Victoria Sponge Cake


Victoria Sponge Cake, light, buttery, golden sponges sandwiched together with homemade raspberry jam. A simple recipe that yields a completely knockout cake both in flavour and looks. And as you master this recipe, you will forever be asked to “bring THAT cake” when gathering with friends and family. Because, put simply, this is a cake for feasting.

Jam and cream filled sponge cake on a pretty plate decorated with little roses.

Since a Victoria Sponge Cake is two identical sponge cakes put together with a slather of jam (and whipped cream if desired) in the middle, it is a great starting point for any baking journey. Because there are no complicated decorating techniques, or steps in the method, the finished cake is all about two things. First of all taste; good quality ingredients are key, butter should not be substituted with margarine. Also, texture; a light sponge is a direct result of not over mixing the cake batter.

Sliced cake showing the freshly made jam between the golden sponges.
Victoria Sponge Cake

Raspberry jam lends a sweet, slightly tart, intense fruit flavour against the buttery, vanilla sponge. While a good quality bought jam is fine to use, making fresh jam adds an additional edge. Since it requires very little time to make I really urge you to try it. Finally, with a light touch and using great quality ingredients the finished result is the Queen of all cakes. I say Queen as this cake is named after Queen Victoria herself.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Recipe: Victoria Sponge Cake serves 8-10

2 x 20cm (8in)  greased loose bottom cake tins, the base of each lined with baking parchment.

225g/8oz Caster Sugar plus 1/2 tsp for dusting the finished cake

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

4 Large Free Range Eggs  – room temp

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour or equivalent weight Plain White Flour plus 1.5 tsp baking powder

2 tsp  Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

Fresh Raspberry Jam use 5 tablespoons of good quality jam if not making from scratch

Juice of 1 Lemon approximately 30mls

225g/8oz Fresh or Frozen Raspberries  – I used frozen from  Waitrose

225g/8oz Sugar

Optional – 300ml Whipped Cream (double or heavy cream)

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan oven, gas mark 4, 350F.

Making the cake sponges

  • First of all thoroughly grease with butter, both cake tins and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Place the sugar, butter and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and fluffy – if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment.
  • Rub a little of the mixture between your fore finger and thumb.  If no grittiness is felt the sugar is well mixed into the butter.
  • Next add the eggs and vanilla extract. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour and whisk together for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Sift the flour (and baking powder if required) into the bowl.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until just combined. Over whisking, or beating will develop the flour’s gluten, resulting in a tough, baked cake.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Making the cake batter.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tins, dividing evenly between the two. If wanted weigh equal quantities of cake batter into the tins.
  • Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Prepared cake batter in the tins, ready to be baked.
  • Place the tins into the centre of the oven (centre and lower shelf if they cannot fit on one shelf).
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden in colour. The cakes are baked when the top springs back when lightly pressed.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from the oven and place the tins on a cooling rack.
  • Allow each cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutesbefore turning out, top of the cake uppermost and placing directly on to a cooling rack.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Golden sponges cooling.

Making the fresh raspberry jam

While the cakes are cooking make the raspberry jam:

  • Into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan add the lemon juice, raspberries and sugar.
  • Also place 2 small plates or saucers into the fridge to chill.
  • Stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and bring up to a simmer on a low heat.
  • As soon as the sugar is dissolved increase the heat to bring the jam up to a rolling boil – bubbling vigorously but not over the sides of the pan.
  • Stir to ensure the jam does not stick. Take care as the jam will be very HOT.
  • After 5 minutes at a rolling boil spoon a few drops of hot jam on to one of the chilled plates. Allow to cool for a minute. Using your finger, push one side of the jam, if it wrinkles up the jam is ready; it has reached setting point. Should the jam not wrinkle continue cooking for a further 2 minutes and test again.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Freshly made Raspberry Jam for the Victoria Sponge Cake.
  • As soon as the jam has reached setting point remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour the very hot jam into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Freshly made raspberry jam.

Assembling the cake

  • To assemble the Victoria Sponge Cake ensure both sponges and the raspberry jam are cold.
  • Carefully peel the baking parchment away from both sponges.
  • Place a sponge, flat side up on to a plate or board.
  • Spoon all of the jam on to the flat sponge and spread almost to the edge. Also, add a layer of whipped cream if desired.
  • Place the second sponge, flat side down, on top of the jam covered bottom sponge.
  • Finish with a light dusting of caster sugar on the top of the cake.
Victoria Sponge Cake filled with freshly made raspberry jam.

Serve this cake sliced with a good quality, fresh made cup of tea. Alternatively a glass of champagne for a special occasion compliments both the event and cake.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. Always refrigerate the cake when adding cream and also during warm weather.

Alternatively, for a heart shaped cake, bake all of the cake batter in a greased and lined, heart shape tin. As soon as the cake is cool cut the cake in half across its width. Fill with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Finally pipe cream onto the top of the cake and decorate with strawberries.

Strawberry and cream decorated heart cake.
Heart Shaped Victoria Sponge Cake

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake with fresh raspberry jam filling you may also like these:

Raspberry and Cream Giant Doughnut

Raspberry And Cream Baked Giant Doughnut with pink drizzle icing a small white sugar ball decorations.
Raspberry And Cream Giant Doughnut

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Heart shaped cake covered in piped buttercream roses and decorated with mini edible pink hearts.
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Strawberries And Cream Cake

Strawberries And Cream Cake,
Strawberries And Cream Cake

While this cake may be easy to make, learning to master a simple recipe and make it well is the foundation to becoming a great cook and baker. Since cake decorating and presentation are of no importance if the product being served and shared does not taste appealing. And flavour always comes first in any feast. Never more so than when the feast is marking a special occasion. Because, friends and family bring out the flavour even further, as my long held belief shows that food shared always tastes better.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes!!


Well a very good day to you. The storm has finally cleared the UK and I sincerely hope you survived it unscathed?  If you are sleep deprived, due to the banging, blowing and crashing howls of wind a Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes may be just what you need to help you get through the day with a smile!

Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!
Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!

Nature’s beauty can be mesmerisingly beautiful, but we should never underestimate it’s force or ruthlessness and ability to deprive us all of a good nights sleep!

I’ve posted lots of pics, now I give you the recipe:

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes (makes 18)

You will need:

2 x 12 Deep Muffin Tins (not shallow fairy cake tins)

18 Cupcake liners (I’ve used brown ‘tulip’ liners – plain white ones look good with chocolate, but the choice is yours!)

Recipe : Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes – makes 18

10oz Unsalted Butter (at room temp)

10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

2tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt (I use Kosher)

5 Large Eggs (Pref Free Range – at room temp)

3oz Cocoa Powder (NOT hot chocolate powder)

7oz Self Raising White Flour

3-4tbsp Whole Milk (at room temp)

6oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Large bowl & an electric whisk (it really makes creaming the sugar & butter bearable!!!!)

Method :

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 175C (160C Fan Oven).

Line the muffin tins with 18 cupcake cases.

Pretty tulip cases, worth the extra effort!!!
Pretty tulip cases, worth the extra effort!!!

Firstly place the butter and treacly dark sugar into a large bowl (of stand mixer, if using, with the paddle mixer attached).

No lumps here!!!!!
No lumps here!!!!!

Unless you are ready for a serious workout I really recommend using an electric whisk to beat the sugar/butter mixture. It will take a while (approx 5-10 mins) for the mixture to become smooth and fluffy.

Next add the punch of salt& vanilla extract and beat the whole mixture until thoroughly combined.

Now if you want to switch to a wooden spoon for mixing you can. Using an electric whisk/beater is also ok, just make sure you don’t over mix once the flour is added, otherwise you won’t have light, cupcakes.

Add 2 of the eggs (I always crack them into a separate bowl first, no one wants crunchy cupcakes!!!) and a third of the cocoa/flour (sifted). Gently mix until almost incorporated.

Repeat this process again.

Callebaut milk chocolate chunks take this cupcake to another level of scrumptiousness!!!!!!!
Callebaut milk chocolate chunks take this cupcake to another level of scrumptiousness!!!!!!!

Now add the last egg and mix gently. Then add the last of the flour/cocoa & the chocolate chunks/chips. Fold these ingredients in gently adding 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the mixture and allow all the ingredients to mix thoroughly and have a slightly wet dropping consistency.

The cake batter should look like this, ready to scoop!!
The cake batter should look like this, ready to scoop!!

I use an ice cream scoop to evenly fill the cupcake cases. But you could always use 2 desert spoons. Just ensure an equal amount of mixture is placed into each case. This ensures that all the cupcakes will be cooked evenly & in the same amount of time.

Using an ice cream scoop to portion the cupcake batter.
Using an ice cream scoop to portion the cupcake batter.
Centre the scoop above the cake liner.
Centre the scoop above the cake liner.
Squeeze the scoop & release the batter into the case!!!
Squeeze the scoop & release the batter into the case!!!

Cook for approx 20 minutes. The cupcakes are cooked when lightly pressed in the middle and the cake springs back.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins until cool enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
NOTE: if using the tulip style cupcake cases, I’ve found it best to leave the cupcakes to COMPLETELY COOL IN THE TIN. The paper cases will then adhere to the cupcakes when removed from the tin.

I left these cupcakes to cool completely in the tin.
I left these cupcakes to cool completely in the tin.

These chocolate chunk cupcakes are then perfect to serve unadorned!

However if making for a special occasion or just because, you can ice or top them with whatever you like!!

I’ve used Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Fudge Icing (which I’ve found is easier to apply using 2 teaspoons, rather than piping, when using the tulip cupcake wrappers. I’ve then sprinkled a variety of gold sugar balls, white chocolate stars, glitter, even rice paper figurines.

Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!
Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!

Melted chocolate drizzled over the top, or half double cream/half chocolate melted together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), creates a chocolate ganache. If using ordinary (not tulip) cases the cupcakes can then be dipped into the ganache, covering the entire surface of the cupcake. This will then cool to a soft, fudgey consistency, whereas melted chocolate on its own will harden on cooling.

Ganache dipped cupcakes with a sparkly addition of gold dragee balls.
Ganache dipped cupcakes with a sparkly addition of gold dragee balls.

You can then sprinkle & adorn to your hearts content. Although left without the sprinkles these cupcakes still look gorgeous & scrummy.

Now it’s time to share!!

I invested in some individual clear, plastic cupcake holders, which not only allow the cupcakes to be transported easily but also allow the recipient to clearly see their gift. I have also popped the cupcakes into cellophane bags tied with rafia. This also looks beautiful, but is more fiddly & you have to be careful not to get any of the icing on the inside of the bag, as it spoils the look.

If you want to make someone smile, or you know someone who needs cheering up, this recipe is FOOLPROOF.

When I give a gift, especially one I’ve made, I’m NOT looking to be basked in thanks & glory for what I’ve given. I want the recipient to feel special. To know that they’ve been thought of & know that they are special to me.

I’ve received gifts that are more about the giver than the recipient & although I’m always thankful, somehow, if the giver is looking to be showered with praise, the gift feels soulless.


Don’t get me wrong a thank you is nice, but other than that I’m not seeking praise. I really try to think of who I am giving to & what their likes & preferences are. In doing this I must disregard what I want and focus on others.

Some people like a big fuss & that’s fine. They like attention & they enjoy being the centre of it. So when giving them a gift I know they don’t mind if it’s in a roomful of people. They enjoy celebrating in a big way.

Others are quieter. They would be mortified at the notion of being centre of attention. That is fine too. So the gift will be given quietly, without pomp & circumstance. Because it’s not about the giver but the recipient.

If you’ve taken the time, love & care to make something for someone, give equal thought to how you will give it to them.

Nobody, especially me, gets it right all the time! But we can all try, me included.

A well meant gift, given in a thoughtful way says you care.

