soberandhungry's Blog

we love wine, we love food and we love sharing

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Brandy & Port Fruit Cake (Mincemeat) with Brandy Icing

It was again my turn to deliver the goods for Bake Club at work. Seeing as it is getting cold and the shops are already starting to get festive I decided to create a comforting fruit cake with a mincemeat twist! I found some lovely mincemeat cake recipes online. Here is my take on a festive fruit cake – it fed 12 hungry faces.

slice of cake



  • 140g butter (room temperature)
  • 140g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 225g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 85g Cranberries
  • 411g mincemeat (whole jar)
  • Splash of brandy
  • Pecans to decorate


  • 50g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • ~2 teaspoons brandy (need to judge by eye)



  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/fan. Grease and line 2 x 20cm (8 in) round tins.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl (except for the pecans) and mix thoroughly until thoroughly blended. Turn into prepared tins and place almonds on the top of one of the layers.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 mins or until the cakes are golden brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then loosen the sides with a small palette knife, turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  5. Mix the butter and the icing sugar. Add brandy in very small amounts until you have a smooth stiff icing. Lay over the plain layer and stack the pecan layer on top.

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Katie’s basic chocolate biscuit recipe

We recently came home from a shopping trip with lots of flatpack furniture. Every workman needs to be fueled by tea and biscuits but we did not have the latter in stock, so I set-to and baked up some treats. This is a really simple recipe and creates around 30 shortbread-like-biscuits. They take around 10 mins to prepare and 15 mins to cook.



  • 250g margarine
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g good quality cocoa (I like Bournville)
  • Mixed icing tubes or icing sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Mix marg and sugar in a large bowl into a light pale paste with a wooden spoon
  3. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat to combine
  4. Sift the plain flour and cocoa (very important to sift as it can be lumpy) into the bowl bit-by-bit stirring to ensure it combines. Get your hands stuck in at the end to ensure the mixture is well combined
  5. On a clean surface cut the dough into 4 sections, roll equal 7-8 balls out of each section and place them spread out on a greased tray. Take the wooden spoon and flatten to create biscuit-like shapes
  6. Cook in the oven for 15 mins. Move straight onto a wire tray to allow them to cool
  7. Decorate with icing or sprinkle with icing sugar for a bit of fun!

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Cherry Scones

Fluffy, yummy, cherry scone goodness!


Ingredients (makes 12 large scones):

  • 250ml milk
  • 2 medium egg
  • 500g plain flour
  • 6tsp baking powder
  • 120g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 200g glacé cherries
  • Baking sheet


  1. Whisk the eggs up in a measuring jug and add milk to egg to make 250ml
  2. Tip the flour, baking powder and butter into a bowl and rub together to make fine crumbs
  3. Add the sugar and mix well
  4. Add the milk mixture bit by bit incorporating it into the dry mixture (reserving some for glaze)
  5. Roughly chop the cherries and add them with the other ingredients, mixing by hand until a dough is formed
  6. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 2cm thick and cut into equal portions
  7. Mould into flat round shapes
  8. Place them on the baking sheet
  9. Brush the glaze over the top of the scones, then bake them in the centre of the oven at 220°C for about 18 mins, or until they have risen and are a light golden colour
  10. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.
  11. Serve warm or cold with butter and jam

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8 Strand Challah Bread (Wholemeal)

We love making fresh bread! Here is our version of an 8 Strand Challah Loaf. Following the same recipe and quantity in our earlier post: divide the mixture into 8 balls. Roll them out into sausages. Attach together at one end, numbering the strand from 1 to 8 and then follow the patter below, renumbering the strands 1 to 8 after each sequence…

8 plait bread

Prelimianry move:

  • 8 under 7 and over 1


  • 2 under 3 and over 8
  • 1 over 4
  • 7 under 6 and over 1
  • 8 over 5

Here is a really good YouTube video to help you out:

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Baking Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits with a 2yr old

When baking with a 2yr old, it is going to get messy. You require eagle eyes to monitor that your mix is not being eaten and any black clothing will be treated to a showering of flour snow. It is great fun, teaches children about cooking and is really creative.

Shortbread biscuits are a good option, the ingredients are household staples, the dough is soft and forgiving and they are really tasty! They follow a simple ration: 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter and 1 part sugar. Here is how we did it:


  • 175g (6oz) Butter
  • 75 g (3oz) Caster Sugar
  • 250g (9oz) Plain Flour
  • Bag of chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of milk if required
  • Bar of chocolate to melt for decoration
  • A bag of white buttons for decoration


  1. Pre- heat oven to 180 degrees
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar
  3. Add all of the flour and get stuck in with your hands working the butter into the dry ingredients
  4. Add a pinch of salt
  5. Throw in a good amount of chocolate chips, plus some for your tummy
  6. Knead until all the ingredients are incorporated and you have a soft dough ball (add a bit of milk at this stage if required)
  7. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of 0.5cm
  8. With your favorite cutter create your biscuit shapes
  9. Carefully place onto greased baking trays
  10. Distract the two year old for an hour! 
  11. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  12. Once fully cooled decorate with melted chocolate and white buttons



Katie’s Naughty Banoffee Muffins

Some ingredients are meant to be together. Banana, fudge and cinnamon are so perfect together and so tasty that they are tipping the scales into being purely naughty. They are a ménage à trois in the muffin world. I have been inspired by a lot of recipes and this is my version of banoffee muffins.


  • 100g dairy fudge
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 50g demerera sugar
  • 55g chopped pecan nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Sit 12 large paper cases into a muffin tin
  3. Chop fudge into small pieces and set aside
  4. Mash bananas in a bowl. Add milk, oil and vanilla and combined with folk
  5. In a different large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
  6. Break eggs into a separate bowl, add the sugars and whisk until light and fluffy
  7. Add the egg mix gently into the flour until just combined, don’t beat hard (at this point it will look like a dry lumpy mixture)
  8. Fold in the banana mix and fudge chunks keeping some for the tops (you will now have the texture of a normal cake mix).
  9. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases
  10. Sprinkle a little fudge and some pecan nuts over the top of each muffin
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from center
  12. Allow to Cool (if you can wait that long)