Tort Melba – Fat Free Sponge

  • This tort – layer cake – mimics  a pêche melbapeach melba dessert .
  • It is a recipe for a fat free sponge cake, sandwiched with a filling made from yoghurt cheese or cream cheese and puréed tinned peaches plus a thick raspberry sauce.
  • I used an English quick style version of the sponge cake.

Ingredients -Fat Free sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder

Method – Fat Free sponge

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Grease and line the base of  two 18cm diameter baking tins.
  • In a bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar until they are pale and creamy.
  • Sift the flour and the baking powder together.
  • Gently fold in the flour.
  • Pour the mixture into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  • Leave to cool completely.

Ingredients -Filling

  • Tin of peaches
  • 200g of yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Method – Filling

  • Drain the peaches from the juice/syrup.
  • Save the juice.
  • Chop the peaches and then purée them.
  • Mix together the yoghurt cheese and the puréed peaches.
  • Add the sugar – do not make it too sweet.

Ingredients – Raspberry Sauce

  • 100g of raspberry jam
  • 50ml of water

Method – Raspberry Sauce

  • Put the jam and water into a small saucepan.
  • Heat gently and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Leave to cool.

Assembling the cake

  • Place one of the cakes onto a serving plate or stand.
  • Prick the cake with a wooden skewer.
  • Sprinkle half the peach juice over the cake.
  • *
  • Spread half the raspberry sauce over the cake.
  • Spread the peach filling on the cake. (You might not need all of it)
  • Drizzle the rest of the raspberry sauce on the filling.
  • *
  • Prick the other cake with a wooden skewer.
  • Place the second cake on top.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the peach juice over the cake.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Note

  • There is more than enough filling with this size cake.
  • You might try using some to slightly cover the sides of the cake as well.
  • This modern spreading of the icing is called “semi-naked”.

Carrot & Thyme Soup

  • This recipe was given to me by one of my cousins that lives in Wembley.
  • It is from an old French recipe but all the ingredients can be found in England and Poland.

Ingredients

  • 400g carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 6- 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 40g rice
  • 1½ litres of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Chop the onion into small pieces.
  • Gently fry onion in the butter till it is golden.
  • Peel the carrots and chop them into small circles.
  • Put the onion, carrots and stock into a large saucepan.
  • Strip the leaves of thyme from the stalks and add these to the pan.
  • Add the rice to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the carrots are soft.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Purée the soup – a stick blender is good.
  • Season to taste.
Royal Doulton – Tapestry Soup Plate – 1966 – 1998

Tort Melba – Sponge

  • This tort is based on a pêche melba – peach melba dessert.
  • This is a recipe for a large sponge cake, sandwiched with a filling made from yoghurt cheese or cream cheese and chopped tinned peaches plus a thick raspberry sauce.

Sponge Cake

  • Bake two  creamed sponge cakes –
  • Using 4 eggs and equal weights of butter, caster sugar and plain flour plus 2½ teaspoons of baking powder.
  • Bake in 2 x 21 cm anodised baking tins.
  • Leave to go cold completely.

Ingredients – Icing

  • 200g yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons of  icing sugar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence
  • *
  • Peaches drained from a can – chopped
  • *
  • Peach juice from the tin.

Method – Icing

  • Add the vanilla essence to the yoghurt cheese.
  • Add the icing sugar bit by bit to the yoghurt cheese until you get the desired sweetness.
  • This does not want to be too sweet.
  • Mix in the chopped peaches
  • *
  • Icing sugar to dust

Ingredients – Sauce

  • 100g of raspberry jam
  • 50ml of water

Method – Sauce

  • Put the jam and water into a small saucepan.
  • Heat gently and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Leave to cool.

Assembling the cake

  • Place one of the cakes onto a serving plate or stand.
  • Prick the cake with a wooden skewer.
  • Sprinkle half the peach juice over the cake.
  • *
  • Spread half the raspberry sauce over the cake.
  • Spread the peach filling on the cake.
  • Drizzle the rest of the raspberry sauce on the filling.
  • *
  • Prick the other cake with a wooden skewer.
  • Place the second cake on top of the filling.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the peach juice over the cake.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Duchess – Bramble Rose tea plates from the 1960s

Options

  • You could make more filling and slightly cover the sides of the cake – semi-naked.
  • You could make more filling and ice the top of the cake as well.

Onion Rolls

  • When I visited one of my aunties in Białystok we often talked about cooking and recipes.
  • She mentioned making making bread rolls with onions on top.
  • I did not get an actual recipe and looked some up instead.
  • You can call these cebulaki – (cebula = onion in Polish).
  • However I did find that they are often called bialy as they are a traditional recipe from Białystok.
  • I discovered you will find these for sale in New York as they were brought there by Polish and Jewish émigrés from Białystok around 1920.
  • The traditional topping is fried onion and poppy seeds.

