Well the Great British Bake Off has kicked off with a firm favourite, Cake Week! So I thought I’d share with you my go-to cake, a Semi-rich fruit cake which my brother and I basically grew up on as our Mum made this throughout our childhood. I think the original recipe came from the side of a Stork tub in the 1980s, but over the years we’ve switched to butter and I’ve converted the recipe from Imperial to Metric – times change, but the cake has basically stayed the same!

It’s the kind of cake which anyone cake make, just throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix together and tip into a tin. There’s no creaming butter and sugar, separating eggs or anything thing like that. Plus it freezes really well so you can make a batch of them ready to enjoy at a later date. Have a go and let me know what you think!


140g unsalted butter

140g caster sugar (or whatever sugar you have, you seem to be able to use granulated, brown…)

125ml milk

1 egg

250g dried fruit (use whatever you fancy, I like to avoid peel – yuck- and always like to include a few cherries)

230g self-raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ fan 140C. Prepare a 2lb/ 900g loaf tin with butter and greaseproof paper.
  2. Weigh out all of the ingredients into 1 big bowl and mix well until everything in incorporated.
  3. Transfer your mixture into the tin an bake for 1 hour 30 mins – 1 hour 45 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.

I hope you enjoy this cake, if you feel like trying something new in the kitchen, why not join us for one of our upcoming baking classes – details here.

Our one-to-one lessons are perfect home cooks, whether they are a beginner without a clue as to where to start, a keen cook wanting to extend their repertoire, or somewhere in between.

Our bundles of classes offer great value with 6 lessons for the price of 5, giving you the opportunity to really make improvements in your cookery. We’ve worked with lots of keen young cooks looking to extend their skills beyond baking, teenagers learning to cook as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award or about to head off to university, parents wanting to cook more from scratch, retired people looking to cook with more time on their hands.

Here’s the menu from a recent cook looking to gain confidence in cooking for large crews on a round the world sailing trip –

Class one – Beef lasagna, garlic flat bread/ pizza, potato wedges.

Class two – Madras, onion bhaji, red lentil and sweet potato dhal, spicy rice, white loaf, chocolate fudge traybake.

Class three – Blackbean chill with homemade tortillas, Tuna Puttanesca, sesame plait, flapjack.

Class four – Tiger bread, ciabatta, bagels, ginger nuts.

Class five – Green curry, green rice, bombay potatoes, banana bread, chocolate cookies.

Class six – Oat cookies, Montezuma’s chocolate brownie, sundried tomato and basil tear & share loaf, pumpkin curry, chocolate & jam cake, chow mein.

See details and to book, see here.

Chocoholic’s team building!

posted by Barbara Crick on Tags: ,


Looking for some relaxation at the end of a busy year, the team from South Coast Sports came to enjoy some Chocolatey recipes using plenty of Montezuma’s chocolate. The blend of team work & chocolate seemed to go down a treat!

Great to cook with you all & I hope you enjoyed your creations at home!

Here are a few words from South Coast Sports after the event-

“Just wanted to send a quick Thank You for yesterday’s workshop. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we had lots of fun.”


Did anyone spot Question Time visited Portsmouth recently? Hosted by the Portsmouth High School, we were delighted to get involved in providing catering for this event.

Including teas, coffee and homemade cookies for the audience of 150, canapés in the green room and high tea for the crew, the day was long but incredibly interesting to see how the behind the scenes activity comes together to create this popular show.

If you have an upcoming event you need help catering with, do get in touch.

We couldn’t resist a cheeky photo on the panel!

Well we’ve had a very exciting event at the Cookery school this week with Kenwood visiting us for the day to hold a team building event. We were set up in the morning for the more serious (but fun!) side of the event with the team working on learning and developing themselves as a team.

After a curry lunch (cooked on the BBQ, of course!) we got down to putting the theory into practice with a challenge to create a croquembouche. As you can see from the photos, the creations were nothing short of fantastic!

If you are interested in a team building event, do get in touch or read more about our events here.

With the sun starting to shine a little more, it’s great to get outside and enjoy a barbecue with friends and family, or even as a treat after work.

Barbecues are a whole lot more versatile than many people realise and there’s so much scope to cook outside and make the most of this summer. Whether you’re looking to cook a Full English Breakfast outside, your Sunday Roast or simply not burn the sausages at your next family gathering, our barbecuing classes are designed to help you master your barbecue.

