Apricot & Prune Fruit Cake

I have been going through my recipe cuttings and came across this one, which I have been meaning to make for ages as I wanted to try a fruit cake made with either dried apricots or prunes and this has both!

This could easily be described as a keks in Polish.

It is a delicious and moist cake, which can be eaten straight away – so could be a very late bake for Christmas!

The recipe was for a very large round cake but I thought a square would be better for cutting up and so I scaled down the ingredients and made it in a 24 centimetre square tin.

You have to start this cake the night before.


  • 120g dried apricots
  • 165g stoned prunes
  • 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


  • Chop the apricots and prunes 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 fruits and mix well.
  • *
  • Grease and line all sides of a 24 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 2 – 2¼ hours.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.



Tea set by Spencer Stevenson from the mid 20th Century


Yesterday I baked this for the second time in a 21 centimetre square tin – this needed 3 – 3 ¼ hours.

Apple Pancakes

  • At the moment there are lots of Bramley apples from the garden.
  • I often make pancakes – French style crepes and fill them with cooked apples.
  • I also make a slightly thicker type with chopped apples, a recipe from my mum’s sister, sort of apple fritters – racuszki -….. I posted this over 4 years ago.
  • I came across this recipe for – placki, which are more like an American pancake.
  • I think they would have been made originally with soured milk.
  • I have been told you can use kefir instead of yoghurt.
  • I weighed out the flour for this recipe but am sure if you make these often you will be able to judge the amount without getting out the scales.


  • 2 to 3 cooking apples
  • 130g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125ml of yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • Water (up to 60ml)
  • *
  • Sunflower oil for frying


  • Peel the apples and grate them with a coarse grater.
  • Mix in the flour, salt and yoghurt.
  • Beat in the eggs.
  • Add enough water to make a very thick batter.
  • Fry tablespoons on a hot griddle or frying pan – you may need a little sunflower oil.
  • *
  • Best eaten hot – but you can keep them in a warm oven if you want to serve them all together.
  • *
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.
  • *
  • Also delicious with some hot apple sauce with some ground cinnamon mixed in.


Served on La Prune plates by Jet for Ter Steege of the Netherlands.

Raspberry Ripple Icing

This is a recipe for a large sponge cake, sandwiched and iced with an icing made from yoghurt cheese or cream cheese and a thick raspberry sauce.

The sides are not fully covered with the icing – this modern way is called “semi-naked”.

Sponge Cake

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

Ingredients – Icing

  • 350g yoghurt cheese or cream cheese
  • 150g icing sugar

Method – Icing

  • Add the icing sugar bit by bit until you get the desired sweetness.
  • This does not want to be too sweet.
  • You might not need all the sugar.

Ingredients – Sauce

  • 150g of raspberry jam
  • 75ml 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 the serving plate or stand.
  • Spread around a third of the icing on the cake.
  • Drizzle around half of the sauce on the icing.
  • Use a wooden BBQ skewer to make the ripple effect.
  • Place the second cake on top of the icing.
  • Use the rest of the icing to cover the top of the cake and part cover the sides.
  • Drizzle on the rest of the sauce.
  • Repeat using a wooden BBQ skewer to make the ripple effect.
  • Keep the sauce to just the top of the cake.



Tea set is by Spencer Stevenson Co Ltd, who manufactured in England  between 1948 and 1960.  The design name is not known.


Bean Soup

  • This is a lovely winter soup.
  • It would once have been made with reconstituted dried beans but now it is easy to open tins of beans.
  • Any white beans are good such as Haricot, Cannellini or even Black-eyed beans.
  • This can be made in a stock pot on the cooker or in the oven however I find that using a large slow cooker to cook it makes life a lot easier.


  • 2 tins of white beans such as Haricot, Cannellini or Black-eyed beans.
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 1½ litres of vegetable stock – can be from a cube or powder
  • 150g smoked bacon.
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 3 allspice grains
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram  or 1 tablespoon of fresh
  • Butter to fry the onions.
  • Salt & pepper to season – may not be necessary depending on the bacon and stock.
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives to garnish when serving


  • Chop the onions into small pieces.
  • Gently fry the onions till golden.
  • Chop the carrots into circles and halve or quarter them.
  • Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  • Drain the beans from the cans.
  • Put all the ingredients into a pot.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer – or use a slow cooker.
  • Cook until the carrots are soft.
  • Allow the soup to cool slightly.
  • Remove about half of the beans and carrots with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl.
  • Purée the soup left in the pan – using a stick blender is good.
  • Put the beans and carrots back into the soup and stir.
  • Bring back to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives.


Royal Doulton – Tapestry soup plate – 1966 to 1988.