Have fun trying the cupcakes. If you want to make fewer a rough guide is 1 egg/2oz butter/1 1/2oz self raising white flour/1/2oz cocoa powder.

I’d love to hear how you get on, so please leave a comment?

In the mean time have lots of fun, feasting and sharing!!

Sammie x


Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread


Bread is something that I really enjoy making. Flour, yeast, salt and water, combined and worked, create a bread with real taste. Add in a few extra flavours and the possibilities are endless. Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is an incredibly easy, yet packed with flavour bread. Perfect for making at home.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread.

This week in our house is all about birthdays. Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my Sister’s birthday in the same week. Definitely time for Feasting, Celebrating and Fun! Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!

Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having. His enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!I adore his passion & zest for life, even if at times it can be exhausting and overwhelming.

So, to make life a bit easier on myself today, I grabbed a previously, made and frozen Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne  from the freezer last night and left it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Yes, I confess to feeling a tiny little bit smug.
Since I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), so much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  Also, as this is such a reliable and easy recipe, I decided to share it with you.

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.


You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread 

1lb Strong Plain White Flour – I use Shipton Mill

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast and swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil and salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary and salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife. Please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic, just be happy that you’re innovative.

Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together and work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily and feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.

Shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).

Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin).  Then using your fingers or a piece of kitchen towel completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil. When doing this by hand, your nails also benefit from a cuticle treatment.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands and nails may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment. Just saying, I NEED the treatment.

If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles and gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread. If you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do, you’re going to LOVE this next bit.
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin and is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part? So much fun!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper and the rest of the garlic. Split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves.

Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp. When laying your cling film over the top it will lay flat and not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, or random kitchen objects. You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling using your hands, or a pastry brush.
I know there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!

Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but and it’s happened to me, it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size. Alternatively,  place the dough in the fridge. While it will take longer to rise, the bread will develop a lovely flavour, due to the slow prove. It’s your dough, so, do whatever you fancy.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size. Knock it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise and it’s turned out fine.
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until a golden colour and still quite soft. The base should sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.

Once baked, remove from the oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out and place on to a cooling rack. Repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil and freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread baked as a whole.

This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek and potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil and freeze the other one.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread you may also like these:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Easy Crusty Baguettes.

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Cheese Bombs

I really hope you give this recipe a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano and SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs. Ooh I’m such a rebel! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Since I find that soft herbs are better mixed with butter and oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.

See you soon. Sammie xx

No part of this blog post may be replicated without written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!


If you like chocolate cookies & love the taste of Mars Bars – you will totally flip out over these Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!
I could keep you in suspense no longer.

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies

I may have mentioned my particular preference for a cookie with my cuppa? This combined with my natural curiosity led to these Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies being made.
But, if I’m going to completely truthful, I had an ulterior motive for making them!! More on that later.

Soooo Delicious
Soooo Delicious

I do apologise I have not yet said hello & good morning to you. I hope you are well today & encourage you to read yesterday’s blog: more food for the soul, than for our tummies & definitely way more important. I hope it makes you think, question, wonder & seek.
Today the rain is lashing down, giving the gardens a well needed dousing. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine, YAY! Sunshine always seems to make people seem brighter & happier – listen to me! English & talking about the weather – I’m a stereotype!!!!
I promised you my reason for the ulterior motive behind these cookie. Well…… I also made PEANUT BUTTER SNICKERS COOKIES which I absolutely lurve – I will post that recipe soon!
Making the Chocolate  Mars Bar Cookies keeps my lil kiddly winks away from the Snickers Cookies! They prefer chocolate Cookies over any other!!!
I know, I know I go on about sharing & I do. I really do! I shared the Snickers Cookies with my special QC friend!

Recipe : CHOCOLATE MARS BAR COOKIES – makes approx 28-32

You will need 2 x Baking Sheets (lined with parchment paper, even if non stick)

5oz  Dark Brown Sugar (light brown is fine if that’s what you have to hand)

8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4  tsp Salt

1  Large Egg Yolk (pref Free Range)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3oz  Cocoa Powder

7oz  Plain White Flour

3-4  Mars Bars – chopped

Method :

Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan)

The gorgeous dark brown sugar gives these cookies a fudgier flavour!!!!!!
The gorgeous dark brown sugar gives these cookies a fudgier flavour!!!!!!

Place the sugar, butter & salt into a bowl. Whisk or beat until light & fluffy.
Add in the egg yolk & Vanilla Extract. Whisk or beat until fully incorporated into the butter/sugar mixture.

Naughty - I didn't sift my flour/cocoa - whoops!!!!
Naughty – I didn’t sift my flour/cocoa – whoops!!!!

Next add the flour & cocoa ( you can sift them in if you prefer) & the chopped Mars Bars (don’t try to sift them – just trying to be helpful!!!!).
Slowly mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated together – it is inevitable that during this time the chunks of Mars Bar break up a bit, DON’T WORRY!!! This just adds to the gooey texture of the cookies!

Gooey, chocolatey, cookie dough!!!!!
Gooey, chocolatey, cookie dough!!!!!

Take a desert spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball using your hands. The ball should be approx 1″ across, add or take away cookie dough to get the right size.

Cookie dough balls, ready to be lightly squished!!!
Cookie dough balls, ready to be lightly squished!!!

Make 16 balls, as above & place 8 on each cookie sheet, evenly spaced as they will spread on baking.
With clean hands use your fingers to gently flatten each ball.
Place in the preheated oven & cook for 10-13 mins (depending on size of cookies & oven).

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!!
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!!

WITH THE REMAINING COOKIE DOUGH: Place onto a long piece of cling film, gently roll into a log shape.

Cookie dough log removed from fridge & left to warm for 20 mins before slicing.
Cookie dough log removed from fridge & left to warm for 20 mins before slicing.

Wrap thoroughly in the cling film & refrigerate for up to 4 days, double wrap & freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge, overnight, if previously frozen, then remove from the fridge 15-30 minutes before slicing into 1/4″ thick discs.

