Summer Mess

This is a very simple summer dessert, a take on Eton Mess using summer fruits which are plentiful now. It also works if you only have a few fruits. I have made a version of this using damson puree instead of grated lemon.


  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 dessert spoonfuls icing sugar
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • meringue – you can make your own but I used ready-made ones from the supermarket
  • summer fruits – I picked raspberries and strawberries from the garden


Add the icing sugar to the double cream.

add icing sugar

Grate the rind from a lemon and add to the cream. (An alternative is to add damson puree).

grate lemon rind

Whisk together until the cream thickens and forms soft peaks.

whisked cream

This can be used now or placed in the fridge for an hour or two until you need it.

Break the meringues into pieces.

Gently fold into the cream mix.

Put onto individual plates – this makes four servings.

Dot the fruit around. I used a mix of fresh raspberries and sliced strawberries.

summer mess


You can now find all of Nannie RaRa’s recipes in one place: Recipes


Melting moments

This recipe for melting moments is at least thirty years old. My sister-in-law gave it to me when both our children were in primary school and always hungry when they came in.


  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 4 oz soft butter or margarine
  • 5 oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 egg
  • approximately 2 oz porridge oats


Switch on oven to 180 C. Grease a flat baking tray – a swiss roll tin is perfect.

blend sugar and butter

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and light. Add the egg and beat well.

add flour

Mix in the flour, making sure the flour is well blended into the mixture.

roll in oats

Using your hands take golf size pieces of the dough and form them into balls. This quantity makes between 10 and 12 melting moments – this time I made 11.

Coat the balls in rolled oats.

Place on the baking tray and flatten slightly.

put on baking tray

Lightly press half a cherry into the centre. I forgot to do this and added the cherries when the melting moments came out of the oven. The cherries didn’t stick so well 😉

Cook in the oven at 180 C for about 15-20 minutes until the melting moments are turning golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

cool on wire rack



Cheese scones

A simple recipe today for cheese scones, perfect for afternoon tea in autumn.


  • 8 oz self-raising flour
  • 2 oz hard butter
  • 3 oz strong cheese, plus extra for topping
  • approximately 1/4 pint milk


Switch on oven to 200 C.

Grease a flat baking tray – a swiss roll tin is perfect.

Put the flour into a mixing bowl.

butter and flour plus cheese

Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until no lumps are left. I use hard butter as it rubs in better than using spreadable butters.

flour, butter and cheese mixed together

Mix in the 3 oz of grated cheese. Strong cheese gives a better flavour – mine was classed as having a strength of 6.

Add the milk a little at the time using your hand to blend it into the flour and butter mix. Gradually collect the mixture together into one piece. Knead lightly to form a soft dough.

cheese scone dough

Roll into a thick sausage shape, about two-inch diameter. Cut into 8 pieces. Knead each slightly into a round about an inch thick.

Add grated cheese on the top of each scone pressing gently so that it sticks to the scone.

add grated cheese on top

Place the scones on the greased baking tray and cook in the oven for fifteen minutes until well risen and golden.

When cooked, cool the scones on a slatted tray or trivet.

cooked cheese scones

You can either eat these warm or cold. If you like, spread butter and jam in the middle. Perfect with a cup of tea.

sliced cheese scone



Plum pudding cake

My greengage plum tree has had a super crop this year, but it has been a battle harvesting the plums as the blackbirds like them a lot. The trouble is the blackbirds don’t just eat one, they peck a hole and eat a little bit then go onto the next. I’ve picked several pounds of plums and stewed and frozen some, and given loads away.

I decided I’d make something a little different and produced this plum pudding cake. It can be eaten either as a cake or with cream as a dessert.

If you don’t have greengage plums, any plums will be a good substitute.


ingredients for plum pudding cake
  • Approximately 20 greengage plums quartered and stoned
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 dessertspoons granulated sugar


Switch on oven to 180 C

Grease and line a 7 ½ inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

First quarter the plums. I score round each one with a knife then twist the sections off. Discard the stones.

quartered greengage plums

In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time beating each egg into the mix. Add the flour, stirring well to make a smooth mixture.

mixing the ingredients

Put half the mix into the prepared cake tin, smoothing it level.

Layer half the quartered plums on top of the mix, pushing each quarter down slightly.

first layer of plums

Spoon the rest of the mix on top, levelling as before.

Put the rest of the quartered plums on top pressing them into the mix slightly. I start with a circle round the outside, then inner circles from that. The whole surface should be mostly plums.

top layer of plums

Sprinkle the cinnamon on top, then scatter the demerara sugar over to give a crunchy top. You can use more sugar if you like a sweeter taste.

sugar and cinnamon on top

Bake in the oven at 180 C (fan), for an hour and a quarter.

Remove the pudding cake from the tin, and if not eating it warm, cool on a wire rack. Remove the greaseproof paper.

the finished pudding cake

Keep the plum pudding cake in an airtight tin.

The plum pudding cake can be eaten warm or cold either as a cake or a dessert.

My favourite is cold as a dessert served with thick cream, but then a slice with a cup of tea is rather good.

pudding cake with cream



Simnel cake for Easter (or anytime)

Simnel cake is one of my all-time favourite cakes as it combines a rich fruit cake with almond paste. I make it for Easter but it is good any time of the year. Once cooked and decorated it will keep for several days in an airtight tin – unless it gets eaten straightaway 😉


Ingredients for almond paste

  • 10 oz ground almonds
  • 5 oz icing sugar
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg

Ingredients for cake

  • 6 oz butter
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 15 oz mixed dried fruit
  • 4 oz glace cherries, quartered
  • 1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 level teaspoon nutmeg

Switch on oven to 150 C

Grease and line a 7 ½ inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

lined cake tin

Make the almond paste.

Put the dry ingredients for the almond paste into a bowl. Mix together, removing any lumps in the sugar. Lightly beat the egg and add to the dry mix.

making almond paste

Knead together to make a solid paste. It may appear dry at first but as you work it, the oil from the almonds will make it pliable. Divide in half. Put one half in foil in the fridge until needed later. With the other half make a disc slightly smaller than the cake tin and put to one side.

almond paste

Now for the cake. In a bowl put the flour, dried fruit and cherries. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg. I use whole nutmegs and have an amazing tiny grater to grate them with. Mix together so that all the dried fruit is separated and covered in flour.

dry ingredients

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add one egg at a time, beating each egg into the mix.

cream butter, sugar and egg

Fold in the dried ingredients combining them until there are no signs of flour on the fruit. If the mixture does not drop easily from the spoon add a small amount of milk.

mix in dry ingredients

Put half the mix into the prepared cake tin, smoothing it and bringing it slightly up the edges. Place the rolled out almond paste on top, then spoon the rest of the mix on top. Smooth the top making a dip in the centre.

put mix in tin

Bake in a cool oven, 150 C, for two and a half to three hours.

cooked simnel

Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

When the cake is completely cool, remove from the tin and take off the paper that lined the tin.

Take the rest of the almond paste and divide into half. Roll one half into a circle slightly smaller than the simnel cake.

add almond paste on top

Brush the top of the cake with egg white or melted jam, then place the circle of almond paste on top.

With the other half of the almond paste make eleven balls. Using egg white to stick them, place them around the edge of the circle of almond paste. Paint egg white over the tops of the balls and on the almond paste circle. 

simnel cake ready to toast

Place the whole cake under a medium grill until the tops turn golden brown – there will be a wonderful smell of roasting almonds.

simnel cake

The simnel cake is now complete. Keep it in an airtight tin.