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Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake Revisited!

 As-Salam Alaikum / Greetings Dear Reader,

Today I'm revisiting an old favourite of mine, the Victoria sandwich sponge cake which was named after Queen Victoria, who favoured a slice of the sponge cake with her afternoon tea.
To make this British Classic Cake I adapted Mary Berry's Recipe.
I used both apricot (dh favourite) and strawberry jam (my favourite) plus the optional whipped cream to fill my 22.5cm cake (original recipe makes a deeper sponge cake using a 20cm cake tin) . 
Both self raising flour and baking powder are used to create an extremely light and tender sponge cake. I used the creaming method of making the sponge batter which gave yet even more lightness but feel free to follow Mary Berry's all in one method and you will still get an oh so soft sponge cake, it will be hard to resist taking an extra slice!

Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake

Makes 1 x 22.5cm Cake


For the Cake

225g caster sugar (preferably Golden), plus extra for dusting the finished cake                                                                                      
225g softened/room temperature unsalted butter
4 large eggs, room temperature
225g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder

For the Filling

8tbsp of your favourite jam, I used 4tbsp each of apricot and strawberry
300ml double cream, whipped (optional and can be substituted with buttercream icing)


Preheat the oven to 160C Fan/180C/ 350F. Weigh all ingredients. Sieve flour and baking powder together, set aside. Cream butter and sugar together for about 5mins until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one by one beating well after each addition, sift in your flour/baking powder, mix until well combined, don't over mix! .

Spoon the cake batter into your tin and smooth out with palette knife or the back of a spoon, make a slight indentation in the centre, this will ensure the top doesn't dome too much.  Bake on middle shelf of oven for 35mins (I use an electric fan oven so you may need to adjust cooking time according to your type of oven) until a cocktail stick comes out clean or the centre springs back when pressed gently with a finger.

Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes, the cake should have started to shrink and come away from the sides so proceed to remove from your cake tin (I used silicone bake ware which makes this process a lot easier) place cake on cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

Slice cake in 2, put the flat bottom to the side, this will become the top of your cake. Spread Jam liberally over your other cake half. Whip double cream, I piped my cream on top of the jam layer using a regular circular tip and then smoothed it out using a palette knife but if your not worried about the jam and the cream mixing together or oozing out of the cake, spread the whip cream on top of the jam layer using a spoon / knife.

Place the remaining sponge cake layer on top and dust with caster sugar.

If you filled your Victoria sandwich sponge cake with whipped cream then it's essential to keep it chilled in the fridge until you are ready to take your first slice, I promise it won't be your last.

*Post updated from 13th May 2012

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Sage & Onion Tear & Share Bread

As-Salam Alaikum Sisters / Greetings Dear Reader,

If you ask any Brit what their favourite dinner is? a lot will still say a traditional roast dinner, even after all the wonderful food culture that is now in Britain we still love our roast meat and boiled vegetables.

This sage and onion tear and share bread which really are just bread rolls joined together (usually in a circle but I must have skipped over those instruction, ooops!) tastes just like the sage and onion stuffing that goes so well with a roast Chicken/Turkey dinner.

The next time your having a roast Chicken/Turkey dinner make up a batch of this bread and then you can make sandwiches with any leftover meat.

Also this bread would go well served with a chicken soup.

Please don't be put off by the white layer on top of the sage leaves, it's the milk glaze to help them stick and glazing bread with milk will create a soft crust. The leaves are simply for garnish and can be removed prior to eating.

Sage & Onion Tear & Share Bread

Makes 8 bread rolls
Slightly adapted from Hairy Bikers Sage and Onion Tear and Share Bread.
1-2 hours prep time
20 minutes cooking time


150ml whole milk, plus extra for glazing
400g plain white flour, plus extra for kneading
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp fine sea salt
15g unsalted butter
1tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing bowl
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
15-20 sage leaves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
ground black pepper


Heat 125ml water and the milk in a saucepan over a low heat until lukewarm.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast, sugar and salt.

Make a well in the centre and stir in the water and milk with a large wooden spoon (You can use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment to mix and knead the bread) Gather into a ball then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. (5minutes if using a stand mixer)

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise at room temperature place for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onion and garlic over a very low heat for 10 minutes, or until softened.

Scatter the chopped sage over the onions and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with lots of ground black pepper and set aside to cool.