Ingredients – Rolls

  • 200g & 50g plain flour
  • 150 ml warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of dried yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white – for brushing

Ingredients – Topping

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoons of butter
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Ground pepper
  • ½ tablespoon of poppy seeds

Method – Rolls

  • Mix the milk, yeast, sugar and 50g of plain flour.
  • Leave for 20 minutes
  • Put the 200g  of plain flour, salt, yolks and yeast mixture in a bowl
  • Mix together to form a soft dough.
  • Add a little extra milk if this is too dry.
  • Knead for 10 minutes – set a timer – till you get a smooth ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1½ – 2 hours.
  • Line the baking tray with baking paper.
  • *
  • Make the onion topping.
  • *
  • Lightly knead the dough for a few minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 6.
  • Roll each one to make a ball.
  • Place the balls on the baking tray and flatten each one.
  • Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven  to GM6 – 200°C.
  • Using finger tips or the base of a tumbler flatten the centre of each roll.
  • Brush with beaten egg white.
  • Put  the onion and poppy seed mixture into the centre of each roll. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • *
  • Serve warm or cold.

Method – Onion Topping

  • Thinly slice the onion and cut the slices into quarters.
  • Fry the onion in butter till golden brown.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Leave to cool completely.
  • Mix in the poppy seeds.

Tort Melba – Meringue

  • A Polish lady that I had not seen for many years came to visit me.
  • We sat in the garden chatting over coffee and cake.
  • She mentioned a cake she had not had for many years – Tort Melba.
  • She told me it was based around Pêche Melba – Peach Melba.
  • However she could not remember the recipe.
  • I said I would look the recipe up and make it for her.
  • *
  • Recipes used peaches, raspberry sauce and instead of vanilla ice cream a vanilla flavoured yoghurt cheese or cream cheese.
  • *
  • I found there are 3 types:
  • *
  • A meringue version –  tort bezowyrecipe below.
  • *
  • Several versions used two rounds of meringue sandwiched together.
  • It is easier to make a nest (Pavlova style) and place the fillings in that.
  • *
  • A sponge cake version –  2 will be posted soon.
  • A layered jelly version – I tried several versions but was not happy with any of the results.

Ingredients – Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of potato flour or cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence

Method

  • Use the loose base of a baking tin 24cm in diameter.
  • Lightly grease the circle.
  • Cut a 24cm circle of greaseproof and stick it on the metal circle.
  • Place the circle on a large baking tray – one without sides is best.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM1 – 140°C.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  • Add the sugar and whisk again till stiff.
  • Fold in the potato or corn flour, the vinegar and vanilla essence.
  • Using up to ½ of the mixture cover the circle on the tin.
  • Using the rest of the meringue put spoonfuls around the edge.
  • Bake for 80 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside for 20 minutes.
  • Take out and leave to cool completely before filling.
  • *
  • Place the yoghurt cheese filling in the centre of the meringue nest.
  • Add the chopped peaches.
  • Drizzle the raspberry sauce over the top. 

Ingredient – Filling

  • 200g yoghurt cheese, curd cheese or cream cheese
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 2-3 drops of vanilla essence
  • *
  • 1 tin of peaches, drained and chopped
  • *
  • Raspberry sauce made with 4 tablespoons of raspberry jam and 1 tablespoon of water – heated together for a few minutes and cooled.

Royal Doulton – Counterpoint tea plates – 1973 – 1987

Pepper & Bean Soup

  • I made this soup when I have several red peppers that needed using and added the butter beans from my store cupboard.
  • The addition of charred onions as a garnish is a good final touch.

Ingredients

  • 2 red or orange peppers
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tin of butter beans – drained 
  • 1½ litres of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Put the stock into a large saucepan.
  • Chop the peppers and chilli into small pieces and add to the pan.
  • Chop one of the onions into small pieces and add to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer until the peppers are soft.
  • Add the butter beans and simmer for around 20 minutes until the butter beans are very soft.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan.
  • Chop the other onion into small pieces.
  • Fry the onion in the butter till dark brown and nearly charred.
  • Season the soup.
  • Add the fried onions to the soup and stir, just before serving.
Royal Doulton – Burgundy Soup Plate – 1959 – 1981

Pêche Melba

  • A Polish lady that I had not seen for many years came to visit me.
  • We sat in the garden chatting over coffee and cake.
  • She mentioned a cake she had not had for ages  – Tort Melba.
  • She told me it was based around  Pêche Melba – Peach Melba 
  • However she could not remember the recipe.
  • I said I would look the recipe up and make it for her.
  • I have done and tried several different versions, which will be posted soon.
  • *
  • First here is a little history about Peach Melba.
  • *
  • Dame Nellie Melba (1861–1931) – born Helen Porter Mitchell – was an Australian operatic soprano.
  • She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century.
  • She took the pseudonym “Melba” from Melbourne, her home town.
  • In 1892 Nellie Melba was performing in Wagner’s opera Lohengrin at Covent Gardens.
  • The Duke of Orléans gave a dinner party at the Savoy Hotel in London to celebrate her triumph.
  • For the occasion, Escoffier created a new dessert Pêche Melba – Peach Melba.
  • He used an ice sculpture of a swan, which carried peaches resting on a bed of vanilla ice cream and these were topped with spun sugar.
  • In 1900, he created a new version of the dessert at the opening of the Carlton Hotel where he was head chef.
  • The ice swan was not used and the ice cream and peaches were now topped with a purée of sugared raspberries.
  • *
  • Below is an easy recipe for Peach Melba using tinned peaches.