Placek with Figs

  • This placek – flat cake- has a filling of bakalie – dried fruit and nuts – there are lots of figs in this mixture, which make it extra delicious.
  •  The pastry used is a variation on my Polish  kruche ciasto – shortcrust pastry.

Ingredients – Pastry

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • *
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar to sprinkle

Ingredients – Filling

  • 190g dried figs – chopped
  • 60g currants
  • 60g raisins
  • 60g walnuts – chopped
  • 60g soft dark brown sugar
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 125ml water

Method – Filling

This filling needs to be cold – so make this first.

  • Put all the ingredients into a small pan and heat gently.
  • Stir occasionally until the mixture is soft and the water is adsorbed.
  • A little more water might be needed and more heating.

Method – Pastry

  • A rich pastry is made in the traditional rubbed in method with the ingredients listed above.
  • Chill the pastry for around 30 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM 5 – 190°C.
  • Grease and line a shallow tray 21cm x 26cm.
  • Divide the pastry into two.
  • Roll out one piece to line the bottom of the tin.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the pastry – not quite to the edges.
  • Roll the second piece of pastry out and use to cover the filling.
  • Press the edges down to seal.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • Cut into squares when cold.

Hand painted Paragon plates.

Friends who tried this said “Please make this again!”

Fruity Cabbage Salad

Here is a salad made with one of Poland’s favourite vegetables – cabbage.

It is a more fruity variation of a cabbage & orange salad I posted over three years ago!


  • A small white cabbage or sweetheart cabbage
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 eating apples – red skinned for colour contrast.
  • 1 tin of  pineapples
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • A pinch of salt & pepper to taste
  • *
  • Dressing – Mayonnaise & pineapple juice


  • Peel the oranges removing all the pith.
  • Cut them into slices, separate the segments and then chop these into small pieces.
  • Finely shred and chop the cabbage




  • Core the apples and chop them into small pieces.
  • Drain the pineapples from the juice.
  • Chop the pineapples into small pieces.
  • Mix the cabbage and fruits together.
  • Mix mayonnaise and some pineapple juice together to make a thin dressing.
  • Add the dressing and mix everything well together.
  • You can add salt and pepper here if desired.

Served here in my mother’s vintage glass bowl.

I tend to make this salad a while before it is needed as with the magic of osmosis – raisins become plumped up with the juice from the oranges and pineapple. The dressing becomes sweet from the sugars in the raisins.

This salad goes well with roast dinners, cold smoked meats and Polish style sausages.

Chocolate Limes – Torcik

In England there are some old fashioned sweets called chocolate limes, which I really like. They consist of a crunchy lime coating over a dark chocolate paste centre.

I have been making several chilled cakes – torcik – and thought I would try out a variation based on this chocolate and lime idea.

This torcik is a variation on ones that I made previously with different fruits and bases.

I tried out a few variations on the proportions of the ingredients and decided that just having two layers worked best with a chocolate flake decorations on the top.

  1. Biscuit & chocolate base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with lime jelly


  • 100g of plain biscuits such as petit beurre, morning coffee or rich tea
  • 40g butter
  • 50g dark  chocolate
  • *
  • 300g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 packets of lime jelly
  • *
  •  Cadburys flake or grated dark chocolate to decorate.


  • Use a 22cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • This is a smaller size than for my previous ones.
  • Lightly rub the base with some butter.
  • *
  • Crush the biscuits into small crumbs.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate gently, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Add the biscuit crumbs and mix well together.
  • Put the mixture into the base of the tin and press it down firmly.
  • Leave till it is cold.
  • *
  • Dissolve the lime jelly in 150ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • *
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the base.
  • Level the top.
  • *
  • Leave for around 30 minutes so the jelly is starting to set.
  • Decorate  the top with sprinkled grated chocolate or flakes or both.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.
  • Use a long thin spatula to ease the edge.
  • Use a tin to place the cake tin on to move it apart from the base.


Tea plates Waterlily by Taylor and Kent

Oatmeal Bread

  • I have been doing lots of yeast baking recently and came across this recipe.
  • It is adapted from – Favourite Lancashire Recipes compiled by Dorothy Baldcock, Published by J. Salmon Ltd.
  • It is a very delicious and easy to make soft bread.
  • This amount makes two cobs.
  • For centuries oats have been used as a stable food in the hilly areas of the North of England.


