Lemon Sponge Fingers...

I've been featuring a lot of cakes recently, so hopefully you have a sweet tooth. These don't need a lot saying about them, it's just a simple lemon cake cut into small pieces.

• Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
• Beat in the eggs, gradually with a little flour if necessary
• Fold in the flour and 1 lemon's juice.
• Pour into a 20 x 20cm tin and bake at 170°C for 25 minutes.
• Turn out and cool on a rack.
• Meanwhile, mix your icing with the other lemon's juice and the icing sugar to a consistency that will spread easily, but not run off the cake.
• Ice the cooled cake and sprinkle the top with zest from your lemons.
• Cut into 'finger' slices.
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Chicken & Leek Pasties...

I was looking for something different to make for lunch and came across a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe for these pasties. I didn't follow the recipe as such, but went along with the idea of it and was pleased with the results.

• Blend the flour and butter until they resemble breadcrumbs and bind together with cold water to form a dough.
• Roll the dough out to 5mm thick, fold back into a square, re-roll and repeat for or 5 times. This gives you a slightly flaky pastry.
• Chill the dough for an hour or so and meanwhile make the filling.

• Chop the leek and onion and fry gently in some oil.
• Meanwhile, trim and chop the chicken into fairly small pieces that will cook relatively qucikly (1cm cubes); add to the frying pan and cook until beginning to brown.
• Whilst this is going on dice the potatoes and boil separately, until quite soft.
• When both are ready combine in the pan and mix together quite roughly to break up the potatoes and combine all the flavours. Season with salt & pepper.
• Set aside to cool.

• Rollout the pastry to 3-4mm thick and cut out 20-22cm diameter rounds
• Place a heap of the filling on one half of each. Brush some milk or egg around the edge of the circle then fold over and crimp together with your fingers.
• Place on a baking tray, brush with beaten egg and cook at 190°C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

• Add some chopped smoked bacon to improve flavours.

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Bakewell Slices...

A classic cake slice, so much nicer when you make it yourself with the hint of real almonds, rather than the fake strong almond essence flavouring.

Pastry base:
(Requires 150g flour and 75g butter)
• Blend the butter and flour to the breadcrumb stage, then bind with a little cold water, milk or beaten egg, whichever you prefer. You can sweeten the pastry a little with some icing sugar if you like but it's not necessary.
• To keep things simple I pressed this dough mixture into 2 greased 20cm sandwich tins to approx 3mm thickness. You can of course roll it out and line the tin that way for slightly better results!
• Spread jam over the pastry and bake at 170°C for 5-10 minutes until it is beginning to harden slightly.
• Remove from the oven and cool in the tins.

• Beat butter and sugar until creamed and fluffy.
• Beat in the eggs and fold in the flour and ground almonds.
• Pour/spread over the jam tarts to no more than 1cm deep.
• Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top then bake at 170°C for 20-30 minutes until golden on top.
• Cool in the tins slightly then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
• Mix the icing sugar with a little water until the consistency is just runny enough to drizzle over the tarts.

• Makes 2 x 20cm tarts, 8-10 slices per tart. Could use a 22cm square tin or individual tarts.
• Raspberry or blackcurrant jam is best
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