Bake as follows :

With cocoa in the dough mixture it can be difficult to tell when the cookies are cooked: Firstly, don’t be surprised if some of the Mars Bar chunks burst from the edge of the cookie & bubble away – this is fine. They will easily come away from the parchment paper when cooled (hence the need for parchment paper, so you don’t have to use a knife to scrape your non stick baking sheets!!!).
The cookies will be set around the edge & although still soft to the touch (they will harden in cooling) each cookie will have a fixed shape & have a dull surface (not shiny where the butter & sugar are still baking).
It’s very hard to give an exact cooking time for these cookies due to the inherent variations of the cookie size & different ovens.
My suggestion would be to remove them from the oven if they fulfil the above criteria & to DEFINITELY not cook them for longer than 13 mins.
The large proportion of Cocoa will result in a dry, claggy, stick to the roof of your mouth Cookie if over cooked.
Better to have a soft chewy, slightly undercooked Cookie.
Remember Cookies are not like cakes! Once cooled & hardened if you feel they really are too undercooked, pop them back into the preheated oven for a couple more minutes. This should finish their cooking!

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies, made for sharing!
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies, made for sharing!

These cookies are at their best the next day after making (I’m sorry) but they still taste good once cooled!!
They make excellent gifts: Pop a few in a cellophane bag, tie with a pretty ribbon or rafia, or place in a pretty tin for a larger gift.
We don’t have to wait for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas (although these are always good opportunities to share & give).

Have you ever been surprised by a gift, just because someone wanted to show you they cared? If not, why not start a new tradition?
I know of a church, in Devon, who buy lots of Easter eggs & give them out to the businesses of their small town as a thank you, for the services the businesses supply to the townsfolk throughout the year!!! What an amazing idea!
Sharing is contagious! Now what I am ABSOLUTELY NOT saying is that we should give to receive. Only that by giving & sharing we are showing others & they in turn may go on to share.

A SHARING REVOLUTION : imagine the difference & smiles that would generate?


Sammie x


Important Stuff


Good morning to all you lovely people. Whatever today holds for you I hope when you read through this blog the Important Stuff will encourage you to smile & when you smile I hope that it encourages others to smile too.

Why Write This Post On Important Stuff

It may sound odd, but I actually believe that HAPPINESS is a choice for most of us (please don’t think I am any way mocking people who are depressed, anxious, lonely, grieving, sad & all other manner of terrible situations – I ABSOLUTELY AM NOT). When I say Happiness is a choice, what I’m mean is that during the hundreds of thousands of situations & circumstances we are in and go through in life, most of us have a choice.

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Happiness as a result of being loved.

That choice usually represents itself simply as: Do I concentrate on all the bad stuff that I’m going through at the moment, or amidst the darkness & fog that I’m in, do I try to find something Good & Positive to hold on to? I’ve said being Happy is a choice for most of us – I didn’t say it was easy! Of all the difficult circumstances that I’ve only just started to touch on, I’ve been through most & more. But I’M NOT SAD! I should be but I’m not.


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Sometimes you have to look past the darkness and into the light.

Choosing What Is Important

Some may say that’s easy for me, I have a loving family & friends: you can still be lonely in a roomful of people. Others may argue that we all naturally have periods of sadness in our lives: that is true, but it is our choice as to how long we dwell on them. Still others may say ” You don’t understand, my situation is HOPELESS & I can’t see a way out”. To those I say, I’ve been there. Whilst I may not know exactly the circumstances of your situation, I do understand what it is like to be trapped, with no clear exit route in view.

My life has never been a bed of roses, EVER! I face daily challenges and also difficult memories. Yet I still smile. I smile because amongst all the darkness I choose, to see LIGHT. Amongst all the noise I listen for the bird song. Against all the ugliness of a situation I will SEEK OUT the beauty. I make the choice to find the POSITIVE amongst the negative. Also I have HOPE. A never ending certain HOPE. I KNOW that I am LOVED.

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The Cross in the centre, where life, love and hope are found. As the thief on the cross next to Jesus found out, it’s never too late.

The Ultimate Price Paid

A man named Jesus, a long time ago, took all the wrong doing that is in this world, all the injustice, hatred, hopelessness and wrongdoing (sin) upon HIS shoulders and died on a Cross. Naked, humiliated, despised by the very people He had come to help, Jesus knows loneliness, pain, neglect, suffering. And yet He still loved them. His love was shown when He took the place of ALL MANKIND, took all the SIN OF THE WORLD and paid the price, that we should have to pay, HE GAVE HIS LIFE, SO THAT WE MAY HAVE LIFE, IN HIM FOREVER.

Not only did He die on the Cross, for us, but HE OVERCAME DEATH WHEN HE AROSE from the dead THREE DAYS LATER. HE OVERCAME DEATH and in doing so laid a path for us to know Him. TO KNOW JESUS AND OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. Jesus said “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH THE SON”. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD!! If we know Him, then we too can know God. HE IS OUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER.

You Are Important

Every living person on this beautiful planet IS LOVED BY GOD. Every living person, has at some time, said or done something that is wrong, the Bible calls this Sin. The penalty for Sin is Death. Whether you believe in God or not, one day every person will stand before God and be judged,  asked to give an account of themselves, their lives and their actions. You can choose not to believe this will happen, I am letting you know IT WILL.

That sounds pretty scary to me. I know I’m not perfect, yet I have nothing to worry about because;  “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, THAT WHOSOEVER (that’s you & me) BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT DIE BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE”. WOW! No need to be afraid now. GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON!

You Are Loved

Firstly for those of you who are lonely or feel unloved YOU ARE LOVED – GOD LOVES YOU.

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Important Stuff, each individual is accepted by God, flaws and all.

Secondly for those of you who are aimlessly walking through life, no real direction (except to go to work, pay your bills, raise your family – but somewhere inside of you, you question: Is there more to this??), JESUS SAID I AM THE WAY!! Now you can have direction – straight to God & ALL the Goodness & Love that He has for you.