  • 250g oatmeal – or blitzed rolled oats
  • 300ml of milk
  • *
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dried
  • 50ml of water
  • *
  • 350g strong flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 50g melted butter
  • *
  • Extra oatmeal for dusting


  • Put the oatmeal and milk in a bowl and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  • Dissolve the sugar in warm water and add the yeast.
  • Leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it starts to froth.
  • In a large bowl mix together the soaked oatmeal, flour, salt and melted butter.
  • Add the yeast and mix until you have a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes (set a timer!).
  • The dough should be soft and pliable.
  • Shape into a ball, cover (a disposable shower cap is good) and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  • *
  • Knock back and knead for 2-3 minutes.
  • Shape into two round cobs and place on a lightly floured sheet.
  • Cover and prove again until doubled in size.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM8 230°C.
  • Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with oatmeal.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Savoury Ducks

  • I have been looking at old North of England recipes and came across Savoury Ducks , which are also known as Faggots.
  • I think they are similar to  Polish liver pulpety .
  • They are made from pig’s liver, oats and sage and served hot with gravy.
  • Originally they would have been wrapped in caul – a thin lacy looking membrane of animal fat – and then cooked. Nowadays this is hard to find.
  • The origin of the names is obscure.
  • Use of the words savoury ducks was recorded 1840.
  • Some think it is a reference to the conical shape, which is like a duck’s egg.
  • The word faggots originally mean a bundle of sticks tied with string.
  • In 1851 the word faggots was noted as a type of meatball.


  • 500g pig’s liver
  • 150g of belly pork
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Lots of fresh sage leaves
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g oatmeal or rolled oats blitzed
  • Salt & pepper
  • Plain flour for shaping –  or
  • 50g butter or lard – if using tray method


  • Pre-heat the oven to GM4– 180°C.
  • Slice the liver, onions and pork thinly.
  • Put in an oven proof dish, which has a lid, with the thyme, sage, salt and pepper and cover with water.
  • Cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  • Strain off the liquid and save for the gravy.
  • Add more fresh sage leaves to the cooked ingredients.
  • Mince (or use a mini-chopper)the cooked liver, meat, onions and extra sage finely.
  • Add the beaten egg and oatmeal to make into a fairly firm mixture.
  • Leave for around 20 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM6 – 200°C.
  • With floured hands form the mixture into small balls.
  • Place in a baking tin with some of the strained liquid at the bottom.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until nicely browned.
  • Serve with thickened gravy made with more fresh sage.


  • An easier option is to press the mixture into a well greased baking dish.
  • Mark out into squares.
  • Dot the top with the butter or lard.
  • Again bake for 45 minutes and serve with thickened gravy made with more fresh sage.

Cherry Torcik

  • The inspiration behind the flavours in this torcik is from a Black Forest Gateau, which is a chocolate cake with sour cherries and Kirshwasser – a cherry spirit, and often with cream.
  • It is claimed to have been invented in 1915 but other sources say it was in the 1930s.
  • It was very popular in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • This torcik is a variation on two that I made previously with different fruits and bases.

When making a torcik you need time to let one layer set before starting on the next.

This torcik is composed of 3 layers

  1. Chocolate sponge base
  2. Sweet curd cheese with black cherry jelly
  3. Drained bottled cherries in black cherry jelly

Ingredients – base

Ingredients – cherry layers

  • 300g twaróg or yoghurt cheese (you could use full fat cream cheese)
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 4 yolks
  • 1 packet of black cherry jelly
  • *
  • Sweet or sour bottled cherries
  • 1 packet of black cherry jelly


  • Use a 22cm diameter loose bottomed or spring-form tin.
  • Lightly rub the base and sides with some butter.
  • *
  • Melt the butter and chocolate and leave to cool a little.
  • Stir in the cake crumbs.
  • Mix together well.
  • Place on the base of the tin and pat down with a spoon.
  • Leave to go cold.
  • *
  • Dissolve the cherry jelly in 150ml of boiling water and leave to cool.
  • The tricky bit is having the jelly at the right temperature to use.
  • *
  • Cream together the butter and icing sugar.
  • Add the egg yolks, one by one, alternating with the twaróg.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Gently mix in the cool jelly.
  • Pour the mixture over the sponge base.
  • Level the top.
  • Leave to set – best in the fridge – for at least 3 hours.
  • *
  • Mix up the black cherry jelly as per the instructions with 500ml of boiling water.
  • Leave the jelly to cool.
  • *
  • Drain the cherries from the juice.
  • Arrange the drained cherries over the black cherry/cheese layer.
  • Gently put the black cherry jelly over the cherries – use one spoon to pour this over the back of a second spoon.
  • Leave it to set again in the fridge – can take several hours.
  • Take great care when removing the torcik out of the tin.
  • Sprinkle some chocolate curls or flakes around the serving plate.


Tea Plates by Royal Crown Derby – Derby Posies  – 1972