Neal’s Crunchy Top Lemon and Lime Cake

For the cake:

  • Finely grated rind of 1lemon and 2 limes
  • 8oz soft margarine
  • 12oz golden caster sugar
  • 12oz self raising flour
  • 1 and a half tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 fl oz milk

For the topping:

  • 8oz golden caster sugar
  • Juice of the lemon and limes

I find the limes give this cake a fresher zing than a straight lemon version.

Grate the rinds off into a large mixing bowl, I use an 8 litre, and measure everything else in on top.

Spon it all together until creamy, it may need a little extra milk if it is too stiff.

Grease and fully line a 26cm sprung cake tin, I do this with one large piece of greaseproof, crushing it against the sides, it gives a crinkly “home made” look to the cake.

Tip the mixture into the tin and shake to level. Bake at 180c/350f/gas4 for about 40 minutes until shrunk slightly from the sides.

Mix together the juices and sugar ready for the cake coming out of the oven, pierce the top quite fiercely with a fork and spread on the topping.

Leave on a rack until completely cool before turning out.


The Spon Sponge

  • 8oz butter or margarine
  • 8oz golden caster sugar
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs


Measure ingredients into a large bowl and beat with the spon until creamy.

Grease and base line two 8 inch round tins and split the mixture between them.

Bake at gas mark 4 for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and shrinking in from the sides of the tins.

Cover and cool completely on a wire rack before turning out.

Sandwich together with strawberry jam and dust top with icing dugar.


Double Choc Chip Cookies

  • 4oz butter or marg
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • 5oz self raising flour
  • 4oz dark choc chips
  • 4oz milk choc chips

Beat together the butter and sugar, beat in the flour and then the chocolates.
Shape the dough into cookies, 8 large or up to 50 small, on baking sheets and press them down slightly, allowing space for them to spread.
Bake at gas mark 4 for about 20 minutes until golden, cool and serve.


Chickpea and Spinach Gratin

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp plain flour
450ml hot vegetable stock
2 cans chickpeas, drained
400ml crème fraiche
400 gram blanched or frozen spinach
75 gram fresh brown breadcrumbs
50 gram grated parmesan

Gently fry the onion in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the flour and fry for 1 minute and allow to colour slightly. (A Spon is good for this ). Add the vegetable stock in three goes, letting the roux thicken each time.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chickpeas and crème fraiche, check seasoning.

Tip the mixture into an oven dish approx. 20 cm square and level, scatter the spinach on top then combine the parmesan and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over.

Bake at gas4/180c/350f for 45 minutes until crisp and brown on top.


Cranachan Redux Cheesecake

A new interpretation of classic ingredients

For the base

one batch of oaty biscuits
120g butter

For the topping

250g mascarpone
75g icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
400ml crème fraiche
300ml double cream

For the sauce

250g rasps
40g icing sugar to taste
35ml whisky

To garnish

a little firm fudge or tablet


Melt the butter in a pan. Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs and ‘spon’ them into the butter. Tip the mixture into a 25cm round sprung tin and smooth flat. Chill in the fridge for an hour at least, or the freezer to speed things up.

‘Spon’ together the mascarpone and icing sugar then beat in the vanilla and crème fraiche. Whip the cream into soft folds and gently mix into the mascarpone, spread over the base and chill until required.

To make the sauce, bring the rasps, whisky and most of the sugar through the boil until the fruit collapses, taste and add more sugar if necessary. Press the sauce through a sieve, leaving the seeds behind. Chill until required.

To serve, place slice of cheesecake on plate and grate over a little fudge. Finish with a swirl of sauce and a few fresh rasps on the side.