Valerie Hedgethorne taught cookery & cake decorating for many years in Brighton before becoming a Home Economist and writing for the national magazine CAKE for 20 years. Valerie is a past president of the British Sugarcraft Guild & is a member of the local Guild Branch, which meets monthly in Rottingdean for demonstrations of all types of cake decorating. Anyone with an interest in cake decorating is welcome – for more information phone Valerie on 01273 505223.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2019
I think the homemade version of this is much better than that which you buy ready-made and you can alter the flavours to suit your taste. Both the meatballs and the sauce are very simple to make. You can alter the quantities for larger or smaller meals. You will need a liquidizer or hand blender for the sauce.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2019
This is a very chocolately cake with both filling and icing of ganache. Because we have Valentine’s day this month I have added marzipan hearts but you can decorate it to your own choice or leave it plain. You will need a deep 20cm/8in round cake tin and if you are decorating with hearts you will need a small cutter.
Posted in Recipes on Jan 01, 2019
I like to give a soup recipe for this time of year. It’s good for the cold weather and the ingredients are readily available, providing both protein and 2 of your 5 a day. You will need a food processor.
Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2018
This is a Christmas twist on the usual shortbread biscuits. The chopped almonds give a slight crunchiness and the cranberries give added texture. They make a nice gift when prettily packed and are useful when entertaining friends for coffee. You will need two baking trays and a fluted cutter 6cm (2 ins) diameter.
Posted in Recipes on Nov 01, 2018
In the North of England Parkin is the traditional cake for Bonfire Night, but I prefer a lighter gingerbread and I like to include stem ginger for extra flavour. This recipe has a buttercream topping with pieces of stem ginger to make it more delicious. You will need a tin 28 x 18cm (11 x 7 ins).
Posted in Recipes on Oct 01, 2018
This is a mushroom and bacon quiche. For vegetarians cheese can be substituted for the bacon. You will need a 23cm/9in tart tin or dish
Posted in Recipes on Sep 01, 2018
This is actually not a tart but is a cake which comes from Cambrai in France. It is lovely to have warm as a desert but equally good as a cake when cold. If eaten warm it is especially delicious served with single cream. Canned peaches are an alternative to pears. You will need a flan dish or tart tin measuring 23cm/9in across.
Posted in Recipes on Aug 01, 2018
This tasty pie is good either for a buffet or for an outdoor lunch or picnic. It can be served hot but it is best served cold on the day it is made. You will need a 20cm/8” spring form tin or a deep cake tin with a loose base. I used a spring form tin from Lakeland.
Posted in Recipes on Jul 01, 2018
This originated in Indonesia but is now almost the Dutch national dish. It tastes very good and is one of my favourites to cook for a meal with friends. It looks delicious with the traditional omelet and tomato garnish. You will need a shallow dish of approximately 1.5 litres.
Posted in Recipes on Jun 01, 2018
Strawberries and cream are synonymous with June but when partnered with meringue is a heavenly combination. You could not wish for a more delicious gateâu for any occasion. The meringue rounds can be made ahead of time and assembled when needed. You will need three baking trays and silicone coated parchment paper, also a plastic piping bag and large star nozzle.
Posted in Recipes on May 01, 2018
Some of you may already know this recipe but I hope you will like to be reminded of it. It is so easy to make, the creamy lemon filling goes so well with the crunchy ginger biscuit base. You will need an 18cm/7in flan ring or a china flan dish, also a food processor is useful.
Posted in Recipes on Apr 01, 2018
Fish pie is very popular and so is cauliflower. Here the cauliflower takes the place of potato on top. The addition of spinach not only adds to the taste but to the colour also. You will need a pie dish approximately 1 litre capacity and a food processor.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2018
These can be seen in bakers’ shops in Greece especially at Easter and Christmas. One Easter I made these to take to Greece to stay with Greek friends and was pleased that they were happy with my recipe. They are slightly similar to our own shortbread and make a nice change in shape and texture. You will need two baking trays and a large sheet of greaseproof paper.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2018
This oatcake is similar to a flapjack. Because oranges are at their best at the moment I am using them with their slight sharpness for a perfect partner to the sweetness of the oatcake. You will need two 18cm (7in) sandwich cake tins.
