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


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



Delicious tomato soup

This year we have had so many tomatoes, I’ve made a lot of soup with the recipe my mother always used. It is very simple and is done in the microwave. The quantities make about 2 ½ pints of soup.


  • 1 oz butter
  • medium onion
  • 1 ½ lbs tomatoes
  • 1 ½ oz plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ pint milk
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ pint hot chicken stock

Start by chopping an onion. Add to a mixing bowl with 1 oz butter. I use a mixing bowl as that is perfect for holding all the ingredients. Cook in the microwave for four minutes.

Cooked chopped onion and butter in mixing bowl
Cooked chopped onion and butter in mixing bowl

While that is cooking, roughly chop 1 ½ pounds tomatoes and add to the butter and onion mix when it is done. My tomatoes are small cherry tomatoes, but any sizes are fine.

Chopped tomatoes
Chopped tomatoes

Now add the flour, tomato puree, celery salt, caster sugar, dried basil, milk, salt and pepper to the mix. Stir the ingredients together.

Tomatoes and other ingredients ready to cook
Tomatoes and other ingredients ready to cook

Return the bowl to the microwave and cook for a further ten minutes. I cover the bowl with a pyrex lid from a casserole dish to prevent splashes in the microwave.

Meanwhile prepare the stock. I use three chicken oxo cubes dissolved in ¾ pint of very hot water. When the tomato mix has finished cooking in the microwave, remove and stir in the hot stock.

Hot stock
Hot stock

The soup is now cooked. It needs to be liquidised and then sieved to remove the pips and skin. My liquidiser is only small so I do a small amount at a time, then put that into the sieve so it can be draining while I liquidise the next portion.

Cooked soup, liquidised and sieved
Cooked soup, liquidised and sieved

Squash the pips and skins gently against the sieve so that the liquid goes through but nothing else.

The soup is now complete and ready to eat.

Tomato soup ready to eat
Tomato soup ready to eat

I usually eat some straight away and freeze the rest, ready to eat on those cold winter days to bring back the memories of summer. Enjoy!



I’ve just made a kedgeree, a dish I enjoy but don’t make often. It takes some preparation but freezes well. I usually make enough for four, eat a couple of portions and freeze a couple. The frozen ones can be thawed and then heated in the microwave.


  • 500 g (approximately) smoked fish; choose thick fillets; usually this is made with haddock but smoked cod works just as well; I prefer fish that is smoked but not dyed, however when I went to the fish counter this time they only had smoked, dyed haddock so that is what I used
  • 100 – 150 g prawns; not tradionally in a kedgeree but I think they add extra taste and texture
  • 200 ml wholegrain rice; measure the rice in a jug
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • small onion finely chopped; if you are intolerant to, or dont have, onion then a finely chopped stick of celery is a good substitute
  • 100 g butter
  • 3 hard boiled eggs; although eggs are found in kedgeree recipes they can be ommitted
  • 3 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh parsley; I prefer curly-leafed parsley as it chops more finely

Start by putting the smoked fish into a saucepan, if the fillets don’t fit easily then use kichen scissors to cut them smaller. Cover the fish with plenty of water (approximately 400ml) and put onto boil. Once it boils it only needs a few minutes to cook, you can tell by putting a knife in and seeing if it easily flakes.

Cooking the smoked fish

Rinse the wholegrain rice in cold water.

While the fish is cooking, melt some butter in another saucepan and gently soften the onion (or celery), add the curry powder and cook for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and add the rice.

Soften the onion in a saucepan with curry powder

The fish should be cooked by now. Drain the liquid that the fish was simmered in and use this for the rice mix. Pour the liquid over the rice, return to the stove and cook as normal. Keep any spare liquid in case the liquid boils away before the rice has cooked. Cook until the rice is soft to eat.

Cook rice using fish liquid

If using eggs, hardboil them. Then peel and chop them.

While the rice is cooking, flake the fish removing any bones and discarding the skin.

FLake the cooked fish
Flake the cooked fish

Put the flaked fish into a large mixing bowl. Chop the parsley finely and add to the bowl. If using them, add the chopped hard boiled eggs. Next cut the prawns into three and add them to the bowl.

Add flaked fish, prawns and parsley to bowl
Add flaked fish, prawns and parsley to bowl

Once the rice is cooked, put this into the bowl as well and mix all togther thoroughly using a wooden spoon.

Divide the mix into four or five portions. Add slivers of butter to the top and enjoy with steamed vegetables.

This recipe was adapted from Delia Smith’s Buttery Kedgeree recipe found in her Complete Cookery Course. My version was printed in 1996.

Kedgeree with smoked haddock, prawns and parsley
Kedgeree with smoked haddock, prawns and parsley