Thirdly, for everyone who is searching for something. Looking for a bigger picture, but there are SO MANY religions, ideas to follow: JESUS SAID I AM THE TRUTH. You’ve found your answer. Jesus IS THE WAY TO GOD. Next, for those of you that feel hopeless, dejected, worthless: JESUS SAID I AM THE LIFE. A life lived with JESUS has HOPE, PURPOSE, WORTH.



He gave His life freely, at any point He could of spoken up in His own defense & saved Himself, but He didn’t – HE GAVE HIS LIFE FREELY.

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Jesus is the light of this world. In Him no darkness is found.

What does ‘Important Stuff’ mean to me?

No longer do I live a life without purpose but can smile each day, even through the tough times, for I know, I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN, that JESUS WHO IS THE LIFE, lives in me, by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Not only that, but God promises ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL (not a chosen few elite individuals). I have a lot TO SMILE ABOUT.

You too can make this choice. Indeed nothing in life is more important, God is waiting with His arms open wide for you. His desire is that you would know HOW LOVED YOU ARE. While this may sound ‘Too good to be true’,  I promise you it isn’t. God loves you whether you love Him back or not. He accepts you no matter what life you have lived, or however bad you think you are.

GOD’S GIFT OF SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST IS FREE. You cannot work for it, earn or buy it. Jesus desires to be part of your life. He wants to be the SMILE IN YOUR HEART. As for me, I love my Lord JESUS with all of my heart. He has helped me, healed me, guided and protected me and saved me.

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Every caterpillar turns into a butterfly, just as everyone can turn to God and ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

Important Stuff is the most important post I have written to date!

If you too would like to know JESUS as your personal Saviour and Friend, then you can pray to God now. Ask Him to forgive you for all the wrong you have done, acknowledge JESUS as God’s Son and ask Him to come into your life, to be your Lord and guide you. Ask God to reveal His love for you through the bible & to guide you to a local Christian Church that loves God, His Word (the bible), Jesus & God’s Holy Spirit.

If you prayed that prayer CONGRATULATIONS.

What to do next?

I suggest you start reading the Gospel of John, found in the New Testament part of the bible (NIV, NKJV are both very good bibles to start with, accurate & written without thee’s, thou’s & older day language – although personally the King James Bible will always be my preference!). John is the fourth book of the New Testament & before reading I suggest praying and asking God to reveal Himself to you through His Written Word.

Finally it would be lovely if you would share your experience in the comments box. If you would rather I did not make your words public, then please say so & I promise not to publish your comments. Also if you would genuinely like more information, please leave a message & I will do my best to help.

No disrespect to people of other Faiths, but I will not get drawn into time wasting arguments regarding this post, I will only answer genuine queries & politely ask that you respect this.

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Rainbows a sign of God’s promise to us.


IMPORTANT STUFF is and always will be THE most important post on the blog.
Thank you for reading, I pray that God will open your heart to His love.

Sammie xx

For more information and resources on becoming a Christian and learning about Jesus please visit jjohn .


What a feast we had!!

If I were a fairy, this cake would be my home xx
If I were a fairy, this cake would be my home xx

Hi there. I really do hope that you are having a good day? If not I hope tomorrow is better for you.

As for me, eldest daughter is having  a sleepover tonight with some friends. So of  course we’ve had plenty of fun and feasting- although  how much sleep is had tonight I can only guess at!!

They are all lovely girls and all four of their birthdays are near each other, so I thought it would be nice to make them all a special cupcake,

Sharing their birthday celebrations together, with a pretty cupcake tower
Sharing their birthday celebrations together, with a pretty cupcake tower!!

Now before I get into the feasting frivolities, I feel it is necessary to share with you my love of fairy lights. They add such sparkle to a room. With one flick of the switch a nice room becomes a magical party room. And they make me smile, especially when I see them reflected in a mirror. It’s like an extra bonus (buy one get one free!!!). I feel so much better having shared that as it will help to further explain my other love……

Sparkles, whether it is a shimmering, sun lit sea scape, or a harsh overnight frost followed by a sun lit, clear blue sky. The way the ice crystals sparkle under the bright low sun  & spiders webs, beautifully defined by the ice crystals, look like something straight out of an Enid Blyton fairy story.

But sparkles, although enchanting in nature, can also be used to turn a pretty cupcake, into a spectacular one. I’m talking edible glitter here people & the world – my world – loves to sprinkle a little glitter whenever the occasion allows ( I satisfy myself with a daily application of sparkly lip gloss – & I’m happy about that!!).  Christmas (as well as properly remembering & giving thanks to God for the birth of his son Jesus) sees me in my element, totally immersed in fairy lights, tinsel, baubles & pots & pots of glitter – edible or otherwise.

Anyhow back to this blog! Here’s a couple of photos of the vanilla & chocolate cupcakes (I’m proud of the restraint I showed whilst decorating them!!!!

Chocolate, but sparkly & classy!!
Chocolate, but sparkly & classy!!

So I made a couple of pizzas (thank you Mr Bread machine), some coleslaw, garlic bread – with fresh Thyme – my fav so far, well today, baked oven potato wedges, cocktail sausages & sausage rolls ( the last 3 cooked from a packet – I know my limits!!), added a couple of dips, crisps & crudités & the feast was complete. The hungry teenagers got stuck in!!

Many hands make pizza disappear quickly!!!!
Many hands make pizza disappear quickly!!!!

And I’m not sure I have ever heard so much laughter, seen such happy faces or seen pizza disappear quite so quickly. It made me glad and thankful.

Thankful that I am married to a man who loves me sooo deeply, flaws an all. Thankful that we have 3 beautiful, loving, caring & thoughtful children. The BEST family anyone could ever hope for & secure in the knowledge that we are loved by the best man who ever walked this earth, Jesus.

He is our strength & our refuge. It is only by being full up & constantly refilled with His unending love that we can deal with daily challenges & still smile. Thank you Lord.