Posted in Recipes on Jan 01, 2018
This is one of my favourite soups which I serve on special occasions. The flavour is delicious and the pretty green colour is lovely. You will need a liquidiser to make a smooth texture.
Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2017
Five years ago I made a similar tart to this and I have been asked to repeat it. However, I am altering that slightly and, I think, making it even more special. The almond pastry is really delicious and the filling scrumptious. Do try this over the Christmas season, it’s particularly good served warm with cream but nice at anytime. You will need a 20cm/8in tart tin or flan dish. For the decoration (optional) a holly leaf cutter is required.
Posted in Recipes on Nov 01, 2017
In the North of England parkin is the traditional cake for Bonfire Night, but I prefer gingerbread, and I love this recipe for Autumn. I have added wholemeal flour for texture and stem ginger for more flavour. Stem ginger in syrup is available in jars. You will need a 7in/18cm square deep cake tin and greaseproof paper to line it.
Posted in Recipes on Oct 01, 2017
This is a good way to use aubergines either as a main course or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Omitting the bacon makes it very suitable for vegetarians. This recipe serves two but can be easily multiplied for more. You will need an ovenproof dish for baking.
Posted in Recipes on Sep 01, 2017
This is ideal for those of us who love to go picking blackberries, and of course, they are available in the shops. Some people dislike the seeds, but this recipe gives us the delicious full flavour without the seeds. It also has the prettiest colour. You will need a 20cm (8in) loose base shallow tin or a flan dish, also a large piping bag and a star tube. A sieve is needed, a nylon one is preferable.
Posted in Recipes on Aug 01, 2017
A honey flavoured sponge with peaches and cream makes a delicious summer cake. To roll a sponge is not at all difficult, and even if it cracks it doesn’t matter. It looks very special. When fresh peaches are unavailable canned ones can be used. You will need a swiss roll tin measuring 30 x 23cm/12 x 9ins and silicone baking parchment also a piping bag and star tube.
Posted in Recipes on Jul 01, 2017
This tasty pie is good for lunch or for a picnic when it can be carried in a tin. The combination of onions and cheese is popular and is useful for vegetarians but on other occasions a little chopped ham can be added. It can be served warm or cold.
Posted in Recipes on Jun 01, 2017
June brings thoughts of summer days and strawberries and cream. This recipe uses both for a topping made of strawberry purée and whipped cream on a light sponge. It’s so delicious! You will need a 20cm/8in deep round cake tin and a food processor or a blender.
Posted in Recipes on May 01, 2017
Use new season’s rhubarb to make this lovely moist cake which can eaten for tea or served as a warm pudding accompanied by poached rhubarb and crème fraiche. You will need a 20cm/8inch loose base round cake tin.
Posted in Recipes on Apr 01, 2017
A Simnel is our traditional Easter Cake, having its origins in Mothering Sunday in Lent. It is a rich fruit cake with a layer of marzipan baked through the centre and also has a marzipan topping. My recipe has a variety of fruits and can be decorated to your own choice. Made in a loaf tin it is easy to slice. You will need a loaf tin measuring 8 x 4 inches/20 x 10cm across the base.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2017
This is a Greek pie called Spanakopita. Spinach and the Greek cheese feta go well together and filo pastry ensures this is so easy to make. It is good eaten warm or cold. Either fresh loose spinach or ready-packed can be used. You will need a 20cm/8in flan dish or spring form tin.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2017
This cake recipe has a lovely texture and a deeply chocolate taste and is one of my favourites. Although I have made it here in a heart shaped tin with a nod to Valentine’s Day, it can also be made in a round tin for any occasion You will need a heart tin measuring approx 18cm (7inch) across, or a deep round tin measuring 18cm (7inch). A large piping bag and star tube. A thin cake board is also useful.