When the dough has doubled in size, tip it back onto a floured surface and flatten with the palms of your hands. Spoon the onion mixture on top and knead for a couple of minutes until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a little extra flour as it will become sticky from the extra moisture and fat.
Divide the dough into eight (approx. 100g per ball) and shape into neat balls by pulling the dough from the outside of the ball and pushing into the centre. Turn over with the ends underneath.
Place the rolls in a circle (oops I put them in a straight line!) on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, making sure the dough balls are touching. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (Fan)/350F/Gas 6.

Brush the top of each roll lightly with milk and place a small sage leaf on top. Brush with more milk and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool a little before serving.

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Homemade Almond Butter Cookies (Dairy, Egg & Gluten Free)

As-Salamu Alaikum,

I used to follow recipes 100% through fear of messing up, I admit I got good results 95% of the time. I don't know what came over me really but now I just can't stick to a recipe, no matter how good it looks!
I either can't wait to get all the ingredients in stock to make said recipe so I substitute ingredients with others I do have in stock or from the get go I am like OK that's nice but why don't I try adding this or replacing this with this and I admit I don't always get it right (70/30) but I sure get a buzz from getting creative in the kitchen and let's face it us stay at home mothers have to get our kicks from somewhere right?
These Almond cookies are an example of when I get it right in my experimental kitchen, using light brown muscovado sugar and pure set honey instead of regular granulated sugar makes all the difference to the taste and texture. If you like soft and chewy toffee like cookies then these are for you!  not forgetting to mention they are dairy, egg and gluten free too.
Now I don't know about you but the two things my food processor gets used for the most are chopping onions or puréeing tinned tomatoes (without the tin, obviously) needless to say I need to make better use of it, which is one reason why I decided to make homemade almond butter
Don't get me wrong, it takes time and patience to achieve the almond butter but it is worth it and a lot more economical than buying it from a health food shop or at least I hope it is.....
If or should I say when, in sha Allah (God willing) I make these cookies again I plan to throw in a pinch of cinnamon and some orange zest but by all means feel free to give those additions a try first but remember to come back and let me know how they work out!

Almond Butter Cookies (Dairy, Egg & Gluten Free)

Recipe adapted from veganinthefreezer's Almond Butter Cookies
Makes 12-14


1 cup homemade almond butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 tablespoon pure set honey
1 egg replacer (prepared according to package instructions)
1/4 cup roughly ground (using pestle and mortar) almonds


Pre-Heat oven to 350F/180C/160C(Fan). Line a baking sheet with non stick baking paper and set aside.

Cream almond butter, brown sugar and honey together.

Stir in your egg replacer and roughly ground almonds.

Divide mixture (I used 1 tablespoon of mixture and for 14 cookies) and using wet hands roll into ball, place on lined baking sheet.

Dip a fork in water and then slightly flatten each ball, not too much as they will spread.

Bake for 15-20minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool on trays for 5-10minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, store cookies in a airtight container.

By all means use store bought almond butter, ground almonds if time is an issue.
You can grind almonds finely in a food processor or leave a bit of texture in them like I did by using a pestle and mortar.

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Vegetable Pasties For Lunch

As-Salamu Alaikum / Greetings dear reader,

I'd like to share what I made for lunch one day last week, vegetable pasties!

Pasty: a baked pastry usually made by placing a cooked or uncooked filling typically of meat and vegetables, without meat in vegetarian versions, on a flat pastry circle and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge to form a seal. After baking, the result is a raised semi-circular pasty.
The most famous pasty being the Cornish Pasty - a meat and vegetable filled pasty from Cornwall, England.

I first saw the recipe for vegetable pasties over on the blog Muslimah in Solace masha'Allah i instantly knew they were something I needed to make and I wasn't disappointed, Alhamdulillah they are delicious especially because of the addition of spice! I hope you too enjoy and bake them sometime soon in sha Allah i think they could be good for a kids packed lunch if they like eating vegetables that is and don't forget you can fill these with meat too! also pasties are easy to freeze once cooled or store in the fridge and keep for a good 2 days.

A few things to note are:-

I halved the recipe and ended up with 8 small pasties as I used a toddler size bowl as a circular template for cutting out the pastry but if you prefer, you can make 5/6 regular ones using a regular bowl just i have this obsession with making things smaller in order to convince myself i can have more.

I used plain flour not strong bread flour and used a lot less water (like 35ml not 250ml which would be half the original recipe called for) than stated in the recipe so just eyeball it, add water slowly and mix with a butter knife once it starts coming together stop adding water and switch to bringing the dough together with your hand(s)

I added small cubes of cheese to each pasty filling (not in the original recipe) before baking, it spilt out of any little cracks or holes it could find and made the pastry a little softer than I would have liked but then again I love the flavour of cheese so i will still be using it when i make these again.

