  then a glimpse of a wire spine.  Red book, wire spine.

I headed home, through the fields of golden barley.   

The book I sought was one of the old WI books gifted to me from the estate of my old friend, the village beekeeper.   It had belonged to his wife Hazel; she had been a nurse and midwife, then during her retirement years she taught riding for the disabled and also encouraged local children to learn to ride.    Back in the day when there was a real sense of community in the village.

This particular recipe had intrigued me because it came with instructions that it was not to be cut under 6 months of baking.      Which, if I have counted correctly, means that it won't be ready in time for Christmas, darn it.

I baked it anyway.   

Paradise Cake

It is just a large fruit cake, with a couple of slightly more exotic ingredients.

5 oz sugar
4 oz margarine + 1oz white fat
5 oz beaten egg
1/2 oz s.r. flour
5 1/2 oz plain flour
4 oz crystallised ginger
4 oz crystallised pineapple
4 oz cherries
4 oz citron peel
1/2 oz ground almonds
2 oz chopped walnuts
1lb sultanas                                              Recipe:  Moss and Fenwick WI 1957

Cream together the sugar and the fat, gradually add the beaten egg.   Add the flour, together with the remaining mixed ingredients and mix together lightly.    Bake at 360F for two hours and when cold wrap up and put into a tin for at least six months.   Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

I'll let you know, in January/February or  maybe March...

Meanwhile, this is for Susan at e-i-e-i-omg blogspot  Aztec Coookies - chewy, full of good things.

This is a Sue Lawrence recipe, taken from her On Baking book. 

Aztec Cookies

170g/6oz walnuts, roughly chopped
284g/10 oz desiccated coconut
113g/4oz dried apricots (no-soak variety) roughly chopped
113g/4oz dark* chocolate, roughly chopped
1x397g/14oz tin of sweetened condensed milk

*The recipe calls for dark chocolate, chopped.   I use any variety, sometimes chopped or in chips.

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas mark 3.

Roughly chop the apricots, chocolate and nuts.  Mix together in a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, beat together until thoroughly mixed. 

Using two tablespoons, drop about 20 blobs of the mixture on to a buttered baking tray and gently flatten down the tops (I usually use a fork for this).

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.    Transfer at once to a wire rack to cool.

Packed with goodness and a little bit of naughtiness...


  1. All that looks so yummy, but for me it's too darned hot to bake!
    Margaret P

    1. Hello Margaret, I love baking - but only when I don't have to do it! Here on the east coast we are 'lucky' enough to generally be a few degrees cooler than the rest of the country, so that helps. Have a lovely weekend and I hope you find some cooling breezes coming your way.

  2. Serve it at Christmas... we won’t tell! Did you honestly follow the marg and lard path?

    The cake recipe reminded me of a cookery demonstration I did for a York whole food shop. I devised a recipe using all crystallised fruits. I forget what I called it now something like Jewel cake. As you might guess Elaine me being a culinary snob of the first order, margarine isn’t given house room here!?!


    1. Hello Linda, I did, mainly because I am a vegetarian - using the lard means that the cake will not interest me in the least. Temptation removed. I know myself pretty well by now.

      I came across the book which features some of your menus, the other day (there may be others, but you probably remember the one I mean?) would you mind if I do a short piece about it some time? Nothing revealing, or sensitive...

    2. Of course I don’t mind!


  3. Elaine,

    I'm impressed! I would like to borrow your brain at times. It seems, most of my projects are drawn out with trying to find materials, components, tools, etc. I KNOW I have, but ... where?

    Anyway, kudos to your brain. It's a keeper!

    1. Hello Brett,

      You have my sympathy, I really do know how many frustrating minutes/hours can be wasted on searches I have to spend a lot of time helping my husband to find items which he knows he put down in the small shed ... only for me to unearth them in polytunnel, the Boot Room, the barn, or the garden...

      I hope you are having a lovely weekend - no searching required.

  4. "I 'saw' a colour,..." You do that often, do you not? I am so intrigued by this ability.

    But this particular colour, was your brain rewarding you, with letting it do the needed job. Our brains will do that, as you know. I wonder if enough people, appreciate this? :-)

    Oh mercy, now I too have this decadent G/F recipe!!!!!!

    Soooooo, it won't be *my fault* if I happen to make them some day!!! >,-)))))

    Thank you.

    And I'm so glad you tried to get *her good side.* Even though it was too hot for her to help.

    1. Try them, Luna, the only problem is that they are, apparently, highly addictive.

      Poor cow, I didn't want to intrude and make her uncomfortable, especially as I had Toby with me - so that was the best shot I could get.

      You have a good memory! The old faulty wiring/synesthesia colour link was almost certainly involved, saved me a lot of searching and skimming through books! Have a lovely, cool, weekend.

    2. Your "faulty wiring/synesthesia colour link..." I'd not call it faulty at all. I think it is amazing. Or at least, what I remember of it.

      Would love it, if you told how it happens, again.

      Each and every unique ability, is wonderful!

    3. I have found the post, Luna - Featured Post, top of the right hand column, I think that is the post you may have read.

  5. Those blobs caught my eye. Anything with sweetened condensed milk in it is going to be over the top delicious. I'm making a fridge cake with condensed milk for the grandkids tomorrow. I'll have to buy another tin and try your recipe.
    Hope my neighbour keeps away so I have a chance at making them a success. Thanks for your comment on my cooking disaster. I've added an update. It was all the work of the 'evil eye'!!!

  6. The cake sounds delicious, not sure about the lard though! Such a lovely name for a cake...Paradise.

    1. It is quite an old recipe - they used lard quite a lot in those days. I have never managed to make pastry as light as my mother's - she used lard in that, I don't!!!

  7. My apologies for the late thank you - I will bake these this weekend!

    1. You are welcome, Susan. I am really glad you enjoyed them.


Lovely to hear from you!