As a Certified by Weber chef, I can help with cooking on gas, charcoal and electric (yes, I did write electric!) barbecues, as well as smokers which are becoming increasingly popular. Whether you have a barbecue already which you are looking to get the most of or are thinking of investing and would like to try before you buy, do get in touch to arrange a class written specifically for you. As an extra bonus, the first 10 booked on will get a goodie bag of barbecue goodies to take home with them and everyone will of course take all of the food they cook home with them to impress their families with.

The class can be bought through the link below, or get in touch to discuss – Contact

PS don’t forget we offer barbecuing get togethers for friends or as team building events. At these relaxed events you will learn a whole range of barbecuing skills, enjoy delicious food and spend time with your friends. Please email me if you would like to hear more about this – hello@emsworthcookeryschool.co.uk

One-to-one, £175

Our Barbecue evening will kick off with a drink and barbecued nibbles on arrival to get you in the mood. The evening will be tailored to suit your level so it’s perfect for the complete beginner or the accomplished barbecuer looking to take things to the next level. Here’s a few ideas of aspects we can cover-

  • Pros and cons of the different fuel types & different barbecues
  • How to light the barbecue & get the most out of your fuel
  • How to roast large pieces of meat, such as a Beer can Chicken, Roast Lamb or Beef
  • How to cook the perfect Steak
  • Knock-out Burgers to impress anyone
  • Hot Smoked Salmon
  • Side dishes such as Potato wedges, Risotto, Corn-on-the-cob with chilli butter, flatbreads, brioche buns….
  • Homemade sauces such as tomato ketchup, chunky smoked salsa or proper barbecue sauce

Two-to-one, £275

If you would rather come with a friend or partner please buy through this link-

While it’s true that we get more female cooks in the kitchen than men, there are certain classes that seem to attract more men to. Indian, Thai and Bread all seem be a hit with the men. 

At the Emsworth Cookery School we always want to get more people involved in the kitchen and we’re really hoping that our special treats over the Fathers’ Day period appeal to the man in your  life. We’ve got Barbecue Marinades and Sides for those of you who want to extend your BBQ repertoire, Beer Baking using local beers to make brownies, bread and much more, then Montezumas – the dark side of chocolate, for those with a sweet but sophisticated tooth!

And if you have someone who doesn’t know one end of a spatula from the other, do send them along for Confidence in the Kitchen

All of these classes are open to ladies and gentlemen, we’re just trying to make sure our menus appeal to everyone. Please do get in touch if there’s something you think would appeal for future classes!

Why not show the one you love just how much you love them with the gift of cooking? Whether you choose to come for a couples cookery evening or sign them up for a class they will love, there’s something for everyone. 

Here are a few ideas for you-

Chocoholic’s Choice – our date in February is sold out, but we’ll be running the class again on Sept … 

Love baking – try a bread class (Baguettes and Beyond) or cake bakings (Quirky Cakes & Chewy Cookies, Traybakes or Saints and Sinners Cake Baking)

Beer Baking – great fun for any beer lovers out there! We’ll be making beer dough for our pizzas & beer brownies amongst many treats for you. All using the amazing Emsworth Brewhouse beers.

BBQ marinades and sides

Thai Mini Break

Do get in touch if you need some more inspiration this Valentine’s – we’re here to help!

Have you got any New Year’s Resolutions? It’s not too late to start some, here’s ours if you need some inspiration…

Cook 3 new recipes every week – did you get any new cook books for Christmas? I’ll be getting busy with Jamie Oliver’s Super Food Family Classics and Lily Simpson’s Detox Bible. On the naughtier side of things Miranda Gore Brown’s Bake Me a Cake As Fast As You Can is hard to beat when you are looking for a treat.
Involve my boys in the kitchen for 2 meals a week – it’s all too easy to throw meals together quickly and put it in front of them, but over Christmas they’ve been more involved which really does make them more incline to try it! Sam has become a dab-hand at tomato and mozzarella salads!
Make more pasta – it really doesn’t take that long once you’ve got the hang of it and it does taste such a lot better. Never made pasta? Join us for our Pasta Masterclass!
Prepare meals and snacks in advance – I’ve learnt that being in a rush and throwing meals together leads to me choosing the less healthy option. Planning means that we should all enjoy a better diet in 2017!

Whatever your New Year’s Resolutions, I hope you all have a healthy & happy New Year,

Best wishes,

Barbara, Emsworth Cookery School

img_7012Have you heard of Reverse advent calendars? The idea is that every day throughout Advent you give something away.

The Emsworth Cookery School has been putting one together for the Emsworth Community Christmas event – a lunch which brings together people in our community who might otherwise spend the day alone.

Have a watch of what we’re up to and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see what goes in the box! [embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qUsy_7Q-TU[/embedyt]