I hope that you too know my friend Jesus, He IS the smile that lives in my heart.

If you don’t know Him & the Vast love & forgiveness He has for you, please leave a comment & I will get back to you with more info?

Thank you for taking time to read my blog. I’m not very tech savvy & everything I have written & photographed on my phone!!!!

Until next time, & I say this as much to myself as you, try to react in a kind, considerate way the next time someone puts an obstacle in your path & if you can smile through it, all the better xx


Blueberry And Lemon Muffins


Welcome to Feasting is Fun and these fruity Blueberry And Lemon Muffins. Made using a whole lemon, zest and juice and packed full of blueberries. Ideal for packed lunches, picnics or afternoon tea. Most importantly these muffins are perfect eaten any time of the day. Although, as always, they taste better when shared.

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Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Since I’ve been thinking about the names that different foods are given, for example, Buffalo wings, the name totally confuses me. Because Buffalos don’t have wings, well not the ones I’ve ever seen on television or in books. Now wait for it, this is going to come as a massive surprise,  they are in fact Chicken Wings. Also, as far as I’m aware, Moussaka doesn’t have Moose in it or Mousse! Bell peppers don’t go ding a ling a ding, when shaken. Likewise, I’m pretty sure Horseradish doesn’t have horse in it. Such is the English language, if you think of any more please post them in the comments box?

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Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Well I can guarantee that these Blueberry And Lemon Muffins definitely have both Lemon and Blueberries in them. Now although I call these muffins, they aren’t proper muffins in the strictest sense,  but they’re not cupcakes either. So I settled on muffins, you know that whole thing with the English Language?  It doesn’t really matter, all you need to know is that they are good.

So good in fact that place two Blueberry Lemon Muffins in a bowl, whilst still warm and slather with custard, or cream, or both. Then dig in!

Recipe : Blueberry And Lemon Muffins makes 12

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

3 Large Free Range Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Buttermilk

175g/6oz Fresh Blueberries rinsed and dried

1 Unwaxed Lemon zest and juice – zest first and then squeeze out the juice

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

Method : Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5

Making The Muffin Batter

  • First of all place 12 large muffin cases into a deep muffin tin.
  • Place the sugar, salt and butter into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk and juice of one lemon.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl.
  • Whisk together until just combined. Over mixing will cause the muffins to be tough.
  • Keep back 12 blueberries for topping the muffins.
  • Add the lemon zest and remaining blueberries to the batter and fold in gently using a large metal spoon.
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Making the Blueberry And Lemon Muffin batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, dividing equally.
  • Top each muffin with a fresh blueberry.

Baking The Muffins

  • Place the muffin tin into the oven centre and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • The muffins are baked when golden and spring back from a light touch. An inserted skewer will come out clean of batter, with some blueberry juices attached.
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Filling the muffin cases and baking them.
  • As soon as the muffins are baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the tin and place on to a cooling rack.
  • Leave to cool completely, or until just warm.
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Now arrange nicely and take a photo. Email this photo to five friends, put the kettle on and see who arrives!

Blueberry And Lemon Muffins
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

These muffins are at their best, just warm. Since each blueberry, when cooked forms it’s own little pod of jam throughout the muffin. Seriously yummy and very hard to stop at one, two, three….. Remember they’re for sharing.

Enjoy. While reminding yourself that blueberries are a ‘super food’  and there’s a whole lemon in the recipe, happily kid yourself that the feast before you is good for you. Since it is packed with Vitamin C.

Store cold muffins in an airtight container and eat within three days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Blueberry And Lemon Muffins then you may also like these:

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

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Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Double Strawberry Almond Muffins

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Double Strawberry Almond Muffins


A fantastic recipe to make with children who will wolf them down as quick as they are cool enough to eat. With big jammy, smiling faces and wide eyes begging you to make another batch for them to share at school. Go on – it’s fun!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


Amazing Apple Pie


Today it is Sunday, traditionally the day of rest. Since not everyone gets to stay at home, I have a treat for you. Either to make for your family and loved ones when then come in from work, any day of the week, or just because it is so delicious. A dessert that will make you want to go for a brisk walk afterwards, or snuggle up on the sofa and have a nap. Here is my Amazing Apple Pie.

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Amazing Apple Pie

A Time To Rest

Rest and relaxation is so important. More so nowadays in our 24/7 world. While life, with work/children/DIY/etc. can sometimes feel as though we are chasing our tails. It is important to take time to stop and rest. Turn off our electrical devices, mentally switch off from all the tasks still to be ‘done’ and simply be. Whether that be playing a board game, reading a book or going for a walk. Rest is good for our mind, body and soul.

I will let you into a secret, once you’ve finished your list of things that MUST be done, guess what? More ‘jobs’ will miraculously appear! So if we take a few hours, or even a whole day to chill out, rest, or spend time doing something, that in itself is relaxing, we will feel soo much better. And be ready to face the world and all the demands that are placed on us.

We were created to work and be fruitful (no pun intended on the Amazing Apple Pie) but also to rest.

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Amazing Apple Pie

Not Forgetting The Workers

Obviously I’m aware many, many people cannot rest on a Sunday. Our Doctors and Nurses, who do such a fantastic job of treating and looking after sick people, don’t just down tools and stop because it’s Sunday. There are millions of people who, without their commitment to providing our security, ensuring our power supplies continue, indeed run our government and many, many more dedicated professions who work around the clock. Far too many to mention here – who ensure the smooth running & care of the population of our Great United Kingdom. To them I give my heartfelt thanks. Just think, Vicars don’t get Sunday off.

Baking And Gardening – My Ways To Relax

Rest doesn’t have to mean just plopping down in front of the telly, although if that’s how you chill out, go for it! Personally I love gardening, gentle gardening, pottering. Planting a few bulbs, deadheading, a little light pruning, nothing that causes me to beak out in a sweat and lands me on the sofa for 3 days, simply because I’ve overdone it. That is not rest, I’ve learned the hard way!

