The WI has a reputation for home baking that is second to none. So, in celebration of the organisation’s centenary, we asked some of our local WI bakers to share a favourite recipe with Tynedale Life readers
AWARD-winning baker Joan Goodfellow has a little help when it comes to her cooking – courtesy of the 12,000 free-range hens on her farm.
“I always have plenty of eggs although I usually have the cracked ones,” laughs Joan, who belongs to the Great Whittington and Matfen WI.
Joan is a star baker who’s collected many rosettes over the years. “My mother-in-law, Agnes Goodfellow, was a great baker and I picked up tips from her,” says Joan, who lives at Lynup Hill Farm, Ingoe with husband Philip, son, Jonathan, his wife, Susan and grand-daughter, Elizabeth, 16 months.
Philip and Joan also have two daughters, Deborah and Allison and another four granddaughters, Rebecca, Emily and Lucy.
“In the school holidays they all put their orders in. Lucy and Eleanor like chocolate cake, Emily likes my lemon cake and Rebecca likes cheese scones – they keep me busy.”
JOAN’S CHOCOLATE CAKE
5oz (150g) self raising flour sieved together with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5oz (150g) caster sugar
5oz (150g) soft margarine
1 tablespoon cocoa powder mixed with small amount of boiling water
2 large eggs
Butter Icing for Middle and Top:
4oz (110g) butter or margarine
8oz (225g) sieved icing sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Whisk flour, caster sugar, soft margarine and eggs together in a bowl, whisk in cocoa mixture until silky smooth. Put into a seven inch cake tin and bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for approximately 40 minutes.
Cream butter, add icing sugar and cocoa and cream together. Add one tablespoon boiling water if it is too stiff.
HEXHAMSHIRE WI member, Margaret Iliffe, is a dab hand at tray bakes but then she gets a lot of practice.
She has nine grandchildren, one of whom – Grace Courtney – is a fund-raiser for the British Blind Sport Society, a charity to help visually impaired children access activities. Grace, who is visually impaired herself, is a member of the triathlon training group, One Life.
“She fund-raises by having a cake stand at Tynedale Swimming Club and One Life, and I have made tray bakes and cakes for this stall,” says Margaret.
Margaret has a confession though – she has borrowed this sinful squares traybake from WI friend, Mary Christer. “Mary made it for one of our WI suppers from The WI Cookbook – the first 100 Years and it went down a storm so I thought I’d make it for this year’s Hexhamshire Leek Club Show,” said Margaret who is show secretary.
MARGARET’S SINFUL SQUARES
2oz (50g) plain chocolate
4oz (100g) butter
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
8oz (225g) granulated sugar
2oz(50g) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 oz (40g) mixed nuts and raisins
2oz(50g) desiccated coconut
Topping: 2 Mars bars, 2oz (50g) butter; 1 tablespoon golden syrup; 2oz (50g) icing sugar, sifted
Oven gas mark 4 or 350F/180C
Melt chocolate with butter over gentle heat. Remove from heat and beat in eggs gradually. Beat in vanilla essence and stir in sugar. Mix flour, baking powder, salt , fruit and nuts. Add to chocolate and beat with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture into tin (lined with foil and oiled). Bake for 50-60mins. Leave to cool before turning out.
Chop Mars bar and cook over gentle heat with butter and syrup. When thick and foggy beat in icing sugar. Pour over the cold cake. Mark surface with fork and leave to set.
SHEILA Proudlock has been a member of Bellingham WI for fifty years and was one of the lucky WI members to attend a special Buckingham Palace garden party in June to celebrate the centenary.
One woman from each group in the country travelled down to London for the historic occasion.
“We put the names in a hat and mine was drawn out,” Sheila says. “It was a fantastic day.”
Sheila is a well-known face in Tynedale as she used to be a part-time registrar based in Bellingham and travelled around the district conducting weddings. She also worked for Northumbrian Water as a business administrator though she always found time for baking.
“I always cooked a lot at home and I’ve always taken part in local shows and entered cakes into WI competitions,” Sheila says.
Aside from winning prizes, she’s also taught her daughters, Katherine and Sarah and son, John, about cookery. And her grandchildren, Emma, 12, Matthew, 13, Miya, 11 Katie, seven and Annabelle, five also enjoy teatime at grandma’s.
SHEILA’S WALNUT AND APPLE TEABREAD
1 large apple; 50g (2oz) chopped walnuts; 100g (4oz) soft brown sugar; 100g (4oz) soft margarine; 100g (4oz) raisins or sultanas; 2 large eggs; 1 tablespoon honey; 150g (6oz) self-raising flour; 50g (2oz) wholemeal flour; 1 teaspoon mixed spice.
This is an all in one mix and makes two 500g (1lb) loaves or one 1kg (2lb) loaf.
Grease and line the tins with greased, greaseproof paper. Peel, core and chop the apple. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend together. Beat well for two minutes.
Bake for one hour at 180C (350F, gas mark 4), then reduce heat for a further 15 minutes. Turn out to cool on a rack. Serve sliced and buttered.