Ingredients

  • Tinned peach halves – 2 per serving
  • Vanilla ice cream – 2 scoops per serving
  • Raspberry sauce – made from raspberry jam
  • Lemon juice – optional

Method

  • An easy raspberry sauce can be made from good (home-made) raspberry jam.
  • Put around 4 to 5 tablespoons of raspberry jam and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan.
  • Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon, until you have a pouring sauce.
  • If your jam is very sweet and a little lemon juice.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Allow two peach halves per serving and arrange these on a flat plate.
  • Add two scoops of vanilla ice cream next to the peaches.
  • Pour some raspberry sauce over the ice cream and peaches.
  • Serve any remaining sauce in a little jug.

Apricot Keks

  • I made a lovely apricot and prune keks – fruit cake – several months ago.
  • I still had a lot of dried apricots so decided to make this just with apricots.
  • This time I made it in a 21 centimetre square tin
  • It too was delicious.
  • You have to start this cake the night before.

    Ingredients

    • 385g dried apricots
    • 100ml hot Earl Grey tea
    • 100ml sherry
    • *
    • 115g currants
    • 115g sultanas
    • 115g raisins
    • 50g mixed peel
    • *
    • 150g soft brown sugar
    • 150g butter
    • 2 eggs
    • *
    • 185g plain flour
    • 2 teaspoons of mixed spice

    Method

    • Chop the apricots into small pieces.
    • Place them into a bowl and pour the hot tea over them.
    • Leave until this is cold.
    • Add the sherry, cover and leave overnight.
    • *
    • Add the other dried fruits to the soaked apricots and mix well.
    • *
    • Grease and line all sides of a 21 cm square tin
    • Pre-heat the oven to GM 1- 140°C
    • Mix the flour with the mixed spices.
    • Cream the sugar and butter till well blended.
    • Add the eggs and mix well together.
    • Fold in the flour mixture.
    • Add the dried fruits and mix well together.
    • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down the top.
    • Bake for  3 – 3¼ hours.
    • Leave to cool in the tin.

Note

You can use a 24cm tin – and bake for 2 – 2¼ hours.

Lemon Cheesecake

  • This cake is based on  Another Cheesecake.
  • However I baked this without the biscuit base but you can add one if you prefer.
  • A separate lemon sauce was made and poured over each portion when serving.

Ingredients – Cake

  • Around 450g of twaróg or yoghurt cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 80g of caster sugar
  • Grated rind from 2 lemons (juice used in the sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons of custard powder

Method – Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 3 – 160ºC.
  • Use a 19cm, 20cm or 21cm tin loose bottomed or spring form tin.
  • Place a cake liner in the tin.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar till they are pale and fluffy.
  • Lightly whisk in the twaróg or yoghurt cheese and the custard powder till it is all well combined.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold them into the mixture with a metal spoon.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin.
  • Bake in the oven for  50 minutes.
  • When the cake is ready switch off the oven and leave it in there for at least 40 minutes.
  • Take out the cake to cool.
  • Once it is cold – take the cake out of the tin by loosening the outer ring or placing the cake tin with the loose bottom on a tin can and sliding the cake tin down.
  • I think this cake is best made the day before you want to serve it – so it is well cooled and set.

Ingredients – Lemon Sauce

  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • Grated rind from 1 lemon
  • 15g granulated sugar 
  • Potato or corn flour

Method – Lemon Sauce

  • In a small saucepan mix the juice from 2 lemons, lemon rind and sugar.
  • Heat gently till the sugar is dissolved.
  • In a small dish mix the potato or corn flour with the juice of 1 lemon.
  • With the pan still on the hob add the potato or corn flour mixture.
  • Stir gently until the sauce has thickened.
  • Leave to cool before serving.
  • Pour the sauce over each portion of cake.

Tea plates by Elizabethan – Carnaby from the 1960s.

Potato Layers

  • When I made liver with potato topping, everyone said how much they liked the potatoes (as well as the liver of course).
  • So I have made a dish with just the potatoes.
  • It is similar to the French recipe for Boulangère potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 150ml of chicken stock
  • 500g of starchy potatoes
  • Butter & sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt & pepper

Method 

  • Butter a rectangular ovenproof dish
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C
  • Fry the onions in the butter & oil mixture till golden.
  • Cut the potatoes into thin slices.
  • Par-boil them for 5 minutes in the milk and water.
  • Remove the potatoes from the liquid.
  • Place a layer of potatoes in the dish.
  • Season as you go along.
  • Place the onions on top.
  • Stir slightly.
  • Finish with a layer of potatoes.
  • Pour the stock into the dish.
  • Cover the dish with foil.
  • Bake for an hour.
  • Remove the foil.
  • Dot the butter on top.
  • Return to the oven for 30 – 45 minutes.