Posted in Recipes on Jan 01, 2017
I like to give a recipe for soup in the January issue, and this one is perfect for this time of year. Carrots are cheap and oranges are in season. This soup has an excellent flavour due to the inclusion of orange. You will need a food processor or a blender.
Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2016
This is named after a friend of mine who ate it at my home last Christmas and then asked for the recipe. It’s one of my favorite recipes for a buffet or to serve with cold meats. It is very piquant and tasty. You will need a dish of any shape with approximately 1 litre capacity.
Posted in Recipes on Nov 01, 2016
Autumn is with us and pears are in season. Gingerbread and parkin are Bonfire Night specialities, however this ginger cake is light and good at any time. I have included a few pieces of stem ginger to give a little more depth of flavour but this is optional. Using the melting fat method it is easy to make. The cake is best made 1-2 days before eating for it to mature. You will need a 20cm/8in sandwich cake tin with a removable base.
Posted in Recipes on Oct 01, 2016
Let’s hope we have a good apple harvest this autumn, giving us the chance to cook some lovely recipes. My recipe is one of my favorites which I have been making for many years. These little cakes can also be served warm with cream. You will need a shallow square tin 20cm/8in
Posted in Recipes on Sep 01, 2016
Both tomatoes and courgettes are plentiful at this time of the year and especially if you grow them yourself, it’s a good way of using them. This is an excellent vegetarian dish to have for lunch or otherwise to serve with any meats, such as chicken or lamb. You will need a shallow ovenproof dish approx 1 litre capacity.
Posted in Recipes on Aug 01, 2016
This is ideal for a picnic or a light lunch. Being made with shortcrust pastry it makes it easier to travel or even cut into wedges for a meal in the garden. You will need a sandwich cake tin 18cm/7ins diameter, preferable loose base. I have used one from Lakeland which is perforated to ensure well-cooked pastry.
Posted in Recipes on Jul 01, 2016
A galette is a flat pastry base with various toppings and we should make the best use of the fresh peaches now, although when they are not available use canned ones instead to make attractive and delicious pastries. These are particularly easy because they don’t require confectioner’s custard, only an apricot glaze, and they look like the ones in the French pastry shops. You will need two baking trays and a 10cm/4ins round cutter or something similar.
Posted in Recipes on Jun 01, 2016
This gateau could be the centerpiece of any celebration. Made to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. I have designed it in the shape of her favorite style of hat, decorated in red, white and blue with blue numerals around the side of the top cake. The combination of meringue, strawberries and cream is hard to beat. Both the meringue discs and the numerals can be made in advance. The cutter for the numbers and the blue colouring are obtainable from Lakeland. It must be assembled on the day otherwise the meringue will soften. There are two sections, the top is smaller than the base in order to give the hat shape. You will need two baking trays and non-stick baking parchment. It’s an advantage to have a thin cake card (8”/20cm) to put the cake on.
Posted in Recipes on May 01, 2016
Mackerel are a good source of Omega 3 and have an excellent flavour. Because they are oily fish they benefit from being accompanied by a slightly acidic food, such as the traditional gooseberry sauce or as here with apples. They are an easy fish to prepare; the fishmonger will slit it and remove the inside and also the head if you ask. You will need some kitchen foil in which to bake them.
Posted in Recipes on Apr 01, 2016
This is a very tasty dish. It can be an accompaniment to any meat or fish or with a little extra cheese such as cheddar for vegetarians. One advantage is you don’t have to make a sauce as the cream gives a delicious moistness. You will need an ovenproof dish of approx 1½ pints / 900ml capacity.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2016
I thought we’d have a change for Easter this year and have this traditional cake from Sicily which is served at Easter and other celebrations. There are several versions but all are made from sponge cake, cream cheese, glacé fruits and chocolate. Strega is used in Sicily but I substitute brandy or sweet white wine. I find the rectangular form easy to slice. You will need a 2lb loaf tin measuring approx 10x20cm (4x8 ins) across the base and a piping bag with a star tube.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2016
Oranges are at their best at the moment. This orange flavoured sponge cake has a complete orange flavour with the orange butter icing filling and orange glacé icing. You will need 2 straight sided sandwich cake tins 20cm (8”) diameter.