For the full recipe click here

I served some of the pasties with this salad, i think you would be surprised if i told you salad is one of my favourite meals!? yeh i consider it a meal : )  i like how quickly you can put one together and how satisfying they are.

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Brioche For Breakfast - Algerian Chrik or Lamona

As-Salamu Alaikum,

Brioche:- an enriched sweet bread dough that can be baked in the traditional fluted tins or made into buns and whole loafs of various shapes. It's rich and tender crumb comes from using both butter and eggs in the dough.

Of course Brioche originated in France but like the baguette it too made it's way into Algerian cuisine during the occupation.

I adapted this version for making my chrik / lamona but I highly recommend you check out simplicity of my table by the sea's Chrik with a whole lot more detail and info on brioche masha'Allah.

Chrik are ideal for serving at breakfast, simply split, toast and spread with apricot jam (Algerians favourite)


adapted from here
makes 12 buns


125ml warm milk
75ml warm water (you can replace 1 - 2 tablespoons with orange blossom water)
1 egg beaten
60g melted butter (I used salted) or margarine
zest of 1 lemon or half a large orange
70g vanilla sugar
425g plain flour
2 teaspoons easy blend yeast
Before baking
1 egg beaten with 1/2 teaspoon sugar
sesame seeds (optional)
12 whole almonds (optional)


In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the dough hook attachment) combine all dry ingredients.

In a small pan on medium-low heat add milk and butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is just warmed through, you don't want it too hot or it could kill the yeast once you add it to the dry ingredients!

Slowly add the warm milk, butter mixture to your dry ingredients. Next add the egg and then the water and mix until you have a soft smooth dough, about 1-2minutes.

Place dough in a medium sized, lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Punch down dough and divide into 12 portions, each weighing around 65grams.

Form each portion into a ball and place on a lined baking sheet, flatten each ball with the palm of your hands, cover with lightly oiled cling film and let rise for another 1 hour.

Pre-Heat oven to 400F/200C/180C (fan). Glaze chrik and top with sesame seeds and almonds if using (press almond firmly into the chrik or they may pop off when baked) and bake for 15-20minutes or until the glaze darkens and the chrik sound hollow when tapped.

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Chocolate Covered Lemon Cake

As-Salamu Alaikum / Welcome Reader,

No denying I enjoy eating my fair share of cake but what I like just as much is making/baking it.

I find making and baking a cake very therapeutic and satisfying for the soul, every baker whether home or professional I'm sure feels the same.

This cake came from having an urge to bake cake (it happens often) but only having 150grams unsalted butter left in the house, lemons and a bar of plain chocolate cake covering and so my chocolate covered lemon cake was born and shortly after devoured.

You can't beat a buttery, soft, zesty cake with a chocolate 'shell' for extra self-indulgence!

I'm no stranger to the combination of chocolate and lemon together, I recently made chocolate lemon cupcakes and was bowled over by how well they work together BUT feel free to swap the lemon for an orange and you can have a chocolate covered orange cake or if you like cupcakes try my most popular viewed chocolate orange cupcakes instead.

Onto the recipe

Chocolate Covered Lemon Cake

Makes a 1x 20cm cake


150 grams unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature (take it out of the fridge the night before)
150 grams caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs, medium or large
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
150 grams self-raising flour

To decorate

150grams plain chocolate, melted
Sprinkles (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C/160C (Fan)/Gas Mark 4 and place your oven rack in the centre.

Line the bottom of a  loose based 20cm round cake pan, grease and flour the sides.

Place butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, cream together until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. If you notice the mixture curdling you can add a tablespoon of your self-raising flour to stabilize the mix.

Add lemon juice then sieve in self-raising flour, fold in until your mixture is homogeneous.
Pour cake mixture into cake pan and level using a palette knife. Bake for 35-40minutes or until a cake tester comes out with clean or with a few dry crumbs clinging to it.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, run a knife around the edges then loosen the collar on your loose based pan and remove it, leave on base place on cooling rack to cool completely then remove base and baking paper.

Place cake on serving plate, you may wish to level it but I didn't. Melt your chocolate in a heat proof bowl inside microwave on 30seconds bursts until full melted. Pour chocolate over cake and leave it to cool slightly before decorating with sprinkles. Leave chocolate to cool and set before taking a slice, if you can resist!