Baking is right up there with gardening as a form of relaxation for me. Gentle pastry making, not frenetic mid-week meal cooking, followed by mums taxi running one child to piano, my lil man to scouts, not to mention the impossible task of getting a filthy rugby kit washed, dried, ironed and ready by the next day. I don’t even own a tumble drier!

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Amazing Apple Pie served with Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard.

So to my recipe for scrumptious Amazing Apple Pie: am I stressed Noooo. I find the whole process relaxing – if you find that strange – that’s ok. You do what you must to relax, I bake or garden!

You will need a 9-10″ glass pie dish ( the glass really does make a difference – the bottom of the pie doesn’t go soggy – don’t know why – but glass seems to conduct the heat better, resulting in a pie that is baked evenly on the bottom as well as the top! Anyhow it works!!!

Recipe: Amazing Apple Pie serves 6

For the pastry:

350g/12 oz Plain White Flour

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

75g/3oz Unsalted Butter – cold & cubed

75g/3oz Vegetable Shortening – cold & cubed (or broken into similar sized chunks as the butter) I use Trex

1 Free Range Egg, whisked with 1 tbs of water – for egg wash

1tbsp Demerera Sugar – I use Billingtons

For the filling:

600g/1lb 4oz weight of peeled Apples – Tart varieties (such as Granny Smiths, or cooking apples such as Bramleys) are best, but windfalls of any variety can be used

2 tbs Corn flour also called corn starch

1 Large Lemon – juiced

2 tbs Vanilla sugar or caster sugar & 1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6

Making The Pastry

Place all the ingredients into a bowl (of stand mixer if using, with paddle attachment), using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, quickly rub/cut/blend the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles lumpy breadcrumbs – pea sized pieces of fat should still be visible.

Add enough cold water – 1 tbs at a time until the pastry JUST comes together, stirring with a butter or palette knife. Just as the mixture starts to clump go in with your hands and gently and quickly bring the clumps together into a ball.

Place the pastry onto some cling film, pat out to form a disc & then cut the disc in half, reshape each half back into a disc. Wrap each half in cling and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to allow the pastry to relax.

NOTE : Whilst the pastry is resting you can prepare the filling – see below.

As soon as the pastry has rested remove it from the fridge and place 1 disc on a clean floured surface. With a lightly floured rolling pin start rolling, using even outward motion and turning the disc, adding small amounts of flour so that the pastry doesn’t stick.

When the circle looks wide enough to fill the pie dish, will a small amount of over lap, place the pastry into the UNGREASED pie dish, so that the excess pastry drapes slightly over the edges of the pie dish.

Please don’t worry,  if you have followed the recipe and are using a glass pie dish IT DOES NOT need greasing. There is enough fat in the pastry for it not to stick. If you have used a different type of pie dish I would play it safe and butter it first.

Preparing The Apple Pie Filling

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice the quarters into 3.

Place the prepared apples into a bowl and pour over the lemon juice, cornflour, sugar and spices. Using clean hands toss the apples so that each piece is covered in the lemony, gooey mixture.

Place the apple mixture onto the pastry base.

Using a pastry brush lightly brush the outside edge of the pastry with egg wash.

Remove the 2nd pastry disc and roll out as before, ensuring when placed on top, the circle of pastry slightly overlaps the top of the pie.

Using a sharp knife carefully trim the excess pastry. Either use a fork or your forefinger and thumb and press the lid of the pastry to seal it around the rim to the bottom layer.

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Creating an Amazing Apple Pie

Make a few snips in the top of the pastry, to allow any steam to escape.

Creating A Decorative Pie Lid

If you want to be creative, make leaves, berries, whatever you want to decorate the top of the pie, making sure you don’t cover the slits in the pastry up. I just happen to have a mini apple shaped cutter that I couldn’t resist using on this pie.

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Decorated with Pastry apples and leaves, this Amazing Apple Pie is ready for the oven.

Baking The Amazing Apple Pie

Brush the top of the Amazing Apple Pie with egg wash and then sprinkle the Demerera Sugar over the top of the pie. This adds an extra crunch and very mild toffee flavour. Put the pie dish onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The pie is cooked when it is a gorgeous golden colour, on top and underneath.

Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for 15 minutes, this will make it easier to slice.


FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie 

Serve this Amazing Apple Pie with Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard, cream, vanilla ice cream (or all of them!) and a big smile. Wait and in that moment of the first mouthful being eaten, you will become the most popular, loved person in the room.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amazing Apple Pie you may also like these:

Autumn Apple Almond Cake

Autumn almond apple cake a gluten free bake using fresh free apples from the garden.
Autumn Apple Almond Cake – gluten free.

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Iced Bakewell Tart option for un iced version too.

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Blackberry Nectarine Tart

This pie cries out to be shared with family, friends and loved ones alike. Also why not pop across the road to the gentleman who recently lost his wife and share a slice of pie with him?

Sometimes, when we are stumped by what to say, our actions can convey more than words ever could.

Until next time, challenge yourself to share with someone who is outside of your comfort zone. You may just make somebody else smile?

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole


As a family of five, make ahead meals are really helpful when life gets busy. And, if the recipe can be made in one pot that makes the cooking experience easier and more fun. My Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole ticks both boxes. Whether it is bubbling away on the hob, or in the oven, it’s aroma fills the house with a warm spicy scent. Almost like a warm hug welcoming you home.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Why I love Autumn

Before we get on with the recipe, I’d like to share my thoughts with you. Since Autumn, or Fall as it’s called in the States is my favourite season. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Summer, in fact, I like all of the seasons. Much as the glorious, unending sunshine places like California offer, I simply love the change in seasons we enjoy here in England. You may enjoy reading Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

There is something enchanting about the subtle change in weather, usually towards the end of August, or beginning of September where I live. Whether it’s the deep, deep green of the leaves on the trees, or the rustle as the wind blows through the drying out leaves. As their colour changes, from deepest red to fiery orange, with an almost last nod to the low hanging sun in the sky, they finally turn yellow. Some days bring fluttering, confetti like leaves, dancing through the air on a breeze. While other days see trees, ripped overnight of their leafy covering, by violent storms and gale force winds.

Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole served with crusty bread.

There is a welcoming warmth of sunshine. Especially on a clear, frosty, day. Although, there is something to be said for darker, rain and wind filled days, snuggled up on the sofa, the smell of a spicy casserole, gently bubbling away in the oven. And puddings! A must, some may say essential,  during the colder months.

Creating a cheap meal using quality  products

Since first making this dish it has evolved to the final recipe given here. While most of the ingredients are relatively cheap, it is essential to use good quality sausages. Pale, flabby, pink sausages will simply disintegrate during the long cooking process. So adding good quality pork sausages, while more expensive, will enhance the overall flavour of the dish. Especially as one packet will feed up to six people, or more!

Also, when making this dish, you can adjust the amount of chilli, or even leave it out. Although, it is worth noting that the heat from the chilli lessens during the cooking process. I like the amount given in the recipe as the final dish has a warmth to it without being noticeably spicy.

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Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole an easy one pan meal.

You will need a large ( 4 litre) ovenproof casserole dish, or bigger if doubling the recipe to feed a crowd.

Note: You can make this recipe using a Slow Cooker, the cooking time will be longer.

Recipe: Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole serves 4 – 6

1 Large Onion – chopped into small dice

1 Aubergine – chopped into 1/2″ cubes

450g/1lb Good Quality Sausages each sausage chopped into 4 pieces – I use Graig Farm Sausages

2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes ( plus 1 extra tin if not adding wine)

1 x 400g tin of baked beans

2 x 400g butter beans – strained and rinsed with cold water

4 individual bulbs of garlic – minced

1 chilli (or 1tsp chilli flakes) finely chopped

200mls of red wine I use Claret (or 100ml Port – any type except Tawny) – optional – add extra tin of tomatoes when leaving out alcohol.

2 tbsp tomato puree

1/2tsp Celery Seeds

3/4tsp Fennel Seeds – I use Bart spices

Handful of fresh parsley chopped and added after serving

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to season.

Note: Having made this dish many times, it has never needed the addition of salt.

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4, 350F.

Assembling the casserole

  • First of all place the onion, aubergine and sausages in the casserole dish and pour over the red wine or Port.
  • Add both tins of tomatoes, then half fill each tin with cold water, swirl around so that you get all of the tomato juices left inside the tin and pour over the casserole.
  • Next tip in the baked beans and swirl the tin with water as before, pouring into the dish, then add the rinsed butter beans.
  • Add the tomato purée, minced garlic, chilli, celery seeds, fennel seeds and a good grinding of black pepper
  • Add more cold water until all the ingredients are just covered with liquid. Making sure there is still a good inch between the liquid and the top of the casserole dish.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Making the casserole.
  • Place the lid (or cover tightly with tin foil) on to the dish and place in the oven.
  • Cook at 180C for 1/2 hour then reduce the heat to 140C/120C fan, gas mark 1, 275F, or a very low oven temperature.
  • Continue to cook for 3 hours. Check and top up with recently boiled water so that the ingredients are just covered with liquid again.
  • Clamp on the lid (or foil) and return to the oven for 2 more hours. You can repeat the liquid adding throughout the day, the longer this casserole cooks the better it tastes!
  • The Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole will be cooked after 5 1/2 hours.
  • Serve in bowls, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley for a fresh, grassy, Vitamin C filled flavour.
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Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Finally, ladle into bowls and serve with fresh crusty bread such as my Large White Bloomer for dunking in the spicy juices.

Leftovers can be chilled, portioned into individual freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole you may also like these:

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

Slow Roasted Cider Pork
Slow Roasted Cider Pork


Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chunky Chilli

Chunky chilli con carne
Chunky Chilli


I love the wonderful memories evoked when making this meal. While on holiday in Devon I began making a meal to share with our hosts and friends. During the cooking process the number of diners coming for dinner began increasing. So, ever resourceful, I began adding extra beans, tomatoes and wine to the casserole, bubbling away. Our larger group sat happily around a big oak table, enjoying good food and most importantly, great company. Friendships were forged as the conversation flowed. And, it became a feast to remember.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

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Still Smiling!!!

This Cosmos makes me smile!!
This Cosmos makes me smile!!

Good morning – well it is for me. Well better than yesterday and yes I am Still Smiling!!! Yesterday I had a migraine (which I get frequently, too frequently). I spent the day burying my head in pillows in a pitch dark room, in horrendous pain & fighting nausea. Not nice.

But today I’m feeling a bit better, I keep having to rewrite parts of this blog, as after a migraine it’s like all the wiring in my head goes wrong. I say & write words, out of order, back to front or just draw a complete blank. But the fact that I can tolerate some light, see out of both eyes (I lose sight in one or both eyes) & don’t feel nauseous is definitely a good thing. So I’m smiling!!! That’s me!! Always looking on the positive side of life.

As I’ve shown, life can be tough – in fact I also have other conditions which severely inhibit what I can do on any given day. Does it get me down? Yes! Have I had to learn ways of dealing with the restrictions, pain etc – yes!!

I always try to focus on something positive that has happened that day – a snuggle with my babies (I refer to my children as my babies a lot. I’m good with that & they are too!), a cry with my hubby (it’s good to let things out & not hold them in). My husband comforts & loves me like no other person on this beautiful planet & I love him to bits. Just knowing that he chose me, married me & stays with me through good times & difficult ones. He is one of the main reasons that I keep on Still Smiling!!!

So no, life’s not always easy but I have a lot to smile about. I have a wonderful family. I’m loved. I have true friends who love & accept me as I am. I also have Faith – the cornerstone of all I am.

My total belief in Jesus, my Lord & Saviour , who loves & accepts me just as I am is who I lean on. I celebrate life because of Him. He is the permanent smile in my heart.

All the love & sharing that I have comes from Him.  Until next time, keep smiling & sharing xx