Posted in Recipes on Jan 01, 2016
This soup is not just a standard tomato soup. The apple and celery add to the flavour to make it a bit different. After it is puréed if you like a really smooth soup it can be passed through a sieve.
Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2015
This recipe is what could be called my “signature dish”. It has it appeared a couple of times in CAKE magazine because I had many requests for a repeat. I make them to give as presents and they are much appreciated. If giving them away I do use foil cases but that is optional if making them for yourself. I am using the mincemeat for which I gave you the recipe last month. You will need 2 x 12 hole patty tins, a large piping bag and large star nozzle, a 3”/8cm pastry cutter and foil cases if you like.
Posted in Recipes on Nov 01, 2015
This is the mincemeat I make every year. It really is special with its combination of flavours making it different from any other. Your mince pies will be the best you’ve ever made. It makes approx. 5 jars. You will need waxed discs and tight fitting lids or cellophane covers.
Posted in Recipes on Oct 01, 2015
This is a tray bake for the season. The light almond flavoured scone base is topped with plums and marzipan. The combination of flavours makes this one of my favourite recipes. I took it a lunch party and it was very popular, so I thought I would share it with you. You will need a shallow tin measuring 7x11ins (18x28cm). Makes 15 squares.
Posted in Recipes on Sep 01, 2015
Tomatoes are plentiful at this time and if you grown them yourself it’s good to have recipes to use them. Aubergines go well with them in this dish which can be an accompaniment particularly to lamb or sausages, or to have as a lunch dish on its own. You will need a shallow ovenproof dish 1½ pints / ¾ litre capacity. Serves 4.
Posted in Recipes on Aug 01, 2015
This is a classic French tart made with cinnamon flavoured pâté sucrée (french flan pastry), and a blackcurrant filling. The blackcurrant season is quite short so it’s nice to use the fresh ones when we can, but when they are not available canned ones can be used instead. The pastry will look very brown but this is because of the cinnamon. You will need an 18cm (7in) tart tin preferably with a removable base. These are obtainable at Lakeland.
Posted in Recipes on Jul 01, 2015
This is my favourite rice salad. It is so very tasty with the soy sauce dressing and variety of ingredients. I usually use brown rice and like the basmati best. You will not need all the dressing but any left over can be kept for another time. It is excellent as part of a buffet or good to take on a picnic.
Posted in Recipes on Jun 01, 2015
This gateau certainly has the wow factor. Once in a while time and effort are really worth while. Keep this recipe for a special occasion. A strawberry cream mousse is sandwiched between two light Genoese sponge layers and not only does it look fantastic but it tastes delicious too. You will need two 20cm (8in) sandwich cake tins and one 18cm (7in) deep round cake tin with a loose base or a springform tin, also a large piping bag and star tube.
Posted in Recipes on May 01, 2015
The first English rhubarb is now coming into the shops and perhaps some of you will be having it in your garden before long. Orange goes so well with rhubarb and the ground almonds help to make a firm cake absorbing any rhubarb juice. Have it as a pudding with single cream or as a cake at any time. You will need a 23cm / 9in loose base round shallow cake tin. I used a springform tin.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2015
Simnel cake has its origins in March on Mothering Sunday (now known as Mothers’ Day). However, nowadays we think of it as a cake for Easter with the marzipan decoration of 11 balls representing the true disciples excluding Judas. The marzipan interior makes it really moist. The top marzipan decoration is grilled to preserve it. Don’t be tempted to use bought marzipan, it does not work as well as the home made one in this recipe. The cake keeps well in an airtight container for at least two weeks and the undecorated cake is best kept for 2 -3 days before decorating. You will need a deep round 20cm /8in cake tin.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2015
Paddington bear has made a come-back and is very popular at the moment so I have devised a delicious cake using marmalade in his honour. Now is the season for oranges especially the Sevilles, so buy a chunky marmalade made from them. You will need a deep 7in /18cm cake tin and a pastry brush for glazing.