If I were to make this cake again, I would add some lemon zest to the top of the cake after pouring on the melted chocolate, just to give it that bit of extra zing! I did add lemon sugar crystals on half the cake (husband doesn't like sprinkles so I try to please everyone lol) but they didn't give so much lemon flavour as I hoped.

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My Take On Algerian Kesra

As-Salamu Alaikum / Welcome Reader,

Kesra:- an Algerian flat bread that is good served at breakfast, spread with butter and honey.

It is a very hearty bread, quite dense due to being made only of semolina, and the amount of oil used but is totally satisfying..

Kesra is traditionally cooked on a clay tagine on the stove but I used a tefal non stick frying pan.

Depending on what region of Algeria you are in this bread is prepared in different ways and can be of different thickness. As I am no where near Algeria this is my 'British' take on it.


Makes 2 large 1/2cm thick


2 cups fine semolina
1/2 cup coarse semolina
2 teaspoons salt
1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast
1/4  cup oil (olive or sunflower)
Luke warm water (enough to bring the dough together)


In a large bowl or your stand mixer fitted with your dough hook attachment. Add both types of semolina then salt, mix, add yeast, mix again, add oil, mix!

Add water slowly until the dough forms, I used just under 1 cup but this will vary depending on your climate and the absorption rate / quality of semolina being used.

Knead for  5 minutes in stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand or until you have a soft, smooth dough.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise at room temperature for 30minutes.

Weigh your dough and divide into 2 equal portions or as many as you want depending on how thick and how big you want your kesra to be, remember to adjust cooking times.

Place your pan on hob and pre-heat to medium-low

Roll each kesra into a large around 26cm, 1/2cm thick disk, place on pre-heated pan and prick all over with a fork. Cook for around 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so to avoid burning.

If you want your bread with more colour than mine (everyone likes their bread differently) either cook it at a higher temperature for a shorter time, keeping good care that it doesn't burn unless that's your thing! Or once the bread is cooked through place it directly on the heat source to char / get more colour on the edges.


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Recent Recipes I've Tried & Love (Photos & Links)

As-Salamu Alaikum,

Here are a few photos & links to recipes I've recently tried and love masha'Allah wa Alhamduillah

Moroccan Chicken, Carrot & Potatoe Tagine -   My husband recently bought me a heat diffuser so I could use my Tagine on the hob even though he assured me it wasn't necessary, the label it came with said otherwise. I find putting the tagine inside the oven for an hour+ uneconomical and thought maybe it would use less energy on the hob? I halved the recipe and didn't add as much chicken but the whole family, kids and all really enjoyed it as it uses a few spices than what I am accustomed to using.

Sesame Seeded Hamburger Buns With Homemade Lamb Burgers - I followed the King Arthur Flour Recipe except I used sesame seeds only and the homemade lamb burgers were adapted from cooking with Alia's 'Merguez' style ground meat, I didn't use any harissa because I wanted my children to at least have a chance of liking them and I shaped them into burgers instead of sausage shape.
I made the mince stretch further by cutting the burgers in half once cooked (next time make them more like sliders as the buns aren't huge). The leftover mince which I didn't cook then got turned into spaghetti and meatballs that same evening.
Chicken Kofta Curry - My curry was more orange in colour than the original recipe, maybe that was because I used half a tin of chopped tomatoes in place of the 2 large fresh tomatoes it called for in the recipe and despite that the spicing was there but nice and mild (no chilli's involved) due to using 1 cup of yoghurt to make the sauce. I used half the quantity of chicken mince to make koftas, I'm on a budget maybe next time I should add some vegetables to bulk it up.
Instead of using an egg to bind the kofta together, I added 1/2 teaspoon no egg orgran egg replacer without adding any extra liquid as I felt it wasn't necessary as this mince was rather wet from just being defrosted in the microwave. In fact adding the egg replacer altogether was probably not necessary but I wanted to be sure the kofta wouldn't fall apart once cooking that's happened to me before, usually when using any type of lean mince meat.

In sha Allah your inspired to try one of the above dishes, if you were to ask me which one was my favourite I would say the homemade burgers and buns because it involved a bit of my favourite past time, baking!

Before I forget, in all the recipes that call for parsley I used coriander as I dislike parsley.

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My First Chiffon Cake - Peppermint Chocolate

As-Salam Alaykum,

As with all firsts it didn't go according to plan and I've learnt another valuable baking lesson, more on that in a tick, first what is a chiffon cake?