Posted in Recipes on Jan 01, 2015
In January this soup will be especially welcome in the cold weather. Homemade soup has many advantages, it’s not only very tasty but is cheaper than buying cans or packets. This is just the soup for cold days, it’s so comforting and is very nutritious too. Make the full quantity because any left over can be frozen for another day.
Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2014
For those who don’t want the traditional rich Christmas pudding or would like a second dessert as an alternative. I suggest this frozen pudding which contains Christmas ingredients and flavours. It is really delicious. One big advantage is that it can be made well ahead of time and served not only on Christmas Day. You will need a basin 30floz (1 ½ pt)
Posted in Recipes on Nov 01, 2014
In America this dish is usually served at Thanksgiving but here we make it for Hallowe’en, altough equally often we just hollow pumpkins out to make a lantern! Use the flesh that is hollowed to make this delicious spicy tart instead. Pumpkins are in the shops now so let’s make good use of them. I bought mine at Fiveways Fruits and would like to thank Danny and his staff for always being so helpful.
Posted in Recipes on Oct 01, 2014
These are probably my favourite biscuits because I love oats and apricots. I have been making them for many years and would like to share the recipe with you. You will need two baking trays
Posted in Recipes on Sep 01, 2014
It’s good to have a recipe for tomatoes at this time of year when they are plentiful especially if you grow them yourself and have a glut. This tart is lovely for lunch or as light meal and is suitable for vegetarians. You will need a large baking tray.
Posted in Recipes on Aug 01, 2014
This makes use of the lovely fresh peaches which are in season at the moment but at other times canned ones can be substituted. The soured cream makes a delicious custard and is simple to make. You will need a 20cm / 8in tart tin with a loose base or a flan dish.
Posted in Recipes on Jul 01, 2014
These delicious little savouries are super for a starter, to have with drinks or for a light lunch with salad. Filo pastry is so easy to use to wrap up the filling of smoked salmon and curd cheese. They are best eaten fresh and warm.
Posted in Recipes on Jun 01, 2014
Just recently my daughter-in-law invited me for a meal and made the most delicious pudding. Two years ago I made something similar for you and it proved to be very popular so she suggested that I should give you her recipe and I think you will enjoy it. The crumble contains demerara sugar and has a sprinkling of almonds which gives it the lovely cunch. You will need an ovenproof dish of about 1 litre capacity. The one used measured 25 X 15cm (10 X 6ins) .
Posted in Recipes on May 01, 2014
This loaf is ideal for picnics or a packed lunch. It’s delicious eaten plain or buttered. I suggest Red Leicester in the mixture because of its colour but a mature Cheddar can be used instead. It keeps well for 2 – 3 days. You will need a 1lb loaf tin measuring approximately 10 x 23 cm (4 x 9in) across the top.
Posted in Recipes on Apr 01, 2014
Easter is the time for chocolate and for Easter eggs. Cup cakes are very popular so here is a recipe for chocolate cup cakes with chocolate butter icing and a decoration which really says ‘Easter’ This recipe makes eight and can easily be multiplied for a larger number. You will need a bun tin with 8 holes and 8 paper baking cases, also a piping bag with a star tube if you want to pipe the butter icing.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2014
This tasty tart can be eaten hot or cold. It’s good to take if you are going walking or for lunch boxes. If you are having it hot serve it with a green vegetable such as broccoli or sprouts, but with a salad if eating it cold. It freezes well, but is nicer if warmed in the oven after defrosting. You will need an 18cm / 7in tart in or flan dish.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2014
At this time of year we have a variety of citrus fruits so here is a recipe for an orange cake for which we can use seville oranges for their bitterness or normal oranges. But for this cake I have chosen tangerines which are especially good for the topping but you can choose whichever you prefer because any will give a good result. You will need two 20cm (8in) sandwich cake tins.
Posted in Recipes on Jan 01, 2014
In January I like to give you a recipe for soup to warm you on cold winter days. This one uses the vegetables we have readily available and are not expensive.
Posted in Recipes on Dec 01, 2013
Here is a delicious cheesecake for Christmas. The mincemeat goes so well with the cheesecake and the cinnamon adds to the flavour. It can be made ahead of time if you wish and be kept either in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for a week or two, perhaps even for New Year entertaining. You will need a 20cm (8in) round shallow loose -base cake tin or springform tin.
Posted in Recipes on Nov 01, 2013
This is a tasty savoury strudel, the filling can be either button mushrooms or a mixture of different ones. You can omit the fennel if you don’t like it, and it can be a vegetarian dish if you leave out the bacon. You will need a baking tray.
Posted in Recipes on Oct 01, 2013
Here’s a way of using an autumn vegetable in a delicious chocolate cake. The courgettes are not visible but do ensure a moist texture.. The cream cheese topping and filling go with it very well. You will need an 18cm /7in round deep cake tin.
Posted in Recipes on Sep 01, 2013
This is actually the strudel from Bavaria, different from the German one. and made with a shortbread pastry and so is easier to make, as well as being delicious. |It has been one of my favourite recipes for many years. I serve it warm with cream or cold to have with tea or coffee . I do recommend that you do use butter, it does give the best flavour. You will need a baking tray
Posted in Recipes on Aug 01, 2013
A couple of years ago I made a similar cake containing raspberries which proved to be very popular so here’s one like it using blackberries. If you are fortunate enough to pick your own this will be a lovely way of using them, but if not they are obtainable in the shops. I am writing this especially for Kevin at Carters Domestic Appliances to thank him for his help recently. You will need a loaf tin measuring approximately 10 x 20cm /.4 x 8 ins) across the base.
Posted in Recipes on Jul 01, 2013
This is a lovely colourful mix of ingredients which makes it very tasty. It is enjoyable to have either as a side salad or a complete meal if you add prawns or tuna. I often serve it as one of the dishes at a buffet. The quantities can be adjusted for the number to be served. It also makes a delicious addition to picnic spreads.
Posted in Recipes on Jun 01, 2013
June seems synonymous with strawberries and to team them with white chocolate is lovely. You will need two 20cm / 8in sandwich cake tins.
Posted in Recipes on May 01, 2013
Rhubarb and ginger go so well together and the early season’s rhubarb is excellent for this with its thin pink stems. It makes a moist centre in the ginger cake and can double up as either a cake or a pudding. The rhubarb needs no extra sugar, the slight sharpness offsets the sweetness of the cake very well. You will need a square tin approximately 20cm /8in diameter.
Posted in Recipes on Apr 01, 2013
This has been one of my favourite recipes for many years. It’s a really tasty pie made with smoked haddock and a simple sauce in a puff pastry case. I usually buy ready made puff pastry for this, either fresh or frozen. It can be eaten whether hot or cold - but I find puff pastry tastes better hot. You will need a large baking tray.
Posted in Recipes on Mar 01, 2013
This traditional Greek recipe was given to me by my Greek teacher. Its Greek name is Karithopita It has a lovely flavour and the best thing about it is its moistness because of the orange syrup which is poured over it when it is cooked. You will need a shallow 20cm (8in) square tin.
Posted in Recipes on Feb 01, 2013
Oranges are at their best at this time of the year, especially the Seville oranges with their bitter flavour. They can be used in this recipe to give an extra boost of flavour, but the usual ones are good too. The glazed slices on the top not only make it look inviting but taste special. The yogurt makes a very light cake. You will need a 20cm /8in round cake tin or a spring form tin.