Chiffon Cakes are also known as Mayonnaise Cakes as they contain oil, water and eggs unlike Angel Cake which are made using no fat and can be rather dry Chiffon retains  it's moisture which in my book means they are better.

They are made by first whisking oil, egg yolks and water together, sifting cake flour and sugar into the oil mix and beating for 1 minute at high speed.

To give the cake it's light airy texture the egg whites are whisked separately to stiff peaks with more sugar i.e. a meringue then slowly folded into the first, denser oil/flour mixture.

Valuable Lesson - Fold meringue into the oil/flour mixture in 4-6 stages not in 2!

I didn't fold my meringue into the oil/flour mixture well enough, thinking I would knock all the air out of the cake if I folded in the flour in many stages I tried to do it quicker in 2 but it didn't work when I poured the batter into my silicone cake pans there was still quite a lot of the denser oil/flour mixture at the bottom of the mixing bowl which I scraped out and put into the center of one of the pans and gave it a quick stir in hoping for the best!

As I made two cakes the one you see below ended up being more dense in 'spots' where the batter hadn't been mixed / folded in properly Alhamdulillah it was still edible just not worthy of being frosted so I sprinkled it with icing sugar and put it to one side for second best bites.

Chiffon Cakes usually are baked in tube/Bundt pans as this helps the cake rise evenly and as they tend to sink once removed from the oven they are baked in ungreased/floured sided  pans and inverted (onto such things as the bottom of a flower pot) upon removal from the oven and left to cool totally inside the pan.

I haven't got any tube pans (they are on my long shopping list) so I resorted to my round silicone pans and still inverted them, onto a cooling rack lined with baking paper however, as silicone is non stick they started to slide out and stick to the baking paper, ooops! So I do recommend you use metal cake pans for chiffon cakes. It wasn't such a disaster after all, as once the cakes had cooled completely and been unmoulded from the silicone pans I peeled off the baking paper without causing too much damage to the surface of the cakes and kept those sides face down :)

The need to make the buttercream icing green and blue for this cake apart from it being peppermint flavoured of course, was that my 4year old son asked me for a green monster cake.
He got a green and blue frosted chocolate cake without a monster in site (depending on how you view this cake that is lol) I intended the blue to be a rose in the center, but I used an unfamiliar open star tip (not the wilton 1M which is my favourite for piping roses) and ended up going for a swirly circle?!

Next time I make this cake, I will dare to slice the fluffy pillow in 2 and fill it with a lighter buttercream, say Italian meringue or even whipped cream would go well as the cake is so delicate it deserves a filling to match.

Here is my cake recipe, using self raising flour instead of the more traditional cake flour.
The cakes flavour and the texture (lots of air holes) reminded me of a mint aero chocolate bar!

Peppermint Chocolate Chiffon Cake(s)

Adapted from Chiffon Cake Recipe found in the book, The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg.

Recipe makes 2 x 23cm cakes but the recipe can easily be divided by 2 to make only 1 cake. I highly recommend you make just 1 cake if like me, it is your first time baking this type of  sponge cake. Folding in a 4 egg white meringue will be much easier than one made using 8.


2/3 Cup (160ml) Vegetable Oil (I used sunflower)
8 Egg Yolks
1 Cup (250ml) Water, room temperature
1 Tablespoon Peppermint Oil
336 Grams Self Raising Flour
85 Grams Cocoa Powder
400 Grams Caster Sugar, divided (see method)
8 Egg Whites


Pre-Heat Oven to 375F/190C /170C (fan)

Beat Egg Yolks, Oil, Peppermint Oil together and stir in water.

Sift Flour, Cocoa & 130 Grams sugar into egg yolk mixture and mix in. Beat mixture at high speed for 1 minute (2 if doing by hand with a spoon - it's hard work!) and set aside.

In a separate grease free bowl whip your egg whites at high speed (I recommend using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or an electric hand whisk) until frothy then gradually add 270 Grams sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peak stage.

Fold Meringue into your cake batter in 4-6 stages, I used a tablespoon to do this but ideally you need a bigger metal spoon or a rubber spatula.

Divide final cake mixture equally between your 2 cake pans and bake in the center of your oven for 25-30minutes or until the center springs back slightly when pressed with a finger.

Remove from oven and invert pans onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.

Fill and decorate your cake with your favourite icing, whipped double cream, jam, layer of fruit etc..

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